Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Powerful Words from Beth Moore...

I've been working through this personal reflection study for the last couple of fact I'm only days away from finishing.  It was a gift to me some time ago.  (Thank you again, Elaine!  I can't express to you how much I've loved this book!) 

Even though I've taken Beth's Bible study, A Heart Like His (twice, in fact... about 10 years apart) this is a more personal, reflective journey, perfect for independent study time.  I spend 15-30 minutes each morning, but most days the passage she shares or something she's written will resonate for hours (and sometimes days) beyond my study time.  As she takes you through the life of David, she asks you to examine various personal issues, struggles, motives, sins, etc. and then invites you to journal a prayer at the close of each day.  

Several days ago, she shared a chapter on Extremes.  She explained that much of David's life was characterized in that way.  She related that was so often true of her life's journey as well.  She wrote and shared this beautiful prayer.  I can't seem to stop thinking about it, and praying it on my own behalf.    Perhaps you will find it so meaningful, as well. 

Satisfy me not with the lesser of You
Find me no solace in shadows of the true
No ordinary measure of extraordinary means
The depth, the length, and breadth of You
and nothing in between.

Etch these words upon my heart knowing all the while
No ordinary roadblocks plague extraordinary miles
Your power as my portion, Your glory as my fare
Take me to extremities, but meet me fully there.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Christmas in April...Handprint Snowmen!

If you're a regular reader, you know I feature a Christmas ornament idea on the 25th of every month.  I know, I looks a bit strange to see "Christmas" in April.  My goal however, is to help you prepare in small ways all throughout the year, so that when the season arrives, you'll have some breathing room admidst the chaos.  If you're one who cannot bring themselves to think of Christmas until after Thanksgiving, that's fine too.  By then, there will be quite an archive of ideas for you to choose from! 

I'm especially excited about this month's ornament.  It's one of the cutest I have ever seen!  I found it originally at Confessions of a Homeschooler, and saw other versions at Home Grown Hearts and My Family My Forever, as well.  I already had all the necessary materials...well, almost everything, that is.  The one thing I needed most were some tiny hands!  As I began to think of who I might recruit to help, a light bulb went off! 

Meet my friend Stephanie and her adorable kids Rheya and Zander. 

She and I work together at the law firm.  She is a computer whiz and absolute sweetheart. We became Facebook buddies a while back, and I soon discovered she was also a busy and very devoted wife and Mom.  Her love for her family just beams and she loves doing things with them.  I wondered if she might like to make these ornaments with her kids, and guess what?  She was all for it!  I gave her the materials and printed the tutorial found at Confessions of a Homeschooler, and she took it from there.  With two of her three kids, they created these...


...can't forget her little thumb snowman...

Then Zander's...

and his thumb snowman...

Aren't they ADORABLE!?!?  Those sweet and priceless handprints get me every time!  This is truly one of the sweetest ornaments, ever!  Can you imagine what a terrific gift this would be a for Grandparent?! Add some filler inside (snow, tinsel, paper shred, cotton batting, etc.) and you're good to go! 

There is even a poem you can print and attach to your ornament: 

These aren't just five snowmen
As anyone can see.
I made them with my hand
Which is a part of me.
Now each year when you trim the tree
You'll look back and recall
Christmas of 2010
When my hand was just this small!

I got even more excited that in the process of all this, I learned Stephanie had always wanted to start a blog.  Well?  Now she has!  Please stop by her place, Adventures in Mommyland 101 and give her a warm welcome to blogworld. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Could You Use Some Encouragement Today?

If you have a few moments to spare, take a look at this video.  My high-school aged nephew shared it with me.  He recently saw it at Youth Camp.  It's an awesome, moving message, and one that will encourage you today.  Blessings friends.  Hope you're having a wonderful weekend. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!  I worked in the yard for hours yesterday, weeding, cleaning up mulch beds, trimming, etc.  Needless to say, the muscles are feeling it, but that's alright.  The Lord couldn't have given a more perfect day for that kind of work...not a cloud in the sky, cool and breezy -- it was glorious!  He and I had a great day together.  Don't you find times like that wonderful for thinking, praying, listening and reflecting?   

I had taken these photos last Saturday, as I knew the tulips wouldn't last much longer.  I have had so much fun with them...from the anticipation of watching for the first one to pop through the soil, to the excitement the day I noticed not one, but 20-something of them!  I began calling them "my babies."  Every day I walked down our sidewalk, or pulled the car into the garage, I'd look at them growing and it never failed to make me smile.  I'd often say, "grow babies, grow!"  My hubby even started saying..."Did you see your babies, today?"  How incredibly beautiful and perfect that they began blooming on Easter Sunday.  I have enjoyed their brilliant color and beauty every day since then. 

Flowers have always fascinated me.  Such a beautiful reward for the hopeful heart who plants a seed and shows some love.  That is to say nothing, of course, of their incredible display of God's creativity.  

