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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The path to joy


Psalm 16:11 is definitely one of my most favorite verses.  We've already looked at it in another context (the path of life) but today let's focus on the joy part.  God tells us in this verse that in His presence is fullness of joy.  Psalm 15 tells us how to get into His presence so that we can find that fullness of joy.....

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Mama

Today is my Mom's birthday.  I would gladly share how old she is except that I don't know.  She has told so many fibs about her age that she herself probably doesn't even know!  In fact, I cannot even be sure that her driver's license is accurate!!!

Oh,well, that's my Mama.  Fun and funny. I'll bet she is the only person in this country that can dial a rotary phone with her toes or jump up and down and click her heels together twice before she lands.  For real.   Never a lack of laughter when she's in the room.  Kind.  Whether it's dispensing candy to all the kids at church, delivering the most delectable brownies ever to a neighbor or including someone on the fringe in her circle, she is kind to her core.  Empathetic.  She can rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep better than anybody I have ever seen in my life.  No wonder there has been a constant stream of people to her door for the entirety of my life.  Once you've spent some time with my Mama, you just plain feel better.  Servant.  She is the most authentic example of servanthood I have ever seen.  Has absolutely no desire for attention or recognition (runs from it like a jackrabbit, actually!) But if there's a need anywhere in the county, she'll find it...and meet it.  Before anyone else knows it exists.  Maker of memories.  Cookies and lemonade at the end of my day.  Sitting at her kitchen table to tell her my troubles.  Picnics at Dowdell's knob.  Daytona Beach vacations.  Black bags at Christmas. Secret keeper.  Putting up peaches in the summer to enjoy all winter.  Early morning birthday calls.  Iron-clad promises of prayer. Rocking my babies.  Complete acceptance.  Unfailing love.  That's my Mama. 

She's all those things and lots more.  But most of all, she's my Mama.  If, by God's mercy and grace, some day, my children feel about me like hers do about her, I will consider myself the most blessed woman in the universe.  I love her with all my heart and want to be just like her when I grow up.

Happy Birthday, Alice.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The path

I was whining the other day.  Not out loud or anything.  And, of course, not to God (ha ha!!).  Just whining to myself in the car.  Generally about the demands on me for this particular stage of life. Looking at the grass on the other side (wherever that is).  Complaining to myself about all sorts of things.   Having a pretty good pity party, actually.  Too bad no one else could come! 

Apparently the Lord heard me, though.  Because I heard Him say something like "count your blessings".  I ignored Him and continued on my way, carrying out some task that was being required of me at that moment.  Sigh.  Poor me. 

As I was driving back home, I passed a house with a large something at the end of the driveway and a sign that said "FREE".  Well, I am Queen of Frugality and I know that you can't get much better than "FREE".  So I slowed down to take a look at the large something, fully expecting a pile of trash.  (Remember the frame of mind I was in!)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Aha!

I've missed blogging.  Sometimes I write posts in my head...but when I get to the computer, I can't find them!!  I noted recently that I've been empty.  So I shared my cleaning tip!  (That was quite well received, actually!  I guess lots of us have gunky showers.) 

I had an "aha" moment about my lack of content.  About why I've had a hard time coming up with things to write.  I've been writing elsewhere!  I am working on a Bible study to teach this fall and it takes everything in me to write the lectures and especially the homework.  So I've missed being able to share more Living Letters but, boy, am I having some fun on this study!  It's about spiritual warfare -- "Equipped for Battle Victory".  We're in this thing to win, not just to fight!  So I'm getting ready to share some rules for engagement with fellow warriors!!!

If you are in the Athens/Watkinsville GA area, I'd love to have you join us.  There will be two sessions offered, beginning in September - one will be taught on Tuesday mornings and the other on Wednesday evenings.  Both classes are at Watkinsville First Baptist and childcare is available.  Let me know if you need other info.  Once the class is done, I hope to have the link to audio lectures and download for the workbook available through Living Letters.

Until then, let's keep in touch here!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

If only...

 It seems to be human nature to wonder if one's life would be different (aka better...) if one's life circumstances were different (aka better...).  We sometimes think "if only I had been born in a different place" or to different parents or in another time or socioeconomic situation, "life might be better".  Maybe, instead of thinking "if only", we feel guilty that we don't have adverse beginnings to overcome and feel compelled to succeed lavishly so as to "earn" the good life spot we've been given.

This week's Wednesday's Word is a passage that explains the " why, when, where, and to whom" you were born. 

Acts 17:26,27
And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him.

God, in His loving sovereignty, orchestrated all the details of your birth and mine  to put us in exactly the right spot so that we would seek Him.  Whatever circumstances best cultivated the soil of our hearts to receive the Good News of our need for Him and His gift of grace are the ones He designed for us.  "Having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place".  When and where and to whom.  Not an accident.  Not an oversight or a tragedy.  But rather purposed with love..."that they should seek God".  "And perhaps feel their way toward Him...and find Him"

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cleaning tip

Sometimes I don't feel too inspiring.  Lots of times, actually.  Pretty much every post I wonder if any of it's worth reading.  But I keep writing cuz I have stuff inside that just has to get out.

Today is different.  I feel compelled to write but there's nothing to share.  Empty.

SO I decided to tell you about a great cleaning tip.  Seriously.  This past weekend was full of household projects and it was quite gratifying to get some things done.  Painted a shelf to use in the kids' bathroom.  Hung some pictures.  Started a DIY project.  Etc.  Fun stuff.

