“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

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Mother's Day Blog-a-thon

One of my favorite holidays is just around the corner.  Of course, I am a MOM!  I love having my children pay attention to me :)  I enjoy not having to cook (unless my own mother visits and then I want to spoil her with a lovely meal :)   It is a time when a mom gets to enjoy being spoiled a bit!  By the time Mother's Day rolls around, spring has shown her lovely face and we begin to enjoy a bit of warm weather here in our neck of the woods.  And I am a big fan of "honoring" those who have not only given life, but have given so much of their lives and sacrificed to care for their families.

I especially am blessed by the many stories I hear of the way moms have touched a person's life.  Special moments and memories etched in our minds and hearts for eternity.  Some involve tremendous sacrifice, some as simple as a smile when needed.  Other times, a mom was there with a crucial bit of insight at just the perfect time.  And others, just the thought of a special meal or event....even a smell that invokes the feelings of never wanting to let go of that moment.

For the next three weeks, I would love to hear from YOU and your special MOM memories!  I want to dedicate the days leading up to Mother's Day (May 12th) to remembering and honoring our moms. Actually, you might not even have a memory of your mother, but there has been a mom figure in your life and you would love to share a memory.  If you would like to email me your stories (500 words or less), I will review them and then publish them here on the blog.  You can give me your first name only (or not), and I will give you credit for your piece.  I had a friend a few weeks ago send me the most amazing story of her mom who is no longer with us.  That will be one of the first ones I share, along with my own "mom story".   A new and creative way to honor your mom this Mother's Day.  All it takes is a few moments of your time to put your heart on paper (or computer page :) and send it to me.  I would love to hear, maybe shed a tear or two, and even laugh out loud as you remember your momma :)

Actually, when you email, you could attach a photo if you feel comfortable doing that also.

Email stories to   DebbyJD@hotmail.com and put in subject line "MY MOM" .  Ideally, I would like to post a story a day until Mom's Day, but it will take all of you sending me your memories to make this work.

So here we go...our very own Mother's Day Blog-a-Thon.... get those stories rolling in...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Passionate Patience

To be passionate:  showing strong feelings or intense believe or emotion

To be patient:  to be able to wait without becoming annoyed or anxious

One word shows action....the other leads us to believe "inaction".  Or rather action without stress or anxiousness.

Can we be passionately patient?  I found this paraphrase of Romans 5:3-5 in The Message:

"There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us,  and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary - we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"

Verse 6 follows this up with..."Christ arrives right on time to make this happen."

Christ shows up right in the midst of our troubles...our battles.  He calls us to ENDURANCE.  Other translations reveal "suffering....producing perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, HOPE."  The end result is HOPE.

Bo Stern shares in her book "Beautiful Battlefields"  that endurance is not a gift, it is a developed skill.  It is what we learn on the battlefields of our life.  One battlefield is the groundwork for what lies ahead.  The seeds are planted, the lessons learned (if we endure and do not give up...although even when we give up, lessons are hopefully learned in the long run)....and we are prepared for the next battle.  Every battle becomes practice for the next one.

Bo also says "Endurance will inevitably be required to achieve anything of value.  That's why we should be thankful for our battlefields."

Today, there will be those of us in church, worshipping and enjoying our friends and family.  We might have smiles on our faces.  But how many of us/you are fighting a battle that only you, or a few know about?  Or maybe your battle is well known.  Having someone "hold up your hands" in the battle is a treasure that we absolutely must have to survive.  

Today, ask yourself a question "What is on the other side of this battlefield if I endure?  Will I grow and be better for it?"  Another quote from Bo, which reaches into the very depths of my heart, "Love led Jesus to the cross; obedience and endurance held Him there.  I am so grateful that He chose to stay, to outlast the suffering, to ENDURE it all for you and me."  Oh, how that touches me so deeply!

