Thursday, November 29, 2012

Listen for the Whistle

As a young girl growing up in New Jersey, I have fond memories of playing outside with friends in my neighborhood.  There was no shortage of games to play, and we didn't need a Wii to have fun..We used something called "imagination".... It's not made by Nintendo...  It's made by God....

Of course, my sister and I did have boundries as to how far we were allowed to wander from home....  We didn't have cellphones or even a watch to keep track of the time..... so how did we know when it was time for dinner ?  Daddy's whistle....

Daddy's whistle was loud and strong....  No matter where we were in our neighborhood, there was no mistaking it...

When the whistle sounded, we'd drop what we were doing and head home... or at least, that's what we were supposed to do.... 

The first whistle was a warning...it would signal dinner was ready, or perhaps we needed to visit family or go to the store...  He certainly gave us ample time to get home before the second whistle would sound...

The second whistle sounded with a bit more urgency....dinner is getting cold, hurry home or we'll be late, etc.....

The third whistle?  Well,  there really wasn't a third whistle as I recall...rather at that point, my mom would hit the phones calling around the neighborhood to track us down....  That didn't happen often... thankfully....

So what made me think about the way our daddy used to whistle for us?

I was reading the book of Zechariah, and this is what it says....

"I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them; And they shall increase as they once increased." Zechariah 10:8  

I love that my Bible states that Zechariah's purpose was to comfort and encourage God's people to remain faithful in times of distress and perplexity.  Zechariah focused the attention of the people on the Lord's promises for the future...

Grab hold of His promises...and don't let go....

Just like my daddy's whistle on those warm summer evenings calling out to his daughters...

Be encouraged today, that our Heavenly Father whistles for us, gathers us, and redeems us...His daughters.

When you hear the sound of His whistle...The first whistle...answer the call and draw near to Him....









Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The "What If's" & "If Only's"....continued

Today, I was reading over some earlier blogposts....
   
The one written on 7/7/12 really resonated with me....
   As I read some of the things listed under my "What If's"
        ... I realized something amazing...something I should have 
                been totally aware of.....and yet...I hadn't clearly seen it..
                  The Lord has been at work in my life fulfilling
                        those things I had written about!  Very cool!

      (If you missed the original post, you can refer back to it to see
                    what started me on this in the first place!)

First ~ I had mentioned quitting piano some years ago..
     I hate the word "quit" don't you?? 
       Well....turns out one of our customers is a piano teacher!
          So guess who is back taking up piano once again?  Me!          

Next ~ I mentioned neglecting my writing for a period of time....
   Well...turns out I am six or so chapters into my first Christian fiction
        (oxymoron, I know!) novel, found time to write some short stories....
           and entered a few writing contests too.... I don't yet know what will come of all
              of that....but He does... I can do ALL things through Christ....                              

Then ~ I said something about regretting not persuing a career in education...
   Well...turns out, after a long hiatus, I'm back in the classroom being blessed by about
          15-18 2nd & 3rd graders on Sunday mornings....That has truly satisfied my soul :)

Oh, and as a bonus....I love speaking and encouraging women...I was recently blessed
     to share my testimony/HisStory at a Women's Ministry event at our church!  So blessed!

I had totally forgotten about writing this original blogpost back in July...

   Perhaps the Lord wants to remind us that it's never too late
        to receive the desires of our hearts when we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4)....
             His word promises it to His children and He is faithful....
                  Let that encourage you today!  Thank you Heavenly Father....

He shall bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5)...maybe not in quite the same way we think it should happen, but in His way and in His great timing....

After all......

              His ways are not our ways... Isaiah 55:8-9

What are some of the "What if's" & "if only's" in your life?  Is God still calling you to re-visit any of them?  Has He rekindled a passion in you? I would love for you to share it in the comments...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The What If's and If Only's...

A great writer-friend, Tiffany Locke, pointed me to some wonderfully inspiring writings by Alene Snodgrass through her website http://www.positivelyalene.com

Alene recently posted about dealing with the "what if's" that we are faced with when the call arises to step out and do something that might be a tad bit uncomfortable for us.... Check out this great post at http://www.positivelyalene.com/2012/07/05/debra-george-says-go-but-the-what-ifs-are-killing-me/

It really got me thinking about how the "what if's" can become the dreaded "if only's"....  

Some of my "what if's" in the past have been things like....

What if I fail? (nothing specific in mind...just generally speaking...)


What if I miss God's plan for my life, because I'm way out in left field...not even realizing that the ball is heading straight down the first-base line? 

Here's a bonus...some of my "what if's" with "if only's" included...free of charge....

What if I hadn't quit piano after just a few years worth of lessons?
   If only I had stuck with it....I might be using music to reach the lost in some way....

What if I hadn't walked away from writing for such a long period of time?
  If only I had stuck with it....I might have finished ten novels by now...

