Wednesday, April 30, 2014

11 things I learned in April 2014

OK.  Here’s #1 – Recently I’ve learned I’ve gotten so busy, I’m not as observant of what I’m learning.

I know a lot of it is responsibilities to do and kids and family activities to be at, but it’s not just those that seem to have kept my mind in a fog lately.  There’s some other *things* that have set up camp in my soul and is hogging the space of normalcy and the ability to remember even simple things.  Learning about life isn’t always a simple matter though and that takes time to understand and that’s more of what I’m being taught these days.

Emily P. Freeman has a link up on her blog, Chatting in the Sky, at the end of each month for people to share what they’ve learned each month.  It’s something fun to do and I wanted to join in this month.

#2  One of my heroes has a new blog.   I think she’s such a gifted writer and I’ve subscribed to her blog and you’ll want to too!  She’s a dreamer, ministry leader and a many-hats-wearer and each post has something to read.

#3  If you’re on your way north on Hwy. 81, take a detour in Harrisonburg, VA and go to the  White Oak Lavender Farm.  My sister-in-law (who also has an amazing home decorating gift and blog) took me, my daughter and her two girls during spring break to this beautifully landscaped lavender farm.  The aromas, store filled with everything lavender – including ice cream – was relaxing even for a moment with our kids wanting to see everything.





{I don’t know how the employees liked us after spilling fruit juice on the store’s floor and feeding the chickens that surrounded and invited themselves to our picnic there}

There were also several farm animals we could pet and it was a good couple of ours out in the country side.    

#4   I learned that the White Oak Farm is the home of the 2012 Turkey that Obama saved on Thanksgiving Day that year.  His name is George.  I’ve never in my life seen a turkey that large and it looked as if you stuck a pin in it’s chest, it would pop and explode!  It was so large it even had difficulty waddling.  We don’t know what he thought about us though.  Once he discovered us, he tried to follow us around the farm to either *chase* us off the property or thought our girls were so adorable he wanted to spend a pleasant afternoon with us.  Either way we got many laughs watching his manners.



{Do you spy George trying to catch up with us}

#5  Our family went to see the movie God’s Not Dead.  I thought it was a good production and even more importantly a good way to show how Christians’ beliefs and faith are challenged these days and encourages the viewers to stand up for Jesus.  Because it’s worth it.

#6  Our son can score soccer goals!  We’ve been consumed with soccer lately and his coach changed things up a little bit this season which included our son.  He’s always played defense but was placed up front and during a tournament a couple of weeks ago, he scored 4 of the 7 goals made that weekend.  Way to go, son, and keep playing your hardest is all areas of your life!

#7  A fact you probably didn’t know:  the same man who invented Pop Rocks candy also invented Tang.  Do you remember eating the drinking those as a kid?

#8  I’m learning from the life of an 85 year-young women who still lives on the exact same land where she was born and lived on in the country-part of our county.  To hear the story of this woman who’s had to take care of others ever since she was a child and has experienced many losses in her life yet finds joy daily through Christ inspires me.


#9  Do you know what a Seder Meal is?  The ministry for 5th and 6th graders at our church had a family event where one evening we say on royal-looking pillows and blankets and consumed the meal that dates back to Passover in the Old Testament.  It included Matzah (unleavened break), Maror (horseradish), charoset (sweet apple mixture), an egg, Karpas (parsley), salt water and wine…all of which people practice to remember how God passed over those he saved and lead out of slavery toward the Promised Land.  It was surely a historical and holy learning experience for our family.   

#10  There’s a new band out there for country music loverstil Tennessee’s songs tell stories about redemption and love with a great twang!  The fun part of it for me is that I’m friends with the lead female singer (they’re a duo).  It’s a dream that’s come true for her and it was a gift for us for them to leave Nashville for the weekend to sing for us *back home* in Burlington, NC.  {Check out their songs here.}  They’re great!


