join us at 160 Acre Woods!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Katlynn is an awesome, Godly high school student, wise and mature beyond her years. (How I wish I could have had her passion for Christ at her age!) Her blog is titled "Mirror?" because she strives to be a reflection of Christ. Kay is a gifted communicator. Her blog seeks to transparently share insight and encouragement for living passionately for Christ. Both of these blogs are a blessing to me, and come with my highest recommendation! Please take a few minutes to visit each of them!
I’m going to bend the rules and combine them into one post of 6 random things.
1. The only bone I have ever broken is my big toe, but I’ve done it twice! Once running up the steps barefoot, and once running through our dining room barefoot. (I'm obviously slow to catch on...) We had just rearranged the furniture and I stubbed my toe against our hutch. Many years later, I can STILL remember how bad that hurt!
2. I love Christmas music and listen to it all year long. Why not!? My newest favorite is the Celtic Women Christmas CD...absolutely beautiful!
3. I love to fix and/or assemble things…the key here is “with instructions.” (Thank goodness for “diynetwork.com.”!) My last project was taking our toilet apart to replace the seal between the tank and the bowl (not without mishap I might add…) I took to heart Home Depot’s promise that I could do it and they could help. (You might notice they don’t say…we’ll help you in just one trip…) All is now well, but after numerous trips back and forth, I'm not sure I actually saved any money on a service call. Add to that my poor guys had to endure a complete meltdown on my part just before I finally got it right. = ) (It wasn’t pretty!)
4. Unlike my Mom, I’m not a very good cook. The methodical person in me can follow a recipe, but I can’t ever imagine being able to create something wonderful with "a little of this and a little of that." I’ll leave that to those of you gifted in that way! ; )
5. I have been out of high school now for 25 years! Not sure how in the world or when this happened…I don’t FEEL that old!
6. By the grace of God (and intervention of my Dad), I was rescued from the name my Mom had long planned to give her firstborn daughter (prepare yourselves…this is a keeper…) “Echo Lafawn.” No, I am not kidding. (Whew! Still thanking the Lord for that one!)
Since I’d love to know more about all of you, my bloggy friends, I invite each of you to consider yourself “tagged.” Please take part, whether on your blog or in a comment. = )
Friday, July 25, 2008
I was honored and humbled to receive this award from Melanie of Fruits of the Spirit. She and her lovely blog are such a blessing! It is rich with all sorts of Biblical insight, fun and encouragement! Melanie has an unmistakably sweet spirit about her. If you haven’t yet met her, please take a moment to visit her blog and say Hi!
♥Lea of Shabby Old Potting Shed
♥Lelia of Write from the Heart
♥Natalie of Married to the Preacher
♥Sarah of Life in the Parsonage
♥Susan of Forever His
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Greetings on this Monday morning!
While I don't normally give a weekend recap on my Monday posts, this weekend provided such contrasting extremes, I just have to share!
I love taking photographs. I carry my camera in my purse at all times because you never want to miss a great photo opportunity! All summer, I've been trying get some good butterfly shots with no success...until Saturday. = ) I was running errands and had to make a stop at Home Depot. As I walked through the garden center, I saw the most beautiful butterfly! So what do you suppose I did? = ) I took a quick inventory to see how many people were about to see me make a fool of myself, then shamelessly began chasing this beauty with my camera. The result was well worth it. I got several good photos, but this was my favorite...
How I love these amazing creations! So gentle, carefree, beautiful and delicate...they are truly one of God's most creative gifts. They never fail to captivate me. (Perfect in beauty, God shines forth...Psalms 50:2)
Now, we move to the extreme...Yesterday afternoon, we were at the home of my in-law's (Bob & Millie) for dinner. There was quite a thunderstorm kicking up as we arrived, with lots of heavy rain, wind and lightning. After about 15 minutes, it was all over, the sun returned as we continued helping to prepare the meal. The clouds returned during dinner, and by the time we were cleaning up, it was obvious we were in for another storm. The men were watching golf on television and I heard my father-in-law say something about a tornado warning. That quickly got everyones attention. Then the electricity went off for just a moment and then came back on just as the tornado sirens began sounding. As a few family members headed for the basement, I noticed that several others had walked to the patio. I was starting to get concerned. I kept saying, "c'mon guys...we need to get to the basement!" No one seemed to be listening. I finally walked to the door of the patio to see why they were waiting. I immediately saw what had everyone so mesmerized. I quickly grabbed my camera and snapped this photo. (I only wish I would have thought to record a video so that you could see what we saw...the funnel cloud coming down was actually rotating!) This was literally just a couple of hundred yards away!
