Thursday, December 24, 2009

O Come Let Us Adore HIM!

Ready or not - here it comes! This is a different Christmas in my house. I haven't baked or decorated like I usually do...from the looks of things I am not ready for Christmas. But, as we all know, looks can be deceiving. I may not have all the details in place like I usually do but my heart is ready, even craving the true meaning of this holiday. Now is the time to pause and praise the New Born King. Whatever stage you may be in with holiday preparations, please join me in purposefully Adoring Him! Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Verse To Chew On - Let it Snow!

Today is our first real snow day of the season! The girls are thrilled...they both prayed for snow last night. It looks beautiful. The sun was starting to come up as I was returning from dropping my daughters at school, and even though the sunrise was blocked by snow clouds, the light it brought made the new snow glisten like it was full of fairy dust. Later today, when I need to run errands, it might be a nuisance, but right now as I look at it from my office window, it is glorious!
Winter in Idaho, with it's naked trees, subfreezing temperatures, (it's 18 degrees as I write this), and gray skies lacks the beauty of the winters in California that I grew up with. But I tell you what, on snowy days like this I wouldn't trade this beauty in Idaho for all the palm trees in Southern California. There is something so fresh and clean and beautiful about the snow that really speaks to my soul.
There is a verse in the Bible that does the same...
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
This psalm was penned by David - a man after God's heart...but it was penned after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba. I am sure that the reality of David's sin had left his soul feeling as cold, naked and gray as a winter day in Idaho. And yet David turned to God, crying out for His mercy and forgiveness. David's reference to hyssop in this verse speaks of the blood of the sacrificial lamb of passover. He knew by faith that He could trust in this provision from God to cleanse him from his sin and leave him a clean and fresh as the new fallen snow.
Jesus is our passover Lamb...the cleansing power from God for our sins. As we approach the celebration of His birth we may be feeling the effects of living life in a fallen world. We may have unconfessed sin in our life, or be suffering from the effects of someone else's sin and feel bleak and gray as a winter day in the North-west. But, if we turn to Jesus and confess our sins, heartaches, fears and failures He alone can cleanse us and make us as fresh as new fallen snow.
Last night my teenage daughters prayed for snow. Today, as you chew on this verse, won't you join me in praying for a Divine snow storm either in your life or in the lives of those you know to be hurting?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Verse To Chew On - Give Thanks

People define the Thanksgiving holiday in various ways. Some see it as a great day for football and family. Others as a day to carb load and plan their strategy for the shopping blowout on Friday. Some take 'giving thanks' out of the occasion all together and refer to the the 4th Thursday of the month as simply 'Turkey Day'. And others, like a guy I met on the shuttle between my hotel and the hospital last week, refuse to celebrate the day completely.

I love holidays and wouldn't think of not celebrating one as American and reverential as I perceive this one to be, but I had to agree with a couple of things that Mr. 'No-holiday' had to say last week. One of our points of agreement was that holidays should not be the only time that we connect with the family and friends that we love...we need to slow down the busyness of our lives and cherish the relationships that we've been blessed with through out the year. The second point this man made that bore witness with me was that we should make everyday a celebration of the Lord's blessings in our life.

The Pilgrims paused to pray and give thanks to the Father at the end of a very difficult time. This unique group of individuals had stepped out in faith on a grand adventure that was ultimately filled with hard times and sorrow. For many of us, this last year has carried with it some struggles of it's own in our lives.

If we look hard enough, even in the bleakest of times, I believe that we can find the fingerprints of God and many occasions to give thanks for this year. As we prepare our homes for the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, let's also prepare our hearts by chewing on this verse...

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"
1st Thessalonians 5:23

As we chew on this let's keep a couple of things in mind...

~Notice that it doesn't say to give thanks for all circumstances, but rather in all circumstances.

I don't know about you, but I find this refreshing. I am truthfully not thankful for a lot of things that have happened to my family this past year, but I can be thankful in them. I'm sorry my husband has had to suffer through so many medical issues this past year, but I can thank God for His peace, protection, presence and provision every step of the way. I thank Him for all of the friends and family that have come along side of us and walked these difficult steps out with us. I thank Him for the empowerment of His Spirit and the goodness of His Word.

What has happened in your life this past year that you would never have gotten in line for? Can you look past the pain and circumstance and see the Faithfulness of the Father?

~Isn't it interesting that this verse tells us that it's God's will for us to give thanks in everything?

Why do you think that is? Giving thanks keeps my eyes on Jesus and off of myself and my situation. As I look for the good, the blessings, I become more overwhelmed by the Lord's presence and less overwhelmed by my current trail. It is said that God inhabits the praises of His thanks is a form of praise. While I pause to praise and give thanks I am engaging in fellowship with my Creator. It takes the tradition of Thanksgiving out of ritual and into relationship which is where the Lord delight for us to be.

As we focus on the true meaning of this holiday and savor the good truth of the above scripture I'm sure that our plates will overflow with a feast of God's abundant blessings in our lives...and we won't even have to walk it off afterwards! =] From my heart to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Bad Taste?

I'm sure you've heard the phrase, probably even used it a time or two, "Now that left a bad taste in my mouth!".

This is a phrase used to describe an event or situation that can leave one feeling that they've just been dealt a blow that was unfair or experienced a circumstance that could leave them feeling bitter.

What types of occurrences would fall into this category? How about a relational betrayal? Maybe a financial crisis? Would health challenges qualify?

After several months of not blogging you may be wondering why I decided on such a cheery subject for my return. Well, my absence from the blogging world has been due in part to a series of unfortunate events that could indeed be defined as leaving a bad taste in one's mouth.

Starting 9 months ago, my husband has been through one series of health issues after another. Some of these demanded expensive and grueling tests, others landed him in the hospital and flat on his back, the latest has required travel out of state in order to seek treatment from specialists. We've found out that medically speaking, the only hope for a cure for my man is an organ transplant! In the middle of racking up costly medical bills, my husband was laid off from work. At this point, he may be too sick to return. I haven't worked outside of the home, (with the exception of occasional ministry engagements), for almost 17 years...I may not be able to search for a job because my husband needs my care. We have exhausted our savings and retirement...blah, blah, blah. Anyone need an Altoids?

