Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tis' the Season - part 2

Tis' the season to give...and give cheerfully.

One of my goals as a mother is to teach Gabriel about giving. I don't want him to be selfish. I want him to understand how blessed he truly is and I want him to see past what is immediately around him and be able to see those who are less fortunate than us and those who just need someone to give them...something.

Today was not a bad day...although for the most part, it felt like any other ordinary day. We just took a couple hours out to head to hubby's Aunt's for some REALLY good dinner. Seriously, it was REALLY good. "Sweet potato pie made me shut my mouth." Literally. I don't even like sweet potatoes...but this dish was off the chiz-ain. Okay, sorry, getting off topic.

His Aunt Gloria is that woman who will cook for an army and then insist you eat half of it. Okay, that's exaggerating. But it really is more effort to argue with her and tell her you don't want anymore than it is to actually just go get more. So before we left, I gave in and took the to go boxes she was handing me and filled them with some mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, stuffing, and mac-n-cheese. I slyly left the 3rd box she gave me for dessert in the garage. We didn't need any dessert. Now I wish I had gotten some...because our food never actually made it home.

We were stopped at a red light at the intersection of County Line Rd and US 92 when we saw a lady on the side of the road holding a sign. We didn't know if it was just a sign asking for work or what but Jason made the comment, "She shouldn't be out here. She should be somewhere eating a nice meal." I looked at him, I looked at her, and I then I looked down at the 2 full to go boxes of food and pointed at them. We both smiled but were kinda stuck. She was on the right hand side of the road and were in the far left lane. As if in answer to our dilemma, she crossed over to our side of the road. It was like God saying, "Hey, no excuses now." Jason rolled down the window and held out both boxes. She came over, a grin on her face and said, "I'd rather have this than money any day of the week. Thank you!" Jason told her Happy Thanksgiving and then the light turned green.

I'm not telling this to toot our own horns. I don't care about recognition. I care about that woman and so many others like her. And it hit me like a ton of bricks tonight on our drive home. Instead of whining or complaining about the fact that we live paycheck to paycheck, I should be thanking God for the ability to do so. So many others can't. That's why so many like that woman stand on the side of the road with a cardboard sign begging for anything. How many times do we just pass those people by almost scoffing at them? Nine times out of ten...they didn't choose that life for themselves. If we have it to give, then why not give, and give without reservation, without a second thought. After all, Jesus said, "What you do to the least of these, you do unto Me." Hebrews 13 also talks about not neglecting hospitality because some have entertained angels unaware.

So...the next time you see one of those downtrodden, yet beautiful, people, ask yourself what you would do if that were an angel or Jesus Himself standing on the side of the road. Would you just pass them by?

I pray that Thanksgiving meal was enough to fill that woman's belly for the night and I pray she finds a warm place to sleep...everyone deserves at least that.

Happy Thanksgiving...and thanks for being a reader of my blog. I appreciate you....whoever you are.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tis' the Season...

To be jolly?

To spend time with family?

To bake cookies and cakes and fill your house with all those wonderful scents?

No...apparently, for some, it is the season to camp out at Best Buy days before Black Friday.
Now, don't get me wrong. I like deals just as well as the next person and I enjoy getting things at a huge bargain. And yes, my husband's older brother and s-i-l pretty much camped out last year for us to get us the washer/dryer set that was on sale (which we got and I truly appreciate it) except they weren't out there days in advance.

But I pulled into the Best Buy parking lot here in Lakeland yesterday because our coffee maker went kapput and we needed a new one and I see a line of people already camped out. A tent, lawn chairs, blankets, etc. were strewn about the sidewalk. I think one of the guys noticed the look on my face as I drove I'm sure was a look of disgust. The disgust was not toward those particular people but at the whole big affair. People put so much time and energy into so many things and around the holidays, it's waiting in line for that one Black Friday deal they are looking to score. But what is the point really?

Imagine...just imagine...what this world would be like if we all (I'm at the top of the list here) put that type of time, energy, and labor into helping others, spreading the Good News, giving back, advancing the Kingdom that awaits us? I'm seriously talking to myself here too. I may not camp out at Best Buy but there are plenty of others things that I spend my time and energy on rather than what I should be spending it on. This world has its priorities so screwed up and while they just seem to get worse, I am desperately trying to put mine in the correct order. I'm not waiting until the New Year to break make my New Years Resolutions. I'm starting now. My number one priority should be Christ. I should wake every morning thanking Him for another day and should spend each day in prayer and devotion. Number two should be my family. The TV, facebook, dinner, grades, lesson plans, even this blog should all wait until I've spent time with my husband and son. Number three should be my relationships with people. I am just as guilty of not keeping up with people. I need to call people or make a date with people to see them and catch up. I'm not promised tomorrow. In last place would be my job. Yes, it is what pays for the bills and puts food on the table and gas in my car...but it is what I do, not who I am. My job should not consume me and I refuse to let it. When I am there from 8-4, I will give my 100% effort to those kids but when I come home, home is where ALL of me needs to be.

