Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ministry...men & women created in GOD's image

26 God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
27 God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. --Genesis 1:26-27



i have found myself meditating on this scripture a lot lately. i'm both a woman and a minister, and from time to time, i have experienced gender bias in ministry. i know i'm not alone. my intent is not to place blame. i simply want to share a thought about this scripture and hope to encourage or challenge someone.

GOD created both male and female in his image. GOD is just too much for one of us. it took 2 similar yet unique entities to even begin to embody the likeness of GOD. i've been in too many churches where the male point of view or the male presence is the dominant one. and i think to myself, "what a shame." in not embracing both male and female, we lose at least half of who GOD is.



let me stereotype for a moment. men are typically thought of as the thinkers, while women are typically thought of as the feelers. men are considered the conquerers, while women are the nurturers. men are rock-solid. women are emotional. now, we all know it's not as simple as that, but you get the point, i hope. i believe GOD is all of these. and i believe the church will not be complete and live up to the potential that it possesses without both sexes bringing their strengths and talents and abilities to the table and until we learn to respect and embrace each other.



it's not in blaming others, but it's in reconciling and accepting each other that we can truly make a difference in this world in which we live. it's in working together and respecting each other that we can be whole and complete. we're all in this together. after all, GOD doesn't have 2 callings: one for males and another one for females. just one.

annual life review

Got this from a friend and thought i'd answer them too. thanks, rick womack, for sharing...

The following questions come from Michael Hyatt - great content to use as an annual life review:
1. If the last year were a movie of your life, what would the genre be? Drama, romance, adventure, comedy, tragedy, or a combination?

reality, docu-drama, something along those lines. you'd find it on lifetime or something like that.

2. What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring? These can be single words or phrases.

forgiveness, fearlessness, face forward

3. What did you accomplish this past year that you are the most proud of? These can be in any area of your life—spiritual, relational, vocational physical, etc. Be as specific as possible.

i faced many demons in my life, those things that i was afraid to face. i finally hit them head-on.

4. What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for but weren’t?

it has to do with my job on staff at a church. i handled people and situations with integrity. unfortunately, it didn't work out the way it should've, but that's ok. GOD knows.

5. What disappointments or regrets did you experience this past year? As leaders, we naturally have high expectations of ourselves and others. Where did you let yourself down? Where did you let others down?

i was disappointed that things didn't work out at that church. for the first few months, i believed with all my heart i was supposed to be there long-term. unfortunately, the church came to a crossroads, and we parted ways. i regret that i took so long to forgive some people who mistreated someone i dearly love. i regret i didn't have a better attitude in spite of their actions. i let myself down in regards to my health and other habits.

6. What was missing from last year as you look back? Again, look at each major area of your life. Don’t focus now on having to do anything about it. For now, just list each item.

missing...hmm...i miss a couple of close friends from past moves. i have not been able to replace them. yeah, we stay in touch some, but it's not the same without them. that makes me cry sometimes.

7. What were the major life-lessons you learned this past year? Boil this down to a few short, pithy statements.

...5 years from now, will this matter?...
i can trust GOD.
h.o.p.e. - Hey! Other People Exist - this keeps me aware of my surroundings and keeps my eyes open to see who i can help and how i can help them.

Monday, December 28, 2009

new year, new beginning

i've been surprisingly optimistic this week. i love new year's eve/day, complete with new resolutions and new beginnings. i have spent this last year or so really working on some areas of my life. it's hard living in a spiritual and emotional deficit. it has taken everything i have just to get to even par. but now, i feel like that is changing. with the help of friends, family and a great big GOD, i've been able to put a lot of junk behind me. it feels great. it's time to live in the overflow, the abundance.

i'm not sure about all my new year's resolutions. i have a little time left to solidify those decisions. however, i do know that i have a new ministry i'm really excited about so i'll be throwing myself into that, i want to get more involved in the community, and i want to run at least a couple of 5k races.

it's time for my new beginning. i'm excited about it. and just the other day, i was alone with GOD, and i felt a smile slowly forming on my face, and i got the sneaking suspicion that GOD put there to let me know my best is yet to come, and it begins right about now. that's a great feeling. welcome, 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

facing fear and finding my voice

i was reading a blog by anne jackson entitled, "fear plays the role of antagonist in the story of your life." if you don't subscribe to her blog, i recommend it. it's at flowerdust.net.

every once in a while someone says something that impacts you in a profound way. anne ended her blog with the statement, "the world needs your story in order to be complete." this upcoming year, i'll be launching a new ministry to young women called "emerge." it's about empowering young women to lead with humility and fearlessness. i struggle so with telling my story and embarking on this new ministry because of fear and insecurity. i hear fear telling me that i'm not qualified, that i'm not a good person, that i'm not a good speaker, that no one will care what i have to say b/c i've not accomplished anything in my lifetime. i think fear may be right sometimes or at least have a point. but i think fear does not have to dictate my future. i do have a story to tell, and i think there are people who need to hear that story. perhaps there are a lot of us who need to know that our story matters and that fear doesn't need to define or hinder us from being and making a difference.

i draw courage from queen esther and her journey (see the book of esther). when she was confronted with the knowledge that she and her people were in trouble and that she was in a position to stop it, she was visited by fear. she finally concluded, "if i must die, i die." and she went ahead with plans to save her people from execution. i read in her words a prayer i've uttered often recently, "i'm scared. help me do it anyway."

GOD has a plan for my life. i don't know all the details. i don't know how it's all going to pan out, but i know i have a story that others need to hear. it may not rock the world, but it may rock somebody's world. the world is not complete without my story. and it's not complete with yours. i'm finding my voice. and over this next year, i desire to help others find theirs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

still standing update

it's amazing how quickly things can change. am i out of the woods yet? nope, but at least i feel like i have more hope than i did earlier this week. i did more than just stand.

i ate a lot better, got in a lot of exercise, talked out my anger issues, got my laundry done, and got the kids to clean up some things around the house. once again my devotional was encouraging and inspiring. it was about developing a better picture-- getting a new vision. this morning built on that devotional. we've all heard the passage about putting new wine into old wineskins. osteen put it this way: "...you cannot have a larger life with restricted attitudes...God wants to fill your life with "new wine," and He wants to give you new "wineskins," new concepts, in which to contain it. But you must be willing to get rid of your old wineskins. Start thinking bigger. Enlarge your vision and get rid of the old negative mind-set that holds you back."

i think sometimes right before we have a breakthrough, we get angry and frustrated. i think that's where i am. sometimes we have to get really uncomfortable before we change. and i'm trying to change and get new "wineskins" so that i can hold the "new wine," the new dreams, that GOD has for me. i'm pretty uncomfortable and frustrated. i hope that means positive change is just around the corner.

yesterday, i hoped for a good day...and that's what i had.

thanks, GOD, for not walking away from me when i'm at my worst. thank you for your gift of hope and your gift of dreams. help me enlarge my vision, and give me that "far and beyond favor" that you tell about in ephesians 2. i still have a lot of work to do to be the person i know you want me to be. help me to remember that with you, i can accomplish this and so much more.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

still standing

my week has been really sucky. i'm trying to eat healthy and exercise. so what have i done? eat, eat, eat. exercise a whopping 10 minutes. i'm been doing devotionals from joel osteen's devotional book, and he's only one of the most encouraging, positive people on the planet. how's my attitude? well, last night i almost came unglued. i was ready to twist someone's head off for a minor offense. i've been angry this week, and i can feel it affecting me physically. i haven't worked on ministry stuff at all, and not one item on my household chore list has gotten done. add to that, someone took my "save the tatas" magnet off my truck this week. who does that?

every goal i've set for this week...i've failed. i'm angry. i'm frustrated. i'm full of shame and regret. i can't seem to do anything right. i just want this week to be over. something's got to give.

i was exercising and losing weight until i changed jobs. now i can't get used to the schedule, and i need to figure out when i'm going to exercise again. i'm emotionally eating again...a bad habit that i hate with a vengeance yet can't seem to break. i have felt so insecure and unqualified to do the ministry that i know GOD has called me to do, and therefore, i can't make myself work on it. and when i'm home, i just want to sleep, not clean.

i've got to push through this... somehow. if i can just get through this week without having given up, i think i'll be ok.

GOD, give me strength to get through this junk i'm going through. help me, at the very least, not to rip anyone's head off. please take away this anxiety i have in regards to my eating habits. help me figure out a schedule in which i can fit in exercise. help me be more efficient with my time. take away my insecurity and discouragement. help me rest and quit stressing. if i can get through the week and still be standing, i'll consider it a great and glorious victory. just stand. that seems all i can do...the victorious life sounds amazing. maybe next week, i'll realize it. but for now...i have to stay standing.

