Friday, July 31, 2009

List #5

Guess what day it is? You got it - time for Friday List Day! Randomness is the theme for this week, and I think it's going to be a two-parter. So...stay tuned for a continuation of this list next Friday!

Random Facts About Me - Part 1:
1. I love water!!! I love to drink it, swim in it, bathe in it, play in it, dance in it, look at it…you get the point! One day - I’m going to live by it!
2. I’m an NFL junkie! I actually had a Fantasy Football team for 2 years and made the playoffs both years. My favorite team? The Carolina Panthers of course!
3. I don’t like applesauce of any kind, but I do like apples, apple pie, apple cake, apple cider, apple juice, SOME apple butters, and apple cobbler. There’s something about the texture of applesauce that I can’t stand.
4. On-the-other-hand, I LOVE Mexican food…the hotter the better!!!
5. I don’t mind public speaking in most settings! I even took a class on the subject 2 years ago…yeah, really I did! I mostly love talking about JESUS and what He’s done for me!
6. I met my husband on eHarmony! Great experience!!! Never say never - I once said I would never do something like eHarmony! Oops!
7. My first concert was the Go-Go’s in Asheville, NC.
8. My most recent concert was Building 429, 33Miles, etc. (SummerFest tour).
9. I’ve been parasailing and would go again in a heartbeat!
10. Best vacation ever? The trip my daughter and I took several years back to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites in WI, IA, MN, and SD. Loved our mommy/daughter adventures that week!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm Stuffed!

"I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty." (Ruth 1:21a)

Naomi uttered those words, after she made the decision to return to Judah following the death of her husband and sons. Do you know how many times I've read this small book and those words have never resonated with me like they did this morning? (You may remember from a previous post of mine that Ruth is my favorite Old Testament book.) I'm actually choosing to make that a prayer of mine right now.

We're leaving for our beach vacation in two days, and I'm praying that as I leave very full (stuffed actually), that the Lord will use this vacation to empty me. I'm not just talking about those unwanted pounds (but, I'll take that too)...I'm talking about emptying me of those things in life that are keeping me from living this life He's given me to the absolute fullest! I'm so sick and tired of my human flesh getting in the way of victorious, Christian living. I know that I know that I know that He has huge plans for me, but before He can trust me to live out those plans, I have to completely surrender to Him. I've been trying (in my own strength, sadly) to do just that. But, it was in these words spoken by Naomi that I see the key missing piece...emptiness! I need to be completely empty of thoughts, my desires, my dreams, my hopes, and my plans. I need to empty myself of the present daily distractions, the worries of the future, and the junk of the past. And, finally, I need to empty myself of anything and everything that keeps me focused on earthly things rather than those treasures in heaven. Once empty - I will pray for a fresh in-filling of God's Spirit. I don't expect this to be a one time occurrence. As a human, the sin will continue, but I pray that I will be more in tune to those slip ups and will more quickly ask to be emptied of me and refilled of Him!

Monday, July 27, 2009

How's It Going to Happen?

As I look ahead at this week, I'm utterly overwhelmed. Sitting here on Monday, having just finished my lunch, I find that I'm simply frustrated over the lack of my ability to stay on top of the things that must happen this day (let alone the long list of items to cover the rest of the week). You see, we're leaving for vacation Saturday morning. I have about 2 weeks of work to cover in 1 - we're moving in less than a month, and the packing is not happening fast enough - the house needs cleaned (partly because I like to return from vacation to a clean home) - and, I have to pack for vacation and get any last minute needed items! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! OK - that feels better.

Actually, I'm seeing the problem already. I'm trying to accomplish MY agenda. Sounds reasonable right? Well, for many people it is, but for me, it's not acceptable. I've committed to living each day for God. I'm here to fulfill His purpose - not mine. I'm relying on my abilities, which are very weak, to accomplish a list of items, and I haven't even entrusted them to the Lord yet. Then, when I think of these "worries" that I'm dealing with today, I see how selfish I'm being. I'm worried about getting everything done before leaving for vacation, and yet there are so many people that won't even get a vacation this year. I think of my friends Liz* and Dave* who have 6 children and Dave* lost his job over 4 months ago. I think of my friend Catherine* who is suffering with a broken heart over a failed marriage. I think of sweet Kate McCrae sitting in an Arizona hospital dealing with a brain tumor: WOW - OK - I'm humbled once again. Thank you God! Even if my "worries" are very real, my perspective is just a bit dim right now. With the strength that only comes from God, I choose to redirect my plans to accommodate His purpose, knowing that as long as He remains in first place, everything that needs to happen will happen prior to Saturday!

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

*name changed to protect identity

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Take Me from My Comfort Zone

Take Me from My Comfort Zone

Lord, take me from my comfort zone
To the place you’ve called me.
Knowing that I’m not alone,
I’ll be exactly where I need to be

I’m willing to serve you
Although, I’m weak and I’m broken.
However, I know what I’m here to do,
Because you have so clearly spoken.

The doubts will continue
Of this one thing I am sure,
The fear will ensue
But, your Spirit of power and love in me must endure.

