Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve!

Here we are...the very last day of the year!

Some of us may be wondering how we got here so fast...

Others of us may be ready to start the count-down for the ball to drop for the New Year now!

For most of us this year is probably similar to every other...a Mixed Bag. *Good & Bad  *Gross & Beautiful  *Messy & Mundane  *Satisfactory & Stimulating.

Today TV shows will probably cover the 'Best of' and 'Worst of' this past year...Hair styles, clothing options, movies, music, etc.

Many of us will start today with this evening in mind...with thoughts of a party to prepare for or which pj's we will wear while eating pop-corn and watching a delayed Time's Square celebration ringing in 2013.

Before we get there though I thought it might be a good thing to have our own personal Year in Review reflection today...a look back through all of what 2012 dished up with a specific purpose in mind...Looking for Lord's Faithfulness!

In some circumstances God's Goodness my be blaringly obvious...with that display at the forefront of our thinking and praise for Him on the tip of our tongue.

Other circumstances may require us to get in touch with our inner Nancy Drew to sort through the Clues and dust for evidence of the Father's Fingerprints in our lives.

Whichever the case...and if you are like me...and this year like will have snapshots of both the obvious and the obscure as you reminisce over 2012 with the intent of acknowledging the Hand of your Creator.

Before we don our best for the evening festivities (jammies or party dud's) and get ready to ring 2013 in and say 'adios' to this year, won't you join me in taking a look at the 'Best of' what God has done in and through you during the Good & Bad, Gross & Beautiful, Messy & Mundane, Satisfactory & Stimulating?  Let's end this year by giving Him the praise that He's due for His Faithfulness, Provision, Peace, Love and Presence that has the nature of Who He is and His heart toward each of us...permeated this past year.

And if you want to give Him a 'shout out' for His Blessings please do so here or on the Face Book's always such a blessing to rejoice in what He has done in each other's lives as well.

Serving Him and you,

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gift or Resolution?

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas! 

Gifts were given...Gifts were received...and by now, Gifts have been returned or exchanged if they didn't 'fit'.

Any of you have an awkward Gift situation?  Awkward Gift situations can include receiving that 'thing' that we have no idea what we are going to do with.  Or an awkward Gift situation may be shopping for the person who has everything or who you have no idea what to buy for.  It's awkward when someone Gift's you when you have no gift for them...has that ever happened to you?

Did you leave anyone off your Gift list this year?  Anyone...anyone?

Some of us do so - inadvertently...we aren't thoughtless people...or people with Scrooge-like tendencies...we just get busy and forget someone...or we just never saw that Gift coming and wish we would have had one to reciprocate with.

Unfortunately, we sometimes forget the most Important Person when it comes to our Christmas gift giving...the Person who should be at the top of the list...the Person this holiday is all about to begin with.

Did you give Jesus a gift this Christmas?  It is His birthday we are celebrating and most of us do a good job of acknowledging that even in the hustle and bustle of this commercialized holiday...but how many of us are actually purposeful in Giving HIM what He wants for Christmas?

Now if you didn't give Jesus anything for Christmas yet don't panic...contrary to popular belief which is supported by a few faulty Christmas Carols...the Magi or Wise Men didn't show up with Jesus' first Christmas Gifts until He was closer to two years old.

Right now, during the brief lull between Christmas and the celebration of the New Year, is a great time to ask Jesus what He would like from you for Christmas!  In my home we have done this for years.  We start talking about, and praying about, what Jesus might want from each one of us beginning the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Being deliberate in this really helps to focus our attention, throughout the season, on what is really important.

After each of us have heard from the Lord we record our gift on a slip of paper and place it in specially designated boxes under the tree. These are the first gifts we open on Christmas morning...sharing with the rest of the family what we 'got' Jesus for Christmas.

Now I know it's too late to do that this year...but again it's not too late to ask and give Jesus what He really wants this year.

The good news is that this can take the place of a New Year's Resolution as well!  Almost every year Jesus has asked those in my home for a long term taking better care of His temple (that would be my body), or praying for an unsaved friend, or being the one to make sure that a food donation is made to our church pantry each week for the needs of the community. 

I don't know about you but I'm not very good at keeping seems like my good intentions and determination of will tend to wane before the end of the month.  This Gift to Jesus approach is much more successful for me though.  Due in whole to the fact that I don't give my Gift to Him under my own power.  Gift giving to Jesus becomes a catalyst to a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him as I seek the power of His Spirit to carry it out.

