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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

By Faith She...

By faith Abel, offered a better sacrifice…

     By faith, Noah warned….He built an ark…

          By faith, Abraham, when called to go, obeyed…

              By faith, Isaac…Joseph…Moses… a prostitute…

                  By faith, kingdoms were conquered…walls came down…
               
                       By faith, they were flogged…chained…put in prison….

        This list goes on and on….but one sentence stands out…..

                 Whose weakness was turned to strength

    This list…these people are all called our heroes of faith….all would be 
                                   
                                 inducted into the faith hall of  fame . 
                                        
What about you and I? Do we want to join? Do we want to become a part of 

                                                this rich heritage?           
                                              
If the answer is yes…then we too must follow their path...being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see….we too must allow our weakness to be turned into strength.

Because isn’t this where God meets us?…in our weakness…when we don’t have the strength to take one more step…when the dark night of the soul surrounds us…when we are blinded by our fears…when God asks the hard thing.  Isn’t here where faith is built?…where faith is sculpted into our very being?

So I ponder…when my life is read…when my children…my children’s children… follow my journey…will my life give this testimony...God's power if made perfect in weakness...and will the markers staked throughout my path display these three powerful words....

                                  BY FAITH SHE…









Monday, August 29, 2011

One more closing...and opening of doors...

Most things in life have an upside and a downside…jobs, school, sports…and even home schooling. One of the greatest fruits of this labor is the bond of love that is forged through the fire…this fire melds hearts together…forming a lasting bond.

Downside… well for me…letting go…each step a child takes toward the leaving process…each change to the family dynamics…just might be felt a little deeper in the home schooling family.

My mother’s mind tells me…this is right…this is healthy…but my mother’s heart…cries something else.

So this week for the second time…my mind is happy…joyful…rejoicing…but my mother’s heart cries something else.

My son will marry this Saturday…a lovely young lady…one God brought to him…joyful…thankful.

As he goes…just like my daughter before him…my heart feels the strain…the pull…as he sets forth to leave and cleave.

Leaving and cleaving…so crucial…so foundational to building of a new life…God spoke it clear…so the two will become one…my mind says…Yes and Amen.

But my heart…my heart hurts… because it understands …that I… as a mom… have a role in that process.  With my daughter, God enlightened me to the reality of His ways…One door was closings…I must let her completely walk through that door… and I was not prepared for the ache in my heart as she journeyed toward the “two becoming one.”  With the closing of one door… the death of one relationship…another door was opening…a new door and a resurrection to a new relationship…one with wonderful new experiences as mother and daughter …and I find out overtime…the latter does surpass the former.

Now expecting a new baby...part of the wonderful new experiences...
And once again…I am standing at that door…one closing…but this time I wait…wait with hopeful expectancy(and with sons it's a little easier:) … to discover what gifts will  be opened as I travel through this new door.

~joy in my soul
~everyone home for dinner
~adult boys enjoying each other...glimpses of childhood
~finding songs for the video
~getting the finishing touches done on the video
~long talks with married daughter
~a very helpful husband
~continued grace for all the changes
~the nearness of God
~assurance of things hoped for
~walking in more freedom...oh God's kindness and grace
~becoming more comfortable....being out of my comfort zone...in the blog world
~the wisdom and honesty of women's hearts in the blog community
~God bringing two together whose bond and hope is in HIM!



Friday, August 26, 2011

Gray and Gracious


To grow old gracefully….I have always heard that statement used…but to be honest I am not sure I have witnessed this very often.  To be honest…it’s us women who seem to miss the mark.

For days….everywhere I went…a store…the doctor’s offices…restaurants …God unplugged my ears…opened by eyes….and what I was seeing and hearing was not pretty.  Older women….who were complaining…. whose tone was sharp…who talked impatiently to their husbands….who did not wear the smile of grace.

This is when I vowed…pleaded with God to teach me…change me… so as I grew older…I would have a quiet and gentle my spirit…so I could be a woman of grace. 

I knew the work…the changes… had to begin right then…yielding…releasing…letting the transforming power of Jesus do a deep work.

So I told the Lord….I want to be gray and gracious…and so the process began those years ago.

I am now over the half-century mark…I am graying very slowly for a woman my age…I am not sure what that says about my progress


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

There Is Beauty In The Scars.


                                      How do scars become the gift?

