Monday, December 19, 2011

Reflections

Greetings!

If you haven't already, I trust you are wrapping up your Christmas preparations rapidly with the full purpose of shifting into neutral and soaking in the season of peace and promise.

It's been a month since I signed on; a break is a most excellent thing!

My month away has not been idle, but of a very different bent than the "norm." First, I have been enjoying concentrated time with my husband, sort of like a lengthy second honeymoon. It's been wonderful. Honestly, it has made me appreciate every day my eyes open and my lungs fill with air to a far greater extent than a month ago. For as I look into my husband's eyes (and my children's eyes for that matter), I am keenly aware that there will come a day when those eyes will close (or mine), and we will be parted for a bit. I know it is a downer of a thought, but facing such truth head on brings a richness to the every day that would be otherwise missed. To truly value something or someone, the inevitable loss must be worked into the equation, lest we grow complacent or apathetic.

My second point of reflection this month has been my children. The daily process of launching teens/preteens into adulthood is intense work. And for all those mothers out there who have "little ones," can I just exhort you to enjoy the days that surround your life right now? For soon, the days will be packed with orthodontic visits, driver's ed, work permits, SAT preparations... and all interwoven with heavier life topics such as purpose, promises, relationships, career choices... just to name a few! I don't mean to unnerve the moms with younger children.
The teen years are an amazing walk, and I wouldn't forfeit them for anything. Just keep in mind God's grace and wisdom will be timely when you, those with young children, have need of them in the years to come just as He is walking you through your current days. I just strongly desire to edify those with young ones to SOAK in the present days for everything they are!

Recently I told my teens, "It's hard work, raising you guys to be mindful of Christ and make wise choices. Sucks the life right out of me. Don't get me wrong; I wouldn't have it any other way, but I'll rejoice when I'm done!" I have to say I am stinkin' proud of them, and we do have a marvelous time together. Recently, I told my husband of a conversation I had with them and I ended my narrative to him by saying, "If that is how clear they think now, with their talent and their heart, I think to myself, 'Just where in the world are You going to take them in life, Lord?!'" It will be beyond exciting to witness --- this I know!

Right now, I would say one of the biggest challenges dear hubby and I have is finding quiet while actually in our home. With five extroverts who explore life and talk openly, it is not easy. And while dear hubby and I relish times of "sit and be still," three teens/preteens do not naturally migrate to such a state. As dear hubby said this weekend, "One day I will wish the air was filled with those noises." (This as we listened to our youngest fly a remote helicopter all over the house.) Add in their friends visiting and it is a given the door to our house opens and shuts to the point installation of a revolving door is not so far fetched these days!

Yes, life is full, but I pause many times throughout my day and thank God that He orders my day. It may be busy, but it is far from stressful or chaotic. There is growth coupled to a deep abiding peace that He is at the helm, ever guarding our ship as He wisely navigates us through! I'll never be able to thank Him sufficiently. Never.


"Bless the Lord,
O my soul,
And all that is within me,
bless His holy name."
Psm 103: 1


Take time for your own personal reflection.

It's a grand gift!

And have a very blessed Christmas!

Love to you and yours!

Deborah

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Transparency

This month has been an incredible month of both blessings and curses. The blessings have been "wow" moments for sure. You know the kind... where you don't even have the tip of your pinky in the situation, but then boom... it just springs upon you. Those kind of God's blessings are the best kind... perhaps they are the only true, genuine blessings -- untainted by human hands.

Now the curses. They have been unreal, the Twilight Zone kind of unreal. I understand I do not stand against any person, but a spirit that would love nothing more than to knock me down and eliminate me off the playing field. Permit me because this must be stated: that will not happen! And not because of me, but because of Him.

After several hits this month, timed of course on the heels of God's blessings, I absolutely confess the natural man in me wanted to crawl into bed and pull the sheet over me. And do you know... that is exactly what I did, but it was with the full knowledge I was landing in Papa's big lap, His arms surrounding me and the beat of His heart in my ear.

On the night of the last great hit, I put myself to bed. I would love to say I drifted off in peaceful slumber, but I did not. I laid in Papa's arms waiting for any word of hope from Him. The last time on the clock that I recall was 4:17 am. At some point I drifted off. What happened when I finally found sleep is stunning to me. One of the most vivid, lengthy dreams I have ever had lit my awareness.

I shared the dream with an elder sister of mine the following day whose spiritual antenna is both high and sharp. She's been in my life for nearly two decades. She shared her impression: "
the diamond....made me think of the deposit in your life that has come through times of pressure and testing. You were guarding it. And the wristwatch, your time, of course." There was much aggression in the dream to take both the diamond and my time from me, but the attempts failed. Praise GOD, they failed!

God's protective nature leaves me in a constant state of awe. It's not about me... it's not about what I can or can not do... it is WHOLLY what HE purposes to do, and that He aggressively and successfully protects without apology.

