Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Waterproof Writing Pad and Purple Pen



by Cathy Baker


Once upon a time, a friend named Joyce Ann opened her exquisite home to a woman with a waterproof writing pad and purple pen. 

The woman was greeted by a warm breeze, an embrace she'd known all her life, and a waterfall with two toads singing a chorus of smiles.

The woman with the waterproof writing pad and purple pen made her way down to the dock via a curved cobblestone pathway more than once that day. Each time, soaking in all the lake had to offer, including the water.

She was thankful for her waterproof writing pad. (Mast General Store)
Lake Hartwell, Clemson SC

After reminiscing with her life-long friend over Southern Pecan coffee, the woman with the waterproof writing pad and purple pen scurried down the cobblestone path to catch one last glimpse of sun-glazed water. 

She sat on the dock immersing herself in the sounds of a father teaching his son to fish across the way, dizzy dragonflies zigzagging by and calm waves hugging the red clay bank. 

As she made her way back up the steep hillside one last time, she discovered a petite triple-coned twig, a mini-masterpiece of God's handiwork, reminding her of why she was there. What began as a research trek for an upcoming project matured into praise.

Thank You, Father, the One who truly makes "happily ever after" an eternal reality.

Lake Hartwell Bidding Farewell to the Day
Where is your favorite writing getaway?











Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Note to Self: You Have Super-Powers!


 

A part of me has always known that the act of putting pen to paper held an innate power. In elementary school, it's how I discovered if someone liked me. (I think my first such note was to my grandfather.) In middle school, passing notes in the hallway kept this only child feeling connected and in high school, writing was the natural choice for breaking up with boyfriends. Nowadays, writing continues to be a helpful tool when communicating my deepest feelings to someone. 

Three weeks ago, however, writing took on a whole new super-power. I'd just polished off a medium ice cream and realized that if the truth be known I would admit to feeling more like a blow fish than a satisfied customer. If only I could remember how I'm feeling at this very moment I doubt I'd order a medium ice cream any time soon. On a whim, I headed to my side table where a stack of rule-lined index cards stand, eagerly awaiting my random thoughts. 

This is what I wrote:

Dear Self, The next time you contemplate ordering a medium-sized ice cream stop and consider this: After eating, you will feel like a blow fish, fat, and unfit and you will regret it. Eat watermelon, make a smoothie, walk, do something - anything - other than eating that ice cream. You will thank me later. 

And I have. Since writing that note to "self" I've gone to the ice cream shop one time (just this past Sunday) and instead of ordering a medium-size, I enjoyed a kiddie-size portion with no regrets. Over the past few weeks when I've had an urge for ice cream (my vice) I've made my way to the side table, picked up my note, and read it. Immediately, I recalled how I felt following the frozen delight and chose something else. 

Turns out, scientific proof may back up the super-powers of pen and paper:

Writing by hand is different from typing because it requires using strokes to create a letter, rather than just selecting the whole letter by touching a key, says Virginia Berninger, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington. These finger movements activate large regions of the brain involved in thinking, memory, and language. -Reader's Digest

Surprised and energized by the difference my note to self had made, I decided to try it with exercising. This required a sheet of paper but as a result, I've added walking to my list of priorities. 

In all honesty, there's a part of me that would like to keep this discovery under wraps because once exposed, I feel pressure to carry it out perfectly. For people like me who tend to be a little too hard on themselves, that often equates to a major backfire. So, for now, I'll settle for the old adages of "one day at a time" and "life isn't a sprint race but a marathon." 

If you decide to give this super-power a try, I'd love to hear how it turns out for you.  

And remember: With great power comes great responsibility. -Spider Man
 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Monday, August 11, 2014

Who Are You? Who, Who, Who, Who?

 


I know I sound like Pete Townsend of The Who, but it's that one question that has me so excited about our our upcoming community bible study by Angela Thomas, Do You Think I'm Beautiful? Perhaps my fervency for teaching this study originates from the fact that I once banked my happiness and fulfillment on the love and attention of the opposite sex. For some, their identity, thus their happiness, lies in their ability to climb the corporate ladder, raise "perfect" children or be accepted by anyone and everyone. 

