Monday, July 26, 2010

Scorched But Satisfied

Sometimes when I round a bend in life I expect to see a beautiful pasture land. Green grass, still waters, shade... But instead I find myself in a scorched land. That's happened just recently and although I tried back-pedaling, it didn't work. (Not that it ever does.) I could smell the stench of the scorched land and I have to tell you, it almost terrified me.

I sat down to work on a deadline I have and started flipping through Scripture, looking for a verse or two about having a sensitive spirit to the sin in our lives to go with the devotional that needs to be in today. But God used that time to reassure me. Every silent prayer that's been whispered in my heart recently, and every fear and doubt I had, God spoke to me about as I flipped those pages of Psalms and Isaiah. Verses that were underlined and verses that even had dates and events written beside them. Verses of healing and guidance and affirmation. Only God, who heard my prayers and my cries, could do that.

And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. ~Isaiah 58:11 NAS

He truly satisfied my desire in the scorched place, and gave me strength, and comforted me with His water.

Are you in a scorched place? God is with you and hears you when you cry out to Him.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quit Looking Back!

The other day, right after I pulled out of my driveway, a little truck barreled down the road toward me. Now, you have to understand, the road I live on is narrow. Very narrow, with soft shoulders. So, I pulled over as far as I dared and kept moving, albeit slowly, just in case I started to sink or get stuck. The little truck whizzed past me and like a silly goose I watched him go by in my side mirror. And almost ended up in the ditch on the opposite side of the road. (Which would NOT have been pretty nor fun, as you can see from the garbage truck that landed in one of our ditches last fall.)

You'd think that after all the times I've done that same stunt that I'd learn to quit looking back, but nooooo. I just keep doing it.

When I was pregnant with my oldest, we went on a wilderness canoe trip in the wilds of Canada. We packed everything we needed for the week on our backs and were out of contact with the rest of the world. It was a life changing trip, and it was also the first time I realized my propensity to watch life go by in my side mirrors rather than keeping my eyes on what was coming up ahead of me. That trip and that particular experience turned into a short story about shooting some river rapids and then grew into a full-length manuscript which I've been working on editing this month. (You can read the short story here.)

So when I caught myself watching that little truck go by in my side mirror I immediately thought of the lesson I learned all those years ago.

All too often I'm so focused on my screw-up, my problem, my whatever, that I end up running smack into the next thing coming at me because I was looking backward instead of forward.

Our lives don't end when we screw things up.

Paul said it well in Philippians 3:13-14
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.

Once the difficulty is past us, we need to hold on to what we've learned from it but let go of the rest, face forward again and press on. Just like I almost went in the ditch because I was looking back at the little truck, if we're looking backward in life we can slam into another difficulty we could have otherwise missed.


Forget what's behind you,
reach forward,
and press on.
If we don't, we'll end up buried in a ditch.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Basket...


...Overfloweth.

Last week 4 of 7 of us were gone on a missions trip to North Carolina. They were gone for 10 days and I used those days to put in some extra long hours here on the computer. I accomplished a lot, but none of it was normal household stuff. When there's only 3 of you home and 2 acted like professional couch potatoes, there's very little housework to do! What a novelty.

Reality has returned and my laundry basket and laundry room are proof!

*Picture shown without the 5 sleeping bags that need washing. No insects were killed in the filming of this scene because none came home with them! Just the stink aroma of filthy, sweaty dirty laundry stored at high temperatures.

I had 2 choices: view this mountain as a smelly pile of yuck, or see the blessing in the blech.

Where's the blessing?
Seeing my kids excited about sweating and working their tails off for and with others. They went on a missions trip with our church youth group, as they do every year, and they're learning to serve with a smile.

And now, this is my opportunity to serve with a smile.
Ever wonder how much laundry a family of 7 makes in a week? Stay tuned and I just might show you. ;-)
Gotta run. The dryer is buzzing... again.

Don't miss out on the blessings that are often hiding in the blech of life.


Friday, July 16, 2010

As of Late

One of the memes I've enjoyed in the past was "As of Late" hosted by Kristen Schiffman of Exemplify. She's brought it back and I love it! The actual date was yesterday, the 15th of the month, but I'm going to jump in late anyway cuz I like it that much. Join us at Kristen's for links to other As Of Lates. =]

~*~*~*~


PhotobucketLately I've been tugging on a closed door. But I finally wised up.

PhotobucketLately I've been editing until I'm bleary eyed.

PhotobucketLately I've been grateful that I'm responsible only for obeying God and He's responsible for the results of that obedience.

PhotobucketLately I've been praying for softening and softness.

PhotobucketLately change has been hounding me. My dad. My kids. My writing. But God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He's still the same as He was in the days of Joshua and Gideon.