I have never seen (firsthand) such an amazing display of God's power! The local weather reports say that although there were many "wall clouds with rotation," and funnel cloud sightings, none officially touched down and became full fledged tornados. (Praise God!) There were about 10,000 who lost their electricity, a local home was struck by lightning, and some very large trees were uprooted about 45 miles away. Gratefully, no one was hurt. (Our local news network posted some other amazing photos from viewers, click here if you'd like to see them. )
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. ~ 1 Chronicles 29:11
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Setting out, what a child, my steps ahead of mind
Not a doubt, 'til You knocked me off my paradigm
Simple me, only trying to see You in the stained glass
I walked right past the unexpected
Anyway You want to show me
All Your glory
Anywhere You choose to speak
Tell Your story
In the low or lofty places
Doubt that I would have found You there in Bethlehem
No surprise, You changed the world through fishermen
Good to know You would go so far to finally get through
That's just like You, and so unlike me
In the alley, on the rooftop
At the end of a rocky road, You don't stop
On a mountain, in a rainstorm
In the eyes of a mother with her newborn
In the back pew, at the altar
At the well where You gave the woman water
In the chaos, in the holy
In the darkness, anywhere a heart beats
Anywhere a heart beats
This is so often my prayer because I don’t want to miss God’s glory! I want Him to open my eyes to each and every glimpse He places in my life!
Heal the Wound
I used to wish that I could rewrite history
I used to dream that each mistake could be erased
Then I could just pretend
I never knew me back then
Hide all the evidence of who I've been
But it's the memory of
the place You brought me from
That keeps me on my knees
And even though I'm free
Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar
I have not lived a life that boasts of anything
I don't take pride in what I bring
But I'll build an altar with
The rubble that You've found me in
And every stone will sing
Of what You can redeem
Don't let me forget
Everything You've done for me
Don't let me forget
The beauty in the suffering
How I can identify with these lyrics! While there are certainly things I wish I could change and/or forget, it’s in the remembering that I see how God has changed my life. He has made beautiful from my broken. I pray He never lets me forget what I was like without Him.
While this is definitely not a new release, it’s possible there are some of you who don’t have it, or maybe have a friend who would enjoy it…whatever the case, I’ve decided to give one away! I just know it will be a joy and blessing to you! Just leave a comment. I’ll draw a winner sometime tomorrow night (Saturday) between 6:00 and 9:00 pm (EST).
P.S. If you have an extra moment, click here to hear a sampling of each song.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I am extraordinarily blessed. So often in my life, I’ve seen God’s hand move in incredible ways. When I ponder everything this holy God has done for me (a very broken vessel), my heart feels such overwhelming love and gratitude, I can’t possibly keep it to myself! I want to tell everyone about Him, His amazing love and how He can change your life!
I began sharing what God had done and was doing in my life as He presented opportunities. First, it was with my middle school girls, then to the women in my Bible study, as well as other friends and family. Still, I felt restless. There were many stories longing to be shared, yet just as sure as I know God made me an encourager, I’m even more sure He did not make me a public speaker. (Sidenote here...He knows I'm willing should that ever be His plan for me...but He and I also know it would require much in the way of His divine help!)
I asked Him to show me what He wanted me to do. He reminded me one day that writing notes of encouragement was one of my favorite ways to share the His love. Was He telling me to write more notes? To someone specific? He then seemed to say “why not simply ‘write notes’ of encouragement, tell the stories of how I’m working in your life, and then trust Me to bring those who need that message?" He soon drew me to this avenue of faith. Soon thereafter, I read Romans 15:13 (NLT) "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Choosing that verse as my foundation, "My Cup Runneth Over" was born.
