Friday, January 30, 2009

Unplugged


Welcome to Fiction Friday! Today Dorinda is our host at Treasures in Jars of Clay. Be sure to join us there for links to more fun fiction! And if you're posting fiction with us, don't forget to add your link to Mr. Linky at the end of Dorinda's post. See ya there!
********

Unplugged
“I'm so tired of it all,” Carla complained as we dug through boxes looking for costumes for the Easter Presentation.

“You're already tired of looking? We've only just begun and there are six boxes,” I joked, hoping to side-track her.

“Gracie, you know what I mean and it's not a joking matter. I'm thinking about divorcing Darren. I just don't think I can spend the rest of my life with him!”

My hands stopped above the box and angel wings fluttered onto my lap. Those would work for one of the pre-schoolers. Where's Pamela, Lord? She would know how to handle this. The room was so silent the clock sounded loud to me. If I sit here long enough she'll laugh and tell me she's kidding. But she didn't.

“Did you hear what I said?” she demanded, back ramrod straight and fists resting on her thighs.

Help me out here, Lord, because this is way out of my league. I waited for Divine intervention, but none came.

“Why do you think that?” I hesitantly asked.

“He doesn't listen to me and he doesn't care what I think. How's that for starters?”

Whoa. For starters? I made my hands dip back into the box and lift out the next thing. What's the king's sash doing in here with angel wings? Focus, Gracie.

“But why not trying to work through things?”

Carla looked at me as if I were off my rocker. “Work through things? Now you're not listening either. I told you, the man won't listen and he doesn't care! He's not gonna 'work through' things. C'mon, Gracie, get your head in the real world.”

Control, Gracie. Get control. I gritted my teeth, trying to listen to common sense, but my rash side was getting in the way. Real world? Girl, let me tell you about the real world! I counted to ten, then to twenty, but it didn't work.

“The real world? I'll tell ya' about the real world, Carla. In the real world we're required to grow up and get our eyes off ourselves. In the real world we have to buckle down and do a lot of things we don't want to.” Carla's eyes widened, but I was on a roll. “In the real world we have to work our hineys off to make dreams come true because there is no fairy godmother who will wave her magic wand and give us everything we want. In the real world life is not all flowers and romance, it's blood, sweat and tears and running on commitment when the love's run out, and then coaxing the love back to life. The real world is not like we imagined back when we were playing dolls.” I lowered my hands into my lap and looked at my stunned friend. Oh, now that was real inspired, Gracie. See, Lord, I told ya' that I wasn't the one for this job. Now what?

Carla slowly closed her mouth, her back losing its stiffness. Once again I heard the blasted clock and, without thinking twice, reached over and pulled its plug, putting an end to its incessant ticking.

Carla quirked an eyebrow at me. “Are you gonna pull my plug, too?”

I threw a shepherd's headdress at her.

“I think you've been saving that speech just for me.” She blew the bangs out of her eyes and fiddled with the fringes on the headdress. “But, I think you got it right. Life isn't anything like I imagined it would be, back when we played dolls.”

“Back then you wanted to get married, have babies and raise a family. Are you willing to give all that up just to get Darren to listen to you or to see if he cares?” I asked her.

Carla sat there smoothing the fabric while my lungs burned from holding my breath. “I would be giving it up, wouldn't I?” She looked at me with tormented eyes. “It's just not like we dreamed it would be.”

“No, it's not.” I sighed. “But sometimes it's better.”

A small smile tugged at her lips. “Yeah. Sometimes. Maybe I shouldn't do anything rash then. Ya' think?”

The starch evaporated from my spine and I sagged in relief. “You'd be hurting more than just Darren if you did.”

“Like myself?” she asked wryly.

I grinned as I waved the cord at her. “Yeah, but if you try it, I'll just unplug ya'. Deal?”

“Deal.”
********

Dont' forget to join us at Treasures in Jars of Clay.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

December's Blessings

Time flies when you're having fun...and busy, and another month has slid past without doing a blessings post. In the confusion and busyness of December I put off telling you about some of December's blessings, so I'm adding them to this month's blessings.

At the very beginning of December I received this print from Joy of Bee Joyful Quilts. She found me as a result of my joyful cow (in my sidebar) and she sent me this print as an encouragement. I just love it! Thank you, Joy!!


If you enjoy quilting, (and I do!) you'll enjoy Joy's site.


Then, as a result of the The Internet Cafe's Holliday Giveaways, I won two items. One was this darling pin handcrafted by Deena of Dances with Monkeys. It's on my purse and it reminds me to love. Thank you, Deena!