PhotobucketLately I cling to God's sovereignty and ask for His best and grace for each moment.

So tell me, what have you been doing of late?




Thursday, July 15, 2010

Seasoned

Today is the first time I'm posting at The Internet Cafe as a regular!





I'd love to have you join me there for something I learned when the kids were getting ready for the Great Camp out of 2010. They pulled out my old cast iron cookware to use on their camp out, but discovered there was a whole lot of work to be done before they could safely use the pots. Seasoned for God's Use.

See you at The Cafe!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Free Indeed




It's Wednesday and since this picture has been on my mind all week I wanted to join in on Word Filled Wednesday, hosted by the Internet Cafe Devotions, where I happen to be posting tomorrow. =] Join us there for links to more WFWs!


Once I quit tugging on a door that wasn't open and turned to a door that was and this is how I've been feeling.



Following God leads to
rest,
peace,
and freedom!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Doozie Day

Saturday was a doozie for me. I was a basket-case.

It all started when my friend nailed me hard about my intent concerning publication, and I waffled. She asked me the same question 3-4 times and I pussy-footed around each time. And she knew it.

You see, I KNOW God has called me to write, and I'm writing. I watch the discussions on the ACFW email loop about being published and I always want to jump in and say But even if God called you to write, He might not have called you to publication. You have to write how, when and where He has for you to write. Even if it's for just one.

I love writing fiction. It's my first love, BUT I'm not hung up on being published. Truly, I'm not. Sure, I'd love to be, but my life will still feel fulfilled if I'm not, as long as I know I'm holding tight to God's hand and following Him. I'm also willing to do the work if publication is His will for me. But I hafta tell ya, the thought of all that is scary. There's a lot to it. It's not just writing books, it's so much more, and to be honest, staying in my comfy, cozy cave, as it is now, really appeals to me. Remember, I'm a chicken at heart and choosing the easy way out is just too... EASY for me!

So God used my friend to wallop me. And it was a doozie. But it was also effective. I changed my plans for this month and stepped out of my comfort zone, and I mean waaaaay out! I'm polishing a manuscript I have so I can pitch it at the Faithwriters conference. What God does with it is up to Him. My responsibility is to follow and obey Him, He'll handle the results. And I want God's best for my life, not a pathetic substitute.

What about you? Is there something you're waffling over or evading in the hopes it will go away?

Let's pursue God's best for our lives and trust that His grace will carry us through the tough and scary parts!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Lil Change




Happy Sunday!
Just a quick note to let you know that my url here at Patterings has changed to www.pattysong.com You should be automatically redirected here, but if something goes goofy, just know I'll get it figured out. =]

See ya tomorrow!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Beyond the Rapids

I am soooo excited! Today I'm participating in Fiction Friday for the first time in ages! Welcome! =] I'm also hosting, so Linky is down at the bottom, whether you're posting fiction, too, or would like to read some other fun fiction. =]

This story has been on my mind a lot recently. Not only am I polishing the manuscript this story turned into (yet again), but it also ties in with an experience I had last week. But I'll tell you about that next week. ;-)

Beyond the Rapids

Torie stood on the river bank and looked at the rapids. Her stomach churned at the thought of junior high kids canoeing down them to their next campsite. She turned to the big blond man standing beside her, “Surfer Boy, I thought we paddled an extra two hours to avoid this.”

“These aren’t real rapids; close, but not quite, and, yes, we bypassed the real ones.” Seth turned to glare at his canoe partner, “And I told you not to call me ‘Surfer Boy.’” That’s when he saw her worry. “The kids will do fine; they’re so light they’ll skim across the top without much problem.”

“What about us?” Torie asked.

“This isn’t bad, even loaded as heavily as we are with the extra gear. Maneuvering will be slower and more difficult, but I’ve shot worse without a problem.”

Later, after sending off the team leaders and kids, Seth and Torie settled into their canoe. They were bringing up the rear to help any stragglers. Seth looked at the independent, single mom he’d been teamed with at the last minute and said, “Follow my lead. If you fight me we could end up in deep trouble.”

Torie’s gaze didn’t waver from his. “I’m not a fool.”

“No, you’re not, but this isn’t something you can handle on your own.”

“Lead on, Surfer Boy,” Torie said.

Seth dug his paddle in and Torie felt the current grab them.

“Rock on the right!” She hollered as they gained speed. Seth switched sides and steered clear of it, only to push them into the path of another rock. Torie dug hard and got their nose away at the last second.

“Good save!” Seth called out just as a hidden current pulled them across another rock. Torie winced as the canoe scraped, her paddle pausing mid-air.

“Dig!” Seth hollered as he dug deep and added a twist in an effort to get clear of the rock.

