Thursday, June 29, 2017

Greater Courage To Speak Truth

"Joy sometimes needs pain to give birth. Fanny Crosby could never have written her beautiful hymn, 'I Shall See Him Face-to-Face,' were it not for the fact that she had never looked upon the green fields nor the evening sunset nor the kindly twinkle in her mother's eye. It was the loss of her own vision that helped her to gain her remarkable spiritual discernment." - Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Streams In The Desert

My book, Not Really A Princess deals with going through adversity and finding joy then in turn helping others through their own trials and struggles. When we realize that many things we go through can be beneficial to help others, it opens up a world of possibilities.

Last night I was reading Philippians 1:12 and I totally understand Paul's feelings as he pens this letter. "Now I want you to know brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the LORD and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear." NIV


When we have perseverance and a willing heart we can reach out to those around us and not wallow in a puddle of despair. I have spent so much time in my life questioning why things happened. This just breeds negativity.

Have the courage to push forward and share God's grace with others. Paul shared his joy while in prison. He is one of the most influential men in history.

Leave a legacy of mercy and grace. Courage and perseverance. Break the chains. Live life fearlessly.




Monday, June 26, 2017

Winds From The East...

The movie, "Saving Mr. Banks" has always gripped my heart to the very core. Flashes of memories haunting Mrs. Travers. So vivid that she is not able to overcome their impact on her even decades later. Some memories she holds so very close that no one else even knows the power they have over her.

They stifle her ability to move on in life.


Scene after scene in this movie speak to me. As years go by I can see glimpses of past hurts come to light and understand how it has a hold on me. Finally I can be freed from its clutches.

This movie also deals with alcoholism. As a child she sees the ugly side as I myself did as a child.

Walt Disney flies to London to talk to Mrs. Travers and tells her "life is a harsh sentence to lay down for yourself". Yes, tis true. Does it have to be a life sentence? Does it have to defeat us or overwhelm our life so we are unable to be all we are intended to be?

Psalm 56 verses 8-11 speak to me and give me hope. "You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in your bottle; are they not in Your book?...In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Psalm 118:5-6 "From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place. The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?"

I can turn the page and move on because I can claim all God's promises He has given me. God's Word is my spoonful of sugar. It gives me comfort and encouragement.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Hunger For The Word

Growing older does have its benefits. Priorities change. Values morph into a new form. And surprisingly it is all for the best. It is true that sometimes I wish I knew 30 years ago what I know now, but that would also mean that I would  not have come along this path that God set me upon. And I wouldn't change that for anything.

When I was a teen going through some hard times and  a new believer in Christ I claimed the few Bible verses I knew as promises to me. When I went to college I started studying my Bible. I also found many books that became my favorites and still are to this day. Then in my young adult life I would sorta study. I would do just enough to finish a lesson for a class or memorize a section I liked. I began studying a few sections or reading my Bible through but was not consistent.


  By nature I am not a very consistent person in any area. I would like to be and am becoming better and better at this.

I am thankful that I stuck with it even though not always faithful because ever so gradually more of my Bible became underlined and pages worn. And then it happened.... I longed for time in the Word. A hunger started and only time with my Heavenly Father could satisfy.

Sanctification. Such a big word. I am only now starting to grasp the fully meaning of this word. It is a process. It doesn't happen overnight or over a month or even a year. It takes years. Years of just sticking with it until you long for that time between you and God for the nourishment you need.

That deep yearning and longing that makes your heart ache can and will happen to you. Stick with it sweet friend. Don't get discouraged. Even just a verse a day. Keep it up and hold The Word close to your heart.

"I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food."
Job 23:12

Monday, June 19, 2017

So WHY'D I move?

Discontentment. Such a bad thing. It grips us. Makes us negative. Holds us back from opportunities to help others.

I loved my previous home. A big home with living areas where our family hosted dozens of events through the years. Our yard was an acre and a half. Pool, hot tub, gazebo, fire pit, orchard, garden and seemingly endless miles of flower beds. After 18 years my husband was done. So many hours of lawn mowing, pool upkeep, pond fixing, and I spent days making applesauce and apple pie filling every fall.

We would have all church picnics with about 150 people every summer. A pool ministry for 10 years once a week every summer.

I LOVED THESE THINGS. Loved. We had people stay with us who needed lodging and I left the door unlocked for anyone who might need a place to come.

Overwhelming at times but I didn't really care. I felt it was a ministry. I firmly believe we are all to open our homes. I have another book outlined entitled, It's Not About The Pie.  So sometime we will talk more about this concept.

We decided to move and be free to help anyone who needed help and not be tied down to our yard. Tough for me. I grew up on a farm where you could see across a valley, I lived for 18 years where I could see for miles. I wasn't sure I wanted to leave our beautiful home. But deep down I knew it was best. I too wanted to be free to do other things. And so it happened. We sold our home and moved to the historic district in town. I can't see beyond my home. Huge trees surround us.

