Tag Archives: #fmf

Beauty of His Love ~ Five Minute Friday

My five minutes today is actually a five minute edit.  The words of this poem I wrote a while ago kept running through my head today. Pretty sure I needed to be reminded again, so decided to rework it to share here along with other writers addressing the prompt “beauty” over at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)/ Pixabay

The Beauty of His Love

My mirror tells a story
I don’t want to hear.
Of passing time, sagging skin
And other things I fear.

Wrinkles, laugh lines,
A hair on my chin?
How can this be my outside
When I feel so young within?

Age spots, freckles,
A scar by my eye
I’m marked head to toe
By years passing by.

Just at the time
I began to despair
A Still Small Voice said;
“See My masterpiece there!”

Leaning close to the glass,
I looked long and deep, 
And the reflection I saw
Caused me to weep.

For at that very moment
My heart began to sing
Because I had forgotten
One very important thing.

I’m marked on the inside.
Saved by His grace!
My blemishes are forgiven.
Jesus died in my place!

Every hair on my head,
The imperfections I see;
Are all part of His plan,
For me being ME!

Now, the face is the same
But the story is new.
God’s helped me to discover 
 The beauty of His love shining through.

Classroom Whys ~ Five Minute Friday

I almost didn’t join Five Minute Friday today when I saw the prompt was “Why”. With everything going on in the world around us, I knew it was going to be difficult to write something meaningful in the wake of such tragedy. Yet, here I am.  Thoughts have been pounding around in my head and so with prayer, here I go.  I am sure you will find many moving posts to read today over at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

Time starts now.

“”But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”” Luke 18:16 (NIV)/ Pixabay

The call came over the intercom.  Door locked. Lights off. Curtain on door drawn. Blinds shut. Table in the corner of the room turned on its side. Precious Second Graders huddled low behind the table.  Roll taken.  These were the steps I followed in my classroom every time a “Code Red” drill was scheduled. With each action, my heart beat a little faster as I tried to move with confidence and put on a brave face.  No matter how many times we went through the practice though, worried “whys” tumbled from the tiny lips of my students. “Why do we have to do this?” “Why would someone want to hurt me?” And each time I would try to quiet their souls with the best answers I had, which between you and me, were weak at best, because I had (and have) the same “whys” they did!

During every drill, I made a promise to those nervous, wide-eyed babes; “I’ll do everything in my power to keep you safe. No. Matter. What.” But could I?  Oh, I had plans and ran through scenarios in my mind. But the news had shown me way too many times that despite heroic effort, my promise could be hard to keep. And so my “whys” just kept coming.  It was the stuff my nightmares were made of!

Fast forward to today.  I’m retired now and so thankful that in my 32 years of teaching I only heard “Code Red” as a drill.  Even though I’ve had to imagine what a school shooting would be like, I cannot fathom what those involved go through. Why was I spared when others have suffered so? Why are children becoming murderers?  Once again, I only have weak answers.

You and I know that the “whys” aren’t just confined to the classroom.  They tumble from lips in our homes, our workplaces, our churches, and in the world.  It’s easy for me and maybe for you too, to get so lost in the “whys” of it all that we forget the Who.

 Jesus said:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart:  I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

There’s so much suffering everywhere we look. My tendency is to question and to want to somehow understand the purpose in it all. Depending on myself or the opinions of others though, just leaves me asking more questions. Can you relate? I’m learning that instead of those “whys” we need to be WISE and depend on  Jesus.  When we do, we can take heart in The Promise that is never broken, The Peace in the midst of chaos, and The Only Answer that can overcome the whys of a troubled world.

I invite you to join with me right now and say a prayer for all those who are suffering.

 

 

 

 

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Agree to Disagree ~ Five Minute Friday

I look forward to Five Minute Friday!  It’s always fun to see where it leads my little brain! Today’s prompt is “Agree”.  If you’d like to see more thoughts on the subject click over to http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Romans 12: 9-10, 18 (NLT) / Pixabay

We couldn’t be more different, my husband and I.  From the moment we met, when this city girl shook up his country world, it was evident that there was little upon which we would agree.  He’s talk radio and I’m music up full blast.  Sweet tea with a little ice is his preferred drink; Mine? Unsweet with ice to the max.  He’s an early bird. I’m an owl.  We have dueling thermostats. Mine usually requires a sweater while he’s in short sleeves.  Sleep number? His, high. Mine, low.  And when his head hits the pillow? He’s fast asleep, while my mind whirls and twirls before I finally drift off.  And after all this time, the list continues to grow.