I believe we are all tempted to place our identity in someone or something other than God for to know and believe the truth of how God views us obliterates the enemy's best efforts. Of course he would have us believe lies instead! I know of fewer things more dangerous than a Christ-follower confident in their identity. 

How we view our heavenly Father's feelings towards us is a game changer. 


 

Heavenly Father,
When we doubt our worth in Your eyes,
for Yours are truly the only ones that matter,
may we see Jesus.
Through Him, we are forgiven, covered in fresh fallen mercy.
We are precious in Your sight. 

When the enemy flings his arrows of doubt,
may we raise Your shield of faith high
keeping our feet firmly planted in truth, 
for we are loved perfectly and unconditionally by You.

Amen.
 

 

Father, will you steep Your Word deeply into our soul?
  
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9


 
 

Is there one particular word or phrase from the above scripture you feel 
led to "sip" on, meditate on, throughout this week?    
-----------------------------------
 
The words "that you may" stood out to me as I read the above verse. Knowing our identity, and standing firm in it, could hold eternal significance.
 
 
 
 
As we bring our time to a close, is there one tangible way to "pour" out His truth in response to the word(s) chosen above?


Thanks for stopping by today at Sharing Life Together...One Sip At A Time. Would you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your "word" from the above verse in the comment box? Blessings!
He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Delight,-God-Expressing#sthash.MnlQbRF6.dpuf

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  
Colossians 3:3




Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Community Bible Study Begins in September!


New study begins in September! Before you start thinking this study is about how we appear to others or anything else pertaining to self, read what Publisher Weekly had to say about it:

A title like this leads a reader to think that this will be a book about body image. However, it's more about understanding beauty and acceptance in the context of God's unconditional love, a poignant message that many women will appreciate. "A good man can be wonderful," writes Thomas, a motivational speaker and mother of four. "But he can never be ENOUGH, and he can never make you WHOLE. You and I were made for even more. We were made for God." She builds a persuasive case for God as a pursuing lover who delights in each one of his daughters, even when they feel unlovable. She speaks honestly and with cutting humor about how Christian women appear to be all smiles, but "are dying on the inside." She also does an especially fine job of drawing on the prodigal son parable from the New Testament to demonstrate that although women sometimes feel like the prodigal and sometimes like the unappreciated elder son, God is waiting to receive them with open arms.  


I love the focus: Only God can make us whole. Men, friends, nor fancy houses can complete us—only Jesus!

Dates: Tuesdays, September 23 - October 28.
Time: 6:15-7:30 pm

Location: Becky's home in Simpsonville. Address shared via email list.

If you live in the Greenville, Simpsonville, Fountain Inn SC area and would like to be added to our email list with all the information and updates concerning our community studies, please leave a comment, find me on Facebook or via Twitter @cathysbaker.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sharing Life Together...One Sip At A Time

 

Welcome!

How was your weekend? Ours was eventful, in a good way. We had the opportunity to attend the wedding of Jim and Kayla Slice, two of the sweetest and godliest people we know. 

When I attend weddings, my own marriage tends to come to mind—especially during the exchanging of vows. Am I unconditionally loving Brian for better or worse? Am I submitting to him in a way that pleases the Lord? Am I allowing Christ to mold me into the wife Brian needs (not the wife I think he needs)? Am I communicating the deep respect I have for him as his wife and best friend? 

This year, Brian and I will celebrate 24 years of marriage. I don't want to become complacent or take what we have for granted so although I see no weddings in my near future, I plan to continue asking the questions that matter. 


 

Heavenly Father,

When others see how we treat one another,
how we interact with one another,
how we love one another,
do they see and hear You?

 

 Father, will you steep Your Word deeply into our soul?

"Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace." - Ephesians 4:2-3


 

Is there one particular word from the above scripture you feel 
led to "sip" on, meditate on, throughout this week?    
-----------------------------------
I choose the word "every" this week -- as in every effort. My lip will bleed from the biting, and misunderstandings are sure to crush at times, but I need to do what it takes to keep the unity of the spirit in all relationships, especially my marriage. 


