Wednesday, September 16, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  With the first day of fall 09/22/2020 quickly approaching, I’m already feeling a change in the season.  No, not a weather chance, but a life change.  Our house is a bit upside down with the kitchen remodel going on.  Brian’s new job has stopped our carpooling and lunch time walks.  I’ve heard it from multiple people lately that I should apply for a job that appears I would be a good fit for and leave the chaos behind.  I’m one that really likes consistency and having known expectations.  It’s not so bad when you have change coming at you from one direction, but it can really get you to thinking and questioning when you’re getting hit from multiple sides.  Just like the changing from summer to fall, one life season will end as a new one is beginning.  In November 2019 I fell into a season that really shook my world.  It caused a ripple effect in my life filled with stress, lack of sleep, anger, frustration, people not doing what they say they would, people leaving me high and dry, opportunity, growth, support, promotion, being God’s presence for others and them being His presence for me.  After a conversation Tuesday afternoon, it looks like in about a week the leaves on that season may finally get to fall, be ground into the earth, and used to fertilize new growth.  We’ve all heard that God will not give us more than we can handle.  I know, sometimes we feel completely overwhelmed, but He KNOWS what you and I are truly capable of.  It can be tough moving through these seasons with patience, but sometimes He’s just allowing us the time WE need to work through ourselves to get to the heart, strength, and wisdom He’s planted within us.  He will allow a season of tears to keep the seed moist until the Son’s light beaming through others warms the seed and draws new life from it.  John 12:24 “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  When faced with uncomfortable and unfamiliar seasons WE have the choice to remain a single seed or die to self so that we may flourish and provide a harvest for Him.  It’s okay to let the tears do your watering, but make sure you also allow the Son to brighten your days, warm your heart and reflect Him in all you do. 

Seasons are just seasons.  The real question is…What kind of heart and Spirit are you approaching and working through these seasons with?  What are you living for this second?  This minute?  This hour?  This day?  Don’t allow the tasks of this life overshadow your real purpose.  Monday evening I was heading home from an event a little after 9 p.m.  As I was approaching a strip mall area I noticed a younger lady walking from her car in the parking lot to a strip of grass that also had rose bushes.  She literally went out of her way to stop and smell the roses.  That image brought a big smile to my face.  I’m sure she hasn’t a clue how God was using her in the moment.  Take time to smell the roses.  If not for yourself, then for those that need to experience it with you.  Bless others and be blessed.

#BigDaddyWeave – This Is What We Live For

Wednesday September 9, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  October 1996 I purchased my first house.  With the exception of 2 years that we spend in MI and had renters, we’ve turned this house into our home.  By far the room that holds the most memories for me is the kitchen.   I think every emotion that you can have was experienced in that room.  If you ask my girls, they would probably agree that the kitchen was their favorite room as well and it was the most popular room to hang out with their friends.  I know this may sound strange, but our kitchen was carpeted.  We would dance around while doing dishes and cooking.  We would sit on the floor, with our backs leaned on the cabinet doors talking for hours.  Believe it or not, we spent so many hours leaned up against the cabinet doors, that they actually became bowed.  We had a desk with the family computer in there.  It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost nine years since our girls permanently lived here.  It’s crazy how time flies. 

Yesterday marked the end of a chapter and the turning of a page in our home.  For about five months we’ve been working on our kitchen remodel plans and yesterday the demolition began.  Our home was built in 1927 and the kitchen was last remodeled in the 1970’s.  Beautiful cabinets with the modern bells and whistles, new and more lighting, new appliances, paint, flooring…It’s all very exciting!  Monday afternoon as I finished up emptying the kitchen, before I took my “Before” pictures, I just looked around thinking about all the memories.  I absolutely didn’t expect such a flood of emotions over this worn kitchen.  New is exciting, but I will no longer see the bowed cabinet door and think of some of the best times spent with my girls.  And I’m guessing I probably won’t be sitting on the kitchen floor anymore.  I found myself wishing I had more time with my girls in our kitchen.

