Friday, March 30, 2012

Precursor to the Ultimate New

Don't you just love spring?  The newness of life is all around.  Fresh color and new buds and blossoms penetrate all senses.  Everything seems full of promise and hope.  The bleak and colorless winter has passed once again.  I guess it always does.  Thank you God for seasons....both physical and spiritual.

I love that God gets giddy about making things new.  "He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."   Rev. 21:5.  Can't you just hear the excitement in His voice?   I think the newness we get to experience via seasons and spiritual growth is just a precursor to the day that Jesus will truly make all things new when the old order of things has passed away and the glorious newness has come...whatever that looks like!  Don't you just love that He gives us a tiny taste of whatever that is going to be!  He has created us to enjoy the fresh and new so that we will fall head over heels in love with the true new one day.

today, I love this new baby girl...

 a new yellow daisy...

new pink azalea buds...

and new dogwood blooms!

What are you enjoying that is new?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My New Apprentice

Sam loves to get ahold of my camera.  I think my little apprentice may have a future!

I could use a new assistant...he may be the ticket to getting all the kiddos to look at me and laugh.  Boy needs to start earning his keep around here anyway...ha.

We are getting our family portrait made tomorrow for the church directory.  Gosh, I dread that.  I hope my adult clients don't hate getting their pics made as much as I do.  I wish I had joined "My Fitness Pal" just a tad sooner! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

His Display of Affection

This post is per request...the question is "How Does God display Himself to you...or show you His beauty?"

I had to ponder this one a little bit. I mean, I could answer the question with basically one word, being the Scripture, but that might not fly very far for the person who is asking. 

I have started to notice that God deals with me in themes.  I am also starting to notice that His themes may stretch over a very long period of time.  What I want done 10 minutes ago, He wants drawn out.  He is a Tender One, and apparently, cultivating hearts takes a lot of time.  He is very considerate of our wounded hearts and invites us on a tender journey of knowing Him.  This road includes being stripped from strongholds and also transforming us into Christ's own image.  What a glorious thought that He doesn't just redeem us, but daily chooses to enter into our selfishness, greed, pity, sin, wallowing, pride, worry, and fear, and coax us out into a spacious place of grace.

His goal is intimacy and trust.  He created the world in seven days, but chooses to take His time with our frail hearts that need healing and wholeness.

He never ceases to wow me.

I am playing the song "Let it Rain" because it ties into the theme that God is working inside the recesses of this soul of mine.  Sometimes being God's daughter is like being thrust into a mystery novel.  He is often teaching you things, but He often only reveals one thing at a time, and it all seems to help you answer the question your heart is wrestling with at the time.

Right now, my theme is something like this:  God is the Master Gardener.  It started many years ago when He taught about wheat and the threshing process.  It then later deepened when He taught about the former and the latter rain.  Last November, I was given the word "fruit" that I knew would be for 2012.  Last December, after loss, I awoke one morning with the Holy Spirit whispering two words:  "Master Gardener."  This led to a sermon by Spurgeon that confirmed what I needed to hear at the moment, but also kept adding to the theme.

In January, I felt like I was dead in a sense.  I literally felt like a seed that had been buried deep, awaiting some sort of life and newness.  I knew He hadn't forgotten me, but instead, was standing guard, smiling to Himself over His plan. 

Now, in March, I still feel like the seed, but I wonder if I am about to poke through the soil.  I am heavy for anticipation and know that God is up to something.  I am hungry for harvest, and verses like Psalm 126:4-6 have been my lifeline..."And now, GOD, do it again-bring rains to our drought stricken lives.  So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest, so those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing."

I reread this passage this morning...which goes along with my theme and I am excited for my faith to become my eyes!  "Fear not...the trees are bearing fruit again...celebrate, be glad...He's giving you a teacher to train you how to live right--teaching, like rain out of heaven--showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do...I'll make up for the great locust devastation."  from Joel 2 MSG

Really, every verse I have read for the past few months has to do with this is another, "Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessings of God."  Hebrew 6:7

The beautiful affection of our Father doesn't end with His Word.  This is where He really starts to blow my mind apart.  He has used circumstances and nature to confirm His promises and what He is up to.  I don't even know how I have been able to discern some of these things, except that I am constantly praying that He would give me eyes to see.