When God spoke Joy In The Morning into my heart many years ago now, He gave me a promise: "I, the LORD, am its keeper; I water it every moment. So that no one will damage it, I guard it night and day." Isa 27: 3

I have never seen JITM as mine. I never asked for it. I wasn't the one who dreamed it up. No, it was given to me to steward, but I never lose sight of the fact that it is His to do whatever He wills.

I have been accused of being many things in recent years, but my eyes are opened to see not the deliverer of the accusations, but the source of the accusations. Never forget the enemy uses people, often those closest to us, in an effort to stop us. I have developed tough skin... not insensitive skin... but tough skin. I'm able to take a lot, (often wishing this weren't the case!)... hand the pain of it to Jesus... and keep going. Why? Because He overtly enables me to cut the enemy off at every turn in my consciousness.

You've got to know who you are in Christ. It's not an option if you are going to successfully walk out your purpose because there are going to be many many attempts to get you to question who you are, what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how you are doing it. The nature of man is NOT for you, so don't expect applause if you truly are doing God's will, not even from your siblings in Christ. Jesus didn't get applause, so don't be foolish to think you will. Fully expect stumbling blocks and stones to be pitched in your path though. Jesus knew these elements well, and so will you if you are walking to please God and NOT men! But if you are firmly rooted in Him, all those voices turn to nothing but mere wind that may ruffle your leaves, but they won't knock you to the ground. Eventually the wind gets turned up to greater intensities in ever increasing efforts to stop your advances, but again nothing holds like roots in Christ. Nothing. They have held me thus far, and to those roots alone do I presently look to hold me where God has me.

Courage up, dear ones. I am a living testimony, with focus of purpose and confidence in Him, of His ability to sustain through some really hard hits. Make no mistake, confidence rattles people... and the enemy. As another dear friend pointed out recently, if we are in God's will, we should rejoice when trouble hits because it is a clear indicator the enemy is not happy. While I do not like the trouble he stirs up, I am fully confident that to a far greater measure he's not going to like the trouble God stirs up through this willing vessel. It's not the confrontation that thrills me, but rather the conviction of holding fast to Him and His precepts.

I pray most earnestly that God's Body wakes up to the confidence that is available to those rooted in Christ ... a confidence that rattles the enemy to pieces.

Apart from Him, I can do nothing -- but with Him, I might just change the world..... and it scares the enemy to death that I actually believe such a thing!

Are you rattling him today? Or is he rattling you? One thing is for sure; it's one way or the other...

Loving you,
Deborah

Monday, November 21, 2011

"I Will Rise"

A song, a most vivid dream, and the word of Isaiah 40.... a triple blessing to begin the week. Thank you, Lord; thank you. I know with confidence, that come what may, it is well.




Take the time to read the following...
out loud if you can:

Isaiah 40:
1“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
2 “ Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the LORD’s hand
Double for all her sins.”
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

“ Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert[a]
A highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
6 The voice said, “Cry out!”
And he[b] said, “What shall I cry?”


“ All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”
9 O Zion,
You who bring good tidings,
Get up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem,
You who bring good tidings,
Lift up your voice with strength,
Lift it up, be not afraid;
Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.
11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.
12 Who has measured the waters[c] in the hollow of His hand,
Measured heaven with a span
And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?
Weighed the mountains in scales
And the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
Or as His counselor has taught Him?
14 With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,
And taught Him in the path of justice?
Who taught Him knowledge,
And showed Him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,
And are counted as the small dust on the scales;
Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,
Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before Him are as nothing,
And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.
18 To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
19 The workman molds an image,
The goldsmith overspreads it with gold,
And the silversmith casts silver chains.
20 Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution
Chooses a tree that will not rot;
He seeks for himself a skillful workman
To prepare a carved image that will not totter.
21 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
23 He brings the princes to nothing;
He makes the judges of the earth useless.
24 Scarcely shall they be planted,
Scarcely shall they be sown,
Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth,
When He will also blow on them,
And they will wither,
And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.
25 “ To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:

“ My way is hidden from the LORD,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Milestone Achieved!

This past weekend I passed another milestone. A 10K run.... that's 6.2 miles!

I believe I have shared this before, but for the new readers, I'll briefly recap. A few months ago, I felt the Lord leading me into a season of physical endurance training. Before, I thought of myself as a causal runner, running a few miles a week just in an effort to maintain a bit of fitness.

After pulling up the program "From Couch to 5K," and working with that a few weeks, I ran my first 5K ever in September!

Following that race, that very weekend is a matter of fact, I was strongly led to explore the next milestone. It began by pulling up a half-marathon training guide online. When I took note that part of the training was a 10K race ... and that it was seven weeks out.... that got my wheels to spinning. So, I checked for local 10K races seven weeks out from my 5K race.... and sure enough... there it was, "right on time," the next phase to this season. And so it was that this past weekend I went out to pound some asphalt in my first 10K race!

When I run, it is an intense feeling for me. I was not born with the ability to walk, much less run. I fought back tears a few times as I ran yesterday. My life has been one challenging hurdle after another since birth, yet such a sense of gratefulness welled up within me that God has me on this journey at all, carefully leading me every step of the way.

