Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 (NIV)
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Respect means we see one another through our Father’s eyes; as eternal beings, chosen by God “for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him;” as “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (1 Peter 2:9 MSG; Romans 8:17 NIV).
Our objective-in-Jesus is to consistently remember we’ll be sharing heaven with those in our small groups and congregations, even those we have difficulty respecting now. And God, in his wisdom, “put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity” (1 Corinthians 12:24 NLT).
We often miss this, but one of the simplest ways to show respect is to listen. We offer our presence and open our ears, listening to the hidden hurts and heartaches, the deepest dreams and desires of one another.
The truth is the God of the universe listens to our prayers, which does serious damage to any argument that we’re too busy. Busier than God?
Jesus listened to those around him and he listens to us, which destroys any argument that our mission is too important to listen. Or, is our mission, or even our daily tasks, more important than Jesus?
Our objective-in-Jesus is to respect others enough to let them get the whole story out before we rush in to give an answer, or jump in to fix things, or just plain react to what we think instead of what is true (1 Corinthians 1:10).
You don’t have to agree with what they say; that’s another matter, but unless you hear them out, you won’t even know what they mean. You show others respect, not because of who they are, but because of who they belong to - the same One who created you.
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Did you, like me, see yourself in this message?
Lord, help me keep at the forefront of my mind the importance of truly listening. While it may never be my intention to disrespect, the end result is the same. Remind me that checking things off my "to do list" should never take precedence over taking the time to truly listen and care for those you've so graciously placed in my life. I want to show love the way you would show love. I pray Lord, that you bring this message to mind next time I start to forget. Thank you Father for the loving example you are....
Monday, March 30, 2009
Today, may we give thanks for this day and for the One who created it.
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Commitment to His lordship on Easter, at revivals, or even every Sunday is not enough. We must choose this day -- and every day -- whom we will serve. This deliberate act of the will is the inevitable choice between habitual fellowship and habitual failure. ~ Beth Moore
(Taken from Prayers of a Godly Woman)
Friday, March 27, 2009
Greetings & Happy fPhoto Friday!
Here are more beautiful spring flower photos from last year
(I couldn't resist!) They always bring to mind this verse...
"Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God." ~Job 37:14
This is our lovely cistena plum tree
dressed in her delicate spring finest!
I was thrilled to find this lovely little spot in downtown Cincinnati! Pink tulips against a black iron fence...Wow! After taking this photo, I walked closer and looked down upon the miniature tulips and caught this glimpse...one of my favorite photos...ever!!!
At Lytle Park, downtown Cincinnati. I love when this happens...
an unexpected surprise amidst a vast array of beautiful peach colored tulips. = )
I left work early one day last Spring for the sole purpose of taking flower photos and shortly thereafter found myself in an absolute torrential downpour! Fortunately, it didn't last long and left lovely water drops on all the flowers!
Finally, this pretty little white crocus was the first (and come to think of it...only) flower to bloom in our front yard last spring! ; )
Camera: Canon Powershot A610
Want to see more beautiful photos?
Visit Natalie of Married to the Preacher.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
This adorable little pot was .75 cents! The design goes all the way around. I thought it would make a beautiful pencil cup, or you could use it for a pretty little flower.
This was my favorite, I think. It's about 10 or 11 inches high. I can't wait to fill it with some flowers and put it on my table. It has no brand on the bottom, but it's heavy and seems to be of good quality. This one cost $4.00!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
You may remember, this is my current verse for the 2009 Scripture Memory Challenge, so I've been thinking on it for quite a few days. I love passages like this one. Practical application, spoken simply yet beautifully. The longer I think on this verse, the more I see just what an all-encompassing challenge it presents to us as believers.
