Truth ~ 8/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

I am continuing with 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes which means I’m writing for five minutes on a prompt each day in October. I’d love for you to follow along with me on this journey or better yet, join in at http://www.fiveminutefridays.com

Time starts now:

“when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:21-22a, 23-24 (NIV) / Pixabay

I’ve been accused of stretching the truth from time to time.  Not in a bad way but to make a story more exciting or entertaining. A word here. A phrase there. Soon, my tale takes on a new life. From then on, it changes with each new telling and its sometimes difficult to remember the story in its original form.

We can make the stories of our own lives like that, too.  The parts we share with others on social media, in the work place, at church for that matter, tend to be the enhanced versions. A name dropped here. A fashion label there. We let the world see the embellished form of ourselves; the more exciting and entertaining versions and soon, we forget who we really are. Have you been there? I think we all have.

The older I get the more I value those around me that I can tell the truth about myself to.  Those friends who see me at my worst. Family who love me despite my shortcomings. A church family who prays for me when I am weak. Exposed. Vulnerable. Real. Being who I am in my original form is scary.  It’s uncomfortable. But it’s also freeing!

The truth is:  God never intended for us to hide behind fig leaves or anything else.  He formed us just exactly as He wanted us to be and knew it was good. No. Embellishing. Needed. So, let’s take off our masks, get reacquainted with our authentic selves, and introduce them to the world.  After all, sharing the truth is the greatest story we can ever tell!

Time is up!

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Hold ~ 7/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

I am continuing with 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

where I’m writing for five minutes on a prompt each day in October.  I’d love for you to follow along with me on this journey or better yet, join in!

Time starts now!

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:9-10 (NIV)

There’s a line in the song “Sound a Dream Makes” by Gordon Mote that says: “Just when you think a quiet house is where the story ends, your baby has a baby and the dream begins again.” It’s so true!  I am now a “MiMi” and I love every minute of it…well, almost every minute. It’s hard to watch the bumps and bruises, the needed discipline, learning the hard way, and the disappointments all over again.  I just want to hold my grandsons’ hands to keep them safe and let them know I’m always here when they need me!

Do you know something?  That’s what God wants us to know about Him too!  No matter where we are or what we’re going through, we can find comfort in the fact that we’re not alone.  Bumps and bruises?  You bet!  Disappointments? Part of life for sure. But, as much as I cherish my precious grandchildren (and I do); God treasures each one of us so much more!

Feeling those little hands cradled in mine causes my heart to overflow with love and I don’t want to let them go. Unfortunately, as much as I want to, I can’t be with my grandchildren every step of the way; but I know someone who can.  God is waiting for them (and you and I) to reach out and hold tightly to His hand that will “guide”, “hold fast”, and with unending love never let us go.

Time’s up!

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Trust ~5/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.” Psalm 56:3 (NASB) / Pixabay

While traveling along this journey we call life, I often veer off in the wrong direction; especially during  times of trial! My initial reactions usually include hand wringing, imagining all sorts of horrible endings, whining….well you get the picture and it’s not pretty.  It’s certainly not a picture of trust.

Trust for me has always been a rocky road.  While I “know” that I can put my trust in God’s plan, I somehow bump right over the peace that trusting God brings and land directly into the pit of despair I bring on myself!  Fears: real and imagined, stall me right in my tracks.

I wish I could say that I have my path all mapped out toward a life where I’m no longer afraid and that trusting God is how I now navigate each situation that arises, unfortunately I can’t.  What I can say however, is how grateful I am that I’m headed in the right direction following the only One who can get me to where I’m truly meant to be!

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Poem of Hope ~ 4/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

 

I’ve had a bit of writing anxiety lately which has caused me to literally avoid looking at my lap top. (Out of sight. Out of mind. Or so I thought.)  I’ve found though, that writing is a part of who I am and I really miss it, so…. I have decided to join in on the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

Each day in October I’ll write for five minutes on a given prompt.  This is mostly an unedited style of writing  that I’m sure will challenge this “recovering perfectionist”; but hopefully in a good way! Please pray that I won’t quit, I’ll have fun, and that I’ll learn more about myself, writing, and my relationship with God. I’d love for you to follow along with me on this journey! Better yet, join in!