April Gifts

Your dawn of sunshine does impart
The warmth of spring upon my heart. 
Forsythia sprays its radiant hue
Against your sky of cloudless blue.
Rows of tulips on the lawn
Sparkle as they stretch and yawn.
And as we mark the moving hours,
Clouds roll in with sudden showers. 
But not with sky too dark to be
Without some hope for all to see
At the very end of day
The sun peek through to leave its rays.
O April day, you seem to know
How to coax the flowers to grow.
Your sun and moisture in good measure
Give another spring to treasure. 

~ Elaine B. Porter
(from Ideals Magazine)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Brooke!!!

Today, I want to wish a very special birthday to my oldest niece, Brooke.  It's a big one -- the big 18!! 

She's a very busy high school senior, working hard to "finish well."  For several years now, her plan has been to pursue a pre-law degree, and then attend law school.  She's always been extremely smart...never once below a 4.0 average, in her entire life!  Her discipline and desire to do her best (even from a very young age) is second to none. 

Brooke is the oldest of my sister and brother-in-law's five children, so you can imagine what an enormous help she is (and always has been).  Her siblings couldn't ask for a better "big sister" and they know it.  She and my sister have always been extra close. 

In addition, she shares a very special relationship with her Grandparents (my parents)...especially her Grandpa.  Last year, when asked to write about her "hero," she wrote about him. She has a great heart for God and is a definite bright spot in our family! Not only that, she is an absolute blast to be around.  (Family gatherings are always made more fun by her hilarious and crazy antics, not to mention her contagious laugh!)   

Brookie, (have to take advantage as I know I won't be able to call you this much longer...)  We love you dearly and we're so proud of you!!!  Thank you for all the joy and happiness you bring into our lives (and others, too!)  We wish you a very joyous birthday, filled with every blessing you desire!  XOXO

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lessons from a Tandem & a Precious Old Friend

Have you ever ridden a tandem (or two-seater) bike?  Believe it or not, I spent a good bit of time riding one in my young life, but hadn't thought about that for quite some time.  Not long ago, I happened to hear Chuck Swindoll share a story that captivated my attention and brought memories flooding back to my mind.  It's called "A Bike Ride with God" and its original author is unknown.

     #     #     #

At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like the president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know him. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don't know just when it was that He suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring but predictable ... It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, and it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal." I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are You taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord's and mine. And we're off again. He said, "Give the gifts away, they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light. I did not trust Him at first, to be in control of my life, I thought He would wreck it; But He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. I'm learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ. And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He smiles and says ... "Pedal."

#     #     #

This is a powerful lesson for anyone, don't you think?  Let me tell you why I found it especially meaningful. 

My childhood best friend, Danny had a sister who was blind.  Diana absolutely loved adventure of any kind.  One of the things she had always dreamed of was riding bikes with Danny.  Around the time he and  I were in middle school, their parents found and purchased a tandem bike.  She could not wait to take a ride, so the moment it was unloaded from their station wagon, they were off.  Soon they returned and asked me to join them -- this time Danny on his bike, Diana and I on the tandem.  We had an absolute blast!  Diana, who was about 20 years old by this time, was in her element.  She'd say "Let's pedal faster!" and we would.  (In fact, we often went faster than I thought that bike could go!  ) 

Our neighborhood had a few twists and hills, which she especially loved -- the more adventurous the ride, the better.  I remember glancing back at her once as we were flying down one of those hills.  She was squealing with delight, positively beaming with her feet sticking straight out to either side.  It was pure, complete, unbridled joy.  One of those moments forever etched in my heart.

As you can imagine, I couldn't help but think of Diana and re-live those memories as I heard the story, but its significance doesn't stop there. 
It occurred to me that all my years of riding the tandem found me in the front position.  Diana, whose blindness prevented her from ever being the one who steered or controlled the bike, was always so very happy and eager to simply pedal and enjoy.  She never once appeared to give thought to wanting to be the one in control, nor did she ever seem fearful of her safety.  Instead, she embraced the ride wherever it lead, with great joy, passion and complete trust. 
Something else that will delight you about Diana?  She sought her relationship with the Lord the very same way. I met her when I was 5 years old, and my earliest and most recurrent memory is her sitting on their front porch, reading one of many volumes of her Braille Bible, grinning from ear to ear.  If you asked her what she was reading...she'd say "the Bible...the greatest story ever told!" 

As you can imagine, she had quite an impact on my eternal one, in fact.  You see it was Diana, who (with great joy) lead me to the Lord.

Dear Father, Thank you for reminding me of Diana's exuberant faith -- joyful, passionate, humble and completely trusting in You and Your will.  I'm so grateful for her influence in my life.  She truly made knowing You irresistible.   

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

It is my hope and prayer that more than anything else, today finds you rejoicing in the hope we have in Christ, through His unspeakable sacrifice for all, and triumph over the grave...He Lives!!!