Monday, December 14, 2009

list of household chores for week of dec 13-19

my list of things to do this week around the house:

organize kitchen cupboards
clean and clear kitchen counters
clean refrigerator
sweep and mop kitchen, dining room and sunroom floors
vacuum living room and hallway
do my laundry
organize laundry shelves
recycling
coupons
and get kids to clean their rooms and their bathroom

self-improvement update

my 3 areas of self-improvement:



weight loss:

did pretty well until this weekend and totally blew it. according to charts i saw this morning, i should be 30 pounds lighter to be in the middle of my healthy weight range. so i will attempt to start anew today. i have only eaten when hungry, but it is only 10:30. the most difficult time for me is the evening and night. my goal today is to take it one moment at a time to eat healthy and exercise at least 15 minutes. it's not much, but it's a start. i just want to start developing better habits.



daily devotional:

i got a new devotional book by joel osteen called your best life now. it's already helping me to have a positive attitude and outlook. yesterday's reading was taken from hebrews 11. i got stuck at verse 34 "...whose weakness was turned into strength." i take that as a promise. i have a number of weaknesses and insecurities. i will have faith that they will be turned into strength.



ministry:

i spent hours working on it last week. i finally got the brochure done, i think. i'm planning to concentrate on 2 sessions this week. one is about leading with scars. i'm starting to feel more comfortable with the thought of public speaking...most days.



one other area:

i'm trying to get my house organized and cleaned up, so if i can just get one thing done each day, i'll feel like i actually accomplished something. i'll be making a list today of things that need to get done.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ministry...accepting who we are as churches

my hubby and i talk a lot to each other about many subjects. not surprisingly, church is one of those much-talked about subjects. after all, so much of our lives have been spent at church. we're in transition trying to decide what church is supposed to be in our minds and what we are looking for in a church. for the last couple of months, we've had church every sunday at home. it seems like a radical idea these days to have home church, but it's not a new idea. followers of Christ met in homes during the early church era. only later, did they move to buildings that would host larger crowds.




our topic last night? for the most part, people classify churches as being either traditional or contemporary. we've attended both. i like and prefer the contemporary over the traditional, but what i don't like is contemporary churches that are straddling the fence. they claim to be contemporary but are more accurately a blend between the two, attempting to be one while holding onto the other. i'm not saying this is wrong, but i do think much of my dissatisfaction with many contemporary churches in general has been because i feel there is a lack of identity. i feel like the desire to please and hang on to every person has become more important than following the vision that GOD has given the church. be who you say you want to be. each individual church does not have to be all things to all people. find your niche as a congregation. go all out and be who you feel GOD has called you to be. there is a place for the traditional. there is a place for the contemporary. there is a place for the post-modern and missional and home church and everything else in-between. together, as a whole, we offer everything this world needs and is searching for. if we as individuals try to be everything to all people, we come up short, get overwhelmed, and end up helping fewer people in the long run.


but if we accept that we each have a niche and celebrate what each of us have to offer and begin to collaborate, together, we can do so much more. together, we can make a difference. there's no need to compete. there's no need to hold on to everyone. there is a church out there for everyone. if someone doesn't feel like one church is right for them, we need to encourage them to find a place that does feel right rather than try to meet everyone's needs and wants. one of my favorite pastors let people know right up front that "this may not be the right church for you. if it's not, i'll do my best to help you find the right church. and we will love you and bless you wherever you choose to worship." he didn't compete. he didn't guilt. he didn't change his vision. he helped. he blessed. he stayed focused. in turn, he has maintained a good reputation in the community and has a growing and successful church. we're all in this together. let's work together and accept ourselves and each other. we can do so much more when we do.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

transformation: emotional eating

got to confess. today was a little more challenging on my journey to transformation. i found it very painful to eat only one serving of my yummy dark chocolate with orange and almond slivers. dang! but i did it! it's wrapped up very nicely in a bag and is resting in the pantry. my heart is screaming for it, but i have to remind myself that my heart will not be satisfied with chocolate or food of any kind. my stomach is satisfied. it desires no more food. once again, i'm trying to fill a void in my heart with food. GOD, please fill my heart with you. my heart yearns for something. emotional eating only makes me feel guilty and packs the weight on. give me strength to pull away from the call of the chocolate. i know this sounds silly, but i am dead serious right now. i don't ever want to be a slave to food again. fill my heart with peace.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

transformation: week one

my devotionals have been on transformation: letting GOD change you from the inside out. i've also been reading a book on giving and stewardship. i'd say these are fitting subjects for this time of my life. i am looking to be transformed in a few areas, and i've been wanting to give more and get involved in some type of community service.

when i lived in northeast georgia, i got the opportunity to help out once a month at a church with their mobile food pantry. we sorted food and then loaded it into cars for people. i went from just sorting to interacting directly with the people coming for the food. i enjoyed it so much, and i miss that. i began attending that church because of the pastor's passion and action in reaching out to the community. he put his vision to action, and i was inspired. i'm looking for that again.

so far, my desire to get healthier has been going well. the big battles haven't found me yet. i've done really well not eating when i'm not hungry, and i've been able to stop when i'm full. i've even gotten a little more exercise in.

i've also been able to get a lot accomplished on ministry. i was able to spend over an hour on it yesterday. in fact, i'm about to spend some time on putting together powerpoint for one of my sessions. this one is about how JESUS treated and valued women during his time on earth. i love it!

i'm optimistic about having another successful day. with GOD, i can accomplish all this and more.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

my first 3 challenges of self-improvement

there are three things i want to concentrate on this week in the area of self-improvement:
  1. healthy eating
  2. daily devotionals/bible study
  3. working on ministry
a few weeks ago, i was so happy about having lost 10 pounds. now, i've gained much of it back. a few years ago, i managed to lose a lot of weight using the principles taught by gwen shamblin called weigh down. it has since been shunned by the christian community due to some doctrinal issues, but i feel that those original principles are really sound. in a nutshell, those principles were the following:
  1. eat only when you're hungry
  2. stop when you're full
  3. eat what your body is calling for

on the spiritual side of things, weigh down taught that when we eat emotionally, we're trying to fill a hole inside us. rather than fill that spiritual hole in our hearts with GOD, we try instead to fill our hearts with food. it sounds easy, but i cried and battled with myself many times before i began to get things in order.

i lost down to my healthy weight, but then i got pregnant again and soon got lazy with my eating habits. i think it's time to give it another shot. my healthy weight is about 30 pounds less than what i am now. but my focus shouldn't be the weight so much as it should be following the principles that will help free me from my slavery to food.

as for daily devotionals/bible study, i will probably go back and finish up a bible study that i left incomplete. i am thinking about one on transparency.

and as for working on ministry stuff, i have a lot to do. my goal is to be ready by the end of the month to begin doing conferences called emerge: empowering young women to lead with humility and fearlessness. i think i can accomplish this by spending 30-45 minutes a day working on it.

it's a lot of stuff to work on, but i think those are the most important for me right now. so, i'll be sure to blog a lot as i strive to make these positive changes part of my everyday life. i welcome all prayers and encouragement! =)

Friday, December 4, 2009

a new chapter: self-improvement

it appears the more you work on yourself, the more work you realize you have yet to do. there are so many areas in which i need to improve that i get a little overwhelmed just thinking about it. i see another list coming in my future. this time it's not a "to forgive" list but a self-improvement list.

but an update on the "to forgive" list might be in order. my list is down to 6 entries. 4 of them are about the same situation. so really, i only have 3 situations left. and 2 are probably really close to being dealt with. i usually am a little slow at marking things off. i want to be sure. i really hate having to add them back again. i am happy and surprised at how well i've reacted in the presence of those who have formerly been on my list. i don't get that rise of anger anymore, and when i feel it coming, i make it a point to remind myself i've forgiven them, so i can't use the offense against them anymore.

now onto more self-improvement. i've got areas that i need to put in check, while there are other areas in which i need to develop healthy habits. so, that means i'll be blogging forever. =)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

thoughts for today

not really sure what to say, but just in the mood to write. so what's in my heart this morning? a lot. probably too much. feels like an a.d.d. day. this i know...i'm thankful for the peace in my heart today. there's a lot more peace these days. i've really surprised myself at how much anxiety and unforgiveness i've let go of lately. i owe so much of that to GOD's grace and patience. i haven't "arrived," and i'm far from perfect. but at least i feel like i'm going somewhere now. i feel like these last few years i've been barely able to tread water. good enough to stay afloat. now i feel like i'm swimming. now i'm not stuck. i'm making progress. not real sure where i'm heading but trusting that GOD knows and that he's leading me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

thank you, GOD, for...

GOD,

i just wanted to take a few minutes to tell you thanks.

thank you for my cat, fluffy, who i trust you will heal b/c she's not feeling well right now. thank you for ebony and the time we got to spend with him. he was such a crazy cat, and i so miss him.

thank you for a hubby who loves me and our kids. thank you for his job, even though it can get a little stressful and long sometimes. i am glad he gets to participate in his kids' lives like he does.

thank you for my matthew, jonathan, lily and katy. they're good kids, and i'm really proud of them and of who they are becoming. i pray that their desire is to live for you and make a difference in this world.

thank you for my life. there were times in the past that i couldn't say that. thank you for sticking by me when i wanted to give up. thanks for loving me so much and for healing what's broken inside me.

thank you for my friends. some are closer than others. some are forever. some are for a season. thank you for them all. thank you for my enemies. i learn a lot from them. i learn a lot about myself through them. i learn a lot about grace and forgiveness because of them. bless my friends and enemies alike.

thank you for extended and honorary family members.

thank you for the good times. thank you for the bad. both teach me about you. both teach my about me. thank you that you are good regardless of the circumstances in my life.

thank you for the air i breathe, the colors i see, the aroma of fall, the rain that replenishes, all the things i take for granted. open my eyes and my heart that all those and more will become more real and alive than ever before.

thank you for my future. i know you have plans for me. help me accomplish those plans with humility and fearlessness.

i do ask some things from you: a genuine smile, a content and compassionate heart, wide-eyed and twinkling eyes, helping and caring hands, innocent and harmless motivations. help me walk in forgiveness and give me love that will melt away fear and cover a mulititude of sins and shortcomings. make me like you.

thank for all this and so much more.

amen!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

quick thoughts on the season

my heart is feeling more at peace. i had a minor setback last night, but my recovery time was quicker. so i must be getting better? i think so.

i am glad that my family is at home from school/work this week. my favorite time of the year has always been christmas, but my kids seem to prefer thanksgiving over all other holidays. i'm sure the annual family turkey bowl football game has a lot to do with that.

i am so thankful for my family. and i am thankful for the peace in my heart. i haven't felt this much peace in years. i owe that to GOD. i've still got a long way to go, but i know i've come a long way.

