Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Fantasy of Getting Ahead

I feel like I either took a really long nap after the Thanksgiving turkey OR I was secretly placed on a supersonic jet speed treadmill and just fell off into the middle of December. I mean, what happened to all my plans of being ahead of the game this year? After all, I actually bought Christmas presents in early November - something that may, quite frankly, make my family question my sanity.

After a couple of hours at my desk tonight doing one of the most dreaded chores (catching up the checkbook register and totalling those Christmas shopping receipts from the weekend) I am feeling more than a little frazzled. I had a wonderful day on Saturday with my oldest granddaughter on our annual girls' day out. We looked for clothes, etc. that she likes, she tried on several outfits, and I made a list. Even took pictures of some things just so I could be sure to remember what to look for when I go back to buy. I took the opportunity to buy some of the items on another granddaughter's wish list. Then on Monday evening, I was back out to pick up a couple of things on the list made Saturday. I was feeling pretty good about how much I've been able to accomplish. A little online shopping for the adults was making this whole buying presents thing a lot easier also.

Then I got out my little notebook where I track my gift buying and added the weekend purchases to each person's list. Hmm. All of a sudden, it doesn't seem like I am ahead at all. Not when I look at the calendar and let it settle into my brain that I really only have one more weekend to shop. We will celebrate an early Christmas with our Indy family on Dec. 20 so I have to wrap this up (in more than one way!) in pretty short order. That's when the stress level began to rise. My brain went from thinking about the gifts I still need to buy to adding to my mental to-do list all those other things I still need to do. More decorating to be done, Christmas cards that I have yet to start addressing, gifts to be wrapped, Christmas programs with grandchildren to attend, meals to plan and shop for...........with each thought stress rises.

And I was so determined to have a simple and relaxing Christmas this year. What happened? Is is a lost cause?

As soon as I began to put my thoughts into the written word, I slowed down enough to hear a whisper. To feel a nudge. From the One we celebrate. A reminder to refocus on Him and the wonderful gift I received through His birth, life, death and resurrection. If all those other things don't get done but I spend time with Him, with my family & friends, and others that He brings into my life each day I will have celebrated Christmas in a most wonderful way. It is hard for my perfectionist side to leave something undone. I feel guilty if Christmas cards don't go out along with a nice chatty note. If some decorations stay in the closet, I think people who helped stock that collection will think I care less about them since I didn't displya their gift. Y'all, I can flat feel guilty over just about anything and everything! I have begun to realize, though, that all that doing,stressing, and feeling guilty (or exhausted)does one thing and that is draw me away from Christ.

So, I am going to bed now with a calmer mind. I am letting go of my self imposed need to figure out right now exactly when & where I am going to shop & what I am going to buy. I'm going to spend some time talking with Jesus and then listening for His tender words. I will do tomorrow when tomorrow comes and trust Him to help me keep Christmas simply what it is really about. The birth of our Savior.

I pray that you will do that as well. Every day, when your to-do list seems overwhelming. When you feel the stress level going up because you can't find that one gift your child thinks he simply must have. When your overcrowded schedule gets yet another activity crammed into it. Take a moment to refocus on Jesus. To reflect on what we are celebrating. May His peace and His love rest upon you, sweet friends.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The After Thanksgiving Glow

It's the Sunday night after Thanksgiving and I feel more stuffed than any turkey that graced a table on Thursday. Every year it's the same. I look forward to all of our traditional dishes and then eat like I will never ever have that food on my table again. I always seem to cook more than we can possibly eat, knowing that everyone is tired of leftovers long before the weekend is over. This year was no different! Friday evening we shared a Hoptown tradition with our out-of-state relatives -- Ferrell's burgers! A yummy treat to offset all the turkey and dressing. Can't say that it was the healthiest of meals but hey, what is healthy eats this time of year?

So now I sit here in the after glow of time spent with family and again count blessings. My brother fought a battle with cancer this year and won. My sister-in-law continues to deal with serious health issues but drew on strength from our Lord to make the trip. I am thankful we had another Thanksgiving to sit down at the table together.

A new grandson, just seven weeks old, brought the number of grandchildren to five. Along with my 11 year old great-nephew, needless to say 'quiet' was not something you found in our house for a couple of days! But what fun to watch the cousins have time to play together. My niece & her husband brought gingerbread cookies for them to decorate (and eat) plus a fun placemat craft project. (Thanks, Andrea & Terry, for helping create special memories for the kids!)

