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Archive for the ‘life lessons’ Category

When I was in college, one of our sorority sisters announced one morning at breakfast that her mother had always told her, “One is not considered a grown up until she learns to drink coffee.”  Well, I made it through college and a good part of my early adult life without drinking or liking coffee.  That is until I discovered french vanilla and hazlenut and all the other wonderful flavors that make coffee a great warm drink, and I learned to LOVE coffee! Until.

I learned my brain gets addicted to caffeine.  Surely you all remember from an earlier post that I cannot drink coffee now. 

And now I’m faced with the question, “Am I really still a grown up?”  Crazy, I know.  But now I’ve realized that one is not really considered a grown up until she’s actually made a Thanksgiving dinner!

I’ve never had to do that before because we’ve always gone to relatives’ homes and taken a dish here or there. So I’ve never baked a turkey or made dressing!

But today… I’m officially a grown up in my own right.  I’m 39 years old and have reached that milestone!! Today I made dressing – it’s my mother-in-love’s recipe… very simple but very yummy and it reminds me of my grandmom’s dressing she used to make.

The twist here is I have 2 dogs that stay in the house with us and just a little while ago, I took them on their afternoon walk and Sadie had trapsed through a muddy ditch.  (I promise I’m getting back to the dressing) So when we got back to the house, I let Lily in and marched Sadie to the outside hose to wash off her paws.  It took all of 1.5 minutes!

I got back in the house and noticed “someone had been eating my porridge”!  Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I fried some bacon to sprinkle on top of green beans for tomorrow as well and it was cooling off next to the dressing.  When I realized a tongue had made its way into my dressing, I turned around and saw Lily just sitting there with her ears tucked back.  Poor thing. I couldn’t get mad at her, she just wanted a sample too.

But I thought I’d share the finished dish with you – complete with a tongue impression!

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Notice the crumbs off to the side.

I thought I was officially a grown up, but now I have to explain to my family how my dog ate the dressing! No extra credit for me!! 

But Happy Thanksgiving to ya’ll.  From my dressing to yours!

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For quite some time I have been agonizing because I lost my Bible sometime in the Spring. I don’t know what day it happened because I had been using a smaller Bible for referencing some things and study. I don’t know why I was using that one at that time other than the fact that it is red and has a neat little magnetic closure and it fits in my purse or in the side of my 4Runner door for quick grabs!

But when I went to get my Bible – the one that has all the wonderful yellow highlights and underlined scriptures and notes in the margins from sermons or Bible studies – it was no where to be found. I looked everywhere – multiple times. I’ve asked people to look in their cars. I’ve prayed over it – lamenting about it. I’ve had other people praying about it.  SB kept telling me that I’d find it, but I feared it was gone forever. I feared I had left it in a hotel room during one of my training sessions where I was teaching.

Finally Big D (my father-in-love) declared I should have a Bible that had just “appeared” at their home and no one had ever claimed it.  Oh, it is a nice Bible. Thick, black, crisp pages – a clean slate, if you will.  But I longed for the pages of my Bible because I knew where every book was just by the feel of it. I yearned for some of my notes and to see the dried up daisy pressed between the pages of 2 Samuel. My junior high best friend had picked it for me from the “gardens” of Glorietta during our last youth summer trip before I moved away. I wanted the yellowed slip of paper that quoted 1 Thess. 5:11 that my 8th grade Sunday School teacher had prayed over that we would each have what the Lord wanted us know especially for our lives.

Week after week I was tormented about losing my Bible. How in the world does one lose a Bible?  Well, in my house, it’s pretty easy between all the hunting equipment and clothes (we could ALMOST run a Cabela’s outlet) and the room o’junk and clutter that belongs to me, sometimes things get sucked up in the oblivion we call home.  And I’ve had enough.

For several months, the Lord’s been moving in my heart and my mind that I’m being “called to order.” That has been involving almost every aspect of my life from quiet times, to workloads, to home organization, etc.  I used to be a lot more organized and orderly than I have exhibited in the past 2 years, but we won’t go there analyzing all the whys and why nots. 

Having order is quite biblical. From the beginning, God ordered the universe into motion and it was methodical and intentional. Through the pages of scripture, parable after parable and verse after verse, we see history and the perfect plan all ordered in perfect harmony. Jesus taught it and the scriptures played out just as he said.

So heading into 2009 and beyond, I spent my weekend tackling a huge organizational effort. I’ve decided to start cleaning out and getting rid of the junk and clutter in my home and in my life.  I cleaned out a mud room that had become like a landfill except without the stinky smells. I’ve made separate places for things to sell and things to donate. 

And as I was cleaning out, I bent down to pick up something that had fallen under my handy Container Store gift wrapping station and it was as if the heavens had opened up and all the voices of the angels in unison sang out, “HHHHHHAAAALLLL LE LUUUU JAHHHHHHHHH”!  There it was.  Somehow my precious Bible had gotten pushed or kicked under my gift wrapping station.  I picked it up and twirled through the laundry room and into the den. No one was home to see me, but I didn’t care. It was a moment of completion.

