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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Quieted by His love…


The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

Not much else to say after an open like that.  Yesterday, I wrote, “our lives are cluttered with useless noise; things that will not matter in the long run, petty misunderstandings, mistakes, missteps, things that stifle our peace and siphon away our happiness.” Imagine all noise being quieted by love. 

Yesterday was like any other day, filled with ups and downs.  A friend called, clearly distressed, and what I can say (and what I did say to her) is this.  It’s one thing to fall off a cliff.  Your issues are simple; you will live or you will die. Standing in the space where the fallen once stood is infinitely more daunting…you will obsess, perhaps ad nauseum, about falling.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Be joyful!


But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
Psalms 5:11 (NKJV)



http://www.dreamstime.com/entwined-gold-rings-on-white-background-thumb18071798.jpg 
Yesterday was our 19th wedding anniversary.  We’d spent a delightful, nothing special, everything wonderful Memorial weekend together as a family; running errands, chilling out, spending time doing some things and no things, and then there was that party… I had neither plans nor expectations when my husband called to invite me out to dinner.  I’d already seasoned and seared chicken breasts stuffed with cornbread crab dressing roasted in marsala and my completed my first ever (and successful, too!) pea and scallion risotto. He told me to let the children enjoy the meal together along with the chilled sparkling cider, they who are always arguing that they’re old enough to fend for themselves, and pick a restaurant. I said yes to joy. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sweet counsel…


We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.
Psalms 55:14


We had a party! We were the guests of a friend, who while being among the most gracious hosts I’ve ever known, can’t cook to save her life.  We chipped in, helped out, coached, provided recipes and encouragement along with our own dishes.  We shared sweet counsel.

http://www.suncoastmcc.org/images/fellowship.jpg
To be fair, David penned the 55th Psalm when his heart was broken.  He was distressed about his own sin, betrayal, weary of the duplicitous nature of people in whom he trusted, supposed people of God, so perhaps it wasn’t the scripture I should consider when basking in the afterglow of a lovely evening spent in fellowship.  However, the poetry of this particular phrase within the Psalm speaks precisely to sweet spirit that abided with us yesterday.  These are the friends of my friend who themselves have become mi familia.  We relished in sweet counsel.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Opportunity…(the challenge to do the right thing because it’s right)


Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthymeditate on these things.
Philippians 4:8(NKJV)

Happy Friday...once again I'm linking up with the thegypsymama to drop everything and write.   My readers, such as they are, now expect a FMF.  The rules are simple…

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. REALLY.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Visit people who linked up before us & encourage them with generous and thoughtful comments, because we all know how good they feel.

Game? Then drop everything and write!


GO:

http://www.dreamstime.com/well-done-sticker-thumb7281312.jpg
Yesterday would have been precisely the right time to act a d~~n fool in frustration over some foolishness.  I would have been well within my rights, and right to boot, for calling certain folks out on their bad behavior; letting their personal agendas getting in the way of getting things done, making right well-considered decisions without first considering their personal ambitions, etc…things I am familiar with because above all else, I am both human and ambitious.  Thankfully, most importantly, yesterday, I was a child of God.  I took the opportunity presented, to say, do, and act according ONLY to my Father’s Will and the guidance He provides me.  Yesterday, in the face of overwhelming foolishness, I was the peaceful warrior.

Thank You, Lord.  Yesterday I really could have responded to the feeling in my gut that something was going to be “out of order” with a call to battle.  In fact, I confessed to a good friend and colleague before a meeting began that I had a sense it was going to be contentious.  She agreed, asked if I’d heard anything, and asked how I knew.  I told her that I was listening to the Universe, and that I was fully prepared to handle it, for you see, the battle was never mine.  I had nothing to do but stand by.

I did not fight. I did not get angry.  I stayed cool.  I didn’t even feel the need to pray through it, only because I was safely hidden in The Rock.  I had no anxiety about what was to come (and it got ugly, and stayed that way, in fact, it ain’t over.) However, at all times, I was content to be still and await the right way to proceed, knowing He would make a way, and it would be plain, as well as something a committed bunch of co-volutenteers  could live with.  Before night fell yesterday, it was all done.  In order.  Recognizably right.  Praise God.
When we learn to lean and depend; when we learn to go to the hill; when we learn to seek His refuge, it’s alright.  You see, before I ever walked into yesterday’s meeting, it was already alright.  The test was mine-you see the battle wasn’t, but the test, waiting patiently upon the Lord, was…and yesterday, when presented with the opportunity to glorify God, I passed.  Hallelujah! 

What have you celebrated? What have you done well, to the glory of God? Tests may not be wonderful, but passing them is.  Passing your test is confirmation that God is Good.

TIME!

STOP:


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chill…(A Calm Resolve to Wait for the Salvation of God)


My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
 He only is my rock and my salvation
;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
 In God is my salvation and my glory
;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.

