Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Start A-Fresh

This morning I awoke early and ready to start the day.

I went downstairs and proceeded to do about two hours of intense stretching. (I did say "awoke *early*.")

Through the stretches, the deep breathing.... and the pain (hello!), I say things like, "Lord, take this tension. Take all the tension from all the years now gone.  I choose to release it from this body, Lord...."

I have been amazed ...truly amazed... at how much freer I am not just in body, but mind, soul, and spirit.

We store things up, don't we?  Both positive and negative. For years and years.  Sometimes not even consciously doing so.

Our bodies, if we are not careful, become a type of store house.  For many, we pack our store house to the brim. It is dark, unkempt, dusty, and musty.... and perhaps even moldy from the tears we shed and kept...instead of turning over to the Lord.

In contrast, I believe we were created to be a beautiful, clean, open building of exchange...of invite.  Even now, I picture my building with lots and lots of windows.... raised, of course (anyone who knows me - knows the windows MUST be raised!)  A cool fall breeze is blowing through. I cleaned house for two hours this morning. It's just beautiful.... and it becomes more and more beautiful every time I take time to tend to my being's house.

Some of you need to learn how to begin.  Take the smallest box.... or the smallest corner... but START.

I have this car ornament that hangs from my rear view mirror. I ran out to the garage just now and snapped a picture for you.

It is an ongoing reminder to me that the past is just that ....passed.   And the more I focus on the condition of my house today, the more it becomes a beautiful dwelling I truly enjoy.

A clean house before the Lord is a peaceful house. It's light and airy.

A clean house is a house prepared for His habitation. Oh, the joy!

I want Him to enjoy being in my house as much as I want to enjoy being in my house.

During my time this morning, the instructor was talking about one of the reasons deep breathing is so important during intense stretching is that as the body fights to let go of the tension, the mind's instruction to go into deep methodical breathing overrides the body's fight, and through the mind the nervous system overrides the body's muscles, requiring the body to let go.

The scientist in me loves that.  It's science confirming the Word, where the spirit directs the mind and the mind the body... down to the most basic physical functions.

Breathing is a constant reminder of "starting a-fresh" with every new breath.  I like that.

I then opened the Word and I was directed to on-going concepts of sowing and the coming judgement of Christ.  I get that for some that concept of judgement can bring an initial cringe because decisions made earlier in life weren't in line with God's ways, but here's the Good News.  YOU can start a-fresh... TODAY.

Every day brings new opportunity to sow wisely.  With every passing day of WISE sowing, guess what you are going to yield?  GOOD fruit!  Fruit you will want to share!  Fruit you will actually possess to share!

Two months ago, when I started this intense, methodical stretching, I could hardly do any of it.  I was as stiff as a buckboard.  Today, I can bend in crazy ways.  Reminds me of that song, "I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy...."   (You know how I love tree symbolism!)

So, today.... wherever YOU are.... take courage.... inspect your house.... your body... internal and external..... and begin.... taking baby steps if needs be... "a box" ... "a corner"... somewhere...anywhere you feel prompted .... and start.  

Tomorrow's harvest depends on your start today.

Isaiah 30: 21-22 states, "You will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images.  You will scatter them as unclean things.  You will say to them, 'Be gone!' THEN He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture."

Take a moment to re-read this passage and meditate on it a few moments.

Notice the "cleaning out of the house"  - Different people have different idols, but we ALL have them... be they people, or things, or ideas of what should have been or what was/is or what we think will be....BUT whatever they are to YOU, YOU have to eradicate them from your life!  (God will NOT do this for you!)

....   THEN faithful planting .....

...... THEN HE promises to rain on the seed YOU plant (If you don't plant, there is nothing for Him to water. Hello!)

...... THEN the promise of plenty.

There is an order to the process. You can't skip steps.... or worse yet, walk in the delusion that somehow the "plenty" will come without even starting the process!  (HELLO!)

Today, I challenge you: start a-fresh.  Take the time to clean, then to sow.

May YOUR house be a peaceful, delightful, clean house for your being and for God Himself!

Open the windows, let the wind blow through, perhaps for the first time... sit a while with God....have a cup of tea or coffee together... breathe deep.... talk or don't talk.... you may just want to sit silently with Him.... but START....start methodically and intentionally stewarding your house...physically, mentally, emotionally ..... the residence of your being and of God....


Saturday, September 23, 2017


It's now 4:45 AM.... Saturday morning.  (No name calling, you hear!)