They say opposites attract and for thirty-four years and counting we’ve been proof it’s true. It hasn’t always been easy; but early on we made the decision to just agree to disagree on the simple stuff.  More importantly though, we realized that when it comes to things of greater significance: our faith, our mutual respect, our love for each other and our family, we’re on the  exact, same page.  Our differences have generated laughter, prompted discussion, expanded our understanding of things, and added variety to our lives; but it’s those core values we agree on that have made our relationship possible.

“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body.  We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.  In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” Romans 12:4-6 (NLT)

Our world today seems focused on all the ways we are dissimilar in an attempt to force us further and further apart. I’m afraid it’s working.  How about a different approach? What if we applied a little magnetic science (and the experience of an old married couple) and allowed ourselves to be drawn to those “opposites” we come in contact with? Think of the laughter we might share, the new things we could learn, the better understanding we would have if we would give “agree to disagree” a chance! I believe we’d begin to see people sharing more mutual respect, genuine care being given, commonalities discovered, and relationships being formed.  I don’t know about you but this beach girl married to a mountain man thinks that’s exactly what this world needs more of!

Time’s up.

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Sweet, Sweet Surrender ~ Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday, so I’m attempting to write for five minutes on the prompt, “Surrender” today. If you want to read more or join in hop over to http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV) / Pixabay

Time starts now.

When I started thinking about today’s prompt, “surrender”, lyrics started playing in my head.  The calm, pleasant voice of that spectacled, blond haired “country boy”,  John Denver (a popular singer back in the day for you youngsters) began singing to my soul:

“I don’t know what the future is holdin’ in store
I don’t know where I’m goin’ I’m not sure where I’ve been
There’s a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me
My life is worth the livin’, I don’t need to see the end.”

The song continues:

“Sweet, sweet surrender, live, live without care.
Like the fish in the water, like a bird in the air.”

Wouldn’t that be lovely?  To live without care? How much time do we spend (waste) caring about what we look like, what others think about us, or what the future holds?  I can tell you right now, that for me…..It’s. Way. Too. Much!  The fish and birds have it right! They swim and fly along being just who they were designed to be. Wondering if their feathers make them look fat,  if their nest is as big as others, or if they swim faster than anyone else isn’t part of their make up.  And guess what?  It isn’t meant to be part of ours either! 

In the midst of our crazy, social media driven, high-speed lives, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and alone.  Cue the music…We must remember that there IS a Spirit who guides us and a Light that shines for us! And even when we’re worrying and scurrying, God says we’re valuable.  Think about it…..Our lives were worth dying for! And because of that, we can sing at the top our lungs right along with John, “My life is worth the livin’, I don’t need to see the end” because we KNOW the end.  So, how about it?  Ready to practice some sweet, sweet surrender? I sure am!  I continue to work on being set free from the comparison trap.  What’s one care you can give up?  Let me know in the comments below.

(Yes, yes, I know.  More than five minutes.  I’m a work in progress)

Motivate ~Five Minute Friday

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15 / Pixabay

After a break I’m joining back up with the Five Minute Friday gang to write for five minutes on the prompt, “Motivate”.  You can read the posts or join in at www.fiveminutefriday.com

Time starts now:

Motivation doesn’t come naturally to me.  Actually, it usually takes something big to get me to do what I know I should.  It’s not until I receive a high blood sugar report that I’m motivated to exercise.  Company coming is usually the reason that motivates me to clean my house and unfortunately, guilt is what motivates me to do a lot that I don’t want to do but know I should.

Prayer is the same for me.  When things are going smoothly I sometimes let my quiet time be filled with other things even though I know to live a life connected to Christ, I shouldn’t. Often, it’s when life becomes challenging I find the motivation to pray.  Boy, Paul knew what he was saying when he wrote those words in the “do-do” chapter…..you know the one, ” I don’t do what I should do but instead do what I shouldn’t do”!  From his pen to my lips!!!!

It’s the time of year when a lot of people are making New Year’s resolutions.  I admire those who are motivated by a goal and follow through. Me? Obviously, not so much.  It’s never too late to change though, so maybe writing these words will be motivation enough to get me started to do what I know I should do and not do what I know I shouldn’t do!! What DO you think?

 

Silence (Is Golden) ~ Five Minute Friday

“LISTEN & SILENT are spelled with the same letters. Think about it.” / Pixabay

Time Starts Now:

I’m a talker. I love to tell stories, to think aloud.  Several years ago I was riding in the car with my husband and father-in-law; chatting as I normally do when it was suggested that I couldn’t be quiet for a designated period of time.  What? The gauntlet was thrown and the challenge accepted! Not only did I proclaim I could be silent for that period of time, but rather for the entire trip! The prize if I succeeded? My father-in-law had to buy me flowers.  I’ll have you know I won that contest….well… sort of……when the flowers finally arrived, the note on the card simply said: “Silence is Golden“!