Passionate patience.....a developed skill that I so ardently desire in my life.  Alert expectancy.  Can I feel strongly in the waiting, without becoming annoyed or anxious, to reach the hope He promises.  The hope that does not put us to shame.  The battle where Christ arrives right on time and makes it happen.  I pray in the midst of whatever battle you may be facing, now or the one that is ahead, you will have passionate patience and joy will show up in the middle of the war.

Image from "Walking with Jesus Online"

note:  I highly recommend Beautiful Battlefields - a testimony of finding joy, peace and endurance in the middle of our battles. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Knock Knock...Who's There? Elijah...

Love, betrayal, mystery, murder, war, famine, drought, miracles, adventure, intrigue, faith - only a few of the words we could use to describe the Old Testament of the Bible.  The stories hidden within the pages of this centuries old book are filled with lessons that reach across the millennia.  Men and women who lived, loved, believed and died leaving a trail of stories to be told.  There is no better "storybook" !

One such story which is finding a very prominent place in my faith walk right now is 1 Kings 17. Elijah a prophet, has just declared a drought.  God leads him away from his hometown, seemingly to "hide" (verse 3) and he is fed by ravens near a brook where he is also able to have a water supply.  He has his needs met by Almighty God for a season.  When the brook dries up, He is instructed by God to go to a widow in Sidon who will provide food for him.

When he arrives and asks the widow for food and water, he discovers she is nearing the end of her "supply".  She only has enough flour for one more meal.  He tells her to not be afraid.  He instructs her to continue her hospitality anyway.  Make him a loaf, bring it to him first.  Then, she may make something for herself and her son. He proclaims "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says to you...the jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land."  Our weary widow does as she is told and there is food every day for Elijah, for herself and her family.

Let me see...

No bread, a handful of flour in a jar, a little olive oil, a few sticks for fuel.....obedience + generosity = abundant provision...in fact, ALL WE NEED.

Are there times when God asks us to do something and we hesitate because of our limited resources?  I think more often than we realize.  What if there are miracles He wants to do on our behalf?  What if He has an "appointed time or season" He wants to provide daily in a way that is truly miraculous....where He shows up in the flour and the oil...and it doesn't run dry.  What if...there is someone He wants us to bless, reach out to, impact in a way that only our generosity will speak to....and He tells us to grab that last handful of flour, that last drop of oil, and take care of them first.  

If you read further in Chapter 17, you next see the widow's son becomes ill and dies.  Oh great, he is fed miraculously for weeks only to turn around and die from something else.  This widow panics and blames Elijah.  He takes the boy and cries out to God....God hears him and returns the boy's life.  The son is returned to his mother.  The last verse of the chapter says "THEN the woman says to Elijah, 'NOW, I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is truth.'"   Hmmm...I would think she had THAT thought during the weeks of the flour and oil not running out.  But we in our human nature, sometimes miss the miracles of the day.   But again, here comes our FAITHFUL GOD and He shows up in the middle of our humanity, our daily grind, our panic and worries; just when we think all is about to run out...GOD brings resurrection.  He brings Himself and His presence.

My faith walk right now is requiring a deeper level of TRUST.  Scraping that flour barrel, shaking that bottle of oil.....on the word of the Lord to trust Him in every step of my journey.

Obedience + Generosity = Abundant Provision of all I NEED

This goes beyond oil and flour and financial need....our energy, our time, our resources, our health, our faith.....what barrel or jar do you feel you are running low on...about to run out?  But you know you have to keep going.... Is there an area of generosity deep within us we can tap into?  Is God's whisper of trust and obedience requiring steps that will open the door to the provision of what you feel you are lacking right now.  I think there is a miracle....a never running out.....a resurrection awaiting us as we tap into His perspective on the intertwining of obedience and generosity.  

What will we do when an Elijah comes to visit...or some opportunity presents itself but we feel we are lacking in some area?  I want to open the door for a miracle.  From my heart to yours....I hope you see that miracle when you open that door.