I have the house to myself, and I get giddy at the thought of what this weekend will bring to mind, body, soul, and spirit!

No reason to waste time.

In this early hour, I meditate on just how profoundly quiet my corner of the world is at the moment. I stepped outside just minutes ago. In the distance, I could hear lawn sprinklers...an oddly comforting rhythm of sound; but beyond that, nothing.  All was still.

Stillness.  It is both an art and a blessing.  

Just three years ago, I recall reading "The Sacred Year," by Michael Yankoski.  

I enjoyed it so much that I shared it with my kids, reading it aloud to them. I found Michael's year long journey compelling; though odd at times - such as slowing down I believe it was an hour to eat an apple; a practice he encouraged his readers to try.

I didn't go the apple-eating route, but after reading his book, I did habitually begin taking segments of my day and slowing them way down, such as rising earlier than my norm to eat my breakfast slowly and then taking time in the evening to sit in quiet, evaluate my day, and offer the "day's package" up to the Lord.  These practices I continue to do most every day. I do find my life far richer from these practices of intentionality and evaluation. 

Without question, whether we approve or not, life comes at us with an intense pace. Even for those of us who tend to thrive on intensity, society's pace can be wearing, if not put into check from time to time. 

The other day I was having a conversation with a precious individual and the word "parameters" came up several times.  During this conversation, as I was strongly recommending the concept become a part of their life, internally it occurred to me that I function at a relative high rate of capacity because I learned the practice of parameters some time back.  

Parameters of priorities.
Parameters of reality.
Parameters of time.
Parameters of ethics.
Parameters of choice and subsequent consequence.
etc., etc., etc.

Do you ever just take the time to ponder the parameters in your life? 

I encourage you to do so.  Re-evaluate - or perhaps evaluate for the first time ever - the presence of parameters of your life.  Are they even present?

A take away from Michael's book was the intentional slowing down to methodically inspect the parameters in one's life such that a state of order was given place... even in a high capacity lifestyle such as his.

Spin down so that one can spin up, so to speak.

In keeping with the heart of evaluation, this weekend will be such a time for me.  All is quiet and will remain quiet for my entire weekend. It's a gift not to be wasted....not to be slept away.

(Hello! Nothing wrong with rest, but the Word does have something to say regarding habitual bed-wallowing. Curious?  Well, you may want to peruse  Proverbs 6:9-11 and Proverbs 20:13, but a word of warning: once you read them, you very well may feel a frequent gut check ... especially when reaching to hit the snooze "just one more time".  The Word is living, sharp, and meant to transform... so don't get miffed.... resolve to receive It's life-giving truths.... and be transformed by It! ♡ )

Yes, indeed.... even now, before the sun rises..... I exhale, I inhale.....I savor.... I spin down so that I may spin up and run on "with patience the race that is set before" me....  

This weekend may you too find moments to savor, to evaluate, to spin down so that you can spin up and run on with joy, perseverance, and purpose the race set before YOU!

♡ Godspeed ♡

Thursday, September 21, 2017



This is such a foreign concept to me, but as I am well into middle age, it is a concept that I am witnessing more and more from my contemporaries, whether it be in actual word or observable deed.

Other terms with the same concept, but with overtones of "icing" to make them sound  a tad better:




Now, don't get me wrong. None of these things are inherently wrong, BUT the rub is when such terms are used in the context of "cloaked surrender"... a giving up on life, if you will.

Lately, when I have heard them, they are most certainly in the context of surrender... a resignation that things just are as they are and always will be as they are.

That's NOT okay.

2 Timothy 1:7:   "For God did NOT give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), BUT (He gave us a spirit) of POWER and of LOVE and of CALM and WELL-BALANCED MIND and DISCIPLINE and SELF-CONTROL."

Take a moment and re-read that verse.  Really meditate on those words in all caps.

I'm not talking about taking these words and applying them to everything and everyone NOT you.

I'm asking that you take them and apply them to only YOU, as if you were in a vacuum.

Does your INTERNAL life reflect those attributes.... or have you just given in to your flesh to go and do as it FATALLY chooses to go and do?

I have long sense held myself to a particular standard based SOLELY upon a deep understanding of stewardship.   I AM going to give an account for HOW (ie rooted in courage or fear; faith or doubt) I made my decisions, AND what I did with my mind, with my time, with my resources, with my witness (hello!), and with my body.

No one gets a pass on this judgement time before God.  Make no mistake, that point in time WILL come with absolute certainty.

That keeps me sober.  Plain and simple.