GOD, help me to always be mindful of your graciousness and goodness. without you, i am nothing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

new direction...feels better than Christmas

a while back, GOD started showing me a different direction for my life and ministry. i'm in the time of preparation currently, and it is definitely a challenging time for me. i am working on a ministry to women, specifically young women; and my mission is to empower them to lead with humility and fearlessness. as a result, i'm really being challenged in the areas of humility, fearlessness and forgiveness.

this week has seen more than a few challenges, but with the help of the word of GOD and some godly friends, i am getting through this. i have felt bogged down with all the baggage i've been carrying, and each day sees more freedom. that freedom does not come easily.

pride is a very broad subject and comes in many forms. my biggest struggle right now with pride is my thinking i can do "it" on my own, that i can hold on to things that actually belong to GOD. i guess when it comes down to it, i feel i can do a better job with my life than he can. the contrary is a difficult lesson to learn. most of my pride comes in the form of unforgiveness and a desire for retribution. i guess i've thought that GOD didn't understand and wouldn't know what to do. how silly to think such nonsense.

fearlessness...i have had so much fear in my life. to be fearless means you are courageous. i've been hiding behind my defense mechanisms. i've heard others describe me at times as being bold and courageous, but i never really see it. i guess it's because i know my thoughts and emotions and my history. why GOD would ask me to help others be fearless...huh, i guess he means what he said in 1 Corinthians 1 about him using what others think of as foolish and feeble to confound the wise and powerful.

my heart is being cleaned of the sludge of unforgiveness, pride and cowardice. i feel like i'm moving ahead with GOD's plans for my life. and now i can feel excited about this new chapter...it's kind of like Christmas...only better.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"write but don't send"

i did what i needed to do yesterday. i wrote a letter to those left on my "to forgive" list. it's one of those "write but don't send" kind of letters...at least not in that form. in it, i gave an explanation and my own apology. i felt good immediately. and it was just in time. i saw a few of them last night. but this time i treated them like i wish they had treated me and my family. i can't trust that their nice responses were genuine. i'm pretty sure that at least one of them wasn't. i heard her complain about someone in my family again. i'm not sure how long i'll be able to show mercy if that continues. however, i am not going to do anything about that at this time. in praying for them like the Bible says to do, i've started asking that GOD heal what's not whole in them. the truth is that if they were whole and fulfilled, they would have never behaved in such a deplorable manner. they must have brokenness, too. i was proud of the way i handled myself. i still am choosing not to put myself back into a situation where they can use and abuse, but i can be "shrewd as a snake and harmless as a dove." to me, that means to love from a distance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

the last entries

i keep getting all these devotionals and messages and blogs in which people are discussing forgiveness. as much as i am familiar with the process, i must confess that i have needed each and every one of those words. i am really struggling with those last few entries on my "to forgive"list. i hate having to admit that, but to surpress it would be wrong and damaging.

i have a difficult time being around people who are duplicitous and unjust. all those left on my list fall into both those categories. it angers me every time they flash a smile and try to be nice to our faces. why? because i've seen them do that before, yet as soon as we or someone else they consider inferior turn their backs, those people begin the backstabbing, gossip and belittling. i can't trust them. just recently, i saw this done again to my family. it makes me angry all over again. i struggle with confronting them b/c i'm afraid it will only make things worse. but i can't seem to act like i never knew this all happened.

i want to be obedient. i want to be able to pray for those who spitefully use us and say unkind things about us behind our backs. i want to be blameless and walk in peace, but my lingering unforgiveness is making me as much at fault as they are. my heart is torn. if i have to be honest, i'd have to say that not only do i completely abhor what they've done and their ways and means of getting their agendas met, but i believe i hate them personally. i don't want that. why is this so hard? i know i should leave the vengeance to GOD, but i so want them to pay...and the sooner the better. i hate feeling that way as much as i hate those people. something's got to give.

i know what i need to do, and i can't move on until i do it. GOD, give me the courage to do what is right and what brings peace and unity. help me do my part to live at peace with everyone. i can't make them do the right thing. i question whether or not they actually have a conscience. but i do. i can't feel my way into doing what i need to do. i guess this is where faith and obedience is going to have to guide me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

my thoughts on today...and what a beautiful day it is!

it's such a beautiful day. i've done my devotional, checked a few emails, spoken to my mom, vented to a friend about what's left on my "to forgive" list (which btw is down to 9 entries!!!), and had a few sweet moments with the hubby before we both left for work. he's definitely a keeper! =)

david and i are heading out of town for another basketball game. this time it's only the varsity guys, so it's just matthew tonight. i'm really proud of my kids. yeah, they drive me crazy sometimes...particularly the boys with their lame joke contests. omg! sometimes i'm not sure if i should roll my eyes, send them to bed, or burst into laughter over the stupid things that get said! lol! at least the girls are sane. they just keep hugging me and telling me how much they love me. i so love that! my kids amaze me! they're really growing up. and they're good kids. i think this has been my favorite season of parenting so far.

we're doing work to our house. we finally were approved for better insurance on the house. we got dropped for a while due to it needing so many repairs. the alternative insurance we had to get was expensive! i don't like being poor, but i do have a better understanding how the cycle of poverty works. it's hard to break it because the less fortunate are given fewer breaks. we're prepping the house to paint it. even the primer coat makes the house look happier, and that makes me happy. i can't wait to get it done! it's going to be pretty!

thanks, GOD, for my home, be it ever so humble. and thank you for my incredible family. and thank you for the beautiful blue sky today. you rock!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

speaking out on women's health

as are many women this week, i, too, am both disturbed and concerned about the announcement and recommendations that have recently been made public regarding women's health, specifically breast health. i am not in the medical field and am not an expert, but i am a woman, and i do have a voice. today i choose to put it use.

i think a lot of us fear that these guidelines diminish the importance of women and our health. we've worked very hard in the history of our country to be taken seriously, to be treated with respect, and to be considered equal. i fear that these recommendations have set us back a hundred years or more. i've read a number of articles in which the new recommendations are considered patronizing, that women shouldn't worry so much, that we get hysterical about such things. forgive my sarcasm when i say that it's only our breasts. the breasts that bring nourishment to our infants and, yes, pleasure to our lovers. it's only one of the signs of our becoming women. it's only our lives and our well-being. why should we be concerned?

without early detection, a few women in my life wouldn't be here. all are under 50. all were diagnosed with breast cancer. i am approaching 40 as are many of my friends. this affects me. it affects my friends and family. i'd rather my sisters be safe than sorry. i realize there is still so much to learn about breast cancer, but to tell us to just not worry about it and forget about the precautions that we've been taught without offering us a real and valid alternative based on new technology is irresponsible. we are told to continue taking these precautions if we happen to be at high risk, but who determines who is high risk and who is not? not everyone who is diagnosed has a family history of cancer.

should we sacrifice our health to save a few bucks? i say we should find some other solution. and i do not believe the government should be taking on this endeavor. my husband used to do work for the government in the engineering field. the red tape and incompetence of the government can be astounding. government-run healthcare is not the solution. my kids are on well care, which is government-maintained. it's a mess. yes, my children have health coverage, but when there are few or even no doctors willing to take it in your area, it's as if they have no health care.

we need to encourage women to speak out. we need to encourage our government representatives to get educated about who they represent. we need to send the message that we vote and that we have voice. women are powerful. we matter and so does our health.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

that shrinking list of mine =)

my "to forgive" list has been steadily shrinking. as a result, i feel lighter. i feel like i'm gaining momentum. at least for now, forgiveness means acceptance. i know i can't change others. i can only change how i respond or feel in regards to them. i keep telling myself, "it is what it is. deal with it."

i don't want to be a victim anymore. i don't want to be chained down anymore. i've got too much to do, and i don't have time to keep carrying around my baggage.

i'm still learning new things and trying new things. i'm still stretching myself and my comfort zones. i'm working on a new ministry that focuses on young women leaders and ministers. i'm really excited about that.

i read in 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 this morning. this became my prayer. LORD, will you make my love for others grow and grow? Make my heart strong, blameless and holy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

i chased her down in the parking lot! lol!

had a feeling yesterday that i was going to run into someone on my "to forgive" list, and wouldn't ya know... i did. she didn't see me, and i could have let her just leave. but where's the fun in that??? i chased her down in the parking lot, asked how she was doing, gave her a hug, and all that good stuff. that rise of anger was nowhere to be found even when she asked a couple of uncomfortable questions. honestly, i think she felt regretful about what happened, and well she should. it wasn't right, but i think i've accepted that "it is what it is." i think GOD's working it all out for my good, so i'm ok.

