Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When Roosters Crow {A Funny Grayson Story}

We had the first sleepover with our one year old grandson this week. It was a trial run for a three day, two night stay in October when Mom & Dad go away for Mom's 21 birthday celebration. Other than Grandma & Grandpa feeling older by the minute, it was a blast. Here is my funny Grayson story...

When we woke up around 8:00 a.m. we had a happy little guy smiling at us and ready to go. With only a couple of minutes of looking for Mom, he was happily distracted by the roosters crowing back and forth outside. He looked at us a little puzzled and worried, but then Grandpa said, "it's okay, it's just the roosters" and he let out a cock-a-doodle-doo of his own. Grayson giggled and watched Bampa (as he calls him) answer back and forth with the roosters. Next thing we know, that smart-as-a-whip boy sticks his chin out, purses his lips, raises his eyebrows, and makes his own "crowing" noise.

We nearly died laughing...

Fast forward ~

When his mama & daddy came to pick him up, one of the roosters started to crow and

...out came the chin

...the lips pursed

...the eyebrows raised

...and out came a Grayson rendition of a rooster crow!

He was sitting on his mama's lap and she looked at me like "what?" I started laughing, told her the story, and advised her that she has her very own rooster now. Oh, how I love that little kid!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oooey Gooey Chocolate Please! {God Gives Good Gifts}

Sitting at my desk in a bit of a lull between magazine issues, I find myself yawning repeatedly and longing for warm, gooey, chocolate lava cake. It's probably just because I'm tired and running on empty, but O. M. G. I can't get it off of my mind!

It's random, I know - but I'm giving thanks right now that chocolate was created by a wonderful Heavenly Father that gives good gifts!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. - Jam 1:17 KJV

For what gift do you give Him thanks?

Be blessed today!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Eagle {God Made Me To Soar}

The eagle is a symbol used many times in Scripture.  In fact, it is mentioned 39 times throughout the Bible.  We can learn some very important lessons from this majestic creation of God.

Eagles have a wing span of two meters and are around 90 cm tall. The eagle mates for life and uses the same nest for life. This nest is built in a safe place, often on a ledge of a sharp cliff. It is built to last and the largest nest reported is 9 1/2 feet wide and 20 feet deep.

When the babies are born, both parents assume responsibility for their care. They are gentle parents, sitting on the eggs for one month. The parents bring food up to the nest and feed them small pieces of meat. Within 45 days, they can weigh nearly 40 times their birth weight.

At three months they get special feathers for flying and a new learning experience begins. The mother eagle flies into the nest and begins to thrash around causing a great commotion. Eventually, one of the babies will fall out of the nest and will begin heading for the earth below. Never having used his wings before, he's not really sure what to do, but does do a lot of flapping while heading straight down. Just before the baby eagle hits the ground, the mother eagle flies underneath in order to catch the baby on her powerful wings and she flies him safely back to the nest. This continues day after day until all the babies learn how to fly.

Juvenile bald eagle
There are two verses in scripture that actually mention this routine of the eagle. In Deuteronomy 32:10 & 11, Moses reminds the children of Israel how God cared for them and guarded them "just like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings in order to catch them and carries it on its pinions." Again in Exodus 19:4 God says that "He will carry the children of Israel on eagle's wings."

We can get very comfortable in our nest. Perhaps that can be our way of doing things, our way of thinking, our opinions, our way of living life. Then when God comes and stirs up our nest, we get upset. We don't always identify this as a growing experience.

Sometimes, if we were really honest, we really don't want to grow. We get very complacent and satisfied with where we are and any interruptions are viewed as negative. But God wants us to fly, to become all that He intends for us to become. He never stirs up our nest without good reason.

Did you know the eagle can see a rabbit two miles away? It can soar up to two miles above the ground and can fly at speeds up to 100 miles an hour. They have a separate eyelid which slides across the eye sideways in order to keep the eye clean and free from dust as they fly.

Their bones are hollow and therefore light of frame. Their frame has cross ribs, like steal bars in sky scrapers. The eagle has 7000 feathers. The back feathers are as long as the head feathers. Their beak is black until they turn three years of age, and then it turns golden.