I have tremendous respect for God, and while I do not look to my actions to save me (ie: as in the incorrect theology of a works based salvation).... I do believe in the very foundation of stewardship as divinely set and commanded into being by God Himself dating to the beginning of time itself with Adam.

Paul wrote in I Corinthians 9:25, "Every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts HIMSELF in ALL things."

Note, it does NOT say "....restricts his/her kids, his/her wife/husband, his/her co-workers, his/her friends..... it says HIMSELF/HERSELF.  Get your eyes OFF everyone else and ON you!

One of the very first lessons I taught my children when they were very young is to say "NO" to THEMSELVES.  If they heard me say it once, they heard me say it literally a thousand times growing up.

"You must learn to say 'no' to yourself."

The world almost audibly gasps at this concept.

But God clearly commands, "....deny yourself, pick up YOUR cross daily, and follow Me."

It's the very foundation of stewardship.

Too many relish in all the liberties/freedoms of Christianity so called protected under the covering of God's grace and love.  But we need to remind ourselves STERNLY of Paul's words, "I have the right to do anything, so you say -- but not everything is beneficial.  I have the right to do anything, but not everything is constructive."

In a day and age where so many are simply settling into the flesh's cravings, their health is going to pot from the junk they put into their bodies, their mind is going to pot from the consumption of all things garbage and unholy, and as a result, their spirit is growing darker and darker... and their spiritual ears are deafening more and more... by the day.

I am fairly certainly this has been a hard read for a number of you, but just as Paul had to say the hard thing in his day, I am sternly reminding us all that the words he spoke nearly 2000 years ago to the Corinthian church, APPLY TODAY.

Whether you heed them or not is a matter between you and God, but I fervently pray you embrace with sobering understanding you WILL give an account for rather you settled....dare I say GAVE IN and GAVE UP.... in this life; or you, by HIS power that is WITHIN you, rose above... conquered... and took dominion.... just as HE commanded you to do.

 The choice is yours.

Again, I edify you... choose wisely.

♡ Godspeed ♡

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Avoid Landing on Your Rear!

Good day to you!

Before diving into the meat of this writing, appease me as I share a few birthday pictures from today (Sunday).....

Bonded brothers forever!

I am forever humbled to have
been given these TREASURES by God!

There are moments to be serious....
THIS is not one of them!  CAKE!

Fun times!

As dear daughter wrote on her Facebook page,
"Happy birthday to these crazy young men. Kirby is 21 today, and Vic Vic is 16 (whattt?!)
It will be a cold day in hell when y'all don't have my back.
So excited to see where y'all take life,
and where God takes y'all. Love you both to death.  "

The forever bond between them is God-formed
and mama-nurtured.....just sayin'. ;o)

So, sitting today in church, God interjected a series of pictures into my head. As of late, I had been pondering contention.... more specific, my determination to not participate in "unsanctioned contention," and the deliberation of situations being either sanctioned or unsanctioned.

In my early years, I would (unfortunately) all-to-willingly step into the "ring of contention" when ANYONE else stepped into said ring. I truly cannot quantify just how much time and energy was expended on nonsense, but through it all -- God did grow me.

A piece of wisdom I taught my children as they began to navigate convictions walked out in the adult world was something God shared with me years ago that stuck.... and stuck at the top of my list of remembrances concerning His personalized instructions.....

"Deborah," He said one fine day as I was about to answer the temptation to step into the ring of contention, "You must learn to discern if the bull is minding his business in his space or charging you. From here on out, unless the bull is coming at you, don't waste time on it."

Point well-taken, God.

I truly cannot quantify just how much time and energy has been saved by forsaking nonsense since His instruction was spoken and followed, and through it all -- God did grow me.

That said, back to the pictures God interjected into my being this morning. The pictures began with a fuzzy picture of a person.... not representing anyone in particular.... just a person.....on one end of a tug-of-war rope. On the other end of the rope was another person. Suddenly, one of them let go of the rope, and the other one landed on their rear.

Immediately, I knew God's pleasure.... you see, I hadn't picked up the rope.... yet. Not in real life, and He was graciously ....with a bit of humor.... confirming that this was His continued will for me in the particular situation(s) I was weighing.

But don't miss this point: there WAS another person on the other end of the rope ready to contend.

A contention requires an opponent. This is where the lesson gets good.

Jesus knew all too well about being "baited" to contend. And let me just be candid.... many of the "baiting sessions" were ones I would have been all to ready to tackle in my youth....."righteous ones"... if you will.