December came to a close with another special blessing as a result of the Holiday Giveaway. A very special bracelet from Loni of Writing Canvas. There is a birthstone for each of my five children, and on the sides, between little blue hearts, are small birthstones for the two babies we lost. This bracelet has quickly become a treasure. Thank you, Loni!

Be sure to stop by Loni's site, Bracelet Stories, for your own memory bracelet. Loni is an incredible woman, and the bracelets she custom makes are stunning and so full of meaning.


Well now, that wraps up December's blessings. Thank you, Joy and Deena and Loni! You each blessed me tremendously! Sometime within the next week, I'll post about January's blessings. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Burn Up

The other day I entered the dining room and saw a paring knife sitting beside the four wick candle I've been burning this month. My darling husband had decided that the candle was burning its wicks too fast, leaving a whole lot of wax unused, so he helped it. He trimmed the wax from the top of the candle and dropped it down into the melted wax. He did that many times and even trimmed off the side to feed the wicks and keep them burning longer. His objectives? To enable us to see the flames and to keep the wicks burning long enough to burn up all the wax.

Our Heavenly Father has similar goals for our lives. He wants the flame of our life to be visible to those around us and He wants us to burn up for Him, not burn out.

Your are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; ~Matthew 5:14, 16


Originally, the whole purpose of candles was to illuminate the darkness. We're to be doing that, too, but we can't be effective if our flame is obscured by walls of unused wax. That's when the paring knife needs to come out to trim down the wax. Sure it changes the candle's appearance, many times leaving it much less appealing, but if the end goal is to illuminate the darkness, that's what needs to happen.

Too many times we're so concerned with having a visually appealing candle that we don't worry about how long the wicks last. If they get a little too long and start to smoke, we just trim the wick, without thinking about the burn time we're losing. God goes about it differently. He trims the wax and drops the shavings into the melted wax pool to raise the wax level, not worrying about the outward appearance. He wants the wick to burn all the wax.

But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. ~Philippians 2:17

I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls...
~2 Corinthians 12:15


Have you ever noticed that the unburned wax of the candle ends up being an empty shell that hides the flame? What's the whole point of the candle? The wax or the flame? If it's the wax, then we're right to worry about the shell that's left unburned. If it's the flame, then we need to allow the work of the paring knife and feed the wax to the wick, making sure the wax burns so it doesn't obstruct the light of the flame.

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. ~Philippians 2:13

 

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16

Sunday, January 25, 2009

...and Now...

Well, now that I'm recovering from the shock of deleting my sidebar (LoL), let me tell you about At The Well. There's a Grand Reopening going on, complete with door prizes that you really don't want to miss out on! I'm really excited about their new layout and I think you'll like it, too.

I'm honored to be part of the team there, and I'll be posting about Reflections on the Home. Other topics are: To Raise Them Up, Gathering At the Well (where older women are to encourage the younger women), To Have and To Hold (you guessed it: marriage), and Reflections on His Truth.

Be sure to join us over there and get in on the fun!

At the Well Blog Button


Friday, January 23, 2009

Ooooops!

As you can see, I'm having some technical difficulties. I accidently deleted all my sidebar gadgets...

Sooooo, guess what I'll be doing in my spare time this week end? Yup! You got it!
Reconstructing and redecorating things!

Monday's Update: Well, I think I finally got my sidebar straightened out, reorganized and redecorated. There's still a few things to do and tweek, but the major work is done. So now we'll get back to our regular programming...

Web of Love


Welcome to Fiction Friday! I'm so glad you could join us! We've had a quick change of plans, and Mr. Linky is here today. We hope you enjoy!!
******

Web of Love
Kim wished the floor would open up and swallow her. She settled into the pew and studiously opened the bulletin, hoping no one would notice her. Jeff had been called to work as they were walking out the door to church, leaving her to face this first Sunday back on her own.

The hand on her shoulder made her jump. Taking a deep breath she pasted on a smile and looked up, dreading the pity and platitudes most people offered. What she found was Kyle's smile.

“Where's Jeff?”

“Some emergency at work came up just as we were walking out the door.”

Becky, Kyle's wife, squeezed past him and reached out with a hug for Kim. “I'm so glad you still came.” She sat down beside Kim just as Deb joined them.

“Kim! I wondered if you'd make it today.” After another hug Kim took a shaky breath and a swipe at her eyes. Becky and Deb caught each other's eye. “Virginia's knee is doing better, so she's teaching Sunday school this morning. It'll be so good to have her back—I've really missed her,” Deb said.