I know that it is easy for us to take time to give thanks at Thanksgiving. After all, the whole reason we have the holiday set aside is because our forefathers took time to thank God for His provision after surviving their first year in this new country. What is not so easy is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude that continues throughout the year. Every year I hear comments around Christmas time from folks who 'wish we could have the spirit of Christmas all year.' It's the same with Thanksgiving. Our natural tendency is to pour it all out for a few weeks every year and then go on with our crazy lives. I don't want to live like that any more. I want to live out a true attitude of gratitude every day of my life. I want to live my life so that others see the Spirit of Christmas that lives within. I encourage you to do the same!

I pray that you are also basking in the afterglow of Thanksgiving. Pause right now and thank the Giver of it all. And when we get up in the morning, let's make it a point to continue to thank Him for everything He allows in our lives.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Taking Gratitude to a Higher Level

If you are looking for ways to increase your gratitude quotient, then check out my friend's blogspot and her post from Wed., Nov. 18 entitled "37 Days of Kindness". (

I think this will be a great way to spend our days from now until Christmas. In the middle of the hustle, bustle, and our culture's definition of Christmas perhaps we can daily make it a point to reach out to others. Who knows it may even start a whole new way of doing Christmas!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Are You Ready For Some Turkey?!

Can you believe we are only ten days away from Thanksgiving? And can Christmas be very far behind it? I don't know about you but it does seem like that month between keeps getting smaller and smaller. Maybe it's because retailers begin advertising Christmas sales earlier and earlier?

I find myself in the middle of preparing for both days. As part of my 'kick the procrastination' habit, I started my Christmas shopping a few weeks ago. It is actually quite refreshing to know that I have part of that behind me, not to mention the fact that it is a much more budget friendly way to pay for gifts. I also joined some of my girlfriends at Chatty Cappuccino Cafe on Friday night and got a head start on making some Christmas cards, plus got some quite creative tips on making my very own Christmas wreath. I was so inspired by that project (thanks Lauren!!) that I went right out to Hobby Lobby on Saturday and purchased all the materials. Yes, Christmas is definitely underway in the Lewis home.

On the other hand, I'm not quite ready to rush past Thanksgiving. This happens to be close in ranking to Christmas as my favorite holiday. Christmas will always be number one and not because of all the decorations, candy, music programs, gifts, etc. It is number one because it is the most important of celebrations - celebrating our reconciliation with God through the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. If all the cultural manifestations of Christmas were to be taken away, it would remain the most important of all celebrations. A world changing event. The beginning of God's redemption plan come to earth.

Thanksgiving ranks a close second because it is my family's time to get together. Growing up with only one sibling makes it easier to manage schedules for a get together. In years past we alternated years, one year traveling and the next year being host. These days because of my adult children's schedules, my brother and his family always travel and we host. Our menu remains pretty much the same every year. Each person has their favorite dish they can't make it through Thanksgiving without so there is always an over abundance of fool. Some of the gals join the throngs on 'black Friday' to shop - I stay home and play with the grandkids. Some years we watch movies, at other times we play games. Oh, and did I mention, we eat a lot? Most importantly, we share time together. Talking about our memories from the past while making new ones to add to the memory vault.

And as we reminisce, we give thanks. As we sit down to our bountiful dinner, we give thanks. As we watch the next generation playing together, we give thanks. Even now as I am preparing by stocking the pantry and cleaning house, I give thanks. Thanks to the One who has blessed us with the priceless gift of family. Oh, we could choose to dwell on the battles of the past year with health issues, financial difficulties, and other things that satan wanted to use to rob us of our joy. But we will choose to thank our God for His provision, for granting us one more holiday together, for the bountiful blessings that He pours out each and every day.

My prayer for you is that you will find reasons to give thanks as you prepare for Thanksgiving. Look beyond the difficulties faced this year and choose to count your blessings.

By the way, I'd love to hear about your family's traditions at Thanksgiving. Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Finding Suzy

You know that God is trying to get your attention when the same theme keeps popping up. If you are like me and struggle with time management, check out the Girlfriends and God devotion from Oct. 29, 2009, entitled 'Time-Friend or Foe, Part 2'. Good tips on how to retrain our focus.

As for Suzy, she is visiting. I 'co-cooked' two meals this weekend! Hubby grilled brats and I fixed the sides yesterday, then today he cooked blackened fish on the grill (too smoky to cook indoors) while I fixed roasted red potatoes and cole slaw. We enjoy cooking together so I felt like Suzy was reasserting her flair. I also tackled one of those tasks that I had put off for too long - clean out the freezer. Y'all things climb into my freezer and hide! I found stuff that had been hiding for two years. (I did warn you that I procrastinate.)

