Saturday, November 15, 2014

Shine Brightly for Christ

I've been hanging around in Philippians 2 this week.  Do you ever do that?  Hang out in the same portion of scripture for a while?  Meditating, pondering? There is so much in this whole chapter. Deep things.  Awesome things.  I especially like this portion:

Shine Brightly for Christ

12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God,[e] just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.

Don't you just love the sub-heading that is in this version?  Shine brightly for Christ!   That seems so appropriate for this time of year.  But really it is good all year round.  The world can be a dark and dreary place at times.  We have the creator of light inside us as believers.   He has been telling me to shine for quite a while now.  I was a little confused by it.  It didn't sound "Bibical" to me.  But I was praying and listening to the Lord.  I should have just trusted Him.  But hearing the Lord can be iffy at times.  I'm still learning to listen.  But when I found this in the NLT version it made my heart sing!  Yes!  I had heard Him correctly.  I was to shine.  Now to obey.  That seems hard but look at verse 13. God is working in you to give you the desire and power to do what pleases Him. WOW!!!  Does that amaze you like it does me?  He tells us to do something, like shining in my case, and than He gives us the desire and power to do it!  
Why have I struggled in my own power to obey?  Why did I not know this was in the word?  I don't know but I'm super excited that I've found it.  Now I can make headway in that shining directive.  
Look at verse 15.  Shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.  Think of driving through a city on a dark and foreboding night. Now think of driving on that same night but there are beautiful shining Christmas lights everywhere.   What a difference!   That is what we are to be doing shining, making a difference.  
Well these were just some random thoughts I've been pondering this week. This blog is "In Donna's head".  So now you know for this week what's been in my head.  I hope you feel inspired to obey that quiet nudging of God knowing he is giving you the desire and power to do it.  Blessings on you my sweet readers!  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chanel's Birthday Post.. Happy Birthday Chanel Bell

BEAUTY   I remember a little girl being born on this date on a Wednesday I believe. Chanel, you were beautiful. You had the prettiest little complexion. You still have such a pretty tone to your skin. 

BRAINS   When you were four you taught yourself to tie your own shoes and to whistle.  You were always the top of the class with Cassie and Ashley. 

RANDOM THOUGHTS  You were my longest labor time. 5 1/2 hours. It was the doctor's wife's birthday.  He was the one who suggested the little mark above the e in your name.  Oh yes, when they knew about 3 months in whether you were a boy or girl... I said no I don't want to know.  Dad was waiting in the car.  But half way down, doc's office was on the third floor, I changed my mind.  I rushed back up and smiling said "I can't wait... is it a boy or girl".. I wanted a girl.   I ran down when they told me and told dad and we were happy.   But we couldn't name you Paul and carry on the name.  Dad picked Paula but I loved Chanel.  It was after a state overseer's wife from our church organization that 
Dad was a pastor in.  Her name was spelled Shanell and her husband dedicated you at our little church Mars Hill Church of God.  She thought you were so sweet.  She gushed over you.  One time at a meeting she had her grown son come over and showed you to him.  

FAMILY  Dad was right there with me.  Mandi, who was 9, was watching Love Boat, I think when you were born. Carla, who was 2 1/2, was home with grandma.  It was in a room where they just took off the end of the bed and we delivered there.  I remember when Tricia came to visit.. she was a teen and she whispered in your ear "I'm your favorite cousin" haha.... 

GOD AND BLESSING Your name, because it is also the perfume name, makes me think of that verse that talks about the fragrance of God. May you bring the fragrance of his love wherever you go.

BIRTH ORDER  You will always be my baby.  I have that in common with you, being the baby of the family. But you seem to be more like Dad at times and he was the oldest.  A neat combination.  You are playful but strong.  The baby but a leader.  You always stir it up, don't you?  I love watching this combo play out in life.  

PRIDE  So proud of the momma you are and the homemaker you have become. I love how you can be tough on Bekki but laugh with her.  I enjoy seeing you grow in these areas.  It's a beautiful thing.  You always say you don't like kids.  But what if having kids was really the key to happiness?  What if this actually turns out to be the thing you are able to shine in?  Your destiny?  I know being your mom has been my destiny.  Know why?  God love me like that.  

LOVE   Love you so very much. John, Bekki and John Paul are blessed to have you.   Actually your whole family and your friends are blessed to have you, especially Dad and me.   

Whatever you do, wherever you go, whoever you are with I will always love you!!!   MOM

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When I was a child....

When I was a child, my Mom read to me from a big Bible Story book.  Well, it was big to a small girl.  The cover was rather plain, but inside, now that's where the wonderful things were.  It not only contained stories, which still thrill me, but it also had the most beautiful pictures.  I didn't realize until I grew up that it contained paintings from the Masters.  Gorgeous, lovely, inspiring paintings! They were truly magnificent.  As my Mom would read I would stare at the pictures and be taken to a different time and place.