i called my hubby as soon as i walked off. i knew he'd get a kick out of the situation and be proud of the way i conducted myself. he did, and he was.

forgiveness feels a whole lot better than anger, hurt and bitterness. i feel really good that i was able to be loving, kind and gracious...and honest with this woman. i think i'm now ready to mark her off my list which has been shrinking, thank GOD!

i'm glad i didn't let the opportunity pass me by. thanks, GOD, for guiding my steps and preparing me for that situation! oh, yeah...and for giving me back my sly, little grin! lol!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

to know your heart

really digging this song today...

to know your heart by brent d. anderson

"...you have always been my strong tower,
my rock and my fortress,
my shelter in the time of the storm.

to know your heart
to feel your love
to find you in the secret place and touch your heart o GOD

to hear your voice
call out my name
LORD, there's nothing in this world that i want more
than to know your heart."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

it is what it is..finding acceptance

yesterday was rough emotionally for me. as usual, when i'm working on my "to forgive" list, i have some ups and downs. i woke up very angry yesterday, but by the end of the afternoon, i had come to terms with my anger. it's not uncommon to have strong emotions right before you forgive someone. it's like it all has to come to the surface before it can be removed.

i can't say that i understand why he did what he did. i can't say that i understand why he didn't do what he didn't do. i may never have the answers. i may never get my well-deserved apology, but i think i've accepted that. i think i feel free to move on. i didn't remove his name from my list. i want to give it a few more days.

however, i did remove a few names this week. i think i just needed to accept that "it is what it is." i can't change the past. it's done. i'm a little curious as to how i'll react if i see them, but i think i can be gracious and forgiving.

i did receive an email from someone today who is on my list. i sent back a nice reply. no zingers. no twisting of words. and there was no rise of anger. could i have forgiven yet another? could it be??? =) she was kind of the force behind a lot of my problems recently. i just had to separate myself from her. you know, keep a safe distance. i'm surprised that i'm not hurt by her and angry at her. i have a right to be, but i honestly, truthfully, sincerely blessed her today. i feel really good about being able to do that.

some people hurt and blame others b/c they themselves are hurting deep inside. they get stuck. i certainly understand. i, too, have been there. though it was personal, in a way, i don't think i should take it personally. sometimes we hurt others who have nothing to do with what is really bothering us, but we take it out on whoever is around. this is a case where extra grace is required on my end. i pray she finds peace, healing and acceptance. i would hope that extra grace and prayer would be extended to me by those i've hurt.

i'm a proud momma

last night, we had a school sports banquet. i had a girl on the middle school volleyball team and a boy on the varsity soccer team.

katy is just a sixth grader, but she made the volleyball team this year. she started out on the bubble. she'd never played before and couldn't serve the ball over the net. but after a couple of games, katy, with the help of her coaches figured it out. by the end of the season she was starting on the team and playing almost all the time and was getting almost all of her serves over. she's a competitive and determined little girl. when she was little, she had a lisp and was shy and reserved and self-conscious. i don't know where that little girl went. she's been replaced with a confident young lady. i'm so proud of her not only for her accomplishments but for who she is... which is sweet, tenderhearted, athletic and smart.

matthew did not intend to play soccer. he's not really a fan, but because his friends wanted to play but didn't have enough players, he not only joined the team but encouraged others to play. he learned, he worked hard, and he did pretty good. i think it was good for him. it kept him in shape for basketball and taught him footwork and positioning that will definitely come in handy this basketball season. the mvp award went to a well-deserving player on the team, but in my book, matthew's the mvp. he cared about his soocer-playing friends and made sure they had enough to play this year. i'm proud of who he is on and off the field. he's got leadership ability, and i think he's starting to figure that out.

now it's time for basketball. matthew, jonathan and katy are on their basketball teams, and lily found out this week she's the captain of the cheer team. i love my kids so much. they are good kids, and they make me so proud.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

why? why? why?

i'm really having a rough morning. i woke up angry...angry at a person on my "to forgive" list. and i mean really angry. i sincerely wanted to go beat the crap out of him this morning.

but now, seriously...who am i more mad at...him or me? i think i'm more upset with myself for allowing him to have the power to make me so dang mad. i hate that. why am i finding it so hard to let go? is it that i've suppressed my anger for a while and now it has to surface before i can be free of it? i hope i'm about to be free of this, but i'm not sure. i wonder how i'll react when i see him again around town. i hope i'll be gracious and forgiving, but today i'm not sure. what is it that has made me so angry this morning? i'm not supposed to be there. my time is done. i get that. why can't i forgive this? why would i even WANT to hang on? why is it so important to me to hear the words "i'm sorry"? why don't they ever get spoken? why can't i stop asking why and just learn to accept?

oh, GOD! please make whole whatever this is that keeps me from letting go and moving on. fix this in me. i want to walk in forgiveness and grace, not anger and bitterness. please hear and understand the groaning in my heart. make sense of this. please give me peace and closure, and if it's possible, some degree of understanding. heal my heart. i feel like that egg that i dropped this morning... too broken to salvage it. but you made my heart. you know what it takes to fuse it back together...again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"don't make me pay for what he did to you"

i was sitting in church this morning. a pastor friend of ours invited us to his church for friend day. sitting there waiting for church to begin, GOD spoke to me. let me explain.

i love madea movies. in one movie (i forget which one), this woman is falling for a guy but is having a hard time being in the relationship. the guy knows it and tells her, "stop making me pay for what he did to you."

that's what GOD told me. he said that's what i'm doing to others in my life. i'm making them pay for what people in my past have done to me. i don't want to be that person. if i'm angry or hurt with someone, i should point my anger or hurt in their direction rather than towards those who are in no way associated with it. better yet, i should forgive and let go...not for the offenders, but for me.

there are people on my list who have no idea that they're there. some don't know, but others don't care. some don't deserve my forgiveness, but really...do any of us? only by the grace of GOD i suppose. i have to forgive for me. i've said over and over again that forgiveness doesn't make what happened ok. forgiveness makes me ok. i don't want my baggage to hurt my present or my future. i have to let go for me.

it's not fair to me or those around me to punish them for what others have done to me. i can't let people have that kind of power over me. so this week, i'm working on my "to forgive" list with that in mind.

GOD, help me to not punish others for the offenses committed against me. i want to be free. i want to have that child-like faith, that child-like innocence. i want to trust. i want to be happy. it's hard to be happy when i'm tired b/c of my baggage weighing me down. forgive me for my unforgiveness which has turned into pride...me thinking i can do it without you. thanks for the service this morning and for the pastor's message. it touched my heart. thanks, mic, and thanks barnesville first assembly.

Friday, November 6, 2009

new things

seasonal depression? hormones? personal issues? who knows, but i've been a little tired and depressed lately. sooo...i went back to doing something that i used to do when i got depressed or lonely for a prolonged period of time. it's something that i recommended to a friend years ago but for different reasons.

"learn something new everyday. do something new every week." it works like a charm. the hard part is getting started. the first is always the hardest, but then i get some momentum and things start looking up. i have personally found that when i begin feeling depressed, i need to do the opposite of what i feel like i want to do. what i want to do is be alone, sleep, etc. what i need is to get outside, do a new thing, do something with a friend, etc.

i've learned and done a lot of new things lately. my new things for the week include going to a store i've never been to before and attending a class on coupons. i learned that publix takes competitor's coupons, found a new "green" flea treatment, how to make popcorn balls, and learned a new memory verse.

little things add up. stretching myself feels good. so, learn something new today or do something you've never done but wanted to.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

green-ish update

i haven't written anything recently about my attempts to go green-ish. i admit it. throwing myself into complete green-ness would completely overwhelm me, so i aspire to go green-er.

i've been pretty satisfied with my accomplishments thus far. i recycle our paper and plastics on a regular basis. i can't believe how much that has cut down on our actual trash. i'd recycle more if i knew of a local place that accepted more recyclable items. i've cut down on the amount of disposable items like paper plates, sandwich bags, etc. i sometimes use my reusable grocery bags. i haven't yet found a system that works to remind me to bring them with me when i go to the store, but i still use them on occasion. i still use some disposable items, but i usually find ways of reusing them a second or third time.

i tried toilet paper made from recycled paper last week. it was free with my coupon, so i thought...what the heck...and i gave it a shot. not bad. i was pleasantly surprised. we've cut back on some of our energy and water usages, though i'm not quite as gung-ho as i was at first. i've tried some non-toxic recipes for flea treatments, and to my surprise, they work better. my hubby is even asking about green remedies these days for other ailments and issues.

i'm proud of myself for the small changes i've made and the fact that now some of those changes are permanent. it hasn't been as hard as i thought. little steps add up after a while.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

coupon class

i attended a class last night on how to use coupons. i already knew a lot being a devout coupon user, but i learned even more. i'm so glad i went.



here's what i do now:


  • i have a binder and put my coupons in baseball card sheets. that way i see what i have.

  • i check the sales papers and plan my trips.

  • i use internet and e-coupons. register with your grocery store like http://www.kroger.com/ and http://www.pgesaver.com/, and http://www.shortcuts.com/. a lot of stores will let you stack coupons which means you can use manufacturer, store and e-coupons on the same item. internet coupons include coupons.com.

  • i clip, clip, clip coupons from the sunday paper...ajc is the best.

  • i get updates with http://www.southernsavers.com/, but i'm going to try out http://www.couponmom.com/ and http://www.moneysavingmom.com/ to see if they are better.