One time, I opened a random greeting card and received confirmation of something He had whispered over me just an hour before.  Another time, he had something bloom and stay alive for 20 days despite the freezing nights just to give me a beautiful visual reminder that something I had lost had been very real.

So, to wrap this thing up, I would say that God deals with me in themes.  He offers it in His word, and then confirms it in Godly counsel and circumstances.

If you don't keep a journal of some sort, then I would recommend it so much!  It is such a joy to look back over pages of scripture and thoughts and see that all along, God was up to something.  All along, He was allowing you to not just be a part of His mystery, but a part of the revelation as well.

A revelation that beautifully conforms you to the likeness of His only Son.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

After the Rain

I just love the promise of a spring shower.  The smell fills the nostrils as you curl up in your chair with a favorite book.  Coffee with Sweet Italian Cream is within arm's reach, begging for a taste.

The theme of rain has been heavy since last August.  I blogged about it in depth here and I often revisit it, to remember that God indeed taught and I didn't dream it up.  Sometimes, when you are in between rains, you need to remember what you are waiting for.

It is dry in this soul of mine.  Ever since December, I was thrust into a barren land.  The desert isn't new to me, but I am just so thirsty.  As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longs...

It longs after the One who has been silent for quite some time.  I know He hasn't forsaken me.  I know He isn't angry with me.  I know He is at work even though I can't discern His movements.  I know that He has a purpose for the stillness.  But, the parchment makes one weary.

Once you have tasted and well, tasted that Sweet Savior is good, you need a fresh slice of that living loaf.  Last year's nourishment is fading fast so new sustenance must be on the way.  Surely, it is coming.  Surely.

The prayer for rain is all encompassing these days.  I am so full of drought that I don't even know whether to tag it with the "former" or the "latter."  I would gladly take a dew and would gladly take a downpour.

I know that after the rain, things rise from the black earth, open with boldness, and show off their God-hue.  What color is He creating while I remain buried deep?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Fitness Pal???

Well, the time has come.  I have been in denial for years, thinking I can manage, perhaps even lose a little weight on my own: without changing a thing.  I have somehow kept my weight within a 10 pound range for 6 years, but the pants are just so tight right now.  This girl needs to breathe.

I know if I join a gym, I won't go because I hate early mornings and because the rest of the day is cram-packed.  So, a girl told me about "my fitness pal" which is an online calorie counting food diary sort of thing.  In other words, it is harsh reality and I guess I could use a dose of that.

I only want to lose a pound a week and guess what calorie-per-day it spat out at me???  1260
Are you nuts, fitness pal?  Cause I think you just might be.

Yesterday, I had a protein shake, small taco salad, small popcorn, southwest salad, handful of tomatoes, and  ton of water and I still went over 58 calories.  It told me if I kept eating like that, I would gain 4 pounds in no time at all.  My new pal isn't very polite.

The good news about my pal is that I can eat my exercise calories that I burn.  So, if I burn 150 calories in a workout, I get to add those to the whopping 1260 calories.  Simple starvation might be the key in keeping me on treadmill for 5.6 hours a day.

I know people who have stuck with this program and lost a ton of weight!  It always makes me happy to see a personal success story.  My only question is do these people still have their right arms or were they gnawed off in the middle of the night in an attempt to feed the beast?

My fitness pal tells me that I will have a higher success rate if my friends will join the free site and we can cheer each other on.  I promise to be nicer than this new pal of mine.  Oh, and the scales this morning showed me lighter than yesterday morning.  hoorah.

Excuse me now.  I have 1260 calories calling my name.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Trip to the Zoo!

We had spring break visitors!  Kirby, Jennifer, and Hunter (Jen's bro) came for a couple of days!  Thankfully, it didn't rain today and we were able to go to the zoo! 

The next set of photos are by Kirby...he saved me from my heavy zoom lens! I am sure my PT will thank him. The way Sam and I are smacking our lips proves the lemonade was tasty!

Thanks for coming to visit us, guys! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hey There Locals!