Take Pilate baiting Jesus, "Are you not the King of the Judeans?" When Jesus did not answer, Pilate became even angrier, "Are you not going to answer me?"

It's taken many.... MANY....years for me to learn silence is best when these baiting sessions rear their nasty heads.

Emotions are NOT a valid measurement for justifying contention....even righteous contention!

Do you hear me?  (No, selective hearing here!)

Which brings me to the point of great import..... determine to grow in discernment. To discern sanctioned from unsanctioned engagement.

Jesus did ONLY the will of the Father. Period. He healed ONLY when Father prompted. He went ONLY where Father prompted. He spoke ONLY when Father prompted. He contended ONLY when Father prompted.

As a member of this culture.....as a Christian.... we all must grow in this skill. Too often, we rush the bull. We pick up the end of the rope that is being waved "under our noses". And then we act surprised when we land on our rear.... or worse yet..... we act utterly shocked when we get the horns!

If there is a rope at my feet, I want to know HIS heart on the matter FIRST.

If He calls me to pick up the rope.... I'm going to know without any doubt He is The Anchor.

If He calls me to walk away...and the individual is still begging for a tug-of-war, I figure God Himself will pick up the rope.....and it's not going to end well for the individual......

Let's be found doing life as Jesus did it.... doing ONLY the will of the Father.....in thought AND deed.

Be discerning. 
Be obedient. 
Be sanctioned. 
Be at peace. 


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Milestone BirthdayS Again!

Trying not to sound too cliche, but you know - it is what it is.
It seems like it was only yesterday, we were here...


No, no it does not; it truly seems like a thousand plus days have passed...just as they have!   Ha!

A LOT of ground has been covered in those 1095 days!

Eldest graduated high school, is now closing in on finishing his college degree, began his own business, remains an avid and talented cyclist, and found out Friday (early birthday present from above perhaps) that he very well may be granted a tremendous opportunity to be under the tutelage of one of the top, if not the top, companies in his field of interest and talent.  He only told his sister three times on Friday.... he's just a tad excited.....just a tad.  ;o)

        Fastidious, formidable, faithful
Three power words for my 21 year old!

Youngest hasn't been letting grass grow under his feet either. He's gone into and back out of braces since the last milestone birthday of thirteen. He's gone from middle school to high school, and next year he begins clocking college credits. He's rolled into and out of driver's ed, and now has his sights on his first car, though he'll be waiting until high school graduation as did his siblings. ;o)  He's grown well over six inches, and now at sixteen stands 6'3" tall.  And last but not least, he believes he has zeroed in on his (career) interest and where he desires to attend college.

Fierce, fun, faithful
Three power words for my 16 year old!

So.... all that said....THIS is happening.....(well, it will be as of tomorrow (Sunday))....

There is no nostalgia. Thank God MOST sincerely, He taught me long ago to savor and soak in the moments of life when they occur, and by doing so, there is no wishing years back.

As a cherished friend would say, "Shoot fire ants" (I have no idea what that means - but I laugh every time I hear her say them!) ....I wouldn't wish my sons backwards for anything!

They are INCREDIBLE young men.  Men with vision, tenacity, smarts, and deep character roots. 

No - no going backwards, dear sons!

I pray for them only A FORWARD-FACING ETERNITY (It's all anyone really has!), vigorously continuing to GROW towards and into the One who gave them this cherished gift called LIFE.  

With strong wings, FLY, my sons, to heights only He can take you!  

I will love you until I breathe my last.... and on into eternity.......


Thursday, September 14, 2017

"Soul Bath?"

Ahhhhh - pumpkin spice coffee a-brewing - smooth jazz playing in the house - morning stretching done... I'm telling you all .... taking the time it SO worth it - and a long exhale with Jesus on the couch....

PERFECT beginning to my day.

Now, on to the "meat" that's on my heart.

The other night I was at a ladies' bible study (precious)... and someone said, "You wouldn't think about not taking a bath or shower to wash off the physical dirt of the day, but why is that we forsake so easily the equally important soul bath?"

Oh -- did that ever get my mind to pondering.

"Soul bath"

I like that expression A LOT!

Why is it that the soul bath is too easily forsaken on a daily basis?

I do believe that such forsaking becomes highly evident to those around us.

We sort of begin to .... well... smell... bad.

I can only imagine what we begin to smell like to God!

The necessity to repent has never diminished, though it rarely is discussed in Christian circles these days.