I'm not going to kid you. All the breath mints and chewing gum in this world will not disguise the fact that these situations are awful! But you know what, I am not left with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Some of you might assume that means I'm floating down that river in Egypt...Denial =]. Others of you might try to give me some credit for being a strong woman by nature. I am a stubborn gal, but any ability that I have in and of myself to endure all of the challenges of these last 9 month was exhausted a long time ago.

So, how can I say that these challenges haven't left me with a ginormous case of bad breath? Life has indeed given my family a holiday sized plate of bitter tidbits, but God, (don't you just love those 2 little words - but God?), has shown Himself faithful to us time and time again!

You see, as this blog is titled, I have had the opportunity to Taste and See that the Lord is Good! (Psalm 34:8a).

In the midst of our mess God, by the mercy of Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit, has given us the grace needed to endure, the peace that passes all understanding, promises from His Word to cling to and friends and family to encourage, help and pray for us.

Our situation is big, but our God is bigger. We have made the choice to trust in His goodness and faithfulness and love toward us. Putting our focus on Him doesn't just make the challenges of life palatable, (like holding your nose while trying to choke down your least favorite food), but growing in intimacy with Him out of desperation leaves you with a taste in your mouth that is sweeter than you can imagine! As another Bible verse puts it, "He satisfies me as with the richest of foods".

Are you faced with a situation today that could leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth? Seek the Lord and allow Him to fill you with His goodness. You don't have to wait for life to serve you a big plate of 'yuck' to savor the sweetness of the Lord. Even if you are in a great season of life, or are just experiencing calm, you can still be filled to overflowing with His sweet presence if you just seek Him!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Accidental Win

Last night I was the accidental winner of a food competition!!! No, it wasn't one of those 'who can eat the most in the shortest amount of time' events. This was a cooking event! Are you as shocked as I am? I am a decent cook, but I've never even considered entering any type of competition involving culinary aptitude...thus the previously mentioned phrase accidental winner.

So I imagine that you are waiting with bated breath to hear how this accident actually occurred, (I, obviously, have a vivid imagination). I will keep you in suspense no longer...

My handsome hunk of a man is the director of the Men's Ministry at our home church. This summer our church is hosting several family nights. The Men's Ministry was in charge of last night's event. It was a Camping Expo complete with a BBQ and booths that educated the attendees on every thing from dutch oven cooking to bird watching. There were several competitions through out the evening; a Casting Competition (think fishing poles and hoola hoops), a Tent Stake Driving Race (big tent stakes, mini rubber mallets) and a Chili Cook off!!!

Up until noon yesterday, I had thought that my participation in the Camping Expo would be limited to supporting my husband, helping were needed and enjoying the fellowship with my church family. However, I did detect some concern in my husband when he happened to mention that he only had a couple of chili competitors pre-registered for the event. So, I decided somewhat hesitantly to cook up a pot just to provide the look of a fuller competition table.

Why my hesitation? Well, in 20 years of marriage my husband has cooked up more pots of chili that I have. It's his thing and he probably would have cooked one up to fill out the judges choices if he would have had time. Since he was coordinating the whole event I decided it was time for me to step into the help meet role and give it a shot.

I ran to the store for ingredients, whipped up a pot and had him taste a bite before he headed off to the church ahead of me. I didn't want to put anything on the table that might embarrass the family had the name of the cook leaked out. David assured me it was good...but that man has never complained about anything that I've cooked in the last 20 years - well, with the exception of a pot of sauerkraut during the 1st year, but that's a whole other story!

So imagine my surprise when I heard my name called as the 2nd place winner of the Chili Cook off! Just in case you are wondering, there were more that 2 entries (5 or 6), my husband wasn't the judge nor did he influence the panel, and it was a blind competition (the entries were identified by number and not the name of the cook)! =]

So my 2nd place ribbon is proudly displayed on my refrigerator! I am thrilled with the fact that my chili was 2nd only to a guy who is a professional chef and accident or not that I entered and won, I am going to thoroughly enjoy the honor!

I do have a problem though. My husband has requested this award winning chili recipe for dinner tonight...what exactly did I put in that pot...a little of this, a little of that...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

To Kiss or Not To Kiss???

It's summer and I am really enjoying having my two teen aged girls at home. We've done some cleaning and a whole lot of nothing, but it's been great.

Last night, the two of them came home from a youth Bible study/fellowship with this interesting quote from one of their friends...

A girl worth kissing is not easily kissed!
I love it...and they did too. This is another one that my cousin Amber may want to put on her baby daughter's wall.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Food for Thought

Today presents me with various family members in various stages of a stomach virus. So, no time for a Verse to Chew On or any deep thoughts of my own.

I did want to give you a little food for thought today in the form of two of my favorite quotes. I don't know who originally made these profound statements, and I know that I am not quoting them precisely, but I believe the truth of these sayings will still have great effect.

Victory does not come in me overcoming sin, the world or the devil. True lasting victory is only attained when Jesus overcomes me!

And for all you single sisters out there, and mothers of teen aged or young adult daughters...

A woman's heart should be so hidden in Jesus that a man will have to lose himself in Christ to find her.

Praying that we will all be overcome by and hidden in Jesus!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Verse To Chew On - Ironing Out the Wrinkles

It's Monday, and those who know me know that today is all about Laundry. Some might think that this is a horrible way to begin one's week, but I disagree. In fact I love laundry day. Well, I don't actually love doing laundry, but frankly it's the one day a week that I have real sense of accomplishment! =]

As a stay-at-home-mom my laundry basket became the equivilent of what my 'in-basket' was when I worked. The only difference is that this new basket was never empty at the end of each day! Looking for tangible evidence of productivity in my new career choice, I chose to set aside one day a week to tackle this job. Living in a busy apartment complex at the time, Monday became my target day for this task as it was the day of lowest usage in the community laundry room, (it pays to do your research!). I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that came with an empty laundry basket at the end of each Monday so much that this ritual is still in place 16 years later. Not only is the 'in-basket' empty, (at least until bedtime), but I don't have to think about this job again for another week!

As soon as my girls were old enough to learn their colors, they became my Administrative Assistants. They sort their laundry into appropriate piles, fold what needs folding and hang up what goes in their closets. But ironing, that's all mine!!! Yes, I iron...even jeans...and I do use spray starch when needed. Some may find this a behavior that they feel needs 'treatment', I on the other hand find this chore therapeutic. An ironed garment provides for me the same sense of satisfaction as the vacuum marks on a carpet or a fresh mowed lawn, (like I talked about last week). There is just something that feels so good about seeing those wrinkles magically disappear when the heat and steam of an iron are applied.