#11  Some new books came out recently and are on the shelves in stores and online that I either started reading this month or were released this month that I hope to read soon…maybe over the summer at the pool or beach

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman.  I’m actually a quarter way through it and half of the sentences are underlined.  I highly recommend reading this one!

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith, or also called the Nester.  “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”.  Embrace imperfection in all areas of life!

Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa Jo Baker.  It’s beautiful for mothers, grandmothers, daughters, aunts…anyone! 


So, there we go!  The 10 things I’ve learned the past couple of months.  Thank you for stopping by and I’d love for you to comment below something you’ve learned recently!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Counting Joys and an Invitation

Today I’m writing a post for SMC Women and you’re more than welcome to go over and read what I wrote about Rahab and risks. 

And still…

Counting joys today from the past week or so…

#2022  Spring!

#2023  gift in a bag – new spring clothes

#2024  gift in a bag – Easter basket goodies

#2025  gift in a book – the bookmark a friend gave

#2026  hearing “while I’m waiting” by John Waller cleaning the kitchen and wondering if I need to wait or go.  “I’ll worship and serve You while I’m waiting”

#2027  Hard eucharisteo – waiting and hearing

#2028  Worship at church on Good Friday with believers

#2029  the banjo music singing worship

#2030  going to dinner and a movie with friends

#2031  seeing God’s Not Dead

#2032  conversations on the car ride home about the movie and hearing what our kids got from that movie.

#2033  Christ is Risen!

#2034  surprise fresh, warm donuts for breakfast from G

#2035  watching our nieces first soccer game

#2036  niece calling our son handsome and professional

#2037  Easter dinner with family

#2038  beautiful evening for an Easter Egg hunt

#2039  visiting a lavender farm in the foothills with sister-in-law and nieces

#2040  picnic with chickens

#2041  2 year old petting a bunny

#2042  honor meeting the 2012 National Turkey whose life was saved

#2043  laughter watching the turkey follow us everywhere

#2044 smell of lavender

#2045  white tail of a bunny hopping across the lawn

#2046  hearing someone new’s story

#2047  my husband, son, father-in-law and brother-in-law getting to drive and ride a Nascar Experience

#2048  day with my daughter and mother-in-law

#2049  fresh mulch in the gardens

#2050  muddy and grassy kids

#2051  neighbor’s homemade water slide

#2052  laughter, smiles and splashes sliding down a hill

#2053  good neighbors

#2054  hearing friend sing from her new album ‘til Tennessee live in concert! (check them out!  They’re great!)

#2055   time visiting with dear friends the Mee’s and our friendships

Friday, April 18, 2014

Straight to the point: Part 5 Passionate Love



Can you image the feelings - physical, emotional and spiritual – that Jesus experienced those last hours as the carried and hung on the cross?  I don’t think I can.  I know I can’t. 

Once though, I did a study called Discovery: God’s Answers to Our Deepest Questions by Will Wyatt.  The amazing way he describe the feelings Jesus had on the cross for us moved me.  It’s all about Jesus’ love. 

It’s true: God is love. He truly experienced everything we ever have or ever will - at an enormously deeper level than we ever could- in those last hours on the cross.

He writes:

“I cannot even begin to understand what it means that Jesus, who was fully God, perfect and holy, could become sin, but that is what Scripture says, He became who we were so that we could become who He is.  

Because sin is easy and natural for us, we can’t begin to understand Jesus’ abhorrence of it.  The perfect and holy Son of God was agonizing over the thought of becoming sin and being separated from the Father.  Yet Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to be our substitute and become sin – everything that was opposite of His nature.  Perhaps one way to understand, to a small degree, is to take some attributes of Jesus and consider their opposites.

We know that Jesus is love.  On the cross He experienced complete, consuming hatred.  He was despised and rejected.

Jesus is the “Light of the World,” yet on the cross He experienced total darkness, a lack of understanding, and everything associated with sin and evil.

Scripture tells us that Jesus is peace, even the ‘Prince of Peace.’  On the cross, the exact opposite of peace consumed Him: total frustration, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, desperation. 