One of the songs I listened to while running was Josh Groban's popular song, "You Raise Me Up." God truly may be the only one who knows just how applicable the lyrics are to me personally, hitting me deeply at my core every time I hear them:

"When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until YOU come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be."

Yes, Papa, YOU raise me up to more than I can be....

.... and I'll never cease
being profoundly grateful
that You love
this little sheep,
a sheep determined
to scale the mountains of life,
falling boulders and all.


And lastly, please allow me to share
this video with you.

I'm beyond THANKFUL that HE is with me!



Rise with Him, dear ones!
Rise with Him!

Never let the boulders of life
stop you from upward movement!

Lovingly,
Deborah



Monday, November 7, 2011

What Price?

"....questions were not for the lowly." (From "Across Five Aprils" - a story about the Civil War)

And they still are not. Where are the courageous ones today?

As I concluded reading "Across Five Aprils" to my son today, I saw spiritual parallels in today's climate within The Church. President Lincoln had hoped to restrict the evils of slavery to the region of the South. He attempted to quell it by methods of ignoring and containing it; hoping by these methods, it would simply die out over time. As he came to understand such thinking was naive, for evil has no boundary if truth does not stand up against it.

Are we so naive in The Body of Christ as to think the evils that we see at play among us are containable or ignorable in our silence and lack of action, too?

President Lincoln endured, along with the nation, a horrible time in American history. Thousands were lost upon the battlefields. Childhoods disappeared, never to be lived. Yet he signed his full name, an act that was out of the ordinary, to the Emancipation Proclamation on December 31, 1862 saying, "If my name ever goes into history, it will be for this act."

What will your whole name, your whole being, be signed to -- be known for? Will you leave a sizable mark upon the battlefield of history such that those who come after you will know you stood for something of value? Or will you slip silently away with fields not plowed, seeds not sown, and your voice not heard?

Yes, questions are not for the lowly.... and Truth awaits its soldiers.

There is a price to be paid for fighting, but there is a greater price to be paid for silence.

You will pay a price....... Question is which one will it be?

For me, there is only one Truth worth dying for, and I pray most sincerely God grants me the fortitude to go out of this world fighting for it. If I am to be known for anything tomorrow, may it be that I sought Truth and stood to defend It today.

Convicted to the core,
Deborah

Friday, November 4, 2011

Our Newest Ornaments!

Our family goes to a specific place to pick out a few new ornaments for our Christmas tree each year. Last night was the night of our special outing, and I thought it would be fun to share our newest additions with you.


Our feathered friend additions:

("Lenny" - as named by my dear daughter)



Eldest son's selection


Dear daughter's selection

Our youngest son's selection

And my selection -- front side


Back side:


I'm loving the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
Can you tell?!

Blessings to you!
Deborah

Monday, October 31, 2011

Aim Higher!

With the turn of the weather to downright COLD, I ran on the treadmill this morning. Seven mile runs are becoming my norm, and it is down right surreal! I have discovered that coupled to my body becoming stronger, so too is my mind and my resolve about life precepts including and exceeding the physical fitness realm. Praise Him! I so enjoy God's lessons that cross multiply themselves in unforeseen ways!




I wholly pray that God uses this to challenge YOU to NOT listen to the nay-sayers (including quite possibly the loudest voice - YOURSELF) in your life. You can either walk the Word -"I can do ALL things through Christ" - or you can sit in a puddle of stagnation and throw a pity party for yourself, but you can't do both, and I don't recommend the latter! To ping-pong back and forth is a double-minded trap.... to be forsaken most earnestly! The message of God's triumph and how that triumph is walked out in people's lives is what I desire to deposit in others.

When Christians try, they operate in self; when Christians succeed, they operate in God. He never tries anything, but He succeeds in all things He purposes. This is the power that is available to us!

Seven miles is a personal victory to this gal who wasn't supposed to walk, but I'm not finished yet! ;o)

So, press on -- press up -- putting ACTION to the awareness God brings into your own life! May you aim a bit higher today than yesterday!

Have a fabulous Monday! And remember... today is a GIFT... open it with childlike zeal and gratitude... forsake grumbling and complaining!

"Do all things without complaining and disputing,
that you may become blameless and harmless,
children of God without fault
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world,
holding fast the word of life..."
Phil 2:14-16


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Principles

"Principled acts, and even the lack thereof, will always be subject to evaluation. Always. However, the subjective evaluations of man, that surely come to anyone who speaks up for or against a thing, cannot be the compass by which the stand orients itself. To elevate human evaluation to the level of determinate in one's actions is to live as the double-minded man because human evaluation is subjective (ie: changing). God is the only valid determinate, being objective (ie: unchanging). May we as Christians, with courage, face the growing likelihood that negative evaluation by others will come, but may such likelihood never be given the power to silence us when a stand is required." (Deborah Kirby)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Consequences

"Consequences, both positive and negative, are the ropes that bind us to the ship Reality. To cut one loose from the ropes is to doom one to injury and a probable toss overboard in the seas of life. Wise is the one who embraces the ropes rather than seek or desire removal of them." (Deborah Kirby)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Choices

Good morning, dear ones,

I have something on my heart to share, but I need to make this brief.