Time starts now!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV) / Pixabay

 

The world it seems

Is going wrong.

The weak are bullied

By the strong.

 

It makes us weary

It’s hard to cope

But through it all

We must have hope.

 

Do we sit

And wonder why?

Wring our hands,

Let out a sigh?

 

It’s way too easy

To whine and mope

But through it all

We must have hope.

Time! (Sorry, this rule follower is going to break the five-minute rule and finish)

Pointing fingers

Yelling loud,

Only serves

To anger the crowd.

 

It may feel impossible,

The end of our rope

But never forget

Jesus Christ is our Hope!

 

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Create ~ 3/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

I’ve had a bit of writing anxiety lately which has caused me to literally avoid looking at my lap top. (Out of sight. Out of mind. Or so I thought.)  I’ve found though, that writing is a part of who I am and I really miss it, so…. I have decided to join in on the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

Each day in October I’ll write for five minutes on a given prompt.  This is mostly an unedited style of writing  that I’m sure will challenge this “recovering perfectionist”; but hopefully in a good way! Please pray that I won’t quit, I’ll have fun, and that I’ll learn more about myself, writing, and my relationship with God. I’d love for you to follow along with me on this journey! Better yet, join in!

Time starts now!

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11 (NIV)

Today is the first day I’m joining my dear friend, Robin in leading an after school Author’s Club at our local Elementary School!  We hope to create an enthusiasm for writing through literature, art, and well…..writing!  It’s exciting and inspiring to watch young students discover their own creative side!

With this on my mind, I happened to look out my window and in that small rectangular opening to the outside world I was amazed at all that God had created!  Within the parameters of my view I saw plants, bees, spider webs, birds, the breeze, and a sliver of blue sky.  All these creations working together just as God designed them to be and do!

You and I were also created to be and do.  It’s my prayer that just as our students will put together skills they’ve been given and nature works in harmony to accomplish what it has been created to do; you and I will pursue the purposes we have.  If we can do that, just think of all the ways God can use us to create a better world!

Times up!

 

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Tell ~ 2/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

I’ve had a bit of writing anxiety lately which has caused me to literally avoid looking at my lap top. (Out of sight. Out of mind. Or so I thought.)  I’ve found though, that writing is a part of who I am and I really miss it, so…. I have decided to join in on the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

Each day in October I’ll write for five minutes on a given prompt.  This is mostly an unedited style of writing  that I’m sure will challenge this “recovering perfectionist”; but hopefully in a good way! Please pray that I won’t quit, I’ll have fun, and that I’ll learn more about myself, writing, and my relationship with God. I’d love for you to follow along with me on this journey! Better yet, join in!

Here I go….Time Starts Now!

 

“Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation.” Joel 1:3 (NLT)

What do your hands tell about you?  Mine have become wrinkled and covered in age spots.  My fingers are not as straight or limber as they used to be.  It’s not surprising though, these hands have worked, nurtured, loved, disciplined, applauded, and wrung in worry.  They tell the story of my life.

There are hands however, that have saved my life!  The hands of Jesus.  Pierced by nails as he hung on the cross dying for my sins.  Those precious hands tell the story of salvation and the greatest love there is!

My hands won’t ever tell a story like that, but I can! Lately,  I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of witness I am to all God has done in my life.  I need and hope to be more willing to share  my journey of Grace with others.  Hands down, it’s the most important story I have to tell!

Times up!

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Worship ~ 1/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

I’ve had a bit of writing anxiety lately which has caused me to literally avoid looking at my lap top. (Out of sight. Out of mind. Or so I thought.)  I’ve found though, that writing is a part of who I am and I really miss it, so…. I have decided to join in on the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com 

Each day in October I’ll write for five minutes on a given prompt.  This is mostly an unedited style of writing  that I’m sure will challenge this “recovering perfectionist”; but hopefully in a good way! Please pray that I won’t quit, I’ll have fun, and that I’ll learn more about myself, writing, and my relationship with God. I’d love for you to follow along with me on this journey! Better yet, join in!

Here I go….Time Starts Now!

“Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! (Psalm 98:4 NLT) Pixabay

I have a donkey living next door to me.  We’ve named him Jedediah.  The first time he broke out with his bray made me jump and he continues to startle me each time he lets loose!  With his head lifted high and ears extended, he opens his mouth and literally screams at the top of his lungs; sometimes for several minutes.  It can happen anytime in the day or night and Jedediah doesn’t care who it might disturb.

I think worship should be like that!  At any time, day or night, we should lift our heads, extend our arms, and break out with shouts of praise for all to hear about what God has done for us!  Unfortunately, I often am the opposite of Jedediah and hesitate to worship like this for fear of bothering those around me or more than that, of embarrassing myself. Maybe you’re like that too. I hope to become more like Jedediah in the future and put a little more “hee haw” into my worship and let my praise be a joyful noise for all to hear!

Times Up! Whew! That went by fast!

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Big Buts

 

“Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” Psalm 86:11 (ESV)

Do you have a big but? (Sometimes I crack myself up!) Well, I do! Today, while praying during my devotions, I earnestly told God that I desired to be radically used by Him.  The words however, were not yet off my tongue before I felt a tightening in my chest and breath caught in my throat. Yep, there it was.  I knew it and God definitely knew it because it’s been in my prayers before.  

My BIG BUT…….

Wanting to be used by God, to hear his calling and answer, IS my sincere desire BUT:  I want to do it without leaving my comfort zone, sacrificing too much, or suffering in the process.  In other words, I want to do God’s work BUT do it MY way!  

Do you remember the “Parable of the Talents”?  (Matthew 25:14-30)  Jesus told his listeners a story about a man who gave his servants some of his money to take care of in his absence.  Two of the servants used the money they’d been given to make more for their master.  The last servant was afraid to take a risk…he had a “big but” if you will; and so, he buried the coins only to return what he’d been given.  I am afraid I’m an awful lot like that servant; offering a poor return on God’s investment.

God entrusts us with talents, time, money, and other gifts.  What we do with them is up to us. Will we use them to serve God or will we, ME, make excuses or let fear keep us from doing what He asks of us?  

So, what’s a gal with a BIG BUT to do? I don’t have it all figured out yet but here’s where I need to start:

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.  May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on firm footing.” Psalm 143:10 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

Did you catch that? We’re not supposed to do it on our own! (You’d think I’d learn by now). It’s God’s instruction and guidance we need to depend on to make the task before us  attainable. It’s also important to be willing to put one foot in front of the other and “walk the walk” in our everyday lives to prepare us for all God calls us to do. I’m certainly not there yet and it won’t happen all at once, but I believe with prayer, practice, perseverance, and taking baby steps as I follow after God, my BIG but will shrink until it disappears from my prayers all together. I look forward to the time when it’s finally “behind” me! (Get it? behind? I did it again!) How about you? Is your BIG BUT getting in the way of doing all God calls you to do? I pray that this may be the first step for you AND me on our “but-free” journey to doing God’s will God’s way!     

 

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A Divided Heart ~Wise Wednesday 6/28/17

“When a child is born, so are grandmothers.” ~Judith Levy Pixabay

Divided: separated; shared; to diverge; cleave………..

I have decided that being a grandparent causes you to suffer from a “divided heart”. Beginning at the instant you learn your child is having a child, it’s as if a magnetic force immediately draws your thoughts, dreams, prayers, and overwhelming love in the direction of that tiny, beating heart, hidden from the world. 

Fast forward to that breathless moment when the miracle that will call you “MiMi” (replace this with whatever your grands call you or will call you) is placed in your arms.  Everything else fades away. Cradling this precious armful, older heart to brand new heart, it seems they beat in unison, filling a place you didn’t know was empty, and nothing is ever the same again.

Time is both precious and tormenting. The longer you want to savor the sight, breathe in the scent, and caress the tiny fingers and toes of this new person in your life; the faster the minutes, hours, and days seem fly by. All too soon you’re faced with saying goodbye. Your stomach clenches.  Tears flow.  A heart divides.