As we bring our time to a close, is there one tangible way to "pour" out His truth in response to the word(s) chosen above?

Whether married, divorced or single, the marriage ceremony is a sacred celebration and perhaps, the perfect opportunity to reflect on what matters most. 

Thanks for stopping by today at Sharing Life Together...One Sip At A Time. Would you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your "word" in the comment box? Blessings!
He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Delight,-God-Expressing#sthash.MnlQbRF6.dpuf


"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'  and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Matthew 19: 4-6

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Not A Morning Person? Evening Notes Are For You!



The Right to Write by Julia Cameron has been my constant companion over the past few months. It's a perfect fit for my purse while waiting for friends or appointments. Practically every page is dog-eared, underlined, or asterisked. Several weeks ago, I shared this post on Morning Pages as a result.

Today, I'm sharing a tool called Evening Notes. After all, not every one is a morning person, right? 

It goes something like this: Ten minutes before you fall asleep, jot down a few simple sentences about your day. Julia uses this as her example: 

"Today was productive but uphill. I seemed to be fighting a depression but I took good actions anyhow. I'm really stewing over my friendship with Michael. I wonder what better can be done on the project at work..."

From these sentences, extract a single question to consider before falling asleep. Julia chose What can I do about the project at work? 

Simply pose the question and don't worry about the answer. Thanks to our brilliantly and divinely designed minds (thank You, God) many of our answers begin to emerge at some point.

I've experienced similar circumstances when doing something "mindless" like walking, taking a shower, or taking my dog out for a potty break. Ideas and answers to questions long forgotten find their way to the surface when least expected. No doubt, a different part of the brain is at work here and it's awe-inspiring when it happens.  

Julia Cameron encourages those who try this tool to be alert, to notice and tabulate small, positive changes or answers.

Practicing both Morning Pages and Evening Notes is optimal but on those mornings when even a third cup of liquid caffeine refuses to rally a creative bone, it's nice to know we have an evening option. 

How about you? Are you a morning person? Do you tend to write more in the mornings or evenings? 



The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1).



Monday, July 28, 2014

Sharing Life Together: Retire Your Regrets

 

Welcome!

Can you believe we're almost in August? 

I heard my entire life, and perhaps you did too, that the older you get the quicker time seems to pass.

A recent run-in with one of Brian's past co-workers who retired several years ago painted the picture of time in a whole new light for us. Brian commented that he still had fifteen years to go before retirement. Without hesitation, the man solemnly looked at Brian and said, "I'd rather be fifteen years younger and working." 

One, looking forward to not having to work 40+ hours a week, and the other, ready to trade that benefit in an instant to be Brian's age again. It was obvious the retiree had given much thought to his declaration.

I don't know about you, but too often I find myself waiting for that next benchmark in life to do, feel, or say something but none of us are promised that next reference point.  

Today is the day to do, feel, and say.
 
 

Heavenly Father,
Your Word tells us to number our days,
for when we do, we grow in wisdom.
Thank You for those who unexpectedly cross our path,
reminding us to take hold of life where we are today—
to enjoy it, and to thank You for it. 

Amen.

 

Father, will you steep Your Word deeply into our soul?

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14 
 
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Life,-Brevity-Of#sthash.0hz3HHro.dpuf
 
 

Is there one particular word from the above scripture you feel 
led to "sip" on, meditate on, throughout this week?
   
-----------------------------------
I choose the word appears. It reminds me that I'm simply a sojourner, a mere dot on the line of eternity. Life is like a blink of the eye regardless of the years lived.

 

Before we bring our time to a close, you may want to consider one tangible way to "pour" out His truth in response to the word(s) chosen above.  

Thanks for stopping by today at Sharing Life Together...One Sip At A Time. Would you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your "word" in the comment box? Blessings!
He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Delight,-God-Expressing#sthash.MnlQbRF6.dpuf


So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12




(A special thanks to Lori Roeleveld for her help on today's title.  Visit her insightful blog @ Lori Roeleveld.)