Phil Ware of Heartlight offers these brief thoughts on Romans 12:12:
Sometimes the key to survival is simply "setting our jaw" and going on faithfully trusting that God is there helping us, despite the apparent and outward circumstances. Choosing joy through hope rather than despair, choosing patient endurance in times of affliction, and choosing faithfulness in prayer are all decisions of the will trusting that the God who raised Jesus from the dead can also change our circumstances because he hears our voice.
Create in me, O Mighty God, a resolute and steadfast heart so that I might persevere with joy no matter what the difficulty. This I ask in the name of your faithful Son. Amen.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
1. How do you change the word "Comments" at the foot of your posts? I notice some people have phrases like "7 Encouraging Words" or "5 people had something to say", etc. Can anyone enlighten me?
2. How do you create a strikethrough in a blog post? I've tried by creating a Word document using strikethrough, but when I transfer it to Blogger, it disappears...Can anyone clear that up?
3. Finally, can you tell me how to make my header photo fit within the box? I've noticed there are many others that look like mine (overlaps on one side) and it's no big deal, just one of those little things that bug me (yes, I'm a bit OCD). I figured while I'm asking questions...it can't hurt! LOL!
Thanks guys...I know I can count on you! ; )
Monday, March 23, 2009
Although I don't watch much tv, I've come to love most of the T-mobile commercials. This one is my all-time favorite. Need a giggle this morning? Check it out...
T-Mobile MyFaves "Oversharing" - video powered by Metacafe
LOL...still cracks me up. And speaking of "Super Delicious," here's yet another current favorite.
Hostess 100 Calorie Packs in Chocolate. There are several other flavors (some of which I've tried), but they all run a distant second to the chocolate (in my book, anyway). These petite little cupcakes (about the size of a thick cookie) are yummy! Best of all, check out the nutritional stats! 5g of fiber! For those of you on Weight Watchers, guess what!? One pack of these (that's all three mini cupcakes) is only 1 point! How's that for some sweet news on a Monday?? They are pricey at our local grocery, but I've found them at Walmart or the Hostess outlet for $2.50. If you want to check them out (and I highly recommend it!), here's a coupon that will save you .75 cents!
On the topic of smart choices and weight loss, have you heard what's been going on with Mandisa? She's been on a journey with Christ to get healthier since last August and she's doing great! She's lost 75 pounds so far and on her way to 100. Have you heard her new song -- My Deliverer? Wow, is it fantastic! It's the first release from her new CD called Freedom (in stores tomorrow - 3/24 or downloadable from iTunes now!) These songs celebrate freedom through Christ, to conquer that which holds us back from being all He wants us to be. For her, that meant breaking through a life-long food addiction, and she gives all glory to God. This immediately struck a chord with me because of my own weight loss journey with the Lord. I could not wait to load this one on my iPod...talk about passion and praise! No wonder it's my favorite song right now! Whatever your battle today, this song delivers a heaping dose of encouragement, inspiration and empowerment through Christ. I'm off to play it again (and again and again!) = )
That's all for this edition. Hope you've enjoyed these favorites. Hope your Monday is a wonderful, praise-filled, "super-delicious" day! ; )
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Hope it's warming up wherever you are! For more fPhoto Friday, stop by and see Natalie of Married to the Preacher. Happy Weekend!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
For more Word-Filled Wednesdays, visit
Monday, March 16, 2009
~ Romans 12:12
True to form, when I chose this passage, it was because of its significance in my own faith walk. I need to confess I’ve been struggling a little bit the past few weeks.
After asking for prayer for my surgery, and having such a smooth procedure…I very quickly wanted to say thank you and let everyone know I was doing fine, and I was…for a few days. The week after my surgery, I developed a lung infection in the form of bronchitis. I saw my doctor, received a strong antibiotic and assumed I would be better in short order. To be completely honest, I didn’t want to seem like a whiner or complainer, so I opted not to mention it here. (Mistake #1) I finished the antibiotic and was disappointed to find I was no better. My doctor ordered a different antibiotic. I was still in the midst of taking this one when my 2 week surgical leave from work ended.