In his sermon this morning, Bro. Greg talked about temptation, the importance of turning away from it and turning toward God. I have determined that procrastination is one of those areas of temptation for me. I can easily live out the motto "It can be done, it should be done, it will be done...tomorrow!" To overcome this temptation in my life I believe I must deliberately choose 'do', not 'wait to do'. Procrastination is a thief of precious time and time is not a cheap commodity.

So I ask you to help me. Hold me accountable. When you see me, ask me how I'm managing my time. Celebrate with me when I get it right and pray with me when I'm struggling. I promise I will do the same for you if you want me to. After all, we are on this journey together!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What happened to Suzy Homemaker?

First, let me tell you how thankful I am for my sweet hubby - that hubby who doesn't complain that I haven't cooked a meal all week. Who ate take-out food for 4 out of the past 5 nights and that one night? Well, the home cooked meal was provided by dear friends we visited on Sunday afternoon! Granted, I have been a bit under the weather this week and have spent more time snuggled under a blanket with a heating pad for my achy back than thinking about cooking. But it does make me wonder what happened to my inner Suzy Homemaker?

It's not that I hate to cook. In fact, I love to cook. I have my own mental cookbook filled with dishes that I can whip up without so much as thinking about a measuring spoon. On the other hand, I love to browse through magazines and cookbooks for new recipes to try. Since doing the whole Weight Watcher thing a couple of years ago I have become much more aware of the ingredients I use and have even been paying attention to (and learning!) the positive aspect of choosing organic foods. I conjure up all kinds of ideas about what I could cook or bake. It's just that Suzy is missing.

And it is not just cooking. I mean this whole cleaning house thing - like who decided it was so important to dust the furniture every week? And why doesn't that kitchen island that morphed into a catch all for everything just clean itself, for goodness sake. Geez, I do keep the laundry done - hey I do realize the need for clean clothes! Just please don't expect me iron them too! Suzy would do that but....yeah, she is still missing.

What about those other warm & fuzzies like getting family pictures organized, maybe even into a scrapbook with journaling to preserve our stories. Maybe even getting some of those photos in frames and hung on the wall to enjoy. My, oh my, do I ever miss Suzy. Wonder where that gal ran off to!

Wait a minute. I think maybe she didn't run off after all. I think she just is lost in the web of my disorganization and procrastination. Hmmm, wonder if I can find her? I'm betting I can but it will take a bit of work on my part. Like planning our evening meal menu for next week before I grocery shop this weekend and then stick to it. Try one of those new recipes this week. Complete one scrapbook page. Choose one task that I have proscrastinated the most or longest about and just do it!

Yep, I'm thinking that Suzy just may resurface around here. Maybe not the old Suzy, but a version that looks more like Molly who has a full schedule with family, work, church ministry and friends.

What about you? Are you a Suzy Homemaker or does it make you tired thinking about it? Would love to hear from you!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear that word? Is it weather/climate seasons? Possibly that could be the number one answer. After all, we are smack dab in the middle of the colorful season of fall.

Others may think about Bro. Greg's sermon series, Seasons of Life. He has touched on seasons of loneliness, discouragement, and more.

I also think about seasons of life. Those seasons that are marked by where we are in life. Like college student; young single professional; newly wed; mom of preschoolers; mom of adolescents; mom of teens; single mom; empty nester; widow; many descriptions for the numerous seasons of our lives.

Some seasons are like spring. New life sprouting everywhere, tenderness and warmth. Others are like summer. Hot, sweaty, and a riot of color. Yet others are like fall. Life slowing down to an easier pace. Time to enjoy the harvest. And then there are the winter seasons. When everything seems to be dark and dreary, cold - icy, even.

At one time or another, we all experience each of these seasons.

Right now I am in a fall season, enjoying the harvest of grandchildren. We just spent several days in Indianapolis visiting our newest grandson, Isaiah, along with his big brother, Lincoln, and their dad & mom. We got some good snuggling time with the little one plus spent lots of time spoiling (oh, I meant playing with) his big brother. The time went all too quickly and now we are back home with cherished memories and lots of pictures. It was good to get back to Hopkinsville to see our three grandchildren here. Gosh, how I missed them while I was gone! It's that 'want my cake and eat it too' syndrome. No matter which kids I am with, I am missing the other ones! I am treasuring this time y'all, because I know that tomorrow life could take a turn, thrusting me into a not so happy place.

