Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
"I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work." -Thomas A. Edison
Lessons learned over the weekend:
- The Weather Channel's roving reporters add nothing to the drama level by standing sideways against 80 mph winds. They look ridiculous and put not only themselves in harm's way, but the camera men as well.
- Never substitute napkins propped by the popcorn for Puffs tissues—something Beth and I learned the hard way Sunday afternoon while watching "The Help." (By the way, LOVED the movie!)
- Exercising is always more fun (and I believe efficient :) when accompanied by 70's music.
- Based on Chip Ingram's Good to Great in God's Eyes series (which I taught as my last class yesterday), our "to-be's" need to be jotted down in our calendars prior to our "to-do's". I want to be healthier, so guess what's already in my calendar this week? Exercising. Chip shares how he wanted to be a better husband so he marked in his calendar a date night with his wife every Friday. That was 26 years ago and he's become a better hubby as a result. What "to-be's" do you need to jot down before your week gets away from you?
- Our identity is not to be based on any spiritual gift or talent we possess. It is to be grounded in Christ.
- We made a lot of mistakes as parents but we also created some pretty cool Christmas traditions (I worked on the Christmas e-book this weekend!)
- As important as it is to budget our money, it's even more vital that we budget our time.
Friday, August 26, 2011
I call them "God glimpses"—those instances when we catch sight of God moving in our life, or in the lives of those around us, in very specific ways.
On Monday morning, I got a call from God inviting me to a "come to Jesus" meeting. His tone was firm, yet full of tender mercies. We conversed, I repented, and began anew with a fresh awareness of His presence.
As a result, this week was unlike many others in recent months, thankfully. I walked with a greater dependence on God and in doing so, my spiritual eyes were open to "God glimpses" at every turn.
God began my week by calling out my sin, including my lack of dependence on Him, and He ended my week by reminding me that I'm in training—never arriving.
"I am intimately involved in all your moments, and I am training you to be aware of Me at all times. Your assignment is to collaborate with Me in this training process." - Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
A glimpse of God to begin my day. Only a sweet Savior would bookend my week with grace and mercy.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
So why say “no” this time? It wasn't a matter of being too full or not in the mood for ice cream (is there such a mood?)
I said “no” to ice cream that night in order to say “yes” to a healthier me for a lifetime.
It’s simple but true: Saying “no” to one thing allows us to say "yes" to something else—usually of greater value.
- “No” to TV = “Yes” to quietness, quality time with the Lord and family, reading a good book.
- “No” to splurging = “Yes” to wise spending, saving, ability to help others in need.
- “No” to busyness = “Yes” to abundant living
- “No” to always saying “yes” to everyone = “Yes” to understanding you can’t be everything to everyone...nor should you.
Perhaps I’m the last one to board this train, but this simple principle is a life-changer for me. It seems so obvious yet it's too often neglected.
What about you? To what (or whom) can you say "no" to this week in order to say "yes" to God's best?
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Three reasons I didn't hesitate to download information on the Pomodoro Technique® via Mary DeMuth's tweetdeck tonight:
1. I'm a huge Mary DeMuth fan!
2. I need it.
3. It's FREE! The technique, activity sheets, and even a cheat sheet -- all FREE!
The basic unit of work in the Pomodoro Technique® can be split in five simple steps:
- Choose a task to be accomplished
- Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
- Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
- Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break
Care to try this time-saving technique with me?
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I sat in the balcony, eyes fixed on a woman lovingly but firmly speaking truth into a teenager's life.
The teenager seemed quiet, a bit of a loner, and in need of someone like her who was willing to take the time to sit beside him, get beyond the How are you? surface-type questions and listen. Really listen. How inspiring! But it's the woman's identity that serves as the catalyst for today's post. Remember this story?
It was Dave's mother who served as the hands and feet of Christ to the young man today. There before me was a woman swimming in her own grief over the recent loss of a son offering a life-vest buoyed by hope to a young man in need. She had not allowed circumstances to immobilize her—or the opportunities given by God to encourage and strengthen others.
I respect the fact that everyone grieves differently, but her depth of faith spoke with such volume today it nearly required headphones.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Some may not judge a book by its cover but many judge their choice of dinner by the appearance of the restaurant. Well, maybe not many. Okay, maybe only me—but my exterior snobbery caused me to miss out on one of the best kept secrets in Simpsonville, SC. That is, until last night.
The Pasta House, located on 635 N.E. Main Street (directly across from the Simpsonville Post Office) sits between a dog grooming business and a laundromat so it remained in my peripheral vision for five years. Shame on me!
Friendly faces and a waft of Italian deliciousness greet you at the door. It's not a fancy place, but it's clean and very pleasant. The staff is top-notch—we never wanted for anything. I ordered the Shrimp Scampi, and at the risk of sounding like my Aunt Nell (who proclaimed this at every meal) -- it WAS the best meal I could remember in a long time. The shrimp was cooked to perfection in garlic, butter, lemon, and a white wine sauce. The portions are large enough for two people (we split our meal and brought half home for lunch).