You may be wondering what in the world all this rambling about a domestic chore has to do with our weekly Verse To Chew On. I'm getting to that.

I don't know about you, Sister~Friend, but my life is wrinkly...sometimes more that others...and I wish for a good 'ironing out'. You know what I've found? -the Lord provides that very thing!

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

This verse is both scary and full of hope for me. The thought of having the Lord go to work on the wrinkles of my life may not be a pretty thing, but the thought of having things ironed out are worth it! Maybe I'm the only one...I kind of think not...that gets into a funky mood and can't figure out what the deal is. This isn't for a lack of trying, but with all the busyness and variables of life, I just can't get to the bottom of why I feel or react as I do at times. Day in and day out we go through the spin cycle of life and are tumbled through, often with the drying temp. set on 'high'. And you know what?...God doesn't make us permanent press!

When we make the above portion of scripture our prayer God can not only show us why the wrinkles are in our lives but in His love he can work on removing them. Sometimes God has shown me that my funky wrinkles are due to worry, other times sin and still other times the bothers of hormones. The Creator of the universe, who created each one of us individually, knows exactly what is wrong with us before we even invite Him to take a look. Inviting the Lord to examine us is like jumping up on the ironing board. When we become involved with Him in the process, not only do the wrinkles begin to disappear but we become more intimately acquainted with Him and experience His love in a new way.

Our wrinkles may not disappear as quickly as they do on my families clothing, but they will. As long as we stay positioned before the Lord, on the ironing board so to speak, He will continue continue to apply the warmth of His love, the steam that comes from the Living Water of His Son Jesus - the Word made flesh, and He will use the spray starch of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us. I do laundry from the time I get up Monday morning until around dinner time. God however, provides a 24/7 laundry service. Any time, day or night that we cry out to Him, He is ready and willing to iron out the wrinkles of our life. I may do laundry only once a week, but I need to place myself before the Divine Iron daily.

As you chew on our verse this week, ask yourself...

1) Am I consistently inviting the Lord to iron out the wrinkles in my life? (Going before Him in an attitude of prayer, listening for Him)

2) What current life wrinkle do I need God's love, His Word and Spirit to iron out for me?

Well, I have to scoot...I hear the dryer buzzing - both literally and figuratively! =]

Friday, June 5, 2009

Backyards, Birds and Blessings

Yesterday I spent 4 hours + in my backyard, (and front yard for that matter), mowing and weeding, watering and pruning - blah, blah, blah...

This morning I decided to have breakfast in my backyard! My husband was off to work and my two terrific teen aged daughters were still sleeping upstairs, (as well they should on this 2nd day of summer vacation), so I poured another cup of coffee, fixed a plate of eggs and toast and settled myself to enjoy the fruit of yesterday's labor.
It was so much fun...and refreshing. I sat there and appreciated how nicely the fresh mowed lawn looked, (I am the type that also appreciates the vacuum marks on the carpet - they just don't last as long =]!), marvelled at the abundant production of roses on my bushes, (I am a 'grace gardener' - any good that comes out of my feeble attempts are a grace gift from the Master Gardener), enjoyed the obtuse beauty of storm clouds moving through the valley, (and the cooler temperatures they provide), and connected with the words of the psalmist...

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

The beauty of this day, and His creation that surrounded me, was the catalyst that made this verse resonate within my soul. But you know what? As I sat there praising the Lord for who He is and what He has created, I realized that every day is one that He has made...even the days that are too hot or too cold to be able to sit on the back patio and enjoy, the way I was enjoying this morning.

David was the author of this particular psalm and according to the footnotes in my NIV Study Bible, he penned this verse after a deliverance from his enemies. After proclaiming this day as a work of the Creator's hand, David goes on to give us a command, of sorts. He says 'let us rejoice and be glad in it'. That implies that we have a choice as to whether or not we are going to enjoy each day that the Lord gives us. You might be thinking that this statement was easy enough for David to make, having recently experienced God's deliverance from his enemies, but what if you are right in the middle of something can we possibly rejoice and be glad in a day like that?

Good question! The notes in my Bible go on to say that this psalm was mostly likely sung by Jesus and His disciples at the conclusion of the Last Supper, (see Matthew 26:30). His disciples didn't know what the rest of that day held, and probably sang this song in the same manner that they had Passover after Passover. But Jesus knew exactly what that day would hold for Him. Not pleasant...more like extremely painful...but He still chose to rejoice and be glad in it. Why? - Because He knew that what He was about to go through was necessary and He was well aware of the good that would come out of it. (His suffering on the cross brought our salvation - if nothing else, this is something that we can find joy in, in even the stinkiest of days).

As I sat on my patio with our dog Charity at my feet, I heard the songs of the birds all around me. We have had many make our backyard their home. Robins regularly nest here and one summer a Mallard duck and his Mrs. moved in. As I listened to the various melodies another verse popped into my heart...
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10b
Just like the baby Robins open their beaks to be fed and filled by their parents, our Heavenly Father wants us to open up to His sustenance. Weather our day, metaphorically speaking, is as lovely as today or hot, dry and parched or stormy and dark, God is there. He will care for us just like I've seen the birds in my backyard care for their own. If we open the 'mouths' of our soul to Him, He will fill it with praise, any wisdom that we need, comfort and peace. The Bible is filled over and over again with God's promises to be with us, provide for us, comfort and guide us. Come what may the Lord will be forever that is something to rejoice and be glad in!