I see it happening all around me. People with deep hurts. Friends battling huge health issues. Marriages falling apart. Jobs lost. Death of loved ones. Life is not always happy. Or good.

But, oh sweet friends, God is always good. He always loves. He always comforts. He promises to never leave us, to never forsake us. He promises to guide us if we seek Him and listen to Him.

Some seasons cause us to burst out in praise and thanksgiving. Others drive us to our knees, crying out to Him and asking WHY? There are times when, in our pain or anger, we turn away from God. But He is always there.

He enjoys our praise. He understands our anger, our questioning, our pain. He loves us through it all.

I don't know what season you find yourself in right now, but I encourage you to keep your face turned toward God. Praise Him for all that He has done for you, pour out your frustrations, ask your questions, give Him your tears. He wants it all! The good, the bad, the pretty and the ugly. He loves us deeply. He walks with us through every season and will lead us through this journey until we are home with Him.

I pray you feel His touch today.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Defiance, Texas & why I've spent time there

I've been visiting some folks in Defiance, Texas off and on since August. I was first introduced to them through Mary DeMuth's first novel of her Defiance Texas Trilogy, "Daisy Chain". You may remember that was the book I just couldn't put down during one of my weekend R & R's.

Most of the time when I get to the end of a good book, it leaves me wanting more. The characters in the story have become real and I want to know what else happened in their life. Such was the case with "Daisy Chain". I wanted to know more about Daisy's momma, Emory. And about Hixon, the kindly man who seemed to live his life as a 'Jesus with shoes on'. Mystery and intrigue lingered over Defiance like fog on a rainy and humid summer day. I wanted to see the sun shine again! In "Slow Burn", her second book in the series, Mary DeMuth weaves the magic of her storytelling, taking us deeper into the fabric of Defiance and the people who live there. Brief shafts of sunlight begin to burn away the fog. Some questions are answered while others...well, let's just say there has to be a third book so we can wrap up the rest of the loose ends!

If you like good Christian fiction and good mystery stories, I highly recommend you read both "Daisy Chain" and "A Slow Burn", then anxiously wait with me for the conclusion. You can find both books at To find out more about Mary visit her website at

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Idols - Not Just American

Idol: Anything we put before God in our lives.

I've read devotions about it. Heard sermons about it. Beth Moore talked about it in her "Living Proof Live" simulcast in August. Then during our revival a couple of weeks ago, there it was again.

I know that God is really trying to get my attention when the same subject/Scripture/issue keeps coming up from varying sources. Usually it means that I need to search my life to see how it applies to me. Most of the time I don't need to search long because God is really good about revealing my areas that need working on.

Girlfriends, this whole idol thing covers a lot of area. Did you, like me, check off multiple descriptions on the revival handout covering 'love of self, love of pleasure, love of money, and love of ? Now I confess that for a moment I thought, 'Hey, not too bad. There are more unchecked than checked.' God didn't let me get away with that for very long - actually I think it was less than a nano second before I heard Him say, 'Even one is too many.'

So this is where I am parked for a few days. Really looking at the ways my life bears out the truth in my heart. Asking Him to quickly convict me when my attitudes, thoughts, and actions are born from love of anything or any one but Him. Easy? NO!! Worth it? Oh, yes!

We were created by Him and for Him, for His glory. For that to happen it must be...

...less of me and more of Him. That is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ. As His follower, what else could I want?


Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Time to Rest

Running in high gear the past few weeks, resting was something I was doing in short bursts. Yes, even resting was done in 'bursts'! By Saturday afternoon, I was tired. Not the rewarding kind of physical tired that results after a high level workout or afternoon of gardening or yard work.

No, this was the emotional, physical, mental tired that went to the core. The kind of tired that says "Stop the world and let me off for awhile." After wrapping up a WM Leadership Team planning meeting around 1:00, I ate a quick lunch with my husband and then crashed on the couch for a nap. Two and a half hours later I woke up! Supper? No way was I cooking so we went out to eat. Back home I relaxed on our patio with a good book. (Daisy Chain by Mary's great!) Nothing else on my agenda that evening. Sunday afternoon? Another nap after church and lunch. By then I was feeling revived enough to be 'Suzy Homemaker' and cook my husband's favorite Sunday dinner - fried chicken. I even baked brownies for dessert. By Sunday night I was feeling much better. Ready to get back on the spinning world and continue with life.

I'll let you in on something. This gal's guilt gene kicks into overdrive when I take time out like I did this past weekend. I hear words (not really, just thoughts) like lazy, slothful, non-productive. (Jennifer Rothschild's new study, "Me, Myself & Lies" is helping me deal with that issue.)