Jesus Christ is Truth.  On the cross, everything became confusing, inconsistent, and illogical.  Nothing made sense.

Jesus said, ‘I am the Bread of Life.’  Yet on the cross He experienced emotional and spiritual hunger: longing, craving, yearning, complete dissatisfaction.

Jesus said, ‘I am the The Way.’ On the cross He felt frustratingly lost, with no direction.  He was uncertain, perplexed, bewildered, full of doubts, empty, and confused.

Christ is our security, yet on the cross He was consumed with fear, insecurity, and overwhelming loneliness.  We all have felt lonely at times, but He was lonely to a degree we can’t even imagine.  Jesus Christ, who had experienced the completeness of a perfect relationship within the Trinity, was now totally forsaken and alone.

Jesus Christ is mercy.  In becoming sin for us, He suffered the ultimate in abuse, oppression, and torture.  Any cruelty ever devised or imagined by man, He endured on the cross.

Jesus Christ is just.  On the cross He endured unfairness, corruption, dishonesty, and all the emotions that go along with receiving unjust treatment.  If the Roman trial had been handled fairly, Christ would have been freed.  He didn’t deserve the cross, but He wanted to be there because He chose to stand in our place.  Isaiah says He was like a lamb led to slaughter, not uttering a sound.  Perhaps Jesus was silent on the cross because had He even hinted for help, all of heaven would have responded.

On the cross Jesus endured incredible pain.  Crucifixion was a brutal means of execution, deliberately slow and painful.  Every joint was pulled out of its socket from the weight of the body.  Jesus’ physical pain and death fulfilled prophecy and were part of God’s plan to bring us salvation.  But more important than His physical death was that Jesus died spiritually when he was separated from His Father.  His physical pain on the cross was a stark visual picture that helps us understand, to a small degree, the dreadfulness of spiritual death.  (One purpose for the pain we personally experience may be to give us a glimpse of what He went through on the cross as He died for us, both physically and spiritually.  Our pain should remind us of His great love for us.)

While taking our place on the cross, Jesus because of His complete separation from His Father, cried ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ This is the only time Jesus ever called his Father “God,” because at this point God was not in the role of Father, but of righteous judge.  As judge, He placed in Jesus the sins of every one of us – every sin and act of rebellion we have ever committed or ever will commit.  Because Jesus Christ on the cross called His Father ‘God,’ we can now call God our ‘Father.’  What amazing grace!

What an amazing God!  What an amazing promise!  What an amazing Savior! 

As we prepare for Good Friday, let us keep those attributes in your mind and heart to help you remember Jesus….Jesus…Jesus…and his passionate love for you!


Monday, April 14, 2014

62 Joys



OK…this is a first. 

I’ve gone an entire month not “reporting in” my joy count. 

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been counting though.  Because as Ann Voskamp, who inspired me to take a Joy Dare wrote:

‎"Habits can imprison you & habits can free you & when thanks to God becomes a habit-- then joy in God becomes *your life!*"

Once you make it a habit to count joys, it becomes part of you.  It’s never too late for you to take the Joy Dare and record the joys that God brings to your daily life.  Get a journal book, start a blog, write it on a chalk board…whatever!  Just count and give God the praise for it!

I’ve been writing over here about the passionate love God has for us the past few weeks.  Now it’s my turn to give love back to Him.  I give Him the gift of my joy.  The Bible says to “thank God in all circumstances”. (1 Thess. 5:18)  So, I’m loving on God by thanking Him for the gifts He’s given me. 

Here it goes…a little late but never too late. {and you’re invited to keep going down because I reached a milestone!}

#1959  our washer and dryer

#1960  neighbors to join together to help each other in our yards picking up broken tree branches

#1961  protection from ice storm



#1962  didn’t loose electricity

#1963  beauty in ice even though can cause trouble





#1964  cheering on another who’s counting joys and reaches 1000!

