Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cherish Every Moment

There's not a day that goes by where I'm simutaneously estatic that Grant's been brought into our lives and that something might happen to him and take him away from us. I know, it's all about trusting that God's in control and He knows best. But sometimes, I can't help but sneak into Grant's room while he's sleeping so soundly and make sure he's still breathing. I cherish every moment I'm with him. I know it sounds crazy, but I've only missed two Saturdays since he was born, more than a year ago. And this Saturday, I won't be able to be with him. I miss him. I'm only the aunt. So, I can't IMAGINE the love of a mother must have.

Anyway, I write all that to say because my friend sent me a YouTube link of some friends of hers baby. She sent it to me at work. (Holy smokes, I'm glad I waited until I was home to watch it.) As tears were streaming down my face, it made me again realize how precious time is with family. With the Christmas season upon us, don't forget to stop and breathe. Remember the real reason for the season and LOVE on your family.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What have you done today to make yourself proud?!?

Every Tuesday, I hear The Biggest Loser theme song and I feel as though I can do anything. I see people's lives literally changed before my eyes. I look at them and look at me and say, "Self, you can do this! You can lose weight just like them!" I'm so encouraged to keep on keeping on. There's a skinny girl inside me just waiting to bust out. She's always been inside, but perhaps, it was fear that kept her hidden. I can psycho-analyze myself all I want to, but until I make a conscious decision to change. I'll never change.

It all starts in my mind. If I don't BELIEVE I can do it, then there's no point. Every day, I face the raging battle inside my mind for victory over myself. I know that sounds crazy. But I know that's how Satan gets to me... alway putting me down. Trying to make me feel bad about myself. I'm sad to say, far too often I allow him to get the better of me. But no more. Do you hear me?!?

I choose again this day to CHANGE. Change so that I don't get my family's heredity diseases, such as diabetis. Change so that my body is capable of having children, should God desire to bless me with that gift. Change so that Grant won't be ashamed of me. Change so that once and for all, the person I know is inside me, can burst forth so all the world can see her too. She's an AMAZING chick, but no one ever gives her the time of day, because unfortunately people are far too focued on the outside package. Change. Not for others, but for myself. Change.

What have I done today to make myself proud? I CHOSE to CHANGE yet again today.

Gabriel

Gabriel
by Max Lucado

The following is excerpt 1 of 4 from An Angel’s Story. In this classic Christmas story, Max Lucado pulls back the curtain and imagines the cosmic drama that accompanied that very first Christmas…from the perspective of an angel.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Gabriel.”

Just the sound of my King’s voice stirred my heart. I left my post at the entryway and stepped into the throne room. To my left was the desk on which sat the Book of Life. Ahead of me was the throne of Almighty God. I entered the circle of unceasing Light, folded my wings before me to cover my face, and knelt before Him. “Yes, my Lord?”

“You have served the kingdom well. You are a noble messenger. Never have you flinched in duty. Never have you flagged in zeal.”

I bowed my head, basking in the words. “Whatever You ask, I’ll do a thousand times over, my King,” I promised.

“Of that, I have no doubt, dear messenger.” His voice assumed a solemnity I’d never heard Him use. “But your greatest work lies ahead of you. Your next assignment is to carry a gift to Earth. Behold.”

I lifted my eyes to see a necklace—a clear vial on a golden chain—dangling from His extended hand.

My Father spoke earnestly, “Though empty, this vial will soon contain My greatest gift.” …Handing me the necklace, He explained, “This vial will contain the essence of Myself; a Seed to be placed in the womb of a young girl. Her name is Mary. She lives among My chosen people. The fruit of the Seed is the Son of God. Take it to her.”

“But how will I know her?” I asked.

“Don’t worry. You will.”

I could not comprehend God’s plan, but my understanding was not essential. My obedience was. I lowered my head, and He draped the chain around my neck. Amazingly, the vial was no longer empty. It glowed with Light.

“Jesus. Tell her to call My Son Jesus.”