God's love is certainly talked about.

God's mercy is certainly talked about.

God's grace is certainly talked about.

But God's holiness and the absolute necessity to repent of our daily sins .... now that's where we begin to exercise "selective hearing".

And oh boy... does selective hearing ratchet up even further when God's judgement is discussed.

But selective hearing or not.... nothing changes God's character, and one cannot separate God's components that comfort us from God's components that confront us.  (Read that again...carefully.)

We all must take the time to take daily "soul baths".... staying in right relationship with our Creator.... and that absolutely demands we repent as much as we give thanks.

Let the Lord's words speak....

"Come let us discuss this,"
says the Lord.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they will be as white as snow;
though they are as red as crimson,
they will be like wool.
IF you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land.
BUT if you refuse and rebel,
you WILL  be devoured by the sword."
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Isaiah 1: 18-21

Did He get your attention? Talk about a severe contrast of two VERY different outcomes based on the presence or absence of two regular actions from those who call Him Lord: repentance and obedience.

The Cross did NOT and does NOT nullify God's holiness, rather it confirmed it.  He remains forever holy...unblemished... and calls you and I to such a place.  That call REQUIRES daily soul baths in His presence...giving thanks...BUT also contrite repentance. 

Make sure you take your bath today....
and tomorrow....
and the day after that....


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Guard Your Soil

"They shall be My people, and I will be their God; and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.  I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their heart so that they will not turn away from Me."   (Jeremiah 32: 38-40)

I have been pondering these words this week with focus. To emphasize my focus, I wrote part of it down in my memorization book; dedicated to retaining them to memory.

I challenge you to read back through these words S.L.O.W.L.Y.

Let God's commitment rest on you for FAR more than a moment.

Bringing this promise to Israel to me in today's time period is not a stretch for me.  I study the selective words He used to bring home His commitment to those who bend the knee to His Lordship and lay hold of His salvation.

I am a member of His people.

He is my God.

I believe Him to develop (ongoing) a single mindedness of one heart, one way with those I am in relationship... such that WE fear God... WE respect Him and His unsurpassed authority... for our good and the good of our children.

He has made and will uphold His everlasting covenant with me.

He will not turn away from me.

He will do good.

He will continue to nurture within my heart respect, fear, and admonition concerning Him and His character so that I will not turn from Him.... for my own well-being and those around me.

I don't know about you, but the more I meditate on Him, and in particular these words, the elements that would, with great fervor, seek to root anxiety and negativity into my being are denied access to my soil. Though they very well may continue to hover just above my soil, they are not permitted to root into my soil because I actively CHOOSE to meditate and believe HIM.  Remember with great diligence, whatever you allow to root into your soil WILL bear forth a harvest.

Therefore, choose this day what you will meditate on.....what you will permit to root in your soil.

Him or trials.

Him or discouragement.

Him or negativity.

It cannot be both.

Remember - HE - by His very nature - cannot inhabit the same space, just as light cannot share space with darkness.  It is one or the other.

Choose wisely, dear ones.  I know it is often a BATTLE.... sometimes, a battle of great paramount ...... but choose God.... then HOLD the ground ....GUARD the ground ....with ALL your might, knowing the TRUTH:

"YOU are from GOD, little children, and HAVE overcome them; because greater (oh, FAR greater) is HE who is IN YOU than he who is in the world!"   I John 4:4.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Snapshot Sunday

Sharing a bit of my restful weekend before this week begins. 

Hot Chai Latte on a wonderful 
fall, cool evening

Dear daughter is a great 
side-kick in taking life down
a few notches.

And this.  Something we ALL can appreciate.

Blessings to each of you as you begin a
♡ new week. ♡

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Peace or Hurricane?

Fall is upon us!  This thrills my soul to pieces!

I stepped out early this morning to walk the pups, and there it was... the crisp morning air I have long awaited.

Every year, I wait for this morning.  

We went slow.

Each step an inhale...an exhale.

I relished the moments.

The external peace reverberated with my internal peace.

This is not always the case with humanity.

Even now Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida.  Not at all the picture of external peace.

But I pause and ponder..... how many people live their lives with a hurricane within?

I believe the numbers are vast.

Christ left us with these powerful words.....

"PEACE I leave with you; MY peace I GIVE you.  NOT as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled; neither let them be afraid."  John 14:27

Did you catch the specific wording He chose?
Action words... decision making words.

