Thursday, July 21, 2016

CREATE Memories: Five Minute Friday

I am late to the Five Minute Friday party because I have been very busy creating memories with my children. Most of the time, I would have stopped what I was doing to address the prompt (especially since I hadn’t posted this week), but when I saw the prompt word was CREATE I knew I had to keep doing what I was doing. So here I am joining almost at the last minute.

It’s 3:00 Thursday morning. As I write this, I am in a chair that I moved in to the hotel bathroom so I don't disturb my family as they sleep. 

In almost 20 years of marriage one of the things my husband and I have consistently agreed on is that we wanted to make memories with our children. This is so important to us, that my husband even made stickers that adorn our vehicles, pop-up camper, and boat that all say "McDonald's Memory Maker"

For Christmas we would ask Grandparents to purchase family Season passes to Houston area museums or the zoo. It was difficult for them to do this because they wanted to see the face of my children light up as they "opened a box of goodies". We made it a point to call the person who gifted the membership each time we went thanking them for the Christmas gift that we were benefiting from much longer than the toys they otherwise would have received. 

Stuff will break and wear out. My children will forever remember the time spent together, enjoying and annoying one another in new ways and at new locations.

If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember my post on Mother’s Day about the posture of parenting. (you can visit that here) We are in a season of change. With one of my daughters being 16 and a Junior in High School, and the other turning 15 and starting her Freshman year in High School, I am keenly aware of our limited time together. 

Very soon they will have jobs or be gone to college and their schedules will be ones where there won’t be much time for family experiences. (Quite frankly, if they are like I was, they will look for every reason to avoid family time, but I hope not)

I also know there will be the day when they have a special person in their life that and it will no longer be just the four of us creating McDonald Memories. There will also come the day when they will eventually be tasked with creating memories with and for their own families. While I would love to be included in that, I have no guarantees.

So please forgive me for being late to the party--and also for rushing off again so soon. Today is my 45th birthday and I get to spend it creating memories at Disney World... Don't we look cute in the shirts we created? 

The girls surprised me with a tiara to wear today...YES! Big girls are Princesses too!

I am joining with #FMF a group that challenges us to write for only 5 minutes on a given word prompt. This weeks word is "CREATE". Feel free to see how other bloggers responded to this week's word.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

We are all Correct: We May all be Wrong

Perspective is important. A person's personal
experiences will cause their perspective to lean a
certain way. They will defend that perspective
because it is their reality.

Another person will have 
a different perspective 
based on their personal 
life experiences, and that
person will defend their 
perspective just as 

Each person's perspective is their authentic reality. 
Neither person is incorrect.

The issue comes in when
each side is unwilling to
acknowledge the other 
has an authentic position
and dismisses them

Maybe that is why God
said we are to LOVE one another.

"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as Ihave loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world you are my Disciples.", John 13:34-35, NLT

My lenses are different than your's, but I love you
enough to recognize that my lenses aren't the only 
ones that are looking at the issues. I love you where 
you are and where you come from. I love you as we 
both travel to a place where we can look at things
through the perfected lenses God wants us to see 
things through.

Open the eyes of our heart Lord, so we can find the
unity that comes through You and loving others the
way you want us to.

 "Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths of your instructions.", Psalm 119:18, NLT

Linking up with Grace and Truth at Arabahjoy.comand
Dance With Jesus

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Discontentment of Want: What am I pursuing?

We were designed with a void that creates an aching want in our hearts. Common ways we attempt to satisfy this want is by pursuing a job, spouse, children, home, or stuff. Other’s saturate the area of void with excessive food, alcohol, sex, or other “numbing” actions or substances. 

Our human hearts are fickle and depending on the focus of our want, we can easily become discontent with what God has already given us.

If a person expects a job to fill the void in their heart,  it won’t be long before they are discontent and desiring a better/ different job.

If you get married to fill the heart's void or longing, the honeymoon will end quickly leaving you wondering if you married the wrong person. The emptiness you hoped would go away once you were married, intensifies with the revelation that your spouse either can’t or won’t fill that aching emptiness.

The discontentment that comes when the marriage does not stop the ache of longing in your heart, can lead you to miss the blessings that are present in your marriage and begin to long for a better or different spouse.

In the same pattern a house, car, children, alcohol, sex, (or any other tangible item) will never fill the deepest longings of our heart. Once the familiar and uncomfortable pangs of loneliness, emptiness, or lack of fulfillment begin to stir again, the consuming monster of discontentment follows close behind.

Those who have a house may want a bigger/ better one. Once they get the bigger/ better one and realize the longing is still there, they focus on yet a bigger/ better house.