Whatever I lack to fulfill your call,
I trust completely in you to provide.
This is not about me at all!
In bringing you all the glory, I will abide.

Thank you Lord for believing in me,
And bringing me to this place.
I will continue to proclaim your victory,
Until I see you face to face!

Your loving daughter,

Friday, July 24, 2009

List #4

Places in the United States (as in specific locales) I want to visit someday, still in no particular order:

1. The Brooklyn Tabernacle
2. Mt. Rushmore
3. Grand Canyon
4. Yellowstone National Park
5. The Statue of Liberty
6. Broadway - and see a play, of course
7. Napa Valley
8. Golden Gate Bridge
9. The Hoover Dam
10. The Space Needle

Where should go I first?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Not now...

Recently, I went on an overnight trip with a group of ladies from church for the sheer purpose of getting to know each other better. We succeeded with that! We laughed, we talked, we shopped, we ate, we prayed, and we simply enjoyed each other’s company. We even played intervention a little. Now, let me explain that one a bit. One of the sweet young ladies in our group has been thinking of buying a new car. Knowing full well that she really can’t afford one right now and the purpose of buying it would only be for fun and would cause her debt to linger, we talked her out of it! She knew it wasn’t the best thing for her, but she wanted it so badly. It’s not that God is saying “no” forever to a newer vehicle, He’s just saying “not now” and used us to vocalize that to her. So proud of myself for being in the group that intervened in keeping her from making a terrible decision, I got knocked off my own little “high horse” just days after returning from that trip.

I’ve been praying and praying over a couple of things that just don’t seem to be manifesting themselves in my life. I feel like God has already told me “yes” on both issues, but I haven’t seen the fruit of that just yet leaving me to question whether I misunderstood God. While that’s still to remain, I feel urged to press on with my prayers…I know my petitions are not something that goes against God’s commands, they are nothing that would harm me or anyone else, they are not in direct contrast to His will spelled out through His word. Therefore, until I’m told differently, I must go on believing that He’s simply saying “not now” to me as well. Oh – how I hate to hear that just as my friend did as well with the car decision. As written in His Word…“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15 NIV) So – I choose to stand on His promises and keep moving in the direction He’s sending me. Each step of the journey only brings me closer to Him causing me to know Him better and love Him more! Be blessed dear friends…in your own individual journeys! Allow the “not nows” to strengthen you rather than cause you to stumble. Be thankful for each step of growth along the way and for the friends that help you see clearly along the journey.

Friday, July 17, 2009

List #3

It's Friday List Day! This week, I simply wanted to focus on fun memories. As I began creating a list, I quickly realized that there are too many to narrow down, but I loved the reminiscing. How about you? Have any favorite memories that stick out in your mind? These are by no means my best or favorite fun memories - just a selection of 10 from my 37 years, in completely random order.

Fun memories:
1. Giving birth (yes it was fun - to a point)
2. Walking across the Niagra Falls bridge with my mom in what seemed like hurricane strength winds, all-the-while we laughed our heads off
3. Ice skating with my husband in Gatlinburg - got a little ahead of him - heard a big "thud" - then the crowd went "ooohhh". Yep - my hubby belly flopped on the ice. Ouch!
4. Snorkeling during a tropical storm (I guess I have a twisted sense of humor.)
5. Getting to meet the author of The Shack
6. My wedding last August - Happy Almost 1st Anniversary Chris!
7. Scrapbooking with my girlfriends at Scrap Camp
8. Touring Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites with my little princess…it was a 2500 mile mommy/daughter plane & car trip that has to be one of my most fun memories ever!
9. Driving around Beverly Hills, CA looking for the stars…only got to see Dinah Shore standing in her driveway in her bathrobe (yes, I realize some of you are too young to know Dinah Shore)
10. Having dinner with Chip Ingram at The Cove

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Precious Prayers...

Since the day she was born, I've prayed with my daughter before she goes to sleep at night. In the early years, I did most of the praying, but as she aged a little, she began making more of the prayers her very own. Now, at the age of twelve, she prays almost exclusively during these bedtime prayer moments. I'm so proud of the young lady she's becoming, but I don't think I've had a prouder moment than I did last night. As she climbed into bed and prepared to pray, she informed me that I might want to sit down, because "it was going to be a long one". She then proceeded to pray a list of requests that God would bless, protect, and comfort OTHERS in their struggles. It's not the first time that she's prayed for others, but it was very obvious this time that the needs of these other people were so important to her that she made a point to spend more time lifting them up individually in prayer.

I love to pray, especially for and on behalf of others! I take it very seriously when someone asks me to pray, because I know the power of prayer! So, how can I pray for you today? I consider it an honor to lift up your needs before the throne of God. Feel free to post a comment, or if you're not comfortable with may email me at Together, let's watch God work when His people pray. Be blessed my friends!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Journey...

