9.30.2012

The Master Planner {Guest Post-5 Minutes For Faith}





I am a planner. 
You will rarely find me without my trusty little companion which I dote over 
painstakingly planning the days and weeks ahead like a master chess player
 strategizing each move in a championship game.

It's no surprise then when I see my day unravel, 
like a stray ball of yarn discovered and enjoyed by a playful kitten, 
I get a bit miffed. 



Will you join me over at 5 Minutes For Faith and continue reading there? 

I've turned off comments here so we can meet up there! 





9.29.2012

31 Days of Faith Life Preservers

Photo Credit


Well I have decided to take the plunge. 
I will be joining in with Nester over at Nesting Place for the first time for a 31 Day journey. 
I have chosen to go with that which God has given me when I first pondered the question after journeying over to her site upon Lisa-Jo's stellar recommendation. 
After realizing that I had plenty I could focus on to benefit myself and others,
 I considered the fact that the timing is bad. I have been pondering blogging less, not more. 
Yet there it was. The call. The challenge. 
Short notice. As of late a somewhat shipwrecked faith. 
Struggling to stay afloat here in some very tumultuous waters.
 I slept on it. 
Or should I say, I slept. 
Today the first thought I had was that I need to do this for me. 
So often God uses these opportunities- even THIS as a Life Preserver for my own faith! 
So casting my fears and reservations aside, I am diving in. 
Why? 
Because I believe God will use the next 31 Days to keep me afloat.
 I will tell you that last year I did a 31 Days of Thanksgiving Journey in November. 
That was a turning point for my blog writing. 
Once I started writing for the blog daily, 
I never really slowed down. 
The past two weeks have been especially challenging. 
I have considered pulling back. 
Drawing the anchor in and drifting.  
I have thought about being quiet over here at this little corner 
that God has allowed me to bloom. 
But I am trusting God has other plans. 
I find myself unable to refuse His gentle nudges. 
I am trusting He has something to say to me, and perhaps you, too

Will you join me? 

I am not sure where it will lead. 
I cannot predict His Spirit. 
But I can step out in faith. 
And dive right in. 


Credit

Starting Monday October 1!
Join me daily, sign up, visit. 

Because friends don't let friends sink-
They keep each other afloat!

See the pre-contemplative phase of the journey here:
When You're In Need of A Life Preserver

************************************
To see the hundreds of other 
31 Day Participants
Visit: The Nesting Place

All 31 Days Link List:
(In order of appearance October 1-31, 2012) 

Day 1: When Jesus Shows Up In Blue Jeans
Day 2: For The Birds
Day 3: My Life's Mission
Day 4: Journal Keeping
Day 5: The Ultimate Superhero
Day 6: Solitary Places
Day 7: Resuscitation Through Blogging
Day 8: The Great Hymns: Blessed Assurance
Day 9: Motherhood
Day 10: Entertaining Angels
Day 11: Absolute Truth, Sin and Jaws
Day 12: His Faithfulness
Day 13: Love Song For A Savior

When You're In Need Of A Life Preserver


Photo Credit

Life Preserver: (noun) A floating device that is designed to save you from drowning.


I feel myself sinking, deep.
Bubbles escape and my lungs fill with water.
I am seeing the surface yet, submerged.
Conscious but slipping.
Deeper.

There is something floating above the surface.
If I can just reach it.
But I am feeling pulled towards darkness.
The light is growing dim.
One red ring floats, my hope.

Who will save me from this fate?


Credit


Friends, I realize lately that God has been sending me Life Preservers along my life's journey.
I am pondering this fact as I consider whether or not I will participate in an upcoming Blog Challenge.
I am not sure whether I will or not, but I want you to go ahead and see 
if this is the right time for you to join in! 

As I pondered possible topics for the challenge and my current life circumstances,
 the thought of Faith and a Life Preserver came to my mind. 

I am looking back and seeing so many of the trials and difficulties I have endured had specific, what I want to call "Life Preservers" for the time. I am not one who believes that life is all rose tinted glasses and lollipops. Perhaps you have been through some difficult times yourself.
The longer I live the more certain I am that no one gets out of this life unscathed. 
We all carry our secret scars don't we?

