“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


"But how could you live and have no story to tell?" ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky


"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" ~Matt Hardy


“A mother keeps a garden of the heart, planting the seeds of faith and character that give her children hope and purpose for the years ahead.” ~Anonymous


“If your story is never told, it becomes something else...forgotten.” ~Anonymous

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sugar-free, Fat-free and JESUS

I must admit, I am a little bit disappointed at the moment....happy, but disappointed.  Let me explain....for the past month I have been rigidly watching what goes in my mouth.  Not dieting, just eating healthy.  The annual doctor visit and lab tests in April delivered shocking numbers and left me in a place of needing to adjust my diet even further than I had done in the past.  For the last year I have deleted a lot of sugar and white flour from my diet, as well as high-fat foods (or so I thought).  Well, I won't drag this out....suffice it to say, I was not eating as healthy as I had convinced myself.  So with a month of being a good girl and keeping a food journal, I am sensing I have done well....a doctor visit just around the corner and encouraged in that there should be some changes in my cholesterol and sugar levels.  I "feel" good, lost some weight in the process and know that at this point in my life, I am on a healthy journey for the long run....

My disappointment arrived this morning when I finally found the recipe of a soup I have been dying to try.....and I discovered I could probably die if I made it.  A cream of asparagus soup made with applewood smoked bacon.  Frying bacon....using the bacon grease as a base and later on adding cream to complete this incredible soup - not to mention the butter-laden bread they tell you to eat with the soup!  My joy at finding the recipe dissipated when I realized "there is no way I can eat this!"  (now, I have been tweaking recipes all month and know that I can make this work...without all the fat and cream).  My thought process, however initially was "why are all the really delicious things so bad for me??"  Hmmm......

Tossing the recipe aside, Bible and coffee mug in hand, I settled in for my time with the Lord....and the Holy Spirit showed up.  Why does sin seem so enticing at the moment....really fun....instant gratification.....yet so bad for us.  (I'm not talking food here, but the analogy is appropriate).   We want to do something or have something that is not in our best interest, but yet we go ahead because we want it now.  We are extremely short-sighted.  In the book of Proverbs, lady Wisdom over and over again calls us from the road of foolishness and beckons us to take the road of wisdom and life.  Yet, so often, the road of foolishness is taken and we pay for it in the long run.  

1 Timothy 4:8 says ....train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.  Spiritually speaking, if I forsake those things that are not good for me (as delicious as they may seem at the moment) and set my eyes on seeking godliness, righteousness and taking the road of wisdom and life, my long-term outlook has promise....in this life and the life to come.  This encompasses everything from spending time in the Word daily, prayer, my relationships, my tongue - how I talk about people, how I spend my time, honesty/integrity....just reading the book of Proverbs sets out a course to take for our lives.  

If I am short-sighted and want to eat that soup now.....I will pay down the road with my health.  If I am short-sighted and decide to take a detour in my journey with God and pursue something that is not good for me but will give me a measure of "happiness" at the moment.....I will pay in the long run.  I want the JOY, not the momentary happiness.

Oh, how I want to be looking further down that road and not in the moment....making decisions that have eternal ramifications.  Hebrews 12: 1-3 says "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (cheering us on, yeah!!), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so EASILY ENTANGLES and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS....."   And the only way, I am going to be able to have the wisdom, strength and grace to run and stay on this road, is by spending time daily with the One who can guide me.  And that, my friend, tastes tastes pretty delicious day to day!!!!!  What He has for us is incomparable to what this earth offers.  I develop a taste for the things of God (just as I develop a taste over time for the sugar-free, non-fat life...our physical body does adjust and you eventually dislike the sugary and fatty foods).  In the same way, the more we spend time pursuing godliness, the more uncomfortable we become with ungodliness in our own lives.

Thank you, Jesus, that not only do I learn something about short-sightedness in my eating habits (by not eating that soup...I will be healthier and my test results will reflect that :), but I also heard from You about looking long-term down that road of life pursuing godliness both in this present life and the life to come!  And that tastes sooooooo good!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens....

Why do I feel like Julie Andrews when the sun comes out....and I want to run through a green meadow in the mountains and break out into singing "the hills are alive".   For most of us here in the Pacific NW, when that yellow orb appears in the sky...we want to drop everything and spend those valuable moments outside.  Today is one of those days and as soon as I finish writing and do a bit of demanding housework, I am going to enjoy that sunshine....please still be there!!