Jesus Paid It All

The other day at work, I started humming this tune. I wasn't sure what it was, until at some point, the chorus came flying out of my mouth. "That's it!" I said to myself. I immediately went to Google (my favorite search engine), entered in some of the words which came to mind, and found, of course, a million different things. But, I knew it was from Passion, which narrowed it down some. Finally, after some research, I found the words. I wanted to share them:


I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Lord now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone
Can change the lepers spots
And melt the heart of stone

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe;
My sin had left this crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

It’s washed away
All my sin
And all my shame

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
"Jesus died my soul to save,"
My lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

O praise the One who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead

We’ll praise the One who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead



These last two 'verses' are repeated over and over, with the crowd of thousands singing together. I hear it in my head each time I repeat these same words. May you be encouraged today.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Grown-up Christmas List

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee.
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies.
Well, I'm all grown up now,
But still need help somehow.
I'm not a child but my heart still can dream.

So here's my lifelong wish,
my grown-up christmas list,
not for myself, but for a world in need:

No more lives torn apart,
and wars would never start,
and time would heal all hearts.
Ev'ry one would have a friend,
that right would always win,
and love would never end:
This is my grown-up christmas list.

As children we believed
the grandest sight to see
was something lovely wrapped beneash the tree.
Well, heaven surely knows
that packages and bows
can never heal a hurting human soul.

No more lives torn apart,
and wars would never start,
and time would heal all hearts.
Ev'ry one would have a friend,
that right would always win,
and love would never end:
This is my grown-up christmas list.

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth?
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth!

There'd be...
No more lives torn apart,
and wars would never start,
and time would heal all hearts.
Ev'ry one would have a friend,
that right would always win,
and love would never end:
This is my grown-up christmas list,
this is my only lifelong wish,

This is my Grown-up Christmas List!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Red Shoes

This isn't a normal post for me. In fact, if you click the below link and read, you're going to see some cuss words and some questionable material. I'm just warning you.

Ladies, if you do choose to read this. You will have just read the first chapter in a book I recommend you reading, called, "Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral". I know, weird title. But an amazing book. You'll laugh, cry and be inspired to look at and live life in a whole new way. It's one of those books which you just happen upon in the sales bin because it looks "interesting". And the next thing you know, you're immersed within its pages, not coming up for air until the last page. And on that final page, you feel as though you are different some how. As though you've changed through 'sharing' these experiences with the characters. It's just a great book. I hope you read it.

I had a day like the lady below the other day, which is why I thought to share this exerpt. I know we've all had days like this. The fact that it revolved around a desinigrating bra cracked me up, because I too had that problem. Though, mine wasn't a gaping hole. Rather, the under wire attacked me all day long. I sadly 'fixed' it with electrical tape. How sad is that?!? But come on, I know you can relate. There are other things to spend money on right now, like bills and Christmas gifts. Boy am I learning a lesson in trusting Him for my needs. But anyway, that's another post all together. On with the show. I hope you enjoy the read... I hope it makes you laugh!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Me and God

I watched a two hour episode of "The Waltons" on the Hallmark channel today. Boy, I love that show. I forgot what a gem is it. It's just so wholesome. I miss shows like that on TV now a days. I talk like I'm old, but you know what I mean. Then tonight, I watched this really sweet Hallmark movie on CBS, "Hollis Woods". I tell you what, those Hallmark commercials get me every time. There were a few tonight which made me tear up. So Sweet. Anyway, I heard this on the radio tonight and wanted to share the lyrics from Josh Turner. It's a simple song, but says a lot.

There ain't nothing that can't be done
By me and God
Ain't nobody come in between me and God
One day we'll live together
Where the angels trod
Me and God

Early in the morning talking it over
Me and God
Late at night talking it over
Me and God
You could say where like two peas in a pod
Me and God

He's my Father
He's my friend
The beginning
And the end
He rules the world
With a staff and rod
We're a team
Me and God

I am weak and he is strong
Me and God
He forgives me when I'm wrong
Me and God
He's the one I lean on
When life gets hard
Me and God

He's my Father
He's my friend
The beginning
And the end
He rules the world
With a staff and rod
We're a team
Me and God

He rules the world
With a staff and rod
We're a team
Me and God

We're a team
Me and God

Friday, November 30, 2007

One Day At a Time

One day at a time I will walk this road I've traveled so far
One day at a time well I know I will carry on
One day at a time I can see you took my life this far
One day at a time I will take this faith along