Psalms 62:5-7 (NKJV)


In the last few days, things have been suggested about people I trust, colleagues with whom I’ve built relationships which disappoints me deeply.  I am processing this information differently than in the past, in part I believe, because I am committed to being in His Peace. (am I finally becoming the peaceful warrior?)  While I have listened (and perhaps I shouldn’t have), I prayed, and did nothing more.  I may finally be learning discernment.  Sometimes when something is revealed to you, your only responsibility is to take it in; there may well be more to the story.  Through it all, I have asked only that He would guide me, be with me, allowing me to cling to Him, the Rock.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stay in your lane…


 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:16-17 (NKJV)


“Stay in your lane…” that’s advice my children receive when poking their noses in business not their own.  They occasionally snap it at one another.  I am hopeful that it gets repeated on playgrounds and in the halls while they’re at school or otherwise off living their busy lives.  I try to live by my own example, staying in my lane. 

(from the Flikr account of the mighty Canadian juicepig)
I am generally loathe to give advice, preferring to listen to someone’s perspective on their challenge, and then, because I have a differing perspective, offer feedback (when solicited, almost never uninvited) on what I get from where I sit.  I read just this morning “Seeing things from a different perspective is a way of making space for grace.” I may be on to something, but there’s more good to be gained here.   According to Dr. Kirk B. Jones who authored this perspective “thank God, grace doesn't need a lot of space to make a real difference.” Apparently, it is possible to stay in your lane AND stay in grace.  I truly may be on to something here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Perspective…I am imprisoned by hope…(5 Minute Friday)


Return to the stronghold,
You prisoners of hope.
Even today I declare
That I will restore double to you.
Zechariah 9:12 (NKJV)

Happy Friday...where a merry band takes up the  thegypsymama's gauntlet  to drop everything and write.   My readers, such as they are, now expect a FMF.  The rules are simple…

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. REALLY.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Visit people who linked up before us & encourage them with generous and thoughtful comments, because we all know how good they feel.

Game? Come join the fun!


GO:

Channel surfing this morning, I happened upon Joyce Meyer’s confession that she is not by nature a happy person.  (Sounds like several people I know and love…) By comparison, I am the ultimate optimist-my cup is NEVER EMPTY.  I am thankful to have passed that optimism on to at least one of my children.  The other one I’m working on, but she’s a fatalist, like her dad.  Oh well. 

I heard something else on Joyce Meyer’s broadcast this morning, a testimony about Zechariah 9:12 that stayed with me, and as it happens, informs my perspective.  I am a prisoner of hope. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Abide in His Love….(Who are you?)

And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves
Matthew 21:13 (KJV)

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you abide in My love.
John 15:9 (NKJV) 


This Sunday’s message took on Andrew Sullivan’s recent Newsweek cover article, Forget the Church.  Follow Jesus.” The minister’s contention was that Andrew Sullivan got it wrong.  Personally, I’m not so sure.  In the article, Sullivan argues that “Christianity has been destroyed by politics, priests, and get-rich evangelists. Ignore them,…and embrace Him.” Before you write me off as a lunatic, please hear me when I say I have not walked away from either my faith or my church.  I’m just asking this question, would Jesus be welcomed in your house of worship?

A couple weeks ago I was following a “conversation” on FB.  The question was posed whether or not unwed mothers (among others) should be allowed to hold leadership positions in ministry.  What most concerned me was the tone, and I laughed to myself when one poster suggested that Mary, Mother of Jesus, would be turned away and perhaps also the Lord Himself?

Monday, May 14, 2012

It could have been a disaster….


My covenant was with him, one of life and peace,
And I gave them to him that he might fear Me
;
So he feared Me
And was reverent before My name.
The law of truth was in his mouth,
And injustice was not found on his lips.
He walked with Me in peace and equity,
And turned many away from iniquity.
Malachi 2:5-6 (NKJV)

Mother’s Day is hard work.  All holidays are.  And when the stakes are that high to get it right, so much can go wrong.  I am thankful that my journey has taught me that days like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are punctuation marks, not sentences.  If you’re not feeling loved and special on February 13th and 15th, one day isn’t going to make it happen for you.  And if you’re not already in a good place, a crowded restaurant, overpriced flowers, and stuff you don’t want won’t suddenly make you feel like Mother of the Year.