I don't know where Mom got the book from.  I doubt she understood the profound impact that book had on me.  But I know she would like it.  If I tried I might be able to get her to understand.  But she's 91 and her mind doesn't always comprehend what I try to tell her.  But I do know she intended for me to know the awesome truths held there in that book.  She did want me to love God and serve him.

She did a good thing.

I think maybe parents now a days are way too busy to read many Bible stories to their children.  I hope and pray I'm wrong.  But I know life is terribly busy.  A thousand things are calling to them. There are wonderful stories on YouTube and Roku.  But there is just something about holding a child in your lap or right snug beside you and reading to them.  Close enough to steal a kiss or hug.  

Before I forget... the paintings.  They, I believe, were the seeds of my love of beauty and the arts. I'm a creative person.  Once years ago, we went to New York and I got to see the original paintings of the Masters. It was unbelievable!  My husband had to drag me away.  I was so moved.  They spoke to me just as they had as a child. I can't paint but I love crafts and creating.  But I do enjoy art and music. Those seeds planted so long ago have enriched my life and through me my children's and grand children's.  I think art and stories make a person realize they are part of something bigger than themselves.  That we have a creator.

Funny isn't it?  Something as simple as sitting in a chair reading with full attention to a small child could help influence their lives for eternity.  What a wonderful thing!  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Masterpiece or a Paint by Number?

We all must paint our own canvas....  a brother in the Lord wrote that to me the other night.  An intriguing thought.  Beautiful unless your friends or family members are making bad choices.  Then you mourn their painting.  But you shouldn't.

Have you ever done a paint by number?  If you are a real painter, sorry.  I thought more people could identify with a paint by number illustration.  Please bare with me.

As I was saying... Have you ever done a paint by number painting?   At first it doesn't really look like a beautiful picture.  It's sort of ugly.  If you stopped there and showed it to people they would think.. Why that's undone why are you showing me it now?

That's what our friends' and families' pictures are.  Unfinished.  If we have faith and are praying for them, believing our good God is hearing us.  Then we need to relax.  Yes, they are making bad choices and yes that's not good.  But our mighty God isn't finished with their "picture" yet.  When it's done it will not be a paint by number picture, though that is nice.  But it will be a beautiful, breath taking painting.  Done by the artist that created the stars and painted the night sky, the ocean so blue and horizon with  a red fiery sun setting.  Yes, that artist is painting their painting and it will be beautiful.

When we try to control their lives by butting in, giving unasked for advise, fussing at them, berating them.  When we do those types of things.  We are trying to be the artist of their lives and it's so sad.  It's like a paint by number painter instead of a museum quality artist doing the picture.  He is a master painter, you know. The original Master artist. Why do we even think we can be in his league?

So relax.  Walk out your path well with an eye on theirs.  Pray much for them.  Believe much in your God and wait for the beauty you will behold in the end.  The Masterpiece He will make of each of their lives.

Phil. 2:12b and out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Philippians 1:6

..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Paper dolls, "Barbies" and Stories

My hubby, Paul and I were at a nice restaurant yesterday.  The kind with cloth napkins, wonderful smells and soft music.  When we first sat down I observed all the people sitting in my view of the room.  I noticed one young woman.  After a while I tried to describe her to Paul.  She was a "type" to me. I imagined she might be a pastor's wife, definitely a church go-er.  A bland type I had known back when Paul was a pastor and we had to go to meetings.  Most pastor's wives aren't that kind but some are.  They look like the life has been sucked right out of them.  Like they never had an idea of their own. Always did what others expected of them.  Back in my mother's day she might have been described as a milk-toast sort.  I think they used that term for women too.  I know they did for men. Anyway, she was vanilla to other people's mocha chocolate.  She lacked personality. Flat.   Kind of what Jackie O was first perceived as before she became Jackie O.  As I described her to Paul I realized I had lived in too many different places and met way too many people if I was beginning to see them as "characters" instead of people.

Do you ever do that?  Prejudge someone as a "type"?  You know you ask questions like: What do you do?  Do you have children? What church do you go to? How long have you lived here?  Sure you are trying to get to know them but are you pegging them?  putting them in a category? in a hole? In a neat little niche?  Instead of seeing them as the complex, surprising, interesting people that they most likely are?

It's like when I was a child.  I had Barbie dolls.  Well, my Mom didn't like "Barbie" dolls so I had off brand "Barbies".  Mom thought the real ones were ugly so I had off brand ones.  And back than they were made of the same sturdy stuff as a real "Barbie" not the cheap hollow plastic kinds like now a days.