I want you to think for a moment about actions in our every day behavior. For instance, do you find when you are thirsty you go for a glass of water or do you go for soda, tea, or coffee? How about when you are hungry? Do you go for an apple or do you go for nabs or a cookie?

While we convince ourselves the little actions matter very little, actually, it is the little actions in life that tell us a lot about ourselves. We can easily say we believe God, that His way is best, that we are submitted to walking the way He would have us walk; but when we look to the small actions in life, do those actions confirm our words?

In the two questions I posed to you earlier, the core difference is who made what. The water and the apple are creations of God. The latter substances in both questions are man made. Who knows best about what we need? Obviously God does, but do our selections line up with that belief, or have we convinced ourselves that we can independently select, regardless if our selection be that of impulse or willful choice, something counter to what God has provided for us and still thrive and mature in Him?

I encourage you now to begin taking a hard look at each action you make every day, and ask yourself, "Do my actions confirm what I say I believe about God, His authority, and His wisdom; or do they ultimately confirm a belief that I can do what I want and somehow skirt the consequences?"

As hard as it may be, take the hard look today.... and tomorrow... and the next day. If our desire is truly to be perfected into His likeness, we have to lay down the "toddler I wants" and flesh impulses and begin making choices (actions made with cognitive thought), and yes, especially the smaller choices, that line up with His desire for us.

I Corinthians 4:2 says "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful." We, as believers, are stewards of many things, from 'the mysteries of God' as stated within the text of I Corinthians 4, to our body, to our resources, to our family, to our obedience, to the Gospel, and on and on.

The definition of faithful is "steadfast following." Meditate on that for a minute.

Question: Who is the "who" your actions testify you are following? Self or God? Are you steadfast following Him, even in the least of your actions? Or do you find you ping pong back and forth between His ways and your wants?

Surely we are all going to slip and miss some times, but "choice" implies a cognitive decision, meaning real thought... not impulse... was put behind the choice before action followed. The goal is for our choices to be Godly choices. So let's commit to being diligent in thinking through our daily choices, and with the diligence of thought, let us determine to do our best to truly line our actions up with God.

Much love to each of you!
Deborah

Friday, October 14, 2011

State Fair Family Fun Friday!

Have you ever seen a chicken like this?


Or this?


How about a fluffy cow? I am talking "fluffy!"


Hang gliding, anyone?


Happy faces... a little wind blown, but happy!


Okay, forget the 'little' wind blown!
A lot wind blown is more like it!


Anyone ready for one last spin?


Ahhh, a piece of serenity before heading out! Great day!


And we might just return for a little bit of fun tonight!
Hot apple cider.... yum!
Sounds like a tempting end to
a windy, cool autumn day at the State Fair!

Blessings!
Deborah

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New book review!

I received word that an unsolicited book review was posted today for my book! It was a wonderful surprise to discover this morning!

I wanted to share the link with you:

http://tousey.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/beyond-the-greenhouse-book-review/

The author of the review is doing a book giveaway, too! So, if you will, please share the link on your sites, including Facebook and Twitter!

Thank you in advance!
Deborah

Cycling with the Family!

Thirteen miles of autumn beauty with the family...






Monday, October 10, 2011

A Day in God's Artwork

Today's wind blew us west! What an incredible day enjoying some incredible scenes! I hope these pictures bring a smile to your face as they did to ours!


Cave, anyone?


Three "someones" found it. :o)


Love my girl!


Gorgeous path

Big tree growing out of bigger rock

Can you find two precious people in the picture?


Zooming in helps!






Two "chairs" for two gentlemen


Peek-a-boo!


Dear hubby!



Now where are my pj's?! :o)

Deborah


Before completely signing off tonight, allow me to share two extra photos taken at my in-law's 50th wedding anniversary celebration in September of this year!

Congratulations, P&J!
Love and blessings to you both!

Dear hubby and I at said event....
nearly 18 years and counting!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cannoli and the Farmer's Market!

One of our favorite family treats is cannoli at Whole Foods, and this was the perfect day for such a treat! Yum!

Thereafter, we scooted off to the Farmer's Market to purchase local honey. While there, I picked up a butternut squash and an onion. Butternut squash soup... here I come! Double yum!

I just love autumn break where I can slow down and take in the crisp blue color of the sky and all the assortment of autumn colors! While life will always have both sides of the coin, I sure am enjoying these days where the "sweet side of the coin" is facing me!

Counting my blessings with gratefulness...
Deborah

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Beach Day!

Love a day trip to the beach! It was wonderful!












Sweet dreams!

Deborah

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Much Needed Rest!

Praise be for it is Friday evening! The week is done! But I am more than a little thankful for not just two days of rest in front of me, but nine days.

Nine days of rest and free-spirited adventure.

Imagine! I am happy to have such a privilege of imagination tonight as I say "good-bye" to my week and "hello" to intentional rest.

Should you be interested, I hope to improve my frequency in blogging this week -- sharing moments and photos along my way this upcoming week.