One of my favorite things to do is ship, by plane, by car...anyway I can get there. There are so many places that I still want to visit - especially here in my own country. Around 9 years ago, I decided that I would start collecting newspapers from the state capitals. People have laughed at me over this idea, but without fail, everytime a friend is heading to one of our 50 state capitals, they offer to bring me back a paper. And...I decline the offer each time. You see - I have to actually GO THERE to get the newspaper. It's not the same to simply have one given to me or brought back to me or mailed to me. Going there and getting it allows me to create a memory, because I'll always have the date on the paper to reflect the date that I was in the city. Ultimately, however, my real goal is simply getting to visit every one of the 50 states and what better way to reflect my travels than having the tangible newspaper to show for it!

God recently showed me that just as I am very purposeful on how I am to get my newspapers - by journeying to these places and getting them myself - he also expects me to do that when it comes to His Word. How often have you relied only on what others give you in regards to God's Word? Sometimes, I find it easier to be fed by my pastor or by the books I read or the music I listen to, but that's not what God expects of me. He expects me journey to His Word myself and to be fed directly by Him through the scriptures and through prayer. Second-hand knowledge might be the easier route, but like my newspaper hobby, it's not the most fulfilling. Only seeking Him directly will make it a true journey! Sometimes the journey may seem long, but what a reward at the end of the destination. More than likely, it will take me a lifetime to reach my newspaper goal, although I am almost half-way there. God also expects me to take my entire lifetime to journey through His Word, but He will reward my efforts every step of the way!

Friday, July 10, 2009

List #2

If you're new to this blog or just haven't been reading along recently - you may want to see my blog from last Friday, July 5 entitled "List #1" to know what this is all about.

Yesterday's post may almost seem like a contrast to the list that I'm about to display. However, keep in mind that goal setting and planning is still very, very important. Allow it to guide your days, but don't allow it to take over and end up crippling you to the point of never getting anything checked off the list.

With that said, let's move on this week to List #2...

Things I hope to accomplishment within the next 24 months:

1. Become a certified scuba diver
2. Begin an herb garden
3. Learn to sew
4. Attend SheSpeaks
5. Get to my goal weight
6. Attend a photography class
7. Attend a Women of Faith conference
8. Build up my running program again so that I can run a 5K pain free
9. Finish organizing all of my pictures
10. See my new nephew - in person!

Can't wait to come back in 2 years and see how many of these I've been able to mark off! Be blessed today my friends!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

One day at a time...

You've heard the expression "one day at a time"'s a line in an old gospel song - it even used to be the name of a 70's tv sitcom. The expression makes sense...days come only one at a time anyway. Knowing that and trying to live in that knowledge has been difficult for me most of my life. I'm always trying to plan my future, whether it's a day in the future...a week in the future...or a decade in the future. While planning is important at times, it can often be crippling for me. Allow me to be a little transparent on this one.

Maintaining an ideal weight has always been a struggle for me. Partially, it's in my genes - very slow metabolism - large bones - blah, blah, blah. I've used all of those excuses before, however the bottom line is if you take in more calories than you release - you will more than likely gain weight. I know how to eat properly, and I know how to exercise, but for me - food is an emotional comfort (regardless of the emotion). I have been very successful in the past at losing weight only to gain it back again. I really thought I had it licked this last time only to discover my strongholds and weaknesses remain. I finally reached the point where I realized nothing would work, because I was trying to do it on my own. I would cry out to God for help, but then I would never actually allow Him to help. I would make a week of menus and exercise plans and fail after one day and then scrap the rest of the week's plans. This vicious cycle repeated itself over and over, until now...

Partially, I'm confessing this for accountability. Putting things in print for others to read will automatically open the door for questions about how I'm doing, and I welcome them. So, what's different about this time you ask? After spending time in prayer and fasting a few weeks ago, this time - I'm taking all of the nutrition and exercise knowledge I already have, and I am applying it one day at a time! Sounds simple right? Well, in a way it is. I begin each day before God's throne dedicating the day to Him, asking Him to walk me through each challenge and temptation and allow me to be successful THIS day. I don't look ahead to tomorrow - I'm only looking at my behavior on THIS day. You would never realize that something this simple could end up being so huge, but it has really changed me. Now, when I fail (and those days happen), it's one day of failure - not a whole week or month just thrown away but one day! I needed the nutrition and exercise knowledge also, but this was the missing piece. Simply allowing God to work in and through me one day at a time has been amazing! I now live each day doing my best to walk in obedience to Him, and by faith, I know that He's pleased with me and will reward that obedience one day!

Friday, July 3, 2009

List #1

Allow me to give you another glimpse into my personality: I am a perfectionist (I think I've confessed that before), lover of organization, obsessive-compulsive in nature, and driven. Wrap all that up into a bundle and you have a woman that loves to make lists! Yep - that's me! I make lists for everything. I think I enjoy making lists, because I love structure and order to things. That's one of God's attributes that I can totally relate to - His orderliness! I also like those lists in which I can scratch items off, because it shows accomplishment. With that said, I'm thinking of starting a weekly blog list. If you are a listmaker too, I invite you to share your list with me. If not, just humor me a bit here through my quirkiness. Be blessed my friends!

My favorite books of the Bible (in no particular order - other than the top 2):

1. James (favorite NT book)
2. Ruth (favorite OT book)
3. John
4. Esther
5. Isaiah
6. Psalms
7. Proverbs
8. Job
9. Philippians
10. Hebrews