  • i shop bj's warehouse b/c they take coupons. they also mail out great coupons and i can use my manufacturer coupons on top of their store coupons. also, i can use multiple coupons on the big stuff. i.e...there are 12 frappaccino's in a pack. i have 3 coupons. they are $2 off a 4-pk. i can use all 3!

  • i love cvs extra bucks!

  • i only shop at places i can get double coupons.

here's what i didn't know or think about:



  • pay attention to coupons in the store next to the products.

  • ask when they mark down meats and produce. some stores do this in the mornings. and when the new produce comes in, the older produce gets marked down.

  • publix takes competitor's coupons (yay!)

  • when on long grocery trips, carry a cooler for chilled items

  • work with a friend

  • save expired coupons. the military can use them for a few months (if anyone does this, i would like more info)

  • print out store coupon policy and bring it with you just in case

  • make a price book for my regular items so i know how much they are at the stores i shop

  • pay attention to end of the season sales

  • if it's gonna be free, get it and bless others with it...i really like this one. so now i'm gonna keep all my coupons just in case for this reason.


other things i liked about the class...



  • she talked about being honest and nice when using coupons...when i have a lot of merchandise and someone comes behind me with just a few items, i always offer them the chance to go ahead of me. i have won over employees and customers alike with this approach. even better is if i see they have an item for which i have a coupon i'm not using. i love doing that. it gives coupon users a good reputation.

  • buy those free items that i don't use and give to others. in this economy, there's not a lot of extra money lying around, but i can use coupons and sales to buy up items for gifts.

  • she talked about the proverbs 31 woman...i think she would have used coupons! lol!

  • i loved the fellowship. for me, it was like a reunion. i got to see old friends and enjoy their company.


if you have tips, please share! i'm all about saving money these days!!! hope i've been able to help!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

honest feelings toward my "to forgive" list

i'm having a hard time with my "to forgive" list. i got this overwhelming feeling this morning as i looked at it. none of these is easy, and i just don't feel like battling with it today.

it's not that i don't want to forgive. i guess i'm not convinced that i can get rid of these feelings i have for some of them. i know. i know. have faith that GOD will help me forgive. rely on his power to forgive. i know. and i've been told, but sometimes, it doesn't feel that easy.

i'm angry at the one who squeezes me out so she can get all the attention, who always seems to want what i have. i'm hurt by the one who chose to support the woman who was lying and trying to turn people against me. he said he had my back, but when it came right down to it, he chose her over me and put me in a really bad situation. i'm upset by the way some people treated my family because they have a sense of entitlement and think that they can treat people however they want in order to get their way. i'm angered by the man with the god-complex who could use a little more humility particularly in his dealings with others. he should quit throwing people under the bus, too. others are learning from his example.

i'm agitated and angry this morning, and i feel like i'll never work through this junk. sometimes, you just feel that way. it seems insurmountable. maybe in an hour or two, those feelings of frustration and helplessness will go away, and i'll begin again. i hope this agitation means that i'm getting close to a breakthrough. sometimes it does.

oh, and btw, don't think you know who i'm talking about. my guess is that you don't. but if you read this and feel guilty or angry, maybe you should apologize to someone. =)

Monday, November 2, 2009

the church is not here for us

The church is not here to meet our needs. We are the church here to meet the needs of the world http://twitter.com/erwinmcmanus

i think this is a great reminder for the church. too often we get lost in our own desires and forget there is a world around us that needs JESUS. i know we start out with good intentions, yet at some point, too many churches eventually lose sight of our mission which is to go into the world and share the good news of CHRIST. instead we start focusing on the trivial things that consider first our comforts and desires. we say we're going to reach out to our community, but before we realize it, we've become inward focused. we get bogged down in programs and budgets and committees. those plans to make a difference in our community fade away. we still think we are involved in the community, but we're not going out there. we begin to shift our perspective and act as if the community should come to us.

we must fight this. we must go. we must not lose our mission. we must not lose our focus. we are the church. we are here for the world.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

lily was my inspiration

well, at least i can rest well tonight knowing i did the honest thing. i was on day one of my shopping today, thought i'd swing by rite-aid (at which i rarely shop) real quick, grab the few things i wanted, and head on to store number 3. it turned out to not be real quick, but rather real pain. had i not had a coupon to get $4 off a $20 purchase, i probably wouldn't have caught the mistake by the cashier. my bill was too low, but i couldn't quite figure out why. i told the employee that something must not be right b/c the total was too low for me to use my coupon. i couldn't have been off by that much in my calculations. i put the coupon back, paid for my things, and started out for the car. before leaving, i pulled out the receipt to see why i'd done so well. i spotted almost immediately that my most expensive item had not been rung up yet the coupon getting $2 off had. not only had i not paid for the item, i actually got paid $2 for it! i sighed b/c i knew i had to do the right thing, and the right thing would probably not be easy. lo and behold...it took over 20 minutes to get it straightened out. i'm sure there had to be a better way, and about halfway through the correction, i think we were all wishing i had just kept on driving. it cost me an extra $7, too, but i guess that's ok.

i know i did what was right. i wouldn't have been ok knowing that i had taken advantage of someone else's mistake. it reminded me of what my daughter lily had done a few months ago. she had gotten under-charged at wal-mart. she made me go the next day and fix the problem. i must confess. i was not happy about that one. it was just a dollar or so, and it just didn't feel worth it. i'm sure at some point i'd gotten over-charged at wal-mart so i figured it would even out in the end. however, that was not the point. i couldn't in good conscience let lily down. this could have been a defining moment for her. i've always tried to be a good role model for my kids, so this couldn't be ignored. i was so proud of her honesty and integrity. i think her example inspired me to do the right thing today. it took a lot of time and a few bucks, but it puts a smile on my face. i know, too, that GOD rewards us in other ways when we take the right path rather than the convenient one. thanks, lily, you're an inspiration.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

trust: freely given or earned?

i read a blog this morning in which the blogger stated that she thought trust should be freely given not necessarily earned. i think i know what she was trying to say, but i'm not fully agreeing with it. i don't think you should not trust EVERYONE just because ONE person hurt you, but..."shrewd as a snake, harmless as a dove." i guess i'm thinking that you can give trust to others, but sometimes situations arise in which trust must be earned or re-earned. i think you can bless people without trusting them. perhaps? just processing.



one commenter said that she punishes others by withholding trust. i can see that happening sometimes, but i don't think that is always the case. i do believe that i have to live my life with my heart out in the open. i live a vulnerable, transparent life. my heart will get trampled on and wounded from time to time, but it's better to care and be honest and risk getting hurt than to be cold, distant and hardened. that means i do have a level of trust that i give, but i think i'm a little cautious in general due to my past experiences. i'm sure that's both bad and good at times.



so should trust be freely given or earned or a little of both? i think i'll be giving that more thought.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

crossed a name off my list

i pulled up my "need to forgive" list this morning. to my surprise, i didn't have the anger or anxiety that i usually do when i see that list. i wasn't even snarky! i hope that's a good sign and not just a hormonal thing going on. and yes, hormones can produce good, happy feelings.

the person at the top of my list has been there for a few years. a couple of days ago, i was praying about that situation while i was doing laundry. now usually when GOD tells me to bless someone, i have to give it some time. GOD and i usually go back and forth on the issue, and eventually i surrender. not this time. i said ok, and i prayed a prayer of blessing over him and his church. i did have to get some things straight with GOD just so we were clear. forgiveness is one thing, but trust is another. it could take years for me to trust this guy again, if ever. however, i'm willing to forgive his multiple offenses against me, my family and our ministry.

here's how i figure it: only GOD really knows if he's changed. i'm not convinced, but i'm willing to sit back and wait it out. time will tell. if he has changed, then great. i'll be happy. if not, i won't be surprised, and i'll be there to help pick up the pieces this guy leaves in his wake. i hope he has dealt with those issues that caused him to do what he did to us. and i hope no one does to him what he did to us and others in ministry.

so i blessed him. i prayed that GOD would strengthen his character and help him be both spiritually and emotionally healthy. i prayed that his change is indeed genuine. i prayed for his church. i prayed he'd be a good pastor and that he'd take care of his congregation. i prayed he and his leaders would have wisdom and truth to guide them in their decisions. i prayed that GOD would bless their efforts to reach their community.

i feel good about it. he becomes the first to be deleted from the list this time around. i'm sure it's about time! now on to the next...

Friday, October 23, 2009

day one of facing the list

ok. started on that list today. i had some updating to do. that was tough...and enough for today. i added about half a page of situations/people i need to forgive. this is tough stuff. i'm now down to the specific issues i need to work through. oooh, i'm so agitated. those that were already on it...still not ready to cross them off. one may be really close though, so at least there's one positive thing about today's look at the list.

i wish i could say this has gotten easier, that forgiving has gotten down to an easy science. unfortunately, that's not the case. i wish i could say this list will shrink quickly, but i don't think it's gonna. when i look at it, i realize that these are really deep wounds. and most of these will not end in an apology. it's difficult for me to forgive knowing i will never hear the words, "i'm sorry." those 2 words are so under-utilized these days.

this list really makes me angry. it makes me hurt. that's why i don't like being tied to it. i didn't realize just how much journaling and prayer this was going to take. might as well start this with a prayer.