While my surgery itself was healing perfectly, there was only a slight improvement in my bronchitis. I had not been resting well, which only compounded the problem. However, my job is relatively low-stress and I was not contagious by this time, so I went back to work as planned last Monday. (Mistake #2). By Friday, with two days left on the antibiotic cycle, it felt as though it was getting worse again.
By last night, I was not only sick, but also tired, discouraged and in full-out meltdown mode. (My poor hubby.) I took a hot bath and went to bed very early and prayed for a restful night. (Praise the Lord, I did indeed sleep very well.) This morning, I went back to the doctor who prescribed a new round of antibiotics and also gave me a cortisone injection.
Can I tell you what really bothers me about all this? What it has revealed about my true nature. First, I’m not nearly as strong as I like to believe, but much worse than that? My pride kept me from revealing my weakness and admitting my need. I’ve always looked at life with an optimistic point of view. I try to find a blessing in every situation. Nothing wrong with that. There is, however, something wrong when I can’t admit my typical outlook has taken a bit of a down turn, that I don’t feel much like rejoicing and that I’m downright frustrated. Why is it I’m so fearful of scaring people off by appearing too needy?
When the Lord lead me to this verse, I quickly realized I had failed miserably at following His formula. Though I was trying to keep up the appearance of joyful hope, its lack was quite evident. I had NOT been patient in affliction, nor had I been as faithful to prayer as I should have. Ouch. Needless to say, the Lord and I have spent a good bit of time together today to remedy this situation. As of tonight, I can honestly say I’m feeling a bit of improvement in my physical symptoms. Even more important, through the course of this day, the Lord has restored my joy. As I remain faithful in prayer, I’m trusting Him to help me be a more patient, patient. = )
I’m humbling myself before Him and you and asking for your prayers but also your forgiveness. For someone who says she wants to be “real” with you, I haven’t shown much evidence of that in the last couple of weeks. I pray the Lord keeps me faithful to sharing my heart as time goes on…even if that means revealing my ugly stuff. I thank Him for you and how He challenges me continually through you.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
For now, let me share just one thing I've learned and found so very interesting. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for "glory" is kavodh which means "weight, honor, esteem." The word kavodh comes from another word which means "to be renowned, to show oneself great or mighty." As author Beth Moore explains..."God's glory is not only something that reflects Him, but also part of who He is!"
In the New Testament, the Greek word for "glory" is doxa which means "the true apprehension of God or things." Beth Moore's translation: "His unchanging essence." Doxa comes from another word, dokeo meaning "to think or suppose." God's glory is the way He makes Himself recognizable."
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Thank you so much for your kind comments and for celebrating this week with me!!! = ) It's been so much fun to relive some of these stories.
Have a wonderful Saturday!
Friday, March 6, 2009
The post I’m sharing today was originally published in April of last year.
Worth the Wait
I’ve wanted one for years. I mean seriously…years! It was one of those silly wants I had never shared with anyone, because for me personally, it always seemed a bit extravagant. Upon occasion, I’d see them in the department store circulars, but even on “sale,” the price was too high. Maybe someday, I’d think. While Christmas shopping a couple of years ago, I saw a man (with two little ones in tow) buying one for his wife. The oldest, a little girl, was giddy with excitement. She could hardly hold still as he waited to pay. I remember she kept saying to her Daddy, "Mommy’s going to be SOOOOO HAPPY!!!" I had to admit as I watched her -- I was even excited for her Mommy, because on Christmas morning, she’d be opening a beautiful, brand new, sparkling white Kitchen Aid mixer.
Haven’t we all had things we wanted (sometimes for a long time), but the cost was too high? We eventually let it go and move on, only to find it later, on sale, or through any manner of circumstances, maybe even falling into our lap…free?
