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Monday, April 30, 2012

Let Us Be Known...


“For the tongue is a pen, which pressing deeply enough…whether for good or for evil…will write upon the heart. “ Mystery of Marriage

Listening to the women at incourage this weekend was a blessing. 
There were so many take -aways…so much to ponder. 
If I had to reduce the essence of all that was spoken to a few words...
The power of the tongue.
 Words...both spoken and written can be wield like a sword...
 for good and for harm.

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. James 3:5

Actions definitely have their place in building friendships…
but actions can only take a friendship so far…

Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.1John 3:18

Building a lasting friendship takes words…
words are like glue…holding these acts together…
Words become the sustaining power…

Friendships can take years to build…
word upon word…thousands of words.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

At the same time, even the deepest of friendships can be destroyed…
Dismantled in a matter of moments…with only a few of words.

The tongue has the power of life and death... Proverbs 18:21

And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right. James 3:10

My friends I have known the power of the tongue…I have not used my tongue…
my words wisely over the years.

But thanks be to God …He renews our minds…
He transforms our hearts…

. ..for out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' Matthew 15:18

So let us all be known as sisters of love…sisters who speak words of life…
words of Grace…
 “Only speak words that make a soul stronger.” Ann Voskamp 

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6

Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips. Ecclesiastes 10:12

Join me in giving thanks at Ann’s and  jump over to Soli Deo Gloria and Playdates. 
You will be blessed.

Continuing to count with words and pictures.


End of one chapter...high school basketball.
Thanks to his brother who helped coach him.
Senior Banquet.


Sweet friendship...she will really miss him.
Nothing better...coffee and listening to incourage.
Thankful we can have fun together...doing anything.


Oh...in 5 days I get to hold all this cuteness!!!! 

~2228~2250~


~celebrating son’s senior year
~sweet end of the year basketball party
~friend offering their church for the graduation party
~watching a friend do the hard surrender…hard eucharisteo
~skype time with Amy and Ellie
~God giving wisdom in a desperate cry for help
~heart to heart connection with teenage daughter…giftJ
~husband’s job…surrounded by wonderful people
~ironing done
~drinking coffee and listening to the sweet ladies at incourage
~husband who gets me
~him encouraging me to go…
~timely comment from a sweet blogger that confirmed my husband’s words
~stepping out of my comfort zone…large incourage gathering
~two friends emails…offering to help with the graduation party
~long walk with hubby…sun shining down on us
~son home for dinner
~good conversations
~big brother taking siblings to watch hockey and eat wings
~feeling freedom after a long, hard journey
~ God's longsuffering Love

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Community



Community is not a one size fits all…
its definition cannot be confined by rigid boundaries…
and what is community for one person may not be community for another.

Community is just like other aspects of our Christian life…
we can look around and envy what others have…
try to emulate how other “do “ community.

We are part of a body…some hands…some fingers…some toes…
if parts of the body have different expressions fitting together to make the whole body…
why would community be any different.
 Community differing according to the need…
community fitting each part of the body.

Our Christian walk needs to have fluidity about it…so does community.
 Life does not stay the same…our family grows…our children grow…
and as seasons change…how we do community changes also.

As I click around the blog community, I see I am one of the older ladies around.
I have had so many different expressions of community. 
I had to learn different isn’t bad…just different.
Once I let go of my idea of community/fellowship and let God write His definition on my life…
community sprung up in surprising ways.

So I pray that no matter where you find yourself today in regard to community…
you will let God come and give you His eyes…
eyes to see the world right where you are…
sometimes community is found in unlikely places.
As Ann’s says, “The remedy is in the retina.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

His Masterpiece.


My husband and I had the privilege of accompanying my Dad (then 85 yrs. old) back to Rome one last time. He feels more at home in Rome than anywhere else.
The miracle of me taking him there has a story of its own…


We spent days walking through history...beauty and the brilliance of men long ago…
Each piece of history we visited seemed to be outdone by the next…
But for me, the one place that really stood out was the Sistine Chapel.
One could spend all day studying this magnificent masterpiece…
the details …the texture…the story.

Back in the 1980’s the Vatican started the restoration process of the Sistine Chapel.
Years of soot, dirt and grime had built up and covered up the brilliant beauty.
 The distortion of this majestic work of art happened slowly over time…
Over the years people became accustomed to viewing this magnificence masterpiece through the grime.

