A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Friday, July 14, 2017

To See The Sea

The land I live in is filled with ups and downs; I long for something more. This place is dark, and it is lonely, yet it leads me to a shore. The man I see is waiting for me with an offer I can't ignore. In this land I live in, he's provided helpers, and they promise he's the answer to the pain and sorrows here. They've told me that he's special, that he's a protector from the storm.

He waits for me with love and patience; I have only to reach out my hand. He stands beside a sea that he can walk on, I can see the love he has for me, he knows my every need. I look out across the water, sometimes it's gentle, at times it rages, but he has the power to walk on waves, and promises to walk along beside me. He holds onto a boat named Grace, invites me to come aboard. Do I have faith to board sweet Grace, and am I willing to row across the water? The Sea of Salvation flows to new shores, but I can hear the howling of the wind. It scares me, but the man says watch and understand.

He tells the winds to be quiet; the waves are still again. I look again out at the Sea, and then back to the boat. Once again the man reaches out his hand, and I reach out my own. What kind of land will I be rowing towards? Why should I leave this shore? With a gentle smile and loving tone, he answers, "It is my home. A place where there are no tears, no pain is ever known. Oh, the singing there is beautiful, and our father, who loves you. You see he sent me here across the storm filled sea.The sea now does my bidding, the winds I now control. All you must do to get there is keep rowing for the shore. The winds will come, and the waves toss high, but you'll never be alone. For I can walk upon the Sea, all you'll have to do is call."

I considered all the man had said and I stepped into the boat. I picked up the oars to row but hesitated still. I wondered what would happen if the storms about me raged, and I could no longer see the man who would push me out to Sea. "Dear one", said the man, "You worry over nothing, for there may be times I don't calm the storm, but I'll be with you to endure. If by some chance you lose hope and are tossed into the sea, all you have to do is ask for help, and I'll be there to rescue you. I'll be there to anchor the boat as you board her once again. You'll find yourself still closer to the shore you've made your goal."

With questions answered and safely aboard Grace, I began to row. Across the Sea of Salvation to the shore of Paradise, I set my course to go. The man who waited by the shore was there on good days and bad. Sometimes I work to stay afloat, the winds toss me about, but all I have to do is call for help. The man hears my cries and answers, strengthens my arms as I row on. I'm sailing on toward a distant shore, but when the rowing is done. I know the shore on which I'll land is a bright and shining home. A place to rest my weary head, no pain or sorrow there. A place where only joy and peace are forever found.

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Time to Meet Christ

The following is a little different from what I usually share but it has been tugging at my heart for two years.

She stood on the edges of the crowd, she just needed to see for herself surely the boy who grew up in Nazareth that the little old ladies talked about being born "early" wasn't the man who drew a crowd no matter where He went. It couldn't be Mary's son that was causing so much talk.
Yet, there before her eyes was the Man who had the same eyes and strong hands she remembered from His working with Joseph. She kept thinking I'm not brave enough to approach Him.
The more she listened, the more hopeful she became. Jesus took care of the sick, He touched those who were unclean. Yet deep down she didn't feel worthy to even be in the crowd with Him. She knew the drill... pray, have faith, and the pain will stop. The emotional pain, the physical pain that woke her in the dark hour before dawn, all those things together must mean she's not worthy of His grace.
But wait, He just caused a blind beggar to see...He spoke to a Roman soldier, and from across the crowd, she could see them smile and leave.
She'd spent so many days following and listening. She knew the names of others who stood on the fringe, the ones like her who wanted to hear every word, the yet couldn't grasp that God could love someone so small, so full of sin. Yet the night had been a long one, filled with hurt, confusion, and anger. She knew that this was her moment to break loose from sinfulness to living a life with real meaning. It was amazing to look him in the eyes and recognize He already knew everything that she needed from Him. She just had to say it out loud and know that she didn't have to carry the pain alone. The Man who stood before her now spoke of His yoke being easy and the burden He asked her to bear being light. She thought about the pain filled night and His promise that one day He could give her a home where the son shine was always bright, there would be no tears, and the streets would be made of gold. So the woman who had been on the fringe of the crowd weaved through the vast numbers and reached out Her hand.
It was with a little fear and a lot of hope that she touched just the hem of His garment...so many were doing just as she was. The joy came when she lifted her eyes and looked into the eyes of Mary's son who she now knew was the Messiah who had been promised. The gentleness and love looking back at her made her weep and want to sing all at once. He continued teaching, as she moved so another could get close enough to find healing too. He didn't just heal the physical pain, but He healed all those broken pieces of her heart. She was ready now to live for the promises He taught, and she shared with all who would listen about how the Teacher had transformed her life.