I explained to my children yesterday that I am certain they love me (and I am).  They make me feel special every day.  They make me proud of my investiture, and I told them so. I tell them constantly that we should never wait for special occasions to say and do the things we need to share our love. I am still thankful for the conversation I had with my father the day before he died.  He wasn’t ill, and nothing in the world could have prepared me for the next 24 hours, but I was absolutely guilty of doing it right that day.  It was the conversation I would have had with my father if I knew he was going to die.  Thank God I got it right.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

AKASuperMom….(originally posted 16 May 2011)


Tonight is “Chick Night,” the personal holiday I share with my daughter, the night before Mother’s Day.  I have an extraordinary Mother, so on the eve of Mother’s Day, this re-post is dedicated to you, mommy, and all my sistahfriends and mommies around the world with an S on their chest…



Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it. 
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

The Saturday evening before Mother’s Day, every year for the last 12 years, my 14-yr-old and I have attended the ballet.  We call it “Chick Night.” We take care dressing, fancy hair and manicured nails, before dispatching to an evening of unhurried conversation, dining, and sharing something we both love, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
Sisters in Motherhood, by Thomas Blackshear, 
given to me by my Gayle....

The first year, the tickets were a gift from my mother-in-law, who joined us. Every year since, I have surprised my child with tickets in a different location, from first row orchestra (on center), to second tier, where the experience is more production, less intimate, but no less captivating.  We’ve literally sat in nearly every section of the theatre.  Now that we are so familiar with the company and its repertoire, we compare performances, year over year.

As she grows, the experience has evolved beyond just attending the event.  I look forward to spending time with the interesting young woman she has become, catching up, hearing her thoughts, getting a window into her world.  She’s already asked if we’ll still be doing this when she’s away at college.  I pray we’ll be doing it until I’m buying tickets for a granddaughter (or two) to joins us, and even that the tradition will continue long after I’m gone.

What’s the training? That we fellowship together, look forward to spending time together.  That I am teaching my daughter a lifelong appreciation for and loving support of the arts, both as a participant and a patron. As dancers, many years, we have observed choreography only to comment, “hmm, that’s how it should be done…”

I want to be SuperMom, like my mom.  I want to give to my girl, as my mom gives to me, a sense of flawless invincibility, of strength grounded in faith, the ability to flawlessly sashay into a theatre like we own the joint, being cool, gracious, friendly, the one you’d pray to be. I want, I pray, to infuse her with a spiritual cool that carries her from girlhood to womanhood, from being single to being married, from being wife to mom, so that there will always be ballets, and family dinners, and secrets to share, and experiences to remember.

I learned to be a mother from my mom.  I’m trying to train up my child to conquer the world, because it is her birthright. So, as I navigate the teen years, and learn to breathe instead of scream when things get rough, I know I can always look forward to “Chick Night.” And when I think the teen years will simply never end, I am reminded of my abundant blessings.  Providing further evidence that God is Good.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Identity...(time for 5 minute Fridays)


Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
(NKJV)

Friday, again.  Where a bunch of merry warriors take up the  thegypsymama's gauntlet  to drop everything and write.   My readers, such as they are, now expect a FMF.  The rules are simple…

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. REALLY.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Visit people who linked up before us & encourage them with generous and thoughtful comments, because we all know how good they feel.
Game? Come join the fun!


IDENTITY

GO:

When you land at my blog, I try to tell you who I am, because that’s what folks say you should do…offer an introduction.  So, to the question, “what is your identity?” I have replied, “woman, wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, runner, dancer, friend, mentor, professional, and humble servant."  That's what I thought.  But when I am living my identity instead of defining my identity, what does my life reveal about who I really am??

 Living in the modern Western world, is it possible to live just one authentic life? I can honestly say in retrospect, the younger me had a few iterations.  Around 40, I started to refine my true identity.  Not until I was 40 did pray at work (at least not formally).  Not until I was 40 did I invite those who needed to to pray with me there (I think God used a particularly toxic office as one of my refining fires).  Not until I was 40 was I entirely unafraid to be me…no artifice, no pretense, thinking, praying, and then saying and doing exactly what I felt (led to say or do). 

Regarding my identity, I’ve always been me, like a virgin mound of clay before sculpting.  I just needed work.
The Master Artisan…today’s proof that God is good.

STOP:
 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My cup is never empty (I always see beautiful)…


I am eternally optimistic.  Gratefully, it’s how I’m wired.  Happily, it seems I’ve passed it on to my son, who always finds joy in what he’s doing, including making his dinner, see? (Who knew dinner could wink at you?)


So, in the spirit of “it’s all good…” I’m reprinting PraiseBreak, originally published 6/27/11 because I’m having a good day. According to a very wise lady I know, Every day we have a choice. We can let others dictate the way we see beautiful in ourselves and the world or we can see the beauty we inherently possess…. That means they’re all good days.  Call it me giving y’all a reminder.  Go be happy.  There’s always something to smile about….and that is clearly evidence that God is good.


PraiseBreak…
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall possess the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3-12(NIV)

Woke up in the mornin' feelin' fresh to def! I'm so blessed.
~Jill Scott, The Light of the Sun


I have challenged myself to get a lot of new stuff done, and there will time to blog about it all soon enough.  Right now, however, it’s time for a PraiseBreak! No matter what’s been going on, no matter how I’ve handled it (well, or otherwise) I declare right here and now that I thank God for my blessings.  I am blessed.

