Monday, May 18, 2015

Drinking fountains and sharing faith...


Listening to Greg Laurie in the car as I was running errands this week, I had to laugh at his description of how, during his high school years, as a brand new christian, he wanted to tell everyone in any way he could, about Jesus, and how his life was changed.

He stood by the drinking fountain in his high school and every time a kid came by and took a drink, Greg said... "If you drink that water, you will thirst again"...

He said each kid looked at him like he was crazy, and quickly went on their way.

Greg said... "It worked for Jesus, but it didn't work for me."

He began to learn about the Holy Spirit preparing each heart to hear about Jesus, and he began to pray, and approach things in a new way, as he moved forward.

I remember as a kid thinking I HAVE to share about Jesus and get people saved... one day in grade school, I was in the restroom and "Joyce" was also there. I thought... I will tell her and make sure she 'gets it'. After much coaxing from me, she prayed, but I don't know to this day if she 'got it', or was just anxious to get out of there and away from me!

I've also done the opposite, said nothing when I should have spoken in a situation. Of the 2, that extreme makes me feel the worst.

No wonder Jesus instructed us to seek Him first, to ask Him for openings and guidance and the right words for each situation. 

We will never be wise enough to know a persons heart. 

But Jesus does. 

When I think about how fast this life is going by, and that unless someone knows Jesus personally, they are lost... it makes me bolder to share the good news. I am not a drinking fountain stalker, but I do want to be ready for each situation that God places me in, and my desire to share the hope that the world is seeking is much more on the front burner of my heart than ever before.

We don't need the world, but the world needs what we have.


Even as I write this, I am thinking... wouldn't it be wonderful to see Joyce in heaven one day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This was a big one!...


Sunday was Mother's Day. Our plan was to go to East Texas, have lunch and spend the afternoon with our son Tommy and his family. The day began with storms, more were expected, so we decided to stay home.

Sunday night, with less than  a one minute warning, a level 3 tornado hit the small town of Van, Texas. It struck down BEHIND the area of the new building our son had recently built and occupied for their business, about a half block from them. It went on to destroy about one third of that small town. You have probably seen the footage on the news. One of their employees lost his home.

The first time I was in Van was when Tommy and Dedra were married in the beautiful Baptist church where right now they are helping to care for the people of Van who lost their homes. 

Tommy and Dedra live in Lindale, east of Van about 15 minutes. They are fine, all of Dedra's family is fine, many of them live in Van, and we are so thankful. 

It is such a vivid reminder of how quickly life can change, as it has for those who lost lives, homes, and all that they owned.

There are already many heart warming stories being told of the way people have gathered to pitch in and help this community. The schools have been seriously damaged, and not one person living in Van is not connected to someone who has been touched by this storm. They told us on the news last night not to bring any more supplies right now, they have been flooding into Van from everywhere.

We will continue to pray for all who have been touched by this, both in Van and all around our country. I will also continue to thank God that he heard our prayers and Tommy's business was spared.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rodney's bush...

This rose bush belongs to my friend Rhonda's mother. We all call it 'Rodney's bush'.

Her son (Rhonda's younger brother) died some years ago. On Mother's Day each year, this bush blooms with at least one pink rose, usually before anything else is blooming.

Last year Rhonda's dad died, and this year on Mother's Day every bush in the garden was green with leaves, but Rodney's bush was loaded with these pink roses.

As Rhonda says... "they are in cahoots up there!"

Isn't it just like God to send this mom pink roses right under her window, on Mother's Day.

There is no scripture that says this is so, but knowing the heart of God... why not? It's one of those special heartwarming things that He does for us, knowing that we need something extra to see that He is with us, even in the roses He sends our way. In the rose, He reminds us that He understands and loves us.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

What I have learned about carrots...


Here is what I know about carrots...

I remember visiting farms as we were growing up. They always had carrots growing in the ground. It was fun for me, as a kid, to walk up and down those rows and see the green sprouts above the ground and know that a carrot was coming. I planted some seeds of my own, but as the tiny sprigs of green appeared, I gently pulled them up to see if there was a carrot on the end... long before the carrot had a chance to become one.

There are many carrots being dangled in front of us in this day and age, most of those carrots turn out to be nothing but a handful of weeds, or at the most, a HINT of a carrot.

A carrot is a good thing. It is healthy, and good for us, an important part of the vegetable food group. However... I am certain that they are referring to a fully grown carrot, not one that was pulled before it was fully grown.

Carrots and life??

Many times I have interrupted or hurried a process, (pulled the carrot too soon) that God was doing in my life, by becoming impatient before his lesson was complete.

There have also been a few times that I grabbed the carrot dangling in front of me. It was so tempting. Example: the face cream that promised instant results, wrinkles GONE within minutes. There are probably many more, but you get the point.

