Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blessed: divinely favored

Have you ever had one of those moments when you look around and realize just how BLESSED you are?

That's where I find myself right now. I'm sitting on my couch, looking out the french doors to the backyard, thinking back on the day and it amazes me how many BLESSINGS God has given me. As I sit here the flat screen TV is playing, dinner is cooking on the stove, and my puppies are running around chasing squirrels. My husband is on his way home, from a job that was an answer to prayer, so that we can spend this evening together. I've had the chance to talk to my mom on the phone this morning and she gave me some great ideas. My teaching partner is one of my best friends. She is creative, caring, and a fabulous listener. I work at a school with teachers I admire and a few I aspire to be. My students are inquisitive, creative, funny, and hardworking. The weather is gorgeous, perfect for keeping the doors open and the air blowing through the house.

Bottom line...I can't complain. Of course, I do...but I shouldn't...I am BLESSED!

How cool is it to be able to stop and remember that?

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ" Ephesians 1:3

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Just a quick note...

I was reading some new blogs today (yep, I'm becoming addicted!)  and was struck by how cool it is that we live in a time that we have a medium which allows us to record our thoughts for others to read. It's amazing to me that I've started this whole blogging thing. I don't know where it will take me or if will impact anyone else...but I'm fairly certain that I will grow simply from this blogging experience.

For those who have already read the words I've posted, shared them with others, or commented on a thread- THANK YOU!!!! I really appreciate all the positive and encouraging words. THANK YOU!!!

This journey is off to a pretty neat start!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Refine: To bring to a finer state

I can't imagine a world without music! It's a powerful vehicle. Music has the magical ability to fit any emotion we may have, deliver a message, or simply take us away from it all. 

One of the things I like best about music is how it can be a means of worshiping and reconnecting with God. I'll admit I'm not a full-time listener of Christian tunes. My iPod has lots of different genres of music, but lately I've rediscovered my love of some great Christian artists like Mark Shultz, Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, and Steven Curtis Chapman; just to name a few.

Jennifer Knapp is another one of my favorite Christian artists.  Her music is simple, straight forward and the messages are often very similar to what I want to say. This week I've been praying the words to one of Jennifer's songs. The message is just what I pray God will do in me- make me new in His image, REFINE me. Love the powerful words!


I come into this place, 
burning to receive your peace
I come with my own chains, 
From wars I've fought for my own selfish gain.
You're my God and my Father. 
I've accepted your son.
But my soul feels so empty now
What have I become? 

Lord, come with your fire
Burn my desires REFINE me.
Lord my will has deceived me
Please come and free me. 

My heart can't see. 
When I only look at me. 
My soul can't hear. 
When I only think of my own fears. 
They are gone in a moment. 
You're forever the same. 
Why did I look away from You? 
How can I speak your name? 

Lord, come with your fire. 
Burn my desires REFINE me. 
Lord my will has deceived me
Please come and free me. 
Come rescue this child, 
For I long to be reconciled to You.


"For You have tried us, O God;  You have REFINED us as silver is REFINED." Psalm 66: 10

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful: Feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative

Not so long ago, my hubby and I were going out to dinner. As we got to the front doors, we saw that a group of women were leaving the restraunt. Russ quickly grabbed for the door and held it open for them. Amazingly, not one of them said THANK YOU or even acknowledge his kindness. In fact, they pretty much ignored the courtesy, almost as though they expected it or were entitled to it.

As surprising as this lack of manners is, I can't claim that I'm any different. I do make a point to say THANK YOU or good morning, etc. to folks who show a kindness to me, but I often forget to THANK the One that has provided me with so many blessings to begin with. In that way, I'm not much different from the ladies at the restaurant...ungrateful and entitled.

A few months ago, a friend sent me a saying on Facebook that said, "Imagine if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today." Wow! How powerful is that? If that was true, sadly, there would be many days that I would wake up without a whole heck of a lot!  It's so easy to get caught up in asking God for things, but never THANKING Him for the many gifts and kindnesses He has shown us.  I've been working on taking time throughout the day to say a quick "THANK YOU!" to Him. I'm working on remembering to start my prayers with THANKS and praise, so that God knows I do appreciate the many wonderful blessings and gifts that He has given me. I'm am so very THANKFUL...more than I could ever express!