Those who have a car may want a bigger/ better one. Once they get the different car and realize the longing is still there, they may turn to purchasing other items or toys in an attempt to make the emptiness go away. 

Do you see the pattern? We all want something. Our discontent stirs us to do, get, or purchase more "stuff" in an attempt to make the hunger of longing stop. 

For some that will drive them to work harder. Others it may cause us to make poor choices. We can go in to debt for the fancier car, or possibly settle for less than God’s best when it comes to relationships.

Regardless of how they do it, they fill their life with stuff, but their hearts remain empty and longing.

The bible tells us that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. 

“Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”, Matthew 6:20-21, NLT
You may be asking, “But what about where the bible says “He (God) will give me the desires of my heart?’Isn’t that proof that I should pursue, and that God should provide the things I am longing for?”

I challenge you sweet friend to read that verse in its entirety.
“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.”, Psalm 37:4, NLT

When we examine our desires, we learn a lot about ourselves. If we take delight in God, His word, and spending time with Him, the closer we are to God and the more our desires will line up with His will. The dry ache of longing will be satisfied with the living water of Jesus and the power of God will work in and through our lives.  

If we search after the “stuff” of this life more discontentment, emptiness, and dissatisfaction will grow from your heart. 

If you search after God, the more content, fulfilled, and satisfied your heart and life will be. 

I'm not a 'Pollyanna'. I’m not saying you won’t have troubles…the enemy and this fallen world will make sure issue and struggles are part of our life. I will tell you that if you follow the wisdom of Psalm 37:4, you will not walk through the valley of struggle or loss alone. Delight in the Lord FIRST and foremost. Seek Him above all things and the deep longings of your heart will be satisfied. 

“ If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”, Jeremiah 29:13, NLT

I challenge you today to seek God wholeheartedly. A relationship with Him is the only thing that will fill the deepest longings of your heart. 

Does this post resonate with your own experiences? I'd love to hear from you.

Today I am linking up with: #thoughtprovokingthursday #livefreethursday

Friday, June 24, 2016

The REST of the Story: I Danced #FMF

The REST of the Story: I danced! #FMF

This week I was hiking through some beautiful trails in Tennessee. As I explored the majesty of God’s creation, I began to share with my friend how much I miss dancing. 

I met my husband in a dance hall almost 22 years ago. I wasn’t there to meet a man or find a husband. I was there because I loved to dance.

As my friend listened, I openly grieved the reality that dancing would never again be a part of my life.

The story could have ended there… BUT GOD!

That evening as my friend and I entered the church where we are attending a ministry event, we had no idea what was about to happen.

The praise music began and we were enthralled with praising and worshiping. It was a beautiful and special time that God used to show me how much He cares about the details of our lives and the desires of our hearts. 

The music minister invited those who wanted to dance to come to the open area in front of the altar and do so.

My friend and I were in tears! God had seen my heart’s longing and invited me to be His dance partner. I am typically reserved as I worship God, but that night I danced before Him with full vigor and abandon much like I anticipate King David did.

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might.”, 2 Samuel 6:14, NLT 

The music slowed and I sensed His closeness. I submitted myself to His leading and guidance. I was surrounded by other people…but this moment was me dancing with my God.

He let me know that He hears, cares, and responds to our deep longings. There are thousands of people at this conference… and He opened the dance floor because MY HEART longed to dance.

It found out that the dancing was not planned or fabricated. It was not man’s doing. 

God wanted to dance with me just as badly as I wanted to dance.

My story could have ended on a mountain top, in the woods, with my heart longing not fulfilled. As I complained in the middle of a stat park hiking trail, I fully believed I would live the rest of my life trying to ignore my desire to dance.  BUT GOD said NO! 

“For You have given him his heart’s desire; You have withheld nothing he requested.” Psalm 21:2, NLT

In the famous words of the late and great Paul Harvey… “And that’s the REST of the story!”

What are some places of longing where He has shown up for you, or areas you would like for Him to show up?

I am joining with the #FMF crew writing on the word prompt #REST

Aside note:
When I think of it, by my natural bend, I am a control freak. The fact that my heart longs to dance makes no natural sense at all. As a woman, my role in dancing is to submit myself and be sensitive to the subtle guidance of another and to go where they want me to go. They lead… I follow. May I always be sensitive and submitted to the guidance of God as my leader and partner through this life!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Lose Sleep In Marriage: #FMF

I’m typing this at 1am… because I can’t sleep. 

Early on in our marriage, I would lose sleep because we were trying to be as “close and connected” to one another as possible. (wink, wink)

During that time, I learned to lose myself in my husbands embrace. It was a blissful reason to lose sleep. 

Over the years we have revisited variations of the original “close and connected” season, sadly that is not where we are right now. 