While I am thinking about carrots, I have to say that for all the years of our marriage, I have cooked and roasted carrots, with meatloaf, roast beef, etc. I always serve a nice portion on my husbands plate. It has never changed, when the meal is over, the carrots have been pushed to the edge of his plate, completely intact. He doesn't say anything and neither do I. 

One more random thought... my husband loves fresh carrots. Sometimes I forget to stick the fresh ones on his plate, so I am trying to do more of that. He always eats them all.

I am 'growing into carrots'... both on my plate and in my life. Like all other things, carrots are best used in the way God meant them to be.

See... it is possible to take one word, any word, and when you think about it for awhile, there is always more to it than just the carrot.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

He put my window sticker on crooked!...

He did... 

The state inspection sticker and the sticker for our community gate, were applied at an angle yesterday. 

It all began with a small piece of gravel on the freeway which hit the windshield and made a tiny hole. That hole began to grow, until there was a crack all the way across. Somehow, the cost of the windshield replacement was a little less harsh since the whole window was cracked now, and not just a tiny hole. I kind of felt like I got my money's worth.

When the job was finished, I got in the car to run errands, and I knew... immediately... that it would never be okay. I could have raised my eyes a little higher and not noticed, but no... the angle was there, it was never going to change, not until the next inspection sticker was due, and it could be replaced.

I could hardly wait to get home... those 2 stickers got carefully peeled back one more time, and now... they are straight and all is well.

It was a little bit like seeing a small area of my life that is 'off'... the more I think on it, the more I know it has to go. Funny how these little life things can remind us of other things...

I am so much happier when I go ahead and DO the things that I know need adjusting. 

God didn't have anything to do with the rock that hit my window, but he has everything to do with my awareness of my own crooked stickers, and with the knowledge that all of them can be straightened. 

That's what he does.
                           ----------------
(Above photo isn't my car, but the stickers look like mine did.)


Uh oh...

I seem to have successfully eliminated portions of all of my blogs in recent history!

Sorry... I hit a wrong button, and now none of them make sense.

I think I will try again another time.

me

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Selfie...

This is what a selfie looks like with my dinosaur camera! 

I forgot to smile, and the whole thing makes me want to laugh. I still have my old fold up cell phone and my kids think I'm crazy to not update. I'm going to, but just haven't made the leap into learning the new i phone technology. :)

I took this picture for 2 reasons... neither of them worked. 

I wanted to show my sister my hair and the longer layers, which we had discussed a few minutes earlier on the phone...  it doesn't even show, and I wanted to show Debbie at Heart Choices my 'Younique" eyelashes I bought through her, and they don't show either!!

I love longer layers, and I love my new eyelashes, but what I got from this seflie isn't a good reflection of either one. 

What is my point?

Probably what we THINK we look like when we are trying to make an impression, may NOT be what the rest of the world sees when they look at us!

This picture was made by standing in front of our dining room mirror and snapping my camera kind of blindly. My camera doesn't do selfies. I thought I had a pleasant look on my face, instead I look kind of grim and my eyes look closed when actually I was just trying to aim my camera.

There is no real sermon in this blog, unless it would be to make sure you are smiling when you take a selfie, or... when you are trying to make a good impression!

I think both my sister and Debbie are forgiving, but the rest of the world would probably prefer a cheerful smile!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thoughts on trophy's...

I sat and watched the Oscar's on Sunday night. I am not a huge movie buff, but I like the dresses and it's fun to see who is wearing what, even to see how 'old' they are looking.  

This is a crowd that is new to me for the most part. I didn't even know who many of them were. I DID know Julie Andrews and it was such fun to see her, she looks great after all these years.

There were some really good moments. I was shocked to see Lady Gaga singing songs from The Sound of Music. She did an amazing job, she has a gifted voice, I never knew that. I also was moved to tears by John Legend's Glory performance. It was beautiful. 

When it was all over... I said to myself... "where is God in this?"...

God wasn't visible at all... political and social statements were made without apology, but I don't think I heard God mentioned one time. I know that there are Christians in Hollywood, but this whole night did not reflect that. 

It made me sad. It was such a reflection of how many in this life are 'winning' trophys and awards that will be gone so soon. 

Eternity seems like an afterthought.

I remember years ago reading Catherine Marshall's book "Beyond Ourselves". The first words of the book said...

"The search for God begins at the point of need."

I also was reminded that the lost of this world, in Hollywood and everywhere else, are exactly the ones that Jesus gave his life for... 

I was one of them... until I knew who Jesus was, and accepted him as my saviour... I was as lost as anyone.

Tullian Tchividjian said it so well, in talking about the cross...