As I was saying I had my little "Barbie" doll family.  There was Tressy, Tammy her somewhat chubbier sister, Pepper their younger sister with freckles and unruly hair that always ended up in a pony tail, and the real Ken's little brother Ricky with freckles and reddish brown hair.  He came in a swimsuit with a cover up with stripes.  He never had other clothes though the girls dolls had a variety.  My mom made evening gowns for Tressy that were a wee bit tight for Tammy.  They were so pretty.  I always thought it was a little ironic since we were church going people who never ever would have went to a night club. But my dolls were all decked out in elegant evening wear.  Back then people wore elegant evening wear to night clubs.  Or at least in the 1940's gangster movies with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart that I watched that was what they wore.

I digress.  I had this wonderful "Barbie" family which I still remember well this some odd years later. They were real and alive to me with personalities and quirks.  Tressey had a button in her belly that you could press and her hair would grow and then you could press it and twist the hair and push it back in to look like you gave her a hair cut.  To me they were real. I spent hours acting out their lives. My friends would sometimes play with me and we would dress them and undress them and fix their hair this way and that.  They had lives!  Glamorous, exciting lives, people!!!! Places to go. People to meet.  I'm digressing again.....

Then I also had paper dolls.  Yes,  that is about all I remember about them.  I know I had them.  But for the life of me I can't remember them.  There is a shadow of memory but they just don't come to the surface where I can remember any details.  They were after all disposable. Unmemorable.  Long gone.  Unimportant in the scheme of things.  Apparently uninteresting.

As I thought of the young woman in the restaurant last night.  Did I see her as a paper doll type?  Not important? Unmemorable?  Did I peg her as uninteresting?  Since I was just passing in a restaurant I guess it's not really important.  Or is it?  Was I sensitive to the Holy Spirit?  What if I needed to send a quick prayer up for her?  She may have needed it.  I saw her more like a character in a book then a flesh and blood person.

I'll let you in on a little secret.  I will admit with some shame on my part, I have written off the "paper doll" types before. At church, at work, at Walmart. Yes, me.  My hand is raised.   But sometimes  to my amazement as I was around some of these types I found out they were not "paper doll" types at all!!!  They had depth and character.  They were like I heard someone say once.  Still waters run deep.  They were actually quite interesting.   They had a story.  They had full active lives filled with interesting thoughts, people, family....and real stories.  Stories of victory and defeat. Love and loss. Passion and joy.  Sorrow and excitement. Better than any on screen character I had ever seen.  And I had wrote them off in my mind.  Shame on me!  I dearly, dearly love a story.  And I almost missed theirs.  Because I prejudged them as a mere "paper doll", milk toast type.

If you have stuck with me this long you might be wondering... so what?   Well, I want to ask.  Have you ever done this?  And worse yet.  Have you ever done this to yourself?  I'm uninteresting.  I'm a nobody.  I'm a loser.  I'm unimportant.  What do I have to offer?

Well let me tell you sister or brother!  God loves you!!!  He doesn't see you as a paper doll type. Flat and uninteresting. He knows you are the real deal.  A real doll. With clothes and a house and Pink cases and friends and a car and a place you live and stories to tell.   No flat paper doll, throw away person.  He loves your story.  He was a part of it, even if you didn't know he was there.  He never ever, ever writes us off.  He sees us!!! He sees you!!!  He sees the people he brings across your path.  You never just melt into the crowd in his eyes.  You are never a wall flower to him.  And neither are they.

So friend, don't write off anyone.  Don't miss their story. Don't miss your story.  And remember the originator of all stories, God himself is interested in you.  If you don't already know him, I urge you to get to know him and his story.  It's awfully interesting...... and you are in it!

Thursday, August 28, 2014


My friend posted about her dream which reminded me I was going to share with you about a dream I had last week.  Her dream was totally different and so beautiful.  Mine was of a different nature...

My pastor and his wife were at our house.  We were all out in the yard having a picnic.  (In real life we have never done anything like this with them.)  My pastor's wife needed to use our bathroom.  I told her it was down the hall.  Then a feeling of horror came over me.  In my dream, the door past the bathroom held my deepest secret sin.  It was in there.  And I just knew she had opened the door revealing my deepest shame.  I ran in and there she was.  Mouth hanging open.  Shock and horror on her face.  She turned to me and said, "you know I have to do something about this".  I begged her to not to.  Then I was in a police car.  They were going to arrest me.  But as I sat there devastated, the most amazing thing happened.  My Pastor's wife started calling some of the ladies from the church who she most trusted.  Reminded me of Jesus calling the 12 disciples.  They were to come right away and help cover my sin.  Take away my shame.  Rescue me.  And I knew if they did the police would release me.  And she told them that after this day "we" will never speak of this again.