When eagles are about 30 years old, they go through a renewal process. They find a secret place high in the mountains and begin to claw at their face and tear out the feathers that have been damaged over the years. As a result, it bleeds badly. But, this is necessary for the eagle in order to renew its strength. If it did not do this, it would not be able to live to its normal 60 years of age.

Psalms 103:5 says, "who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles." A time of renewal is necessary for every child of God. A time when we get rid of what is weighing us down, holding us back, aging us spiritually. A time to give up the sinful habits, to give in to the Holy Spirit in whichever way He is convicting us.

We need to do this, even to the point of renewal with pain. Some things we hold on to so tightly, that to let go actually causes us pain. But in order to have the long, powerful, useful, spiritual life that God plans for us, we need to do that. It will renew our spiritual youthfulness.

When the eagles are free to soar in God's creation, they are the cleanest of birds. They were created to be free and to soar to great heights. They were not meant to remain close to the earth in the lowlands. They were created to soar. When they are held in captivity, they become one of the dirtiest birds.

God has created us to remain pure and holy and conformed to His image. Don't allow the freedom we are to experience in Him to be compromised by spending too much time in worldly thinking, activities, and mindsets. We need to remain clean.

Eagles do not fly like other birds, they don't flap their wings, they soar! Flapping their wings would use incredible amounts of their own strength and endurance, and they would require so much more food as fuel if they didn't soar. Instead, they sit on a high ledge and wait for the right wind currents to come. When the time is right, they take off and soar upwards, effortlessly, because they have waited for the right time. There is a special "up going" wind that they ride as it circles higher and higher toward the sky.

What a lesson for God's children to learn. How often do we lose strength by jumping out too soon, flapping our wings instead of waiting for God's timing. Waiting is not a popular concept in these days of "instant everything." But when we wait on the Lord, wait for His timing, wait for His answers, wait for His direction, then we can soar to new heights and fly to new places.

"Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength,
they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and
not grow weary, they will walk and not faint."
Isaiah 40:31

From Linda Ozirney, Women's Ministries

This was e-mailed to me a few days ago. I loved it and thought it was worth reposting. (Emphasis is mine.)

Be blessed today!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Remembering Shilo {The Guardian}

We had to say goodbye to another long-time family friend, Shilo. 
Thank you for your years of love and service to our family. 
We love and miss you Big Dog! Your presence is sorely missed around the house.
R.I.P. Friend
April 2000 - May 10, 2012

There is so much to say of you and yet words escape me and only produce tears. 
So, I'll let the rest of the world love you through pictures so our hearts can heal
in due time. We take comfort in knowing that the cancer that caused you so much
pain has lost it's grip on you as you rest your tired bones. Now, get the bug! (Laser pointer)

You loved playing in the snow...

Such a handsome guy...

"Catching" snowballs was one of your favorite things to do...

Always the beggar...

Napping on the porch with Ali Girl and a chicken...

Never far from your "Dad"...

Licking the ice cream - yum!
Hanging out with the Grandparents - Thanksgiving 2007
Tolerating the cat...

Staring at Dad telling him you want more of those gingersnap cookies.

The boys on lookout. Photo taken a couple of months before you left us.
This post comes almost a month after you left, mostly because even looking at pictures kept the tears flowing. I couldn't let your passing and all that you did for our family go unnoticed. Thank you for your love and willingness to give your all — right up until the end. We miss you Big Dog!

Monday, April 2, 2012

On Your Word, Lord

In a world seemingly gone mad, Lord...
In the midst of searing pain and loneliness...
When my heart longs for a friendly face...
I draw ever closer to You, my one true friend,
And declare Your promises and blessings.