How appropriate to find it under the GIFT WRAPPING station (like a gift) AND after I made the decision to begin to bring order to my life.  God showed up and showed out in my life, and I just wanted you to know it too.  When we claim order in our life, we open ourselves to receive that which stands the tests of time.

I’m off to clean out some drawers – maybe I’ll find that $20 I know I didn’t lose!!!

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Simple Abundance

It’s 2:45 a.m. and I’m awake – so very awake.  This happens frequently when SB is out of town and let’s just say I’ll be glad when he gets home so I can go back to nights of peaceful, easy feelings.  You know the kind of feelings like resting your head on a cool pillow.  Drifting off to sleep and you twitch a little bit but then go immediately into a deeper sleep.  Or waking up at 12:30 a.m., looking at the clock, thinking it must be time to get up soon and realizing you have several more hours of sleep. 

I long for those times again. But that’s not why I’m writing.

So I’ve been thinking HARD this week (scary, I know).  But I thought I’d wrap up the week with a few things that have impacted me in the last seven days – things I’m most thankful for.  Because it’s always better to dwell well in the spirit of blessings.

1.  The blessing of closed doors.  I’m waiting on a window to open now, which causes me to look Up.

2.  Discovering new music.

3.  Grand and Lori Belle and their words of encouragement.

4.  Finding out my book has touched another life.

5.  A Butterball turkey.

6. The wind.

7. Wet kisses and warm snuggles from Sadie and Lily.

8. Freedom.

9.  The Word of God and the Truth it brings.

10. My health.

11. A kind note.

12. The opportunity to lay low for awhile.

13. Sitting down at the piano and remembering what it’s like to play.

14. A Chai Tea Latte. (not sure if Chai tea is decaffeinated, so I have to drink these in moderation, but I’d recommend you RUN to your favorite coffee shop to try this).  It’s made my whole week.

So what are you most thankful for? It’s the simple things in life that matter most. So share if you wish. You might encourage someone else to focus on life through a telescope rather than a microscope.

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Psalm 126 (The Message)

A Pilgrim Song

 1-3 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion’s exiles.
   We laughed, we sang,
      we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
   We were the talk of the nations—
      “God was wonderful to them!”
   God was wonderful to us;
      we are one happy people.

 4-6 And now, God, do it again—
      bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
   So those who planted their crops in despair
      will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
   So those who went off with heavy hearts
      will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.

In some of my posts I have written about and eluded to a season of life and learning I find myself in right now. It’s often been a time of trial and error, and dare I say trying to pry open doors that have been shut and sealed!  I know, I’m hard-headed and have to learn lessons – sometimes over and over before I really GET IT!Is it just me? I don’t think so. 

This morning I threw a load of laundry in the washing machine. It consisted of a sheet, a small blanket and a few odds and ends of whites. I know better because my washer has become a little less tolerant in its old age.  It doesn’t take much for it to get off balance and start that knocking and jumping and I’m forced to go leaping over furniture in .08 milliseconds to get to the thing and rearrange the wet and heavy items.  I usually stand over the machine for a minute to make sure I repositioned everything just so and that I won’t have to dig the washer out of the wall across the laundry room.  It’s a relief when the thing quits spinning and I can actually put them in the dryer! Whew – a workout of all work outs once it’s all said and done.

More than anything I want my life to purposeful and intentional. So it surprises me when I find myself being tempted off-course and I actually jump head first into the washing machine of life – as if by some miracle – when the cycle stops, I will be noticeably cleaner and brighter.  But lately, I’ve loaded my life with situations and people who don’t belong in this cycle with me.  And I’ve been whirled and twirled and turned upside down – knocked around too.

And I’m ready for the ride to stop. I’m tired of being wrung out by my hair. I want to be able to twirl around in the grace of God and sling all the mud off myself instead of being in the world’s washer. I want to pick my feet up out of the mudholes I walk into sometimes and be rinsed off by the softness of the waterhose and gently put myself in the sun Son to dry.  And I’ve learned to be cautious about ever proclaiming that “I want to be normal” because I truly know that in this life there is no normal.

As someone once told me, “normal” is just a setting on the dryer.

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“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever…” Psalm 138:8

I am waiting in anticipation of God this morning.  No, I’m not wanting to take over his job of orchestrating my life. Been there. Done that.

What I mean is simply that I’m navigating the waters of waiting on Him for a particular petition in my life. For most of 2008, I’ve been holding onto the edges of what I call a little bitty fishing boat in the enormous sea of life…some days it’s felt more like I’m bobbing up and down in the ocean with nothing more than a life jacket to keep me from drowning.  But nonetheless, I’m still holding on.

In actuality, the last 5 years of my life have been nothing short of amazing. In fact, I would venture to say they’ve been the most poignant growing years of my entire life. From the heartwrenching loss of our baby to surviving cancer to making a major career decision that has changed everything about me to gaining new friendships and nurturing old friendships…in some respects, my heart has been hemmed with every stitch of raw emotions we as humans face.