GOD, as i look at this list, i know it's not gonna be easy. i'm really gonna need some help. i believe i'll forgive each and every one, but i can't do it on my own strength. i am very aware of this. honestly, i want vindication. can't lie about that. help me understand that forgiveness doesn't make what they did all right, but it makes me all right and sets me free. this is for me. i can't change what happened. i can't change anyone but me. right now, i could use a little peace in my heart. please take away this agitation. i've got too much to do today to be upset. i'm taking the first step. that's good. at least this time, i'm willing to go there rather than keep it hidden and buried deep inside. thank you for who i'm going to be as a result of dealing with this list.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

feeling strong enough to "go there"

i've been feeling a little rough these last couple of days. i've been battling sickness, and i do believe i won. yay! sickness isn't the only thing i've battled. i'm working through some would-be bitterness. i think i'm kicking butt on that one, too.

for me, at least, the hardest part to work through is the tail-end of a situation. the big stuff is usually a little easier. it's the wanting to understand why rather than the offense itself that's so difficult to resolve in my heart and mind. my mind accepts more readily than my heart, and since i'm a feeler more than a thinker, the heart carries more weight with me.

i've talked a lot about my list of people i need to forgive. so i'm going to revisit that list this week. i think it's time. i feel strong enough to "go there." i don't like feeling this hardness of anger and unforgiveness in my chest. it bothers me. i like to enjoy life, and that hardness weighs me down.

so, list, here i come! prepare to shrink! =)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

it's time the church do some self-assessment

i was reading the blog of my friend, chris maxwell, this morning. it's an interview with gary moon, an author and christian psychologist, who has written a new book. i wanted to share a question that chris posed and gary's very wise and timely response. to read the article in full, click on the link at the bottom. also included is the info on where to purchase gary's new book.

this is why i wanted to share this: i believe it would be wise for the church (in general) to do some fearless, honest self-assessment. i was actually thinking that myself this morning. have you read any religious articles recently from mainstream media? or better yet, the comments from readers? the "world" doesn't view the church in a good light. the good news is that this negative view is not so much about GOD. unfortunately, it's more about the people within the church. we've earned that poor reputation by our attitudes and actions. it's time the church step out of its bubble and see what the negative vibes are all about. we may be surprised. time to ask the tough questions? yeah, i think so. it may be time to rebuild on the solid foundation.

chris: How can local churches in our culture begin grasping the truth about Apprenticeship?

gary: Dallas Willard has said that the two biggest obstacles to authentic transformation are: 1) caring too much about the opinions of others; and 2) caring too much about money. Along those lines, I think the first thing a local church would need to do is a fearless self-assessment, asking the tough questions, have we come to care too much about our reputation and about money. What I'm trying to say is that it is very important to get first things, first, to build on a solid foundation. An apprenticeship model cannot work if the foundation of a church or a person is sand, instead of solid ground. After that, and at the risk of seeming redundant, I think spiritual transformation is a matter of vision, intention and means.

http://www.chrismaxwellweb.com/blog/2009/10/apprenticeship-conversation-with-gary.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Apprenticeship-Jesus-Learning-Live-Master/dp/080106841X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254596961&sr=8-1

Monday, October 19, 2009

laughter...=)

laughter does the heart good. i had a great time last week visiting with some good friends. david had to work, but i went so i could hang out. i had planned to work on some ministry stuff, but instead, i found myself enjoying the company of others.

the interesting thing is that a lot of us have experienced some difficult times recently. we talked, hugged, and cried a little, but then we somehow got caught up in laughter. in the cheerfulness and company of friends, we just laughed about everything and nothing at all. and it felt good...and right.

it just got me thinking how i'm not sure i've ever thanked GOD for laughter. laughter allows me to set aside my cares. it reminds me that there is still so much good left in the world. laughter and friends are 2 of GOD's greatest creations. thanks, GOD, i'll try to remember to laugh more often.

Friday, October 16, 2009

the power of empathy

i've had a few people in ministry asking me these last couple of days about my leaving a ministry position. i have to admit. it's hard to talk about it. it stings a little, especially since i can't seem to make sense of it all. i'm honest about it, and they all understand. they've been there before, too. what touches me and never ceases to ease my heart is their concern that i give myself time to heal. that and the fact that they look so compassionate as they listen to my story. sometimes, they share their own. we often end up encouraging each other because we've all been there. we know how it feels. but because we're in the business of loving and serving people, we have to learn to let go so we can move forward with GOD's will for our lives. we don't want to fill our lives with such bitterness so as to miss all the good that is around us. and there's a lot of that.

galatians 6:2 says, "Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." empathy is a powerful emotion. it's one of the things that makes us human. the ability to feel another's pain and share it with them does wonders for a person in need of healing. empathy validates and let's people know they are not alone, that they are loved and special. i want to make others feel that way. empathy is not shallow and is not satisfied with giving empty, religious platitudes. empathy is deep and real.

i think the world could use a few more empathetic people. people who seek to understand and who share the joys and sorrows of those whose paths they cross. if we all showed a little more compassion to others, if we put the needs of others ahead of our own desires, if we treated each other with respect, what a world this would be.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

a thicker skin?

all this week, i've been struggling and trying to work through something. i hate feeling misunderstood. i hate people saying things that aren't true about me or making incorrect assumptions about me. i hate that i care too much what other people think about me.

i probably need to have a thicker skin, but my sensitivity is one of the things that has made me a good worship leader and minister. it's tough. i'd be lying to myself if i just glossed over it and said it doesn't hurt. it does.

a wise friend gave me some advice when i asked him about how to develop a thicker skin. he said that it's better to care and get hurt than to have a bitter and cold heart. he said that talking it out with a trusted person is helpful. another wise person told me that you have to learn to walk in forgiveness. i try. i really do. i can usually forgive an offense...eventually. it's the residual stuff that gets me.

i can honestly say that i'm doing the best i can. it's not as hard this time, but it stings nonetheless. my friend is right though. it's better to hurt and care. bitterness is one thing i never want to experience again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

on being an outsider

i've heard it said that people are like lego blocks...each of us has only a set number of connections. if you're a newbie, an outsider, you arrive at your new home as a lego with openings, and you wait patiently for an opening on someone else's lego, keeping in mind that you could be replaced by a former connection if ever they choose to return.

i wanted to put into words my feelings on being an outsider, but last night, i read an exchange on facebook that started with a pastor's daughter sharing her own heart on how it feels to be an outsider. i think this says it better than i ever could. with their permission, i have reposted the conversation.


ali:
So I've moved a lot, I mean, I've been to 8 different schools. It's like when you finally feel like you fit in, something happens and you realize that no matter how close you think a friendship is, it's not as close as you think. ...They have lived here all their life. They have had these friends since 6th grade. No matter how many friends I have it's made very clear. I'm still the outsider.


emily:
...what's great is that you'll always have a love and a heart for the outsider. You'll be able to make friends with anyone. You'll see past people's outward and see their insides. Its hard baby, but in the end, you'll be the strong one...You'll make it. And in the end, you'll be the strongest, sweetest, loveliest, most Godly one of all.

to say anything else would just be vanity. all i know is that i had to share this because it touched my heart. thanks, ali, for your honesty. and thank you, emily, for your kind and encouraging words. i couldn't have said it any better.

Monday, October 12, 2009

just b/c we can, doesn't mean we should

i was told recently that my moral standards aren't the same as those of other people. i can't argue with that. it is, after all, a true statement. after 35 years, i've come to some conclusions about what i consider to be right, what i consider to be wrong and also what i consider to be a gray area or personal conviction.


just because we have the right to do something, doesn't mean it's right to do it. some things may not be wrong, but they are less than ideal. as a minister, mom and worship leader, i try to keep that in mind. i don't want to be a stumbling block to others. i don't want my choices to confuse others. i want to set a good example. i want what i do to point to CHRIST.


GOD, help me do what is right, run from what is wrong, and listen to your voice for those things that may or may not be wrong. i want my life to bring you glory and honor. keep me from disgracing you with my thoughts, my attitude and my actions. help me remember that it's not all about me, but it's about all that transcends me. help me do this with humility and fearlessness.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

generosity makes everyone feel good!