I woke in a cold sweat.  Because I KNOW what is behind that door.  Now if you are perfect and don't struggle with anything you can stop reading now.  But if you are human and honest and you struggle in an area. Keep reading.

Of course, I'm not going to tell you "my" sin, "my" struggle.  Did you think I would?  Sorry, not there yet in my walk.  But some sins that people struggle with are: lust, gossip, lying, prejudice, anger, stealing, shame from past sins, shame of failure in any number of areas, low self-esteem, guilt that has become a companion, drinking, smoking, drugs, depression etc. etc. etc.  Just add yours if I missed it.

My daughter and I kind of interpret the dreams of family and close friends.  We point out what we see.  My pastor and his sweet wife represent authority.  And being a woman too.  It's significant that it is she who opens the door.  But they may represent the Lord too.  Cause she covers my sin for me.  She rescues me with the help of the church ladies, and then tells them to not tell anyone.  What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.  Coming in helping where I was struggling.  Showing love and no condemnation.  Lifting a burden I couldn't lift myself.  I heard once we are all to carry our own backpacks.  The day to day stuff is in our backpack but if we get a large boulder in the road of life and can't move it, then the body of Christ is to come in and help us.  It was a picture of balance.  The individual is strong but the whole body uses it's talents when we can't do it ourselve.  Then we can all move on toward Heaven.

But back to the dream.. the police in the dream, represent the law, no mercy.  Maybe even the devil.  They are going to take me away and put me away.  I'm a loser.  A criminal. But the ladies "fix" it.  That is like salvation and mercy and grace.  When we are saved we deserve the worst.  We deserve to be locked up and the key thrown away.  But Jesus pays the price and we are freed. We are given mercy and grace.  God's favor covers us.  And we have a second chance.

Also about the begging for her to not "tell" on me.  We often like our sin, our struggle.  It is familiar. I remember when I was very depressed.  I was comfortable there.  I could always fall back on it.  It was dependable.  I know that sounds so wrong but if you haven't ever been depressed don't judge me.  Just believe me.  When I was healed/delivered of the depression I had to learn how to behave without it.  And after 20 years of living with it, it wasn't easy to learn a new way.  On this side of it I can say it was worth it, for sure.  But I see so many times that people like their sin.  The devil makes sure we get just enough satisfaction in our sin that we aren't motivated to abandon it.  And sometimes our struggles make us feel virtuous.  We feel like "look at me, aren't I such a wonderful Christian?  I'm struggling with this awful thing and look how good "I am" doing!"   Getting glory for ourselves instead of letting God help us and him get the glory.

Again the picture of the church ladies coming together.  What power we have together.  Sometimes it is a physical thing.  We might bring in food for a birth or death.  My brother is good to help people move.  One time when we were youth pastors.  We were moving.  The youth group showed up 17 kids.  In no time flat our duplex was empty.  It was amazing.  How many talents do we possess and not use?  Sometimes someone just needs a few words of encouragement. Other times people need some prayers.  Sometimes just a listening ear.  Or maybe someone to pay their water bill.  There is power in coming together and doing something.   It makes the work light.

I also recognize that a dream is often unrealistic too.  Sometimes mere people can't stop what they are doing and come help.  We are at best forgiven at worst human.  But we could move toward the ideas of the dream.  Do what we can.  Do what the Lord nudges you to do.

Smother or Mother??? Which will you choose.

Having balance, being delicate, handling things easy, not stepping on toes.  Awe, these and so many more things are asked of mothers of grown children.  My tendency is to rush in like a bull in a china shop.
That doesn't work so well. ha

I want to control.  Lord help me!   But what I really want is for  them to be all grown up! and to own it.  Really!!!


But wait, dear child, let me rescue you.  Oh...Oh..., don't fall down and learn from your mistake.  Let me help, Oh you didn't ask?   Hmmm.... this may work for a little one.. okay even little ones can't learn if we smother them and don't let them have wings and fly and sometimes fall and get back up again.  Failure... it is a good teacher.

The pain.  Oh the pain.  But the sweet rewards if us mother's can let the Holy Spirit lead us to speak when we need to and more often than not, don't speak when we shouldn't.   

It's funny well maybe more sad.  My sweet little mom is 91 and I love her. But she has never encouraged me to be independent.  Probably afraid to lose me.  She still thinks I should "obey" her.
This means I have had to learn to not smother, on my own.  Not that I have it all down pat.  Let's just say I'm a work in progress.  Some-days I do great.  They make a choice I don't like and I bite my tongue, smile and pray.  Other days, not so much.   It's ugly and painful.  Sometimes they like it, like my help.  Cause growing is painful and they are okay with not growing, not maturing.  Other days they resent my actions and push me away.  And I understand.  It's not pretty when you say with an ugly tone.  "Mom, I'm 58 I think I can make my own decision about that."    I want so much more for them.  I don't want to have them say that to me when they are 58.  I hope and pray we will do better.  