I am so excited about this season. Last Christmas we were in between homes and didn't get to decorate or put our tree up. This year, we are pulling out all the stops...with what we've got anyway. I refuse to stress over the small things this season. I have been fully blessed. There are so many hurting and grieving people out there...people that have lost loved ones and will be spending their first year without that individual. I am grateful that person is not me but pray that God would wrap His peace and comfort around those walking through it. You are not forgotten.

So, in closing....for me & hopefully for you too, tis' the season (always) to be thankful, to reach out, and to love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Modest Proposal...

So I went to Plant City tonight to get my hair done and laying on the table was a Plant City paper of some sort. I don't know what it's called but it has local stories, events, etc. in it. On the front cover is a picture of a 14 year old Plant City pagent girl. Beautiful girl...with the most revealing dress. The slit in the front literally went aaaaaall the way up. I almost swallowed my tongue. FOURTEEN! It looked like a dress Britney Spears would wear. And I'm sorry, I really am not judging....but why are we, as a society, teaching our young "ladies" that it's okay to dress like a $2 hooker? Now maybe that's harsh...and if you read my blog and you happen to know the girl on the front of that paper, I mean no ill will. I am sure she is just as beautiful on the inside, but I just have a proposal to make...

I see it the schools, in the mall, in the grocery store, and worst of the church. Young girls and women wearing revealing tops, or short skirts/dresses, or jeans so tight they look like they've been painted on, or short and tight shorts. As Christ followers, we are supposed to set a higher standard and I will tell you right now, half the time, I think we dress just like the rest of the world. I learned several years ago just how my dress affects the male brain. Let me just say, I stopped wearing certain articles of clothing after I learned that information. And now that I'm older and I'm married, I check with my husband if I'm not sure about a certain top or dress/skirt. I can dress all sorts of revealing in the privacy of my own home in front of my own husband...because we are MARRIED... and he's allowed to have those thoughts about me. But why in the WORLD would I want to dress like that for anyone else's man? I don't and I wouldn't...but plenty of women do.

Now I'm not perfect but I've been a proponent for modesty since I was in high school. I never ever desired to draw attention to myself in THAT way and I guess I just don't understand that mindset. I mean, if you've got it, congratulations on having a nice body....but does my husband need to see what you've got? No ma'am...

I think all women, before going out in public in certain questionable clothing, should ask themselves what their motive is. Is it because you're just really comfortable in that clothing and that's the only article of clothing fit for that occasion/event or are you hoping to get attention from it? Be honest with yourself. And if you're married, then why do you want to show off what should only be for your husband? Do you want some other woman showing off her goods to YOUR man? Yea, I didn't think so. So I propose that Christian women start a movement of modesty. You can still be stylish and yes, even sexy, while dressing modestly and covering up. Trust me: men will respect you more.

In Proverbs 31:25, the Bible speaking about the virtuous woman states, "She is clothed with strength and dignity." I wonder...what would that look like in the physical sense? Do you see strength and dignity in a woman wearing a skirt or dress that is dangerously close to showing other treasures or a top that reveals more boobage than necessary?

I don't want to make my fellow brothers in Christ stumble. I want to clothe myself inwardly and outwardly with strength and dignity, and anything less is and should be unacceptable. I would hope that if something I wore caused another brother to stumble, that someone would be bold but loving enough to tell me.

So ladies, let's examine our dress and let's vow to be modest. If you're not sure what that looks like, ask a guy you trust to tell you what pops in his head immediately when he sees women dressed in certain me, you might get an education. And you might think twice about those super skinny jeans or that low cut top....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

But there is a God...

Over the past week, God has had me in the book of Daniel. There is so much in just the first 2 chapters. I went through a Beth Moore Bible study on Daniel but I am sad to say I never finished it.

Daniel is home to 2 of the stories we all heard as children in Sunday School - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the blazing furnace...and Daniel in the lion's den. But I want to back it up a bit to the 2nd chapter. God reveals King Neb's dream to Daniel to spare his life and Daniel is beginning to tell the king what his dream is and what it means. You know how you read something a million times and then all of the sudden, one verse, or one line, or just a few words just JUMP out at you. Or sometimes you've even underlined a certain part but you don't remember underlining it so when you go back and read over it, you see that and all of the sudden it has new meaning. Yea, that happened to me the other night.

In verse 29, Daniel tells the king: "There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can reveal the king's secret. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future." The part that my eyes focused on were the 7 poignant words: But there is a God in Heaven. Wow!

If that phrase doesn't apply to almost any situation you might be going through, then I don't know what does. I started thinking about it as it applies to my own life and in the lives of others. This is what I came up with:

-I might not know the answers to everything, but there is a God in Heaven who knows it all.
-Finances might be tight at times, but there is a God in Heaven who provides my every need.
-I might feel lonely at times, but there is a God in Heaven who never leaves me.
-There may be times that I feel like I have no friends, but there is a God in Heaven who calls ME His friend.
-My job might cause meltdowns and stress, but there is a God in Heaven who is going to see me through.
-Yes, there are people in this world who are going hungry, but there is a God in Heaven who wants to give them the bread of life.
-You may have done some rotten things in your life (we all have), but there is a God in Heaven who forgives.
-There may be a situation that you see no way out of, but there is a God in Heaven who is ready and willing to rescue you.
-Life might just suck sometimes, BUT THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN!