ThomRainer From @MikeGlenn sermon: Local restaurant owner has trouble getting workers on Sun bec Christians tip the least & act the rudest



ok. before anyone thinks i am generalizing about all christians, stop. don't go there. i'm not. this was one guy's experience. but when i read this, i thought...what a shame that people think this. sometimes, i think they have good reason, but we're not all difficult and cheap.

christians should be the most generous of all people. that's how it was in the early church. people sold what they had and shared it with those who didn't. that's how it should be now.

just an example...last night, i attended a class on coupons at a local church (another blog to come about that). the woman who led the class asked for no compensation. she does this for free out of the goodness of her heart. in order to bless her for her time, effort and expertise, we took up a love offering for her. the woman who organized the class asked us all to give a dollar each. i realized i had more, so i gave more. i thought...what would i like to receive? that question compelled me to give more. i received many blessings last night. it was very much worth it. and this morning? i woke up happy that i gave a little more. generosity just makes you feel good. generosity makes everyone feel good!

got a little extra? even in this economy, we can still give. and even if there's no money to be given, we still have love and kindness. let's be the most generous people. let's change the mind of this restaurant staff...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

bless and curse not

romans 12:14 -- bless those who persecute you. don't curse them; pray that GOD will bless them.

somewhere along my journey to wholeness, i came across this verse. i saw something i'd never noticed before: we're told twice to bless. once to not curse.

i pondered it for quite a while and realized that it was so much easier to not curse than it was to bless. but it's twice as important for us to take that extra step of blessing or praying GOD's blessings on those who have persecuted or mistreated or misunderstood us.

we've all heard that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. but the bible tells us to take that a step further...bless them. you know you've forgiven when you can do more than just not curse. if you can then bless them, that's major! at least in my experience.

how do you know if you've forgiven?

how do you know you've forgiven someone? i ask myself that question a lot. periodically, i make a list of those who have offended or hurt me so that i can work towards forgiving them and freeing myself emotionally from the pain. over the years, there have been a few names or situations that have lingered on that list. despite all the praying and journaling and tears, i am just not sure if i've forgiven them, so they remain on the list until i'm sure.

it may sound silly, but i often ask myself this: if i were shopping in wal-mart (or wherever) and turned around and saw (insert name), how would i respond? would i be angry, upset, bothered, and perhaps avoid eye contact? or would i be calm, respectful, and maintain eye contact? if i can't in good conscience say the latter, then it's time to revisit the situation...as often as it takes. i tend to wear my heart on my sleeve so i can't fake it.

i may have to forgive someone multiple times for one offense, but i learned that's ok, too. i sometimes wonder if the biblical teaching of forgiving 70 x 7 means per person or per offense. =)

Friday, October 9, 2009

my thoughts about church and having the courage to change

the last couple of weeks, my family has had church at home. i know it sounds really strange in this day and time to do that, but it's not a radical idea. it's how the church got started to begin with. we've been teaching our kids about the early church in the book of acts. early christians met in homes. they ate together, they worshiped together, they learned together, and they took care of each other.



i've had a number of invitations to church. it's kind of funny. people think we don't go to church anymore. quite the contrary. there's a move today to go back to the new testament model of home churches. it's not that we don't go to church. we do. it's just a little different than what we've grown accustomed to.



somewhere along the way, we lost touch with what church is really about. church is about the people rather than the building. it's about reaching out to a world of people and showing them JESUS in the way we walk, talk, live and give. it's not about pleasing people inside the church. it's about us living a life that pleases GOD.



i think i've had enough of church politics and powerful personalities for a while. i've seen enough of the dark side. i have always been a champion for church. i've been the first to say that though it has its flaws, it's still the best thing. but now i wonder. i think it's time for us to really examine the church. it has to be more than just a social hour. it has to be a place where we are challenged and changed, not a place where we demand our needs for comfort be met.



GOD, show me what it's really all about. i want more. i want to be challenged. i don't want to hide any longer inside the walls of the church building. i want to make a real difference in the world around me. i want to know what the gospel is about in its purest form. i know that this will require much from me. i know this will cost me. so please impart courage to my heart and make it fearless. give me the grace i need to do your will. it's time for me to step out of the boat and onto the water where you are. i'm scared. help me do it anyway.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

LORD, you get me! you sooo get me!

life is full of challenges. that's a fact. whether we ask for it or not, we will face them. i'm in the process of recovering from a challenge, one that i feel i handled well. nonetheless, it wipes me out both physically and emotionally and sometimes leaves me a little depressed.


i found GOD to be really sweet and attentive to me yesterday. i was washing the dishes and listening to pandora radio. check it out if you haven't already. good stuff. anyway, at the time, i'm feeling a little down. one by one, these incredibly uplifting songs by these incredibly gifted female singers get radio play. by the 4th song, i'm feeling like a little girl dancing around on GOD's feet. what a sweet feeling. i love feeling like a little girl in the arms of my great big PAPA GOD. songs like "beauty from pain" by superchick and "you get me" by zoegirl washed over my rundown spirit and gave me hope and a smile.


i love those GOD moments, those times when it feels like GOD takes an extra-special interest in you and hand-crafts each song, each word, each moment to let you know just how loved you really are. that's my GOD, and i love him. thanks, GOD, for our little moment yesterday. you soooo get me!

wearing pink today

cancer strikes again. this time it's a friend from times past...angie sanders. she's having surgery today, scheduled for 9:30 am. she's the reason i'm in pink today.

all who read this, please send up a prayer for her. here's mine:

dear GOD in heaven, i thank you for who you are and all that you do. i am grateful that you are a GOD who heals, and i'm asking you to do just that for angie. heal her body, keep her mind and spirit strong, and give her peace as she undergoes surgery this morning. give insight to her medical staff. guide their hands. be with them as they care for angie. bring peace, strength and comfort to her family and friends. thanks, GOD! i know we can count on you to do this and even more. amen

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

maturity is overrated according to my daughter

maturity is overrated. don't believe me? just ask my 11-year-old daughter. we had an interesting conversation friday afternoon when i picked her up early from school. she informed me that she was in the immature 6th grade class. she said everyone always talks about how much more mature the other class is. apparently, she's given this a lot of thought. her response? whatever...at least we'll live longer and be happy. i may have to agree with her on that.

katy's a bright young lady who has really begun to shine in recent years. when she was younger, she had a speech problem, a lateral lisp, which made her actually sound german in the way she pronounced some of her words. i would have killed for that lisp when i had a quarter of german diction in college. =) it left her feeling insecure, shy, sensitive and extremely quiet. but she's got a little of her momma's spunk in her. one day, a kid was making fun of the way she talked. i was in another room but i clearly heard her say that there was nothing wrong with her. she's just different. and she wore that with a confidence that i quickly admired. good for her!

katy has since gotten speech therapy, and she hasn't stopped talking. the transformation was astounding! she's now a bubbly, athletic, outgoing, kind-hearted little lady who has grown in confidence. and she's fine with being considered immature. she told me the story because she knew i'd understand. i get accused of being immature and too young to understand and i'm 35! at least i'm happy. so is my daughter.

don't take life too seriously. do the dizzies with a 3-year-old. go play in the rain. laugh at a stupid joke. do something crazy. do an activity that you know you're terrible at but you enjoy nonetheless. life is too short. it's not all about the destination. it's about the journey. might as well enjoy it. it's the only one you got. thanks, katy, for your 11-year-old wisdom!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

taking the high road

i find myself at a crossroads. one road goes up. the other road goes down. i know the significance of the roads. i will either choose to go up and take the proverbial high road, or i will take the low road...and well, we all know what that means.

i read in a book recently in which the author said that you will never regret taking the high road. and i know he's right. he's been around a lot longer than i, and i'm sure he has more experiences than i. i know that i will choose the high road, but then there's this one part that wants to lash out, to get revenge and be on the low road. i've avoided that road thus far. i've treated everyone with respect. it cost me, too. the high road is not without its toll. you pay dearly to take it, but i'm sure you don't pay nearly as much in the long run with the high road as you do in taking the low road.

at least i know that i've followed biblical principles like i find in romans 12:18: "if it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with everyone." i've done the best i could. i have peace, and i can move forward with what GOD has for me to do.

according to philippians 4, GOD's peace guards our hearts and minds. and that's a good thing because i know that if i try to guard my own heart, it becomes hardened with hatred and bitterness. i will eventually be closed off from GOD and people, but if i let GOD's peace guard my heart and mind, he'll keep it safe and soft.

GOD, guard my heart and my mind. keep me soft and loving and caring. protect me from bitterness. take my hand and guide me toward the high road. it is closer to you, and that's where i desire to be.


Friday, October 2, 2009

what he did right

What He Did Right…
From the Mom’s Point of View

As usual, our date was lasting longer than it should. I was sure my mother was about to flash the front door lights to warn me that I needed to come inside. I sat on the hood of David’s gray ’95 Ford Mustang with T-tops. He stood in front of me with his hands around my tiny waist as we talked about our future plans together. We discussed everything from past loves to children. I had no doubt David would be a great father, but I wasn’t sure he knew it.

David never really knew his father. He left the family when David was a very young child. Though he talked very little about it and seemed to not be affected by it, I realized one day about the time we were expecting our first child that David was haunted by a recurring thought. His eyes were moist as he posed the questions, “What if I can’t handle being a father? What if I want to leave, too?” There were so many qualities I admired about my husband, loyalty being among them. I knew he could never leave. David confronted his demons that day. I’ve never heard those questions since.

We’ve been married now for 18 years and have four amazing children. Those early years were tough. I was a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids under the age of 5. I never could have gotten through those sleep-deprived years without such a loyal, involved, loving father to my children. I treasured our date nights and those evenings when he’d watch the kids so I could meet up with a friend at the coffee house or the mall. He took our two little boys to watch high school football games on Friday nights so I could catch up on housework or enjoy the company of a friend, and he’d get up occasionally with the babies in the middle of the night so I could get the rest I needed to make it through the next day. Those little acts of selflessness kept me sane.

As our kids got old enough to play sports, David became more than their dad. He became their coach. Not only did he teach our kids the skills necessary for the sports they played, but he taught them teamwork and sportsmanship. He demonstrated his selflessness and loyalty once again by giving up some of his own recreational activities, including his beloved softball. He says it’s because he was getting too old to play, but I know he wouldn’t have missed this time in his children’s lives for anything.

Our kids are all in middle school and high school now. After years of arranging his schedule around a game or a recital, and after a career change and a move so our kids could get a better education, David continues to be a shining example of what a father should be. Our family is entering a new season of life together. As our kids approach dating age, David has resumed his dating life, too, with the mother of his children. And in so doing, our boys are learning to be respectful young men and our daughters are learning what they should expect from future boyfriends.