So if you haven't taken the time to ask Him what He wants this year take the next couple of days to prayerfully do so.  The answer may come immediately...there might be something that He's been hinting at for a while now.  Or it may come more slowly and you might have to be deliberate in making time to sit quietly at His feet to listen.

This year it took a while for me to figure out what He wanted from fact it didn't all come together until Christmas Eve morning.  As I sat with Him I began to journal words and phrases that had been rolling around in my heart and mind over several I asked Him what all of this meant I saw a common thread...and realized just what He wanted.  I am excited to see what will come of this as He and I work together in the New Year to bring it to pass!

I hope you have fun asking Jesus for His wish list...and that you enjoy the process of giving Him that special Gift!  If you want share here in the Comments or on the Facebook link what your Gift to Jesus is this year.  I'll be sharing mine in this week's Verse to Chew On.

Serving Him and you,

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Verse to Chew On

Here's this week's little devotional.  The verse I felt the Lord leading me to pen on 3x5 cards for my girls this week fits perfectly with the season we are in so I thought I would share it here too.

It's like God's little gift to us this week...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13

And it's my prayer for each of us.  The Christmas Season is, in it's purest form, a time of hope and peace and joy...a time for us to focus on and connect with God in a profound and intimate way.

But it seems like there are 'forces' at work against the desire to celebrate and reflect on beauty of our Savior's birth.  Sometimes those 'forces' can be the glitz of the holiday season and trying to keep up with the buying, baking and busyness.  Sometimes the 'forces' are painful struggles we may be going financial or relational challenges.  Annoying problems like appliances on the fritz or cars that need work or finals that need to be studied for can sidetrack us from the Hope, Joy and Peace that believing in Jesus affords us.

For just a moment or two why don't we pour our self another cup of coffee or brew a pot of tea and Chew on this Verse.  While we quiet our physical self's let's make the effort to quiet our souls before the Lord as well.

First take a moment to identify any thing that may make you feel there something standing in your way of feeling the Joy of the Lord...are you void of Peace and experiencing anxiety about something?

Now that we have identified what may be standing in the way of us experiencing the Hope and Peace and Joy of this season let's focus on God!  This verse tells us that He is the God of Hope and that He can fill us with Joy and Peace.  The God of this universe, the Creator of all things seen and unseen is not limited by the circumstances of our life.  In the midst of the busyness or challenges or heartaches He can still fill us with His Hope and Joy and Peace by the power of His Holy Spirit.  The same Holy Spirit that came upon Mary making that Virgin Birth possible...the same Holy Spirit that later raised Jesus from the the same Holy Spirit who has the power to invade our souls, our circumstances with the Hope and Joy and Peace that Jesus came to bless us with.

Believing in the goodness of Jesus and the greatness of God gives me that abounding hope regardless or how things look or feel.  In choosing hope and joy and peace I am not ignoring the reality of the stuff of life that tries to creep just means that I am focusing my attention on the Lord instead...realizing that He is bigger than any distracting 'force' in my life...and that true hope and joy and peace is found in the Gift of Jesus and not in my circumstance and surroundings.

As we choose to believe in Him and to believe Him we can see His Joy and Hope and Peace fleshed out in us...and through us to others...that's my prayer for us this week!

Serving Him and you,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ford Hall

This past Saturday I had the privilege of speaking to the Freshman Girls at Northwest Nazarene University!  It was so much fun to spend time with this great group!

The event was a breakfast hosted by the Resident Assistants (a group of sophomore girls, each in charge of a wing of freshman girls) under the direction of the Resident Director (the Head Honcho, over the RA's and responsible for the entire dorm of freshman girls).  These gals went all out with made to order chip-of-your-choice pancakes, bacon, mini quiches, muffins and such accompanied by an NNU original Peppermint Brick ~ a yummy rich frozen coffee drink invented by the Ford Hall RD Lindsay back when she was a student!