Friday, May 29, 2009

ApronStrings Home Edition

Last night was the final monthly session of my in-home ladies group ApronStrings Home Edition...until next September.
I love this group of gals. We have a variety of ages, interests and denominations amongst us, which makes it fun and interesting. We do have the common denominator of loving Jesus and wanting to grow in our relationship with the Father which bonds us together.
Some of this bonding takes place during our chatty time over goodies in my kitchen. Some of it takes place as we dive into the Word and still some occurs as we get the privilege of praying for one another at the close of each session.
What started out in my kitchen in California years ago has grown to encompass two other groups here in Idaho. These two groups are hosted by women from my home church. Good Housekeeping magazine has a test kitchen for the recipes they feature. These groups are my 'test kitchen' so to speak. For years I have written Bible study/discussion and retreat/teaching material for my own use. It's a completely different thing to write for others...the don't have anyway of knowing what's in my head if it's not on paper! ;)
I have had other ladies, (outside of my home church as well as within), express a desire to start their own ApronStrings Home Edition group. So, I will be spending my summer doing a rewrite on the nine lessons that I produced this last year...ironing out the wrinkles, so to speak.
I was thinking that you could help me with this process by answering a couple of questions for me...
1) If you are looking to lead a women's group, what type of help and information are you hoping for in the leader's guide?
2) If you are attending a women's Bible study/fellowship what are you looking for and wanting to gain from the experience?
I would appreciate all the input that you can give me...and hey, if you are interested in hosting your own ApronStrings Home Edition group, let me know that too! =]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Verse To Chew On - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Isn't this a great picture? I just love it! I wonder what the rest of the house looks like and I wish I had a green thumb like this gardener does. I am, how shall I put it, gardening challenged. I have even been known to kill you didn't even know that was possible.

I think part of my problem is that I tend to forget about what I've planted. I get busy with the house and my girls and ministry and the next thing you know I am responsible for another horticultural casualty.

This year I am actually scheduling things like 'watering plants' on my calendar. I used to think that just putting that on my 'to-do' list would help my problem...but I would forget to add it to the list. Anyway, I am off to a much better start this season. My roses are blooming, my tomato plant (yes, just one - I know my limitations) has grown slightly and the herbs are still'd better hold the applause until the end of the growing season! ;)

Whether we possess a green thumb or not, gals, there is a type of gardening that we can all excel at! It requires some effort on our part, but we have the advantage of a Master Gardener who ensures our success.

Galatians 5:22 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control"

I don't know about you, but I would love to produce a harvest like this in my life. I won't if I focus on any one of these fruit or try to produce it in my own ability. This fruit is produced only by the Holy Spirit in my life.

In John 15 Jesus identifies God as the Master Gardener, Himself as the True Vine and we, as Christians, as the branches. He states that if we choose to abide in Him and His words abide in us we will bear much fruit. It's like gardening with a guarantee! :)

Just like I can neglect my backyard garden unintentionally by getting caught up in the stuff of life, so I can neglect my relationship with the Lord. I certainly don't want my life to look as dried up and shriveled as some of my past gardening attempts have. My garden needs constant and consistent attention, (I've found out the hard way that watering once a week just doesn't cut it), as does my relationship with the Lord.

As I choose to abide in, (dwell with, adhere to, be vitally united with), Jesus - He will, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, produce this fruit in and through me! This fruit will not only benefit me, it will bless those around me. Isn't that what a branch produces fruit for anyway? provide nourishment!

As we, Sister~Friend, become fruit producing Christians as a natural outflow of our relationship with Jesus, then we nourish others! And that in turn brings glory and honor to the Master Gardener.

So, How does your garden grow? A little parched, Jesus is the Living Water! Are your branches a little lacking in the fruit department? Cling to the Lord! Fruit will come from holding tighter to the True Vine.

Here's 2 questions for you to chew on...

#1 - Which Gal. 5:22 fruit would you like to see more of in your life?

#2 - What steps can you take to 'abide' more in Jesus?

I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Introducing A New Blog

Hey there! I know it's been a while since I posted and I had every intention when I jumped on the computer to post a Verse To Chew On. But to my surprise, when I logged in I found a new addition to 'blogger world'. Now this is something to get excited about!

My friend Rebecca has just published Redesign Your Homemaking. Rebecca is a gifted speaker and writer that I've had the pleasure of developing a dear friendship with over the last couple of years. She loves the Lord and loves helping kind of gal! She also has a great sense of humor and deep knowledge of the Word. Rebecca has been published in magazines and is now working on her first book...and she would like our help.

Take a few minutes to pop over to answer her questions and sign up to follow her blog...I know it will be worth it!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Verse to Chew On - Sharing Secrets

I had a brief conversation, this last weekend, with a gal who had a self professed 'good life' and yet confided in me, that she had a lack of contentment.

As she spoke I immediately thought of Philippians 4:12. Here Paul states, " I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (emphasis-mine)

So - what is Paul's secret?

I think Brother Lawrence may have been on to something when he stated, "God won't allow a soul that is searching for Him to be comforted anywhere other than with Him" (from the book The Practice of the Presence of God)

Paul goes on to say, in Phil. 4:13, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

Jesus said in John 15:5, "I am the vine and you are the branches...apart from me you can do nothing."

Not even find contentment ? ! .

Jesus also said that the 1st and greatest commandment is to Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul and mind. (see Matthew 22:37)

Psst - I think I know the secret! Only by completely loving the Lord and choosing to remain in Him, (see John 15:5), can we find a contentment that supersedes our circumstances and situations.

What does that type of Love relationship with God look like to you?

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Ten Mile" Retreat at the Ashley Inn

I'm back from speaking at a retreat for Ten Mile Community Church at the Ashley Inn in Cascade Idaho! I was blessed with this lovely room to stay in. It was so nice, on this rainy weekend, to spend my study and prayer time in front of this fireplace.
I was warmly welcomed by the sweet gals from this church. Shirley, (pictured with me above), made the adorable apron that I am wearing...what a neat gift. I had the pleasure of working with an incredible group of ladies who planned, organized and led worship for this event, (bottom picture).
The ladies of this church embraced me, making me feel like I was one of them. We laughed and cried together and sat shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart at the feet of Jesus. I believe that God did a reforming work in each one of us, to one degree or another.
It was an honor and privilege to serve the Lord and His daughters this weekend!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Speaking Engagement

This morning is all about getting ready to head up to Cascade Idaho for a speaking engagement at the lovely Ashely Inn...and I can't wait!

I am honored to bring the message, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, to the women of Ten Mile Community Church of Boise, Id. Meeting each and everyone of these ladies personally is one of the things that I'm looking forward to this weekend.

I am also looking forward to being up in the mountains, enjoying the fresh air and the beauty of God's handiwork. The fact that I've never been to the Ashely Inn, and that I hear that it's absolutely wonderful is another plus.

What I am looking forward to, most of all, is meeting together with sisters in Christ at the feet of Jesus. I can't wait to hear what God has prepared in advance for each one of us...don't worry, I have been in prayer and study and have my notes - I'm just always pleasantly surprised by what the Holy Spirit adds in!