As I was contemplating these thoughts, God related them to my relationship with Him and how easy is it for me to focus on and long for what our relationship has been and that comfort level?  Thinking on the past doesn’t require us to grow.  But like this new kitchen, I know there are good things to come after the 6+ week project.  Our relationship with the Lord is always under construction.  He doesn’t want us to sit back, looking on the past.  He offers us memories to remember where we’ve been and offers us a plan, tools, and materials to build a better future with Him.  He is good beyond our understanding and offers us everything we will ever need in this life.  I challenge you today to look for Him in places and times you don’t normally think to seek Him.  Let Him amaze you in the ordinary you so often take for granted.  And allow the ordinary to become extraordinary.  Seek His goodness in every moment of your day.  If you’re willing, please share with me your ordinary moments which became extraordinary, because of Him.  Bless others and be blessed.

#Kutlass – King of My Heart

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Last April we purchased a 2008 two door Jeep Wrangler.  With the plan in mind to sell our motorcycle, we wanted a vehicle that could still provide us with our much desired wind therapy.  It’s been a lot of fun so far driving around our local area, but last Hump Day we headed out for our first adventure with it…The Old Dixie Highway.  Now, the Old Dixie Highway runs from Michigan to Florida, so we chose to make the Ohio, Michigan, Indiana swing.  We started in Dayton, OH following Dixie Highway along the Eastern side (the thumb) of MI, for the most part working around the finger tips, headed down the western side (the pinky side), down into Indiana, then headed east back home.  As you can tell by the picture of the map and my description, it’s like an outline of a wrist and hand, which is why the Lower Peninsula of MI is appropriately nicknamed “The Mitt”. 

With no real overnight stopping points in mind, we drove until we were ready to stop.  We were just enjoying the transition from big city to small town to not a town for miles.  We even found ourselves driving on dirt roads.  Yes, MI still has quite a few dirt roads.  Some roads were smooth, dotted with pot holes, dusty, and some were even closed, causing us to take a few detours.  On our second day, as we were just about to the tip of the index finger, I was thinking about the roads we’d already traveled and those still ahead, and it just seemed strange that we had no real destination in mind.  We were just cruising along the road.  It was at that point God said to me…”The journey IS the destination.”  I thought “WOW, that is so true.  Our beginning point is our end point.  The journey IS the destination.”  But of course, God wasn’t just talking about this drive.  He was using this Old Dixie Highway Mitt Trip to explain life to me.  Our starting point, before we are even conceived, is with the Lord, then we spend our whole journey we call life, traveling along from big city to small town, to no town for miles, working our way back to the very place we started.  Back into the palm of His hand.  During the moments of silence as Brian and I sat side by side on our Jeep Adventure journey, God and I had some good conversations.  Maybe one of these days I’ll actually write a book about it.  Think about your journey.  Where are you right now?  Are you in the hustle and bustle of big city life?  Are you on the dusty dirt road?  Are you doing some front porch sitting in the country?  Are you caught in the rain with the top down?  Or maybe you find yourself cruising down Easy Street.  Enjoy your destination as each day draws you closer, back to the palm of His hand.  Bless others and be blessed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Every chapter in your life is a new journey and there are times when you have 5, 6, 7 chapters being written all at the same time.  Thinking back on work interviews and trying to make myself and talents seem more appealing to potential supervisors and companies, I remember selling myself as a good multitasker.  I can bounce from this task to that task lickity split.  I never really take a moment to breath before I jump to the next.  My mind is always moving, whether I’m at work or home.  Never taking a moment to be still and quiet until my head hits the pillow at night.  I think this is taking a toll on me.  For the past few weeks I’ve found myself not wanting to go to bed.  I think my mind is trying to tell me to seek stillness and quiet before I go to bed, but yet I keep letting the meaningless tv program run and keep me distracted from the peace and quite my mind and body are desiring.  Can you relate?  Why do we do this?  We hear our bodies calling out for help, yet we ignore ourselves.  What’s your body calling out for?  Is your body calling out for energy?  It can be hard to put effort into being active when all you want to do is veg on the couch.  Is your body calling out for conversation?  Real conversations?  It can be intimidating and a bit scary putting yourself out there and having actual face to face or phone conversations, not screen to screen.  Awhile back I had a conversation with my four-year-old granddaughter about talking with God.  At one point she asked me how do I know when God is talking to me when, I can’t see Him.  I told her, “Do you remember when we were driving in the Jeep, you were in the back seat talking and I asked you, What did you say? and you told me, I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to my eye.”  I then asked, “Was your eye talking to you?  And you said, Yes.”  I then said, “Well, talking with God is kind of like that.  You don’t see Him, but you can hear Him.” 