What if I had pursued a career in education?
  If only I had started years ago, I might have been teaching for decades already...

By now I think you can see where I'm going with this...we don't have to live our lives filled with regret as to what life "could have been" or "would have been"... or "if only"....

Life is happening right now...embrace it and cry out to the Lord...Only He can free us from holding onto past regrets...
We don't have to forget, but we don't have to beat ourselves up about it either...The Lord will use these things to help us to encourage others; sharing things He has taught us along the way...

God makes all things new...(Rev. 21:5). When we rise each morning ( early morning... late morning....early afternoon for some..hey, it's summer right?) we have a new opportunity to get it right according to the path God has established especially for each of us...We've got to seek it out...spend time with Him...ask for wisdom and direction....dig deep into His word....pray....I know, it's challenging to find that quiet time (understatement of the year?)...We can't afford to make our relationship with God one of our "what if's-if only's" ...We need to make it happen...our very life depends on it....

My path may not look anything like yours....but I know they have one thing in common...they're straight....No crooked paths with God...

Back to my list of "what if's-if only's"... Truth be told...I could probably still do quite a number of things on the list as long as I'm still breathing!  Amen?  But are these things really meaningful when I put them into perspective...when I consider the "big picture"...the "greater plan"?  Some things maybe, other things, not so much.

So what is that "big picture/greater plan"?  Well, I don't claim to be a theologian, but according to the Word, no matter what path we are on...it all points to the same purpose....Serving God and serving others...loving God and loving our neighbors as our selves...sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world.  All of it pointing straight to Jesus who said "I am the way, the truth, and the life...No one comes to the Father except through me."  John 14:6.


Maybe what I have looked at as a  missed opportunity, wasn't really something I was meant to do or be in the first place...and if I may quote another verse Proverbs 3:5...If I'm trusting in the Lord with all my heart and in all my ways acknowledging Him...He will direct my path...so no need to worry about missing something big... Perhaps what I thought was supposed to happen at one time, is really supposed to happen years later....God's timing is perfect...

What about when the "what if's-if only's"  include relationships that have gone by the wayside?  This can be a bit more complicated....definitely want to check in with God for wisdom in dealing with this one...There are times that He may take people out of our lives for a reason.... Whether they are in or out of our lives, God commands forgiveness....not to hurt us, but to free us....

****SEE UPDATE TO THIS POST****  November 21, 2012
                  


What are some of the "if only's" in your life?  Is God still calling you to re-visit any of them?  Has He rekindled a passion in you? 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dancing Down The Path Of Life...

Everyone has a dream... at first thought you might say that you don't... or you might say that dreams are for children and better left in fairy tales... or maybe you've just lost sight of it...gave up on it...waved the white flag of surrender and closed the book?

When I was a young girl (many moons ago), I dreamed of being a ballerina.  I loved Saturday mornings when my mom would drive me to ballet class in Dover, NJ.  The "something" School of Ballet was in an old brick building with hardwood floors that creaked like an old rocking chair.  I can still see the over-sized classroom with mirrored walls and ballet bars, and feeling the warmth of old radiators you couldn't dance too close to.

I was enamored with the whole feel of it; the black leotards and ballet-pink tights...the french terms like "pirouette, plie, jete..." Oh, and I bet you thought that "fondu" was just to dip your bread cube into, and "frappe" was your new favorite drink at McDonald's.

Ballet is a beautiful art, but behind the beauty and graceful moves of the dance, is hard work and long hours... For me, it was not to be.  In fifth grade I had to give up my beloved dancing lessons; alas, enter Osgood–Schlatter.  Some of you may know what that is, but for those of you who don't, it's a condition due to stress on the patellar tendon. Pain in the knees was the first sign, and it was all downhill after that...no P.E. for an entire school year, and worst of all, no ballet....

I eventually grew out of the condition, and tried to go back to dancing, but it was never the same.  I had to face reality; and besides, I was way too short and lacked the long extensions, fingertip to toe, synonymous of ballerina stature.

Even though I wasn't destined to dance with a ballet company, I could still dance if I wanted to, just for the joy of it.  I could still go to the ballet, and especially love The Nutcracker at Christmastime....And yes, I am guilty of forcing lessons upon my daughter, trying to live my dream through her...but that didn't work....She didn't like ballet...So you can't really live your dream through someone else...time to change direction...

We all experience change, and dreams can change too.  God has a path for each of us...already paved and cleared...

"You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore"  Psalm 16:11.

If a dream doesn't line up with His plan for your life, "the path of life"...move on...Let it go...As we mature, God puts new desires within us...new plans, new dreams..

For me the dream of writing and speaking is now my "ballet", minus the toe shoes and pirouettes...So I write...the difference is that my dream is not just for me anymore... I am writing for Him and that changes everything...

I'd love to hear about some of your dreams... Have you had a change of direction regarding a dream?  


Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Neat Little Box Called Sunday



Have you ever experienced a time in your life, when God was more of an afterthought than an intentional thought?

For many years, I felt disconnected from God, but didn't know why.  It was as if God was in this neat little box called "Sunday".  On Sundays, I did all the right things (well, maybe not all the right things), prayed all the right prayers, went to church (where I don't think I even knew anybody sitting around me. How sad is that?).  I cycled through the motions, yet there was something missing. 

Don't get me wrong, I loved God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, but I didn't really "get it."

 At age 17  I found myself pregnant. My family was very supportive, but it was a very tough time for me. I didn't feel I was ready to be a mother, and understandably so; until at one point I had a scare with pain and cramping.  Faced with the possibility of miscarrying, it was then that I knew I wanted that baby more than anything.

At age 18 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I hadn't picked out a name because I was positive I was going to have a girl. Imagine my surprise when I heard "It's A Boy!"  On that day Michael, was born.  I may have not known which name to choose, but God knew his name before the foundations of the earth.

It was hard feeling like I didn't fit in anywhere. My friends weren't having to deal with dirty diapers and breastfeeding! They thought he was cute and wanted to hold him, but they didn't have a clue what it was like to care for him 24-7. They had parties to plan, and school functions to attend. My parents were awesome, and they helped me emotionally and financially. The truth is, I still wouldn't have traded my son for anything else in the world.

In 1981 I went to work for a bank, and there I met the love of my life, Brian. We married in 1984, and he adopted Michael soon after that.

It was in 1985 when I heard the salvation message for the first time. It was in a little church that was on fire for Jesus. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior 27 years ago, and have been serving him ever since. I then truly knew the gift of God's Grace. I had received Grace, me, this girl who had put God in a neat little box called "Sunday."

The Lord changed my life in ways I could never imagine. He took away the shame I felt for so many years, for being an unwed mother who got pregnant just 6 months shy of graduation. Nowadays, it's hardly a stigma, totally accepted in today's society. I would never have considered going to school pregnant, but girls do it all the time now. I didn't even want to leave the house, or go to the mall, or go out anywhere for that matter, because I was so embarrassed and ashamed, as if I was the only one; what a lie that was, huh?

Jesus took my shame and sin to the cross and I no longer had to feel ashamed. I was forgiven of the lifestyle I once lived, that didn't include God Monday-Saturday. His Grace is sufficient and He is all I need. I have been beyond blessed and am extremely grateful for all He has done and continues to do in my life.

I feel that the experience I went through enables me to minister to girls who are going through unplanned pregnancies. I have been through some of the things they're experiencing and feeling. They need to hear that they can be forgiven and that God's Grace is for them too, no matter what they've done, where they've been, or what's been done to them.




All my experiences have caused me to draw closer to the lifeline, the One and Only, my Lord of Lords and King of Kings...My Jesus, my Savior. Take hold of this truth and pray this prayer:

Dear Lord,
I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God. So now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
If you've prayed that prayer with your whole heart, Hallelujah! Welcome to the family of God.

When you become a follower of Jesus heaven celebrates and rejoices with you!

The Bible describes how there is joy in the presence of God's angels when you committed your life to God! Surround yourself with godly friends, and pray God would lead you to a church, solid in Biblical teaching.
I would love for you to share a comment about your new walk with Christ!

Love In Him,
Doris

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

..Egg on My Face...Summer of 7

So gals, here I am into the food week of the Summer of 7 challenge....yes, I'm behind....

My laugh has become more of a cluck....well, might be just all of that chicken I'm consuming...

I do love chicken, so it's not been so bad eating LOTS of it...

Now eggs are a little different story...This morning I was running a bit behind, so I decided to make some hard-boiled eggs instead of the usual scrambled  like I like 'em....

I placed four eggs in the pan of water so I could have one for breakfast, then maybe one on my salad for lunch etc..I thought this would be a great time-saver...

All was going according to plan, until I began peeling my breakfast...

Since there was no time for the eggs to cool, I kept running the egg under cold water as I peeled it.... must avoid any third-degree burns...no time for hospitals today...I had to laugh (cluck) at the thought of any of you seeing me at the sink this morning...thankfully, you couldn't see me...but I was compelled to tell you about it anyway....

In my haste to peel the burning hot eggshell, the entire top of the white came off with the shell!  I could actually see the yolk...this cannot be...I cannot afford to lose 1/3 of my breakfast!  I frantically tried to separate the white from the shell, but to no avail...I ate what was left of the poor thing, and by an hour later, the growling in my stomach reminded me that this is truly a challenge...

I could say that I'm starving...that I feel deprived...but is that really true when according to the book, I'm in the top 1% of wealth in the world?  It sure didn't feel like it today....One thing's for sure, this girl needs to count her blessings and it isn't such a bad thing to feel a little hunger pang every once in awhile...