I believe that God is not a God who takes lightly that which we endure.
I don't believe He is insensitive to suffering, nor does He enjoy tolerating evil.
But both can be used for His purposes, means and ends.

One of the Life Preservers He gave me this week came through His Word.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”
 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.
 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.
 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.
 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.


Lord may we recognize the little Life Preservers you send our way to keep our
 faith afloat during trying circumstances.
Thank you that your love and faithfulness does preserve us when we feel ourselves sinking.
 Thank you that in Jesus you sent the one most important Life Preserver of all. 
Thank you that because you are before me I will not be shaken. 
Amen.








9.28.2012

Grasp {5 Minute Friday}




Wondering if she grasps the scope of what she has done.
I still can't wrap around it. It's like a dream.
A bad dream.
It begs the question of where one draws the line between considering doing something to actually doing the something one is considering.
Thirty police officers searching.
Three districts.
Two distraught parents.
One young girl.
What was she thinking?
This girl who does not want to walk one mile in school, who ventured eight miles from home.
Evading all.
Thankfully.
She was safely returned.
Tears of thanks and joy.
Yet, I still wonder and know she does not grasp the scope of it.
But, she claims she will never do it again.



Five Minute Friday

9.24.2012

Deal Gently With Me, Monday


Happy Monday, Friends!
Welcome to my randoms from the past week:

Clouds: September 16, 2012 @ Narragansett Beach

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4
It has been quite a week, my friends. Indeed.
Last Sunday was the End of Summer Festival - a kind of goodbye to Summer event here in Narragansett, RI, where the locals celebrate on the beach with food, fun, kite-flying, surfing, just about anything, as an excellent local band called Brass Attack plays in the background. It is the end of the Tourist Season here and things quiet down and I get to take back my beloved beach. Not that I am selfish but hey... I really am. When it comes to the beach. Or my Eggo. 
Sorry. Couldn't resist. 
Leggo my Eggo.



OK, so the week started off with my daughter handing me a three page outline of why her private Christian school was no longer a right fit for her and then she formerly presented her case for why she should be home-schooled.  Sleeping later was in the equation but not the only factor. I am pretty convinced IF this child will yield her will in the right direction, she will be a great Lawyer. 
If not she will be a Politician. 
Negotiations are in process. 
Did I mention I gave birth to the strongest willed child in the world? 
Lord, have mercy.


My big creation this weekend to get on track!
I scrapped my own cover of Jenny Penton's
Perfect Planner.

I am a "Planner" girl and want to share my planning strategies and struggleshere in an upcoming post. 
I have a number of Binders to keep me on track for various activities I am involved in. 
I am working with two Planners now (I know this seems wrong BUT hang on) as I LOVE Jenny's tips, support, blog and her philosophy on planning (Perfect Planner). I also am using a planner I take with me everywhere called The Detailer which I am late to review but want to share a special post in a bit so I can share a fair evaluation. I was given The Detailer by the lovely creator Gail who also offers coaching and support for her planning tool! 

I am hoping to use use my Perfect Planner homemade Binder more for "scripting" (as Jenny says) out my goals and areas I am working on developing. More as a Goals binder, if you will.  I keep it at home. I purchased Jenny's e-book a while back and Jenny was featured as my first guest for the Inspiring Women Series. 

The Detailer has a weekly format and is great for me to have in my purse, as I go about the day
and make appointments etc. It also has an excellent system for managing contacts and information.




One of the things I am trying to manage is my writing and blogging time ...
It is so challenging, yes?

I was very happy to make it to my Writer's Group "Write Connections",
which is hosted by my sweet librarian friend Miss Peggy. 
She is a wonderful writer and I am looking forward to real life accountability
with our eclectic group! 
There is strength in numbers my friends, even for solo writers.  