I love the way God prepares me for something before it happens. For the past few weeks I have come across several writings about God's provision of rest, His mandate to rest, and the importance of rest. He knew I was getting ready to hit the wall yet again and He knows how hard it is for me to rest without guilt. So this weekend I savored my rest as a gift from God. I enjoyed reading a good book, sitting outdoors just soaking up the sweet fresh air, even enjoyed cooking that dinner. I do love to cook when I don't feel rushed to get it done between other tasks in my agenda. And Monday morning? Well, I can't say I was ready to hit the ground running. But I was ready to work again, ready for whatever and whoever He wanted to bring into my life that day.

Rest. It is something I know I must plan for. It is something this list making, over achieving, God's girl is going to allow time for.............without guilt!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Who's Your Mama? (In-Law, that is!)

In one of the writing workshops I attended at She Speaks we were asked to write down the different roles we fulfill and/or challenges we have faced. The leader then challenged us to think about how we could take what we have learned or what we are experiencing and use it to encourage others.

One of the many 'hats' I wear is that of mother-in-law. I have been blessed with two wonderful daughters-in-law whom I love dearly. I haven't experienced the turmoil that some women do when their sons marry. But I have to admit that I used to worry that when the day came, I would be automatically assumed to be the dreaded mother-in-law.

I believe one of the reasons I have a good relationship with my daughters-in-law is that I automatically gave up my place as the woman in each son's life as soon as it became apparent this was 'the one'! No questions asked, no hesitation. I treated each young woman as the special person she is. After all, she was marrying a son of mine....she had to be special! I did not feel threatened by her. I knew I had a good relationship with my sons and didn't need to jockey for position. I knew they were not abandoning me and would remain very much a part of my life. After raising two sons, I was looking forward to some female companionship in the family as well!

Of course, this is my perception coming from my side of the relationships. Daphne & Tara may have completely different ideas!

I have also been a daughter-in-law and was blessed with a godly, kind and loving mother-in-law. We got along famously, though she died four short years after Larry & I married. What worked for us? She willingly put me first in Larry's life, reinforcing it with word and deed. I honored her relationship with her son, encouraging him to spend time with her.

I'm not writing this to pat myself on the back or to say I'm an expert at good mother/daughter-in-law relationships. I just know what has worked for me. I would love to hear your stories. What works for you? What doesn't work? What would the 'perfect' relationship look like to you? You can post your stories anonomously and even change the names to protect the innocent! Maybe we can learn from one another.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Abundant Life

My cup runneth over and over and over! Last weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to attend She Speaks, a conference for Christian women who feel the call to write, speak, or lead women's ministries. I chose to attend the writers' track in order to begin to fulfill a call on my life that God has been nurturing for a few years. I went with no agenda other than to be open to everything that God wanted to show me and wanted me to learn. Wow! God showed up in a mighty way.

I made lots of new friends, friends who share the desire to spread God's message through the written and/or spoken word. A gal who normally chooses to pay extra for the privilege of rooming alone, on this trip God prompted me to let Him choose my roommate. He blessed me with a dear, dear new friend. It was almost uncanny, the way we have so many things in common. From the moment I walked into the hotel room, it was as though we were long time friends who had simply not seen each other for awhile. Kay, I am abundantly blessed to be able to call you friend. Can't wait to see what God unfolds for us as our friendship grows. (Love that IKEA thing too, girlfriend!)

Other new friends are my newly formed online writers' critique group. Seven new friends from several different states will join me to encourage one another, pray with and for one another, and give each other feedback on our writing. Sisters In Ink, I love you muchly already!

I arrived in Concord, NC on Friday as one of several first time conference attendees. I left Sunday afternoon with a heart overflowing with God's love and a renewed confidence in His calling on my life. Then life...

...a phone call as I was driving home to tell me my daughter-in-law was going back to the emergency room for an ongoing problem that first arose on Thursday night. (Both times while I was traveling for this conference.) Monday...a return trip to her doctor who decided emergency surgery was necessary. Hubby & I took over kid care while son stayed with DIL at the hospital. School was ready to start and there were still supplies to purchase. So I joined the crowd of moms at the local stores to fill up our carts with the necessary pencils, paper, etc. Youngest granchild is not quite three years old so he was a bit ruffled by mom & dad being away. However, we managed to keep him entertained so it seemed more like just another fun time with Papa & Mama. DIL's surgery was successful and she is home recovering nicely. Kids are in school with all supplies purchased. Hubby & I are tired but thankful that we were here to help. After all, this is what family is all about!