Truth be told, I took a bite of steak last night... a very small bite...but a bite is a bite...just like a sin is a sin...

Don't we sometimes try to justify our sin?  "Oh, it wasn't that bad..." or "Oh c'mon, it's no big deal..."

Epic failure, that bite of steak...but sure feels good to confess it....I know you girls will forgive me...

Thankfully, our Heavenly Father forgives through the precious blood of Jesus Christ....

This Summer of 7 may be a challenge but one thing is for sure...I'm in very good company...



God Bless,

Doris

To view the Summer of 7 Challenge I'm participating in....go to www.positivelyalene.com




Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Heritage From The Lord...

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.

Happy is the man who has his quiver full of
them......Psalm 127:3-5a

7-Up...The Challenge Continues....


We interrupt any regularly scheduled blog posts to bring you some important news....The Challenge of 7 is underway.....

7 has become a very interesting number lately... 

When I pumped gas the other day, I had to make sure there was a 7 in the amount I spent...I know, kinda crazy...borderline obsessive...that by the waywas not part of my 7 journey...

When checking the caloric count on the pretzel bag, guess what the serving size was?  Yup, 7 pretzels...You have no idea what it's like for me to place limits on my pretzels...7 will be sufficient..He is sufficient...

This 7 challenge has also reminded me of the biblical significance of  this numberOf course the obvious 7 days in the week...which I love because the 7th day is for rest, and I'm all for that word!

So how many other times is that number mentioned in scripture?  Plenty....I'll review a few...I know I may be preaching to the choir for some of you...but it's pretty amazing to see all these 7's in one place...and this list is just a snippet...
 In chapter 7 of Genesis, God instructs Noah to take with him 7 each of every clean animal, a male and his female (I love how it says "and his female" which makes me think these weren't just random pairs, but maybe already mates?  That's so cute)...Same with the unclean animals 7 (they got to bring their mates too...7 )  Then add 7 each of birds of the air to the mix...

Then after 7 more days God would cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights...

Skipping to the 8th Chapter the ark rested in the 7th month...At the end of the forty days, Noah sent out a dove.  The dove found no resting place, and flew back to the ark...after waiting 7 days, Noah sent the dove out again...when the dove came back with the freshly plucked olive leaf, Noah waited 7 more days and sent the dove out once again, this time never to return....

In Joshua 7 priests; 7 trumpets; marching around the city of Jericho 7 times on the 7th day...

...And what about the references to music, songs, instruments...so what's so 7 about that?  Well, those of you who know music, know there are 7 distinct notes in the musical scale....

Jesus said...forgive your brother up to 70 x 7....Matthew 18:22

Then in the book of Revelation there are multiple references to the number 7...The 7 churches; 7 years of tribulation; 7 angels; 7 trumpets; 7 seals; 7 stars; 7 thunders.....

You get where I'm going here....This 7 thing?  It's a God thing....

So...let's see...

Chicken.......check;
Lettuce........check;
Blueberries..check;
Zucchini.......check;
Eggs............check;
Bananas.......check;
Spinach........check

Oh, and 7 pretzels.....only when necessary....

Also, used BOGO and handed a homeless man a bag of 7 things to eat and drink today...

Next time I need to hand out 7 bags....or maybe 70 x 7...

Stay tuned for the next post on the 7 challenge.....

Please share what God has been laying on your heart...Whether it be the 7 Challenge, or some other call to discipline or to serve....I would love to hear about it...

Love and Blessings...

Doris





Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Joining the 7 Challenge

What does the word "excess" mean to you?  Recently, a friend (hi PWTL) invited me on an interesting journey...a challenge...She handed me this book... "7"  by Jen Hatmaker.   Just a few pages into it and I was hooked...

The cover of this book is quite plain.... plain and simple ( I like that)... 7, an experimental mutiny against excess....

Do we realize how very blessed we are?  Don't we go through our day taking so much for granted? C'mon, be honest...

Jen states very eloquently,  "It's the discovery of a greatly increased God--a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends a social experiment to become a radically better existence."  I love that word "simplicity"...doesn't it just have such a calming effect?

Alene Snodgrass has put out a challenge on her blog.  Use the number 7 as a spring-board to cutting out all the kudzu in our lives, so we can focus on the things that really matter...

So stick with me on the journey for 7 days (Jen's was 7 months, but I think Alene is trying to show mercy to us "excessites" and wean us slowly...thanks Alene!).

Ok, I believe I will be start tomorrow...pick 7 foods that are good and wholesome... eliminate 7 timewasters (social media yikes!)....I'll have to think of some others based on the book...Heck, I used to get a mani-pedi several times a month...I was interacting with customers-I was going to meetings-I was expected to have nails perfectly painted and squared...not rounded....I never thought about how many children in Ethiopia could be fed, for I don't know, like a month or maybe a year on what a mani-pedi costs...