Becky followed Deb's lead. “She must have been able to get that steroid shot she was hoping for. She's been climbing the walls since she fell.”

Kim smiled thankfully at her friends; she recognized what they were doing. “She might have been cooped up at home, but she still managed to stay involved. She called me once or twice a day last week. She's an incredible lady, that's for sure.”

Someone sat down behind them and leaned forward to give Kim a squeeze. It was another one of her Sunday school classmates. “Did you just say that Virginia's back this week? That's wonderful! We'll all be back together again--it just isn't the same when some of us are gone.”

“I'm here! Did I miss something?” Two more couples sat down in the pew in front of Kim, and the ladies reached back to squeeze Kim's hand. She was completely surrounded by her Sunday school class members and their husbands.

Lord, I feel like You wrapped me in a web of love. These sisters You've given me are so precious. Thank you. I think I might be able to face the rest of the world now.

Mrs. Miller leaned over Kyle and Becky. “Kim, dear, I was so sorry to hear about the baby. There will be other babies...”

“Oh, Mrs. Miller, were those your pickles at the fellowship last month? They were simply delicious. Do you share your recipe or is it a family secret?” Becky stood up, blocking Kim's view of Mrs. Miller.

Deb leaned against Kim's shoulder and whispered, “You just keep smiling and let us handle the rest for a while.”
******


Losing a baby is never easy and well-meaning people can say things that cause a lot hurt, even though there is truth in what they're saying. Thank God for the web of love He wraps around us. Sometimes it's through friends or family members, and sometimes it's through a special verse that speaks directly to our heart at that moment in time. However He works, He is there, loving us and holding us tight. Thank God for His love!

And while I'm thinking about it, check out the new At the Well! February 2nd is the kick-off and there's door prizes you do not want to miss! (oh, and did I mention that I get to be part of this great site? I'm so excited!)

At the Well Blog Button



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Harvest Call

The last couple weeks I've been thinking about service and God's will and now, thanks to Joanne and Monday Manna, God's call...which has brought me to this week's Word Filled Wednesday.



So where are you? (and where am I?) Are we praying for the Lord to send forth workers? Are we listening to His voice and His call? Are we saying 'Here I am! Send me!'? My prayers is that we are involved in three.

For links to more Word Filled Wednesdays
run to the 160 Acre Woods!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Answering the Call


Monday Manna is hosted this week at An Open Book.


Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8

I was so excited to see that Joanne had chosen this verse for Monday Manna this week! This is one of my favorites because it's tied in with missions so often, and as you know, missions is near and dear to my heart. But as I thought about this verse, my mind went back to something directly related to church—our local church.

You see, although I have five kids, I'm not a kid-loving person. I don't go out of my way to be with children. That being said, I had been praying and asking God to use me in some way in our local church. So, when my phone rang and I was asked to help teach the grade school girls on Wednesday nights, I said yes, with no dithering about it. And I started praying! I'm not only not a kid-loving person, but I'm not a teacher. I'm very capable of working with the kids, and teaching them, but it's not one of those things that turns my crank and that I get excited about.

But you know what? That doesn't matter.


What does matter is a willing spirit. When I received that call, I felt God was asking, 'Who shall I send? Who will go for us?' And although my knees were knocking and my brain was squawking, I said 'Here I am. Send me!' There is no exception clause to that verse—there's no 'only if it's doing what I want to do'. In fact, in that verse God doesn't say where or what. He just said 'who'.

I've come to see that there are times in our lives when we need to step up and fill the gap, even if we're not a perfect fit for the gap that's there. Please understand that I am not endorsing filling our plate with things that shouldn't be there. Things that are good but take up the space that the best is supposed to be taking. I'm not endorsing jumping in and saying yes to everything. What I'm saying is that there are times when there's a real need that needs to be filled, that we're capable of filling. Those are the times that we need to step forward and say yes to, even though we'd rather not. When that happens, we need to keep praying that the Lord of the harvest will send forth the laborer to take over for us.

I know that some people have way too much on their plate—those are not the people I'm talking about. I'm talking to people like me. People who do have some room on their plate. We can fill a hole without over-burdening ourselves, or our families. It doesn't have to be a perfect a fit for us if we're filling a hole we're capable of filling. Our willing spirit and love for God will fill the cracks enough until a person who is a perfect fit comes along.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday Sillies

I visited Joanne who visited Kristen and here's the result—a fun little, quick to do meme for this Saturday. Feel free to consider yourself tagged and join us!