One of the speakers at the conference reminded us to expect an attack from Satan since he is always looking for opportunities to try to discourage us or cause us to stumble when we have stepped out in obedience to God. She encouraged us to be prepared ahead of time by growing closer to God, soaking up His word and spending time in prayer.

There have been times in the past when I have come home from a mountain top experience such as this, encountered a life storm, and become almost instantly pulled into the poor me syndrome. This time has been different. Though at times over the past week I have felt like I have been on a speeding train, there never was a time that I felt life was out of control. Never a time when I thought, "Oh my, I am too exhausted to go on." Never a time that I felt resentment, frustration, or other negative emotion. I believe that is due simply to God's preparation in my heart for what He knew was coming. If you've been keeping up with this blog, you know I have written before about the difference between the busy life and the full life. This week has been absolutely the full life. How I've responded to it has been the abundant life promised to us by our Savior.

And that is something to shout about!


Monday, July 13, 2009

The Fullness of Life, Continued...

If you were inspired to think about the whole busy vs. full topic from a couple of posts back, you will enjoy this article I read today. Go to and read "Living Life to the Full" by Berni Dymet. I think you will be blessed!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Busy, Full, or both?

I remember thinking, when my boys were children at home and I was trying to be a wife, mom, and balance a career, that things would slow down when I was older. Watching women who had transitioned into that 'empty nester' stage I reasoned that they must have lots of free time to pursue hobbies, take extended vacations, and otherwise spend their carefree days. Do what?!

Either I had blinders on when making those observations or times have really changed drastically. I seem to be busier than ever. I still struggle to find time to pursue hobbies. Extended vacation? A long weekend is about all I can muster these days. Carefree days? Depends on how you define carefree.

Before you get the notion that I am complaining, let me tell you about some of the people and activities that keep me busy. I am a wife to a wonderful man that I enjoy spending lots of time with, whether that is sitting together on our patio reading, riding our bikes, or sharing chores around the house. I am mother to two sons, both married, making me mother-in-law to two daughters-in-law that I love like they are my daughters. I am grandmother of four (soon to be five!) precious grandchildren. (Oh, don't get me started or I am apt to bore you for hours talking about my grandkids.)

In the past several weeks my schedule has been very full. My oldest granddaughter & I took a long weekend trip to eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, back to where my husband and I grew up. I wanted to show her where we lived as children, where we went to school, and describe to her our lives as they were as we were growing up. Show her where her great-grandparents are buried. At the community cemetary where my husband's family graves are, there are also two more generations back buried side by side. How wonderful to be able to share with her of how Larry's great-grandfather came to the United States from Poland, and though he never learned to speak English very well, worked hard and raised his family. It put a sense of reality to the family stories we have been telling her as she has grown up. My youngest granddaughter has been playing softball, two nights a week, for six weeks or more. We've spent quite a few hours at the ballfield! All of those things adding to an already busy schedule. 'Cause I also work full time, help coordinate our Women's Ministry activities, help facilitate & attend Girlfriends & God on Wednesday evenings, and try to keep up with my friends and make time to nurture those relationships. Whew!!

I admit that there are times when I sigh and moan about how busy life is. But when I stop to reflect about what makes it so busy, I realize that I should change how I describe it. Life is full! So much of what makes my life busy is wrapped up in family and friends, those people that God has given me to richly bless my life. Other things that cause business are sometimes necessary (like grocery shopping, laundry, and housework!). Some things that cause business are not necessary and those are the ones that I realize I should be careful in my choice to participate or not.

I want to live the abundant life that Jesus tells us is ours when we live for Him. I want to wring out every second of every day, wasting not a precious moment. So when I am tempted to think in a negative kind of way about how busy life is, I am asking God to remind me to choose the positive and celebrate how full my life is.

What about you? Busy or full or both - how would you describe your life?


Friday, May 29, 2009

Sound Thinking

Our topic at Girlfriends and God this week was 'sound thinking'. Suzanne gave us a handout that listed characteristics of a woman who does not have sound thinking and those of a woman who does have sound thinking. We went through the lists and talked about what each characteristic looked like lived out. Each woman there could identify with one or more behaviors on the 'does not have' list and all agreed we wish we could say we live 100% of the time having and demonstrating sound thinking. Kind of reminded me of how I have responded in the past when I read Proverbs 31. Made me tired just reading through the list. Made me feel like a failure because I immediately started comparing myself with what I perceived to be the unachievable godly woman I should be.