       
     Scars can tell our story…
                     
            we can read our history…
                                               
                     follow our journey…

                          after healing comes, we can read the scars without the pain…
            
                                  we then can see them as the gift… we can give thanks.

But how do these wounds heal? How do the scabs stop being ripped open…over and over again…as life… as people… rub up against us.  In the ripping… the pain and infection ooze out on us…on those around us.

Wounds heal quickest and best…when the offender comes and owns the sin… asking for forgiveness.   This simple action keeps marriages healthy and relationships intact…if only there was more of this.

But what do we do with a wound that isn’t owned by the offender?…the kind that cuts deep into our heart…leaving us  gasping for air…the deep betrayal…heartless words spoken...cruel actions taken…the kind of wounds that make us ask the question…is there healing here?  These are the wounds where no one comes offering the balm of forgiveness…the ones that seemingly rub…rub against our pain on a daily basis. How do we learn to forgive here?

I have stood in this place many times…maybe more than one person should have to…but God in His mercy shows me clear…there are two paths before me…I get to choose.  One is the quick slippery slope… like a conveyor belt…effortlessly taking me down into bitterness, resentment, returning “evil” for “evil”… deep down an ugly path.

The second path…a path where the traveling is much slower…it’s not a path of ease.  On this path…I have to choose over and over…to climb that mountain…scale that rock…forge that river…all leading me to His balm of forgiveness.  This journey is long…the world says, ”time heals”... but time only heals if we have spent the time traveling down the road of forgiveness… …the 70 x 70 kind of time…. then and only then… time does heal.

I have started many, many times down the wrong path…gliding toward bitterness and all that accompanies it…but God in His mercy does not leave me there.  He calls…He waits…He never leaves me…I turn toward Him and His longsuffering Love leads me to the path of forgiveness.  We climb…we weep…we journey down the long, arduous path together.  He washes me…washes the bitterness and resentment…He washes my unforgiving heart. With His compassionate Love…He soothes me with His balm of forgiveness.

I discovered here… even in my own unforgiveness…even when there are no
words offered from others… …His words…His Love…  His forgiveness is enough….
His balm…heals the wounds…and there is beauty in the scars.

                               Because in Him…ALL is Yes and Amen!! 














Sunday, August 21, 2011


Rejoice in the Lord always again I say rejoice…Love always protects, always trust, always hopes…always perseveres.

  God gives the command…full of promises… promises of what Joy and Love are too be.
     
        Joy and Love are endless …without limits…because there is a never ending well to draw these virtues from. 
 
              True lasing Joy and Love… the kind that remains though pain, disappointment and suffering…Joy and Love are only found in Him.
       
      Joy and Love have no conditions…both have no strings attached to our earthly circumstances. 

                    Both are rooted and grounded in the never changing heart of God. 

      Rejoice in the Lord always…because we can always rejoice in our Redeemer…even as the world throws its fiery darts at us…even in loss…confusion…disappointment. 

  We can turn to our One sure hope… our greatest Joy…The Lord.   There is a well… an endless well …deep with unfathomable Joy and Love.

    But if we don’t embrace the cross…all Jesus accomplished…all He freely gives…then True Joy and Love cannot be found…because Joy and Love…only flows from the blood that streams from the cross.   

                       In the blood…Joy and Love intermingles with our very spirits. 

 The finished work of the cross…who can’t rejoice in that….again and again...again we do rejoice.


~listening to 1000 gifts with my daughter
~the toast story...is it ever about toast?
~working on wedding video
~reading after dinner
~movie with a friend
~dinner with old friends
~good days in school
~God's watchful eye tending to our kid's heart
~the wisdom He gives
~lovely evening to sit outside
~cooler day to run
~crock pots
~dinner with son and future daughter-in-love
~God's saving the day...a major mistake made by me
~rain
~beautiful sunset
              1675~1690

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five Minute Friday...


New…

His Mercies are new every morning…great is His faithfulness….

        A new day is dawning….

               He makes all things new…. 

    There for if anyone is in Christ… he is a new creation…old has gone…new is here…

                   I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them…

         This cup is the new covenant…

                     sing to the Lord a new song…

we look forward to the new heaven and new earth…

       Thank-you Lord…for new beginnings!





Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wash His Feet With My Tears...