Meeting my BFF for a quick coffee Saturday on the way to Writer's Group was the sweetest 20 minutes.
She presented me with the BESTEST, most thoughtfully sweet gifts ever 
(Late b-day gifts- cause that happens with busy friends). 
She knows me so well.
Yet, I feel so blessed that I can call her friend. 
Bonus is she really knows what I like.
Notice the ORANGE journal- "It's orange!", she shouted gleefully,
 as I pawed through my goody bag! 
The book is called Poemcrazy. 
She said she had to get it because it made her think of me.
 Especially the crazy picture of the jumping chick on the front. 
She said "I could see you doing that and having your picture taken doing it!"
Add sweetness bonus:  the Maine pure Maple syrup.
Bookmark says: "Best friends listen to what you don't say."
She is really good at listening to what is said and unsaid. 
I just loved these unexpected gifts! 
Even more, the friend who gave them.


Our dog Banjo won a spot in the
Calendar! 
He really is a Calendar Boy now!



Last but not least:
 the WINNER of 
The One Year Mother Daughter Devo 
by Dannah Gresh is:

Barbie!



316. Knowing that even though I "lead" my group of Moms In Prayer,
they would carry me this week, lift me and my girl up and just love,
cry and pray shoulder to shoulder with me through it.
317. The promise of His presence in the midst of ALL circumstances.
318. The sweet surprises I enjoyed all week. God surprises.
319. Grace for this current journey.
320. The lessons I get to learn anew with my Sunday School kids.
321. Remembering perspective is crucial. Problems are opportunities,
in the hands of God to reveal His faithfulness.
322. A sweet, spontaneous lunch date with my Hub.
323. My Girl's laughter.



Aiming to link Here:
On In Around button 
miscellany monday at lowercase letters








How Do You Make A Life?


Photo Credit


How do you make a life?
Just add water, husband, wife?

Mix it up,
with a dash
whip up some love,
add some cash?

How do you make a life?
A family that goes the miles,
 one can't live on love-
or foster phony smiles.

How do you make a life?
One that rings true and shines
A life and a legacy 
that hints at the divine.

How do you make a life?
Trudging down the roads,
looking for a way out of-
to love,
and have and hold.

How do you make a life?
When the trials come and go-
when the sun comes up again
as the tides ebb and flow.

How do you make a life?
A posed picture in time,
smiling for the camera-
is this your holy shrine?

How do you make a life?
One man and one woman.
Don't knock me for saying
the truth I believe in.

How do you make a life?
A history of days,
of living and loving -
and singing His praise.

How do you make a life?
By standing and sleeping and 
sharing the load-
by walking hand in hand down 
the long and winding road.
Just like that.

By keeping the promise, the promise you told,
By standing firm in this:
"To have and to hold."

By recognizing that dreams are for those who sleep
and life is lived by those who keep...
the words they pledge-
though they weep,
they hold fast to truth,
 words sowed and reaped.

In the end they know they have promises to keep.
In the end they know-
they have
promises to keep.

Don't sleep.



Joining in for the first time here:
the imaginary garden with real toads
Imaginary Garden with Real Toads


9.21.2012

The Width of His Love {Five Minute Friday: Wide}



This is love: not that we loved God,
 but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10


He is my morning meditation.
This man. This God.
He is my life and breath as I gather my thoughts and energy for the day.
Limited stretching to grasp limitlessness.
My hand reaches, stretching out, fingers extended.
I am seeking to grasp the unseen.
Yet He is with me.
He promises.
I wonder about this Son of Man.
How His love is to be grasped.
That there is hope and power to grasp this unfathomable love.
That though it is wide and long and high and deep.
Though it seem insurmountable.
It still is so completely able to bend it's knee and grasp my hand.
That together with all of His children, His holy people,
It is possible to know His Holy embrace.


Join us over at Lisa Jo's:
Five Minute Friday

9.20.2012

Just When You Think Your Ducks Are Safe

Photo Credit

Now listen, you who say, 
“Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, 
carry on business and make money.” 
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. 
What is your life? 
You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 
Instead, you ought to say, 
“If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 
As it is, you boast and brag. 
All such boasting is evil

There I am with my ducks lined up. 
I am starting to think that all things are possible. 