Today, God has given us the Bible. He has provided us with the way to reach Him. It is my hope that this fictional story will make you long for the personal relationship with Christ that comes from reading His word and obeying it. By reading the Gospels and the book Acts, we can all see who Christ is and what He wants for our lives. The way to salvation has not changed since the first gospel sermon given in Acts 2. May God bless us all as we strive to live our lives for Him.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Times of Tough Spots


During the tough spots of our life, we either end up losing more than we ever thought possible or we slowly find our way through faith and grace a new level of hope that we never dreamed was possible. It's those times we are hurting emotionally, physically, or both that we get to choose to stay stuck in the middle of the yucky, lost place we're in, or we can deal with the hurt and find out that God has worked in our hearts another level of hope, love, and compassion. Sometimes it doesn't take us long to decide, but there are times when it takes long sleepless nights, days spent feeling sorry for ourselves, and time spent examining our hearts under the microscope of what we think is fair or unfair. It can feel as if every breath we draw and every decision made is a battle waged against the devil. He is the deceiver. He wants us to look at what we're dealing with and see an unloving God who plays games with our lives or A God who no longer cares or sees us hurting and fighting. It's been a rough season for me. My heart breaks with those who have lost loved ones, friends who are dealing with chronic pain, and watching those I love walk their own roads of suffering. It's when we are trying so hard to please the Father, yet we continue to encounter road blocks at every turn. I don't have the answers, but I know the One who loves me enough that He suffers right beside me. He cares so much more than I can begin to fathom the depth of that love and grace. So this morning, I'm pushing to see the beauty and growth that comes with suffering.It's the tough times that are used to bring us a deeper capacity for caring and loving. It's those times that help us see that this world is not our home. It's those times that help us see the Sonshine and walk in the warm rays of God's love and grace.
Romans 5: 1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Time to be a Princess

I've been thinking, scary right, about a chat with a friend from Canada whose view on princesses is a little different than the typical American's view. She told me once that it's not unusual for them to see royalty at work. Think about how much is done by England's queen. The royal family are ambassadors they work. I'm the daughter of the King.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

If I am the daughter of the King then I've been given a job to do. If I am co-heirs with Christ,the perfect son, then why should I not expect to suffer along the way. I'm not talking about playing the role of martyr. I'm talking about walking in the footsteps of the son. His life on this earth was not an easy one. He worked in Joseph's Carpentry shop, Joseph died before Jesus was 30. The one who spoke the world into existence worked hard, suffered the loss of his dad, and dealt with all the drama that comes from being the oldest in a family with many brothers and sisters.,,,(this was the easy part). The one who had lived in Heaven's splendor came and walked among us. He had a vision and a plan for how He wanted things to go, yet he mourned over the city of Jerusalem and the sin that had taken over the chosen. He then dealt with the verbal abuse of those he taught who rejected him, he delt with overwhelming crowds and those who just wanted to get close enough to touch the hem of his garment, he was betrayed by one of those closest to him, he was beaten, suffered the pain and humiliation of the cross. Yet he came and stayed and fought for us. He died a painful death for me and you. Without his hard work, there would be no grace for us, no salvation. Praise God, he arose on the 3rd day and was seen among the people and made a promise to return.
We are given a promise that if we do his will and follow his footsteps, we will see glory.'