To find your ROCK STAR NAME take your first pet & current car:
Pretty Clubwagon (Not! LoL)

To find your GANGSTA NAME take your favorite ice cream flavor and your favorite cookie:
Chocolate Grasshopper (hehe, interesting!)

YOUR DETECTIVE NAME? Your favorite color and favorite animal:
Pink Giraffe

Want to know your SUPERHERO NAME? Just add the word "The" plus your 2nd favorite color, and your favorite drink:
The Purple Shake (LoL--my husband would say this one fits!!)

Your NASCAR NAME. Take the first names of your grandfathers:
Henry Palmer

If I ever go into WITNESS PROTECTION you can find me with this name. Your mother & father’s middle names:
Mae Currier (Oh, I liiiike this one!)

TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME? Just take your 5th grade teacher’s last name and add a major city that starts with the same letter:
Savannah Smith

Of course, if you find me in witness protection I will assume it was because you were using your SPY NAME. Add your favorite season/holiday to your flower:
Spring Gerbera

Tell your kids their CARTOON NAME by taking your favorite fruit, an article of clothing you’re wearing right now, now add "ie" or "y":
Grape Jeanie (LoL--another one that fits!)

And lastly, your ROCKSTAR TOUR is heading across the northeast...it's called ("The” + Your fave hobby/craft, your fave weather element + the word “Tour”):
The Writing Lightning Tour (don't I wish!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Better Than Attila


This week, Fiction Friday is at Lynn's blog, Faith, Fiction, Fun and Fanciful. Be sure to join us there for links to more fun fiction!
******

I really don't think Attila the Hun could've done a better job at pillaging my day than my family did. It started this morning with Allyssa.

“Mom, I need my uniform this afternoon but there's a stain on the front. I put it on the washer, could you wash it for me? And Mrs. Anderson is giving us extra credit for being there early to watch a film on driver's safety and I'm late, could you run me to school?”

Today I planned on cleaning and organizing the living room and dining room since those were the rooms that disintegrated when life got hectic. There were piles that were toppling, and my patience with them had run out a week ago. My schedule was painstakingly kept clear for today, and I planned on conquering the mess and then celebrating with a bubble bath—all before the kids got home from school. Running some laundry through would be no big deal.

“Ok, but next time you'll wear it with the stain if you leave if for the last minute.” I checked to see that she understood I meant what I said. She bobbed her head, repentantly. “Extra credit in Driver's Ed? I suppose it's worth it, let's go.” I grabbed my keys and we trotted out the door as I called for the other kids to finish eating.

Ten minutes later I returned and Bryce slid into the kitchen. “Hey Mom, today's my day to bring a snack for our Bible study group at lunch and we've had brownies for the past three weeks, think you could do cupcakes or something?”

“Today? Bryce, why didn't you tell me yesterday?” I asked, my patience slipping away just as surely as my coveted bubble bath reward was.

While Bryce was hem-hawing, my husband strolled into the kitchen for his last cup of coffee before leaving for work. “Hon, I need you to make some calls for me this morning.”

Being the home management expert that I am, I grabbed my ever-present to-do list off the fridge and jotted notes as he ticked off each call. “Mechanic, dentist and church. Got it. You want that with a cherry on top?” I meant it sarcastically, but I managed to say it sweetly, complete with a smile.

My darling husband got a wicked gleam in his eye as he looked me up and down. “That'd be real nice, Sweetie.”

I really wanted to growl, but instead I planted a kiss on him. “Your lunch is with your briefcase beside the door.”

Bryce plucked the list from my hand and scribbled “CUPCAKES 11:45!” He handed me my list and flashed his father's killer smile. “Thanks Mom. You're the greatest!” I rolled my eyes at him as he buzzed my cheek and fled before I could say no.

“Mom,” Callie wailed from the living room, “I need my permission slip signed so I can go on the field trip, but I can't find it!”

“Look on top of the pile on the coffee table.” I called as I added Allyssa's uniform to my rapidly growing list.

“It's not there, I looked.”

I sighed with exasperation as I plunked the list down and went to help Callie. “After I signed it, I put it on top of your math book. Where's your math?” I lifted the skirt of the couch and cautiously peered under, fearful of the mess I'd find. “Here it is, Callie. Hurry up, we've got to go.”

“Thanks, Mom.” She spun around and slammed into her dad. I saw it happen in slow motion, and saw all hopes of my bubble bath drain away as coffee coated the carpet. Instead of celebrating with a soak, I'd be slaving with the steam vac.