I've got to scoot and do all the last minute stuff...I'll tell you all about it when I get back!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kick Off to a Crazy Week

Hey gals, I hope that this note finds you all doing well and enjoying some springtime sunshine...I'm having a moment here myself!

My man's medical procedures went well last Thursday...Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow! He had a couple of down days due to pain and is still trying to adjust to some new meds, but overall he is good.

I, on the other hand, am a scattered mess. Time that I had allocated to devote to writing for the retreat I'm speaking at this coming weekend...Can't wait!!!...was used in helping my husband. Therefore I am really behind in prep.

So, no Verse to Chew On this week and probably no other blog posts as well. I know that the timing of my husbands medical issues, in relation to this retreat, didn't take God by surprise and I know that He will be faithful to meet me and supply His Word for those precious ladies, but I need to 'hermit up' and put in my time.

Things should be back to normal next week. Not only will our weekly devotional by up and running but I plan on adding in a new weekly spot called Worship Wednesday!

Praying that your week is filled with special Jesus moments!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Verse to Chew On - What Are You Eating?

OK, it's almost noon here in Idaho on A Verse to Chew On day and I haven't had a minute to get with it. It's laundry day, as is every Monday, and I usually get this done between loads of laundry right after dropping my girls at their respective middle and high schools. However, today brought some other 'to-do's' a fridge on the blink, (I'll spare you the details of what I've been dealing with), and other chores that are usually allocated to other weekdays, (I had to double up today since I am prep-ing for a retreat that I will be speaking at and accompanying my husband to the hospital for some procedures later this week).

So, it looks like I'm just not going to be able to get it done...and I had a thought. Why don't you comment on the verse that you've been chewing on lately, or one of your favorite verses. I think this will be a lot of fun and frankly I could use the refreshing from you.

Please take a minute and share with my 10's of blog followers =], what the Lord has been speaking to you lately. I will be checking in between loads of laundry to post your comments.

**My friend Whitney sent me the following, via email, in response to this post. It's worth sharing with you all..."In his Easter message, Pastor Tri mentioned heirloom vs hybrid seeds which got me to thinking about a passage I had recently read in Judges 2 focusing on vs 10. 'After that whole generation had been gathered up to their fathers, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord not what he had done for Israel.' This has led me to really pause and be deliberate. While a relationship with Christ is a personal decision (hybrid), we have a huge responsibility to deliberately invest ourselves in the younger generation teaching them the essence of our faith (heirloom). The question I've been pondering...Am I being a good steward of the faith that was invested in me?

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Verse To Chew On - My Determined Purpose

(For my determined purpose is) that I may know Him - that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding (the wonders of His person) more strongly and more clearly. And that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection (which it exerts over believers); and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed (in spirit into His likeness even) to His death. Philippians 3:10 Amplified

Well, it looks like I've cut us a big slice to chew on this week, doesn't it!?! =] The Amplified version of the Bible is like that. It amplifies what is being said by giving us the fullness of the text from the original language.

In light of the fact that we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus yesterday, I thought this verse was more than appropriate for this week. I'm in a time crunch this week, so I'm not going to expound on this verse - but, I don't really think it needs it anyway. I am going to ask you to think on a couple of questions as you meditate, or chew, on this verse this week...

1) Is it your determinded purpose to know Jesus more? If so, how can you become more intimately involved with Him? Will it require a lifestyle change to accomodate the time it neccessitates to get to know Him better?

2) The same power that resurrected Jesus from the grave lives inside of every believer through the person of the Holy what way do you desire it to transform you?

He is Risen! - yes risen indeed! That is the cry that went forth in many churches yesterday. How amazing to know that we can see the evidence of the Ressurection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, fleshed out in our own lives!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jellybeans & Jesus

This has been a busy week for me. Lots of ministry prep going on and a sick daughter at home. The sick child required a couple of trips to the local pharmacy. While there I was overwhelmed by all of the candy and toys they had displayed for the upcoming Easter holiday. This however, did not surprise me as much as what I found in doing some research for an upcoming teaching event. When I plugged in the word Easter to my clip art program I was inundated with dozens of pictures of bunnies, baby chicks and candy before even one image popped up reflecting the spiritual connotation of this most holy holiday.

Sad, frustrated and maybe even a little angry, if I'm being truly honest, were some of the emotions I've felt this week. Again, I've been confronted with the realization that the week that is set aside by Christians to reflect on the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ has been infiltrated by commercialism!

Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy preparing for a visit from the Easter bunny in my own home...never met a chocolate bunny or a bowl of jellybeans that I didn't like. But, I am concerned that these things can overshadow the amazing work done by HIM for us.

The Lord reminded me, in the midst of my attitude, of something that I did faithfully with my girls when they were little. Always looking for a way to keep them focused on the true meaning of holidays, like Christmas and Easter, I worked up a way to incorporate one of our favorite seasonal candies into a devotional.

I would give each of my girls one of every colored jellybean in a bag. One by one we would talk about what that color represented in the Easter story. It would go something like this...

Yellow - God's Word tells us that the streets of heaven are made of gold. John 14:2 says there are many mansions there and Jesus is preparing a place for all that believe in Him. Heaven is perfect; there is no sin, sickness, death or fear.

Black - Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We need to get rid of our sins before we can enter heaven.

Orange - the color of the sun reminds us of God's Son, Jesus. John 3:16 tells us that God sent His Son to take our sins away...something that we can not do for ourselves.

Red - Christ came into this world to show us His love by dying on the cross for our sins. We must believe that His blood cleanses us from all sin. I John 1:7,9

Purple - reminds us of the suffering of Jesus as He choose to die for us. He was perfect, without sin and yet took our sin on Himself so that we might have salvation. Matthew 27:50

White - Psalm 51:7. Jesus will wash our sins away and make our hearts clean when He forgives us. He then remembers our sins no more.

Green - II Peter 3:18. God wants us to grow as Christians. Just like green grass keeps on growing we must too. We grow by studying the Bible and praying and reaching out in love to others.

Pink - this color represents the joy that we have as Christians knowing that we are forgiven and that we have a relationship with the Father because of all that Jesus did for us, and because we now have the Holy Spirit living inside of us to help us and comfort us. John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came that we might have an abundant life.

This evening I am going to get out the candy jar and my Bible and talk with my girls, again, about all that Jesus has done for us! I pray that, this Resurrection weekend, you will blessed by the precious presence of our Lord and Savior!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Passionate Not Perfect!