So why am I being so truthful?  My friend used to say "letting your panties show".  Meaning we are being very open and honest.  Well  two reasons: one is confession is good for the soul and two maybe you can learn so you won't make the same mistakes.  

Our goals that we mothers have are to raise our children to live well, on their own.  It's like Carla when she was little. My first, Mandi was a cuddlier.  Always close to Mom never going too far. The middle one, Carla was born when Mandi was 7.  Carla was different.  She had no fear.  She could fly!  Life was an adventure, even as a toddler.  She would go from Mom but she would consistently come back and touch me for a moment.  Kind of making sure I was still there.  She needed the security of knowing I was there for her. A foundation.  But she needed to fly, to explore.

That's how we are to do.  Encourage them.  Cheer them on.  Love them.  But let them do it.  Let them fall sometimes, even fail sometimes. But always covering them with prayer.  Trusting that God has a good plan and he will take care of them.  Give them wings.

Isiah 54:13All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children.

(A great book that might help is The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children.  Amazon has it for a reasonable amount.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day of Trouble

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him.
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him in trouble.
I will deliver him and honor him with long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation

Psalms 91:14-16

This verse from my Bible this morning sure did help me a lot.  Do you ever have those days when you are in trouble?  Some days the deliverance comes quickly.  You don't even suffer much at all.  Other days turn into months maybe even years.  But keep setting your love on Him.  He will deliver and honor and satisfy you and show you his salvation.  Why does it happen different ways at different times?  Sometimes an other's will may be involved.  Sometimes there is a bigger picture that only our Heavenly Father sees.  Sometimes.... who knows??? Only our Father.  But I know this one thing:  we can trust His judgement.  To those who maybe haven't spent much time with Him that may seem naive or at best crazy.  But when you get to know the Lord and you really spend time with Him and in His word.  You begin to taste a little of heaven, a little of eternity a glimpse outside your little world and you KNOW the one who created you has an awesome plan and He is trustworthy.  He knits it all together!!!!  He is making a beautiful thing called "your life".  But only if you will let Him.  He can give you a good rest of your life.  Not perfect, not the way you might imagine.  Like today it was a day with trouble but I learned a lesson.  I learned to be quiet and let the Lord work things out.  So though I dearly hate trouble and drama I love the lesson leaned today.  So days may not be the way you would choose them to be you can trust them to God and you can let Him work it all out for your good.

Monday, August 25, 2014



My friend Jeanie has a blog here:  Called Thought Collage.  She took a break from blogging and I had to just hang out there on her blog sometimes and read or reread old posts.  They were awesome, of course.  But like veggies, fresh is best.  A thought fresh from her heart.  Maybe still warm like fresh donuts. That was what her readers needed and wanted.

I waited patiently.  And my patience has been rewarded.  Jeanie is posting/blogging again.  And this makes me smile.  Cause in my day to day life, my grandbabies smiles, hugs, kisses and Jeanie's thoughts cause the sun to shine... and sparkles to come.

So if you haven't please go read her blog.  Mine pales in comparison.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


This is a letter to John Paul who will join us in about 2 weeks

Dear John Paul-Sweet Baby Boy,

You are still in Mommy's tummy right now.  But you will join our family soon.  And we are so excited!!!  I'm your Nonna and I will sing to you and hold you and rock you and kiss you all over.  We will have a grand time.  When you are bigger I will read to you and introduce you to the people and characters that live inside the covers of books.  You will love them.  I along with others will tell you about Jesus and God.  And how you are a beautiful. wonderful gift He surprised us with.  

But I'm not the only family and friends.  You have the most amazing Poppa.  He lives at my house and he will laugh with you and teach you about music and laugh at your funny jokes, tell you what a great job you are doing when you draw him a picture.  How do I know you will be funny and like music and laughing and drawing? Because  you have a big sister that does.   Her name is Bekki and she was our first grand.  She will love you and watch over you and show you the ropes.  She is quite amazing.

You also have a beautiful Momma and a handsome Daddy.  Momma has the best laugh when she laughs out loud.  Daddy will teach you guy things a boy needs to know.  They will love you deeply and forever. You will need to be patient with them as they learn how to take care of you.  I don't think they are really prepared for the ocean of love and emotions that is about to overtake them.  They might be just the least bit scared but it will be alright.  They will nail this parenting thing, as much as a person can.  