Here is the link to her site...I invite you to check it out and see how this might change your focus...

http://www.positivelyalene.com/?s=7+challenge

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sometimes We Just Have To Take A Little Rest...

Today seemed like a very long day....It began like most days do, rolling right along according to plan...then a little mishap, nothing too earth shattering, still on track....and then that dreaded phone call from the school.... Nurse Gammy to the rescue....time to pick up a sick little boy...

It's tough on us mom's and Gammy's to hear the little ones cry cause their "head hurts"...We nurture them, we comfort them, we make them feel cozy, we love them...A good bit of prayer and a couple of melt-a-ways later, the little guy was fast asleep....   He's fine....but it sure zapped my energy...

I stepped out for a bit to run an errand and I have to say, inhaling the crisp after-the-rain fresh air did do me good... I could feel a blog post formulating in my mind....I have to get home....I have to write about how feeling so wiped out can really wreak havoc on our emotions...and how when we get tired, we should rest...I'll just run right into the house and start typing away...Then I reallized that I still felt like a worn-out old shoe....So when I got back home, the blog-post waited and I rested...good move...
Exhaustion has a funny way of creeping up on us, then wham, it hits us hard....at that point we have two choices; keep pushing ourselves straight into the melt-down mode...or stop and take a little rest....
Thank you Lord, that you give rest for the weary....

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."     Matthew 11:29



Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's Your Heart's Desire Today?

Memories are a treasure, and today I'm digging into my treasure box to share one of mine with you....

I have so many fond memories growing up in the suburbs of Rockaway, NJ...One in particular came to mind this morning......

I expect you might think I'm about to share a Norman Rockwell-kind-of-memory....of when the entire family would gather together to celebrate the holidays at Grandma's...or the day dad finally took the training wheels off of that bright red bike....

Yes, those were precious moments...cherished memories I hold dear, but don't get the Kleenex box out just yet...cause today, I'm not talkin' about holidays and milestones... I'm talkin' chicken....but not just any chicken..."Chicken Delight" chicken...

Ahhhh, Chicken Delight!  The delectable aroma ..that crunchy golden crust, seasoned to perfection.. What delicious goodness to delight the palate of a ten year-old (and they delivered too!  Did you hear that KFC?)...

Forty years later I can still sing the jingle ..."Don't cook tonight, call Chicken Delight!"  How's that for marketing genius?  Est. in 1952,  that jingle still stands (I checked the website ;).

I would love to taste a piece of that chicken right now, but alas...the closest location is eleven hundred miles from here.....so no Chicken Delight for me today....and that's ok.....

Delight has new meaning for me now....I delight in my Lord....Don't get me wrong..I still love chicken, but I can do without it...know what I mean?

He is sufficient, ....Jesus, is my delight..

What are the desires of your heart today?  To see a loved one saved, to break the bondage of  addiction, to find employment during a very tough economy.....?

The Lord promises to give us the desires of our hearts when we delight in Him....

Today, I received an answer to prayer...A very big prayer!  It's exciting and it's real and it's truth; He hears our prayers and knows our deepest desires...Trust in Him.....His timing is perfect...

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart..."  Psalm 37:4  (NIV)

So  just how do we do that?  How do we "delight ourselves in the Lord"?  Well, there are many different ways, but here's one clue  "... the prayer of the upright is His delight" Proverbs 15:8 (NKJ)

Do what is pleasing to Him....trust Him and feed on His faithfulness....

It wouldn't surprise me to see a box of Chicken Delight sitting on the Lord's table when I get there...He's that kind of God...Delight in Him and be blessed!

Love and Blessings...

Doris





Monday, May 28, 2012

Not Designed To Be A Towel Rack

After coming home from the grocery store last week, I found my shower curtain, rod and all, sprawled across the shower floor.  At first glance, it startled me since I knew it wasn't that way when I left the house.  Had an intruder gained access to my home while I was out?  Looking around, nothing else appeared to be out of place; nothing seemed to be missing. It was highly unlikely that someone had crawled through a window just to take a shower or something from it (although, those Venus razors cost more than some of my jewelry!).

Upon further investigation I realized what had happened. The poor rod had collapsed under the weight of three water-logged bath towels that had been flung over top of it. One towel might have been okay, but three? That was just a little too much weight for my shower curtain rod to bear. After all it wasn't designed to be a towel rack, right?

At first I tried lifting the whole thing at once, get that mess off the floor and fix it...

I soon learned that this "quick-fix" method obviously wasn't going to be the best approach. Those towels were huge!  Have you ever tried carrying a bunch of huge, wet towels?  If so, then you know what I mean.  I could feel the heaviness that caused the collapse.

Lifting the towels off, one by one, I restored the shower curtain, rod and all, back to it's rightful place to once again serve the purpose it was intended to serve.