I now believe there’s more truth to that statement than I was willing to admit to back then. Recently, I’ve come to realize that when someone’s sharing their situation with me, my first instinct is to open my mouth and tell my version of their experience or to offer my solution. Neither of which were asked for.  Thankfully, I’m now learning to keep the noise in my head from tumbling across my tongue and to just listen instead. “Silence is Golden“!

My quiet time with God also tends to be anything but quiet! When I try to be silent before the Lord, song lyrics may start singing in my head or my grocery list appears out of nowhere and I begin to talk my way through it. Before you know it, I’ve filled the Holy Space I wanted with racket that I could do without!  Tell me I’m not alone! “He leads me beside still waters”. “Be still and know.” You see?  God’s been trying to teach me that “Silence is Golden” all along.  Now all I have to do is listen.  I think I’ll take that challenge! How about you?

Time’s up!

 

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Rest ~ 31/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

This is the last post for 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

It’s been a challenge and I’m amazed I made it to day 31 and only missed 3 days! Those were spent with family so I don’t regret them at all! All 28 posts are here. Just click on the “Five Minute Fridays” tab above if you’ve missed any or are just joining in. So, for the last time this month, here we go…..

Time Starts Now!

“Be still and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10a (NLT) / Pixabay

I know this may sound a little crazy, but I have fond memories of a rest stop!  Traveling from WV to Michigan by myself with two small children could at times be, shall we say….stressful! After driving for a few hours, jittery feet, touchy-feely hands, and cranky mouths began appearing in the backseat. Thankfully, it was at about that same time we arrived at the “Welcome to Ohio” rest stop.  It became our tradition to pull off and “rest”  on every trip.  We’d use the facilities and then with the promise of stopping at the vending area on the other side of the parking lot, I’d send both kids marching (literally marching) on the path: up the hill, across the top, down again, and straight to me to get their quarters for the machines. Was there whining at times? Sure. Complaining? You bet, but we were all better off after the break from the long car trip.

This month of writing has given me at times my own share of pacing feet, wringing hands, and a negative Nellie mouth. Just about the time I was ready to give up, the Holy Spirit would send me  welcomed words and my fingers would begin to march across the keyboard. Sometimes those words took me up, down, and all around to get my point across.  Using a donkey, my gallstones, growing grass, and now a rest stop all seem to be unlikely vehicles for a blog post. I love that though! It’s a confirmation to me that the message is God’s and not mine.

Driving to Michigan, I still smile as I pass that rest stop.  I’m alone in the car now but at times I can still hear little voices in the back seat telling me when to turn off to stop. Like those car breaks of old, I’m ready for a break from this month of writing.  I truly enjoyed this challenge and  I  cannot express my gratitude to each of you who’ve read my wanderings of words. You’ll never know what it has meant to me.

Time’s Done…..But I’m Not

It’s my prayer that somewhere in the midst of these 28 days of quick writes you’ve found something to encourage you. While my intentions were always to share my writing with you, the reality is that each and every post has taught me a lesson I’ve needed!  As my friend, LaVonne always says, “The Big Guy sends you what you need when you need it!”

I’m not sure what’s coming next, but for now I’m ready to stop for a bit and with fond memories, rest.

 

 

 

Refine ~ 30/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

“Bless our God, O peoples, and sound His praise abroad, Who keeps us in life and does not allow our feet to slip. For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. Psalm 66:8-10 (NASV) / Pixabay

I’ve discovered that editing is something I enjoy. I have an author friend who recently trusted me to fine-tune her latest book.  Looking closely at writing to find just the right place to pause, adding the perfect words to produce the greatest impact, and yes, to eliminate what’s unnecessary are jobs I like to do……for others, that is!

Having my own writing corrected is another story.  It can be difficult to receive feedback about the places that need improvement, to see lines crossed out that when written, seemed so right, and to find characters dear to my heart noted to be underdeveloped.  Each red mark feels as if it’s written directly on my heart. Every author knows that editing is vital if you’re going to improve as a writer.  As painful as it may be, the process results in a much better finished product.