Humongo Garage Sale.  My hacienda.  7 am Saturday (tomorrow!)
I don't like to get up early either, but if you are on the lookout for any of this, then it will be worth your time!

weight bench and all weights
Little Tikes police car
Fisher Price and Imaginext Jungle
Star Wars
Veggie Tales and Diego
high chair
booster seat
pull up bar/ab machine
hyla vacuum
bissell vacuum
books, cookbooks, Christian CDs, VHS, DVDs
picture frames, house decor,  throw pillows, dishes, baskets
baby items inc. boppy
photog props inc. antique stroller
all clothes $1, lots of boy clothes
tinkertoys, games, puzzles
accessories, perfume, jewelry, scarves
everything but the kitchen sink, ha!

See you in the mornin'!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Top Five: Travel!

Still per request...where would I like to travel to?  You mean there is a world beyond Arkansas?  Sometimes I feel trapped in this little bubble, longing to have a single week to break free and go see the world!  How awesome would it be if money weren't an option, to take a year off and just go see what God has created!  Now we're talking! 

I guess it is hard to limit it to just 5, but maybe these could get me kicked off...

1.  The beach.  I really don't care where, I just love to sit on a beach and watch the sunset and hear the waves.  I guess Phi Phi Beach, Thailand would be alright...

2.  Israel.  I just think the Word would make so much more since if I could just get over there and get a feel for the area.  How precious to think that our Savior lived there...what an awesome place that would be to visit!

3.  Australia.  I used to have a fetish for koala bears when I was younger.  And that aussie accent...can't get enough.  My brother in law does work in Australia quite regularly...I am only a tad jealous.  I want to see the Sydney Opera House and the Twelve Apostles, for starters.

4.  Amazon Rain Forest.  Hello gorgeous!  I love animals and it would be awesome to see species I never get to see.  (I just need someone to keep me from all the bad guys.  Yes, you, snake.)

5. Hallstatt, Austria.  I just have no words, except that my sister in law Kelli has been there.  It is just picture-perfect amazing.  Me and my camera would have some fun!

I am seeing a definite theme of water in these pictures!  Well, which trip are you with me on?

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Fears

It is a daily battle, isn't it?  Fear can overtake your being quicker than any other tactic from the enemy.  Indulge it even a little and you find yourself in a tidal wave of despair.

That said, I think it is good to name your fears.  Call them out and name those ugly babies.  Turn those fears captive over to the One who can redeem them and turn our thoughts toward good.

I guess my greatest fear is that Eric would die, leaving me, a female, to raise three boys into Godly manhood.  I know God is the Father to the fatherless, and I know His grace would be sufficient, but still, that fear just about leaves me undone.  Not to mention that I would terribly miss my best friend and faithful companion.

I fear being left in a dry season spiritually.  Once you have experienced the intimacy of Christ, and know that nothing else satisfies, it is hard to be "between rains."  The Israelites would pray and wait for the early and latter rains, knowing they were dependent on them for crops and life.  For me spiritually, Christ is that rain.  When in a dry season, fear starts to sneak up, telling me that rain isn't coming and that I will be left a dead seed, buried deep.  I try and conquer the doubt by telling myself that it is all a beautiful process...if the seed were constantly flooded, it would never rise out of the dry earth and become a tree of life.  If there were constant rain, there would be no fruit.

I fear that I will go unheard.  Unappreciated.  Unvalued.

I fear that I have played it too safe.  Using my shyness as a cover, I wonder if I have defamed the name of Jesus instead of making Him known.  When in college, there was a girl who said she believed that the earth we were living on now was a living hell.  She truly believed it wouldn't get any worse that what it is now.  I refused to speak up.  I refused her the hope that she could have eternal bliss and joy in Jesus.  I still regret that.  I fear that when I get to Heaven, my reward will be small because I didn't make a difference in the Kingdom.

I fear public speaking. 

I fear I can't manage well what God has entrusted to me.  My job description is something like:  secretary, accountant/budget keeper, mentor, Mom, wife, worship leader, food manager/preparer, chief shopper, housekeeper, laundry queen, peacemaker, friend, sister, daughter, author, photographer, business owner, chief transporter, emotional sensor, bible studier, paper manager, prayer warrior, and volunteer.  It is overwhelming most days.  Most days, it is a battle, trying to maintain a peaceful and clean home...while raising Godly kids...while trying to maintain relationships and your own relationship with your husband...while not letting the clutter and calendar overtake your life.  Most days I want off the crazy train, fearing I might be missing out on what is really important.  I know the answer is to simplify, but I don't see anything that can be cut out.