A friend of mine recently asked me…"Hey, do you do much baking?" I told her, "At this time of year…not too much…why?" "Just wondering," she said "I have a Kitchen Aid mixer that I received as a gift a while back and I’ve never used it. It’s just taking up space and I’d love to find someone who might want it." I felt my stomach do a little flip. I said, "How much are you asking for it?" She said, "Nothing, it was a gift." I said, "Are you kidding me? Why not sell it?" She wouldn’t hear of it. I continued, "You could list it on e-bay…put it in a yard sale…sell it in the classifieds. Do you know how much that’s worth!?" She was well aware of its worth, but because it hadn’t cost her anything, she refused to sell it. Instead, she wanted to give it, and she was asking me! When I told her I didn’t feel comfortable accepting something so costly, she just laughed and said "Oh c’mon…don’t be silly! I’d love for you to have it." We hadn’t talked about it for a few days but sure enough, this afternoon our doorbell rang, and there she stood with that beautiful, nearly new, sparkling white Kitchen Aid mixer. As soon as she placed it in my arms, she was quickly on her way (no doubt in an effort to escape before I tried to pay her something for it). Unbelievable.
This isn’t the first time God has provided something I’ve long desired. He’s provided many, both great and small, and I never fail to marvel at the means by which he does it. The joy I feel when God fulfills a secret longing of my heart, reminds me of the very personal nature of His love. And that never ceases to amaze me. It could be for this reason that I so enjoy giving gifts to others, particularly when the “nudge” to do so isn’t my own. = )
Now, when I use that mixer, instead of feeling guilty or indulgent for buying or asking for it, I’ll smile and think of Him and how He’s blessed me once again -- this time through the kindness of a friend. And like so many other "gifts" He’s provided to me, I’ll know…it was worth the wait.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. ~ James 1:17 (NASB)
Well, speaking of Gifts and things being “Worth the Wait…” Here’s my Giveaway! Remember, all comments count for this week up until midnight tonight! Stop by tomorrow to see who won! (Hope it’s you!)
* Give us this Day our Daily Bread wooden sign from Bittersweet Farm
* Cup which reads "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Phillipians 4:13
* Embroidered and beaded dish towel
* Rose colored journal and
* DVD (Though None Go with Me by Jerry Jenkins)
(There will also be some additional little goodies tucked in the box that will remain a surprise for the recipient. Can't wait to see who wins!) = )
Thursday, March 5, 2009
The post I’m sharing today is truly one of my absolute favorites. Remembering this story just amazes me all over again. God is so incredibly good. This post is quite long so I’ll limit my introductory comments. I hope you have a few moments to read this one, originally posted in July…
A Gracious Second Chance
I was reading Angie’s post last week on Laced with Grace called "Obedience." It's a beautiful story about second chances, and it brought to mind a gracious second chance the Lord gave to me a number of years ago. Before I continue, we need to take a trip back to 1975 (yes, I realize some of you weren’t even born yet, but try and imagine with me...).
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.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
It was exactly one year ago TODAY that I started my blog. I remember being quite intimidated trying to decide what in the world to share in my very first post. I finally decided what to say, typed it up and then had to pray for the courage to hit “publish post.” That may sound silly, but I was truly that fearful about it. I’m so grateful He answered my prayer. Over the past year, He’s worked through so many of you to change my life! There is something unexplainably wonderful and peculiar about the bond we share. We are Sisters who in most cases have never met face-to-face, yet we’ve walked some amazing journeys together. We‘ve shared great joys, heart-breaking sorrows, paralyzing fears and wonderful successes. We’ve rejoiced with one another, encouraged one another, prayed for one another and challenged one another. Among other things, we’ve shared favorite scriptures, recipes, photos, books, music, stories, craft projects, home improvement projects, ideas for blessing others and for saving money. Wow, the things I’ve learned from you! Most importantly, you’ve helped me love Jesus more than when I started this journey. For that, I’m most thankful.
Well, here it is…the post that appeared here one year ago today…
Welcome to my Life!