There are others too.  I have just met your Daddy's family.  They seem quite wonderful.  And they already love you. Their eyes were shinny just thinking about you coming at the shower for you the other day.   They have raised a boy so they will be great with you and help Momma and Daddy a lot.  They know how to raise a boy. 

And you have Aunts and Uncles, cousins, great grandparents, and lots of friends already.  It will be a good life.  We will count your toes and wonder at your beauty (baby boys can be beautiful, later they become handsome).  We will feel the breathe of heaven when you breathe on us as we hold you close.  You will take our breath away at the shear joy of just being you.  You will love us all.  And we will all love you to the moon and back.

Oh baby boy!  I want you to hurry and come and yet I want to savor the anticipation of your coming.  You will be like fresh clay ready to be imprinted with our families'  unique thoughts, traits, views etc.  We will have such fun.  

But really you will teach us as much as we will teach you.  You will show us new ways to look at things, new things to like.  You will make our hearts grow bigger with room to love the tiniest gift that will be like dynamite ready to explode and change us all.   

Welcome sweet boy!!!  Welcome to the world!!

Love Nonna  

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Auntie and God's love

I was talking with my Auntie tonight.  I just love her.  She is in her late 80's in age but spiritually and emotionally she is young at heart. She told me about how she was saved at 16 in First Assembly church here in Cookeville.  She said a Brother Scott preached about Noah.  It wasn't really a salvation message but she went down to the altar and accepted Jesus as her savior. This wasn't her home church.  I don't know why she was there.  But it was the beginning of her personal relationship with our Lord.  I had never heard this story before.

What I love about her is how she has such a common sense wisdom.  She continues to grow in her relationship with God, not standing still and growing stale.  She serves a living God who she speaks with daily.  So inspiring!  If I live to be her age I hope I can be like that.  A fresh knowledge of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit daily.  A living relationship with a living God!!!
When we talk, heaven seems more real.  Life seems more vibrant, full of possibilities.  She makes me want to live better and shine brighter for Jesus.

Her and I are not perfect.  We have our issues, our short comings.  In fact, I have many.  But we belong to the King of the Universe and we hold His hand.  Something that is possible for anyone.  He loves us so and we are learning that more and more as we travel through this life, headed toward eternity with Him.

The question I would ask and the one I think she would ask if she could.  First do you know Him?  Are you saved as she was at 16?  If not... give your life to him and receive Him as savior.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  And if you are saved... do you really understand how much He loves you?  Are you living daily with the awareness of Him in your life?  If not, stop!  Start talking with Him every day, throughout your day.  This week the message keeps coming to me through different ways....a sermon, a song, a friend talking...."Him in me, I in Him".   That thought blows me away!  God, yes God in us, and us in Him.  Isn't that amazing?  He who started it all is aware of us and offering us a relationship with Him!!  Awesome, just awesome!

John 15:4

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I John 4:9-11  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Books, Books, Books

Books!!  I adore books!  They have been a constant companion to me through the years.  I have been known to hang with them at bookstores, at libraries and at home.  I have even read at red lights.  Oh and maybe while driving but don't hate.  You have probably texted and drove.  And if you haven't good for you!  You are awesome!

Sorry sidetracked.  This post is about books.  I have over the last few years went through a type of dessert in my book reading life.  I don't know what happened but I couldn't read.  Okay, I couldn't consume books like I used to.  I have been known to read 3 or 4 books a week.  Like eating food.. just eat 'um up.  But I have went through a dry spell where I have left books half finished.  Stopped mid read.  It was awful!!  Terrible!!  My identity was wrapped up in being a reader.  I think maybe it came about because of the internet.  At least I'm blaming that.  It couldn't be my age or anything.  Too much reading of blogs, facebook, emails etc.  But the good news.  I think I'm recovering.  I got a smart phone for Christmas and I have Kindle on it.

Kindle is awesome!  It has a ton of free books or you can buy books for it.  So I have finished
3 books in the last 2 weeks and am part way through a fourth one.  It is so handy.  Waiting in line?  Waiting for your hubby to come to the car?  Waiting in line to get the granddaughter from school? During a commercial?  Any where you have a few minutes you can get in some reading.  It rocks.  Also I have the Bible on it so I can read it more.  I highly recommend both.

But I have said all this to tell about these exciting books I have been reading:  Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldridge, When Goodly People do Ungodly Things by Beth Moore, and a Grace Livingston Hill novel..The Enchanted Barn.   Also I'm part way through Why We Eat Our Own by Michael Cheshire.
All are excellent, excellent books!!!

I will share some more about them in another post.  I would encourage women to especially read Becoming Myself.  What a life changing book.  Such healing!  