He gave....but just as in His gift of salvation.... the CHOICE to utilize His gift is up to you.  Clearly you can choose anxiety, restlessness....the internal hurricane.  BUT, the good news is... as HIS child, He DID leave you a choice: His peace.  (First, you must receive His gift of salvation though; let's be very clear on that point.)

Ah, His tranquility residing internally.   Now, there is a GIFT!

As always, choose wisely today, siblings-in-Christ.

WITH Christ, you are NOT subject to your external NOR your internal angst.

Godspeed....always. ♡

Friday, September 8, 2017

Your Life... Live It; God's Way!

We all have "confines" in life.  For some, those confines are translated through action as cliffs or, at the very least, road blocks....aka: hindrances.   For some, they are simply backpacks of treasures.

It's all in one's perspective.

I recall when my eldest child was born. He was but three days old, and I was out running errands with him.... good ole Walmart, even.  Same week, I remember a few people making a big deal as I toured our church at the time -- under a bit of construction -- nursing my newborn as I walked around... covered, of course.  "Multitasking" they called it.  I simply called it life. I never saw him as an impedance, but  rather a treasure that I would guard and cherish for as long as this life endured.

If we take a moment and examine with great candor our internal mind and heart, how do we see those around us on a daily basis?

I know that most -- if given a quick thought -- would likely say "blessings".... BUT, if we examined... truly examined... how we interact with those "blessings" around us, our actions may very likely convey "burden".

What a tragedy.

Recently, I had a conversation with a precious lady who is also a mother.  Her heart was heavy because her husband's habit as he comes through the door is to start in on the kids... what they have or have not done... what they are or are not doing.  She said, "I have started intercepting him at the door and saying, 'Just say hello to them.'"

Mercy.  Think about what that father is conveying to his children.  Think about what he is NOT conveying to his children. His tension and negative energy have become the home's tension and negative energy, and the hearts of those in his care are receiving the clear message that they are burdens and not blessings.

Blessings or burdens.....  treasures or encumbrances...

Are you valuing what God values; or are you sending out action messages that those around you are burdens?

I went to see "Home Again" today.  I neither condone the movie nor condemn it, but I will say there was a scene in the movie where the ex-husband flies cross country and announces, "Oh, how I have missed you! Please give us another chance."  (Paraphrased...I cannot recall the exact verbiage.)  It struck me; he missed what she brought to his existence.... when, if he had flipped it around years back and seen her as a blessing to sow into, he probably wouldn't have found himself in the painful situation.  

Why does it often take loss before our eyes are open?

To one and all.....it's your life...no arguing that point.... but permit me to ask....

Are you living it with GOD's value system.... where people are blessings, not burdens... worth ALL the time and resources we can possibly give them.... (Remember with fierce remembrance, He spared NOT His own son.... His only son....for our sake; setting the value system bar in its Divine place.....leaving NO question concerning His expectation of us)........OR are you living in accordance to the world's system... where the desire is to minimize and marginalize everyone who is perceived as a drain on personal time, mental energy, and resources?

As I continue to drill home the point.... it's your CHOICE... but remember with fierce remembrance, EVERY choice has consequence.....
Choose WISELY.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

New Experience Wednesday

So, I did something this morning that I haven't done in about six years.... attend a ladies Bible study group...
a new ladies Bible study group.

I believe, to be honest, I talked more with God during the encounter than I listened.

It was far more of a challenge for me to simply be there.... even observing... than I ever thought it would be.

What struck me .... yet again... was just how diverse the Body of Christ is... but more specifically, the sisterhood of Christ.

"Where in the world do I fit, Lord?"

I KNOW I am not the only one to assess... seemingly endlessly... this ponderance.

The other day I was driving down the highway. Unusually, there were not any cars in sight for a good long distance.... so much so that the closest car in my sight seemed the size of a matchbox car.  Further still, my thoughts continued, "Lord, if that car is that tiny, how much tinier is the person driving it.  And further still, how crazy is it that You are mindful of the literal specks that make up humanity!?"

Frequently, I ponder my smallness, but it is not in the scope of pity or wishing I were bigger.

I actually believe that the realization of just how small I truly am magnifies God's greatness that He not only knows me.... but knows me on a cellular level..... atomic level.  That's truly awe-inspiring to this little, little sheep.  The Creator of the entire Universe knows me.... KNOWS ME.



There's that pop-culture Christian tune.... "Who am I that You are mindful of me?"

When I navigate down my stairs in the dark of the early morning..... and He quietly sits with me....I do not have the answer....