I heard this song for the first time during a reunion service for the fellowship I attended in college.  This is the place I landed…having lost everything earthly…but had found the eternal.

There was something powerful …sitting there again in the very spot I sat so many years ago…when I was newly forgiven in Christ.  That Sunday morning a young lady, with the voice of an angel…sang.  The words…washed over me…the tears started flowing uncontrollably…and my gut was heaving sobs.  The depth of gratitude took me deep…to deep for words.  The Beauty of forgiveness enveloped me…I was undone.

I must confess…how lightly at times I can take the gift…the costly gift of God’s forgiveness.  This song is a beautiful reminder….













Monday, August 15, 2011

Panning for Gold

Panning for Gold (I love that song)…digging for treasure…all that I can hold.  That is how I feel…I am on a treasure hunt…it leads me to God’s storehouse…full of treasures…waiting to be poured upon His children….
                                   
 He stands at the door and knocks…I am letting Him in…inviting Him into the moments…into the unknowns...fears…hurts...letting Him whisper His Graces…letting His treasures be given…unearthed…

I see…the storehouse…is it already within my heart…because He lives…because He lives within me…it’s a buried treasure…and by His Spirit the digging comes…the hard soil…the weeds… removing all that keeps the treasures buried…Jesus by His Spirit is panning for Gold in my heart…we together…hand and hand go panning…digging…because the Kingdom of God is within… the storehouse ready…full…not in some distant land…but within!
                        Praise God from Whom all blessing flow…

            ~God’s intervening for the lost one
            ~a new baby…new life
            ~prayers of friends
            ~a stranger…provision of God
            ~God’s visible fingerprints
            ~finding wedding shoes
            ~beautiful clouds
            ~ sweet blogger sharing a gift
            ~Son’s safe trip home
            ~welcome home dinner
            ~kindness of older brothers to hurting sister
            ~great-nephews spending the night.
            ~cooler weather
            ~God’s mercy
            ~gift of repentance
            ~tears that bring healing
            ~truth
                   #1635~1652


Friday, August 12, 2011

Ok...I am going to give this a whirl...5 minute Fridays @http://thegypsymama.com/

Beauty....
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...so how we behold  tells us what we are beholding...Ann Voskamp wrote.."The remedy is in the retina"...it is how we behold.  I use to let the mirror be my guide...but then the mirror betrayed me...told me I was fat...when alls I had was skin draped over bones...self hatered makes beholding impossible....So over the years...by God's grace a mercy...those negative thoughts that deceived me...that blinded me from true beauty have been silence by the voice of Truth... Love...and He healed my heart...He healed my vision....to see Beauty...to behold beauty....in the mirror..in others...in the everyday moments.

Stop


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Father forgive them… 

“Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”…powerful
words…powerful prayer…a prayer by the Grace of God…He has taught me to pray.

Like it was yesterday, I remember where I was sitting…on the edge of my bed…30yrs. old…mother of three…still holding on to hurts that now where being inflicted on my children.  Jesus’s words…came clear…came strong…"Father forgive...and in that moment…tears came to wash the wounds…and I knew…it was finished…a chapter had been closed and a new one opened…opening me to healing and freedom… and by His Grace…He would teach me a better way.

Over these years…I have been brought back to this prayer many times…deep wounds…betrayals…words that cut deeper than any knife.    
               And now I think I have come to believe…
              they really do not know what they are doing…
if they did….they would not wound those they love…. Because why do I? 

As a mortal man, he offered up prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his devotion to God. Heb.5:7





Monday, August 8, 2011

 An Ocean of Praise...

Journaling my heart and counting gifts started many months ago…. I recorded with pen and paper…along the way I will be sharing excerpts from my journal notebooks….

“Count the graces…count them out loud…how do I move from the interior of thanksgiving… the leaving the paper… to the lips? I am aware of a wall…one made with stones…some stones are pride…fear…rejection…self- preservation… and stones I still don’t know their names …as God in His Love comes and removes these stones from this wall…the thankfulness that is swelling inside me… will start to flow out…at first it might just be leaks…words here and there…but as the water of thanksgiving rises…it will become a raging river…a river that these stone can no longer contain…thanksgiving comes to push through the walls…each stone being swept away by the torrents of praise.
Prayer…Lord I ask that this river will run freely though my heart…through this house…that it will increase from small drops forming a puddle…to a swelling creek …that swells into a raging river…that swells into an ocean that we float upon….”