There is nothing like a beautiful sunny day in Oregon!  It makes me appreciate life and all those treasures He places in mine.  That song "A Few of My Favorite Things" keeps running through my mind and I have to share.  (the other "nugget" I planned on indulging in today from the Word is a bit heavier in content, so perhaps on my next cloudy day....)

Yes, I do love...cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels...doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles; snowflakes, silver white winters that melt into spring.....picture yourself dancing around on a down-filled bed, pillows flying and Julie singing in the background....now, that I have your attention...these are a few of my favorite things...in the springtime....

** brilliant blue sky with fluffy white clouds
** the smell of daffodils in early spring
** fresh springtime vegetables & fruits to try in new recipes
** cooking and baking 
** pasta, actually anything Italian
** cherry blossoms
** tulips (which I don't plant because the deer will eat them)
** those lovely tulip-eating deer that come into our yard :)
** the birds that feast on our birdhouse outside my bedroom window
** green grass
** the sound of that grass being mowed...means outdoor weather is near!
** cup of hot coffee in the early peaceful morning sitting on the deck with my  Bible waiting for God to speak
** girl time with friends over lunch
** the colors that come out in the spring/summer fashions - pastels or vibrant mixes that chase away the grey of winter (I bought some new coffee mugs the other day just so I could have some new color in my kitchen :)
** opening the windows to let in the fresh air 
** lambs frolicking with their moms....just down the road from our house
** new springtime babies....chicks, kittens, puppies, and the human kind :)


Love rainbows....they took on a whole new meaning for me once I've seen Mt. Ararat....

My lilacs are almost ready to bloom and I absolutely LOVE their smell! That is springtime for me!!

And one of my favorite bushes in our yard...

The color of this rhododendron is a beautiful purple and I adore it!

And of course....besides the man of my life whom I also adore....my all-time favorites ....

This photo is a couple of years old - taken @ Crater Lake but they are so much fun in my life!  And I don't get to spend nearly enough time with all four of them at one time in one place anymore.  They just grew up too quickly!

Springtime, when the sun is out, always invokes musings of what is truly beautiful in our lives.  Springtime to me is color, new life, new smells, new beginnings, and some of our favorite things.  Today, wherever you are, if that sun is shining, take a walk and breathe in the beauty around you (even if it is that tall building and sidewalk...someone creative designed and built it :) - people watch (another of my favorite things).  And if by chance (reality) the sun is not shining where you are...it will, I promise!  God, our Father, gave us senses.....today let that sense of smell and sight overwhelm us as we enjoy His gift of life and remember a few of your favorite springtime things!

(sorry if I repeated myself in this post from past posts...the sunshine does that to me!  :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not....

Remember being in middle or high school and taking that flower, picking off the petals reciting, "he loves me, he loves me not"?  Remember the drama of that best friend liking you one minute and the next day is upset at you.  Or that boy paying attention one minute and gone the next?  The confusion, rejection and misunderstanding that played itself out daily...drama, drama, drama.

Have you been in ministry, leadership or relationships where you were going along doing what you were supposed to do and discovering you made a decision that didn't please someone and they now turn their back on you?

Our friend, David the King, experienced this constantly. In 2 Samuel 15 - 20 we see "friends"  (and family) dropping off the radar right and left. David loses his son (not only physically, but his relationship with him) where at one time he probably bounced this boy on his knee laughing. When you read these chapters, you see betrayal, disloyalty and much heartache.  At the point in chapter 19, when the king returns to Jerusalem, you see several men coming out to make sure their past behavior with the king won't be held against them.  When David sends out his "trusted" to accomplish his purposes....they didn't always do to the letter what he'd asked (I'm not so sure I could have trusted Joab). 

Not much has changed since David's time; people still betray and change their loyalties day to day.  There is still misunderstanding amongst peers, family and even close friends.  (btw...I am not currently experiencing any of this...just impressed with how the "man after God's own heart" handles what life throws at him and it was in my daily reading....had to write down my thoughts!)  Also, it needs to be noted, that David was not perfect....he had his dysfunction, was not the best father or husband, and he definitely had to live with the consequences of his decisions and behavior.