All this hope I breathe is given by the hand that carries me
Until I'm complete and I'll take all I will
To understand this plan you have for me, for me

I've been shut up shut down held out held down
In ways I never knew I would
But I can feel your fullness in my life
Well I've been burned out broken torn out torn down
In ways I never knew I would
But I can feel your fullness in my life

One day at a time

One day at a time I will take these words you've given me
One day at a time I will rest in knowing you
One day at a time I will share this gift you've given me
One day at a time I will walk these valleys through

And all I know is that I see
How much my heart is longing to be cradled by your side
Yeah, I'll give all I can
To one day soon be held by your hand, by your hand

I've been shut up shut down held out held down
In ways I never knew I would
But I can feel your fullness in my life
Well I've been burned out broken torn out torn down
In ways I never knew I would
But I can feel your fullness in my life

In all these things I will press on, yeah
I'll be with you I know it won't be long

I've been shut up shut down held out held down
In ways I never knew I would
But I can feel your fullness in my life
Well I've been burned out broken torn out torn down
In ways I never knew I would
But I can feel your fullness in my life

By Jeremy Camp

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Puzzle Pieces

Written at a time in my life when nothing seems to make sense, even this "poem". He's broken apart my world and handed me the left over pieces. Now, what am I to do with them? I think I keep trying to make them into something they aren't. Perhaps I am just to learn more about myself, and more about my Creator? Only time will tell. (March 21, 2000)


Puzzle Pieces
By: Meredith Quintana

Jagged... Smooth, straight, and curved
They never all seem to fit together
I look at the pieces
Then the picture on the box
And I wonder how it'll ever look so right

Life seems to be the same way
Only there's no perfect picture in which to compare
He gives me the pieces
The so-called problems of today
I try to make them fit
But it just won't work

The pieces all look so jumbled
I feel so lost and confused
What will I do next?
Where do I turn?

The pieces of my life are grouped accordingly...
God... Family... School... Work... Friends...
If I can make each section look good,
Then will I feel in control?
Will that control bring me happiness?

By trying to make the pieces work on my own,
I start feeling better about everything
The grouped pieces are placed where I want them
Where I think they'd look best.
As if I actually knew what was best for me.
But it won't work.
They don't fit.
Why is it that I want to plan my life, according to my plan?
Why is it so hard to leave it up to Him?
Why must I be so stubborn?

I once again repent and turn from my selfish ways
I lay it down at His feet
He takes my pieces and scatters them...
As far as the East is to the West.

"Father," I ask. "How will I ever be able to solve the puzzle now?"

"My child," He quietly whispers, "You may think your puzzle will never be solved, but I know what the picture would look like long ago. This is within My will that you would struggle."

"But why, Father?"

"My precious child," He says, as He places me in His lap. "If I never break your world apart, then how will you learn to depend on Me? How will you learn to trust in Me? How will your faith ever grow stronger?"

He lifts his arms and spreads it out in front of me. "Look at all that has happened... What if Noah hadn't had enough faith in Me to build the Ark? You would not be."

"What if Joseph hadn't been sold into slavery? He wouldn't have been able to save the land from famine? What if David hadn't had enough faith to use a sling and three small stones? He would never have defeated Goliath."

As scene upon scene kept flashing before me, my Father kept showing me over and over how faithful He has been. No matter if we deserved it or not, He has provided.

So, as I look back on those so-called problems... the pieces in my life
I begin to realize that He is in control
I have to be patient in Him
And know that everything will fall into place, just like the picture on the 'box'

One day down the road of life, I'll look back on these trying times
I'll know that everything that happened, happened for a reason
I'll see that my Creator had each puzzle piece carefully placed in the palm of His nail-pierced hand
And I'll know that He who began a good work in me, has been faithful to complete it in me.