Since I wrote this…the walls are coming down…thankfulness flows more  freely….and most days… I am floating upon that ocean.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow….. 

~trust growing for each step
~God’s nearness
~heart pounding….sweat pouring
~a sweet e-mail
~mound of ironing done
~movie Soul Surfer
~freedom growing in my heart
~son getting the blessing of playing basketball on scholarship
~joy
~hard rain on dry ground
~cloudy days
~my weekly lunch with Dad
~generosity of a friend...giving us a laptop
~old men playing hymns at the farmers market
~husband encouraging me as I step-out of my comfort zone
~praying with daughter….against the accuser
~four of us….coloring….laughing around the table
~ the working of God in each child’s heart
1582~1600

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Love in action….prayer


Thoughts invade my mind…I let them trespass freely…roam where they wish without much constraint….causing much havoc…then I finally notice…..I am full of angst….fret….judgment ….thoughts that take my heart away from love.   These thoughts carry me to “I’ll fix it mode”….  to find ways to self protect…These thoughts keep me from peace…trust…prayer.

Lovingly the Faithful One comes…comes to set me free…comes to teach me a better way.  He asks a question…one that stops me in my tracks…one that infiltrates the thoughts and into my heart…”Have you prayed?...Have you brought this one before the Throne of Grace and Mercy? Have you invited My Spirit to come and work in the situation…to change your heart first and foremost…then maybe another’s…If you don’t invite My Spirit to work…then your work can only add to the wounds… to the trouble and Love is lost.”   He unmasks my thoughts…they are rooted in pride…my motives…the desire to control the outcome…to protect myself…my pride.

He now has access to my heart…His transforming Love takes my heart…clears my mind…and brings me to my knees…to offer prayers…..to take it out of my hands and lay all at His feet.  Prayer empties me…empties to be filled…filled with His Love.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Shout Of Thanks For Ann

It only seems fitting on thankful Monday, to give a great shout of thanks to the Lord for Ann…she is the reason I even stepped out here...

With God’s arms holding me…He took me on a pilgrimage that changed me in so many ways….I now can look back and see His fingerprints all along the path….

I have not always been a reader…in fact, I pretty much avoided books(not a good confession for a home schooling mom)…But He changed that…

Here is an excerpt from my journal….this gives insight into that change and glimpse of how He prepares long before He gives the answer…
     “I have developed a love for books…A book can not replace people…but it can come along side you to strengthen…encourage and even at times enter loneliness with you.  As I end Champagne for the Soul, a journey to joy…it feels like I am saying good-bye to a friend….one that I have been visiting with as I travel down this new pathway.  Now I wonder…wait…to see what new or different friend will come and sit with me as I continue to journey along this path toward  You Lord….lead me… guide me ….call the friend.” 


Indeed He did bring that “friend”….the next book I picked up was Ann’s….first on my kindle….then a hard copy….then  on my ipod…in the car…..to have Ann’s sweet spirit read her words is a gift in itself.  I soaked .....and I continue to soak in these truths….


My heart is filled with such gratitude….I love books…and am so thankful the Lord opened my heart to grow.  Oh, to think of what I would have missed....the richness of  these two writers and  the many others I will  continue to find.  Gratitude overflows from  my heart  for the gift of Ann and Mike Mason http://mikemasonbooks.com/(he is Canadian as well….He is much like Ann….. both contemplative thinkers....both with a gift to take profound truths and express them so beautifully and  with simplicity....I bet they would enjoy a wonderful conversation:) 
Both these writers have had a profound affect on my spiritual life.....and I thank the Lord for such wonderful gifts.


Just wondering.....what writer/ writers have impacted you in a deep way? 


~ Birthday lunch with friends...sweet fellowship
~ my daughter's baby bump growing....first grandbaby
~ baby's strong heart beat
~ most of the family home this weekend
~ great talk with the one son in Arizona
~ seeing a bowl of prayers being tipped
~ witnessing the gift of repentance
~  the joy of soon to be daughter-in-love opening shower gifts
~ friend's generous hearts
~ God's Grace
~ an understanding husband
~ a husband's kindness and encouraging words
~ a husband's love that always draws me upward and onward
~ my heart changing by God's Grace
~ once again....Ann Voskamp
1433~1448