But the best part? It's an incredible bargain! Every entree includes: soup or salad (Brian said the creamy chicken soup was amazing), garlic bread, drink, dessert, and coffee. All of this with my Shrimp Scampi was only 13.95! They have great kid's deals during the week as well as lunch specials.
I can't close without mentioning the delectable dessert that followed my meal -- homemade NY style cheesecake. Enough said.
If you live anywhere in this vicinity, you'll want to give The Pasta House a try.
It's simply magnifico!
Friday, August 19, 2011
Why this hot-off-the-press special issue from The Writer is a fave of mine:
- Slick cover (eye candy!)
- Topics helpful to both seasoned and newbie writers
- Such as: grammar (which would've come in handy for yesterday's post when I apparently left a participle dangling...ouch), strategies to bring fiction and non-fiction to life, 7 essential elements to creating suspense, 8 methods to capture a child's view of the world
- And my favorite so far: 25 ways to tighten, clarify and energize your writing
Thursday, August 18, 2011
In a nearby window, she caught the reflection of a woman eating dinner.
The image appeared familiar but unrecognizable at first glance. The once oval-shaped face was now rounded, and a “normal” body now pounds heavier. She glanced away quickly hoping the reflection was a figment of her imagination.
Who was the woman staring back at her in the window?
She was me.
Or was she? I don't know--it’s hard to tell when your eyes are closed.
That moment of reflection was quickly and conveniently shuffled to the back of my brain, joining the ranks of all those thoughts vying for my attention, but having been denied.
And then this song played in my car:
"This Is Your Life" (partial lyrics)
Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
Yesterday is a promise that you've broken
Don't close your eyes,
don't close your eyes
This is your life and today is all you've got now
Yeah, and today is all you'll ever have
Don't close your eyes
Don't close your eyes
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be?
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose
By the time I finished my sing-along with Switchfoot, I'd come to these conclusions:
- Today is all I have.
- By "closing my eyes" (feeling sad, refusing to deal with an issue) to those things which I don't like about myself, I'm also losing sight of the things I do like.
- A life "dreamed about" is only realized with eyes wide open.
- Who I reflect will always be more important than what I reflect.
- Eating inside will always make me feel better about myself. :)
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity..." Ephesians 5:14, 15a
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
When asked to list the first five items they would grab from their burning house, most in the class included their Bible. It was on my list as well. But why?
Bibles are replaceable—one visit to Lifeway proves the point. So why would most Christ-followers put their personal Bible in the top five grab list? I believe it’s because our Bible becomes a familiar friend over time. We remember the placement of verses on a particular page, our personal notes are jotted in the margin marking spiritual landmarks, and highlighted verses remind us of truths too easily forgotten.
It’s not just a Bible we’re grabbing on our way out of the burning house, it’s our Bible.
I’m convinced, however, the Kingdom advanced for God’s glory because a friend of mine chose not to see her personal Bible as hers to keep, but rather, as God’s to give away. Upon learning that a young woman with serious addictions did not own a Bible, Becky handed her familiar friend of 20+ years over to the struggling stranger without hesitation. Inside were numerous notations made over many years, as well as highlighted promises kept after her husband’s sudden passing several years ago.
Becky treasured her Bible—but she treasured the Word more.
The woman hasn't been seen or heard of since, but who knows? Truth may take hold of the heart and grab her from a fiery existence she never knew existed until receiving Becky's Bible.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Unexpected sparks produced a bright blaze of gladness Friday morning when two muscadines were discovered beneath their branches. (Apparently, they've also sparked a bit of gladness in the heart of nearby birds!)
If you've followed my blog for awhile, you know sweet memories are intertwined with these native grapes as they once draped over my grandfather's old wooden shed, tempting us every August with their distinct and delectable aroma.
What unexpected spark has kindled a bright blaze of gladness in your life this week?
Friday, August 12, 2011
Favorite Sounds of the Week
- Alarm clock - reminding me it's time to wake up for breakfast with friends
- Our early 1900’s screen door “slamming” shut like only an old screen door can
- “I found an old blue Mason jar you can have" (picking it up this weekend!)
- Our kid's footsteps coming through the door for dinner
- The top of Special K with berries being ripped apart (I’ve not had cereal in 6 yrs!)
- “Welcome to Starbucks. Please pull around for your total.”
- The slapping of a wet paint brush, i.e. progress!