So here's my point, If someone doesn't like me for my faith then I'm in good company.If I suffer the loss of a loved one while on this earth, Christ has been there too and I am not alone. When the troubles of this world bring me to my knees and a friend betrays my trust or disappoints me, Christ has felt those emotions too. My job here on this earth is to live as closely as I possibly can to be who God wants me to be, to share his love, to be the one who lives a life of truth to shine his light with his message by my daily walk so that it is obvious that I'm the daughter of the King. I'm a princess who is an ambassador that shares the love of the Father and His plan for eternity. Then I can know that at the end I'll get to sing at the foot of the King for eternity. I know when the labor of this world is done I have a home...much better than anything I could imagine.

Praying we all will be who God wants us to be.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Faith

Faith
I know that God is good.
I see His grace and love in the sunrise, the birds' song, a child's trusting face.
I know He is in control and faith leaves no room for doubt.

I also see the pain and hurt, the loneliness and shame.
For sin took a perfect world and brought with it death and trouble.
Sin changed man with its promises of power and knowledge.
It left behind a broken world in need of a perfect Savior.
For sin is what brings suffering and God who is always good brought us salvation's glory.

In the quiet of the pain filled nights, my heart wonders why me.
It questions how God who is good could allow all this to happen.
I look at where I am today and know my Savior lives.
For even in the darkest times, His light shines up ahead.
I'm not alone even when I feel like I am, my God is holding me.
His Spirit lives within my heart and brings me hope and love and joy and peace.

So when my soul begins to wonder why, I look back to Calvary's mountain.
I see the mighty Son of God his arms stretched out on the cross held not by the nails but perfect love.
The King who left heaven's glory to pay the debt my sins had wrought.
He was brought from God's presence to a world filled with pain from eternal love to hate.
If my Savior could suffer such cruelty for me and do it all alone then I can walk the road of pain with faith that doesn't doubt for God has promised an eternal life without pain and tears and death.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Looking Back to Look Forward

I am constantly amazed at how our Heavenly Father works by using the people who come into our lives for a season but remain in our hearts for a lifetime. We see this easily in our family members, but what about those people who are just a part of our lives for a very specific period of time or maybe those who become a part of our forever families because of the bonds forged in the fires of pain or the joys of this life.

Ecc. 3:11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

I see God's hand at work in my life from early moments of childhood to even now as a middle-aged woman. There were bible class teachers and teachers at school who made huge impacts on a very young life helping to shape and mold the opinions and beliefs that I hold tightly to today. The teacher who with patience showed me over and over again how to tie my shoes when I just couldn't seem to get my fingers to work. She helped instill the we don't give up but try and try again. The teacher who washed the skinned knees and calmed a very frightened little who was being chased by a dog and then delivered me safely home to the arms of my sweet Mama. Oh, how big a part they played in who I am today. They helped shape the desire to teach and even when the dyslexia made reading so hard they found things to make me feel like I could conqueror the world.

Deut. 6:4-9-“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Then there are the countless friends from elementary schools scattered across three states and from one side of town to another. Girl Scout leaders who helped a very shy little girl find her voice behind a puppet stage. The mamas of those friends who took the time to make me feel a part of their family as well as my own, began the process of teaching me that family doesn't have to be blood related to be family.

There were also people that taught me what I didn't want to be and that kindness is golden. Some of the lessons were learned from adults and some classmates. There was the teacher who didn't show patience and said ugly things to my “at-risk reading group”. The one who rather than encouraging discouraged me from being willing to work hard to accomplish a goal. Those were important lessons to learn. It was the friend's dad down the road who spoke ugly to my sister and then thought I would want to stay and play. Well maybe I could have handled that one better, but he helped me learn loyalty and how to fight for someone you love even when it's scary. I learned that words once said can't be taken back and though you may forgive there are some things you just never forget.