Yep, that's my new motto! Well, not so new - I've had it a couple of years, but in the big scheme of my life, it's new.

And it didn't come a minute too early either. You see, I lived my life mostly as a perfectionist. Now don't get the idea that I did every thing perfectly. Because I knew that I couldn't, I did a lot of nothing.

I was of the mindset that if you did something you'd better do it right or not do it at all. There were some things in my past that I had great success in, and then there were others that I didn't even attempt due to a fear of failure. In retrospect, that's a sad way to miss out on so many things by thinking that you need to be great at them, or know how to do everything well before beginning.

Life is not like that. I'm not saying that we should engage in things with a so-so attitude or that we should settle for mediocrity. I'm saying that we should embrace the adventure of life. If you are a Christian, Jesus has an adventure for each of us to live out. He doesn't expect us to be perfect in our walk with Him or our attempts to serve Him. He does expect us to be obedient!

If we passionately pursue Him, He will perfect us. The Bible promises us that Jesus is not only the author of our faith but the perfecter as well! Boy, is that freeing. God calls us to do many things as women that we won't be perfect in...marriage, (celebrating 20 years today in spite of ourselves =]), parenting, (have given my two great girls the disclaimer "I won't parent you perfectly through the teen years - but I'm passionately committed to you), and ministry, (which looks different in each of our lives). But we don't do any of these alone!

What ever God calls you to, however He chooses to stretch you, remember that you don't have to fear failing Him. He wants to do it with you...wants you to be obedient and do life in the power of His Spirit. Will we make mistakes, yep...but that's OK. We can learn from our mistakes and frankly I would rather make a couple of mistakes in passionate obedience than miss out on what God has prepared for me.

How about you?

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Verse to Chew On - Radiant Beauty

"When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord." Exodus 34:29 (Italics-mine)

More than ever before American women are bombarded with tools to help them in their pursuit of ageless beauty. There are creams to reduce the crinkles. Bangs or Botox to help with saggy foreheads. Lip plumpers, cosmetics and chemical peels. There are products and procedures that I can neither pronounce or spell. Their purpose is all the same - to help women look younger and feel more beautiful. I have no problem with this, within reason. I 'grease' myself up before bed, apply 'paint' before exposing myself in public and spend a fair amount of time arranging my bangs to cover a multitude of 'sins'. There are a few other things that I might try to if I weren't such a chicken! =]

I think Moses was on to something that the beauty industry has no clue about. Our Verse to Chew On declares that he had a face that was 'radiant'. Isn't that what so many of us want? Moses' radiance didn't come from an external application however. No, his radiance came from time with the Lord! He was not even aware of the difference in his appearance - but those around him noticed. Moses had a radiance that was more than skin deep.

I don't know about you, Sister~Friend, but I want a glow like that. And not just so that I can look younger and feel more beautiful, (although that wouldn't hurt =]). Instead, I want this radiance because of the nature of it's Source. Moses glowed because he had 'spoken with the Lord'. Now, he had come fresh from a 40 day mountain top adventure where he had the awesome experience of receiving the Ten Commandments. We will never have that specific experience with the Lord, but even in the midst of the ordinary of our lives we can have the extraordinary of God!

Ladies, we begin and end our day in front of the mirror. We can also begin and end our day at the feet of Jesus in the mirror of His Word. God can use His Word to show us who we are in Christ, to speak the truth into our lives and let us know how much He loves us. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who knows her Father, is in love with Jesus and filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit.

I want to be the type of woman who radiates the presence of the Lord. Not because I am vainly looking for a Divine face lift, but because I desire a relationship so intimate with the Lord that I reflect His goodness to others. I am going to leave you with a few more words to chew on. These were told to me by a friend...she actually had them painted around her daughter's mirror. "Outward beauty fades away. Clothes wear out and hair turns gray. Make your heart a quiet place, where God plants beauty on your face.".

As you chew on this verse answer these questions...Can you think of someone you know who's appearance reflects the fact that she spends time with the Lord? Moses' radiance came from 40 days alone with God - in what ways can we experience time alone with the Lord each day? Besides a change in our countenace what are other advantages to being in relationship with God? Please feel free to share your responses here for others to chew on. =]

Sunday, April 5, 2009

There's No Place Like Home!

I have now been home for a little over 24 hours. I was gone for 3+ days...Varsity Choir Tour with my oldest daughter to the east side of the state. We had a great time. Our high school choirs performed, were coached by college profs and got to sit in on some amazing concerts. The only downside of the event was the weather. Apparently no one informed that section of Idaho that it's officially Spring. We were greeted and kept company by snow. On a whole, my family has adapted to the winters in this state much better than springtime. It's a given that winter will be cold - you buck up and hunker down and deal with it. Spring on the other hand is a different sort than what we were used to in So. Cal. My oldest daughter says that Idaho springs are bi-polar. Today is gloriously sunny and somewhat warm. The time spent on tour more closely resembled the north pole! =]

We missed the milder weather on this side of the state. My 16 year old and I also missed home and we were thrilled to walk through the door at 3 am on couldn't tell by our sleep deprived swagger, but inside we were jumping up and down! =] She and I mostly missed the Daddy, (her daddy - my husband) and the Little Sister! But we also missed our own beds, the dog and relaxing on the family room sectional.

It wasn't the house or our stuff that we missed, (even though we really like our house and stuff =]). We missed that sense of family and being where we belong. There is a huge difference between a house and a home. In the almost 20 years that my husband and I have been married our house has taken on various forms...a tiny cottage in an olive grove, an apartment or two, one townhouse, a California Ranch and now our cosy 2 story...but our home has remained consistently the same. A place that we can relax, unwind, be ourselves, laugh, cry, and learn. Our home is not always perfect. Feelings get hurt here and balls are dropped from time to time. But there really is no place like home!

Let me know what you think the difference is between a house and a home. Tell me what 'home' means to you and why you love yours!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Verse To Chew On

A Verse to Chew On is my take on a weekly devotional. It used to appear, as a page, on the ApronStrings Ministries web site. It will now be featured here every Monday...between loads of laundry. =]

If you are new to ApronStrings, you may be wondering why I call this what I call this, instead of just a weekly devo. I think I can explain that best by taking you through his week's verse...