It is my prayer that those who read my blog will sense that I am a humble student of the Bible, with so much left to learn. I also pray the gratitude that flows from my heart is unmistakable in everything I write. Lastly, and most importantly, I pray what you read here encourages your heart, and fills you with the hope, joy and peace of Christ.
Special thanks to Angela of Becoming Me for giving us the opportunity to consider and share our blog missions.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
It was late August as I arrived at school for my first day of 5th grade. I walked down the hall until I reached the two classrooms, one of which would be mine. As I scanned the student list posted outside the first classroom, I didn’t see my name. I walked across the hall to the other student list. I immediately realized the teacher’s name was not who I expected. There had obviously been a staffing change over the summer, and I had a brand new teacher. I walked in the classroom and was warmly greeted by a tall, slender, attractive woman. I remember immediately noticing her sparkly eyes and beautiful smile. Her name was Miss Bailey.
Like most kids, I was extremely impressionable at the age of 10 and from that first day, I wanted to emulate her. She was young and full of joy and creativity. Her patience seemed endless and I soon discovered she was an incredible teacher. Even the kids who had previously been more challenging were different under her teaching. (It's possible the years have diminished my memory, but I have little or no recollection of anyone getting into trouble.) We all loved her and we knew she loved us, and we wanted to do our very best to please her. I don’t ever remember enjoying school more.
Things continued to progress well as we made our way through the school year. One winter morning, after the Pledge of Allegiance, she shared that she prayed for us every morning. She then said "I thought maybe today we could all pray together." She asked us to bow our heads and then she prayed that God would be with each of us, that He would help us to pay attention, to treat each other kindly and to do our very best for Him. I remember how much I loved that. My family at that time (though moral and loving), was not walking with the Lord. This continued on for a couple of weeks. Before too long, other kids were even volunteering to pray. There was only one problem…I attended a public school.
At the time, I had no concept that praying there was considered "wrong," until one day, with much grace and respect, she explained that we weren’t allowed to do that in class anymore. I remember being a bit disappointed and confused, because it didn’t seem at all like a bad thing to me. A few weeks later, in early spring, she came in our classroom one day and said, I’m very sorry to tell you I’ll be leaving and won’t be here to finish out the school year. After reminding us the importance of being kind, doing our best and behaving well for our new teacher, she was gone...and we were heartbroken. (It was a number of years later before I made the connection between the prayer issue and her departure.) We finished out the year with a substitute teacher who was young and very sweet, but it was never quite the same.
As years continued on, I began to realize the profound impact she had on my life. I thought of her often and longed to talk to her, to know how she was doing, and to thank her for being such a strong and Godly influence.
Then, one day in 1995, because of a scheduling error with my son’s pediatrician, I found myself at their Cincinnati office, rather than the northern Kentucky office less than a mile from our home. Brennan must have only been there for an immunization or check-up, because afterwards, we stopped for lunch at a nearby McDonalds. As we were eating, a woman walked in who looked somewhat familiar. Along with her, were two beautiful little girls of a different nationality, both of whom looked to be under the age of 5. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why she looked familiar and then it hit me…she looked like Miss Bailey! I was trying to look at her without staring, reasoning back and forth in my mind…"Could that be her?" to "It can’t be her!" The little girls with her were younger than my son (who was 6 at the time). The math just didn’t add up. If Miss Bailey had kids, they would undoubtedly be older than that. I was still debating with myself when I saw her smile…that same sparkly eyed smile from 20 years before. That’s when I knew it was her. I tried to make eye contact, in the hopes that she might recognize me. What was I saying!? Last time she had seen me, I was only 10, and now, I was 30! A few more moments went by, and although I so badly wanted to talk with her, I just couldn’t gather the courage to do it. (How silly is that!?)
Brennan and I got into our car and headed for home. Within moments, the regret settled in. It made me heartsick that God had provided an opportunity I had long hoped for…and I completely blew it. I thought about looking her up in the phone book, but realized I hadn’t the faintest clue of her married name. It remained on my mind for several days and I expressed my remorse to the Lord over and over. I told Him if ever I saw Miss Bailey again, I’d never let an opportunity like that pass me by.