Look ahead to Psalm 55....this are the words David cries out to his God in anguish at betrayal and confusion from those he loved and trusted.  He wants to fly away and be at rest (how many times have we wished the same?).  But he calls out to God and the Lord saves him (vs. 16)  Then David tells us to "cast our cares on the Lord and He will sustain us" (vs. 22) and finally, "but as for me, I will trust in YOU."  (vs. 23)  Here's a man that knew where to go when his heart was in anguish.  He knew where to go when he was misunderstood.  He knew who to turn to when he felt unloved and even betrayed.  David knew WHO was his source of life, joy, comfort, understanding and forgiveness .  I am amazed at how David could forgive....I believe it is because he had himself been forgiven so often by his Father.  

Here's a "mentor" for us....our friend, David.  We can all learn from his life because we will all have rejection, misunderstanding and disloyalty at some point in our lives.  Wherever you are today, dear friend, I hope you will go to the One who can touch that place in your heart that no one else can.

Ending on a lighter note for today.....has Springtime reached your area....I am still watching for it...we get a day here and there.  My lilacs haven't completely bloomed yet (and it is May!), they usually bloom by my daughter's birthday in mid-April.  So here is a bit of Springtime to brighten your day...at least visually...

Okay...these palm trees are not in my yard..but I love blue skies, palm trees and warm weather!  Hope your day is full of sunshine.

Friday, May 6, 2011

30 hours, 8,270 miles and home :)

I know....I am a little too specific in the details with the title, but it was a very long trip home.  And considering I am still recovering from jet-lag (yes, it does get harder to readjust once you are over a certain age...:), and caught a slam-bang cold in the midst of it all, the details make me understand why I feel as I do.  However, in the midst of my muddled mind, stuffy head and sore throat.....my heart is glad and singing...."We had an INCREDIBLE trip!"  God was so good, faithful and fatherly in all His ways.  I thought I would take a couple of minutes before my pillow starts calling my name (again)....and share some photos and thoughts.

We made so many new friends in Armenia and God showed His fatherheart to each and every one.  My husband was awesome in his sharing and teaching in the DTS (Discipleship Training School with Youth With A Mission), and the times of prayer with the students was just as incredible.  God reaches out to the fatherless (and the motherless!) and He revealed His never ending love and commitment to each student who shared their past hurts, wounds and opened their lives to us.  We were honored and humbled to be a part of praying with them as they received a glimpse of God's heart for them and His words that He has never or will never abandon them.  Many stories and testimonies came out of this time, and not enough room or time to tell all.  Suffice it to say....to God be the glory...He is their Father, Poppa and in many ways...Mother to a beautiful group of students we had the privilege of getting to know.  This was only the second week of their school - God has so much more for them!!

We also had the adventure of seeing parts of Armenia during this week.  I'll only include a few photos...

This incredible mountain is Mt. Ararat (you cannot imagine the immensity of this mountain until you see it in person and up close....awesome!!  Can you see the ark there in the snow ?? :)  And that handsome other figure is my man :)

We saw so ancient buildings, churches and monasteries dating back thousands of years....this is one ancient country!!  We felt like we were seeing history before our very eyes!

And the food....

Oh yes, we tried all variety of Armenian dishes....we are not one to go to the local McDonald's like some Americans when they travel overseas...give us the local culture and cuisine and we are happy campers!!  We ate in a couple of homes and it was a special treat!

But our best and favorite moments were the people we have come to love....

Andrei, Marlin and Katya - the YWAM base leaders in Yerevan, Armenia.

Lena, Paul and Gracie (Gracie stole our hearts!)
Lena was in first DTS in Armenia when Jim spoke 4 years ago

The students and some staff of the DTS & YWAM work

I hope to share more in the coming weeks as it was a full week with good times and stories of new friends and life in Armenia.  Our hearts are grateful and blessed to be a part of this new family!  And since our last full day there was a holiday (May 1st) and the monument/park we wanted to see was closed....we have to go back :)  Plus, there will be more babies next time we go that we absolutely must hold in our arms!!

This weekend is Mother's Day....snuck up on me.....can't wait to spend time with  my own "babies" who are now grown up and bring me a whole new level of joy.  May you be blessed - whether or not you are a mom - knowing God our Father has good things in store for our lives and hope for a future held in His hands!