"I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." Psalm 40:8 NIV

That is my desire, and I bet it's yours too. Whether we are married or single, empty-nesters or knee deep in Cheerios (or somewhere in the middle), a college student, career woman or a full time homemaker - if we are a follower of Christ, we want to do God's will. It becomes our common denominator, connecting as Sister~Friends, those of us lacking similar interests in other areas. But how do we do the will of God? Good question.

To do God's will we need to know what it is. God's will is synonymous with His Word, the Bible. We won't specifically find chapter and verse naming who we should marry or spelling out which job offer we should accept. But, as we become more familiar with the truths of God's Word for life in general, we will experience His leading in even the most personal areas of our lives.

The psalmist says, in our verse, that God's Law is written in his heart. This, in part, refers to the Big 10, (all those "thou shalt not's"), but it's not limited to those. I believe that this statement is referring to the Bible as a whole. And notice that it says that God's Word is within his heart, not just his head.

The Lord has given us a brain to read, comprehend and memorize the Bible. But for God's Word to really affect a change in our lives and to help us discern His will, we must get it from our heads and into our hearts. We must digest it - thus, A Verse to Chew On. =]

Joshua 1:8 puts it this way, "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from you mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

What the writer refers to as 'meditate on', I call 'chewing on'. Meditating on a Bible verse is not some weird mystical thing that requires sitting in the lotus position. It is like savoring a bite of juicy steak or rich chocolate cake before swallowing it. When you chew on God's Word you slow down the reading process. You take the time to contemplate what it's saying and how you should apply it to your own life. It becomes part of you - committed to your memory. Not as an academic exercise, but because, out of spending time prayerfully considering it, you have digested it.

I will be posting a new verse each Monday - hopefully it will give you something to chew on all week and increase your appetite for more of God.

"It is my desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." Psalm 40:8

Thanks for joining me as together we "taste and see that the Lord is good." (Psalm 34:8)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Aprons and High Heels

I learned a couple of things this morning while catching a few minutes of the Today Show...

1) This is National Women's History Month! (Seems like I should have already known that being a woman and all).
2) In 1968, during a Miss America Pageant protest, radical feminists threw aprons and high heels into a 'freedom trash can'. (Why????)

I am all for women having equal rights and pursuing the career of their choice, but really - what were they thinking?! Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a bit of a thing for aprons, but I'm going to start my way at the bottom of this historic protest and work my way up!

High heels tossed into a 'freedom trash can"! Hum...OK, I'll start by being totally honest with you all. There are times that my toes have wanted to be freed from a pair of heels and I do tend to spend more time in my Nike's these days, but I would never think of trashing my high heels for a plethora of reasons. Like, high heels are just way too cute! - so many styles and colors, so little time and money. And how about the fact that they make my feet look smaller and my legs look longer - both an excellent thing! Last on my high heel short list - no matter what the scale says, my feet slide right into them...the same can not be said of my jeans. =]

Sister~Friend, I don't know about you, but I think we can pursue our goals and dreams in fun, uniquely feminine footwear, if we want to! (Any Amen's out there?)

What do you think of when you see an apron?...your mom, grandma or and episode of I Love Lucy? Radical women's libbers defined the apron as 'an uniform of oppression'. I see an apron as a universal symbol for women that crosses the lines of culture, generation and socio-economic status. I see an article of clothing that reminds me that women have been both hard working and nurturing for generation after generation. In different eras of our society, aprons have been more than an utilitarian garment. They became an artists canvas of sorts, on which women told stories and reflected their personalities and creativity. Another plus for aprons...the Bible says that love covers a multitude of sin - without being sacrilegious, aprons do too...the sin of too much chocolate and too few laps around the neighborhood with the family dog! =]

All joking aside, as visually impactful as tossing high heels and aprons into a trash can may have been, the action did not, in and of itself, provide the freedom that women were and may yet be seeking.

Only God can do that. Centuries before women stood up for equality, the Lord declared us equal.
"You are all (children) of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26-28

In God's eyes we were all created equal regardless of our nationality or gender. Regardless of the fact that some of us prefer jeans and tennis shoes while others don perky aprons and strappy heels.

The only fashion choice of preference is the one mentioned in the verse above. We must clothe ourselves in faith in Christ Jesus. When we do, we are God's children - heirs of all that He promises. And He promises freedom - true freedom, (see Matthew 8:36), and frankly, who doesn't want to walk around in that!

So girls, let's celebrate being women in what's left of this Women's History Month. Let's celebrate that God has created each of us uniquely and with a purpose. Let celebrate that while our pay scale may not always be equal with that of men, God sees us as equals in His sight - no one gender having importance over another. And let's celebrate the fact that in Jesus we can be truly free whether we choose to keep our aprons and heels or not!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Just a Mom

Last Thursday was quite the day for me. On my agenda - the monthly meeting of ApronStrings Home Edition. On God's agenda - a little pre-ministry, ministry.

My girls and I were running a quick errand between the last school bell of the day and last minute prep for my women's group. We were on our way home, driving the posted 55 mph while I rattled off the impending to-do list and tried to motivate the troops. Something quickly caught my eye in the lane of on coming traffic...a boy and his bicycle!

Both lay in a twisted mass on the asphalt. Cars were pulling over and people were getting out. I felt compelled to do the same. It must have been God's leading. My mind said, "...but the girls are in the don't know what you'll find when you get to won't know what to do..." Even as my mind whizzed away, I found myself succinctly pulling my car safely to the shoulder, calmly calling 911 and crossing the street.

Of the others that had stopped some directed traffic, thankfully one announced that he was an off duty EMT. All I could think was, "I am just a mom". I began to pray as the off duty professional but the boys helmet and backpack off and began to access his injuries. At some point the boy regained consciousness and began to struggle out of fright and shock. I was called upon to stabilize his head and neck, trying to find a place to position my hands that wouldn't cause more trauma to the obvious injuries.

When emergency response arrived, the off duty EMT and I were replaced by uniform clad professionals. I was now face to face with a boy the same age as my youngest daughter. In panic and shock, he was questioning everything that was being done to help him. On my knees I told him that I was a mom, and that I knew that his mom would want him to relax and let the men help him. He did. I stayed with him until the ambulance doors closed.

I got back in my car, helped my girls process what they had witnessed and returned home. Then I began to shake at the trauma I had seen. As I replayed everything that happened and things that I did that I didn't think I had the stomach for, I remembered the thought I'd had when I first reached the boy..."I am just a mom" and I saw God's hand all over that situation.