He built some of Himself into each and everyone of us.  That’s how close he wants to be with you.  When you hear your body speaking to you, it’s not just your body.  It’s Him within you, trying to nudge you along toward what’s good and right for you.  Not necessarily what WE KNOW is right for us.  But He won’t hold us back from what WE KNOW to be best.  He will let us act upon our own thoughts and will, falling down and getting a few bumps and bruises along the way.  Which circles us back around to listening to those little cues He’s giving us when our “body” speaks to us.  In moments like these, God is showing us a great example of being a loving parent.  He wants the best for us, like most parents want for their children.  But He doesn’t smother us.  He’s not there trying to control our every move.  He allows us to make our own mistakes within a safe environment.  Whether we take it our not, after we make a wrong turn, He ALWAYS provides us with an opportunity to find a way out.  Which is what we should do with our children as well, especially when they’re young and still under the protection of our homes.  It’s okay to create a safe environment for them to make some (age appropriate) free will choices and learn from their choices.  As parents, we don’t need to put a bandage on every scrap or scratch.  Yes, they will heal without it and it’s okay to let them cry.  Sometimes seeing those exposed scraps and scratches are just a good reminder of the choices they made and how they would maybe do things differently next time.  You know, it’s better for a child to experience and learn lessons within the loving protection of a parent than it is to smother them, making them incapable of thinking and discerning situation for themselves and get beatdown and eaten by the wolves that lurk outside waiting to pounce.  Wolves that beat you down just to make them feel better about themselves. 

Thank You Lord, that You still speak guiding words with me even when I think I can do things on my own. 

Thank You Lord, for allowing me to fall within your presence to help grow me to understand and choose You more.

Thank You Lord, that even though it’s sometimes painful as a parent to watch, you allow me to feel the pain of my choices to help prepare me for the journey ahead. 

Thank You Lord for being my loving Father, who loves me so much that You allow me to make my own choices. 

Bless others and be blessed.

#ChrisTomlin – Good Good Father

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  I had to smile Monday morning when a coworker stopped by my office to say “Hi”.  She turned to leave, then came back and said “De Colores”.  If you are not familiar with greeting someone with “De Colores” then that tells me you’ve probably not experienced the Walk to Emmaus weekend experience.  But for all those of you that have, I would guess just hearing De Colores brought a smile to your face and some wonderful memories to mind.  It brings a feeling of family and can lighten a room.  I’ve known this coworker for about 1 ½ years and that simple greeting was like uncovering a precious stone that was just below the surface.  I took my Emmaus Walk in 2011 and she took her Walk just a couple years ago.  It’s amazing but not surprising how God will use a separate, but shared experience to draw us together.  I didn’t go into my Emmaus Walk weekend looking for friendships, but I would say that was my greatest take away, my friendship with the Lord.  Father, Son and Spirit.  I can only speak for myself, but you may have had the same experience.  Just like Monday, hearing her say De Colores brought an immediate feeling of friendship and I believe that was the Lord’s presence within her that brought forth that feeling.  De Colores…That was the Lord saying “I’m thinking of you Shelly.”  “I’m right here with you.”  “I love you Shelly.”  “We’ve got this.”  What a great feeling of comfort He brings when we least expect.  The Lord moves in mighty ways.  Sometimes those ways will be majestic, but the majority of the time He’s in the ordinary of everyday life.  We just need to open ourselves to be willing to accept Him.  If you’re interested in taking another step in your relationship with the Lord by experiencing your Walk to Emmaus weekend, contact me.  I’m more than happy to share with you what the weekend is all about and answer all of your questions.  By the way, De Colores is also a song, a Spanish song which means of color.  The words of the song are an expression of joy and a celebration of all creation with its many bright colors.  It expresses the joy of living and exalts the beauties of creation.  This song has a crazy amount of verses, so I’ll just give you a sample.  Also, I wasn’t able to find a video in English, so I hope you enjoy this song in its native language.