I keep this photo I took of "Aslan" by my bed.  It reminds me everyday when I wake up that Jesus is my roaring Lion and my defense for the day.  He is the very shield I need against fear if I am willing to surrender.

There you have it...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Dreaming

So, dear Erica has a list of things that she wants me to blog about.  I will tackle the hardest first: common subjects of my daydreams. 

This is difficult for two reasons.  One, I am not a dreamer.  I am very much a realist.  Two, dreams give opportunity for heartache.  So, sometimes I refuse to dream for fear that my soul might be crushed.  I am not saying God doesn't tell us to hope and dream for bigger things than what we can see, I am just saying that it is scary sometimes.

If I dig deep, I find that indeed, I do dream.

I dream of little girls and all things girly.  I dream of a newborn with a bushel of dark hair.  I dream of this sweet child at the age of two, light brown pigtails dancing with the wind as she twirls.  I dream that her countenance brings a measure of wholeness and joy to all she encounters.

I dream in turquoise.  This shade has taken me by surprise.  I want a house filled with it.  Currently, I dream of painting our dresser in our room to look something like this...perhaps a shade darker.  My dreams involve painting furniture happy shades.  Lots of furniture.

I dream of heaven.  I miss my sister and think about what she would be doing.  I turn to Kiley's journal and am comforted..."It was a perfect night...perfect temperature...very starry...the big dipper was huge...the stars are so much bigger here because we are so much closer to them!  And the ocean...the waves rolling in...I almost fell asleep out there...I really wanted was so perfect...I just sat there in awe admiring God's beauty." 

I dream of who we will be in heaven.  I dream of seeing those that have gone before.  I dream of embracing the face of my Jesus, looking Him in the eyes and telling Him that it was all worth it...finally seeing Him in this moment made all the trials and suffering worth it.

I dream of writing.  Having time to write.  It is addictive and therapeutic and sometimes I just can't get enough.

I dream of travelling with husband in tow on a photographic journey.  This could be simply to see the United States or to travel abroad to photograph children in poverty in order to get the word out for their plight.  I have captured children from America, but how amazing would it be to capture children from around the world?  My lens helps me see and I long to get out of the confines of this one state so I can see His glory on display.

I dream of one day living in a clutter free environment.  I am hoping my garage sale this weekend will aid in this process!  I would love to have a place for everything and everything in its place.  I occasionally dream of having someone to come in and clean my home!

And last, I dream of Erica's Red Velvet cake.  I never knew I even loved Red Velvet til I had hers.

What are your dreams? 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shoes Shoes Shoes

I was knocked flat on my back yesterday.  From 8:30 pm on Wednesday night til 2:30 on Thursday, I slept a total of 15 hours!  It felt like the flu, but since I have regained some energy today, I guess it was some other nasty bug.  If only the cough would leave...

That said, today I marched myself into Targe' cause apparently the real cure for any sickness is shoe shopping!  I love me some makeup shopping and some shoe shopping cause no hips are required! 

I put three, yes three pairs into the red buggy today.  This is so not like me, but I just couldn't help myself.  They were cheap and comfie, so shoe binge, I did.

Sometimes it is fun to go shop your closet to see what will go with your new shoes.  Here is what I came up with...what do you think???  And what is your fave color for toes for the spring?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Marriage (#3: Be a Listener and a Doer!)

I have been neck deep in the book of James lately.  Not only has our community group been going through it, but I have almost completed Beth Moore's study on it.  Both have been so convicting!  If you ever think you have arrived as a Christian, go sink your teeth into what James has to say.  Because, apparently, if our actions don't match what we perceive to believe, then there is a chance we don't really believe at all.  "Separate faith and works and you get the same thing:  a corpse."  James 2:26 MSG  (ouch.)

James tells us to not just be listeners, but doers!  The MSG version says this in James 1:22, "Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other.  Act on what you hear!"

I think this passage can apply to marriages!  Many times, I will listen to Eric, only to be thinking in the back of my head that I am going to do it my way anyway.  I am willing to listen to his perspective on how something needs to be done, but then I mentally cast off his authority and think I know best.  I can tell you that my way is doomed for failure from the start simply because I took myself out from under his umbrella protection of authority.

We don't just need to listen to our men, we need to act on what they say!