The burdens of life can sometimes feel as if we're carrying a ton of wet towels on our shoulders.  Ever feel that way?  Like when we can't let go of the past; all that old baggage that can weigh us down: past relationships, a career that ended, a wrong choice...

Or maybe it's what's happening in the here-and-now: illness, financial issues, job loss, the loss of a loved one...

So much heaviness to bear, as one towel becomes two, then three.... As we know, my shower curtain rod reached its breaking point at three, so how far can we go carrying all of that heaviness?  To the point where we could just collapse under the weight of it all?

We were not designed to be towel racks, well, you know what I mean. We don't have to carry all of those heavy burdens.  We don't have to fix everything, because frankly, we can't.

Here's the good news, the hope:  we have a loving God who can.  We were made in His image; we have a God who cares so much for us, He became flesh and dwelt among us.  Jesus paid the price and took our sins to the cross, yours, mine...  It's personal and it was for me and it was for you.

So pack up that baggage, including those wet towels and lift it all up to Him; He'll take it from you, that's a promise, His promise.  Let Him lift it from you so you can move forward to fulfill and serve the purpose you were intended to serve.

"Cast your burdens on the Lord, And He shall sustain you;  He shall never permit the righteous to be moved."                              Psalm 55:22

Prayer Prompt:                                                                                           

Lord, thank you that I can cast my burdens on you; and when I feel overwhelmed with the cares and worries of this world, Your Word tells me I can lift my requests to you in prayer, and the peace that passes all understanding will be mine.  Thank you Lord, that you have plans for me and through You I have a hope and a future.  Direct my steps Lord, as I trust in You; make clear the path of life, so I may serve You and others, doing the good works you prepared in advance for me to do according to Your will.
In Jesus Name, Amen.  

*Please feel free to share a testimony or praise report on how the Lord lifted a burden in your life.... you never know how He might use those words to encourage someone who is hurting...






















Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Lesson From My Vacuum....

Does anyone out there have a love/hate relationship with their vacuum?  I know that sounds a bit strange, even to me as I type this!  Just humor me and let's explore this relationship, shall we?

I LOVE that my vacuum inhales the dust and dirt from my carpet...
      .....so my grandkids can breathe easier and roll around on the floor without sneezing.....

I LOVE that my vacuum is ready when I am...just plug it in and flip the switch!
       ....no lines, no waiting....

I LOVE that my vacuum has a very cool attachment that can get to those little dust-bunnies that live in corners...
       .....Who named them "bunnies?"  Can't we call them another name that's not so endearing?...

I LOVE that my vacuum is so versatile with settings for any type of carpet or floor....
        ....Can I say I vacuum my floor?  I sweep too, but that's another blog altogether....

NOW....I don't really like using the word "hate"...so maybe I'll just say "DISLIKE"....
        ....I can't tell the grandsons that "hate" is not a nice word, only to have them find out
             that Gammy used that bad word in a blog!

I DISLIKE that my vacuum sometimes seems to be running me instead of me running it....
       ....(hmmm, like when I try to run my life my way instead of God's way?)

I DISLIKE that my vacuum has a cord that might possibly reach from Florida to Connecticut....
      ....and it always seems to wrap itself around any kind of legs it gets close to...
         ...table legs...chair legs....my legs.....                                               ...
          ....(oh, like the way I get myself tangled in messes, yet I am forgiven through          
                          His Mercy and His Grace?)

I DISLIKE that my vacuum has a plug that constantly wants to disconnect itself from the wall socket.....
       ....(Like how my life gets busy sometimes and distractions get in
               the way of my prayer time...which is so vital to keep connected and 
                     plugged-in to my power source....Jesus Christ?)                           
                              
     
It is a bit humbling to find out that I am guilty of many of the same things that I "dislike" about my vacuum!

Thankfully, I have a Lord and Savior that paid the price for me through His sacrifice so that the dirt of my sins could be vacuumed away...clean...forgiven....gone....Thank you JESUS!

        "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse
          us from all unrighteousness...."       1 John 1:9
                                                               
I think I will be looking at this household chore in a whole new light ...


Happy vacuuming!

Doris :)



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blessings In The Mess....

Let me tell you about the day I had yesterday...You know the kind...

It started out pretty wonderful actually...morning devotions and prayer, accomplishing some housework, answering calls in our office, the usual stuff...then it was time to head to a friend's house for lunch...What a treat!   After a delicious meal and some great conversation, my sweet friend heads over to the fridge and starts digging around in there, as if she'd lost something.  Next thing I know, she pulls out a fully cooked turkey with dressing, a tray of lasagne(yes, already cooked too!), fresh fruit and a package of Bagel Bites...  So she calls me over and says, "here Doris, please take this home with you...I'll never eat it all and don't want to wind up throwing it away.."   Her family had been in town for a couple of days, and she had leftovers galore...Yay, no cooking for me for the next few nights!   Thank you for that big blessing Lord!  I'd have to say things were going pretty well at this point...