No matter what you are going through, please know that there is a God in Heaven who loves you and wants to comfort you and give you peace that passes all understanding.

I know that everything is going to be alright simply because there is a God in Heaven!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Well, it's past my bedtime. Yes, I'm an old woman who likes to be asleep before 10 and it's close to 11. I had to watch the newest episode of NCIS tonight...the only TV show I care about watching so I was okay when we cancelled cable completely because they post full episodes online.

Anyway, I'm exhausted but my brain is too wired for sleep right now. I'm thinking, and praying, and praying, and thinking.

I've been really struggling over the past week with the impending changes in our church (see my previous blog if you're wondering). I know exactly what I WANT to do. If it were just up to me to make my own decisions, it would be the easiest decision in the world. But, it's not just up to me. It's up to least that's how I want it to be and I don't want to take one step in any direction without His voice telling me to. But, I also live (as best as I can) submissively to my husband and I follow his leading as the spiritual head of our household. I trust his judgement since he is a very discerning man and I also trust his "God-bumps." I know that sounds crazy but it's true. Whenever anything is going on or we're talking about something and he gets goosebumps, it usually means because God is getting his attention about something or confirming the answer to a question he's been asking. So instead of goosebumps, we call them his God-bumps and he got them tonight when reading a message someone sent me.

I have been focused on one verse this week but tonight I read the surrounding verses to get the context. I was focused on Daniel 2:20 which states (in the NLT): "He said, Praise the name of God forever and ever, for He has all wisdom and power." Basically, God is in control. I read above it and it's the story of Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar. King Neb had a dream that he did not know the meaning of and was planning on having all the wise men of Babylon executed because no one could tell him his dream. Daniel was included in this impending slaughter but God intervened. He revealed the dream to Daniel so in verses 21 and following, Daniel praises Him: "He controls the course of world events, He removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things  and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though He is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for You have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of You and revealed to us what the king demanded."

It may be an old story, but I think the concept applies to this part of my life right now. So ahead of time, Lord, I will thank You for giving me the wisdom I have asked for and the strength to follow Your leading, wherever it may take me.

Friday, November 4, 2011


God has a way of throwing you a curve ball just when you are settling into a comfortable stance at bat. Honestly speaking, I don't particularly care for curve balls. To be frank, sometimes, I'm really not all that fond of the game. But there I stand, trying to be obedient and take whatever is thrown at me.

In July of 2009, Jason and I found a church we could call home. We fell in love with the people, the worship, the atmosphere. That same year in September or October, I joined the choir. Never in my life had I enjoyed a group of people more...and our worship pastor/choir director? One of THE most Godly men I have ever met in my life. He has a way about just like to be near him. Personally speaking, I think it's the Jesus that radiates off of every fiber of that man's being.

Shortly after we came, the youth pastor was called to another church and a different man took over. He took a huge step of faith and quit his good paying job as an engineer to take on the youth full time. It was apparent that the youth quickly fell in love with him. I adore his wife and enjoy watching his girls worship. He is truly a man of faith. I admire him deeply.

At the same time, the pastor's wife was stepping down from her role as the children's leader and another man took that position with his wife alongside of him. This man dedicated my son back in May and runs an excellent children's program complete with a nursery I feel 100% confident leaving my son in.

I would also like to point out that these same 3 men came to visit me in the hospital after I had Gabriel and their beautiful wives brought us dinner the week we came home.

But there is another man. This man was a huge catalyst in getting our new building built. This man can hardly stand on stage and talk about Jesus without getting all weepy....and it is the most endearing thing I have ever witnessed. He has a heart for young adults and has this way of asking you questions and making you think about things. He's an amazing man of God with no stopping point...he is quite literally like the energizer bunny. I respect him and also happen to share a birthday with him.

These 4 men make up a good section of the heartbeat of our church. So you can imagine my shock and yes, I'll say it....devastation...when our worship pastor told the choir Wednesday night that he was leaving Midway...and the other 3 were as well. The 4 of them are starting their own church as they feel God calling them to do. It's a lot to take in at once. And I have a lot of questions and confusion but who am I to question God's plan? He is the ultimate authority and His plan and His will would get done with or without these men....but I will tell you this: in my personal opinion, He could not pick a better group of men to fulfill His mission.

No, I've never been a huge fan of change when I am not in control of it. But, that's why God is God and not me. Things are going to change at our church...and I am not sure what that change is going to look like exactly...but I do know that before we make any decisions, that my knees need to be worn out from the floor. I have a lot of praying to do over this change and a lot of wisdom and clarity that needs to be given to me. It's going to be difficult. It's going to be different. It's going to be downright dramatic. But the phrase that keeps playing in my head over and over is this: I may not know what the future holds...but I know without a doubt Who holds the future. So, as long as HE is on the throne, everything is going to be alright.