Whether we like it or not, our men simply are the authority in our homes.  It is just a God-ordained means of blessing and the sooner we recognize it, the sooner we can have peace and joy.  Even if your husband is not walking with the Lord, he is still the authority of the home and has so much to offer you.  (I should interject and say that abuse or illegal activity has no grounds for blessing and you should flee the situation and get counsel as soon as possible.)

I can't tell you the number of times that I have to remind myself to just turn over my questions to Eric.  Even last night, I was wrestling with whether or not to buy school class pictures for the boys.  It was money we didn't really want to spend, but I needed some perspective.  He pointed me in the right direction and wham-bam, stress fled.

What I am coming to understand is that as soon as I can get a "needed-wisdom-topic" in front of Eric, the better because it relieves me of the stress of wondering what the right answer is.  I know that he is the authority of our home and he answers to God directly.  That just leaves me in a state of rest, yay!

Here is one example of what happened when I didn't listen to Eric.  A few years back, we were trimming our azaleas with electric hedge trimmers.  He told me that he was going inside, but to just finish the hedge we were on and then quit.  I don't think he gave a "Why," but he said the other azaleas could wait.  Well, once I get in work-mode, I am ready to get it all done.  So, I finished my one hedge and pranced myself over to the area where Eric said could wait.  I had almost finished the forbidden area when I dropped the electric trimmers.  They grazed my finger and left a nasty gash.  If I hadn't had gloves on, then I imagine it would have been a whole lot worse. 

This story has always stuck with me.  As I was rinsing the blood away under cold water, I heard the Holy Spirit say that I should have listened to my husband.  I thought I knew best in this situation, but God was teaching me that what Eric said was best.  My "hedge" of protection was to not just listen to what he said, but do as he said.  When I willingly came out from under his authority and proceeded my own way, I opened myself up to attack because I was no longer under his protection.

If you have never turned to your husband for advice, I want you to surrender to fear and pride and give it a whirl.  The art of listening to our husbands and then doing as they say will provide a blessing richer than anything ever experienced.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Marriage (#2: Give Him Freedom to Fail)

I hope you are enjoying our new little series! It is reminding me of how far I have come in this thing called marriage but I am also becoming painfully aware of how far I have to go.  Sigh.  If there wasn't always the elusive and perfect Proverbs 31 woman hanging around my neck, threatening comparison and defeat.

The last thing I want you to feel is condemnation.  Marriage is a totally God-thing.  Who else can take two polar opposites and make them one?  It was grace that united you and your man and it will be grace that will keep you two in marital peace.

Now that you have written down all your lofty expectations of your man and surrendered him completely over to the Lord, it is time for step two:  Give him the freedom to fail.

Your husband isn't your Savior.  There is only one Redeemer, and your man just didn't make the cut.  The beautiful thing about our Jesus is that He wants us not only set free from sin, but to look like Him as well.  In order for us to take on His character, we are going to have to go through some threshing.

Threshing often involves a crucifying of self, a shaking off of pride if you will. Sometimes this sanctification process comes through failing.  It can be failure in a relationship, failure in a business venture, failure in a dream or vision, failure in meeting God's standards, or failure in health.
And, you need to let it happen.

So many women are terrified of what might happen if their men fail, that they do everything in their power to intervene and stop it from occurring.  But, I want to warn against this because God may have something amazing to teach your husband if you just step back and stay out of the way.  God simply doesn't need a woman's intervention. Our role as supportive wives is to love unconditionally, pray, and be willing to endure if the threshing process takes longer than expected.

I always like to think of it as me being a mere spectator between God and my man in a wrestling match.  I know that if I simply pray and watch, then I can see my husband come out of the ring with a new name, just like Jacob.  Eric may come out of the ring broken, but isn't that exactly what God desires anyway? 

After Jacob's wrestling match with God, he named the place Peniel, which means "face of God."  If we don't allow this wrestling to occur, then our men might miss out on seeing the face of God!  How are our men supposed to look like God until they see what God looks like?  It takes threshing and wrestling for this to even have a chance.

So, remember step two:  Give him freedom to fail!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Marriage {#1: Set Him Free}

I have been thinking a lot about how there seems to be a lack of the older generation investing in the younger generation when it comes to discipling and training.  I am still praying for someone to come along and pour truth into me, but since it isn't happening, I wonder if the blessings of my Godly Mom and Mother-in-law are sufficient.  (They are probably more than sufficient...what a blessing they both are!)