As the restoration process took place…
people where stunned by what was hidden behind all the grime.  
Hiding underneath layers of filth, were vibrant colors in an array of hues…
colors that had not been seen in hundreds of years. 
After years of careful cleaning…
All was restored …
Once again everyone could behold what was in the heart of its creator.

source

Aren’t we God’s masterpiece…painted, designed and created out of all His Love?
He paints out of His character…the very reflection of Himself.  
And like the Sistine chapel…the grime of life comes and covers up God’s beautiful masterpiece.
And we too become accustomed to seeing ourselves and others…
 Tarnished and beauty buried…hidden from view.

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

We too need to allow God’s restoration process in our lives.
We need to permit God to come and cleanse away all that covers…
Everything masking His beauty within us.
He will patiently restore all our brokenness…
But you, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in mercy and truth. Psalm 86:15
Oh, how He longs for each one of us to be fully restored back to the original masterpiece…
the one made in His image…the one bearing His likeness.

Let us all yield to His love…trust in His goodness …
continuing to be transformed into the image of God.
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
 2 Corinthaians 3:18


As Christ Loves the Church...



This is the first time I have linked up with marriage letters. The prompt was loss and I knew I needed to write. So join me and others @ Joy in This Journey as we write love letters.


Dear Mark,
Thirty-one years ago when we stood hand and hand pledging our love…making those binding vows… we had no idea the all roads we would travel.


Along with the joy and laughter, there have been tears, pain and losses.
We have known the sorrow of losing 4 babies to heaven without holding them in our arms…we have walked through the fires of deep fellowship failure…loss of job…near loss of life and others…but where your love shined the brightest was with the loss of my health.

You married a girl full of energy (maybe too much at times)  and how we loved  being active together…running, tennis, hiking …well, anything outdoors.

After the birth of our third…the bottom fell out…the chronic fatigue of lupus set in. You remember those days when I could barely get out of bed…when no matter how many hours I slept, my body demanded more. I could not longer be the wife and the mother I once was.

You, my love, served me…you loved me like Christ loves the Church…you laid down your life for me.  There is not enough room to list all the ways you served…but on the top of my list is the unconditional love you exhibited to me. Never…Never did I feel any pressure from you…never did I sense self-pity for all you had to endure too…you never made me feel guilty (I had enough for the both of us.) You, my lover, remained faithful through all those years... when so many nights, intimacy was just your arms of love around me.

Through the loss of those years due to illness, I learned of God’s unconditional love for me. God knew I needed a tangible way to experience His love…and that was (and still is) you.

You think you did nothing out of the ordinary…for you that maybe true. Your life has always been one of humility, love and grace…you were doing what was natural to you…just not natural to most.

I know we rejoice together...God’s mercy came and healed…reclaimed the loss...restored the "locust-eaten" years.

Words will always fail to tell you how much I love and treasure you…how thankful I am to God that He blessed me with a man like you. 

We have lived a lot in these 31 yrs.…No matter what the next 30 or so years hold, I know we will continue to hold on to Christ and hold on to each other.

More love than words can express,
Ro





Monday, April 23, 2012

Paint A Beautiful Story


"I discover that a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life” Ann Voskamp

I spent most of my life taking the broad stroke of thankfulness…
Painting a very dull landscape of my life.

A landscape void of the brilliant colors...
the colors which God longs to infuse into our lives.

When we are young we learn to paint by numbers,
Well, I am going back to the basics…
I am painting by numbers…
With each dip of the pen, I dip into an array of colors…
source

Each color having a glory of it’s own…



  


Each stroke painting my life with grandeur and beauty.


So I continue to paint…
One dip at a time…
One stroke... than another….
Until these numbers paint a beautiful story.

~3188~3206~

~skyping with Amy and Ellie
~Lunch with a friend
~seeing God's protection of friendship
~Mark's safe travel
~conviction that comes in the night...gentle reminder how to love better
~graduation practice
~friend offering place for graduation party
~getting plans done for parents anniversary party
~taking baby steps
~more freedom
~letting go of my sense of justice
~finding more grace and mercy
~mowing the yard
~a night with Mark
~kids going to senior banquet
~God's kindness to speak to us
~end of the year party...sweet fellowship
~God's sweet presence 

Paint with me today @ Ann's and join me @Soli Deo Gloria and Playdates.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just Doesn't Get Better Than This.