Prov. 17:9 He who conceals a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.

It's the friends from camp, youth devos, and sleepovers that taught me the value of open and honest sharing of the heart. It was talking long into the night till you fell asleep, getting up early to get the hot shower and a place to plug in your curling iron. It was the process of learning that sometimes someone can be really nice to your face, yet they will rake you over the coals when your back is turned. It was those friends who stood up for you even when they didn't agree with everything you believed and protected your innocence and learning not everything is black and white. I learned I could love people but not like their actions. It was the space to learn to stand up for my beliefs even while shaking because I didn't want to be different yet God calls us to be different.

Prov. 18:24 A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

2 Cor. 3:4-6 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.


It's the blessing of older women showing me how to love my husband. It was precious souls who when Mama wasn't there to talk to (remember this was before cell phones and even us not having a telephone because groceries were more important). There were couples who took a very young set of newlyweds under their wing and provided friendship and encouragement to keep doing good. It was precious souls who taught hard lessons on life in a beautiful life and a quiet bold voice. It was sweet folks who taught a young bride how to cook without a cookbook and how to be the wife God expected, not by what they said but by having me in their home and living it in front of me. It was sweet mamas who shared their littles with a young woman who very much wanted to be a mama, and taught me how to discipline and love all at the same time. How precious those ladies are and were!

Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

It was bringing into my life people who dealt with chronic illness and pain, yet lived beautiful lives of service to their families and the church. It was by being asked to ride and just be company to doctor's appointments and just being there in the house through the rough spots. It was sweet families who took care of a sick and scared you young school teacher and showed me how church family loves each other even when the only connection we have is the blood of Christ.

Rom. 8: 14-17 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

It was listening to words spoken to my Mama and my Aunt when they lost their babies that taught me what to say and what not to say. It was watching church family care for us that taught me how to care for others. It's the people God sends to preach His word in actions and love. It's knowing that people can make grief bearable or unbearable with just the smallest slip of the tongue or act of kindness.

Prov. 15:4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit.


I've been blessed with friends who when they came into my life the first time the connection didn't form, but that when God brought them back into my life later they have become family and encouragers. There are people who I may not see often, but when I do they make my heart lighter just by the sound of their voice or the words that appear on my computer screen. They help me see a glimpse of heaven here on earth with their love.

2Cor.13:5-10 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down.

God sent children for me to love all through my childhood and early adulthood. I learned quickly that love comes with high expectations, and real love demands good behavior and consequences when they're not met. He sent me sweet children who were hurting and wanted direction. He taught me that my heart could grow and stretch and hurt with the pain that wasn't my own. He sent me opportunities to love those who weren't “loveable” and reap the reward of them knowing I loved them and God loved them. I learned our world can be full of ugliness and pain, but that through LOVE we see God and grace and redemption. Yes, children taught me that lesson.

Matt. 19:13-14 Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

He used those who made comments that wounded a heart longing for babies, so I could learn how not to hurt others. He sent people I could watch from a distance and learn from on how to comfort someone who had lost a baby. Those have been so important. He sent friends who are adult adoptees who have willingly shared their story, and now I have some idea on what to expect as my sweet boy grows up with questions and longing and grief and joy all mixed together. He has stretched my heart and made room to understand that loving birth-parents doesn't mean not loving me.

James 1:26-27 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

It is amazing how a word spoken at just the right time in the past can continue to influence who I am today. It's people who took the time to ask a young couple about their dreams for their family and the church that helped create this middle aged couple standing on the edge of dreams answered or about to be answered. It's realizing that all along the way God has used us in just the same way with others, and being humbled at the thought. May God continue to send us people who touch us and allow us to touch them; so that, we can see God in every aspect of our life.

Jer. 29: 11-13For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

James 1:15-18 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.