But the most fun was getting the caulking around my tub clean.  For real.  I am not a clean freak (as in "hope you are up to date on your shots when you come to my house")  but the state of my tub has bothered me for, well, a long time.  Too embarrassing to even guess how long.  And it's not that I haven't tried.  I have.  All sorts of cleaners.  Bleach, Greased Lightning, Lysol Tub Cleaner, etc etc etc.  Some of them showed promise but nothing that really zapped the gunk (OK - it's mildew!) and looked clean for more than a day.  I even got to where I left the cleaner in the tub and used it every day after my shower.  Negligible results. 

Then I saw something on Pinterest.  And tried it.

I bought some of those long cotton strands that they use for perms and stuff.  At the beauty supply place.  (THAT was an interesting trip !!  Maybe inspiration for another post...) Poured straight bleach in a bowl right there in my tub and stuck the cotton strands in to soak it up.  Then I c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y laid them along the gunky places on the tub.  Left them over night.  Closed the bathroom door - that bleach smell is STRONG. 

Next morning.  Prettiest tub you ever did see!  The caulking looks brand new!  I have smiled for 3 days straight. 

We'll see how long it lasts.  Smile.

There it is.  Perhaps my most inspiring post!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ALL things? Really?

Philippians 2:14 says Do all things without grumbling or complaining.  Whoa.  ALL things?   Really?

Yep.  That's what it says.  And since "grumbling and complaining" are activities of the tongue, we're including it in the Tidbits on the Tongue series.  ALL things.  Hmmmmmmmm.

The audacity of the Apostle Paul to pen these words.  ALL things indeed!  Did he have to put up with the mate that you do?  Or the co-worker?  Or the toddler???  Did 30% of his paycheck go to a government that wasted his money frivolously?  Did his family dump all their work on him and then neglect to appreciate him properly?  And what about his in-laws -- did Paul even have any in-laws?  Did he plan all sorts of wonderful family activities, in an attempt to be a marvelous parent and raise marvelous children with marvelous memories, and then have the weather ruin the whole day? And what about health - does he know what it's like to battle a terminal disease?  Or live with debilitating pain day after day? Maybe if Paul had to put up with some of what you put up with, well, then maybe he wouldn't be so glib about instructing us to do this stuff without any sort of grumbling or complaining.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sometimes....Some times...

Sometimes things are so hard.  Little things like broken dishwashers or a toothache or inconvenient disruptions.  Big things like the end of a friendship or loss of a job or terrifying doctor's report.  We've all been there and we all know that dreaded knot in the stomach, the strain in our voice, the anxiety endured.

But, thankfully, sometimes things are so good.  Little things like double rainbows and a happy toddler and an unexpected hour to relax.  Big things like enough money at the end of the month and a teenager at peace and successful surgery. 

Today has been a good day.  This weekend was a great one.  And I just want to go on record saying "Thanks".  To my family and my friends and especially to the Giver of all good gifts.  Thank you.

I know things aren't always peachy keen.  But sometimes they are.  Like today.  And, for the record, I am going to enjoy every moment of it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Shhhh...

Sometimes the best word we can speak is to say nothing at all.  Check out these bits of wisdom from Proverbs 17:

vs. 10 -
Whoever covers an offense seeks love    but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
.
14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
    so quit before the quarrel breaks out.


 27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
    and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
    when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.


Let's keep quiet sometimes...........we might look wise!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Criticism

I was blessed to grow up in a home where criticism was not part of our vernacular.  We simply did not criticize. Or complain.  Not even when it was "merited".    How my parents achieved that, I do not know! 

I became a quick learner, though, let me assure you.  On my own, I managed to master the art, even falling prey to the idea that criticism was "helpful" to others.  How would they ever change their ways, I reasoned, unless I told them where they were wrong?  This "skill" grows exponentially when practiced even a bit, I soon learned. The more I criticized, the more things I saw that "needed" criticizing.  Once put into motion, criticism can quickly become a way of life, a lens through which all persons and activities are filtered. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July.  I hope you have a wonderful holiday, celebrating with family and friends.  I love this country.  I suppose most citizens love their home country but I think we have something really worthy of admiration and adoration here in America.

Where birth does not determine societal rank.  Where ideas are discoursed and debated without fear of authoritarian reprisal. Where power belongs to the people and authority is peaceably delegated and transferred.  Where diligence and perseverance can make the difference between putting food on the table and not.  Where "poor" is a relative term.  Where generosity is the norm.  Where differences of politics and opinions and religion don't have to impede the  joining of forces to help those in need or standing together to weather tough times.  Where watermelon and fried chicken and homemade ice cream are enough to guarantee a good time for all.  Especially if it's peach.  Just sayin.

Yes, I know there's a lot wrong with this country.  I don't like the stonewalling and hypocrisy and overspending that seems to characterize the center of government.  I think it's a big problem that those we have elected sometimes forget who they work for.  The power of special interest groups irritates me.  And I think we have strayed from the Constitutional framework of our founding.

But I still love this place.  There's no where else I'd rather live.  We can solve the problems.  Generations before us have solved problems and we can, too. 

God Bless America.  And may America live so that we will be a blessing to Him.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Have you heard....


When I was a little girl, a popular TV show had a segment where a group of girls sang a song that went something like this "You'll never catch one of us repeating gossip...so you'd better be sure and listen close the first time!"  Hee-Haw.  Made us laugh every time we saw it.

It's not so funny being the victim of gossip, though.  Can you relate??

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jonathan

I promised a picture of Jonathan.  Took me a week but finally got it.  Well, actually Chip got it.  Anyhow, here it is.  Cutest little boy alive.  And his gorgeous Mommy.  Happy birthday, again, Jonathan!  We had a great time this weekend.  And, remember - what happens at Suzie's stays at Suzie's .  :):) Especially what you got to eat for breakfast.......