The first year I felt a bit claustrophobic. I tried to "love it". I wanted to remain sad and melancholy. I wasn't grateful in my cute cottage home. But gradually I became more content.

As I sat outside with Ginger this morning I was thinking over the past two years since we moved. The new home Bible study we have, our kids ministry we help with during the school year, my Precepts class I teach, the many young women I meet with each week. And now the completion of Not Really A Princess and I know I couldn't possibly be doing all this at our old home. A blog? Who me? Never. Twitter? Not on your life.

God has opened new doors and I can rejoice over and over with what has been growing in my life. The expansion of previous ministries. And now He is directing me to broaden my scope and I am  excited to see this plan unfold.

#notreallyaprincess #itsnotaboutthepie


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The journey to faithfulness

My upcoming book, Not Really A Princess,  is a redemption story of three women and their journey through trials to find inner joy. My moma was the inspiration for this story. She lived a very hard life enduring many struggles that would have pulled under the strongest of souls.


My growing up years had several tragedies that created a depressed atmosphere for my sister and I. I admit to growing bitter and upset that things were so difficult. Through faith in Christ our hearts all began changing. This did not happen overnight but gradually through years of forgiving, loving and claiming God's promises for us.

In 1 Corinthians 13:5 it states, "...It (love) does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered". Many people have quoted this chapter at all kinds of events through the centuries but this verse has always been the part that stands out the most for me.

By being angry, hurt or unforgiving we are being selfish. So when I feel upset because a loved one or friend has hurt me, I quote this in my head----does not seek its own, does not take into account a wrong suffered.  I say those phrases over and over. Then I thank God for whomever has injured me. And then it seems much easier to get past the hurt.


My moma grew and became filled with love and joy for everyone around her. In her last 30 years she CHOSE to turn the page on the cruelties of life and be filled with inner peace. She sat on the edge of her bed every night to her last days at 97 years old. She read the Word, her Daily Bread excerpt for the day and many times her Corrie Ten Boom book.

She did not miss a day for tiredness or for being too busy. God honored her faithfulness. I desire this joy for myself and for all of you.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Do YOU want to blossom? Off with the old

     When Craig and I moved two years ago we inherited the previous owners landscaping. It was actually lovely but had been a tad neglected. On the side of our porch there were several bush roses that were overgrown and one was dead. Along the fence there was what looked to be a climbing rose struggling to live. Craig decided to prune away the dead parts and see if it would come back to life.

   

     Wowzers! Not only did it return but it tripled in size and looks gorgeous.

     Every time I enter our house I look to the side and there it is reminding me of what happens when we get rid of the dead. Forever. Trim it. Prune it. And every time it starts looking dead. Prune it again.

     I keep thinking of all the many Bible verses that talk about getting rid of the old and putting on the new. And passages where God promises that He will prune us and help us to become the new person He has designed us to be.

     I know in my own life that I have held on too long to things that keep me from growing and flourishing. I have to eliminate the dead.

     In John 15, Jesus tells His disciples, "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it that it may bear more fruit. "

     It is the desire of my heart that I bear more fruit. That I keep growing and that I don't let those dead parts overtake or choke out any good.
   

Thursday, June 1, 2017

As Summer Begins...

        Does your mind race with dozens of details and ideas? I continually deal with too many details. Some say its because I am an artist and creative people just have lots of ideas. Some say that if you have any ADD symptoms that it may cause you to be going in different directions. I try to slow down and make lists. I also just try to take every day and just have a peace about that day.
     
       I was so thankful for Memorial Day and those men and women being remembered for the sacrifice and the freedom it gives each of us. Memorial weekend has been labeled the beginning of summer, warm weather, cookouts, camping, vacations and spending time with family. It also is a time for gardening and projects.
        Two years ago we moved from our country home with our pool, large yard and orchard. It was a lot of work and we decided that we should downsize a bit and move where we would connect more with the community. We also do not have as big of a yard and are not tied to working outside nearly as much. In theory this is a great plan however, hard for this country girl. It has taken much of those two years to really enjoy our new home. We have worked through updates in almost every room. It is a 1907 home that was flipped in 2000.
       Writing a book, working on projects, doing flowers for a wedding, keeping up with current ministries and trying to still have time to reflect. Yes, the ideas and colors and designs are swirling in this girls head. That is why I write lists. I am a great procrastinator. I accomplish a lot but staying focused is difficult for me.
       In recent years I have come to be thankful for God making me the way I am. This was not easy for me and I still stuggle. I am quirky, scattered, and I change topics constantly. I am so thankful for dear family and friends who love me anyway. And because He made me this way I care for others and want to reach out to those in need. So I have quit lamenting and am learning at 58 to embrace who I am.
       I hope you appreciate yourself for all your idiosyncrasies.
   


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