It is with the hope of the eternal that allows us to see beyond the past and the present moment to the eternal future with Him. May He bless us all, and may we see the opportunities to be His hands and feet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Letter to My 13 Year Old Self

Dear 13 year old self,

Get ready for life to make some big changes. Stay focused on school and remember how you behave affects who you become. Be compassionate, don't think you're always right. Life will reveal just how much you don't know very soon.

When Mama asks for your help, do it with a smile. She doesn't like how much responsibility she's given you anymore than you do, but there aren't any other options and you can meet the challenge.

Tell your baby sister you love her more than you fuss at her... you're not her Mama. Keep up with that little brother a little more, he isn't as grown as you think he is. The fussing that you do with the younger sister remember your sisters in Christ and those rules apply to your relationship too.

Stay active in the youth group, there are so many blessings that come from that time. Read and memorize scripture now, it gets harder to hang on to it as you get older.

Be the daughter of the King that He wants you to be. Latch onto those friendships at church, camp, and school. Decide right now how you plan to handle the hard things that will come in your life to tempt you. Be careful what movies you see, speak kindly and respectfully to everyone with a special emphasis on Mama and Daddy.

Find a way to express your emotions, just because you feel like you have to be in control doesn't mean you have to hold everything inside. Remember that there are some secrets that need to be shared.

Love family deeply every chance you get. Give hugs and say I love you every time you see them. Tell Aunts and Uncles how much they mean to you and why. Tell them thank you for play time and for making you feel special.

The day you go riding on the moped with you best friend and the cop pulls into the drive way to fuss about your not having a helmet on, stand beside her and take responsibility for your actions. Don't be a chicken and run inside because you're afraid of authority figures.

Remember that while you think you know everything, you still have a lot to learn. Find a healthy way to get rid of stress...exercise, yell, but most importantly breathe. School is important ,but it's not everything.

Trust God in good times and bad. Watch Mama and Daddy, they are wonderful examples. Give Grandpa Dean lots of hugs and kisses (yes, he really likes them even if he growls). Take every opportunity to spend time with Grandma Dean...show up on hair washing day...you'll look back one day and be so glad you did. Watch that Aunt who takes care of the folks she loves. She's awesome and cares even when they're grumpy. Give her an extra squeeze and let her know just how much you love her.

Don't push Jenny past her limits...you will regret it. Soak up all the time you have with her both good and bad. Sing all the time. There will come a time when it won't be this easy.

There are so many things I wish I could change but I know that’s not how it works. Remember it's not the number of friends you have, but the relationships you build for a lifetime.

The Spring Break Grandma and Grandpa Lyles come to visit. Let them do what they came to do...take care of you. Let her be the boss. Every time you hear Grandpa Lyles pray store it up in your heart. Watch Grandma Lyles serve others and you'll see Christ in action.

Find the joy in times spent with Jenny, Willard, and Garrett. Savor the moments things change before you're ready.

Be happy with who you are! Enjoy being a size 10. I promise you, you are not fat. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. You're willing to fight battles for every one else; fight one for yourself every now and then.

Above all love God! Put your heart into his keeping. Feed your soul, pray, and work to produce the fruit of the spirit. God is all powerful, His love is greater than you can imagine, and his spirit lives within you and will give you strength.

Hard times are ahead, but through each trial and struggle God is with you. Sometimes the things you don't think are fair or that you can't get through...all fit into God's perfect plan for your life.

One last thing, Satan is a deceiver. It's how he works. He wants you to doubt yourself, those you love, but above all he wants you to question your faith in God. You'll be surprised who he sends or what you'll encounter for him to get to your heart. Your going to make mistakes. Confess them, breathe, and move closer to God.

Stand on the promises of God and one day, you'll get to stand in His presence. Remember everything in God's way and God's timing. Don't grieve the “nos” for long, but concentrate on the blessings.

It's God and you working together, so you've got this,
Your 43 year old self