I woke up this morning.  I was in my right mind.  I got dressed, and had clothes to wear.  I put on shoes.  I walked the dog.  I worshipped in the open air, appreciating the birdsong, the blue sky, Sando’s delight at simple things; dew on the grass, new smells, new sights.

I want a lot, but don’t need anything.  I have enough.  And it all came from God.  I am provided for.  Amply.  I am blessed.  And I am thankful, because each and every moment, each and every blessing is further evidence that God is Good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The day after….


But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 
Matthew 5:44-45 (NKJV)

Check out this really cool image I found at
Yesterday was a hotly contested Municipal Election Day in my sleepy little town.  It was the most contentious election I can remember.  It is over.  When we engage in competition, in trying to live good lives, we should speak and act according to our values.  Sometimes we do, sometimes we do not.  When we fail in our trying, we should at least intend to behave the day after…

Friendships were tested.  Lines were crossed.  Mean things were said.  But that was yesterday.  What will we do today?

I am learning not to do or say things I may regret later.  Note that I did not say things I will regret; I’m setting a higher standard.  If I am concerned that it might cause harm, I am making an affirmative choice NOT TO speak, act, or do.   It’s part of my hiding strategy. If I don’t know what to say, I endeavor to say nothing.  I’m hiding, waiting for the right words, being quiet so I can hear.  I’d rather not have to apologize.  It’s the next step in my evolution. 

I declare here and now that I will not always succeed, but I am being intentional.  My prayer has become simply, “Lord, let me hide myself in Thee.”  So, you’ll be seeing less of me in the future.

Having refuge…knowing I am alone…my cup runneth over.  Even hiding can be evidence that God is good.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Hide and seek again...



http://serenity-forest-screensaver.downloadpipe.com/screenshot1053260,4
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion
;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me
;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle
;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Psalms 27:5-6 (NKJV)

 

Even when I don't feel strong, in holy defiance,

I choose to believe that God is strong in me.

~Say Yes to Grace
Hide and seek…(I’ve written this before).  Today’s blog was supposed to be the next iteration in my journey to Peace.  Once I’d typed the title…it seemed oddly familiar, like I’d been here before. Look what I posted February 23, last year.  I wrote then, “I am certain that “that still small voice” is speaking and I cannot hear it.” Can it be that more than a year later the message for me is unchanged, but I’ve finally left some space between the noises to hear? I told my mom last week that I’d made a new vow, and here it is….”Lord, I’ve decided to hide myself in You, and I ain’t comin’ out.” This morning it seems I have l have found the message I put in the bottle.  Time to go hide and seek again….  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Real...(time for 5 minute Fridays)


I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34:4(NKJV)

Real…

It's Friday.  That means that I join a bunch of merry warriors who  take up the gauntlet thrown down by the gypsy mama to drop everything and write.  The rules are simple…

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Then we visit the person who linked up before us & encourage them in their comments.
OK, are you game? Come on and join the fun!

GO:

visit the etsy store where I found this image….
This week’s lessons have been all about seeking “Peace.” I suspect, that the peaceful me, the one seeking an “active peace,” the one seeking to sitting quietly in the midst of my storms in order to stay out of God’s way, instead of doing what I usually do.  I am coming to the realization…slowly and with modest pride, that the peaceful warrior may be the REAL me.  She whom I’ve always desired to be. 

This was a rough week, part of a rougher season.  Not just externally, there are internal pressures making life a challenge for both my beloved and I.  Here’s the blessing….at a time when this kind of external pressure on a marriage contributes to strife and discord, we are genuinely, blissfully in love.  We like each other.  We trust each other.  We support one another….and, we pray more, together, than we ever have.  REALLY.

I feel like I’m coming to a new season, and I like how it feels.  I’ve always believed that aging, growing up, is the process of stripping away all that we’ve accumulated with age (habits, affectations, biases, filters) to arrive at who we REALly are.

I’m on my way home.

STOP:

Recognizing that I can choose to be peaceful during my storms because He is my shelter and I am invited to hide therein, that is today’s reminder that God is good.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Time to return to the hill….


And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.  But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace, be still! And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
Mark 4:37-39 (NKJV)


Yesterday my FB status was “I am appreciating the serenity of the Universe, and stilling myself to match His (It's) rhythms.”  Before you get too impressed, I was prep-talking myself away from ledges.  Anticipating a difficult conversation before a contentious meeting, I chose to quiet my body and my mind for what might have been a tough morning.  It worked.  The conversation was challenging, but I was clear and calm.  The meeting was rough, but I kept my voice steady, my position clear and free from condemnation and personal attack.  I was proud to have reflected God’s peace in my demeanor.  I am glad I remembered to return to the hill

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