When I am in a ladies Bible study... and I feel Him slip up beside me, lean His ear in to my thoughts..... I do not have the answer....

When I have ten different people asking me ten different questions at work....and He quietly whispers, "Breathe, I am here."... I do not have the answer....

It is a mind....it's a soul... it's a spirit...it's the totality of a human being.... one lone sheep... that is stretched and simply will never...NEVER.....  go back to its old dimensions....

Forever grateful.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Housekeeping and Other

In case you were speculating about my "chattiness" lately, I'm back...for real.

I have shuffled my schedule around to allow a bit more breathing time in the mornings than my last few years have afforded me. 

That would be housekeeping item number one..... just simply stating I'll be around a whole lot more in the days to come, sharing my musings as lead.  

Housekeeping item number two.... a plug for flexibility.  I know.... weird, right?  But seriously, in keeping with the mindset to "move forward"... both literally and figuratively.... I have made adjustments again to my schedule to simply make time for morning stretching EVERY day; and boy, what a difference it has made in my over all feeling of well being.  The scientist in me always jumps at the opportunity to experiment... and this has been nothing but a positive experiment that will stay with me until I breathe my last. So, two thumbs up for morning stretching that has returned a serious degree of flexibility back to me!

As a side note to all my health and wellness cohorts -- the more active you are -- the more flexibility MUST be a part of your routine.  Muscles become tighter and tighter the more they are worked .... so be mindful to stretch them out.... daily!

Okay, moving on.

I've been pondering the effects of negativity a lot these days.  The older I become the more I am utterly REPELLED away from negativity. In my younger years, I combated the effects of negativity.  Now, wisdom has taught me that until Jesus returns negativity is going to be a RESIDING SPIRIT in this world.  To fight against it is folly.  A waste of time.  Jesus didn't waste His time... He AFFECTED those who desired change.  Those with a spirit of negativity that choose to remain negativity's sidekick seem to thrive off of attempting to infect those around them.  

Well, thank you, but no thank you.... keep those "germs" to yourself!

You see, I belong to the "camp" -- if you will -- that believes negativity has NO place in the Christian's life.  None whatsoever.  

Christ died..... full of faith that God would raise Him up.

Paul was imprisoned.... yet rejoiced in song.

John was exiled to an island......yet discovered his richest days and wrote one of the most profound books of the  Bible during his isolation.

I don't believe it is possible to have the Holy Spirit within and not be REPELLED away from negativity.  It's like oil and water. The more Christ-like we become, the more the spirit of negativity is polarized.  It's simply a by-product of Christ's nature.  He is not negative... therefore we are not to be negative.  It's truly that black and white.

"I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13

"Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. I will say it again; REJOICE."  Philippians 4:4

ZERO negativity.  ZERO critical-ness.  That's the goal.... and it happens by taking EVERY thought captivity (not just some of them some of the time).... by heavily monitoring our spoken word..... by repenting of our critical-ness (hello!) (in heart and word!)....and asking God to exchange more and more and more of us for HIM (the absolute ONLY way to overcome and rid ourselves of the negative spirit that dominates this world)... until we see as He sees... until we say what He says.... until we behave as He behaves. Period!

I truly pray YOU become a part of His camp. The more I ponder the spirit of negativity the more I think how utterly miserable it must be to trapped in such a camp....but I am reminded there is HOPE in Christ's words, "The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."   (Luke 4:18-19)

It's your choice to embrace His offer of exchange .... bondage for freedom.... misery for joy.... blindness for sight.... negativity for.... well....HIM!   HE CAME and OVERCAME.  WE overcome and RISE ABOVE in HIM.  

Choose your camp wisely.....


Monday, September 4, 2017

Reflections on Homeschooling

17 years.

6,220 days COMPLETED.

345 days to go.

I can do this.

About this time for the past seventeen years, I have given myself a pep-talk.

"You got this.  Just another year.  No big deal."

But, seventeen years later...... it's A BIG DEAL.

This year is the other bookend to an epic journey "17 books" in the making.

First bookend is etched with the date 8/2000.

The last bookend will be etched with the date 5/2018.

Two kiddos graduated from high school... now in COLLEGE.
(Two of my favorite photos of them from this year.)

One kiddo left -- a sophomore in high school.
(My strong, tall, handsome sidekick this year.)

This is his last year with me before dual-enrolling in community college as a junior in high school.

Lord, how I love them!  I truly believe a mama's heart miraculously enlarges with each passing year so as to contain all the love that comes with each day shared!