This season is distant and disconnected. Its a season of feeling alone and abandoned…definitely not the blissful abandon we once experienced.

Currently, the largest distance in the world is the span from my side of the king sized bed to my husband’s. I want to cross it. You’d think after almost 20 years of marriage, I’d know instinctively how… but I don’t. 

I’m at a loss. All I can do is trust God to lead me in what I need to do.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”, Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT

So I retreat to my side of the bed and lie there silently weeping and praying that sleep is the only thing I lose during this season.

“Let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Mark 10:9, NLT

*I'm linking up with the Five Minute Friday crowd at #FMF. The word for this week is LOSE.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Letting Go- A Graduation Revelation

This weekend is a time that we are honoring the class of 2016. My niece graduated from High School, so we became part of the sea of people sitting in football stadiums waiting for our special person’s name to be called.

I have to admit, watching people with bouquets of balloons and poster board signs made me a little disappointed in myself that I hadn’t thought to do something similar. (Make a mental note for next time) 

The National Anthem was sung, the obligatory speeches completed, and special staff were honored. Finally the time had arrived for the Graduates to be honored as they took their final High School walk.

An odd thing happened though as they called the names. I thought it was an accident at first, but when it happened a second and third time, I realized it was very intentional. 

Quite often, a name called coincided with a huge balloon bouquet being released into the air. Bouquet after bouquet was released. Then, a group of doves were released. More names, more balloons, and more doves. 

To be honest, at first, all I could think of was how much money they just released in to the air for no good reason and what the impact might have on our ecosystem and wild animals. I felt sorry for the poor doves that were thrust into the brightness of the stadium lights. They looked confused and struggled to find direction.

Then I realized that is what this graduation night is all about… letting go!

The parents releasing or letting go of the balloons and doves was symbolic of what they were doing with their children that night…Letting go.

As I looked at the balloons and doves, I had a new perspective. Some balloons were released in bundles and traveled high and far fairly quickly, seeming to keep a straight path.

Other balloons seemed to just stall out. Some didn’t
have enough helium in them to get lift and sluggishly hung low, eventually settling not too far from the person who launched them.

Other balloons were alone or in small groups and either floated around playfully as they slowing climbed in distance and height.

The doves, on the other hand were a disaster. They had no sense of direction and rose and fell, spinning one way then quickly changing course. I honestly thought they were going to injure themselves during their chaotic and erratic response as they were flung out of the security and comfort of their boxes.

Watching these multiple paths, directions, and courses of balloons and birds, I could see where they were a reflection of what the graduates paths would be. 

Some would set a straight course and travel far and high in life. Others would playfully meander and stay close to their launch place. Sadly others will flounder chaotically as they are thrust into a world that is confusing and overwhelming to them.

Its scary for a parent (and the child too)as we enter that season of letting go. God gives us a promise though.

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”, Proverbs 22:6, NLT

It doesn’t mean our children won’t waiver or struggle. They will undoubtedly flounder and make mistakes that alter their course causing them to adjust and regroup. 

If we have done our due diligence as parents and trained them in the ways of the Lord as well as taught them how to seek God’s plan and path for their life, they will not stay on wayward paths forever. That is a hope parents can cling to even though the child still has free will to participate with God’s plan or reject it.

For parents who may be looking back over the years of raising their children and wishing they would have (or could have) done things differently. God is a loving Father and has the ability to redeem our shortcomings as parents. 

Don't be discouraged. As we release our children into adulthood, we are not releasing them to a mean and cruel world to fend for themselves. We are releasing them into the hands of God to live out their own unique purpose and life. They cannot do that effectively if we hold on to them.

I'm praying for all the parents who are in a season of  letting go, and also  for our children who are being released to travel their own paths. (((HUGS)))

Thursday, June 9, 2016

What Do We WANT: Disaster or Hope- FMF

Let’s be gut wrenching honest. There are mountains of terrible things going on in the world around us.  As a Christian, there are times I feel like Jeremiah trying to warn the people around me what will happen if we do not do what is right in God's eyes…not our own.

“Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from you evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.”“But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we WANT to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.”, Jeremiah 18:11-13, NLT

We live in an indulgent and self centered society that WANT to follow their own desires and proclaim evil good and good evil. The consequences for this stubbornness is disaster!

God in His immense love for us though, provides a promise and a blessing if we do what is right in His eyes.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”, Jeremiah 29:11, NLT

I anchor my hope to this promise, especially when the world around me seems to be “going to hell in a hand-basket”. 

Lord, turn our stubborn hearts away from our own desires and help us WANT YOU above anything else.

I am linking up with the #FMF group today with the word WANT feel free to check out some other great posts over there!