That brings me to today’s prompt: “refine”.  It’s not a word we want to think about because like editing words on a page, we need refining to progress. Refinement evokes thoughts of intense heat to remove impurities, fervent cleansing to get rid of stains, and the smoothing and shaping of any rough edges.  Every Christian knows that those often are the result of going through difficult circumstances. Painful as it may be, we also understand that refinement is vital if we’re going to become the “much better” person God designed us to be.

I don’t know about you but when I’m in the fire, I often find myself bargaining with God, making promises of change if He will just remove the heat.  Refining is aimed at our heart and its fine-tuning isn’t something we can accomplish on our own. It takes trust in God’s process. He may show us where we should pause and rest, teach us how to develop our character, or identify those things we need to eliminate so that we’ll have a greater impact on others; whatever it is, we are assured that the Author will continue to write our story until we are refined like silver, His pure and precious finished product.

Follow ~ 29/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 (NIV) / Pixabay

My husband is having a cowboy themed Halloween at work.  So in keeping with that idea, I followed a new recipe today for the Former First Lady Laura Bush’s prize winning “Cowboy Cookies”.  She has experienced victory with her combination of ingredients and those that have  tried them have shared their rave reviews!  You would assume then, to get the same positive results it would make sense ( she was the First Lady after all) for me to adhere to her instructions step-by-step. But, you would assume wrong.  Oh, it would’ve made sense; but no,….thinking I knew best; I deviated from the proven method still expecting the same (or better) results!

Ever have the lightbulb suddenly come on when you haven’t been the brightest? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me. As soon as I went my own way instead of following the plan laid out for me, I realized it may not have been the best idea. And in that moment, I recognized that I often make the same mistake in my Christian life, too! Sheesh! These lessons just keep coming at me!

How many times have I, knowing God’s “recipe” for life is perfect, veered off in my own direction because I wanted what I thought was best? Ever been there? I don’t know about you, but for me it’s more times than I’d like to admit.  I tell myself, “a little extra of this won’t hurt” or “less time on that can’t make that much difference” and even “I don’t need to add this to my life at all!” As you might guess, the results fail to meet my expectations.

When Jesus said, “follow me” to the disciples, He expected them to follow Him all the way to the cross. His plan for each of us is exactly the same. Recognizing that Jesus died so that we might live and sharing that with others offers the BEST possible results.  So, the next time we’re tempted to alter our way, we must remind ourselves that God’s already given us the winning combination; we need only to keep our eyes on the Prize and follow Him step-by-step to true victory!

 

 

Connect ~ 28/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

“I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain.” Psalm 3:4 (NIV) / Pixabay

My mom and sisters are together today in Michigan and I’m home in West Virginia.  Days like today are hard on me as I’m far away from the women who’ve loved me the longest. I can’t believe I’ve lived 500 miles from them for 35 years now!  We’ve talked about those times when we were all young mothers and weren’t able to connect with one another very often.  Back then our only options where calling long distance….but who had the extra money….or writing letters……but who had time! We missed out on a lot of each others’ lives and when we finally got together? Non-stop talking to try and catch up! 

Now, here we are.  Our children are grown and on their own and I have grandchildren!  We’ve come a long way and so has staying connected.  I’m so thankful for texting, cell phone calls, and Face Time.  Technology today helps bridge the miles so that sharing the big events and little moments keeps us close even though we’re hours apart. And when we finally get together? Still non-stop talking!

 I long for connection.  I ache for time with my grandsons and family, but also with my friends and those in my church .  It goes even further than that as a writer because I also yearn for a connection with those who read my thoughts and reflections. I don’t know about you, but being separated leaves me feeling depleted and isolated.

You know? The same is true about our relationship with God. It’s so easy to let ourselves become detached.  Busy lives, difficult circumstances, relationships, or our priorities can cause us to become disconnected from the One who has truly loved us the longest! Talk about depleted and isolated!

I’ve issued a connection challenge to myself, maybe you’ll want to join in.  Am I (Are we) seeking God’s message as often as a text? Looking forward to being one on one with Him as much as with those with whom we Face Time? Spending the same amount (if not more) time in conversation  with God as with the contacts in our phone? I can tell you, I have some changes to make!

God designed us with the desire for connection with others, but more importantly with Him; so He sent Jesus to die for you and me, giving us free access to His direct line.  No dead batteries. No glitches in the internet. No blocked calls. He’s anxiously waiting for us to finally put down our phones, call out, and connect with Him. And just a little reminder to myself:  When we get together? Less talking and a lot more listening!  Just say’in………………..

 

I’m glad to “connect” with you today!  It’s hard to believe this 31 Day Challenge is about over!  If you’d like to read more thoughts on connecting go to http://www.fiveminutefriday.com