[1] If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. [2] All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: [3] You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. [4] The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock--the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. [5] Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. [6] You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. [7] The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. [8] The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. [9] The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. [10] Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. [11] The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity--in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground--in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you. [12] The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. [13] The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. [14] Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them. 
—  Deuteronomy 28:1-14 NIV

Follow commands
The fruit of your womb will be blessed
Everything you put your hand to will be blessed
Friendships and business in the city or in the country
Barns will be full
Flocks and livestock will be blessed
Rain in due season

On your word, Lord, I will stand.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Tribute to Ali Girl

We found each other in the pet store adoption center in Fremont. As we looked at the dogs and puppies available for adoption, we spotted this black fur-ball in one of the little fenced in areas. Timid and scared, you had crawled under the small white blanket that had been for you to lie on. As Chris ran up and down the aisle with a crazy, high-spirited dog for consideration, the kids and I let ourselves into your pen and sat on the floor with you insisting that we had found our new family member. “We can love her back to life,” we said. You were about six months old, Sean was six, MacKenzie was four.
Tired old girl...

We filled out the papers, wrote the check, and brought you to your new home and yard. It didn’t take long before those eyes lit up and you were full of life  just like we knew would happen with a little love.

Growing up with the kids, your ever-watchful eye was on them, staying close as they played. You took it upon yourself to control the possum population in the yard by jumping up to the top of the 6’ fence, snag the taunting rodent, and show it who had the last “what now?!” We still talk about it today as the number of dead rodents reached well over 20 in the three years we were at that house. It’s one of Sean’s favorite stories to brag about. There is a special bond between you and Sean even though you definitely love the whole family.

You came with us to the new house in the mountains – with no fence – along with Bailey, the friend we got for you. As new adventures awaited you and your kids, you settled right into country life. Because we had no fenced yard, you got to sleep in the house every night. Hiking around the property, going for walks, catching snowballs and sticks, going for rides to the river or lake to swim were some of your favorites. You loved taking up part of the couch or laying in front of the fire on a cold winter’s day. Life for Ali Girl was good.

Shilo and Ali with another old friend, Freckles.
When we added Shilo to the family, you put up with this rambunctious pup until he wore you down and we caught you playing with him in the yard. Then, as he grew up, all three of you would give chase to the bears that came to tear up the garbage and later the chicken coop and turkey pens looking for a meal. Being part spaniel and part lab, your instincts to go after birds caused everybody a bit of grief as you all learned that killing “mommy’s birdies” was not in your best interest. Now, we see the chickens snuggling with you on the front porch to keep warm.

You have been an everyday part of our family for nearly 16 years now. You have bridged time in the lives of the kids from young children to young adults with children of their own. You have been a constant friendly face greeting those who have come to our home. But now, as the light dims in your eyes and you are barely able to walk on your own, it’s time to say our good-byes to our old friend. You have been a source of joy, frustration, and companionship during your stay with us. We cannot watch you suffer and yet the thought of you not being around is heartbreaking. When the tears dry and the sting of separation subside, we will miss you and remember you with a full heart.

Winter 2010/2011

Ali checking on Grayson while MacKenzie looks on.
 R.I.P. 1996 - FEBRUARY 27, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spoken - Part 4

What we say and how we say it are equally important. When my kids were young and I was teaching them a lesson in humility (or how to apologize with sincerity and not because they were being directed to) I would sometimes get a snippy, quick “sorry” response. I would then demonstrate the importance of the tone in their voice by yelling angrily at them “I love you!” to make a point. It didn’t feel very loving, sincere, heart-felt, or nice. They would laugh, knowing that I was right and it did matter.
Hubby & Jasper

I’ve tried for years to explain to my husband what I meant when I said that I felt like he’s “always mad” or “always yelling.” What I was really trying to say was that he carries a very harsh tone in his voice that even made his 45 pound dog recoil and slink up the stairs into hiding just talking about the weather. Then, along came my little 11 pound fur ball, Jasper, that hubby adores more than anything. Jasper will go right up into his face, pat his lips with a paw, and with a cute tilt of his head say, “Dad, you’ve got that tone again – please stop.” Jasper has succeeded in doing what I was never able to do. It melts my husband’s heart and he now realizes how often he does it. Things are changing (thank you, Jesus!) because God sent an angel in the form a little black, curly-haired dog.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. - Colossians 4:6 NIV

God has the whole universe at his disposal to use to speak to us. We have our words, our tone, our attitude, and our actions. Are we using the tools we have to create an atmosphere that the Holy Spirit can live in and do His work? Or, are we speaking (even unintentionally with our tone) garbage and instability? We are spiritual beings – plain and simple. Our spirit picks up on things that we are not consciously aware of. If the Lord allowed us to see all of the activity going on around us in the unseen world, we would be paralyzed with fear.