So what happened?  Well, I'm not quite sure...all I know is that after loading a turkey into the car, my day began rolling downhill...fast... I'm certainly not trying to blame the turkey, poor little guy obviously had a bad day himself not too long ago..  So what in the world was going on? I had no clue...Nothing earth shattering mind you, just a series of unfortunate happenings, culminating into a melt-down-cry-fest...I thought of the plaque that I have in my office 'A Day Hemmed In Prayer Never Unravels'...Hmmm...  I felt as if someone had taken hold of that little piece of thread hanging from the hem, and ran with it...

Then something amazing happened....The Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me that He had made this day, and to rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)!   About that time, my husband came walking through the door with two beautiful roses he had picked for me....and as I served up the turkey dinner that God had provided (just had to heat it up!), my spirit began to rejoice in all of the blessings of the day...The ones I had almost forgotten because I was allowing the negative to overshadow them...Thank you Lord, for all of your blessings, even on the days when my world gets a little messy...

Lesson learned Lord...lesson learned..










Saturday, May 12, 2012

Run with it.....

Do I dream in color?  Well, I really don't know for sure, but I can tell you this...it seems like I've had some pretty colorful ones lately...

Today I've been writing up a storm, literally(pun intended).  I fully expect that at any moment, the Storm Chasers will be at the door with all that fancy equipment, wondering why there's a funnel cloud over our house...Actually, it's the smoke coming from my desktop(yes, my poor laptop is now at peace from the constant tapping of the keys...I think I've killed it...) 

Sure, the family needs to eat, right?  So into the crock-pot went the roast and a can of crushed tomatoes...Oh, and I managed to throw together a pot of homemade chicken soup, and do two loads of laundry somewhere between paragraphs...

It's true I've gone through seasons of doubting myself...Do I truly have a God-given ability to create a masterpiece on a page, like a Van Gogh on canvas?  The next thing I know, I'm thinking of all of these ideas while stripping the carcass of a chicken...Now who but a writer could find any kind of story in that...Yes, not a pleasant word-picture, but I think you get what I'm saying...

So dream your dream...but not only that..live it!  Keep the faith and He will give you the strength and inspiration you need to take-off...
Why don't you start today, or pick back up where you left off?  Don't waste another minute of the potential that God has given you...He is waiting to see what you will do with it...
They don't say "get back on the horse" for nothing...That tells me there have been many who have fallen off...
You know you've felt that "something bigger" thing going on inside of you, and if you haven't, you will eventually...
Find your niche and run with it...explore your gifts and talents and use them to craft something beautiful and lasting...a blessing for future generations....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

If God Says You Are Able, You Are Able!

"You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."  I Samuel 17:33.....

How many times has someone said that you couldn't do something...that you "weren't able"?  I mean you're all excited about a new venture or idea, a plan or a vision, then somebody has to come along and say "that'll never work"...or..."that'll never happen"...Many times it makes us even more determined, but often times we start believing the negative. Why do we do that?  Why do I do that?  Why do we listen to Satan's whispers of defeat before we even try?

 During my devotional time recently, I read the story of David and Goliath...again...  Having been a Sunday School teacher for many years, teaching children from pre-school through the third grade, one would think I must have learned all I would ever need to know about this story, right?  Wrong...  The really amazing thing is that each time I read it, it's like I'm reading it for the first time.  Do you feel that way too?  That's great, because that's just the way God intended His word to be, living and speaking directly to us, allowing us to gain whatever revelation knowledge we might need for that particular season we are going through.  Although the "printed" words never change, He will use them to bring a fresh word to our spirit through the words inspired by The Holy Spirit...

So what makes this story so fascinating?  Well, the obvious of course; a lowly shepherd boy facing what appeared to be an insurmountable mission(that he volunteered for I might add..because he was called and obeyed) to take down a man, who today, would tower over the tallest player in the NBA.  It makes me wonder what the birth weight of this guy was, and what did his poor mother have to feed him growing up?  I think you know what I'm talking about if you have growing boys in your home, or have been around any lately; their favorite phrase is "I'm hungry" stated approximately every 20 minutes or so....

The first thing that really stood out to me during this particular reading, was during an exchange of words between Saul and David.  This was prior to the main event, which of course in today's world would have been on pay-per-view.  Saul told David that he was 'not able' to go against the Philistine.

Of course looking at this situation through human eyes, you have to admit, it didn't look good, but David's confidence was in God, and if his God could deliver him from a lion and a bear, He could surely equip him to defeat "this Philistine".   Maybe I missed something here, but I didn't detect any sense of doubt on David's part; any doubt that God would show up big and right on time.  Now that's what I call trust.