But over the years, God has helped me to see that He never expected me to suddenly be that 'perfect' woman. I am a work in progress. So when my mind started traveling down that comparison road on Wednesday, I was able to steer it back to reality. My reality is that I am not the woman I used to be. I could look at the 'does not have sound thinking' list and see behaviors that I have overcome, praise God! I could look at the 'does have' list and see that I really do exhibit a lot of those characteristics. At least most of the time! And I know and am encouraged that He is not finished working on me.

Neither is He finished with you. We are all works in progress and will be for the rest of our days in this life. "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, Who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthian 3:18 (NIV)


Friday, May 15, 2009

When God calls

How do we respond to God when He calls us to do something? Do we readily obey when we hear His slightest whisper? Or do we ignore Him, even when He shouts? I don't know how you are answering this question but in my life I have done both. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter category more often than I do the first.

We can find examples of both responses through out the Bible. The twelve disciples didn't hesitate when Jesus asked them to follow Him. On the other hand, 8 of the 10 spies saw the giants in the land and tuned out God's instruction to go into the land He was going to give them. I want to be like the disciples. I want to immediately obey without considering the cost. But I find myself analyzing too much. Questioning my hearing. Counting the cost and weighing it against what I perceive to be the rewards. Basically, ignoring His call so that I can remain in my cozy little comfort zone.

Such is a recent struggle in my life. I first felt God's call to a new adventure about 5 or 6 years ago. After only a small amount of procrastination, I tentatively stepped out and began preparation to fulfill that call. But then life got busy, I let distractions consume the time I should have been using to prepare and go forward. After awhile it became easy to simply think it was all in my head. Just another one of those self centered dreams that wasn't from God after all.

But you know what? When God is calling us to do something for Him, He will not allow us to continue to ignore Him. The past few months He has revived that dream and given me confirmation after confirmation that this is indeed from Him and I am to GET MOVING! So I am stepping out in faith and doing just that. Baby steps to be sure, but I am moving forward. Oh, those doubting thoughts still try to creep in and my life seems to have gotten even more crazy busy. But God gives me just the right word every day to encourage me and keep me on the path. Sometimes it comes from a devotion. Other days it is in a song I hear or a sermon. Many times it is simply straight from His Word.

So what is God asking you to do? Are you like the disciples, immediately saying yes and ready for the task? Or are you like I have been, waiting and wondering? Seek His confirmation and once you have it, don't hesitate. Say yes and watch what God will do. I would love to hear your stories of how God is working in your life. Just click on comments below and share with us.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Numbers and the Performance Trap

This blogspot is still in its infancy stage but already I find myself expecting more. More time to post more frequently. More comments. More feedback. Are we just writing to ourselves or is anybody out there really visiting and reading what we post? One of our co-authors asked me this week if I had thought about adding a counter so we can see if we are getting 'hits'. It was a question that I had already been asking myself for the past couple of weeks.

Then on one of my favorite blogs the author talked about numbers. How she had a counter on her blogspot but when it filled up, all of a sudden she found herself back to square one - not knowing if anyone was visiting the blog. How she had to revisit why she posts blogs in the first place.

It got me to thinking. (Funny how God kicks that thinking part of my brain in gear!) Thinking about why we are driven to collect statistics. Granted, statistics aren't all bad. Much to the contrary, collecting and analyzing data is very important in many areas. It can make a difference between success and failure. What business person would start up a new business or begin an expansion of their business without research and market analysis? Doing so could mean failure of their venture within a short period of time. On the other hand, we Americans have become so performance driven that we base our perception of success or failure on numbers or the lack of.

That measure of success is the worldly definition. It is not God's. We look at a visible yardstick. God looks at the invisible spiritual markers. There are numerous examples in the Bible of instances where the world would scream "failure" but God said "success"! What about Joseph? Definitely his brothers thought failure when they sold him into slavery. Years (and several other worldly defined 'failures') later, Joseph was able to tell them God intended it for good and to enable their very lives to be spared during a ravaging famine. Sarah? Way past child bearing age, she had been labeled barren, failing to provide children to her husband. Then God's promise was fullfilled in Isaac. Elizabeth? Another barren woman - another 'failure'. Then God defined success and gave her John. The list could go on and on.