I wanted to share this poem which I wrote several years ago. It's humorous to know that, in a way, not much has changed... my life still feels like a ill-fitted puzzle. I thought... well, that I'd have more figured out by now. I suppose my edges, the foundation, is complete. But those dastardly middle pieces are still a bit confusing. I suppose, it won't ever really be completed. Always more work to be done. Always more refining. Oy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Strangely Dim

This morning my friend sent me a devotional as she does every morning from Joel Osteen. Sometimes I have time to read it, often I don't. Amazingly though, when I do, it's always exactly what I need to hear. Today was no different. It talked about how we often will get so comsumed with all the stresses of life, always looking down, wading in the muck and mire of life, that we often don't look up. Just by looking up, takes our focus off what's around us and back on Him.

This has been the case with me lately. Boy, I've been trudging to and from work in mire so thick I'm hardly able to breathe. The thing is, if I'd just stop focusing on all that's going wrong around me and instead, remember all the blessings in my life, I'm sure my attitude would do a 180 and my focus would be, well focused.

Life's been kinda stinky for me lately. I really try not to let things bother me, but yesterday everything hit the fan. I had to make a conscious effort to change. Of course, that didn't actually fix anything that was wrong. I'm just trying to look at it in a different light. Refocused, if you will.

Which leads me to this evening. I'm on the way home from work, with the windows down and the heat on full blast. (Yeah, I know it's weird.) When I pulled off the interstate onto the hwy, I got into an accident. It happened so quickly, the blood was pumping hard in my ears for the second time today. (The first was at 7:05 am when I suddenly woke up from a bad dream!) But anway, I realized that I'd hit the guy in front of me. Thankfully, I was hardly moving and no damage was done at all to either car. PTL!!

It all comes back to focus. It becomes an if/then statement. If I focus on Him, then the things on Earth will grow strangely dim. I pray the same is true in your life today. Thanks for letting me share my heart with you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Let's Say Thanks

In 2006, I became pen pals with a soldier in Iraq. It was truly a unique experience. I was able to talk with him fairly frequently and encourage him as well. We'll lost touch now, as he's home with his family, but I often think about Lt. Craig. For me, it made all that was going on in the war, truly personal. I encourage you to take some sort of action and let our men and woman know how much we appreciate their efforts.

Regardless of how you feel about the war, American soldiers are serving our country and protecting the rights of freedoms we daily take for granted. They are far away from home and I'm sure would appreciate some love from home. If you would like to say thanks, please go to this website: www.letssaythanks.com.

There, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services. How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! This is a great site. It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Or if you want to do more, you can adopt a soldier as well, find out more about it here: http://www.mysoldier.com/ .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Laughing at Aunt Mer

Ever since Grant got his walker for his 1st birthday, he's been hard to catch on video. So, I "hid" next to the couch and surprised him when he came around the corner. See what happened!!


video

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Momma always said....

....there'd be days like this. I sat down a while ago to basically vent about my day. But I've erased everything I've written thus far. It all sounded so whiney and trivial. I'm only going to mention that I'm only ONE girl, who can only do and handle so much before I explode. Ugh! If I ever left my job, I honestly believe they'd have to hire at least two people to do all that I do.

A "white squall" hit today. I had no warning. Suddenly, I was in the midst of the storm-tossed sea with no life preserver. Times like these make me want to throw my hands up and just quit! If only; darn those responsibilites. The thing of it is, I really don't think God's plan is for me to be this miserable on a day-to-day basis. I have all these seemingly random talents, but did God give them to me so that I could turn a profit? I really don't think so. I mean, I think God gives us things such as talents so we can ultimately give Glory to God. How far I've strayed from that.

I don't know what to do. I would love to do something creative. Something that used my skills and talents, rather than trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. Sure, I'm pretty good at what I do, but it's not who I am. It'*drains* me every day. I don't know how long I can keep doing this. Prayer. I need prayer. Guidance. Wisdom. What should I do?? How I would love a burning bush.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

One Word

Recently, I asked my friends to describe ME in one word.... just one single word. Here are the results:

  • Faithful
  • Amazing
  • Friend
  • Witty
  • Creative
  • Breathtaking
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Charitable
  • Beautiful
  • Fun
  • Friendly
  • Questionnaire
  • Inquisitive
  • Insightful
  • "SMILEALICIOUS"
  • Helpful
  • Precious
  • "FanTAStic"
  • Sweet
  • Encourager
  • Perceptive