Maybe that’s a good place to start…If I may, I’d like to tell you a little of my story. I’m married to a wonderful man, my very best friend, Tom. We met way back in 1983 when he was working as a disc jockey at a Cincinnati radio station and I called to request a song. There was immediate chemistry and a short time later, we planned to meet. On the day we actually met (face-to-face), my little sister had gone up and down our street inviting all the kids in the neighborhood to come and see the “radio man” who was on his way to meet her sister. It’s a sight I will never forget….10-15 little kids sitting side-by-side, all along our front yard, cheering for him as he pulled down the street. That very likely could have been what “sealed the deal,” because Tom and I immediately began dating and a little over a year later, we were married.
We were happily enjoying life for a number of years, 3 ½ to be exact, when we learned we were expecting. What an amazing, exciting time! In January of 1989, we welcomed a beautiful baby boy, Brennan into our hearts and lives. Life was (and continues to be) blessed. Through a series of people and circumstances that could have only been orchestrated by God, my husband gave his heart to the Lord, and I recommitted my life to the Lord as well just before Brennan started first grade. We enrolled him in a Christian school (where he remained for all 12 years). By God’s grace, Brennan immediately adapted to an active church life and attending a Christian school. (He not only adapted to it, he loved it!) He has truly been the greatest blessing of our lives. A leader with exceptional character, tremendously talented, humble, sensitive, tons of fun and who will (to this day) hug and kiss his Mom and Dad right in front of his buddies! Our little family has always been close and God has blessed Brennan with some incredible mentors over the years that have really helped sharpen him into a passionate young man of faith. He is now a college student in South Carolina pursuing Christian media and theatre arts. We believe God has big things in store for him.
Meanwhile, Tom and I are living life, loving each other and loving the Lord. We both work for the same law firm, which means we get to ride to work together each day and even have lunch together most days. We are so blessed. Tom and I are both what you could call (in the words of Kevin Leman), “Joy Spreaders.” We love to encourage others and show the love of Christ in unexpected ways. It is my hope that this blog will be a place of encouragement, being real and yes spreading joy and love to others! Looking forward to new friends and (in the words of Beth Moore) blog “siestas!” May you be blessed this day…
…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. ~Romans 15:13
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Today’s entry was originally posted in May. It’s especially dear to my heart. I think you will see why. I pray it encourages you to be ever watchful for loving reminders God may be sending your way!
A Loving Reminder from God
Don’t you love experiencing God in the midst of the ordinary? Those moments when He speaks through a beautiful sunset, a friend's encouraging word or a vibrant rainbow, and you just know it was something He meant especially for you?
One of my favorite of these such moments occurred several years ago. My husband, Tom and I were both in the midst of some challenging situations at the time and were feeling particularly overwhelmed. Among other things, there were major difficulties going on at work for Tom. In addition, several months prior, we had joined the youth staff which meant each of us were caring for our own small group of 8-10 middle school students. Although our hearts were willing, we were completely out of our comfort zone in this new and unfamiliar territory. (Our own son was just then in middle school for goodness sake!) There was much we didn't know. Add to this, one of our biggest challenges was helping to look after Tom’s elderly Aunt, who lived next door.
God had divinely placed us here for the purpose of helping to care for Aunt Helen. A widow with no children of her own, she had practically helped raise Tom and his sisters, and she had always been so good to me. Being nearby to help her was truly a privilege, yet it could also be quite a challenge. She was 81 years old at the time and though her petite frame suggested frailty, it spoke nothing of her legendary determination. She took great joy in doing something challenging (and often dangerous) just to prove to herself (and to you) that she could.