So I am back to the question about adding a counter to our site. And I've decided that yes, we need to do that. We need to be able to evaluate every aspect of our ministry to ensure we are reaching women and making a difference in their lives. The counter will let us see whether or not people are visiting this blog. As far as comments and feedback...................well, I am leaving that part of the measuring in God's hands!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Grateful Heart

Monday was one of those days that reminds me of the day after Christmas. You know after all the excitement is over, the packages are unwrapped, and the company is gone? When you feel just a little bit like a deflated balloon. The reason I was feeling droopy is because it was the day after a long awaited and much anticipated weekend visit babysitting my sweet grandson in Indy. Just like all visits with him and his parents, time went much too quickly and all too soon we were all packed up and driving south again, reliving over and over his smiles, his love of balls, our visit to the park, watching him bathe french fries in ketchup.

And then.....I realized I had slipped into what I call the 'Eve syndrome'. Eve had everything she could have ever dreamed of all around her in a perfect and sinless world. She walked with God in the garden every day. It was paradise. But then she listened to satan as he turned her thoughts and eyes toward the one thing God told her she couldn't have. Soon she could only think about what she didn't have and those thoughts turned into desire. Forgotten was the bounty of good all around her. Forgotten was the sweet fellowship with God.

When I allow myself to focus on what I don't have, I am just like Eve. My focus is not on God and all His wonderful blessings. My focus is on me and what I don't have. I begin to think things like "if only I could", "if only I had", or "I wish things were different". I sound like a spoiled kid and that is exactly what I am. I don't like me when I am acting like a spoiled kid and I'm very sure that God isn't happy with my attitude. Oh, He still loves me. He loves me so much that He doesn't let me stay in my pity party very long. So, I am choosing this week to have a grateful heart.

I am thankful for the opportunity we had to spend uninterupted time with our little Lincoln. I am thankful for being able to attend church with my son and daughter-in-law. I am thankful that we live in the same town as do our other 3 grandchildren which blesses me to be a part of their everyday lives. (Guess you get the drift that I love, love, love being a Grandmother!!)
I am thankful for new friends (Beth, you rock! I'm so glad that God introduced us to each other.) I am thankful for old friends who share a love of reading and willingly share their books with me. I am thankful for warm spring days, flowers blooming, and the smell of freshly mown grass. I am thankful for my favorite place to buy spring plants and hanging baskets (Ky American Seeds--the Petty's are awesome folks.)

I could keep going but I would rather leave you now with this challenge. Make your own 'things I'm thankful for' list this week. No matter what you are going through, I promise that you will be sporting a new attitude when you look at life through the lens of a grateful heart. What are you thankful for?

Hugs from a thankful woman,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wasted Days?

It finally happened. My body decided to make welcome that yucky stomach flu that has been making the rounds this winter. Mind you, it didn't ask my opinion before it threw open the door and said 'come on in'! It simply waited until I went to sleep Friday night and let it in. I awoke Saturday morning feeling miserable, hoping that maybe -just maybe - I was mistaken and it was just queasiness from the allergy/sinus junk that has been hanging around for a couple of weeks. When the first sips of coffee hit my tummy, I knew better.

So much for my weekend plans. Which included getting to hang out with two of my grandchildren Saturday while their parents were at work. My husband got to have them all to himself while I stayed upstairs to keep my sick body and germs away from them. I could hear the fun downstairs and I spent some time having my own little pity party. Here was a day of my life that I couldn't buy back, even if I were to be the richest woman in the world. A day in the life of my grandchildren that I was missing. Poor me :-(

As with most of my pity parties, God didn't let me stay there and enjoy it for long! I heard Him ask me, "How many times do you let your 'to do' list rob you of time to be spent with those I've given you?" OUCH! I had to admit that too many times I let the captivity of activity steal my focus and allow the tasks to take first place instead of giving my best to my family and friends. Or in some instances, I choose to do something that is self centered rather than making time for others. It is all too easy to do.

Don't get me wrong. There are a certain amount of tasks that must get done. I know I can't just spend my time smelling the roses, holding hands with my husband, playing with my grandchildren and hanging out with friends. It was a reminder that I must work at finding balance, always putting God first, then my family, friends, and others. For me that means not getting so absorbed in my to do list. When asked to take on another project, I need to take time to pray about it and then wait to hear God's answer. Not all projects, no matter how good they are, are meant for me to do. And if I am faced with an immediate choice of finishing a task or taking time for my precious loved ones.....well I need to ask myself, "Which will be remembered in 10 years?"

What about you? Does your mountain of chores to be done consume too much of your time? Do you feel like time and patience for those sweet little ones or that special man in your life are in short supply? Have a special way of making time for family and friends? We would love to hear from you!

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