Later that same week, our church was hosting a concert by Dallas Holm. (For those who aren’t familiar, he was a popular contemporary Christian singer of the 80’s and 90’s.) The concert had been promoted on local Christian radio, so we were expecting a large turnout. We arrived quite early in order to get good seats. Once settled, I turned around to watch for any of our friends who might need a place to sit. Would you believe directly behind me, was none other than Miss Bailey!? I quickly turned back around, wide-eyed. I had told my hubby about what happened at McDonalds and he must have seen my wide eyes because he mouthed to me "What’s wrong?" I mouthed back (pointing through the back of the pew) "That’s her! That’s Miss Bailey!" (then, his eyes grew wide!) There was still quite some time before the concert, so I knew what I needed to do. I took a deep breath and turned around…
We spent the next 15-20 minutes catching up. I was able to tell her how much I appreciated her powerful influence in my life, how much I learned from her. I told her my memories from her class were so precious and that I knew the Lord had drawn me through her example. She said our class was her very first, right out of college. She made reference to the fact that the school wasn’t too happy with her about those morning prayers. A few months after her departure, she had married and begun teaching at a Christian school, where she remained until she and her husband began having children of their own, four boys to be exact. Her youngest was a high school senior. The previous year, they had adopted the two beautiful little girls from Guatemala. Her life, she said, was so very blessed. They were actually a month away from a move to Alaska, where her husband had received a job transfer. She was anxious to see what adventures awaited them. I asked if she ever planned to return to teaching, she said she might when her daughters were old enough to attend school. As she spoke, it struck me that though a little older, her face was just as radiant as it was in 1975.
It’s been 13 years since God graciously orchestrated that meeting. Her daughters are nearly grown now. I’m not sure if her family is still in Alaska, or if she ever did return to teaching, but I have peace. It thrills my heart to think there are other students, possibly as far as Alaska, who have been impacted (perhaps for eternity) by the example of one extraordinary teacher.
Monday, July 14, 2008
As a recipient of this award, I have been asked to share it with five blogs that bless my life. I have chosen:
Cheryl (Hope for Each New Day)
Lori (I Will Take it Lord, All You Have to Give)
Melanie (Fruits of the Spirit)
Paula (His Ways are not Our Ways)
Tricia (It’s all About Him)
Incidentally, Alexis (aka Chickie Momma) also recently shared this award with me. Alexis has an enormous heart, is loaded with personality, is extraordinarily talented and lots of fun. Her blog is such a blessing because it allows me (a city girl) to experience farm life, through the adventures of her family. I’ve been pondering five additional blogs that bless me. They are:
Amydeanne (160 Acre Woods)
Nancie (More than Conquerers)
Peggy (Mazes, Messes, Miracles...aMazing Grace)
Tracy (Thirsty for Him)
All of these are extraordinary women of faith, some serving here in the US, others who find themselves in faraway places. Regardless of where they reside in the physical sense, we're all travelling the same road Home, brought together by God for such a time as this. I visit them frequently because I learn something different through the unique gifts of each and every one. If any of these are new to you, stop by and check them out. (Expect to be blessed!)
Congratulations friends! The “official instructions” follow. Now go forth and share the love!
To the recipients of the award...share this with five blogs you consider deserving of this award, whether for creativity, design, interesting material, or contributions to the blogging community, no matter what language.
Name each nominee and link to his/her blog. Show the award and include the name (and link to his/her blog) of whoever presented you with this award. Link to the Arte y Pico blog so everyone knows the origin of this award. Post these rules.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Greetings to you on this Thursday morning! This week finds me thankful for…
♥ Millie's continued improvement. She told me 4th of July was the first day she had NO pain in her leg for the first time since mid-May! The home care nurse still comes each day, but the wound is definitely healing. The nurse told her not to get her hopes up…that she still may need surgery because there is still a blockage. She sees her doctor tomorrow. I told her we would continue to pray!
♥ relief for my son. He started working in early May for my brother-in-law’s commercial landscape and lawn care company. He was one of only three employees (including my brother-in-law). The business is doing very well, which meant many 12-15 hour workdays…hard workdays in the sun and heat. In the last week, my brother-in-law has hired three additional employees, which has made a world of difference! Instead of getting home at 9 or 10:00 at night, my son has been home by 5 or 6:00 (in time for dinner)! What a blessing!
♥the wonderfully relaxing holiday weekend! I spent lots of time just resting and hanging out with my hubby and son. In between the resting, I was able to get caught up on a number of organizational chores around the house, and that always brings me peace.
♥ A successful wrap-up on Tuesday of “He Speaks to Me,” our current office Bible study. We all agree is has been one of our most impacting studies…ever! (I highly recommend it!) Though a smaller group of ladies have taken part in this study, God is building some beautiful relationships through this smaller, more intimate group.
♥ The news of the birth of Katherine Lily "Kate" Jones, daughter of our precious friends (and former youth pastor) Mark and Andrea Jones, now missionaries to Ireland. Andrea’s last pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, so this was especially sweet. Click here if you’d like to read Andrea’s post on their blog about this blessed event.
♥ As always, this week also finds me thankful for you, my blog sisters! It never ceases to amaze me the outpouring of blessings I receive daily from you!
May this Thursday find you thankful…
To read other Thankful Thursday posts, join us at Sting my Heart.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Don't those grapes look positively amazing!? = )
I'm sure there is a "d" hiding under one of them...
"to the glory and praise of God."
(Sorry...since I didn't create this beautiful image, I can't fix it!)
Philippians has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible.
about just that. How I desire to more effectively discern God's voice
and what I want for me. That He would find me pure and blameless,
To see other Word-Filled Wednesday posts,
join us at 160 Acre Woods!
Monday, July 7, 2008
I almost missed a sweet blessing the morning of 4th of July. I had stayed up (very) late the night before knowing that I could "sleep in" because of the holiday. My hubby had gone to bed several hours before, and I knew he would be up early (because he always is). = )
We live on the main road that runs through our community. Every year on the morning of July 4th, there is a 5K run that passes right in front of our house. Several hundred people, from babies in strollers to grandparents take part. Some years, we’ve had friends who have run and we’ve cheered them on as they ran by. This year, we didn’t know of anyone running, and I remember thinking as I drifted off to sleep, "I might have to miss seeing the marathon runners this year..."
The next thing I knew (just a few hours later), my sweet hubby was standing at the foot of the bed smiling, asking if I wanted to watch the runners. I can’t express to you just how much I wanted to return to the blissful sleep I was enjoying, but I could tell he really wanted me to come out with him. I could also tell he was anxious, as some of the first runners had already passed by. And so…I stumbled out of bed (completely in a fog), changed out of my pajamas into some clothes, ran a brush through my hair and splashed my face with cool water. (Ugh…still in a fog.) I put my “sweet” face on, but inside there was a whole lot of grumbling going on.
As I opened the door, I saw that my hubby had lined our mulch beds with small American flags...it looked great! Then I heard loud patriotic music playing and discovered it was coming from our speakers. I quickly realized my hubby was playing this music especially for the runners. (heart smile) He was standing in our garage, grinning from ear-to-ear as it played. There was a light rain falling and I felt bad for those trying to run...but as I looked at them, they didn’t seem to mind. They were too busy enjoying the music. From God Bless America, Battle Hymn or America the Beautiful, you could see them start to smile as soon as they heard it...many were even singing along! I got a kick out of one man acting as though he was conducting an orchestra as he ran.
Our house sits at about the 4 mile mark of the run. After living here and watching this for several years now, we had grown accustomed to seeing people who are tired, hot, focused, and generally not looking especially "happy." In fact, they rarely make eye contact. (I'm not a runner, but I can certainly understand that.) This time, nearly everyone was smiling. Over and over, they yelled out “Thanks!” as they waved or gave a thumbs up. It was especially heartwarming to see the older people as they sang and smiled. Yes, the patriotic spirit of America was alive and well for those moments and it was quite a sight to behold. In no time at all, tears filled my sleepy eyes and a lump filled my throat. This went on for quite some time and we savored every moment of it.
Afterwards, I thanked my hubby for waking me. What I would have missed, had I kept on sleeping! I then whispered a prayer of thanks to God for what I had just seen, the great nation we all share, and the freedom we are privileged to celebrate, not just on the 4th of July but every day.