So this morning…this day… as I sit in anticipation of what the King has for his Daughter, I’ve been reminded in scripture that waiting patiently for Him is indeed action.  And when we allow Him, and only Him to reign in us and over all things – no matter how great or how small – he will pour over us His living waters of blessing.  Drench me, please, Lord.  Just let me soak You in.

So, sign me up to be like the Morton’s Salt girl – all decked out in my raincoat, rubber boots, and umbrella. My new slogan for life: “When He Reigns, He Pours.”

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This morning when I got out of bed, I got down on my knees. It’s something I’ve been doing recently through a Beth Moore Bible study on the Psalms of Ascent. But today, I felt particularly drawn DOWN. I began my prayers with thanksgiving for another day and for another breath.  Sometimes it’s the more unaware things that are the most important.  Because today, in a world that will be laden with a lot of noise – news stories, the latest breaking news angle, “the day after” reports, the suppositions, the arrogance of some, the defeat of others, the unknown and unseen victims of our time, the heavy-hearted – I needed to be down before I could look up.

Before I began uttering a word to cry out to the Lord, a complete wave of grace and peace washed over my back.  I hope I am not alone in sharing this that I get all tingly sometimes when I pray. And I mean that in a literal sense. It’s like the Holy Spirit is hovering over me and I feel Him in a goose-bump way. Deeply in my heart, I know, He is much more than a moment of goose bumps, but today, I felt His presence over my life and my world.  And my prayer is that you have that same awareness.

No matter what struggles you are battling today: an angry co-worker, the loss of a loved one, the inability to conceive for the umpteenth time, your preferred candidate not winning, financial mountains, broken dreams, illness… no matter what – the God of all of that is our God of comfort and righteousness. He is in control of it all.

As I got up off the floor from my bedside in the darkness, I began to think of scriptures and this is the one that has been placed upon my heart today.  It’s one we all know and learned from the time we could recite things in Sunday School. It’s one we read at funerals. It’s one that David wrote in joyful trust in the Lord as his King.

So take heart, my friends… the Lord is still on His throne and He is the one in control of all things.

Psalm 23 (NIV)

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of rightousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows,

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

 So there you have it.  From the man after God’s own heart, David scribes a beautiful song for this moment in time, for this generation, for whatever hurts are blinding AND binding us. 

Take heart. Take comfort. The goose bumps feel so good sometimes.

Peace and grace to you today.

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A couple of Saturdays ago, Little Brown Light Ministries and I led a christian women’s conference in Noxubee County, MS.  I was a little nervous about this particular conference – although I clearly hear and feel and see God opening opportunities like these for me.  Noxubee County is SB’s home turf, so imagine my knees quaking when he prayed for me and sent me out the door on the Friday before with words like, “Do me proud.  Go dazzle ’em!”  No pressure at all.  None.  After all – these were going to be women who have known him his entire life.  I was completely at ease.  Yea. Right.

Anyway, I went down the Friday before to meet the organizers and Becky Brown of Little Brown Light Ministries. She was going to lead us in music worship.  The two of us stayed in someone’s cabin on the lake- where the lodge for the conference was to be held.

We enjoyed getting to know one another and from the instant I met her, I felt I had known her my entire life. What a gift she has and is.  Her unassuming nature is contagious and her perspectives on life offer much for a lifelong learner like me.  Pure. Simple. Real.

After we stayed up way too late watching the first debate and solving the world’s problems ourselves, we turned in for a wonderful night’s rest. The next morning, I heard her get up because I was already awake – long before her 6am alarm.  So after she was in the shower, I went out into the living area to have some quiet time before the morning got too crazy.  I kept being drawn to watch the sun come up over the lake.  I mean I was trying to read my Bible and I physically could not because it was as if God was trying to tell me something.

“One last glance,” I thought and then I had to get back to scripture reading.  That’s me…boxing myself in again.  So as I looked up, my mouth dropped open at the site.  It was clear the Lord was drawing a picture for me to study.  “BEHOLD THE CROSS” was all I could think of.

I dropped my Bible and ran to the bathroom door and hollered for Becky to come see the vision with me. I needed a witness.  Toothbrush in her mouth, Becky obliged me and we stood there gasping in awe together.  We were both so overtaken in the moment that we sat down, 2 new but lifelong friends soaking up a spectacular vision of a cross in the sky.

It wasn’t just any set of clouds because it was divinely ordained at the exact moment and the exact location of where the sun was rising.  The underside of this cross slowly turned from pink to golden and in time to brown as it began to dissipate.  But it was purposely ordained that the cross hovered over the opposite side of the lake from where we were sitting and lingering right above the lodge where the conference was to begin in just a few short hours.  “BEHOLD THE CROSS,” I heard him whisper over and over in that half hour as we set mesmerized by God dazzling us.  It wasn’t me who was to be “dazzling.”  That was a job for the Maker of Creation.  And boy, did he dazzle.

And just to reaffirm to Becky and me, that he was serious about dazzling that day, the organizers of the conference presented both of us with a special gift.  We both received a large wooden carved cross to hang in our homes.

And when I think of that special day, all I can think of is to sing Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.

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