God had protected that boy from being hit by a vehicle going 55 mph as he lay in the middle of the road, (his accident was caused by his bike hitting something on the shoulder of the road). God provided people to direct traffic and an off duty EMT to drive by at just the right time. And then I felt God whisper that He had provided me - just a mom - for a boy who needed just that kind of comfort.

I'm not patting myself on the back. Almost everything in me was scared and ill equipped for the situation. Everything in me but the Holy Spirit, who led me and guided me through it all.

As I processed this I wondered how many other situations God has called me to over the years, (none as obviously critical and immediate as this), that I missed responding to because I was either in route to something else or because I was scared or felt unqualified. God not only supernaturally empowered me to minister to the practical and emotional needs of this boy, He also made sure that ApronStrings Home Edition took place as well.

What I was able to do for this 13 year old boy seems small in comparison to what I learned about the blessing of obedience and the faithfulness of my Father.

"Lord Jesus, help me to see those that are hurting in my path today. Give me the courage and wisdom to be your hands and feet."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cherish the Moments

Two weeks ago my husband received some bad news in the way of lab results. This is nothing new for us. Frankly the doctors didn't think my husband would still be with us at this point. We fondly refer to him as the Miracle Man. Apparently the Great Physician had plans that the doctors didn't know about.

Although we have lived for 8 years knowing that my husband has a non-treatable illness, his results did take us a little by surprise. He says he feels pretty good, he looks pretty good :) and he is still working to support our family and busy in ministry. On paper, his situation is a little disconcerting but we are remembering that the Lord is the sustainer of his life.

One good thing that comes from news like this is the reminder that tomorrow is promised to no man. I, along with my husband and daughters, learned a long time ago not to take even the simplest things for granted. Things like time together, a sunset, or birthdays. But the longer we've gone past the experts estimation of my husbands life span, the more we've lost the appreciation of the ordinary. This news made me wake up and smell the coffee and even enjoy the decaf version of know - the days that don't have the extra caffeine zing! :)

We received some sad news last week. Friends of ours lost their young adult son to an accidental death. My oldest daughter is friends with their youngest son, my husband and I have admired and enjoyed this mom and dad. Our hearts break for them.

This entry is not meant to drag you down with the challenges and grief that this life holds, but rather to encourage us all to enjoy each day and every one we love just as they come. This week, let us all take time to smell the coffee so to speak, whether it comes in some exotic coffee house blend or a generic grocery store can. Thank God for the obvious blessings in life, ask Him to help you see the ones hidden in the mundane or challenging situations. Hug your husband and your kids and tell them you love them, really love them!

Monday, March 9, 2009

2 Certain Things

There are 2 things that are certain in life. No, I'm not talking about death and taxes, although that date in April is just over a month away now!

I'm talking about 2 things that are certain in my life! The first is Laundry Day. Almost every week for the last 16 years, Monday is laundry day. It was just over 16 years ago that I quit my job to be a stay at home mom. I traded in an 'In-basket' that was successfully empty at the end of each day, for a laundry-basket that seemed to continually 'overfloweth'. Back then we were apartment dwellers and after a little research, I discovered that Mondays were the lowest traffic days in the laundry room of my complex. That began the Monday ritual that is only preempted if Christmas falls on that day of the week. This may sound a bit legalistic to you, but I found it a real morale booster to begin my 'work week' with a chore that shows tangible evidence of a job well done. Of course once everyone returns home at the end of the day and changes clothes, it starts all over again. But hey - I just choose to look at this as job security! =]

The second thing that I'm certain of is 'trouble'. My life is peppered with it. Some of it is of my own making, (a running joke between my husband and I for almost 20 years of marriage - every morning he tells me to try and stay out of 'it' when kissing me goodbye =]). Some of it comes for a visit without being invited! Rude, but part of life in a fallen world.

Trouble can present itself in various forms - relational, medical, financial, personal and even national. Trouble can thrust even the pluckiest of us into crisis mode. You know, where you either start spinning, (like my washer is right now), or when you just want to roll up in a ball and hide. I've done both -neither works really well.

I was reminded of something this weekend that the Lord taught me several years ago when I and my family were facing trouble in every area that I mentioned above. (Well, OK, it wasn't a national crisis but it felt like one!) Anyway, the Lord showed me that there are actually 3 responses in a crisis; spin, roll up in a ball, or see it as an opportunity to grow! To grow as a person and in my relationship with Him. This mindset doesn't deny the fear or pain of the situation, it just chooses to focus on Jesus in the midst of it and learn from Him.

The reminder that I got this weekend came from my pastor. In his sermon he explained that the word 'crisis' in Chinese consists of 2 characters. One translates 'trouble' and the other 'opportunity'.

Trouble in this life is as sure as an overflowing laundry basket for me come next Monday morning. The difference between the 2 is that laundry is mundane, where as trouble presents an opportunity for me to change, grow and develop...sounds like an adventure to me!

Jesus said in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Now here's a verse to chew on. Jesus confirms it - we will have trouble. But He also tells us that He will give us peace in the midst of it and He reminds us that He is bigger than all of our troubles and fears!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Blogging has Begun...

Well, here it introduction into the blog world. After some prompting from friends, I've decided to give it a shot.

I'm calling it Taste and See based on one of my favorite verses from the Bible - Psalm 34:8, "Taste and see that the Lord is good". I have and He is!

I am a stay at home mom of 2 great teenage girls, been married to my guy for almost 20 years and I get the priviledge of speaking at Christian women's events. From laundry to ministry, I have seen the Lord do some pretty amazing things.

Some days my life looks like an episode of I Love Lucy, other days my life looks on the surface a bit mundane and monotonus. What I've come to find out is that everyday is an adventure ready to be discovered.

I gave up on perfection a long time ago...I never hit that standard anyway...and I have opted for a life of passion. I am choosing to be passionately engaged every day. Some days are a bit messy and others are a hoot and a half, but no two are exactly the same.

Here, I will share what the Lord teaches me through His Word, others around me and life circumstances. I'm betting that my life looks a lot like yours and that you will find both hope and joy when taking a look into what goes on in my home.

One of my favorite things to do is to sit at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee and a friend and just chat. It's my desire that this feels just like that.

Join me as we taste and see...