I remember going back to my husband's home…first just the two of us…
and as we gathered around the table…all his family together…
He would survey and study this wonderful gathering, and He would say…
”It doesn’t get any  better than this.”
 We would politely grin and nod. 
Over the years we would travel back…
adding to his joy…one grandchild after another.

No matter how many places where added to the table…

His joy would be evident…His words more sure…
”It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Sometimes real understanding can’t come with out experience…
Now that our children are mostly grown…one about to go to college…
two married…one grandlove, one graduating from PT school….one left at home…
we now understand…
Nothing…absolutely nothing is better than everyone together again…
Together under one roof…
And now my husband and I …
With such joy in our hearts…
Echo his fathers words…
“It just doesn’t get better than this.”





Join us in the fun at Gypsy Mama’s.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Grave Clothes?


Do you and I live the resurrected life or do we still walk around with our grave clothes on?

“Do we love ourselves?
Or are we still wrapped in the grave clothes of self-hatred…not loving who we are in Christ? If so…how do we live this part of the resurrected life?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:30-31

Are we patient and gentle and kind with ourselves?
Because isn’t the resurrected life full of the Spirit?
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

Or are we continually doubting, berating, and condemning ourselves?
Are our heads full of negative self- talk ...
talk robbing us from the hope of our new life in Christ?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, 
the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Do we easily let go of mistakes and wrongs, or do we keep a strict record and punish ourselves severely?

Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, 
it keeps no record of wrongs. I Corinthians 13

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, 
no longer counting people's sins against them. 
And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.2Corinthians 5:19
                                             


How we answer these questions tells us if we are wearing grave cloths or walking clothed in His garments of righteousness.  
These are questions I have had to ask myself…
because for too many years I was so harsh with myself…
did not easily forgive, show mercy toward myself…
or have hope that this body of sin and death would ever find resurrected life.
 I saw how this thinking affected me…
but I never saw how it affected those around me…
Then I read this line…“The way you treat yourself is the way you will treat others.” Practicing the Presence of People .

I was mortified…my negative lens toward myself, clouded my vision toward others.
When I could not extend grace to myself…I had no grace for those around me.
As I was preforming to earn God’s love…people around me had to preform as well to receive my love.  I could go on and on.

But overtime by God’s grace and mercy, He is unwrapping these grave clothes…
clothes that would continue to strangle His resurrection life in me.  
He is taking my focus off myself and all that I am not…
to focusing on Him and all that He is.

 He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
John 11:44
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Heb. 12:1

Let’s let Jesus come…calling us to “come forth” out of our graves cloths…leaving them behind and now be clothed in His royal robes of righteousness.
And living in the world as resurrection people.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1Peter 2:9

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 
Isaiah 61:10

Join me today @ Ann’s and Imperfect Prose.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Living Water


But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14

A spring of flowing water has many different streams…
some small…

some large…

 and even a little pool. 

All the water flowing from the spring comes from One Source. 
The Lord invites all to come and He will give living water. 
He doesn’t tell us from which kind of stream we will drink…
but He does promise to give water. 
So whether a rushing flow …

or just small droplets…

each satisfies the need for each moment.
Thanksgiving can flow whether we are showered in the rushing water…

 or a slow steady stream. 

Thanksgiving builds up our faith…
deepens our trust in the One who says…come and drink …
Only He can quench the dry and thirsty soul.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. Rev.21:6

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, 
so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”John 4:13-14

Join me today at Ann’s , The Wellspring and Soli Deo Gloria.
~3135~3151
~feeling God’s nearness
~in the war…knowing peace and freedom will come
~grace to let go
~Ellie 3 months old
~prayers at midnight…God coming to help
~husband who can be woken up to come and pray
~seeing redemption
~sweet text…ministering to both me and y daughter
~another letter in the mail…timely words
~honored by kind words and the reaching out from the blogging community
~a weekend of connecting with friends
~Ann’s words on Sat….something always fills the empty spaces
~daugther-in-love spending the night while husband was camping
~having kids home on Sunday
~scripture-typer…sermon on the mount
~Son taking job here instead of moving to ArizonaJ