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