"Jesus came and did all of that for bad people, because bad people are all there is."

There is a whole world out there who doesn't know Jesus yet. I can slide into complacency way too easily. The world around is demanding. Life can distract us and dim the real purpose and goal...

I want those who don't know that God is real, to find him, to know the peace of an eternity that is coming, and to find the true purpose and meaning in this life.

So I am convicted and challenged in my own walk, to be alive and aware of opportunities all around me, and to share that hope... 

The clock of life is ticking...

Friday, January 9, 2015

Read this if you might be a 'black & white' person...

Sometimes I tend to be one...

a 'black or white' person.

I am sometimes guilty of making a strong sweeping decision and declaring it boldly! On MONDAY, this diet is going to swing into full speed ahead, only to find that by Wednesday, (or Tuesday) there have already been stumbles.

or...

I am NEVER going to do or say THAT again, or...

You get the idea.

My daughter sent this from her devotional the other day, thoughts by Paul Tripp, which I hope he doesn't mind me quoting. It is pretty awesome...

He was writing on New Years Resolutions, but the same principle applies to ALL of our big self made declarations of change.

"Can be I honest with you? I think your New Year’s resolution isn’t going to be as effective as you hope it will, if it works at all.
Is change important? Absolutely. Is commitment essential? Of course. Is improving your lifestyle a wise decision? Without a doubt. So I don’t want to discourage you from writing or keeping a New Year’s resolution, but I do want to challenge the way you think about biblical change.
You see, Christianity – which has the gospel of Jesus Christ at the center – simply doesn’t rest its hope in big, dramatic moments of change. The fact of the matter is this: the transforming work of grace operates in 10,000 little moments more than it does in a series of two or three life-altering events.

In other words, the character and quality of your life won’t be defined by two or three life-changing moments. No, the character and quality of your life will be defined by the 10,000 little decisions, desires, words, and actions you make every day.
How you can you be a better you in 2015? Confess in 10,000 little moments of conviction. Be courageous in 10,000 little moments of faith. Obey in 10,000 little moments of decisions. Choose the kingdom over God over the kingdom of self in 10,000 little moments of desire.
You don’t need a big resolution to change your life, because your life isn’t established in big moments. Your life is established in 10,000 little moments, and Jesus Christ is present and active in all those moments. In these small, seemingly insignificant moments, he’s delivering every redemptive promise he has made to you. In these 10,000 little moments, the Lord is working to rescue you from you and transform you into his likeness.

By sovereign grace, God places you in 10,000 little moments that are designed to take you beyond your character, wisdom, and grace so that you'll seek the help and hope that can only be found in him. In a lifelong process of change, he is undoing you and rebuilding you again - exactly what each one of us needs!"

Those words really hit my heart, for me. I think you might feel the same. It's one step at a time, one thought, one decision, not one big declaration of all that we are GOING to do. Our slates are wiped clean when we accept Him, but the ongoing process includes 10,000 choices on our part, every day.

I love that! God's grace is there for every one of the 10,000 and more.



(image courtesty of Google)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

3 blocks from the Rose Parade...


That's where I grew up... 3 blocks south of the Pasadena Rose Parade.

I've been sitting here this morning watching the parade, and it takes me right back to South Parkwood Avenue. 

Every year my dad would take 2 ladders, and the 3 of us kids brought a long piece of wood. We went right up those 3 blocks and got one of the 'good seats', just a few rows back. Dad set the ladders up and put the long board between them That was our seat, no one blocked our view. It was perfect!

A side thought... many many years later, after dad had died, as we went through their things, there was that original ladder, with many splotches of paint colors applied through the years, and a little shabby, but the same ladder that went to the parade every year.

During high school, I worked on the floats a few days before the parade. They were constructed in huge ice cold warehouses, to make sure the flowers stayed fresh. The flowers were flown in from all over the world and they were absolutely amazing! Each float was carefully put together and then each flower petal glued on to become part of the design, the only rule was it had to be made from growing plants, petals, seeds, grasses. We shivered all through the nights as we put those beauties together.

New Years Eve in Pasadena was so much fun! Our church youth group parked and walked the long main street of Colorado Blvd., as the crowds began to gather 2-3 days before New Years Day. By New Years Eve, they had set up little kerosene heaters, sleeping bags and blankets to keep warm, as they 'camped out' right on the sidewalk. We walked up and down the street, talking to people, dashing into one of the restaurants for a quick burger, and having the time of our lives. Van de Kamp's, Gwinn's, Scarantino's, all of them were open as people came in an out all through the night.

Finally we headed for home, only to take our walk up the street with dad early the next morning, we were tired and excited.

It never disappointed. Even this morning, I am enjoying the floats and marching bands, just like so many years ago...

Happy New Year to all of you!