Saturday, November 10, 2007

1st Birthday Steps

I was laying on the floor to get Grant's eye view, when low and behold, he took some steps for his Aunt Sandra! (He took his first steps the Saturday before for Mommy and Aunt Mer.)

video

Thursday, November 8, 2007

One

I think, sometimes I'm so introspective, I get lost within myself and don't realize that I affect (effect?) others around me. I tend to think I'm invisible and that I walk through life undetected. Which is silly to think, I realize. None the less, the thought remains. Funny thing about being lost within myself, there's no one to ask for directions. Though, the verse comes to mind, "Your Word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105) Regardless of how alone I feel, He is there. I need to stop trying to be so independent and rely on my Father. He really does know what's best for me. He, unlike anyone, really does *know* me. He created me afterall.

On Grey's Anatomy tonight, one of my favorite shows, albeit not moral in the least, one of the plots in this episode, was that Lexi and Meredith don't know one another. Lexi came up with 5 completely random things about herself, so that Meredith would get an idea of who she is. And perhaps, love and accept her as a result. I feel like that sometimes. I feel like I'm constantly trying to tell people who I am.... I suppose it's not necessarily though. If you want to know me, you'll make the effort?

That sounded really selfish, didn't it? I'm not entirely sure how to convey what I'm thinking. It's just that, I'm constantly thinking. My brain is like a roulette wheel. Full of ideas. Full of adventures. Full. But, often, it's just me at the end of the day. I come home to an empty house. Just me, myself and I. I'd love to be able to share my life with someone. Talk and laugh about things that happened through out the day. **Breaks into song, "One is the lonliest number!"**

Seriously though, I'm really sick of being alone. And while I realize, the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. It's just that most of the dreams and desires God's given me, can only be done with a partner. Not to mention, doing all the house work myself. So, while I'm supposedly living up the best years of my single life, I feel like I'm missing out on what could be. I don't understand why God would give me these dreams, only to not fulfill them. Not to say that He still won't.

I know I'm not the only single girl out there feeling like this. And I don't often let myself really think about it. I hate feeling this way. I just felt like, for tonight, to open myself up to you. I never know who might be reading my words. I guess I just want to say, beyond how I might feel at any given moment, I do really think He has a plan for my life.

In Jeremiah 29:11-13, it says, "I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." [The Message]

This wasn't at all what I'd planned to write about today, but perhaps that was for someone out there?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

WYSIWYG

I talk to myself in the car a lot. Earlier, I had the "perfect" blog written but alas, I got distracted once I got home and wasn't able to get it down on paper. Essentially, it was being thankful that God made me so different. Which, has taken me quite a number of years to realize this. I used to be so mad at God for creating me different. Now I see what a blessing it really is.

I've always been special... not like the short bus kind, though I did ride a short bus one school year. I'm just different. I see things differently. I say different things than people might expect. I react to situations differently. I see myself saying and doing things and I think to myself, "Stop talking!!", but I can't. I don't know how not to be me. I am what I am. WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)

I don't know where I was going with this post. I'm really sleepy, but it's been so long since I've written, I just wanted to get something down. Going to bed now...though, not before a quick game of Tetris on my phone.

Monday, November 5, 2007

God is on Your Side

“If God is for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)?


Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

As a believer in Jesus and a child of His, God is on your side today! If you haven’t thought about it yet today, remember, you are created for greatness. You have the seed of Almighty God inside of you. There is no obstacle that can stop you. There is no disadvantage that can hold you back. You’re in the palm of God’s hand, and He has equipped and empowered you for everything. When God is on your side, He sets the right people in your path. In fact, He’s already released favor into your future. He’s planning for you to come in to new seasons of increase. Have you given up on a dream? God is on your side, and He wants to resurrect it. Have you given up on a family member? God is on your side, and He wants to restore that relationship. God is on your side, and He has a plan for victory in every area of your life. Let that sink down into your heart today. Begin to expect His favor. Expect Him to work in your life. Focus on the fact that God has equipped you. He has anointed you. Your best days are still out in front of you! If God is for you, no one can rise against you! As you meditate on this promise, it will become real to you. You will walk in the favor and victory God has in store for you!


A Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, thank You for being on my side today. Thank You for equipping and empowering me to accomplish everything You’ve called me to. Give me a deeper revelation of Your love for me today so that I can live the abundant life You have prepared for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Ozzie the Wonder Dog

My friend's amazing dog!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Plethora of Events

First things first, Grant took his FIRST STEPS Saturday morning! It was such a special treat for me to witness this momentous occasion! Precious little boy, I love that kid!

Side note: he cried when I left today, which both made me sad and happy. He's never cried when I've left before. (Though, usually, he's just had his last bottle and he's about to go night-night, so maybe he doesn't realize what's happening.) But he always cries when he says bye-bye to his granny. I was feeling left out. Like he didn't love me. So, strangely, it made me smile.

I got my hair cut today. Nothing like the last time! My sister's friend, Talya, came to Stephanie's house and cut both our hair. Wasn't that nice of her? She reshaped my hair and chopped off a good bit. She said I really need to grow my bangs out, so I'll try. (I've had bangs since the 3rd grade!)

I did my grocery shopping for the month today at Walmart. Man, was that place crazy busy! And even though I went up and down every isle, sometimes more than once, I STILL forgot things on my list (which I left at home).

Have you been watching the competition for the next Iron Chef (on the Food Network)? I've been watching it every week and my favorite guy, Michael Symon made it to the top two tonight! Next week will see who the winner is!!

I stumbled upon this on YouTube: Damien Rice - I Remember. They are completely amazing! So passionate! Check out!

Darn the time change! Oh well, the extra hour was nice today. I felt as though I got more accomplished. Marked some chores off my list of never ending chores. Hope you all had a good day, out there in Blog Land. Off to bed for myself.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fish Flop

I like to experiment with food. I'm known for throwing things together and making great meals out them. Well, on this quest to learn how to make different food items, I ventured into fish tonight. How can you go wrong?, I asked myself. I'd seen my mom do it a million times. I even got fancy and "rolled" the fish in some bread crumbs with garlic mixed in. I followed all the directions, which, I'll admit, I have issues doing. I'm constantly leaving out an important detail. But all I had to do, was stick it in the oven. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. While that was cooking, I made some the THE best rice, Mahatma. It was actually one of the first things I bought when I moved out, um, a year ago. It's OK, rice lasts forever.

The fish finished cooking and I tried a bite just to make sure. It tasted a little strange, but I didn't think anything of it. It just needs some ketchup, I told myself. (I eat ketchup on all kinds of crazy things.) I was so proud of myself. From being so hungry and thinking about getting fast food, because it's "easier", to creating this whole, healthy meal from basically nothing. I even took a picture, see... Looks good, doesn't it?


Alas, I bite into it and I had the overwhelming urge to throw up. But I told myself I was over reacting. I continued to chew but it tasted as though I was digesting the ocean. Literally like I'd just pulled this fish straight from the salty water! I maybe exaggerating some, but it was yucky! I couldn't take it and spit it out! TMI?

I called my mom to get the scoop on tilapida. She says she basically drowns the poor fishy in herbs and spices. Now she tells me. Thank goodness for the yummy rice or I would have been really dissapointed!! The fishy went bye-bye into the garbage. Does anyone have a better way to season/cook fish? I'd love to hear it!

Thomas Edison said, "I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work." Mark my words... Fish and I will have another day in the kitchen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Grant's new "tricks"!

(9/22/07) Sorry for the bad lighting, but this was too cute to pass up!
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(10/27/07) This is my mom and Grant...
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"Good Girl"

While reading September's issue of "Real Simple" recently, I read this article that I just had to share!


The Power of Praise

"Positive reinforcement works - on children, on work colleagues, even on pets. So why don't you use it on yourself? Take a moment to revel in your own successes and those of others, says life coach Gail Blanke. Everyone will feel better for it."

4 Steps to Becoming a Praiser
1. Point out something that someone is doing right, every day.
2. Seek out good behavior in others that might not be repeated if it goes unnoticed.
3. Make a list ofyour own "wins" over the past couple of months - big and small.
4. Say "Good Girl" to yourself every chance you get from now on.

Do you acknowledge yourself and the good things you do, or do you just move on to the next task?