I'm so busy looking at my ducks and lining them up, 
I don't realize my downward gaze. 
My shortsightedness. 
Well, they were lining up nicely. 
Until suddenly someone came and blew those little ducks right out of the water. 
I am standing, soaking wet feeling silly for my foolishness. 
Humbled in a moment.
 Why must it always come again and again to this? 
And there I am longing for heaven, right in the midst of the mess. 
Wondering how the messes seem to mold themselves into
 the perfect storm for the season of my life. 
I forget. 
Oh, I despise that I forget His promises in an instant.
 Forget He is sleeping just below deck. 
And I am watching the waves and cursing the storm, all to my shame.
 He rises and rebukes the wind and the waves, 
yet I am not so easily calmed.

Because ducks are supposed to line up, right?

Then I realize I have been so busy planning that it is 
Wednesday when I am reading my Monday devotional and dumbfounded, 
I read the words...

"You will not find my peace engaging in excessive planning: 
attempting to control what will happen to you in the future. 
That is a commonly practiced form of unbelief. "
~ Sarah Young in Jesus Calling

I sit straight, the words stinging me upright.
I absorb the blow.
Am awed and humbled.
I have been planning and lining up my ducks and missing something.
Unprepared, though He wanted to prepare me
 in my quiet time for the storm brewing, 
unknown to me.
The Eye of that storm Sunday, settled over our home by Tuesday 
and I was taken by surprise.
Because I was busy with my ducks. 
How they were lining up so nicely.
Now they seem so insignificant really.

Because the Maker of ducks and me, 
really is in the business of lining up the ducks just right.

And sometimes when I am lining them up, 
He needs to blow them right out of the water to set them aright.

I want it to be easier.
I want it to be neat.
I want those ducks in a row.

I want the peace that comes from my planning.
I want the security of seeing my ducks in a row.

Yet I know it cannot be so.

Because I am not guaranteed tomorrow.
And sometimes ducks are distracting.

So I lift my gaze to the one who has ducks, 
storms and all in the palm of His hand.

He leads me again and again lately to Psalm 121.
It's as if He is really asking me to own it in my heart.
That I might truly believe from my core that which I profess. 

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2


Oh, Lord I know better.
Forgive my unbelief.
 Perfect love casts out fear. 
Help me believe where I doubt.
You are faithful.
You are perfect. You are love.
Lord, help me to trust You, in the weak places, 
where I rely on self instead of your grace.
May you help each one today who is trusting in anything 
else but your grace, to be free of that which hinders them
whether, doubt, fear or unbelief. 
In Jesus Name. Amen. 



Treat yourself to A Retreat! {Jumping Tandem: The Retreat)



What comes to your mind when I say the word "retreat"?
Well,what comes to my mind is horizon. 
As in new.
New horizon.
I found out that some of the sweetest, most dedicated in His grace bloggers
 I know in this Blogosphere are coming together and offering 
a really great opportunity for discovering new horizons.
Or maybe helping to re-discover forgotten ones. 

It is to be held in Ashland, Nebraska. April 19-21.

Deidre Riggs has had it on her heart for awhile apparently and how inspiring to us 
who dream in color: she is making it happen!



I heard it first from Michelle Derusha and had to pass along 
this bit of wonderful to you.
Because news travels fast in this crazy, beautiful Blogosphere but let's face it,
some news is just too good not to share right away!


I wonder if it's not your time to be refreshed in "your big, amazing, ridiculous dream".

Could it be your time to treat yourself to this retreat?

Check out :





There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1



9.17.2012

"We Really Don't Have It All Together" Monday!


I want you to watch this video. 

After you wipe the tears from your eyes, 
you can thank God for grace.

If you can't relate to this at all, 
leave your e-mail.
I want to talk to you.

I cried tears of laughter both times I saw this video.
Yesterday at church when it was played at the start of service, 
then when I re-watched it before embedding in this post.