Since we were made in His image, our words carry power as well. And, we will stand before a righteous God one day and be judged for every one of them.

Your homework: Ask the Lord to help you take the sharp edges off of your conversation. Ask Him to show you what grace looks like.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we praise and thank you for your patience and mercy toward us. So many times, as Jesus spoke from the cross, we “know not what we do.” Shine the light of your love and revelation in our lives as You continue to expose those things in us that are not of your nature and do not glorify You. Draw us ever closer to Your heart. Help us to listen more and consider carefully our words. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen!

Wikipedia says: In the New Testament, the word translated as grace is the Greek word charis (Greek χάρις), pronounced khar'-ece, for which Strong's Concordance gives this definition; "Grace, the state of kindness and favor towards someone, often with a focus on a benefit given to the object." A Greek word that is related to charis is charisma (gracious gift). Both these words originated from another Greek word chairo (to rejoice, be glad, delighted).[6] In the Old Testament, the Hebrew term used is chen [7][8] ([4][5]חֵן), which is defined in Strong's as "favor, grace or charm; grace is the moral quality of kindness, displaying a favorable disposition".[9] In the King James translation, Chen is translated as "grace" 38 times, "favour" 26 times, twice as "gracious",[10] once as "pleasant",[11] and once as "precious".

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Spoken - Part 3

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, - James 1:19 NIV

After posting Part 2 of this series, I had to take more seriously what comes out of my mouth. I found that I had to bite my tongue and keep my mouth shut time and time again in the last few days. When I think about how I used to talk – I thought that, by comparison, I was doing pretty well. My use of degrading words, along with the sarcasm that I thought was hilarious and witty, has definitely been curbed. However, I still have a looong way to go. Not that I have abandoned a sense of humor, but I have taken to heart the potential for damage that comes out of my mouth. Some of the things that I thought were amusing before are no longer funny.

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking,
which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. - Ephesians 5:4 NIV
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, - Ephesians 5:19 NIV

I have to ask:

What’s going on in the hearer’s life?
My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me. - Job 17:1 NIV

Are you blessing or cursing?
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. - Romans 12:14 NIV
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, - 1Peter 3:18 NIV

Speaking freedom or bondage?
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. - John 8:36 NIV

We can never assume that we know what kind of a day/week/month or year that the recipient of our words has had. Perhaps they are having the worst of days or are on a cloud of happiness. Rest assured that you have the power to either offer them a tall, cool drink of Living Water or knock the props right out from under them. I have known firsthand the affects of words on me. Some have taken years to recover from. Others, I cling to.

Your homework: Stop. Think. Then speak. Ask the Lord to show you how your words affect the people around you.

Lord God, we rejoice that, as your adopted sons and daughters, we can boldly come before your throne. We thank you and praise you for your mercy. Father, I ask that you cause us all to pause and check ourselves when we are about to speak things that do not come from You; that do not represent Your heart and character. Less of us, more of You.

Lord, we ask that you show us where we have hurt others and ask that you nullify those words spoken out of wrong motive. Begin a healing in the lives of those that we have affected either knowingly or unknowingly. Help us to be more aware of what and why we are about to speak. In Jesus precious name, Amen!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spoken – Part 2

With so much creative power instilled in words, the Bible (the inspired, written Word of God) has much to say about the spoken word and our tongues. We should all pause and think before we speak. Ask yourself:

What is the motive behind what you are about to say?

Are you encouraging or criticizing?

Building up or tearing down?

Speaking the truth in love (God’s truth, not our perception of truth) or speaking judgment and/or sarcasm and harshness?

The Bible says that out of the abundance of our heart the mouth speaks. What are you harboring in your heart?