- "I lost the bid on my latest doo-wop find on Ebay"
- Brandon's (our oldest son) songs on I-tunes
- Michelin tires crunching through gravel, i.e. hubby is home from work :)
- Melodic tunes created by fingertips tapping away on a new project
Thursday, August 11, 2011
"As people age they tend toward one of two extremes—growing hard and unbending or becoming kinder and more forgiving." - Beth Moore
This quote, taken from her 90 Day Devotional on the Life of Paul, refers to the Apostle Paul and his relationship with John Mark. The interesting part, however, is that it's based on Philemon 1:9-10—verses that deal with Paul and Onesimus, not John Mark.
Or do they?
Beth points out how she feels John Mark may have been Paul's inspiration for seeking restoration between Philemon and Onesimus. Paul had been hard and unyielding in the conflict between himself and John Mark years earlier, but healing had since taken place.
True restoration not only brings joy to the soul—it also matures us and allows us to set better examples for the younger generations to come.
Albert Camus said, "You are the sum of all your choices."
It's always comes down to our daily choices, don't you agree?
Lord, help me to be a woman who refuses to give in to the "I deserve this and that" and "doomsday" attitudes of the world as I grow older. That mindset is a scheme stirred up from the belly of hell. Help me to set my eyes on You that I might leave an inheritance of gentleness, kindness, forgiveness and restoration-seeking attitudes for my children, grandchildren, and generations I'll never know.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
✔ Nourished physically by tea and banana nut bread
✔ Nourished spiritually by a devotion reading from Jesus Calling
✔ A room saturated in prayer
✔ God's presence welcomed
✔ Paper and pens at His beck and call
It's a work in progress.
My writer's group, i.e., 4 Corners, is currently working on at least one Christmas e-publication for 2011 and we couldn't be more excited!
Our four backgrounds are diverse but our purpose is one: Glorify Christ.
One way we hope to accomplish this purpose is by offering practical ways to simplify and de-stress Christmas in order to make room for the meaningful things that matter.
Our target date for release is end of October/first of November. In the meantime, we covet your prayers for wisdom and discernment.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Meet my latest find from Barnes & Noble.
As always, it was the cover that caught my eye—the texture, bright pinks, tulips, sunny yellow, and a funky-doo—but the real delight lies within the 160 pages.
Each page invites inspiration through a collage of color, timely advice from female entrepreneurs, helpful tips in the side bars, fun layouts, and jaw dropping photographs.
If you're in need of a little creative inspiration for your work space, craft corner, or writing nook, this is the book-a-zine for you!
Monday, August 8, 2011
There is a season - turn, turn, turn....
Leaves aren't twirling downward and noses are nowhere on Jack Frost's radar, but there is a new season quickly approaching—a new season of life, that is.
Remember this post? I can now share that the "step of faith" referred to was my resigning from teaching an amazing group of men and women at our church. The "perfect storm" referred to the combination of my increased desire to write and more importantly, my desire to be available for Piper, our granddaughter due in November.
- God's peace truly transcends all understanding. In this situation, He gave it to me instantaneously -- no lingering doubts. Not one.
- Some will understand. Some won't. My responsibility is to follow what I believe the Lord is calling me to do and release the rest. His peace guards the heart and mind. (Phil. 4:7)
- God can use one spiritual gift in a variety of ways. The gift of teaching is not being abandoned—He's simply changing the venue.
- God delights in our striking a healthy balance between serving Him and loving our families.
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven..." Phil. 1:3
Friday, August 5, 2011
Okay, some would argue that I've never seen, heard, or even know what that track looks like, but the point is: I'm not giving up!
Sage Cohen's The Productive Writer (a must have for every writer!) + Target's new filing system + my renewed desire to organize my house, time, and energy = Friday's faves for sure.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
In 24 hours...
A friend drops off red-ripe tomatoes and a half-dozen ears of Silver Queen corn at the backdoor.
Four friends gather with a slice of homemade coffee cake in hand to discuss writing, struggles, and victories.
A friend from far away texts to say she's praying for me.
Friends from the past reunite for an evening of music, catching up, and a ton of laughter.
My very best friend (hubby, Brian) cheers me on like no one else can.
Reading this article on friendship simply confirmed my take on friendships: They're essential and one of God's greatest blessings.
I truly thank God for each one.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
Location: The backyard or interior room (close to all amenities - sold!) Purpose: Reading, writing, quiet time, or a slumbering spell
Need I say more?
When I spotted Tatertots & Jello (how creative!) on Ann Voskamp's recent post, I knew scouting it out would be time well spent—and I wasn't disappointed. I'm a fan!
Would you agree that everyone needs their own "Summer Reading Teepee"—a place to escape, to get lost, and to wonder? It may not be crafted from cloth on clearance or have a bowl of Smarties nearby (although I'm thinking it will be more enjoyable if so), but the shabby chandelier? Now, that's a must!
I have a feeling Brian will be purchasing lots-'o-PVC-piping in the future as Piper (future granddaughter) has her name written all over this tent.
Brief stay + amenities + reading + giggling = my kind of camping.