Here's Lindsay and I in the kitchen area...I admire and respect this lady so much!  She invests her life into these girls all while being a mom to her own adorable two kids...what a woman.  Sorry about the quality of these pictures.  My first born took them and they looked great until I tried to format them here...I am a bit technically challenged! :/
Here are the RA' firstborn is the second from the right in the back row.  Ford Hall is four stories tall...each level has two wings (north and south)...which gives us these eight great girls that give of their time to help the freshman adapt to life in the dorm.  Such a sweet bunch! Notice that most of them have their aprons on making this ApronGirl feel right at home! :)
Here's a little glimpse of some of the group.  As you can see most showed up in their jammies...too cute!  I spoke the Saturday after dead week and before finals so they needed to sleep in as late as possible that day. :) These girls were such a great audience...they laughed at all the right times, fully participated in my Q & A style of teaching and made me feel really welcomed and at you girls! :)
If you look behind me and out the windows you can sort of see that we had our first dusting of light snow the night before...we were up on the third floor so it's not the best view from this vantage'll just have to trust me that it made for a very pretty campus that morning.
Our topic that morning...Body Image.  I am no expert on that but I do know Someone Who we deferred to HIM realizing that in order to have a healthy Body Image we need to know our Creator intimately...basing our self image on the truth of who He's created each of us to be...not on the world's relative truth of beauty that changes faster than we can keep up with.

We spoke a little about Marilyn Monroe and Twiggy...two very differnt women...from different decades...with different body types...and yet they were 'it' for beauty in their time...relative truth at it's best.

We also spoke about Fergie...not the Black-Eye Pea's version...Fergie, short for Sarah Ferguson, who was married to Prince Charles' younger brother....a long time when I was about the age of these college girls. We talked about how this Commoner turned Princess lost it all, including her Prince, because she felt like she wasn't 'good enough'...believing the lies told to her and about sad.
And then we talked about how, if we have made Jesus the Lord of our life then we belong to KING of kings...which makes each of us a Princess.  It doesn't matter what other's say about doesn't matter if we fit today's standard of 'it' for beauty...we are deeply loved and valued by our Father...created by HIM on purpose for His purpose.  We are 'good enough' because He created us and redeemed us! By Him we are 'skilfully and carefully handcrafted'...not 'squeezed together' - right NNU girls!?! (wink-wink) {on a side note ~ spell check wants to change NNU girls to Nun girls...which just isn't right since I'm pretty sure none of you want to be a nun...not that there is anything wrong with that...just sayin' :)}.
I left these girls with a saying that I used to write on my girls lunch box napkins when they were little...
You are a Daughter of the KING, so walk like a Princess!
A reminder that they can walk in the confidence of knowing who they are in Christ Jesus...that's a powerful thing...not only enabling us to feel accepted but empowering us to be Kingdom representatives bringing the love of Jesus to our areas of influence!
Thanks NNU-Ford Hall ladies for letting  me share with you and blessing me.  Each and everyone of you are beautiful, inside and out, and deeply loved and valued!
Serving Him and you,

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Verse to Chew On

Every school week, for almost three years now, I give my teenage daughters a little mini-meal...just one a week.  It's the same little food serving, more or less, every time.  They don't get it during the summer...but I usually serve it up for Christmas and Easter break.

You are probably thinking,"A mom who serves her daughters just one mini-meal a week, and the same kind of thing over and over, is no Martha Stewart or Pioneer Woman!"

Well, if you were thinking that you are right.  I am no TV Hostess with the Most-est or Super-Cook-Oklahoma-Ranch-Wife-Blogger.  But my girls aren't starving either.  The little mini-meal that I serve up for them is a Bible Verse that I print out on a 3x5 card and give to them every Monday...or Tuesday depending on what kind of week I had :/...but never ever on a Wednesday :).

This 3x5 card is a little mini-devotional for them.  Along with the Verse (I pray and ask the Lord to provide one tailored to their week) I usually write something for them to Chew On...little thought provokers to help them apply that portion of scripture to their lives. 

As important as it is for moms to provide physical nourishment for their kids, it's just as important that they provide something spiritually nutritional as well.  My girls are old enough now to own their own relationships with Jesus...and they do.  Both start every morning with their own devotional time...they have seen the importance of making sure that they feed themselves regularly.  But as a mom I get great joy out of spending time with the Lord asking Him to help me be His waitress, so to speak, serving up that little mini-meal that He prepares for them.  It's always fun to see where He leads me in scripture for them...and it's fun to write the cards and send them with a little note (Emily's gets 'sent' to the kitchen counter for her to find in the morning...Jessica's to her PO Box on campus for her to discover on her way to or from the Dex {cafeteria}).  It's also fun to hear occasionally that the verse was just what they needed...something to give them hope and/or encouragement.

I have been much more faithful with this old-school version of A Verse To Chew On over the past couple of years than I have been with my blog version devotional.  I am hoping to be just as consistent here now as I have with my girls.  In order to kick start this weekly post I have combined the two.  Our verse here is the same one written on my girls 3x5 cards this week.