A temporary condition?  Afraid not. A one time thing? Nope! Carson is two now: my heart?  Still  pulled in different directions.  We’ve recently been blessed with Owen: my heart? The chasm has grown.   The struggle is real! While my very being wants to wipe every tear, experience every milestone, calm every fear, and read bedtime stories every night with my grandsons; I’m also drawn home. My normal: the routine, responsibilities, schedule, and those that wait for me, beckon. Yes, a heart divided….wanting to cling to one place while yearning for the other.

Pondering this heart situation, it has occurred to me that we suffer in a similar way as Christians.  

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV)

Above?  Earthly Things? Earthly things? Above? A heart divided! I  often find myself torn between a heart that is focused on me and my wants and one that is looking to follow God’s plan for my life. Maybe you do, too. And while we want to be home with Christ, where our fears will be calmed and our tears wiped away; to get there, we are faced with saying goodbye to THIS home. We cling to our earthly life and yet yearn for Heaven. Thank goodness God sent Jesus to bridge the gap of our broken hearts! Jesus said:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.” “I am the way the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:1-4, 6-7 (NIV)

I wasn’t prepared for the powerful love that comes with being a grandparent. I’m blessed to only live four hours away from the boys and technology helps keep us connected in-between visits.  Goodbyes will always be hard. As my heart continues to pull me in different directions, I pray it reminds me to always stay connected to the One who, with the greatest love of all, is preparing a place for me where my heart will be divided no more.

 

 

 

 

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M’m! M’m! Monday 5/8/17

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

Container Problem

 I have a container problem!  It never fails! When I go to pick out a container for the left overs from dinner, I almost always come back with a dish that’s too big for the amount of food I have.  On top of that….I’ve usually picked up and put down three or four different sizes before deciding on the one that ultimately ends up being too big!  Nine times out of ten, I don’t have what it takes to fill the container I picked to do the job. 

You know? Sometimes I feel the same way about myself!  (Yes, I’m comparing my Rubbermaid and Tupperware to life, now!) Stay with me….There are times when I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to do something but I’m afraid I don’t have enough…enough wisdom, enough energy, enough courage, enough whatever to fill the position or to do the job and so I. Don’t. Do. It.  Ever been there?  

Just like digging in my container cupboard looking for the right fit, I sort through in my mind  sizing up all the other people who I think would be better able to fill the need. The problem is: no one has started that book study that I’ve felt compelled to start, the idea to provide a free lunch for those in need remains just that, an idea, and opening my house as a gathering place? A big dream waiting to be fulfilled. 

Here’s what I’m learning. It’s not about me! (I know, I know. You’ve heard this before.  You should know by now I’m a slow learner!) All throughout the Bible we find people who believe they aren’t at all suited to do what God asks them to do.  Some of them tell God He’s making a mistake, some tell Him to find someone else, and some even run in the opposite direction. Me? I sit in my chair and think about what God wants me to do.   God reassured those He chose that He’d be with them and would provide all they needed until they’d become a perfectly filled vessel for the job. 

“By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.  We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3(NLV)

It’s the same for you and me.  We can be confident that if God is calling us to do something, He has chosen us because with Him we will be the right fit for the job.  We may have to step out of our comfort zone (talking to myself here). It may require more faith than we’re used to. It might just be plain scary! But, in the end when we open ourselves to God’s calling, trusting in Him to give us what we need; we may just find we are a match with what He’s prepared us to do…..just like the right lid for the perfect container!  Oh dear, don’t get me started on my problem finding the right lid……

Instead, let me share with you a delicious recipe where the bites are small and the flavor is big! A perfect combination to me! Hope it “fits” into your dinner menu soon! 

Steak Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. top sirloin steak
  • 1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbls. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbls. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients except steak in a Zip Lock Bag.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Cut steak into one inch pieces. Trim fat.
  • Drop steak in to bag and seal shut. Shake and squeeze gently to coat steak with marinade.
  • Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until skillet is very hot.
  • Remove steak pieces from bag using a slotted spoon and place them in hot skillet.
  • Throw marinade away.
  • Cook steak according to your desired temperature. Stir occasionally. Medium is approximately 3 minutes. (I like mine well so cooked them 5-6 minutes)
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