#1965  sharing a dream with a friend in a laundry mat

#1966  meeting in bakery with odd sort of gals who’d never all met before to go through Restless

#1967  daughter playing with neighborhood girls

#1968  a fun sign in Hobby Lobby


#1969  opportunity to wholly trust the Lord after having to cancel and reschedule brunch for 400 women

#1970  group of women who’re trusting God has this!

#1971  Gathering with over 350 women to fellowship over delicious food, the story of a mother and daughter overcoming cancer, and several other women being beautifully vulnerable to share their trust story.





#1972  taking pictures of women having a fun time!


#1973  women worshipping the Lord in music, hands raised, all praise to God


#1974  the song: “Oceans” by Hillsong United

#1975  husband calling me from the other side of town to see if I see the sunset

#1976  buying daughter a new bike

#1977  I’m finding joy in being restless

#1978  hearing the gifts, sufferings, people, places and passions of other women in Panera one morning each week.


#1979  a friend cheering us on

#1980  free tickets to ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament game…thanks DeAngelos!


#1981  friends who play with our kids while hubby and I go on the tourney date and spoils them…thanks Smallings!

#1982  glorious sunrise

#1983  sun shining through fog on drive to school in the a.m.  ( I wish I could’ve gotten pictures!)

#1984  the joy of sun after several dreary days

#1985  glorious first day of spring….promise



#1986  the bird swinging loudly and boldly on the tree beside our house


#1987  a small room prayer room where a few people 70 and older meet together to pray for our church


#1988  reading the Word on the porch

#1989  meeting for the first time and having a conversation with a neighbor I didn’t know while volunteering at picture day at middle school…what joy she has through Christ!  Hearing her story as she battles breast cancer was a gift to me…because she’s being a gift to so many others in battle with her.

#1990  seeing the joy through others that can only come through Christ

#1991  80* day

#1992  sun shining through Bradford Pear flowers


#1993  Mollie can always make me laugh

#1994  family coming to visit

#1995  little kids running!


#1996  going to the Harlem Globe Trotters basketball game for family night!


#1997  The Spirit giving me a nudge…and the same nudge to a few others…having no idea we were thinking the same thing

#1998  surrendering and praying those gut prayers with sisters

#1999  starting to make some plans 

#2000  My hubby surprising me with a new camera lens!



#2001  finding 2000 joys!!!!

#2002  goal to find 1000 more!


#2003  colorful pansies (even if they’re sprinkled with a little bit of pollen)

#2004  proud of son having a great, spring soccer season so far

#2005  opportunity to trust God

#2006  hearing stories from new believers and excitement that oozes from them!

#2007  a friend telling the story of a goat, a road and prayers and it being a real example and proof of how God really does answer prayers according to his will.

#2008  how I get chocked up every time I tell me latest “God moment”.

#2009  completing Restless with a that crazy group

#2010  celebrating a birthday with friends

#2011  sun-setting rays stretching through clouds over the interstate on the ride home from a soccer game


#2012  first smell of the spring of freshly cut grass

#2013  it’s a joy beyond measure that Christ died ‘to present me holy in his sight, without blemish”. (Colossians 1:21)  Me?  Holy in His sight?!  Amazing grace! Amazing love!

#2014  taking pictures on a spring day with my daughter

#2015  watching daughter taking pictures with her own camera



#2015  watching daughter taking pictures with her own camera


#2016  my daughter’s class performing at school for multicultural event…love those kids!


#2017  my daughter’s 5th grade teacher who loves on them well and teaches them well.

#2018  our family participating in a Sadar Meal…or “The Messianic Passover Haggadah” where we experienced the festival that originated thousands of years ago to remember the first, real Passover, where God brought the Israelites out of slavery.  What a special and beautiful occasion.


#2019  beautiful weekend for a soccer tournament

#2020  proud of son who was given a new position on the field and scored all the goals in the first 2 games!


#2021  being paraded down the highway with red bud trees in bloom waving their beauty branches at us for miles as we zoom by.