All the way home I wrestled with my attitude about my pillaged day. When I got home, I ignored the mess and took a fresh cup of coffee out to the sun room for a fifteen minutes of peace. My Bible was there, waiting for me, so I turned to today's chapter. “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.”*

Ok, Lord, I get it. Kids are like oxen. I really wouldn't trade off the blessing they are, so that means I have to deal with the quirks of being a mom, even on days when I feel like I'm being drawn and quartered by Attila the Hun.


*Proverbs 14:4 NASB
********

LoL--This IS fiction, it really isn't a picture of my house in the morning, but it probably could be if we were in different circumstances. The feelings of the mother are genuine--straight from my life on many days.

Be sure to join us at Lynn's for more Fiction Friday!




Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hey You!

One of the things I'm doing this year is getting back into Scripture memorization, even though I'm not walking in the mornings now. I've joined the accountability team at Beth Moore's Living Proof Ministry blog where we meet on the 1st and 15th of each month to check in and write out the verse we'll be memorizing over the next two weeks. It's incredibly amazing and encouraging to see the number of people doing this. Wow!

The first verses I memorized were Philippians 3:13-14
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 3:13-14


For these next two weeks I'm memorizing a verse that I rediscovered while preparing my lessons for the girls I co-teach on Wednesday nights at my church. I'm hoping to blog what I learned from that lesson (I always learn so much when I prepare a lesson!) but for now, here's the verse:
Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished. ~I Chronicles 28:20

We're to be courageous and act, not just sit there trembling and hiding in our cozy little corner. We have God's promise that He will be with us, enabling us to do the work He has called us to—until the work is finished!

This is right where I'm at now. Until the work is finished. I have work I need to finish so I need to be strong and courageous and act.

This is a verse that has jumped out and grabbed me several times over the years, and I had been asking God which verse to memorize next. When I looked this passage up for my lesson, I knew this was the verse. I challenged the grade school girls to memorize it with me and told them that I hope to be able to quote it to them next Wednesday. I also enticed them with a reward if they could quote it, and a few of them seemed interested in taking up the challenge.

But for now, here's a message to myself...
Hey You
Hey You

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

For Wonders Worked...

Last night I accomplished a goal, which will enable me to reach for the next goal on this journey. This encapsulates how I felt:


For links to more Word Filled Wednesdays
run to the 160 Acre Woods!



Monday, January 12, 2009

Where's Your Focus?

When I was putting on my eyeliner the other day, I noticed that although I wasn't in a shadow, I wasn't getting the benefits of full, direct light. So, I tilted my head just a touch and I was able to see so much better.

I thought about this as I finished putting on my makeup, and how it parallels my spiritual life. There are times when I'm in The Word and growing, but I'm not tilted just right to catch the full benefit of the Light, so I don't see all the things God has for me to see. A simple fine-tune adjustment is all it takes to be fully in the Light. The other week, Pastor Mike showed me the adjustment I needed to make in my spiritual life.

For many months the cry of my heart has been for God to use me, that my life would count for Him. Although I was standing in the Light with that prayer and desire, I wasn't getting the full 'benefit' of the Light. I had wrong priorities.

And if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~2 Chronicles 7:14

I realized I was seeking God's hand more than I was seeking His face. Yes, I was seeking Him, but my eyes were focused on His hands all too often. The words to the old hymn are a great reminder of this.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth
will grow strangely dim,
in the Light of His glory and grace.


I needed to make that fine-tune adjustment and shift my main focus from His hands to His face, and remember that He will take care of the rest. Yes, ask for His hand of help, mercy and blessing, but seek His face first and foremost.

Don't focus on what we face
but on Who we face—God Almighty.
...and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the Light of His glory and grace.

Heavenly Father, so many times I've sought Your hand—for help and guidance and blessing, but Lord, it's Your face that I long to see. Help me to remember to make that fine-tune adjustment and to seek Your face, knowing that You will take care of all the rest. I love You, Lord. In Your name I pray, amen.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Misplaced Talents


This week, Fiction Friday is at Cat's blog, A Work in Progress. Be sure to join us there for links to more fun fiction!
******

Kelly jumped at the knock on her front door, her seam ripper jabbing into an already sore finger.

“Kelly? You in there?” The voice of her sister Laurie came through the screen.

“Yes, I’m in here, although I’d rather be somewhere else!”

“Sheesh! You’re in a lovely mood today. Kids been monsters?” Laurie had let herself in and made her way to the dining room where Kelly was working.