As for you, I surely hope you have a most splendid week. Regardless if your week be one of rest or activity, sow your time wisely and intentionally! Don't let the days slip away without sowing the daily seed God has given you!

Blessings to you!
I hear my pajamas calling....

Deborah

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First Race Ever!

This morning I participated in my first race ever! What a huge blessing to come together with over 350 runners to raise over $20,000 to combat human trafficking! And I was doubly blessed to not just run it, but I placed! I actually placed! Not bad for a gal who was born without hip sockets! Thank you, Lord.... You are the One who makes the impossible possible!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Autumn!

If you will recall, last winter I bought these little guys for our three children. Well, today we were out and about as a family, and we came upon five turkeys! We couldn't divide the "flock," now could we?! So the five little turkeys came home with us! How apropos that today was the first day of autumn!

Happy autumn, everyone!
Enjoy the new wonderful season that is upon us!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's been a month!

Good morning, dear ones!

I arrived last night from my third consecutive weekend away. To be honest, it was odd and delightful at the same time. While I love home, I love the road. I love being on the go... and thankfully my children are a cut off the old block. We just go with the flow.... and look for the blessings along the way!

Speaking of blessings, last week my two sons turned 10 and 15 years old. They share their birthday, so it is always a day full of fun and excitement! Since we were out of town and out of our home-base element, we have plans to continue the celebration this weekend. ;o) It'll be a great weekend!

In addition to the continued birthday celebrations, I am also running my first race in support of an organization who is raising funds to combat sex-trafficking. It is my privilege to run on behalf of this tremendous cause!

After being on the road for the past five days, I could hardly wait to "rise and shine" and hit the pavement this morning. No joke! I woke up at 5:30 and wholly enjoyed slipping on the running shoes and welcoming the morning sun as it rose! Some things can't be explained nor described -- they must be experienced -- and this morning falls into that category. ;o)

I surely hope you are marveling in your day. It is such a tremendous gift you know! May you go through your day with your eyes wide open to see all the blessings that surround you. May you laugh out-loud and look for ways to encourage those around you. Too many people are fearful or weary.... let's show the greatness of our God! And if you are one who is fearful or weary, go on a walk -- it doesn't have to be a long walk -- but get out and unload your burdens on Abba -- the One who is able to carry them effectively! Then smile big as you end your walk and count it a great joy that He is there for YOU!

Giving my God tremendous praise for He is for me -- ever mindful of me -- and always providing and protecting me! What more could I ask for??

Loving you!
Deborah

Monday, August 29, 2011

Body Wellness - It's a Grand Thing!

Evening, all!

Such a grand day this has been! It began with a quick four mile run, and truthfully I have been running ever since! (And by the way - that's not a bad thing! ;o) )

Speaking of fitness, dear hubby routinely bikes between seventy five to one hundred miles a week right now. After a recent time trial, he wrote on Facebook, "Rode the time trial tonight.... drum roll please..... 20.02MPH! Goal attained. Though I'm sure I'm getting stronger, I'm finding that there was more in(side me) all along. There's a spiritual lesson in there for all of us. You can handle more than you think you can. I shaved 24 seconds off my last best time, not in a huge push, but in little consistent improvements and mental discipline along the whole route."

Wise words from a wise man that can be applied to ALL aspects of life!

All three of my kids are gunning to do the "Kids' Iron Man" next summer. They'll do it too!

As for me, I am going to be racing in my first race ever in about four weeks. All I can do is train the best I can and leave the rest to God. My son asked, "Mom, will you train for a half-marathon after this?" "Why not?" I thought! Why not!?

Go GOD! You are our everything!

Life is a blast when you take care of the body God gave you because everything just feels better, operates better, and filters better (including emotions and thought patterns!)

I trust you are being a wise steward of the body God has given you. Death ends all opportunity to sow, so I encourage you to make wise choices that lead to greater dimensions of life!

I recently read a quote from a poet I'd like to share with you:

"I don't want to get to the end of my life
and find that I have just lived the length of it.
I want to have lived the width of it as well."



Amen!

Happy living, everyone!
Deborah

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sidetracked -- sort of ---

So, you may be wondering where I have been lately. Last month I launched a closed blog for women who were serious about the stewardship of their health. It has been such a blessing to me, as well as to the women participating. God is working through it to provide love, wisdom, and encouragement! Such a thrill!

As a result, I have not had adequate time to blog here, but all is well in our household as well as with Joy In The Morning! I pray you all are doing well too!

In just a matter of a few weeks, the autumn season will be upon us, and I for one am thrilled! I love running outside when there is a slight chill in the air!

Speaking of running, I have decided to run in a race to help raise funds to combat child trafficking. It will be such an awesome experience to run with others who support this great cause. The race is at the end of September, so it is time to crank up the heat on my training.

I hope you all are staying active and healthy while pressing further into God. There just simply are no ceilings to what God can do if we are abiding in Him and believing!

Have a blessed week!
Deborah

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Divided, the Movie"

This is a MUST watch for anyone in church -- and certainly for ALL parents!

Watch it FREE by clicking the title below!

"Divided, the Movie"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"...days of adversity..."

"Blessed is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law,
that You may give him power to keep himself calm in the
days of adversity,
until the pit of corruption is dug for the wicked."
Psm 94:12-13

Are you feeling anxious about anything this morning? Sit awhile and thank Him that He grants to us the power to keep calm in the days of adversity! What an incredible gift this is in the time for which we find ourselves living! I don't have TV - so I didn't watch the President last night, and to be candid, I consider it a gift to have not heard him. (Meaning absolutely NO disrespect to him or the office he holds. I just consider it a blessed element to not pay heed to him, the media, or the entertainment world in general.) But most gratefully, I do hear God! And clearly He is saying He will discipline me, keep me, instruct me, and steady me through all my days -- regardless of unemployment rates, crazy politics, bills to be paid, trials, struggles, "puzzles," and anything else!

I haven't said it in awhile, but it bears being said right now as we all start our day. He is our Good Shepherd - ever watchful - ever present - ever able to effectively and powerfully tend to and provide for His flock!

Say it to yourself out loud, "He is MY Good Shepherd!" Personalize it! Then put your shoulders back - square them - and face your day with courage and calmness! Two HUGE gifts from Abba to His people!

I pray this will aid in the "renewing of your mind" TODAY as God transforms you and brings you into a place of supernatural calmness and steadiness found only in Him!

Love to you!
Deborah

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Catching up!

Wow. It's been almost an entire month since I last wrote. Truthfully, time has just been plain limited! And when I did have a moment, I found my mental marbles to write somewhat lacking. Actually, "somewhat" is a bit stretching.... they were no where to be found! Thankfully, that was then -- and now is now! So, hello, my friends!

As part of the activity, a "life event" in a family member's life came and went this past month. It is interesting to me at how life almost freezes when such events come up on the horizon. And once they pass, life seems to pull back onto the highway.

Part of motivating again has brought with it a renewed sense of motivation in the exercise department. I'm contemplating running my first race this Fall. Do I dare over the age of forty? You bet! Nothing but a number, you know! In addition, my dear husband became creative this summer in how he works exercise into his life. (With three children, a wife, and a job, creativity is a must!) For the past month or so, he has been biking to work several times a week. As his commute to work is about twelve miles each way, it makes for great exercise! (Whoohoo, honey! Keep it up! I am so proud of you!) I figure aging is unavoidable, but how we do it is completely a matter of choice! Choose wisely!

Remember, dear ones! Life is not to be spectated; it is to lived!

For those interested, I have an article I'll be posting in the next few days!

It's good to be back!
Deborah

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A note I'm passing along....

This morning I wrote the following encouragement to a sister of mine who has small children. I well recall the days where I longed for ear plugs that prevented hearing the bickering, and the "mommy" this, and the "mommy" that. But alas, older moms know well, "This too will pass!"

So if you are a mother to young children, allow me to pass along a bit of encouragement to you today from me, a fellow sister and a fellow mother.

"I feel you, my sister. Life is demanding, now isn't it? 'Life cocoons' - as I call them - apply refinement pressure to net transformation. They often squeeze us to the outer limits, but with divine purpose, my dear. Divine.

I loved the brilliant demonstration of the (work) exchange! Love it! Experiencing other's trials is certainly eye opening. Continue those exchanges with *your children,* too. A significant part of our role as mothers is not to cover our children, but to work ourselves out of our 'job' as mothers by training them to do the very things we have done for them. I know you know this, so don't take these words as 'preaching' so much as confirming your path.

May I encourage you to not give in -- to not give up -- and to never cease pouring yourself out. But the pouring out is not to be an 'enabling pouring out' --- but an 'equipping pouring out' -- where we transfer our knowledge to our children for the purpose of putting THEIR action behind our teaching. At the very core, we - as their Christian parents - are their first 'God-trainers' they are to experience. We are the first ones that teach them 'be doers of the Word, not hearers only.' And that means we have to stand down, so they can step up! Amen! (Even in the seemingly mundane every day tasks. Recall the stewardship principle of being faithful with the small!)

I know it is tiring, but the dividends to teach them, and yes, often 'hound' them, WILL pay off far more than you 'doing' for them. As a mom of teens, let me say *it does work.* But 'seed, time, and harvest' doesn't come out of a microwave. There are no microwaves in God's Kingdom.... only slow cookers that apply constant, consistent pressure. We, as God-submitted- parents, are our children's first 'life cocoon.' And such cocoons do yield the most incredible transformations!

I just want to encourage you today, my sister, keep on the path. May God multiple exponentially the small moments of rest and deep exhaling moments, granting to you His gas to finish well. Yes, praise Him -- they do grow up! But by all means, know He is right there with you... ever ready to catch you up in His arms. He hasn't put you in this place for failure. Oh no, my dear! He has put you in this place because He knows you will succeed... even on the days when you think you have failed the worst! 'Greater is He who in you!' Loving you from afar! ♥"


I pray a flood of encouragement over all mothers with children still in the "nest!" Have a blessed day with your brood!