I am letting you off the hook of hearing all about my week 
and just letting you be blessed by this video.




301. Grace
302. Grace
303. Grace
304. Where would I be without the grace of God?
305. Ephesians 2:8-10
306. The End of Summer Festival at Narragansett Beach - tradition!
307. The sweet family that came down to meet us, blessing.
308. My Mother-In -Law
309. His forgiveness and mercies new every morning...needed again today.
310. That when I am weak (and when am I not ?) He is strong.
311. Grace.
312. Grace
313. Grace
314. I will never apologize for being "CO-dependent on Jesus.
 Meaning Completely Dependent on Him and His grace. Amen.
315. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Glory! 



New Link at Jen's place here:
Check it out!

MercyMondays150

Aiming to link Here:


On In Around button 
miscellany monday at lowercase letters



9.16.2012

Your Tongue {The Power of Life or Death?}


The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 18:21

I have been thinking a lot about my words lately. I have been learning to let the words of others hold less power over me by responding with grace. And prayer. I really am being challenged within as I consider the impact of words and the motivation behind them in some recent situations. As I listen to others I am sometimes amazed at what their choice of  words actually reveal about what they believe despite what they are saying. God has used my own words to reveal the same of me. 

I want to share something with you, friends. 
I grew up in a home where words were not always gracious. 
Where cursing was common.
Where put downs, negativity and sarcasm were steadily portioned out as nourishment.

I was always inextricably drawn to words and their power.
It is not surprising that I took a pen to paper and scratched out poetry at a young age.
I would scribble song lyrics on paper because words intrigued me. 
I wanted to see them, study them, grab hold of them.
Many of the words I wrote were not beautiful.
They reflected the ugliness that was within and without.

But the One who made me planted within me, intricately, delicately 
a longing and love for wisdom, truth and words.

It is nothing less than perfection that the One who is The Living Word that became flesh 
drew me to Himself. 
In His time He drew out of me that which He planted from the beginning.

As I am sure you can understand, much weeding needed to be done. 
When He redeemed me, my words were witty at times.
Sometimes my words were well timed and even poignant.
I learned to use them to hide inadequacies and I also would wield them to cut someone right in two.
I realized that words, well used could do much...for good or evil.

Our God, the One whose own words begat life, 
wants to redeem our words.

He gives us opportunities daily to choose life or death with the words we choose to let loose.

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!
Deuteronomy 30:19

Oswald Chambers said, "Sarcasm is the weapon of the weak man."
I love my husband's paraphrase, "Sarcasm is the devil's pitchfork." 

 I believe America has been blessed with a freedom that is grossly abused. 
The public tearing down and humiliation of others is glorified.
 I am not going to even mention the names of those who people exalt for the blunt,
 rude manner with which characterizes the words they speak. 
But, I think that it is getting harder to discern grace and truth for onlookers when 
Believers are laughing at the same sarcastic banter the unbelieving world is gorging themselves on. 

Somebody pass the salt, please.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, 
seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4:6

Please do not misunderstand. I am not saying I have mastered all of this.
I am not saying I am sinless.

I am saying that I do struggle and so appreciate being with people who are real and honest about wanting their words to be God honoring, a reflection of His grace and truth, to believers and unbelievers alike!

I also think that we need to carefully think about the words that casually drop from our lips.
That we need to recognize Christ with us at all times, so that we can be sensitive and available 
to His Spirit to measure our words according to His will.


Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society's own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender.
~A. W. Tozer


Would you consider leaving a comment in answer to one of the questions below? 

Have you ever come away from a group of Believers and felt afterwards "dirty" from 
the conversation even though you did not necessarily say anything negative or wrong?

Have you ever felt a familiarity but discomfort at the banter taking place in a Christian group? 

Have you ever been around others who you thought were trustworthy and discovered that they were an "unsafe" group to be around although they were Christians?


So the Word became human and made his home among us. 
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. 
And we have seen his glory, 
the glory of the Father's one and only Son.
John 1:14 (NLT)

Jennifer's:

Emily's:
Jen's:

Duane's: