11.30.2012

The Wonder of It All (5 Minute Friday)


Photo Credit

This great mystery I'm living holds my rapt attention for sure. 
Moments. 
The wonder of the moment. 
Present. 
Connected with every other moment in time.
That I still walk out my door and look up at the sky and am amazed.
I see the moon and stars, and crick my neck in the seeing, not caring.
I walk the beach and each stone captures my gaze, I stumble in the sand,
 looking to the waves, then down at the sand, the stones, the sky.
Fighting familiarity that would like to befriend me.
No thank you.
With the wonder of a wide-eyed child I will walk through my days.
Whether I am 8, 18, or 80.
I will live in the lap of the mystery and wonder of a Heavenly persuasion.
I will keep looking up. 



This is the last five minutes of writing together at Lisa-Jo's until next year!
Oh my!
Hope to see you there!
It's like a Writer's play date!

Five Minute Friday


11.29.2012

Announcing The 12 Days of Blog Posts (Weekends and Wednesdays in December)

Photo by Keith Williamson via photopin cc

On the first day of Blog Posts, blogger gave to me...OK well, so much for my singing at the start of this entry! But you get the point, right? I am feeling festive and in the spirit of the season just thought I would end the year in a special fun way. Um, at least it seems fun to me. I hope you will enjoy it.

During December, I have 12 Posts going out, on weekends and Wednesdays,
 some of which you may have read already or maybe missed the first time around! 
These will be a mash up of guest posts I've written and shared, groups of posts and stories I hope you really like (anyone remember Rocky and Bullwinkle?).

Here's the catch. First if you have read the post before, you might remember it- BUT I will be sharing something about what prompted it, back-story, or an otherwise unique blurb related to the post!

Of course you have permission to pick, choose and also to skip (gasp) as this will be a busy place this month, and really I want you most of all to be reading Him and enjoying your family and season much as I do love having you read here!

Well with that in mind, I bring you greetings of the season and announce,

The 12 Days of Christmas Blog Posts!
(Weekends and Wednesdays in December)



Other December surprises and gifts:

A special guest featured (shh! she's a surprise!)
here and the return of The Inspiring Women Series on December 3rd!
Here She Is!

Join Susie and I as we host  Random Journal Day on December 7th
My RJD Share for December

Linking up with Emily and Prodigal Magazine for A Broken Hallelujah on December 10th
My Broken Hallelujah

A Christmas Tradition shared at 5 Minutes for Faith on December 11th
A Theatrical Christmas Tradition shared...

A fresh Guest Post I wrote for Beautifully Rooted on December 13th
sorry, will keep you posted 
Here is the Guest Post at Beautifully Rooted- Rescheduled and live on 12/13/12

Oh, I will also be sharing a final word on the lessons I have learned from Less this year,
as well as some thoughts on the new word God has already laid on my heart for 2013:
Release.


Whoohoo! 
It is going to be a great month! 
Greetings of the Season!

Of course I will be enjoying the season, 
so will be spending more time with visiting your blogs instead of replying back here!

You can always catch me on Facebook !


and Twitter @breathoffaith!



Linking with some favorite places:
Winsome Wednesday @ My Daily Walk In His Grace
Friendship Friday @ Create with Joy
  Faith Filled Friday @ Beholding Glory
Fellowship Friday @Christian Mommy Blogger
Weekend Blog Hop @ Mommy Only Has Two Hands
Weekend Wonders @ The Thriftiness Miss

11.27.2012

What's On My Nightstand {November}



I have not joined here at What's on My Nightstand since August
 so I will just link what I finished since that time.
Meanwhile the books keep coming and I am still plugging along at my snail pace. 

What I finished:

When To Speak and When to Shut Up by Dr. Michael D. Sedler 
Everything by Mary Demuth
The Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls by Sandra Byrd
The Jesus Calling Storybook by Sara Lloyd Jones

*All of my Book Reviews are listed under The Contact tab at the top of my blog!

Current Bible Study:
Women of Faith : Encouraging One Another
I am doing this with my Ladies Bible Study at church and although I enjoy the ladies and all we share, I find this particular topical study to be lacking the depth I love from other bible study books/teachers I have used. It is rare for me to share negative comments but I have to say that I would be hesitant to use another of these WOF study booklets (I already have one that someone gave me).
If you are looking for a topical surface study (and let's face it, it might have been good for me when my girl was a baby and I was grabbing my Bible Study Time on the fly.) without serious depth or additional input/commentary then this might work for you.In my opinion it skims the surface and sometimes the questions are flat and/or unclear.

What I am actually reading:
The Secrets of Intercessory Prayer by Jack Hayford

For the Christmas Season:
God In The Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
So looking forward to reading this one!

What is awaiting me on The Nightstand: 
Finding God in The Hobbit by Jim Ware (PDF attached)
Breath of Life by Marja Meijers
Chasing Silhouettes by Emily Wierenga
Writing to God" 40 Days of Praying With My Pen by Rachel G. Hackenberg
Bless Back by Julie Saffrin
Poem Crazy by Susan Wooldridge
 Jesus Today by Sarah Young
Bless These Lips by Sharla Fritz
Reach -How To Use Your Social Media Influence For The Glory of God
by Laura Krokos and Angie Pratt

The One Book I Feel I Must Read:
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel


What's the best book you have read most recently?


What's On Your Nightstand







11.25.2012

Contemplative Sunday {So Great A Salvation}

Credit 

I am feeling contemplative as the day comes to an end. As the weekend closes and Monday is pressing in even now. I do not feel pressured still. Yet, there is much swirling around this little mind here tonight. I am considering the moments...absorbing the lessons I feel God trying so patiently to impress upon me.

I wonder of my slowness to learn. 

My donkey mind. 

And still God used a donkey. 

Today I had to teach a lesson on the building of the Tabernacle 
to my Sunday School children.
I asked God to allow something of this rather monumental lesson 
to be relevant to these little ones. 
My group ranges from ages 5 to 9. 
And then there's me.  

We have been sojourning with Moses and I am weary with these Israelites...

I found myself a little more frustrated today.
After all it's been a vacation week for us all. 
Attention spans were at a low. 
My patience also. 
God did supply, yet smack dab in the middle of untied laces, 
hands that were busy playing with anything on the table before them, 
and dropped crayons. 
God got their attention and mine.

For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, 
a Sabbath of rest to the Lord. 
Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.
Exodus 35:2

I check their faces after reading the words.
We are all absorbing the blow of it.
They are shocked but they seem to accept it.

I'm still sitting dumbfounded after they resume their coloring. 

They get the point after all...they are children.
They know God means business.

But really, the Israelites have been slow to get it.

It is I, the adult who needs the reminder.

God takes our obedience seriously.
I know this. I do.
Yet still I feel the resistance within my own self.
Am I also so slow to get it?

The fact is sin is easier to see in others.
I watched it today as the children bantered.

"You interrupted me."
"It's my turn, not his."
"I'm bored."
"He took my crayon."
"I 'm not the one out my seat, he is."

The lesson loomed large.
We went from the Outer Court, to the Holy Place and Holy of Holies.
We gazed upon the Golden Lampstand, the Table of Bread, The Alter of Incense.
We saw the Ark of the Covenant.
The Mercy Seat.

I have their momentary attention...

Holiness.
Forgiveness.
A costly, bloody combination. 

Daily shedding of innocent blood traded for guilt and sin.
Gentle lambs. 
Hands placed on them, a transfer made in time; 
an act foreshadowing the Lamb
that would end the days of blood stained worship once and for all 
by the tearing of His own flesh, shedding of His own blood.
The Living Tabernacle.

Grace is never late, always right on time.

Finally, the blessing...

The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
 Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. 
So Moses blessed them.
Exodus 39:42-43

Obedience.
Grace.
One relies on my will.
My will.
The other is available...if I choose to receive.
He has already supplied all I need.

so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people;
 and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin,
 but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:28


If Israel can turn from grumbling and complaining,
 giving all they had to the point of building the Tabernacle in the middle of nowhere,
what is it for me to yield and obey today?

As my Pastor preached today, 
how then can I neglect so great a salvation?

We ought, therefore, to pay the greatest attention to the truth that we have heard and not allow ourselves to drift away from it. For if the message given through angels proved authentic, so that defiance of it and disobedience to it received appropriate retribution, how shall we escape if we refuse to pay proper attention to the salvation that is offered us today? For this salvation came first through the words of the Lord himself: it was confirmed for our hearing by men who had heard him speak, and God moreover has plainly endorsed their witness by signs and miracles, by all kinds of spiritual power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, all working to the divine plan.
Hebrews 2:1-4
(J.B. Phillips)


Lord, that I may not be slow to respond to that which you have graciously 
provided and revealed, but have eyes to see, ears to hear and hands,
 feet and heart to do what you will without hesitation. 
That my tongue may be quick to reply,
"Yes, Lord, your will, not mine."
That I may be found faithful, as you are faithful.


TheBetterMom.com
Photobucket

11.24.2012

Everything by Mary Demuth {Book Review}





Everything
What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus

By Mary DeMuth 
Published by Thomas Nelson



I applaud Mary Demuth's candid and honest sharing in Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. Although Mary has written a number of other books, this was the first time I read her writing. I felt as though I was sitting in the presence of a wonderfully honest sister in Christ who was not afraid to tell it as it is and boldly go in those places many fear to tread. 

Mary takes us through her own journey through discouragement leading us into understanding why that path is a place that ultimately brings joy and intimacy with the Lord when we allow it.
Mary asks us to consider our options in difficult times. We can turn to the Lord in our brokenness and pain, growing in intimacy and relationship with God or we can hang onto our  dismal position, growing in bitterness, anger and resentment toward God and others. She does not make light of trials but beckons us to lean into the One who longs us to lean hard on Himself. She advises us in three realms our head, heart and hands. In each of these parts of the book she tackles how we can best live out our faith instead of leaning on our own understanding. She directs us to the deep tenets of our own Christian view through questions for reflection and discussion. The goal is radical obedience and trust. Transformation by grace has never been an easy path. Challenging the easy, breezy gospel of success and  happily-ever-after with truth is what shines through in Everything. If you are ready to stop accepting the superficial Christian life and want to feel affirmed in God's will for you as a real life believer, right now, then read on and be sharpened , friends. 
Practical and challenging.
If you are ready for Jesus to be your Everything, you are ready to read this book!

I received this book from Booksneeze for the purpose of review.
All opinions expressed are completely my own!

I review for BookSneeze® 

11.23.2012

Five Minutes on Thank You...{5 Minute Friday}


Credit

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Two words. Two words pointed to heaven then outward to others. Two words that can change the perspective of my heart, and yours. If we let them. If we dare to utter the words. I remember reading how the words that portray thankfulness in the Bible are in the original language always encompass gratefulness that is God directed first. When I say thank you, I know that I am submitting to him first in this act. Think about it. To be grateful is an acceptance of whatever the gift is, but always acknowleges the giver. To withhold the words thank you then could be seen, pehaps as a rejection or lack thereof to the gift and the giver, yes? SO as I whisper thank you I am embracing both the giver and the gift with humble appreciation. Not expectation, disappointment or worthiness of my own. I accept both the goiver and the gift when I utter the words, thank you.

****************************************

Post 5 Minute Note:

All this being said friends, in my 5 minute ramble, only makes me want to speak these words to you who are visiting and reading these words of mine as they spill out of my heart at this keyboard. I thank you for your visiting and reading. Thank you, friend today for receiving me as I am. I reciprocate and appreciate you, one in sweet hospitable grace. Appreciatively.
Thank you.


Joining Lisa Jo for 5 minutes of writing bliss where we let it rip and ramble 
(well at least I ramble!) 
- join in or enjoy!
Five Minute Friday


11.22.2012

A Friendly Offering {Happy Thanksgiving}

Original Artwork by C. Michael Dudash

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; 
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 107:1


Whoever is wise, 
let him heed these things 
and consider 
the great love of the LORD.
Psalm 107:43


Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, 
for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1



Wherever you are today remember, 
it is good to give thanks to the Lord. 
May you and yours have a blessed day~
Happy Thanksgiving!



The beautiful painting on my post today is by one pf my favorite artists, C. Michael Dudash
Please visit and enjoy his work at his web site: cmdudash




11.20.2012

Words Play...






Words play together in my mind
like children in the playground
undefined
by rigid structure and gamely plans
joy-filled steps, creative dance
See it? 
Pure joy.


Words play together
in my head
like children
  jumping happily on a bed
unrestrained by deadlines 
or fine lines
no fear
without care
see their gleeful faces 
as they dare?

Words run brazenly through my mind
like wild mustangs unconfined
unbridled by time and the cares of man
untamed by the constraints of civil land
Watch out-
here comes the stampede!

Words prowl the landscape of my brain
seeking prey
they rule and reign
uncaged and free
unruly beasts 
as they should be-
Kings and Queens!
Hear them roar?

Words swim fluidly 
in deep places
easily maneuver 
unhindered spaces
sometimes caught 
rarely bought
neurons, protons,
synapse, cell
swimming by still
 secrets to tell...
Feel the rhythm?


Words play endlessly
every day
I 'm not sure why
but they sure betray
all that goes on 
in this place
called me-
Words play within and
 I set them free!


Linking with Brian Miller and others for OpenLink night!



the imaginary garden with real toads








Do You Believe This?




Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. 
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

 Do you believe this?”

John 11:25-26


A word on Yadah today over at Bible Study Tools



Happy Thanksgiving!






11.19.2012

There's No Place Like Home...on Monday!


Photo Credit
A week full of blessing and  lessons 
while walking with the Savior!
My usual random Monday post. 
So, grab your coffee or tea and I'll catch you up!


Monday, I headed to Providence.
I had a visit with this lovely lady!
Sharon is the creator of Janes 
(patient examination gowns (superior to a "Johnny") for women!
She is also one of the amazing women in my Inspiring Women series.
Click to read more about Sharon Linder and Janes!


Monday was a very special time visiting old friends 
who are more like family. Sweet Sharon and I enjoyed 
catching up but seeing her daughter Olivia was an additional blessing. I am still smiling
 at the memory of seeing her in a baby carrier with those big blue eyes and gorgeous 
lashes blinking up at me many years ago and now the delightful young woman she is today.
Wow, I am getting old. Thanks, Olivia! 



Banjo got the December spot in the Friends of the Exeter Animals Calendar 
and sends a paw shake of thanks to all of you who voted as well as
 liked the page for this great local shelter.
We couldn't be happier. We love our rescue puppy-
even though he did end up coming all the way from Arkansas!



We watched a couple of family movies this weekend. 
I love the slapstick silliness and craziness
of Home Alone- one of My Girl's favorite since the early years. 
We wrapped up Sunday night with 
The Wizard of Oz and I realized I have not watched it in a long time! 
Of course, we made popcorn.








I went ahead and ordered Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "God In The Manger" 
after my friend Shanyn mentioned it in Facebook conversation! 
I am looking forward to receiving it this week and will tell you all about it ASAP!





Hubs and I are guilty of sometimes taking one another for granted. 
When this happens what I usually do is not make him coffee or lunch to remind him of how reliant he is on me. What he usually does is...um, nothing...or worse- he will do something I didn't get to in the house in an attempt to help! Yeah that's the point, I'm a jerk! 
Seriously, we rarely fight but we also rarely get out. 
So...we had ourselves a coffee date while our daughter and her friend saw a movie.
(It was a too many movies weekend in my opinion).
It gave us a chance to talk and for fun I said let's make Christmas List's of things we want IF we could have whatever we wanted. Even though we know that we will not get them but just to kind of see what comes out. He asked me to clarify. I said  the sky is the limit. 
I had a couple of reasons for wanting to do this, of course.
One being, my hubs does not ask for much. 
I wanted to give him permission to really have a go at it and also see what he might want that we could actually give him this year.Well, oddly I came up with things that he said were practical and possible but his list was more, well...less possible, but revealing as well. Most of my list things were the same old things that I always want...a journal is always on my list. But a house that "stays clean" made it's way to a top spot. 




Last but not least since it has been a too many movies weekend I have to tell you I am a BIG fan of the Lord of The Rings films and am looking forward to the release of The Hobbit
Counting down to December 14th!



337. the surprise of my own audacity!
338. three praying moms, Jesus around us
339. Coffee date with my better half; the simple joy of 

the mundane planned somewhere else.
340. A turkey bought at 69 cents a pound-
 whoohoo for a giant sized bargain!

Rejoicing in His grace with a thankful heart
 all week and season long!
Join me?
Wishing you all a wonderful week full of thanksgivings!
















11.17.2012

Awaiting His Voice

Original Art Work by C. Michael Dudash


In the morning, O LORD, 
you hear my voice; 
in the morning 
I lay my requests
 before you 
and 
wait in expectation.
Psalm 5:3



So many verses speak to waiting on God. 
Waiting and being still enough within and without 
to hear that still, small voice.
He is faithful.
Shh...
Listen.
Wait with expectation.
Surely you will hear Him.
Have a blessed Sunday!






Who I Am- A Bio {This Is What It's Like To Talk To Me For Real}

It's totally true!

This was an original first attempt at my Bio.
We toned it down for my new gig over at 5 Minutes For Faith.
You will see what I mean if you clink the link! 
What do you think? 

I am:
 married to my BFF of 20 years, 
a wanna be domestic diva, 
completely submissive wife (lie)
dedicated mom (truth), 
an absolutely reluctant homemaker,  
hawk-eyed Personal Trainer, 
and one very enthusiastically 
 inspired Group Fitness Instructor most days...
A believer, 
follower and lover 
of the One True Living God 
(who walks in His grace by Faith) 
my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in whom all things 
(for, by and through) 
and ALL people were created.
 I am a slow reader but a true bookaholic!
 I love rocks, stones and all of nature (God's Creation). 
I am a journal keeper. 
I love to teach, share, create, write and 
especially love working with children (we understand each other) 
and older folks (they are rich with wisdom and patient with me). 
I am blessed with the gift of ADHD (sometimes it shows) 
and God loves me, just as I am. 
(I know He loves you too and He told me to tell you in case you forgot or do not know it already)
 I value authenticity and I respect and value others. 
I am not afraid to speak the truth. 
I also am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and I am not afraid to let others be who they are (God accepts you as you are, so why shouldn't I?).
 I live out loud but really love a piece of quiet most days.
Sometimes I'm silly but in all seriousness 
I'm learning to walk with the Savior
 while sharing the journey. 
Join me?





11.16.2012

Recollection {5 Minute Friday: Stay}

Photo Credit



There is this one memory I have, I always come back to it. It's more than a memory, even a thing- that brings it to my mind. One Teddy Bear in time brings me back to everything good, pure and innocent. I don't know why or how this one gift somehow encapsulates all the magic and love of Christmas, but it does. I long to stay in this place. I am waiting for my grandparents to pick me up, they come and take me for the greasiest, most delicious fried chicken I ever remember eating. I see the flaky crust and taste the saltiness still...mmmm. I am looking at them doting over me. This long awaited Christmas visit among so many complications. Divorce splits families into twos, threes and fours. Painful to all yet sometimes through the eyes of innocence clinging to hope...there is a glimmer. More people to love and be loved by, more hope in love. We arrive and I see the box. One box wrapped perfectly. I open it quick. Hope stirring. In tissue paper, pristine, perfect and hopeful a soft white, bear with black, shiny eyes stares back at me. White, jointed and red bowed. I am enchanted with the sight of it. Still see it in my dreams. Hope in a white Christmas bear.




You just never know what will come out of you until you start writing!
 I never know where this 5 minutes will lead- it often surprises me- 
come on by and try or see what Lisa-Jo is serving up over at her place!

Five Minute Friday

11.15.2012

If I Had a Ton of Money




If I had a ton of money, this is what I'd do...
I'd hang up my workout tights
and move to a zoo
(yes, like the movie)
I would hire lots of folks to care for those pets
 I would most likely hire a live in vet

or two...

If I had a ton of money
I'd hop on the next plane
But wait-
I get fearful so instead
I'd take a train

Where would I go?
Not exactly sure
But my girl has a hankering
to see a little more

If money was no option I guess I could say yes
when she mentions for the umpteenth time
New York for the "Best"-
New Years Eve and overnight,
my head hurts thinking 'bout
that unholy sight

If I had a ton of money there'd be peace at home
without the interruptions of that noisy phone
ringing off the hook
I'd pay back every loan
but the bills add up
as we moan and groan

If I had a ton of money
I'd buy my mom a place
 anywhere she wanted
 with breathing room,
   and space

If I had a ton of money,
our pets would have the best,
of care and food and needed meds
and all of the rest

love will have to do
when times are tight
when your teeny, tiny zoo
is quite a sight,
and vets cost a lot; so does food
it seems so sad
when you have to choose

Some people don't get it
not at all
they haven't lost a thing
Haven't had a fall

I've had my childhood stolen away
but in the end I gained new life
when I found The Way

I have seen death
steal the last breath
of the one who loved me most
which put my faith to the test-
to my shame
 I was her boast

she deserved more...

If I had a ton of money
I'd give it all away
to whoever needed it,
watch as it would fly away-

money sprouts wings...

If I had a ton of money
I know I couldn't buy
back my old friend, Steve,
or the answer to why
God gives and takes away
 this I know is true-

If I had a ton of money
what would I really do?

Spend my days at this keyboard,
 between visits to my zoo.
I'm too late for a date at dVerse!
but linking with Emily and more anyway !

the imaginary garden with real toads




Crickets In The Loft {Guest Post by Lee Boardway}


Photo Credit

                                                                                   

Throughout our lives, we make an effort to keep our minds focused on the job-at-hand; whether it's the serious issues in our work-a-day lives, or simply our desire for some quiet time. Occasionally, little distractions creep in, causing our thoughts to become "derailed" and disturbed. These events - like the crickets in the loft that keep us from our sleep at night - are seen as troublesome and unwanted interruptions. However, if we take the time to "listen" to them, we may find that the "crickets" are trying to tell us something important. Perhaps these pesky little critters are even sent by God, to teach us a needed lesson. But how often do we treat these harmless little events as if they were a plague of locusts that we simply want to escape from?

Wisdom can be a subtle, elusive thing. We humans tend to be very determined in our ways and yet we can fail to see that, sometimes, we are heading into on-coming traffic. You would think it would be obvious that we are in error, but our tendency is to think: "Why are those idiots driving in the wrong direction?!" This is an excellent time to apply humility (not to mention the brakes)!

If we are so busy with the requirements of daily life that we have no time to "escape to the wilderness" and find time to ponder things, then we cheat ourselves and we lose out on learning things that could supply us with the resources we need; resources that could help our lives become more efficient.
I don't mean to imply we are machines in need of an oil change, or tune-up; I am saying that we are much more than the physical matter that occupies the space we are standing in.
We have a nature within us (our spirit) that is like a flower: it needs the rain of hope, in order to survive in this difficult world. The question is: where does the rain come from and, when it comes, do we revel in its refreshing, or do we complain that now our clothes are wet, and we are cold and miserable? If we look around us, we can see how many people treat these "crickets" like vermin to be stamped out - their faces show it.

We are all too often "Martha", when we should be "Mary". 
This is a Biblical reference that was used as a lesson to teach us that, 
when wisdom is near, we need to listen to it and not be waylaid but the rote duties of life.

So take heed - have "ears to hear" - and you may find that your 
"crickets" are actually trying to help you.



Lee Boardway

Lee on Lee: I was born in 1958 in a town near the Maine coast and have lived my life in a little "outpost" community on the edge of the great Northeast wilderness. From the start, I struggled with shyness - even retaining much of it, until recent years. Yet, in looking back, I can see the Lord's hand at work in all my trials and in all my paths. In January of 2010, God began to "work overtime" to bring the results of years of prayer and "faith-walking": He brought to me the perfect wife, and the two of us are continually amazed and humbled at what He has done. Although I cannot perceive His plan for us, I know He will be using us for His glory, as we yield ourselves to His will.