Deborah

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cannolis and peaches... oh my!

We had a peach of a weekend.... literally and figuratively.

Yesterday, dear hubby and eldest son began their weekend with an hour long bike ride at 7:00 a.m.

Meanwhile, I hit my books. Now that is my idea of a good beginning to a great day.

Once they arrived back home, my youngest son and I headed out for a "mommy/son" breakfast date. Yum! Of course -- we had to pick up a few doughnuts on the way home for the "left behind" members of the family. (Brownie point redemption, don't you know!)

The rest of the day was spent with the neighborhood kids and our children playing ping-pong, as dear hubby and I visited with a dear friend. We wrapped up the day with homemade chicken salad, some after dinner coffee, and a movie. Sweet!

This morning we, as a family, took the day off, and headed for a local market to delight in cannolis! Oh dear me, before we even made it to the pastry counter, we were delighted with all manner of samples that included fresh cherries, plums, pineapple...... and peaches! Merciful heavens! Once I received the sweet smell of peaches... that was it. A trip to the Farmer's Market was a must. I have been putting off a trip to the Farmer's Market simply because it is a good ways from my home, but the local market we ventured to is almost at the half way point between the Farmer's Market and my home. It was agreed by all that a trip to apprehend the freshest peaches available was a must. Before departing though, we did venture over to the pastry counter and bought a dozen mini-cannolis. Do I need to convey just how sweet this time was for the family? (Pun completely intended!)

Once at the Farmer's Market, we found our particular peach vendor who I return to year after year. I confess I am a loyalist to a most proven peach farmer! And Mr. Farmer-man did not disappoint! I found truly ripe peaches all ready to be enjoyed at lunch! Super fabulous! And before leaving, I could not resist picking up local unfiltered honey! The Market was a bit on the crowded side, so we purchased our two items and headed for home.

Such a great ending to our first week of summer!

Before signing off though, I want to put voice to my awareness that not all people spent their weekend in an "oasis" of sorts. There are times when we --- myself included --- are surrounded by dry places, and those times are, let's face it, hard. So if a "dry place" better describes your weekend, take heart and take a bit of time to meditate on the following verse:

He changes a wilderness
into a pool of water,
and
a dry land
into springs of water.

Psm 107:35

Loving you!
Deborah

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A little nugget for you today.....

I was encouraging a dear friend this morning when I wrote the following:

"Just remember: With God, there is [a sense of] diligence -- not panic! Don't ever -- ever -- ever forget this! It is a cornerstone precept that yields peace in the process of refinement."

As I wrote the words, and before I had sent the note, it strongly hit my spirit to share this with you all. I pray it speaks volumes to you as we are all, in fact, "in the process of refinement" -- are we not?

Be encouraged today!

Forsake panic,
Embrace diligence,
And rest in His peace!


Loving you!
Deborah

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday and what is to come....

Tonight I ran my children to youth group.... along with some kids from the neighborhood. The vehicle was packed, and I was thrilled! I am so delighted to see my children unashamed and openly sharing Jesus with those they come across. Whoohoo!

We had a fun time talking "shop" in the car. The conversation went like so when my eldest discovered my youngest was going to join them tonight:

"But, Mom, sometimes the conversation is a bit mature for him."

"We're talking about Colossians tonight," interjected my daughter.

"It'll be just fine," I said.

One of the neighborhood kids asked, "What is Colossians?"

Oh the joy of imparting Bible knowledge to the youth of today! All I could think was "Jesus, meet 'so-n-so', and 'so-n-so,' meet Jesus!" What an incredible opportunity to introduce three people to the One who makes my heart beat!

After dropping off the children, I rode home listening to a song on a CD. Honestly I pictured just taking flight into the heavenlies. The clouds just seemed to say, "Come on, join us!" Alas, my task here on earth has just barely begun, but my heart "amens" the lyrics: "Let me go home, I'm just too far from where You are; I want to come home..." Often times I experience such intense heartache just to go home and be with the One who I talk with ... the One I walk with.... the One who carries me along the way. Yep, the hunger between He and I tonight was tangible. If I could, I most certainly would have busted through the top of my car and taken flight into His arms. I suppose it was divinely wise of Him to disallow "ability to fly" in mankind's characteristics. But I am so thankful through the power of His Spirit I have full assurance that eventually my day will come, and I'll be able to answer not just the clouds beckon, but my Love's beckon to join Him! Glory!

Until then -- I'll keep doing what I am meant to do.... share Him with others. Two articles will be coming soon to JITM's website. One is entitled "The Mirror Within," and the other is "When God's Plan Feels More Like a Prison."

I love sharing the reality of God with people. He's not some ethereal, distant God. No! He is someone who desires to walk with you through your day -- hour by hour.

Life is meant to be a journey that leaves us more hungry for His presence at the end of each day than when we began our day. Read that again and then ask yourself: "Is this the case with me?" Be careful to give yourself an honest answer. God works with honesty!