God does hear us when we pray.  So we pray.  We make known our requests to the Lord; that's the easy part of prayer.  Then there's the trust and belief part..do we really, truly believe that we will receive what we're praying for?  So Jesus answered and said to them "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree(see Matt 21:18-10), but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.  And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Matt 21:21-22.  It may not be the answer we were expecting according to our will, and that's why it is right to pray "according to Your will Lord..Your will be done."

The second thing that really stood out to me during this particular reading, is that David "hurried and ran toward" the army to meet the Philistine.  I could see gearing up and getting ready, but actually being in a 'hurry' and 'running towards' the opposing army and the giant man with the big sword?  The beauty of that verse is so amazing and maybe it was a strategic move God used to "psyche out" Goliath, but more importantly,  it was David's trust in his God and his putting that trust in motion, literally!  When God is in control, we can do that..We can run head-on into the storm like those hurricane hunters that fly into the eye.  It's calm in the eye, even when surrounded by outer bands of chaos. When we run into the storm, God goes before us and there is peace in the eye of the storm, in the arms of our Lord.  There are times when we are delivered supernaturally from facing a storm we may never even see.  But as we have experienced, the weather's not always sunny, storms do come.

 What if David had lost his momentum and quit the fight before it even started, all because Saul told him he was "not able"?  Why didn't he quit?  Because he knew what we should know and believe, that when God calls us to do something, He will equip us.  Because if God is lighting a fire under us, we shouldn't let anyone extinguish it.  I'm not only talking enemies here or people who want to keep us down, these potential fire extinguishers can also come in the form of family and friends who mean well.  They love us and don't want us to fall down and skin our knees, but guess what?  Skinned knees heal :)  God never promised we wouldn't have battle scars, but those scars build our faith and character, and remind us where we have been and how far God has brought us...

We can draw strength by remembering the storms God has brought us through; it will encourage us to press on, knowing that He is faithful and that we can do all things through Christ.

Lord, help us to trust you like David did and have the faith to move mountains.  Thank you for your Living Word and the promises you have made to your children. Let us believe like a child, without fear or doubt.  Let us live our lives according to Your will, and press on to accomplish what You have predestined us to do.  To do great things in Your Name because in whatever you call us to do, you will equip us...To You be the Glory!
In Jesus Name.  Amen.



   



   






Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We Love You Hunter...

Today is a very special day in the lives of our family.  Today we celebrate the birth of our precious new grandson, Hunter Michael Swift, born this afternoon at approximately 1:15pm or so, 7lbs, 3oz, 20.5 inches long...five little fingers and five little toes...He was three weeks early, but right on time...God's perfect time...A little miracle, a little gift.   The labor was long and at times very hard; I thought to myself thanks a lot Eve...you just had to eat that fruit...His mommy did wonderfully though, such grace under pressure..enduring the pain, anticipating the reward...His daddy, being brave and supportive, did a wonderful job at his post...holding her hand and speaking words of encouragement...then finally...this new little one made his grand entrance into this world.   Joy beyond measure saturated the room as this tiny new life caused such excitement..the medical team scrambled to take stats and complete reports...pictures snapping all around this little celebrity who had taken command of the room.  So now his journey begins....we are so blessed....for it is written.."For you formed my inward parts, You covered me in my mother's womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..."   Thank you Lord for this gift of new life...

      "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the
                                          Father of lights........"           James 1:17

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Big Five O

Today was a milestone birthday for me.  I turned 50...It felt perfectly awesome and it didn't bother me a bit...I don't really recall any of the previous milestone birthdays bothering me either..except maybe 30?  .. I enjoyed a nice evening of celebration with my very wonderful family; as I sat there watching them all laughing and joking, I felt tremendously blessed...Years from now, I may not remember exactly what gifts I received (except for the wonderful and very special hand-made cards from my niece and grandsons..); but I will remember the joy of knowing that I have a family that loves me.. and that is truly an awesome gift that the Lord has given me...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Faith Test

I read a friend's blog today and could really relate to the words on the screen..She was talking about the struggle we experience with worry/peace, worry/peace. It's sometimes hard to delete that "worry".  It would be nice if we could just hit the backspace button and wipe it right off the pages of our mind.. ..I know through faith that God's word promises us that He will meet ALL our need..His word tells us "fear not" and "do not worry" and that we are to have peace through the storms of life.  I really truly believe this, so why do I feel sometimes like I am trying to talk myself into it?  I guess it's more like reminding myself that I do believe and I do have faith.. When worry and fear start to creep in, I remind myself that I am a child of God and I am not supposed to give-in to worry and fear.  Any trials that I/we have been through, emphasis on "been through"..I/we have come through it..got through it...and are still standing, praise God.  I think waiting is the tough part since we tend to want everything "now" or better yet, "right now"..I've come to realize that "my now" isn't "God's now".  So for now I must stand in faith and always be ready ...Subject to change-life as we know it...