It was January or February in one of those winters where we kept getting snow, just a few inches at a time, for what seemed like weeks. Shoveling the driveway became almost a daily task, in an effort to keep Aunt Helen from slipping and breaking a leg or hip, should she take a notion to walk outside (which she often did). We tried everything to keep her off that driveway…we got her newspaper early each morning, we got her groceries and we picked up medicine. However, since Tom and I were both working, there were often hours when no one was home and the mail was delivered during that time. Despite our pleas, and offers to bring her mail as soon as we got home from work, many days we returned to find her mailbox already empty, because she insisted on walking that driveway and getting it herself. (Please understand, I couldn't blame her for wanting to go outside...we just didn't want her to fall!) Needless to say, we prayed a lot for her safety. We tried not to worry, but didn’t always succeed.
And so…with every snowfall, whether a little or a lot, we were over there shoveling and salting like mad. With everything else that was going on at the time, this typically minor chore grew to be a bit of a thorn in our side. We were long past enjoying its beauty. In fact, every time it started to snow, we would find ourselves groaning.
Well, on this particular Sunday, I woke up very early – well before my alarm. It was still dark outside and I realized Tom was already up and out of bed. When I didn’t see him anywhere in the house, I peeked outside and spotted him (yet again) shoveling snow next door. (We had gotten around an inch overnight.) I made my way through our garage and opened the side door just a few feet away from where he was working. "Good morning," I said…He greeted me with a smile and said, "Grab a flashlight and your coat and come out here…I want to show you something..." A few moments later, I returned as instructed. He took my hand and led me to the very end of Aunt Helen's driveway. I turned on the flashlight and there, in the peaceful silence of that early Sunday morning, this is what we saw...
Now a logical person might assume it was pure coincidence that these tire tracks (probably from the newspaper delivery truck) formed two hearts. Instead, what we saw was a blessing from the Lord, spoken straight to our weary souls saying, "I know your struggles, I see your faithfulness, I care about what burdens you, I love you and I'm right here with you."
It's hard to put into words the encouragement that flooded our hearts that morning, truly when we needed it most. We stood there for several moments, not saying anything, just taking it in and thanking the Lord. Then I went to get my camera to capture this moment I didn't ever want to forget. It still encourages me every time I look at this photo (taken with our 35 mm camera and completely unedited). I pray it does the same for you this day.
...May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV)
Monday, March 2, 2009
What I’d like to do this week is share a few posts from the last year, starting with one that explains the mission of my blog. (This was originally posted last July.)
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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.
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Now more about the celebration! All comments received each day throughout the week (from 12:01 am this morning through 12:00 midnight Friday night - Eastern Time) will be placed in a random drawing for a special giveaway prize I’m putting together. (Because of my surgery, I’m a little behind!) I have the first two items purchased…you can see them here…
(“Give Us this Day” sign from my friend Kathy of Bittersweet Farm.) The rose-colored journal is from Family Christian Store. There will be a few additional items, all of which will be pictured on Friday. I’ll make the drawing Saturday morning and post the winner sometime before noon Eastern time! = )
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I have a Life Application study bible. I love the way it summarizes this verse:
"The power to grow doesn't come from within us, but from God. Because we don't have the resources to be truly godly, God allows us to be "partakers of the divine nature" in order to keep us from sin and help us live for him. When we are born again, God by his Spirit empowers us with his own moral goodness."
Have you ever wondered how far you could get in this Christian life without the Holy Spirit? It's been at work within us even before we actually believed. Were it not for the Holy Spirit, our eyes would never be opened to our need for Christ to begin with. Once we understand that need, it is the Holy Spirit that works within us to draw us toward knowing and accepting that truth personally. Then, it is when we've accepted Christ that the Holy Spirit indwells us and helps to guide us to live each day for Him, beginning the very moment we believe. How I praise God for this incredible gift!
It's never too late if you wish to take part in the Scripture Memory Challenge. It was started by Beth Moore on her blog as a means growing in her walk with Christ throughout the year. On the first and fifteenth of every month, those wishing to take part choose a verse they want to commit to memory. As a means of accountability, simply go to her blog, comment with your verse including its version (NIV, etc.) then add your name and city & state. To date, there are over 3,000 participants! We'd love to have you, too!