Have you THANKED Him today?

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." 
Ephesians 5:20

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Clean: free from dirt, unsoiled, and unstained

It seems like they multiply overnight.  I know they try to attack me when I'm sleeping.  They drive me nuts! What are they? Those darn dust bunnies!

It amazes me how many places those little buggers can hide. They're behind the chairs, under the furniture, in the corners, on the ceiling fans, covering the blinds, in the closets, on the doors...the list goes on and on.  Given the many places they are, you'd think I never CLEANED my house! The truth is, I try to do a really good CLEANING once every couple of weeks and in between I put stuff away and wipe things down. No matter how hard I try, the dust bunnies return, again and again, and again! 

Sadly, there are dust bunnies in other parts of my life too, and they don't look like those gray little tumbleweeds going down my hallway. Nope, the dust bunnies in the rest of my life look like self-doubt, gossip, unworthiness, jealousy, stress, frustration, untruthfulness...this list goes on and on too. Sometimes these dust bunnies are harder to see. Sometimes it takes some honest self-reflection to notice them. The only way I know how to wash these guys out of my life isn't with a dust cloth and vacuum, but through prayer. Our God is capable of helping us CLEAN these dust bunnies out of our lives.  He will help us recognize them, forgive us for them, and help us work on removing them completely if we come to Him with an open, honest heart. All we have to do is talk to God. 

Now, do you think He'd get rid of them in my house too? ;)

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash away my iniquities, and CLEANSE me from my sin." Psalm 51:1-2

Friday, January 27, 2012

Re- : a prefix used with the meaning "to do again"

It's the weekend! Praise God!! 
If you're like me it's a part of the week you look forward to. 
Saturday and Sunday are a gift. 
It's the perfect chance to just "RE-"

Will you "RE-" this weekend? 

RElax-Stop working and rest 
REcharge-Take time to do something you enjoy to get back your energy and strength 
REflect- Think and ponder the ups and downs of the past week 
REmove- Put away an object or thought that has moved you away from God 
REpent- Ask God for forgiveness of sins 
RElease- Give your worries and stress over to God 
REceive- Accept God's forgiveness and love 
REbuild- Strengthen your defenses and faith through prayer, bible study, church, and fellowship

I pray your weekend is full of many opportunities to "RE-".

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you REst. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Courage: a spirit that allows a person to face difficulty or danger

When I first think of COURAGE I think of our men and women in the military, our police officers and firefighters, disaster survivors, and folks who face life threatening health concerns. Rarely, unless it's brought to my attention, do I think of people being COURAGEOUS in their every day lives, but the truth is that we are all COURAGEOUS every day.

Parents and caregivers are COURAGEOUS as they make choices about how to raise their children. At times they have to take a stand for what they believe, even if it flies in the face of what others believe or do. It takes COURAGE to tell a child "no" and stick to it, even as they are having a melt down and not getting their way. It takes COURAGE to send your child out into the world- at school, work, getting married, etc. It takes COURAGE to raise a family and it's not for the faint of heart!

One of the most COURAGEOUS people I've ever known was my dad. When I was in elementary school my dad developed an addiction to alcohol. As the years went by and his addiction became greater and greater, it affected his family, friends, and health. Finally, when I was in high school my dad made the COURAGEOUS decision to get sober. While not easy, he overcame his addiction and mended relationships. It takes COURAGE to face any kind of addiction- alcohol, drugs, nicotine, gambling, food, money, etc.

It also seems to me that it takes COURAGE to be a Christian. Often times our society looks at Christians as "bible thumpers", people who are "holier than thou", or even hypocrites. It takes COURAGE to live a Christian life and to tell others about your beliefs and faith. Being a Christian doesn't mean you're perfect, it means you have a relationship with God. You have a support system through Him. You are saved by His grace. It takes COURAGE to stand-up and proudly say, "I'm not perfect, but I'm working on living my life for God!"

There are so many other ways that we are COURAGEOUS, but one thing I've learned is that it's easier to have COURAGE to do things that are difficult, if you have God on your side. If you don't know Him, I encourage you to meet Him. Do you have the COURAGE to take that step?

"Be strong and of good COURAGE, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6