Are you speaking through the flesh? (The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like… - Galations 5:19-21 NIV)

Or, are you filtering your speech through the fruits of the spirit? (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. - Galations 5:22, 23 NIV)

Let there be light! God’s word shed light on the face of creation. His word brought order and beauty out of chaos. Light exposes the things that God has already given us, as well as the darkness that works around us. Are we speaking light and life into ourselves and those around us?

Your homework: Search your own heart, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to reveal what lies behind your words.

Lord God, search the deeper things in our lives and illuminate those dark places that lurk in the crevices of our mind and hearts. We invite you to expose those things in us that are not from you and do not line up with Your word and perfect will for our lives. Create in us a clean heart that our words may spring up from the well of purity and wholeness. We thank you that you are a merciful God – full of grace. All for Your glory! In Jesus’ precious name – Amen!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spoken ~ Intro

The spoken and written word are so important and powerful. Its power is often taken for granted, overlooked, and misused. In this series I hope to explore and shed light on the magnitude of the God-given ability to communicate and how it effects our entire being – mind, body, and spirit.

Starting at the beginning…
In Genesis, we open up to God having created the heavens and the earth. Then we read in Genesis 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. I love this verse as it gives me such a visual of a very involved Creator moving over His creation, deeply connected to it, watching over it, planning His next move to beautify and fill it.

Then, it happens – God SAID… He spoke and things began to happen in an instant. Heaven and earth took shape, day and night were set in place to establish time and seasons, the waters were separated and land sprung forth from the deep. (Can you imagine the earthquakes during that time?) Plant life and animals of every kind took shape and were given their survival instructions planted in the secret place of instinct. And, God saw that it was all good. Every time He sent His creative word forth, something brand new and wonderful resulted.

Words spoken from the mouth of God are full of life and creativity. We, being made in their image (Gen 1:26 NIV), carry everything that was embedded into our DNA. The sooner we clear the brain-fog and draw closer to our Creator and Redeemer, the sooner we will tap into the explosive power that our words hold as well.

This starts a series of posts on the subject of the power of our words. There is the potential to go deep and wide on the subject, so I’m staying flexible to the length and direction that the Lord takes this revelatory study. Thank you for coming along for the journey and please let me know what you think.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Rain Song

Photo by Tami Collins
Happy New Year! I know it’s a little late as February is right around the corner, but it’s been a busy start. Much of my time has been spent trying to decide if I was going to get the stupid cold/flu thing or just feel run down and crummy for weeks on end. And, for some reason the lack of rain and snow in December and January this year has been unsettling both in the natural and in my spirit. Although, opening up the house and saving the firewood has been a blessing.

But, we need the rain!

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
– Deut. 32:2 NIV

Prayer answered. As I type this, I watch the beautiful, refreshing, life-giving rain fall on dry and thirsty ground. The first of three or so storms started marching their way through our area last Wednesday. They say we are at the tail end of the storm and it should all be gone by this afternoon, but I feel so refreshed and ready to tackle the year now. Lord, bring us more cleansing rain! We need it both in the natural and in the spirit.

I'm reminded of a song by Day of Fire that I love to blast in my car and sing at the top of my lungs…on repeat. It has become a prayer-song of such.

Rain Song
Bring rivers in this waste land,
Clouds into this sky
Bring springs of life into the wells that
Have been run dry

Rise up in this city
Gather in this light
Fall down on your people,
Your glory and your life

Rain, Lord we thirst for water
Rain, we are desert land
Rain, on your sons and daughters
Rain, bring your rain again

Speak dreams into this water
And vision to this land
That oceans be divided
And bring forth life again

Rise up on this city
Gather in this light
Fall down on your people
Your glory and your life

(Chorus x2)

Let the tide roll in
Washing over our lives
Let your water fall again

Bring rivers in this waste land
And clouds into this sky

(Chorus x2 )

Bring your rain again
Let your water fall down
Bring your rain again now

With the long-range weather forecast looking dry again, I will continue to ask the Lord to open up the heavens and bring the living waters upon our parched land and dry and weary souls.

5I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, 6so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.
8"You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.
 - Isa 45:5-8 NIV

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