If you haven't put Kindle on your phone or computer, do.  It's free and might help you read more, which is always a good thing.  

Random thing I heard:  reading 20 minutes a day to a child raises their chances of academic success hugely.  It will make an unbelievable difference in their whole life!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Did You Know God has a Knack?

My friend a while ago had told me about how her and her husband found old furniture and refinished and then sold it.  Restoring, repurposing it.  A little side business.  Well I was talking to her just the other day and we started to discuss their side job.  

She told me, "It is a fun thing to do, hunting down the old piece and restoring it. My husband has a real knack for seeing what can become of something that looks like it ought to be thrown out."   

Something jumped out at me.  It actually brought tears.  This is what God does.  So many of us at times may have looked like we should have been thrown out.  Other people may have looked at the mess we had made of our lives and shook their heads saying we were worthless or useless or hopeless.  We may have even pronounced that verdict on ourselves.  But our amazing heavenly Father had a knack of seeing what could become of us.  I don't know about you but he rescued me.  

Recently our church was collecting Christian books to take to the jail ministry.  A precious couple in our church has faithfully had services at the jail for years.  Many people would look at the people in the jail and see that many of them return over and over.  And they declare them in perhaps different words, something to be thrown out.  But God sees more.

The Bible holds many example: 
 Rahab was a harlot and she got in the lineage of Jesus.  
 David was an adulterer and murdered.  He became a man after God's own heart. 
 Noah got drunk.  But he is known and loved by every child that's heard his story. 
 Peter had a terrible temper and wasn't loyal when it counted. But God used him mightly in the beginnings of the church.  
The Samaritan Woman was divorced numerous times and was living with a man when she met Jesus. And her story of faith is still being told today.  

Jesus is portrayed as a shepherd who leaves his flock of 99 sheep, going out seeking the one lost lamb.  
Are you a lost lamb?  Do you feel worthless?  A mess? A mistake? Do you see no way out?  Do you believe the lies the enemy whispers to you?  The Lord doesn't.  If you will accept His help He will give you beauty for ashes.  He will do like the old song says:  He will make something beautiful of your life.  My friend and her husband take the broken old piece of furniture and they remove the ugly surface and they sand it down.  They apply an oil that coaxes the hidden beauty out of the piece.  Let God do that for you.  His son Jesus died to bring you salvation and healing and beauty.  He loves you right where you are.  He knows what you are to become.  He has a good plan for your life.  A hope and a future. 

Who Does God Say You Are?

If I ran up to you and asked "Who does God say you are?"   What would first come to mind?  Would you feel condemned?  or loved?  Would good things bubble up in your  mind or would your sins bubble up?  The Bible says:  What a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Prov. 23:7a)    A song churches sang back in the 90's said: Whose report do you believe?  I believe the report of the Lord!  

Do we know what God says about us?  Do we know His report about us?  Here are some of the things He says of us:  We are loved!  We are blessed!  We are saved (if you have asked Him to forgive you and be Lord of your life)!  We are his children!  We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!  We are growing in Him!  We belong to Him!  We are free! We are beautiful!  We are called beloved!  We are joint heirs with Jesus!  We are overcomers!  We are mighty in Christ!  We are cherished!  We are called Beloved!  We new creatures in Christ! 

We are this and so much more.  And yet we don't walk in this.  We get our eyes on our own little world, our own physical sight not on the big picture. We need to see us through His eyes.  We don't KNOW who we are or who He is.   Let me encourage you today to open your eyes and look up.  Get to know God more through prayer and Bible study.  Then you can know who you are.  Google a search on Who I am in Christ.  And then meditate on these things.  Review, rehearse these truths until they get down inside of you.  And when the enemy of our souls whispers: you are a failure,  you are ugly, you are a loser, you are wrong, you are never going to change, you are always going to be poor,   you are fat, you are whatever sin you struggle with....etc, etc.  When this happens if you have studied and put deep in your heart the truth. Then the Word  inside you will rise up and Shout:  NO NO NO  I Am..... what God says I am.   I can do what God says I can!  Because I belong to Him!  I abide in Him and He abides in me and devil you can move on down the road.  I KNOW who I am.  I am BELOVED, FORGIVEN, HEALED, FREE, BEAUTIFUL, BECOMING, SANCTIFIED, RIGHTEOUS, PEACEFUL, BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE, 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Notebook, Tape and Scissors

My granddaughter was over and she got out a notebook I had bought at the beginning of the school season.  Her momma and her aunties are long past school age but I still can't resist the bargain prices for notebooks at that time of year.   There is nothing like a fresh blank page.  It just calls to me.  This one was the last one left, orange in color.  It was left last because I don't really like orange. So I had used the others colors first. Like red, who doesn't like red.  Or soothing blue.  So peaceful  You can write in a blue notebook.  