#JoanBaez – De Colores

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  In the fall of 2011 Brian and I woke up one morning and decided to drive to Michigan.  About 2 ½ hours into the drive, shortly after crossing the boarding from Ohio to Michigan, Brian received a call asking him if he would be interested in interviewing for a position that was located in Michigan.  That afternoon we purchased a dress shirt so that he would have something to wear to his interview the following day.  That interview turned into a job offer that in a matter of 6, maybe 7 weeks moved us from our home, family, and friends to an apartment in a city we didn’t know or know anyone.  It was just over two years of intense growth, some intense arguments, and what in the moment seemed not very enjoyable.  I’m someone that enjoys and I feel thrives in routine and comfort.  There’s a part of me that can be a risk taker, but for the most part I’m good with same old, same old.  Flash forward to last Wednesday.  We were on the road once again traveling to Michigan, when Brian once again receives a call offering him a job that will put a gap in our lives.  Currently Brian and I work at the same place, although we don’t work in the same areas, but we ride to work together and walk almost every day with each other at lunch.  We currently only have a 7 minute drive to work, but his will soon change.  I would have to say that probably my greatest pleasure is spending time with family and friends.  I know this will be a transition and another time of growth as was our time when we moved to Michigan, but there will surely be a part of me that misses my best friend.  I know I need to listen and be open to what the Lord is offering us and be willing to walk through the doors He opens.  Even when the opportunities He offers us seem to be a challenge and a bit scary at times, I know a few things for a fact: 1) His relationship with us is about loving us, not harming us.  2) He will never give us anything that we and Him couldn’t weather together.  3) If we don’t accept His gifts, we will never become all that He intends for us.  I also know that He is always that quiet whisper in the blowing storms of life, that will never leave you alone.  He is peace.  The peace we all long for.  Yes, even you, the one that’s saying “I’m good.  I’ve got this.”  He is the peace you long for.  Bless others and be blessed. 

#HopeDarst – Peace Be Still

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Today Brian and I celebrate 19 years of marriage, but more importantly we celebrate 19 years of true friendship.  We celebrate a friendship that lasts the tests of time, changing interests, growing pains, struggles, etc.  It’s easy for a friendship to thrive in the good times, actually it doesn’t take much effort.  The question is, will you persevere through all that life carries with it?  I believe it all comes down to the rock we use to build our foundation.  Both Brian and I have said multiple times, “If we didn’t have the Lord as our foundation, we probably wouldn’t still be married.”  When the Lord is at our core, we know that we don’t/won’t walk this journey alone. 

I want to share something with you a quote that I feel directly relates to our ability to thrive in friendships.  I wrote it down many years ago, although I’m not sure where I read it, but it touched me enough that I wanted to save it.  I tried looking up the author, but found that many people have been credited with saying slightly different versions of this and the original author is not clearly known.

Watch your thoughts, they become words.

Watch your words, they become action.

Watch your actions, they become habits.

Watch your habits, they become character.

Friendship starts with a single thought that becomes a spoken word.  Your words lead to action, which then change your direction and forms new habits.  As your character forms from these habits, you are no longer growing alone, but together.  True friendships are worth every effort you have to put into them.  Friendship is not a solo journey.  

As much as Brian and I are friends, we know that our friendships with the Lord needs to come before our friendship with each other.  With this in mind ask yourself these questions:

What efforts will I make today to wrap my thoughts in the Lord? 

What words will I speak that can only come from the Lord?

What actions will I take to put His will before mine?

How will my habits be filled with the desire to walk with Him?

How will my daily character show Christ without having to speak a word?

Bless others and be blessed.

#TimMcGraw – My Best Friend

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Tuesday morning I shared a quote from Mother Teresa with a couple of friends.  “July 28: We must know that we have been created for great things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for degrees and diplomas. Not just to work and accomplish.  We have been created to love and be loved.  This is easy to forget amidst the busyness of life.  You have been created to love and be loved.  Make love a priority.”  Michele responded back with some very wise words of her own.  “Every thing is merely a vehicle to move God’s Love.” 

