Tuesday, July 31, 2012

 This would be me, except for the smiling part.  The past few days have been just "one thing after another".  I'm finding myself juggling appointments, car, vet, doctor, school district office, college orientations, bills, jobs, etc....


Friday, July 27, 2012

Through Christ...

Who strengthens me.
I had a rough morning.  I was feeling overwhelmed with so many things so decided to take a walk in the neighborhood.  I walked, prayed, cried, then turned my heart to Scripture and songs.
As I was walking around a nearby baseball field I began thinking about the verse "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me".  I started to think through all the things that have me anxious and overwhelmed...
"I can teach French, through Christ, who strengthens me.",
"I can say goodbye to my boys as they go to college, through Christ who strengthens me.",
"I can adjust to a "new normal" at home with all the changes, through Christ who strengthens me."
"I can trust God for our finances, through Christ who strengthens me".  
"I can _______________  through Christ who strengthens me."

"Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you...
Behold, I am the Lordthe God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?"
from Jeremiah 32

Thursday, July 26, 2012

So many changes ahead.  It's a little (okay, a LOT) overwhelming at times.   It's so good to know that God is in control.

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, 
He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lessons from the Garden

I worked in and around the roses this morning.  We've had an overabundance of "goathead" stickers around the roses.  We've even started a "collection" of the ones that get tracked into the house.  So far we have a jar half-full of them!
So, it was time to clean them up, water the roses, rake, hoe and get that part of the yard looking half-way decent.  While I was doing this, as I was doing all this I began to think of so many things....

1) I did a lot of weeding.  Some of the weeds came up easily and others I had to really pull on to get them out by the roots.  Weeds, left unattended, begin to choke out the good plants.  Bitterness is like a root, like a weed that goes down deep and if not uprooted will continue to spread... to grow more thorns, and hurt all those around.  Unforgiveness, bitterness, and past hurts, need to be uprooted and thrown away.  "No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground.  He comes to make His blessing flow far as the curse is found."

2) I noticed some of our rose bushes were really over-grown and no longer had blossoms.  Roses and other growing things need to be pruned to be healthy.  Not all growth is good.  Sometimes things need to be pruned for more fruit to grow.  When things are cut away maybe new growth is on the way.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

3) Praying mantis.  While I was raking, I felt something on my arm.  I looked and saw a tiny praying mantis.  I brushed it off but thought, "this little thing is always "praying"... shouldn't I?  God made that little bug for a purpose (not sure what it is), and it does what it was made to do.  God made me for fellowship with himself, to talk with Him,  to love Him, to pray... for those around me.  So, I did that.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

4) "One is nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth." I had this little phrase going through my head all morning.  It was good to just work with my hands (and back!) and have time to think, to pray, to ponder.  "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."

5) I remember my brother telling me a joke he heard once.  "Do you know what God's name is?  It's Andy.  "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me...."  (you know, from the hymn "In the Garden" - "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.  And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.  And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.")  We planted a tree next to the roses.  It's a Coastal Redwood.  It should grow kinda quickly.  It's in memory of my nephew, Andy.  He passed away last year.  Being there in the garden helps me think of him, remember him, and reminds me to pray for his parents and sister (my brother and his family).

Lessons learned today:
- Get rid of all bitterness.  Pull it up by the root and get rid of it.  Don't let it take root any more.
- Trim unnecessary growth.  Get rid of things that are not needed to make room for better things.
- Pray at all times.  Be a "praying woman" (as opposed to a "praying man"tis) sorry for the pun! 
- Enjoy times of silent labor... practice the Presence of God at all times.
- Treasure those closest to you, hug them, tell them you love them, pray for them.  Look for daily reminders of God's Presence.

Monday, July 23, 2012

J'y Vais (I'm going)

There are so many things to do, and so much going on.... so many changes ahead.

I should be studying and reading in French, listening to French, immersing myself completely in French.
I should be organizing things in the kitchen because once school starts I'll once again be frustrated as I open cupboards and drawers only to have Tupperware tumble out.
I should be walking, or swimming, or something physical to exercise....
I should be planning meals, making menus, baking bread, cleaning my house...
I should be practicing the piano a few hours every day to stay "in shape" musically...

So many things I would really like to do.  So, what do I do instead?
I sit and stare blankly at my computer, or watch mindless TV.
I write in this Blog.

"Allez, leve-toi!"  (I tell myself.  C'mon, get up!)

How do you climb a mountain?  One step at a time.
How do you eat an elephant (horrible thought, really)?  One bite at a time.

"Allez, pousse-toi!" (C'mon, push yourself!)

"Bien, j'y vais. Mais d'abord, une tasse de thé".  (Okay, I'm going.  But first, a cup of tea!) :)

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13, NIV).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Time passages

That was then....  (1960)

This is now.... (2012) 

Friday, July 13, 2012

What we need

"I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you're dead, stone-dead.
"Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there's life in you yet. But I wouldn't know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God's work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears—grasp it again and turn back to God.
   "If you pull the covers back over your head and sleep on, oblivious to God, I'll return when you least expect it, break into your life like a thief in the night.
"You still have a few followers of Jesus... who haven't ruined themselves wallowing in the muck of the world's ways. They'll walk with me on parade! They've proved their worth!
"Conquerors will march in the victory parade, their names indelible in the Book of Life. I'll lead them up and present them by name to my Father and his Angels.
"Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the  churches." Revelation 3:1-6

What the church needs is the Word of God and the Spirit of God working through His Word.  What we don't need is more activity, more gimmicks, more programs, more contemporary music, more marketing, etc.
In order for something (i.e. the church or a person) to grow it must be alive.  In order for someone to grow it must be born.  John - chapter 3 tells us that we must be born from above.  This is a work of God.  When we believe, place our trust in what the Lord Jesus has done for us in giving His life for us, we are born anew.  We become new creations see 2 Corinthians 5 and are truly alive!!  No amount of activity from the outside will revive a person.   
It's time to get back to the basics of Prayer, the Word of God and the Spirit of God working through His Word.  A spiritual work can only be accomplished through the Spirit of God.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Big changes a comin'!  
This past week has been full of changes....

*My beautiful niece got married in a fabulous Santa Barbara wedding.  My husband was privileged to perform the ceremony and did a wonderful job!
*Another (also beautiful) niece got results from her Law School Admissions Test... 96 percentile!!!
*My daughter passed the DMV written test and is now learning to drive.
*Me - - - well, I got offered a job teaching French at a nearby High School, and after a few heart - searching/gut-wrenching days, decided to take it!  I will dearly miss my choir kids but I'm excited for this new adventure!