That said, I was talking with my friend Anna about mentoring others.  She and I woefully are in agreement...we are quickly becoming that older generation.  We can choose to mentor the younger women that God puts on our path.  We laugh, well, more like shudder, to think that we might have something to offer, but then we sit back and see all that God has taught us in the past decade and realize that God doesn't teach so that we can hoard.  So, with God's grace, I think we are both on journeys of being teachers.  gulp.

Titus chapter 2 tells us that the older women are to teach what is good and train the younger women to love their husbands and their children.  That word train is "sophronizo" in Greek and means to "give instruction in wise behavior and good judgment."

So, with the Spirit's help, I will occasionally post some things that I have learned along the way.  Almost 14 years of marriage is nothing compared to my great-grandparents' whopping 76, but I can still share what God has taught thus far.

Well, how about this for number one:  you've got to set that man of yours free!

I married at the ripe old age of 21.  I held Eric in such high esteem while dating that I put him on a 20 foot pedestal.  I thought we were going to conquer the world together, or at least save millions for Jesus's name.  My dreams for us were so lofty that I was pretty certain that Eric might even be used to turn our government around in some sort of high political office.  Maybe I was just a tad bit naive.

Eric was the spiritual leader in our home, but I wanted that leadership to look exactly like what I had envisioned.  For me, the epitome of a Godly man was one who would hold his wife's hand in bed at night and pray together.  Much to my dismay, he would fall asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.  Sometimes, I would ask him to pray, and he would gladly oblige, but then I got inwardly angry because he wasn't taking the initiative in doing it himself.

I was drugged on birth control pills and extremely hormonal and emotional.  I would lay there and start to cry, thinking that just maybe my (not so quiet) sniffles might jar him from his slumber so that he could rescue me from my dismay.  OK, so God made him a sound sleeper.  I would start to cry a little louder, thinking for sure that he just might be deaf.

At this point, when Eric didn't even budge, I would march myself from our bed to our kitchen, about 5 steps total, plunk myself down by the fridge, and stare at the moon.  I would start to sob uncontrollably, thinking for sure that now was my moment, he would come now.

He never once came.

Here is the first thing I want to tell the younger generation of women when it comes to marriage:  you have got to yank the pedestal out from under that man of yours.  He doesn't need to be high up on some other level because he is human and you are bound to set yourself up for disappointment.  There is no room for grace when your expectations are so high that he can't even go to sleep without you entering into an emotional tizzy.

Your man will be the spiritual leader of your home.  God wired him for it.  But, it is going to look like what God and your husband want it to look like.  In our first year of marriage, Eric would wake up on Wednesdays at the crack of dawn to drive down to Little Rock to hear Robert Lewis speak on Biblical manhood.

I couldn't even see that God was training Eric in leadership because I was in such a snot faced tizzy about what Eric wasn't doing.

I want you to write down all of your expectations of your husband.  Write them down.  Then, turn the list over to the One who created him.  We aren't the masters of those men; God is.  We don't call the shots and we can't expect them to change if we are holding them in the captivity of our unreal demands.  Set him free, sweet thing.  Set him free.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

You Are Blessed When...

I love reading the Message version of the Bible when I want it to fall fresh.  Reading the Beatitudes is really fun in the Message.  Here is Matthew 5: 3-12...I hope it speaks to what you need to hear today.

3"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

8"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

11-12"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Sometimes I wonder why I don't have favor in certain areas.  I love to write and I sometimes wish the door would fling open for me to enter into some kind of writing experience.  I have no idea what this would look like, but all I can say is that it isn't God's timing right now, because no doors are opening. 

That said, I am blown away at the doors that do open in my life.  Right now, that door seems to be photography.  God is the One who simply brought it to me, made it into a business, brought me clients, gave me skill, and keeps pouring out His favor upon it.  I have absolutely no room for boasting because it has simply never had anything to do with me when it came to photography.  I surrendered it long ago, and He seems to keep blessing it.

Why photography and not writing, I don't know...but I am content to simply be where He is at work.  I want to encourage you to spend your time and talent in the areas that He is blessing...enter into the doors that He is opening.

All this said, He poured out His favor once again and I was able to win a challenge that even provides a gift card!

I wrote more about it over here...