"Nothing, you see, is impossible with God!"
Luke 1:37 The Message

Short and to the point this week...and from the Christmas Story - very appropriate don't you think?

As you chew on this verse take the time to look at the thing in your life that seems impossible.

* For Mary the impossible thing was how she, an unmarried virgin, could be the mother of the "Son of the Most High".

* For the college girls I know maybe the impossible is surviving finals this joke!

* For some of us it may be trying to find Joy this Holiday Season in the midst of a family fractured by sickness, divorce or even death.

*Maybe it's not quite that tragic for others of us, but just as impossible as we try to figure out our financial situation or balance our busy schedules to meet the needs of those counting on us.

Whatever your impossible thing might be take courage like Mary did from the truth of the fact that God is bigger than our thing. The Angel Gabriel told Mary...and I believe is speaking directly to us as well...that 'no-thing' or nothing is impossible with God. Take a minute now to let Him know what your impossible situation is...and thank Him, by faith, reminding yourself of His great Faithfulness and Love for you.  Your situation may not miraculously change....or it may...but surely your view of your impossible thing will change when viewed through the reality of the Hope we have in the Greatness of our God.

Serving Him and you,

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Well Hello there...

Gosh, it's been a long time since a post!  And I'm sorry about that.  I really do enjoy blogging but sometimes life gets in the way.

I have 'thought' many posts during my absence...some have been stellar (when you make them up in your head you can think that without being challenged by reality...haha)...others haven't been 'worth the paper they were written on' (sad but true).

Anyway, after a six month hiatus, I thought I'd give it a try again...not guaranteeing anything stellar...hoping for nothing lame...appreciating the fact that you are giving of your time to read this.

For the first attempt I thought I would start with a couple of my favorite things...Quotes and Aprons.  And it just so happens that I have one that goes with the other.

"Life Get's Messy, So Wear Your Apron"

It is a true statement...and a great excuse to buy an apron if you don't have one (shudder the thought)!

I don't know about you, but things do get messy when I cook.  I am a 'clean as you go' kind of girl - putting utensils and bowls and such in the sink as soon as I'm done with them, and spices and ingredients back in place...but splatters happen and I tend to wipe my hands down the front of me when aprons are my friends.

Look at this vintage pattern for aprons...and check out the price!

How about this one? cute...and a dime cheaper!

Life doesn't just get messy for me in my kitchen...unfortunately.  Life in a fallen world provides it's own forms of splatters and often leaves me wiping my too?  Some times the messes are of my own making...sometimes they are a result of other 'cooks' in my kitchen.  Messes can happen accidentally or seemingly 'on purpose'.  What ever the nature and whom-ever the culprit, I often find myself in need of a Life Apron.

Hmm...what would a Life Apron look like?  Certainly not as cute as these retro would have to be sensible and practical...big-BIG-think full coverage...stain resistant...protective...and while we are at it how about flame retardant (you just never know what some days might serve up).

Wouldn't it be nice girls if we could simply pop something like this creation of my imagination on when the heat in the test kitchen of life gets too hot?

Well we kind of can.  Did you know that aprons are a Biblical thing?  They absolutely are...especially if you go old school and read the King James will actually find the word 'apron' in there on a couple of occasions.

The fist apron sighting in Scripture is found in the first book of the Bible.  When Adam and Eve realized that they were naked, (no time and space to go into this now, but this has more spiritual than physical meaning), they attempted to fix the result of their own messy choice by making for them selves 'aprons of fig leaves'.  These didn't help much...and they didn't fool God...but in His Grace and Mercy He offered up the first sacrifice to cloth them with animal skins.

This was a foreshadowing of the Ultimate Sacrifice to come.  From before time the Father had Jesus in mind for us.  When we embrace all that Jesus did for us not only do we have a 'fire retardant' apron of sorts, but the ability to clothe ourselves in Christ as the New Testament speaks of, which protects us from the messiness of life.

Oh, the messes still come in life...just like they do in my kitchen...but this Divine Apron (I mean no disrespect I am simply trying to illustrate) protects us from the devastation that can accompany the mess.  Jesus wraps us in His Love, Faithfulness, Peace and even provides us with Joy and Hope...all we have to do is focus our attention on HIM.

I have been through seasons of major messy in the test kitchen of my life and I have found the truths of Jesus and His Love to be fleshed out in my life.  If the Bible can be equated to a recipe book for this illustration, then the Faithfulness of Jesus comes out perfect every time.

Thanks for spending this little time with me!

Serving Him and you,