“No, the kids have been fine. In fact I haven’t seen much of them since they’ve been outside playing all morning.” Kelly picked up the seam ripper again and went back to work.

“What on earth are you doing?” Laurie bent over and studied the heap of fabric on Kelly’s lap. “How many times have you taken out that seam?”

“You really don’t want to know.” Disgust was evident in Kelly’s voice.

“You’re right, I don’t want to know.” Laurie eyed her sister and the clutter of sewing scraps and thread on the table in front of her. “Ok, let’s try this one. What are you doing?”

Kelly dropped the fabric onto her lap and gave Laurie a look that could have fried bologna. “Mortaring brick? Chopping down trees? Computer programming? What do you think I’m doing?”

The biting sarcasm made her sister laugh. “Well, that’s a relief! I thought you might be sewing.”

Kelly picked up the wad of fabric and her seam ripper once again. “I’m making a baby-doll quilt for Melissa’s birthday present.”

Laurie bit her lip, realizing it wasn’t the time to laugh. “How long have you been working on it?”

Kelly glared at her again. “All morning.” The seam ripper attacked the crooked stitches, jerking them out one at a time. “I can do this. It just takes me awhile.” Her voice rang with determination.

“Do you have to make the baby-doll quilt?” That earned her another glare so she tried a different tactic. “Are you throwing a party for her?”

Kelly sighed. “I don’t have time to plan a party this year, although I wanted to do a birthday tea party.”

“That would be so cool—a tea party for a bunch of 8-year-olds. Were you going to have them dress up and serve tea cakes on china and everything?” Laurie smiled, seeing her sister weaken.

“That was the plan, but now I just don’t have time. This silly little quilt is going to take up all my spare time.” The wistfulness in her voice was getting stronger.

“Kelly, why are knocking yourself out doing something you’re not good at and don’t enjoy, when you could simply buy a dolly quilt from Mrs. Cunningham, who could use the little extra money, and use the time to plan a tea party and make the tea cakes and a beautiful birthday cake? You’re so good at planning parties and get-togethers and making the food that goes with them. Everyone, even Melissa, loves your parties.”

Kelly once again dropped her sewing to her lap. “I wanted to give Melissa something that would last and a tea party doesn’t last; it’s over in two or three hours.”

“The party may be over that quickly, but the memories will last longer than that quilt you’re killing yourself over. Even without all the pictures you take of the parties and then put in a scrapbook!” Laurie spoke gently, understanding her sister’s heart.

“So, you think I’m wasting my time?”

“I think you’re wasting your talent.”

Kelly snorted in a very unladylike fashion. “Planning parties is a talent?”

“Yes, planning parties is a talent, a talent that not everyone has. Remember that party I planned for you two years ago?”

Kelly laughed at the memory of the horribly organized party her sister had surprised her with. Laurie had even made a birthday cake for her and it had been the ugliest cake anyone had ever seen, even though it had been baked and decorated with great love. “I’m beginning to think my idea of making a dolly quilt is about like you decorating a birthday cake—a very bad idea.”

“You’re a smart cookie, you know that?” Laurie hugged her sister. “Don’t waste your talents; focus on what you’re good at! Plan that tea party, bake all those little goodies and a hum-dinger of a birthday cake, and buy her a dolly quilt. Take lots of pictures and scrapbook them so she’ll remember forever; long after she outgrows playing with dolls. Do what you’re good at, Kelly, and use that skill for God.”
******

Don't forget to join us at Cat's place for more Fiction Friday links!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Go Knee-First

I've been reading about Abram—what a man of faith he was! God said leave home and go—and Abram did, even without knowing exactly where. But what really stood out to me as I read these chapters this time is that his walk of faith was not without bumps. There were times when he was not walking in faith, but God was faithful even through those times.

The famine in the land of Canaan sent him running to Egypt rather than running to God. Egypt plagued him and caused problems for him for the rest of his life. It was there he acquired more animals—which later caused problems between him and Lot. Not only did Abram acquire animals in Egypt, but what nationality was Hagar, the mother of Ishmael? Egyptian.

So why did Abram go to Egypt when God had sent him to Canaan? Because of not trusting God. The Bible doesn't record Abram asking God what he was to do (go or stay), nor does it record Abram asking God to supply their needs. It appears that Abram used only his head and not his knees. Ouch. How often do I do that? This is a pattern that repeats itself in Abram's life. He looks to human ways to solve life's circumstances and problems.