Let me ask you this: Do you ever ask God at the end of your Sunday service, "Lord, is Your hunger for fellowship satisfied?" Or are your thoughts hijacked by thoughts of lunch and the afternoon? (Again -- honest answers, dear one; honest answers.)

Are we focused on leaving God "full," or are we more focused on being the one filled?

I desperately want God to not just know I adore Him, but be filled to overflowing with my active adoration every day I am gifted with breath.

What about you?

Just a few things to think about as you close your Sunday.....

Loving you tonight... Have a blessed week!
Deborah

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Read lately?

Point of trivia: Thomas Jefferson sold his personal collection (+/-6,500 books!) to the government in 1815. This transaction really gave a huge boost to the Library of Congress, which began in 1800 during President Adam's tenure, but was fairly destroyed in 1814 when the British set fire to the Capitol building.

I am pretty sure I won't own nearly 6,500 books in my lifetime, but I most likely will have read that many. (Wonder if I should start counting now? That number might be kind of interesting toward the end of my life, don't you think? Well, maybe only to myself... but still.)

Have you picked up a book lately?

Some of my fondest childhood memories are my visits with my great-grandparents. My great-grandfather loved books. He always had stacks of books by his chair that he was actively reading through. Great-grandfather never told me to read, but I always saw his stack of books. Perhaps those stacks of books seen on a regular basis drove a reading root down into my being.

My mother was also faithful through my childhood years to take me to the library. I would surmise that I read "Caddie Woodlawn" at least a half a dozen times in one summer. That book was my favorite childhood book of all time. A few years ago I checked it back out at the library to reread it yet again. Yep, still love it!

Last night I made my way to the library alone. I checked out six books, and started reading two of them last night. They are what I call "pleasure books." Then there are my study books. These are by far where I can stay consumed for hours and hours on end. The other morning when I had to sit at the tire shop I took my book satchel and studied. (No use wasting precious time!) Currently I am in deep study of Galatians, having just completed a study of I Corinthians. Slowly God is leading me through Paul's writings, and I am loving every minute.

Some people say, "Well, I don't read much" or "I don't really enjoy reading." My youngest child once said this too. But after I took the lead (after all, I am the parent!) and required it of him to both listen to me read as well as having him read to me, he now asks, "So are we goin' to read now?!" What used to be an irritant or dislike has been transformed into a pleasure and a sincere like.

Habits. You do know you can form new advantageous habits at any age, don't you? If you have never cared for reading, you just can't imagine what you are forfeiting. God approves of reading, after all solid evidence is witnessed in that He had His words written down. ;o) That should be hint enough. I want to encourage you to read this summer. Take the time. It is a precious and wise thing to slow oneself down and read! The treasures are just waiting to be revealed between the covers of a book. You do like treasures, don't you?

One last word: choose your books wisely. Focus on what is profitable -- what is Godly. There are a lot of "hip and happening books" publishers would just love to shove under your nose, but be wise and discerning through His Spirit within you about what you feed your mind, soul, and spirit!

Last night at the library, I headed straight for the Christian literature. When I got there, I perused the titles. The books I came home with had to come home with me. I don't know how else to describe it. I didn't even bother to read the back covers of the books... I just knew. Sure enough -- the first book I dug into when I arrived home had to do with Nehemiah. I would have never known this by the title, but I had just finished a study on Nehemiah in April and God knew. That's all that really ever counts... listening to God 'cause He knows. It just thrills me to the bone to follow Him, right down to my reading material! There is an ease when we learn His voice by following Him day by day. He'll not pick something out for you to read that is not for your benefit! So if you take me up on my suggestion to do some reading this summer, make sure you are listening to God's direction when perusing the choices out there..... and then enjoy every page! As the saying goes, "Hold a book in your hand and you're a pilgrim at the gate of a new city." Choose your "city of exploration" carefully!

Defining and performing new beneficial habits is always such a blessing because the benefits far exceed the immediate moment of sowing!

Have a delightful read! I know I will!
Deborah

Monday, May 23, 2011

Randomness

So I figured I would break my blog absence with some randomness.

1) Next Friday is the last day of school. Do you hear the angels singing? Just kidding, but don't be surprised if you hear us singing!

2) I have been on an online "JITM" sabbatical since the west coast conference... minus May 8th, of course! ;o)

3) My heart is so appreciative and aware of God's wisdom, grace, and strength that leads me through my days. He is my "forever Rock," and I love Him so much! Do you know Him? Really know Him??

4) I am really enjoying the fact that our home seems to have become the "hang out" place for our kids and their friends. Of course the fact that my kids have great friends makes it that much more enjoyable for both kids and parents alike! ;o)

5) It is a fine thing to have supper prepared and the kitchen already cleaned up! I see a very relaxing evening afoot.

I trust you have your own "randomness" that makes you smile too! Enjoy the shift of the season from spring to summer..... stay cool.. and we'll talk soon!

Blessings!
Deborah

Sunday, May 8, 2011

B'day Cake! Yum!

Happy 13th Birthday, sweet one!
Here's to many many more!