I was right all along. David has been a great father from day one. He overcame his doubts and fears about fatherhood and has been an inspiration for other men desiring to be great fathers themselves. He couldn’t change his past. He couldn’t trade in the hand he’d been dealt. But he made decisions each day to be the best he could be. After years of good decisions, David can be proud of the man, the husband and the father he’s become.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

humbly grateful or grumbly hateful?

a few years ago, david spent a few days at a monastery with a group of colleagues. one of the things he said was absolutely prohibited and not tolerated at the monastery was grumbling. now i think i understand why. grumbling changes people. it changes those people who do it, it changes those people who listen to it, it changes those people who are victims of it. even if one doesn't participate in it actively, they become passively involved when they give ear to it which leads to their active participation the more they're around it. they start viewing everything through the filter of the grumbling.

why is it that we are so willing to listen to a lie but not the truth? why is it that we would rather believe what we hear from a grumbler than believe what we see from the one being grumbled about? grumbling destroys people and ministries and relationships. it's a dangerous thing.

i was told as a child that if you aren't the one talking about someone but you listen, you're just as guilty as the one doing the talking. i was told to try to stop it or walk away from it.

the Bible says that we should deal with people honestly, that we should look out for others, that we should love and respect each other. if you have a problem with someone, you should try to work it out. romans 12:18 says, "if it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live at peace with others." there's no peace in grumbling.

we have a choice... humbly grateful or grumbly hateful. what will we choose today?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

thoughts to ponder...must read...must comment!! =)

thoughts to ponder today:
  1. just because you're good at something doesn't mean it's going to make you happy doing it.
  2. GOD is looking for leaders with a limp...Genesis 32:22-32...those who have wrestled with GOD and man, who refuse to let go until they have won a blessing.
  3. whatever GOD's will is for my life, i can trust that he will give me the grace to do it. i don't have to do it out of my own strength.
  4. dream, but don't just dream...dream the impossible.
  5. with GOD all things are possible.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

my journey with emotional eating

i've said it before, and i'll say it again. my name is hope, and i'm an emotional eater. what i haven't said before is that i've lost 10 pounds now! i got on the scale this morning, and i smiled back at it rather than frown or curse it!

i'm learning to go to GOD with my emotions instead of running to food. i know it sounds odd to run to food for comfort, but i've done it for years. not surprisingly, it never brought me lasting satisfaction. it brought me depression over my weight and lack of control. i stopped walking for weight control and started walking for stress management. i also walk sometimes just so i can dream or spend time with GOD. it's not as hard to get motivated to walk these days.

emotional baggage is heavy, and every item i give up is another pound lost. i'm hoping to shed another 8 lbs by november 1st. it's a lot to let go of, but i think i'm up for the challenge. Romans 12:2 says, "...let GOD transform you into a new person by changing the way you think."

Monday, September 28, 2009

GOD's faithfulness

i have once again joined the ranks of the stay-at-home moms. it was a really difficult decision to leave my part-time job, but i felt it was the right thing to do. i ain't gonna lie...with my hubby giving up his part-time job next month, i am concerned for our financial situation. we'll soon be down to one full-time job. we figured i'd have to make a certain smaller amount each week to cover the loss of my job. as of yesterday, i had been offered a couple of side jobs. when we added it all up, it came out to the exact amount that we had decided i needed to make. we also found out that our hotel room is covered on an upcoming trip. all we have to pay for is gas and food. GOD always takes care of us.

three of our 4 kids have school trips coming up. i was asking my hubby if he thought we should forego one or more of the trips, but he said no. he feels like we'll be all right. i'm not sure how, but i will trust him.

david and i have never considered ourselves people of faith, yet when it comes right down to it, i think perhaps we have more faith than we gave ourselves credit. i think it's because of our experiences. GOD has come through for us more times and in more ways than i could begin to recount. he has always shown himself worthy of our faith and trust. i believe he will take care of us. it really surprises me how confident i am of that.

i'm trying to look at this as an opportunity. there's nothing to keep us tied down. we have options. of course, i'm a little unsure and a little anxious, but i think sometimes faith is when you decide to go forward in spite of your fears and doubts. i've seen the faithfulness of GOD this week. i look forward to seeing it again next week, and the next week, and the next.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

my love for thunderstorms

thunderstorms remind me of days gone by. when i was a little girl, my mom, my sister and i would go to my grandparent's house after church most sundays from what i remember. my sister and i would run around the house in our pretty white slips until dinner was ready. i loved butterbeans from the garden. that is, until i ate so many once that i threw up. after that, not so much. the food was delicious. most of it came from my grandparent's garden. sometimes we'd play again, but other times, we'd take a nap.

i remember one sunday afternoon, my sister and i ran upstairs to my grandmother's room to take a nap with her. instead of going to sleep, however, we listened to the thunderstorm that was heading our way. we made a game of guessing how loud the next rumble of thunder would be. i think we eventually fell asleep. i don't know what made that day so memorable, but it is sweet. not long after, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and died. the next year, my sister's brain tumor returned and took her life as well. i'm the only one left from that day, so i remember and cherish the memory.

i don't know what it is about thunderstorms, but they make me feel close to GOD. maybe it's because i remember a few that made me so deathly afraid, i thought i'd be joining him. no, seriously, i guess i've always associated an awe, a majesty with thunderstorms. they're loud and powerful. and sometimes they make you stop everything else and all you can do is listen. no electricity. no tv. those times are the best. nothing to distract us from the power of GOD. and for me, it's a time to reflect and remember my loved ones and our sweet memories together.

my prayer

GOD, here's the thing. i feel the bitterness already trying to take hold of my heart. please guard my heart so that it can't creep in. all it does is hurt me. it does nothing to help. it only ties me to the pain. i know you're already watching over me and my family. thanks for the little things you have been doing that let me know i'm being cared for. every time i start to get down, one of these little blessings shows up. i'm asking you to honor my faithfulness. i'm asking you to open doors for us. i'm asking you to protect my children. i don't want them turning from you b/c of the ugliness that exists in traditional church. that scares me, but i trust you'll show me and david how to guide our kids through it. bless my children. bless my marriage. bless our relationships. bless our friends and family. bless our enemies. bless those who unknowingly cause us pain. bless those who stick by us and those who don't. and help me to be understanding, not bitter about any loss. give me courage to do the right thing. help me treat others with respect whether they deserve it or not. open our eyes to your will. give us peace and make our paths obvious. i have to admit that i'm a little anxious and hesitant about moving forward, so strengthen my faith. expose the darkness and the lies and the compromises. let the truth bring freedom and healing. strengthen my spirit, and give it rest. thank you, GOD, for showing us a little today how you have had the situation in your hands all along. i didn't understand, but i'm beginning to now. how cool is that? i love you. those words don't begin to express the feelings i have for you. so read my heart, and take what little i have to offer. i'll try not to grasp too tightly anything i have. my hands are open. i offer it willingly. wow. i really love you. thank you...for everything.

your little girl,
hope

Thursday, September 24, 2009

it is well

i love that song, "it is well with my soul." it's a beautiful old hymn with a beautiful story behind it. today, i find myself comforted by the thought that whatever comes my way, i can say that it is well with my soul.

i made a decision yesterday. a really difficult one. but i know that GOD will honor my attempts to do the right thing. it hurts my heart, but i will be ok.

i have so much to be grateful for. i have a husband who loves and supports me. i have a great family. and my friends? the absolute best in the world. and they pray for me. i pray for them 2. life isn't always easy, but when you have the friends and family that i have, it'll all be ok. finances may be tight, but i am rich because of the relationships in my life.

well, i must go for now, but i'll leave the words that have flooded my heart today...it is well.


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:It is well, with my soul,It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,Let this blest assurance control,That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!My sin, not in part but the whole,Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:If Jordan above me shall roll,No pang shall be mine, for in death as in lifeThou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,The sky, not the grave, is our goal;Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,Even so, it is well with my soul.

my heart hurts

my heart hurts. don't know what else to say. my heart usually guides my thinking, and right now, it's broken. so i don't know what to think. don't know how to feel. i feel like my compass is messed up. just wondering. thoughts don't make sense. worse than my heart hurting is that i think my spirit is breaking. no place feels safe. no place at all.

don't twist my words or read anything into this. it's not about you. it's about me. allow me the freedom to just be...me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

better with a smile?

i am finding myself cleaning today. i wish i were better at it. i feel like i can clean, clean, clean, and everything still look the same. what gives? lol! perhaps if i actually liked to clean! and yes, i do know people in this world who actually enjoy it! crazy, i know! but it's true.

i told my hubby a little while ago (he called me from work cuz he luvs me so much) that i love him, but he was supposed to be rich so he could hire a housekeeper for me. he just doesn't get it, bless his heart. =)

i must say that i have accomplished quite a bit today, but it's only b/c we're having the house appraised today. we're refinancing our mortgage, and someone is coming to inspect the house. i sincerely hope they see that it's a work in progress. we've done a lot of work, but alas, there's stil so much more that needs to be done.

guess i should get back to housecleaning. i've been told that if you smile while you perform a hated task that it makes it more enjoyable. the jury's still out on that one, but it's worth a try. no magic wand. no twitch of the nose. only elbow grease and a smile. here goes nothing... =)