Torie felt like her arms were being pulled out as the current pulled them first one way and then the other. Always into rocks. She lost count of the times they scraped: sometimes on the sides, sometimes on the bottom.

They rounded the bend and the breath caught in Torie’s throat. Ahead was a maze of rocks and white water with no apparent way through.

“Oh, no!” she said.

“Don’t let fear paralyze you and don’t watch the rocks slide past. Once our nose is past it, forget it. Just keep paddling and don’t look back.”

Torie felt like a pin-ball as they bounced from one rock to another. They were pushed toward a rock and she watched it slide past.

“Dig!” Seth’s voice cut like a whip. “Don’t look back!”

Torie’s head whipped around. Frantically she dug in, but it was too little, too late. They slammed into a boulder. The canoe shuddered and groaned. Torie held her breath, sure they would capsize, or worse, crack-up.

“Lean right!” Seth hollered as he reached out and pushed. He groaned with effort but managed to get them away just enough that they stayed in one piece and upright.

Just as suddenly as the rapids had started they ended and they were shooting along calm water.

********
Later that evening Torie slipped into the deep shadows near the river. Her mind swirled and raced just as the river had. Another shadow materialized nearby.

“You did good today.” Seth said quietly.

“I choked and we almost bought it. That’s not good.”

“Life’s a lot like shooting rapids. You can’t go through life without hitting rocks; you just can’t keep looking back once you’re past them. You have let go and get ready for the next run. If you look back you’ll crack up on the next boulder without even knowing it was coming.”

Torie sat and listened to the river for a long while, thinking. Eventually she blew out the breath she’d been holding. “Thank you for keeping us in one piece and dry today. And thank you for sharing what you just did.” She took a deep breath before continuing. “You’re right. I’ve gone through life always looking back at my mistakes and I’ve run into countless boulders as a result. It’s time to turn around and get paddling again.” She turned her head toward him, “Thank you, Seth.”

“You called me ‘Seth.’” Amazement laced his voice.

Torie laughed. “Don’t get used to it, Surfer Boy, and don’t get a fat head because I said you’re right.”
********


If you're posting some of your own fiction today, add your name to Linky, but if you'd just like to read some of my friends' fiction, we'd love to have you click through to their blogs and enjoy! Happy Friday!

ps Things should be more back to normal on here next week. ;-)


Friday, July 02, 2010

Summer Fun

Teenagers are important people!

Our church has a great youth group (because we have a great youth leader!) that my kids love. Each year some of the youth help with VBS in Rec and Music and anywhere else help is needed, but mainly those two places. Toby, our youth director, is in charge of Rec, and there's no telling what he'll come up with! Here's a picture of my younger daughter running the obstacle course they set up...



A couple of the days the noise from the teens playing the games AFTER the little kids were done drew us out of the kitchen to see the fun. Here's one they always like.


The youth room is FOR youth and we're bursting at the seams. They do some of the craziest stuff over there, but it almost always ties in with the message and ends up packing a punch. In the summer they do extra things since the kids have so much free time.



This summer the youth department has a Disney theme going and Toby is using some Disney movies as spring boards for his Wednesday night messages.



To go along with the theme, his wife Becky is decorating the youth room and she's doing a fantastic job! Kim and the college kids are helping, as well as a few others, when they can. My oldest has been able to lend his building skills a couple of times...



Here they're building Pride Rock for Lion King. The brown stuff is quilt batting we spray painted for last year's VBS to make an Australian sand dune. This summer it's a rock. ;-)



Some of the other movies they've used so far this summer are Pirates 1-- the Curse of the Black Pearl, Snow White, Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast. For Snow White's week, they bobbed for apples. This week, for Beauty and the Beast, they dolled up 4 guys with make up, nail polish, hair glitter and skirts and cardigans.Those guys were... beautiful. LoL or something. It was a race and the contestants were painstakingly chosen-- through Rock, Paper, Scissors --and the winner won a prize. Having fun in the youth room is serious business. Because their souls and their personal walk with Jesus is serious business!



I was able to hear Toby's message that went with Pirates and it was excellent. I know Disney didn't intend to put such great parallels into their movies, but they're there and if you look you can find a Christian message in them. What a GREAT jumping off point for a conversation!



We're all shipwrecked pirates on a ship that's sinking fast--pirates at odds with the King! Satan mans the Black Pearl, searching for his treasure which calls out to him... Just like the moonlight exposed the pirates for what they were, the walking dead, it exposes us for what we really are, either the walking dead or the living, those alive in Christ. And don't forget the blood that was needed to stop the curse! In order to live, we need blood, too.

How far are you willing to go rescue those in the pirate's grasp?

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