But I digress.  Bekki had gotten the notebook cause she needed paper.  I almost didn't let her use it.  Last one and all.  I sometimes battle with a mentality I don't fully understand.  I wasn't brought up in the Depression  Era but I worry we won't have enough.  But I caught myself and let her have it easily.  Before I knew it she wanted tape, and then scissors.  She quietly played and talked to herself most of the day.  She cut and assembled  long stripes of paper to put across the doorway.  Not sure why she did but I had to explain that blocking the bathroom doorway was a bad idea when your grandparents both take diuretics for high blood pressure.  She relented.  She made Valentine scenes to go with the big Valentine posters we had up.  There were little people holding hands in love and lots of hearts.  Next she said the notebook was her journal and instead of writing in it, she drew about 10 pages of pictures.  She carefully described what each one was to me.  In case I didn't understand.  

But my favorite was the bird.  She showed me how to make it.  You fold the page accordion style then unfold and crunch it up real good, then you shape and mold it into a bird shape.  And it really looks like a bird. So seriously she explained it all to me.  She had an exotic whimsical name she had grabbed out of her fertile imagination.  Then of course, since the bird  was a house bird, she needed a bird cage.  More long stripes of paper where assembled.  After a few minutes voila!  She had a home worthy of any majestic canary or parrot.  I'm not sure just which kind of house bird she was.  But she did sit on your finger.  And she flew and danced about the room, helping Bekki with some story she had in her head.  Then we needed a friend for her and the whole process was repeated.  The second bird took flight and we lost her but we still have the other sweet bird resting in her cage. Tired I imagine from her day's activities. 

By the end of the day a good time was had by all.  Well, except maybe Poppa who wanted peace and quiet.  Sometimes you have to jump a little on the couch to fly your bird or get up on the love seat to attach her cage to the hanging picture thingy.  And just like a bird, our Bekki sure can chatter.  But all and all a fun time was had.  And just to think it was with just a thirty cent notebook, a roll of tape, a pair of scissors and an imagination straight from God.   

As I was telling this story it reminded me of something I heard.   If we open our hand, God will fill it. Like the story in the Bible of Elijah and the raven.   Don't remember it?  Elijah was a prophet and he was told by God to tell King Ahab that because of his worshiping idols there wouldn't be any rain.  Ahab got very angry so God told Elijah to go hide by the Brook Cherith.  He had water to drink.  But what to do about food?  Well, God told him ravens would bring him food morning and night.  He raised his hand and the raven would drop meat in his hand.  God provided for him.

Also the story of David and the slingshot comes to mind.  ( I listened in Sunday School)  There young David was facing a giant that all the mighty warriors were afraid of and what did he have?  A mere slingshot.  But him and God overcame the giant.  

Do you have a need?  Open your hand, will not our God provide? Have faith. Rest in God.  He has all the answers you need.  He is right there with you.  Be still and listen.  Learn to let Him guide you.   Be filled with His Spirit and He will show you that often you already have what you need to finish your journey.  We run here and there, to and fro.  Searching.  Searching.  Missing that He is right there with us.  And we forget or don't really grasp that  with Him nothing is impossible.  

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Phillippians  4:13

So like Bekki, what do you have in your hands, your home, your mind, your heart, your life that can make this a good day, even a beautiful day? Shine out and live well today.  Open your heart and mind and BELIEVE for your need to be supplied!!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Be Mindful

So teach us to number our days; that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalms 90:12

We are "spending" our days, on what? Like currency we are "spending".  Will we go bankrupt? What exactly are we "spending" our days on? What elusive thing or person or position are we chasing? Are we seeking happiness in the wrong places? Approval of others?  What do we "spend our time on?   

I know some of those questions are redundant but that was me just letting my mind go and think and that came to me.  Here is some more....Are we purposeful in our "spending"? or haphazardly pulled by the next drama? the next emergency? the next loud voice demanding your time?

Can you go a single day media-naked? Can you eat a meal without being available to phone, text, tweet, insta-gram, etc? 

The urgent.  Is it really that urgent? And is your mind stuffed to the gills with trivialities? It was cute to know your friend's cousin's grandson got his first tooth. But do you really have space in your brain for all this?  I'm already distracted  enough I don't know about you but I need to pick and mindfully chose what goes in my brain.  I need a media detox time maybe even a few days.  

And yes, I realize the irony of you reading this on a media devise.  

Let's step back.  Let's pray and be led by the Holy Spirit.  Decide. Chose. Be mindful. Don't just flow with someone else's agenda. Stop and follow the plan, the agenda the Lord has for each of us. 

And just for the record this post is directed mostly at myself but I thought others could use it to.