To be honest, if not for the MANY photo albums, the years would be somewhat of a mental blur. But the oddest thing is that in addition to those numerous photo albums, I have countless mental pictures of days gone by, starting with the precious ones of being sandwiched on the couch between my two eldest little ones as I taught them to read.

I NEVER thought I would teach them all the way through to high school graduation.

N. E. V. E. R.

When I had my first child, I thought I would teach him through perhaps 3rd grade, but like so many of my early plans, that one was tossed long before 3rd grade came to be.

I loved teaching them; I truly did....but as the years ticked off and the seasons shifted, I fought the mental battle, "This is too much."   And with each passing year... that mental battle grew.

It's a lot to weigh and carry when three people's entire preparation for the future rests on one pair of shoulders.

By God's grace and sole direction, I now have ONE remaining year.  That's it.

How odd it is to realize this season will never come back around. Never.

It is surreal; for God alone understands I have given it my absolute best and my absolute all.

I am grateful to God....oh, so profoundly grateful.... that the product would seem to be three intelligent, God-fearing, independent, self-assured young adults.... readying themselves by the day to navigate their futures with boldness and confidence. His relentless faithfulness to keep me going when I just didn't have it to give remains ever before me... and just as my heart has swollen almost to the brink of bursting with love for my three kiddos... so too does it stand ready to burst with gratitude to Him. We did it, Papa; we did it! Thank You; oh, how I thank You! ♡

Here's to the last year..... I got this...really... I do....

To all my fellow parents out there...regardless if you homeschool or don't.... look yourself in the mirror at this -- the start of a brand new school year -- and give yourself two thumbs up.... YOU'VE GOT THIS.... YOU TRULY DO!
Parent on....prayerfully, WITH GOD!

Godspeed!  ♡

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Present, The Forest.... The Future

"You have the ability to see the forest in spite of the trees."

Words from my boss.

"Sobriety concerning the brevity of life brings maturity."

Words from my pastor.

I'm a listener....but beyond listening....
I am a ponderer.....and beyond pondering....
I am a doer.

I'm the person who gets up early,  unloads the dishwasher, and cleans up whatever late night dishes were put in the sink BEFORE starting breakfast.

What can I say? I'm a creature of diligence.

(Thank you, Mom and Dad, for your voice of wisdom and instruction early on that set the Godly foundation upon which many of today's actions are built.)

In 33 months, I turn 50. I'm not in the least bit intimidated by that immovable known. Instead, I am internally compelled (first, by thought) to then make (by active steadfast daily steps) each of those thirty three months months of steadfast growth and adventure.

I HAVE 33 months -- leading up to my year of Jubilee -- to grow and experience this GIFT of LIFE that God has granted to me.  What's not to be joyful about that?!

"Always the eternal optimist."

Again, words from my boss.

I wouldn't want to live any other way.
I don't know how to live any other way.

An employee at work stated, "When I see you coming, it makes me check myself; you make me want to do better."

Is it that everything in life has gone has I thought it should?  FAR from it.

Is it that everything in life is great, peachy-keen, and all that jazz?  Again, FAR from it.

I have known adversity.  I have known the challenges of job displacement, familial health crisis, and marital heartbreak. I have known the challenges of raising God-following children in this day's anti-God climate.
I. Have. Known.

But I.......*I* .... permit that knowing to steer not only my thoughts, but my entire being in one of only two directions.

God-honoring OR God-displeasing.


Recently, my boss shared a saying that they heard that set them to pondering; (I can't help but grin here... pondering is contagious. ;o) ):

"Life does not happen TO you. It happens FOR you."  

Amazing what the changing of that one preposition can do to our train of thought.... it turns a potentially negative thought to a positive one.  Instead of thinking something is happening to you.... turn it around... what's God teaching you through the circumstances that is as His Word declares... FOR good.  (Romans 8:28)

NONE of these mindsets and subsequent actions are of God.  N. O. N. E.

If you tend to wrestle with these mindsets, I challenge you to take the time and listen to the following:   (It does have a small ad for the series in the middle of the video you can forward through.)


Image result for pessimistic

Guard your thoughts...
Guard your words...
they lead to action...
be it either
grumbling OR praise
and THAT, dear ones, leads to
death OR life.

Dominoes are real!

Thoughts bear actions.

Actions bear consequences.

Choose wisely.

Choose rightly.

Choose LIFE.

"Rejoice in the Lord always.
 I will say it again:

Philippians 4:4

Godspeed, dear ones; Godspeed!