Let this sink in for a minute…“Every thing is merely a vehicle to move God’s Love.”  How true is that?  Caring for a child.  Allowing someone to vent.  Sitting quietly with a friend.  Your job.  Praying for someone even when they don’t know it.  Allowing someone to walk out of your life.  Encouraging words.  A shoulder to cry on.  A voice of truth when it would be easier to just go along with the crowd.  Helping someone stand on their own two feet.  Offering wisdom and experience, but allowing someone to make their own mistakes.  Sharing an encouraging word.  How many times today will you climb aboard God’s love vehicle for someone else?  How many times today will someone else drive God’s love vehicle to you?  Every word, every look, every action is an opportunity for spreading God’s love.  That’s how we were created.  There is NEVER a day in which God’s love has not touched your life.  Don’t allow yourself to forget this one truth.  1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  Bless others and be blessed.

#Switchfoot – Native Tongue

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Last Friday as I was walking from my garage to the house, a tomato plant that was growing in my firepit caught my eye.  It was a good-looking plant.  I decided to move it to the flowerbed so it wouldn’t get burned up in a future fire we would have.  I headed back to the garage to get the proper tools to prepare the new ground and carefully removed the plant with as little damage as possible to it.  I placed it in the soil, gently packed the soil around the root, set the mulch in place, pruned it, and gave it a good drink.  It looked a little wilted, but that was to be expected.  I’m sure it will perk up after the cooler evening weather.  The next morning it was worse!  Seriously?  It was so drooped over and wilted, it looked like it wouldn’t survive.  I felt kind of bad.  I wanted to help it, but instead I was killing it.  Have you ever experienced life like that?  You seem to be in a good place just growing away, then God comes in and moves you to where you had no intention of going.  He prepared the ground for you, did a little pruning, and gave you a big drink of His living water, but you didn’t want to move.  You were happy where you were at!  Although you may never know the potential fire, He saved you from, you fight the move and wilt.  It may take a “few days”, but as you stretch and sink your roots into your new ground, flowers start to bloom and soon His fruit fills your life and you come to realize the blessings the Lord had planned for you all along.  It’s okay to question God, but know that ultimately, He only wants the best for you.  Stretch out your roots and get a strong hold on the Lord.  Soak up His living water and grow as only you can with the Lord.  Bless others and be blessed. 

#TimTimmons – Everywhere I Go

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Life can be reckless.  At times we throw caution to the wind and find ourselves in the midst of situations we never even imagined.  Some of which we wish we never ventured into, but there may also be some that open us to new opportunities that we would have never really planned out for ourselves.  Where have you allowed your life to become reckless?  How recent has that been in your life?  How did that work out for you?  Would you do it again?  So, if you would do that reckless act again, it’s not so reckless this time, is it?  You’ve put more thought into your actions and you’ve considered some of the options and consequences.

This past weekend’s Gospel reading was from Matthew 13, The Parable of the Sower.  It introduces us to the farmer whose seeds landed on the path, rocky round, among thorns, and on good soil.  The Father is not reckless, although at times without knowing His plan, His actions can seem very reckless to us.  Why would He even bother throwing seed on the path?  He already knew the birds would eat it up.  Why would He let it fall on rocky ground where it could quickly take root and spring forth, but just as quickly be scorched by the hot sun and wither due to its lack of a deep root system?  Wouldn’t you think He really didn’t want the seed to land among the thorns, knowing that the plants would be choked out?  

So, when the Father first threw seeds in your direction, were you the path, the rocky ground, or amongst the thorns.  How about the second time He threw seeds in your direction?  What about the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh times He threw seeds in your direction?  Where were you?  How many times did the Father have to throw seeds in your direction before they landed in fertile soil?  Each of those times, the Father sent a farmer who sowed those seeds and I imagine about 95% of the time, you never even recognized the farmer’s actions in the moment.  But now that His seed finally landed on and took firm roots in your fertile soil, He has produced a beautiful harvest within you that is overflowing with His seeds.  You were the soil that grew the seeds, that produced a harvest, so that you now become the farmer with an abundance of seed that the Father has given you to recklessly scatter on ALL grounds in His name.  When we listen to Him, the Holy Spirit is a wind that guides the direction in which we are to allow the seeds to blow.  These seeds have such great potential for the next harvest, but if you don’t recklessly scatter them, they cannot grow to produce the next harvest.  Allow His “reckless” Spirit to fill you with His love, so that you may become His Farmer.  Bless others and be blessed.

#CoryAsbury – Reckless Love