This something that we can relate to. We see something that needs to happen, or to be done, and we get busy making it happen. We use the heads God gave us and we figure out how to take care of the problem, without stopping to remember that we need to use our knees before we use our head.
Is anything too difficult for the Lord? ~Genesis 18:14

When we're busy doing and fixing, we often forget this important fact. Nothing is too difficult for the Lord. When we remember that, we're more likely to hit our knees before hitting the road. When we remember that, we're more likely to hit our knees and not end up holding our heads in pain and shame.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Regrets & Resolutions

This week At The Well is hosted by my dear friend, LauraLee. Here are the thought questions she put to us:
The New Year is a time for us to let go of the past and look forward to newness. Everyone thinks about that differently. Answer any of these questions, all the below, or just give your thoughts about the New Year.

1. What is your favorite "resolution" in the Bible?

2. Do you do a New Year's resolution? Why or why not? Does your family make a resolution together?

3. Usually a resolution comes as a result of regretting something you didn't do the year before...how do you let go of the regret and move forward?

4. (optional...only if you wish to share) Have you ever made a resolution in the past that you didn't keep and wish you had?

Okay, to be perfectly honest with you, I cannot remember the last time I made a New Year's Resolution. It took me about two year's failed resolutions to realize they didn't work for me. Thankfully, I found what does. Goals.

I like to dream big. If you don't dream big, you end up with small, and in my case, barely enough to squeak by. One of my favorite quotes is:
When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won't come up with a handful of mud either. ~Leo Burnett
So I dream big and reach for the stars. Yes, it means I don't quite reach my goals (as Joanne can attest to. LoL) but it keeps me moving forward and that forward motion is so important.

For this year I have writing goals, Bible reading goals (Cover to Cover, chronologically in 2009), and now, new this morning, I have Scripture memory goals, which I want to share with you. My friend Kristen posted about this and it was exactly what I've needed and wanted, and I'm soooo excited! Beth Moore, at the LPM blog, has encouraged and challenged us to join her in memorizing 24 verses (of our choice) this year. There's a huge accountability team there (when I just checked and there's 2936!) and I joined in. (For those of you wanting to memorize John 15, go visit Vonnie, that's what she's doing this year!) Scripture memory is something I used to do as I walked in the mornings, but when that ended, so did my memorization time and I've missed it greatly. I'm starting with Philippians 3:13-14. I've got my 3x5 card on my keyboard and I'm working on it.

The week between Christmas and New Year's is a time of looking back, evaluating and then looking forward for me. In that order. It's an important time for me, and yes, regrets do play a part in there, but I do not dwell on them. I use them as a tool to push me forward so that they don't weigh me down. How? By giving it to God and forgetting what lies behind and pressing forward. (Which happens to be the first verses to memorize this year! LoL, imagine that.)

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead; I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 3:13-14


Don't forget to join us at LauraLee's for links to more At The Well thoughts.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Cover to Cover

One of my favorite events of the year is finishing up a read through of the Bible and turning back to Genesis and starting all over again. There are times when I haven't made it in a year, but that's okay, I made it. This last time it took me two years to read from cover to cover, and I was blessed tremendously and grew so much. This time my plan is to complete my cover-to-cover expedition in a year. I know that there are others that are doing the same thing, and I think it'd be great if we were to encourage each other in our journeys.

My plan is to read through chronologically, because that's how I like it best. It puts the Biblical events in time-line order and puts them in perspective for me. I've done it this way four times now, that I have recorded, and I love it.

I'm not one to get hung up on the schedule. There are days when I read a chapter and others that I read ten—to me the point is that I'm reading and meeting with God. The schedule provides structure for me, but I don't let it bind me up in knots. I'm not one that works well with knots. Realizing that was very freeing for me, and as a result, when I hit the back cover of the Bible—well, when I finish Revelation 22:21 I know that the next passage I'll read is Genesis 1—regardless of what time of year it is.

This last time through, I finished at Christmas and I started in Genesis 1 on December 26th because I didn't want to wait. If I continue at the rate I'm reading right now, I'll be done early. But there are times when I slow down, for many different reasons. So, my goal is to finish by December 31, 2009.

What about you? Do you read cover-to-cover or do you jump around or do Bible studies using a book? I'd love to hear how you approach Bible reading.

I've been turning over ideas of how to encourage each other in this journey and the only one I've settled on so far is a button to put in my side bar. Feel free to copy it (by saving it to your computer) and post it in yours, too. It will not link back to me, although the one in my side bar will link to this post to remind me of my goal to complete my read-through in this calendar year. It is simply a picture to encourage and remind us of our goal. Better yet, make your own button and link it to your post telling us how you read through. I'd love for you to leave me a comment here with a link to your post so I can be encouraged by it.

Also, be sure to check out Linda's Heart of a Ready Writer blog. She's reading through this year too, and blogging about it.

Photobucket

Friday, January 02, 2009

Just Like Mommy


This week Joanne at An Open Book is hosting Fiction Friday. Be sure to join us there for links to more fun fiction.
********


Melissa had just sprinkled Comet in the tub when the phone rang. “Well, nuts. I had hoped to get this done.” While on the phone she unloaded the dishwasher, and cleaned the kitchen, proud of herself for using her time wisely by multi-tasking. Setting the phone in its cradle to charge she thought of the things she could do with the extra time she now had. Suddenly she was struck by the silence. She peeked around the corner into the living room, hoping to see the kids engrossed in their blocks, but there were no kids there. She followed the muted jabbering into the master bedroom and came to a quick stop.

Melissa opened her mouth but then snapped it closed, right on her tongue. “Ouch! Oh, that hurt! Man, I hate it when I do that.”

The boys looked at her. “Hurt, Mommy?” Josiah, her two-year-old asked.

“Just a little.” Melissa answered his sweet question. “What are you boys up to?” Now that she’d had a chance to really look around she didn’t’ know whether she should laugh or cry.

“I white wuv note for you on mirwer, Mommy!” Jason had found her lipstick and had drawn all over the full-length mirror, at least as high up as he could reach with his three-and-a-half-year-old stature. “Just wike you do.”

A small chuckle slipped from Melissa. “Monkey see, monkey do,” she thought. “A love note on the mirror like I write for Daddy?” She was relieved to see she had intervened before the lipstick had made its way off the mirror and onto the wall-paper.

Melissa looked back at Josiah. “And what about you, young man?” He had her favorite lipstick stretched from one ear to the other, on his upper lip and clear down to the tip of his chin. A little bit had actually landed on his lips, but not much.

“Pweddy.” Josiah was not a man of many words, but he got his point across. Melissa bit her lip, gently, and worked very hard to keep from laughing out loud.

Melissa hunkered down while she thought fast, she didn’t want to stomp on their thoughtfulness, but she needed to prevent a reoccurrence. “Now listen, boys, do you see Daddy wearing lipstick?” Josiah looked to his big brother, who scratched his head while he thought hard.

“No, Daddy don’t wear lipstick. Onwy mommies does.” Jason shared his great realization with Josiah.

Right then there was a knock on the door followed by a very familiar voice calling out, “Hello? Anybody home?”

The boys lit up. “Nana!” They scooted around their mom and raced to the front door. From the other side of the house, the side Melissa had started cleaning the bathroom on, she heard Sarah’s delighted cry.

“My-oh-my! What have you boys gotten into this time?” Nana spoke from behind her hand, and her eyes twinkled merrily as she looked at her grandsons.

“Pweddy,” Josiah said, proud of his accomplishment.

“Wike Mommy.” Jason solemnly explained as he showed Nana his stick of lipstick. “I white Mommy wuv notes on her mirwer.”

Just then Sarah skidded to a halt. “Hi, Nana. I was helping Mommy, too.”

Melissa felt her heart sink. The last time Sarah had ‘helped’ on her own the goldfish had been blowing bubbles before they died in a bubble bath she had prepared for them. She just knew they would enjoy one as much as she did, so she shared.

Nana shared a quick look with Melissa then asked, “What have you been doing, Sweetheart?”

Sarah stood up even straighter. “I got the carpet powder and sprinkled it on my carpet for Mommy.”

Melissa groaned, and the dread increased. “Where’d you get the carpet powder from?”

“The baffroom. That’s where you left it on accident.

“Oh, Sarah. How much did you sprinkle on the carpet?”

“I did it real good, Mommy. I’m a good helper.”

Melissa gave Sarah a weak smile, then looked at Nana. “Her ‘carpet powder’ is the Comet I had started to use on the tub…”

“I’m a good helper, Nana.” Sarah proudly said to her grandmother.

“Pweddy.” Josiah said as he touched his fingertips to his lips.

Jason summed it up for all of them. “Just wike Mommy.”
********


There is only one piece of truth in this story--the 'carpet powder' incident did happen here at our house when one of my two older children helped me. My dad had called and while I was talking with him they sprinkled the Comet all over their bedroom floor. My dad thought it was quite funny, of course. But, I am no where near that calm! I can only wish to be! LoL

Don't forget to join us at Joanne's!

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