Encouragement, in whatever format, is vital to every day life. Don't believe me? Next time a small child accomplishes something, try clapping for them and see how much they *light* up! How much more is that needed in our lives as woman? We give and give and give, until there's nothing left of us to give.

It's far too easy to get overwhelmed with all that needs to be done, but what if we encouraged ourselves through out the day? What kind of difference would that make in your life? I know that when positive feedback comes my way, I stand up a little bit straigher, gain confidence and work that much harder.

I'm FAR too hard on myself. I need to learn to relax and relish in the small wins. Without those, there'd be nothing big to celebrate. Boy, once I've made up my mind to do something, there's no stopping me!!! Which... can be a detriment (stubborn), but it's also what gives me my drive, determination and gumption.

In the past, I had a bad habit of starting something, but never finishing it. Well, I really wanted to get back into writing. For me, it's just a stress reliever. It also allows my mind to release some of its pent up ideas. I'm really proud of myself for sticking with this blog. Good Girl, Meredith, for following through.

I'm also so proud of myself for the desire to become healthy, once and for all. I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I woke up one morning literally a year ago and said, I've had enough, something's got to change. I joined Curves October 30, 2006. Since then, I can't tell you how much weight I've lost. Honestly, in order for me to maintain sanity, I had to go by how my clothes were fitting. And truth be told, I've lost A WHOLE SIZE in both pants and shirts. Which, is so exciting! I've kinda been keeping the whole thing under wraps, because with my rate of failure, I didn't want to set myself up for a fall. But now it's out there for all the world to see! Good Girl, Meredith, for sticking with it!

Today, while I was getting my braces off! PTL!!! Tabitha, the hygenist said, "Have you lost weight?" Wow. What woman doesn't love to hear those four little words?!? It's really refreshing to hear encouragement like that. To see myself every day, it would appear that nothing has changed. But to know that others do see a difference, that motivates me to work even harder!

Good Girl, Meredith!!

A Creed to Live By

Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others,

It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important,

Only you know what is best for you.

Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart

Cling to that as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.

Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or the future.

By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.

Don’t give up when you still have something to give

Nothing is really over…until the moment you stop trying.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect,

It is the fragile thread that binds us to each other.

Don’t be afraid to encounter risks,

It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find.

The quickest way to receive love is to give love.

The fastest way to lose love is to hold on too tightly,

And the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

Don’t dismiss your DREAMS.

To be without dreams is to be without hope.

To be without hope is to be without purpose.

Don’t run through life so fast that you forget where you’ve been,

But also know where you’re going.

Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored every step of the way.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"My Prayer" by Jessica Latten

My God

My God

Why have I forsaken you?

Wrap me again in you stillness so that I can see

cuz I saw

I saw.

Color bright, dark, natural and created. Reaching into my heart and mind intertwined I imagine the most beautiful sight coupled with the most beautiful feeling tripled by the best possible tasting thing, reminiscent of manna and a heavenly fragrance that makes you remember how things should be, how they were once before my existence. Then I hear something that makes my soul move and my body follow. Persistent like the shadow of Peter. I can't shake this piece of flesh as I hear rhythms, melodies and harmonies that move me and keep me captive, my beloved master. I know, because my third eye gave birth to my wisdom, enabling me to know YOU.

If I could see, hear, taste, smell feel and KNOW all of these sensations for just one simultaneous moment it would lonely be equivalent to reaching out to touch the hem of your garment... and I have yet to grasp it.

I love you now, I love you then and I love you forever. If I had a thousand knees, infinite tears, and a million soft lips I would be a trillion miles a way from effectively begging your forgiveness by kissing your feet to lift away the pain I've cause you.

My God I'm coming to you because I do not have the answer. I'm coming to you because I know I can't make up for the heart aches I've caused. I'm coming to you because I need guidance. I'm coming to you because I need peace. I'm coming as a child comes to a father with infinite patience and forgiveness. I'm coming to you in faith.

Lead me to where I belong. Guide my feet in the right path and let my light shine and to encourage others to do the same.

Thank you for your love for me.

In your name I pray,

Amen

Friday, October 26, 2007

Connective Ramblings

My sister surprised me today and brought my precious nephew for a visit! It was such an amazing surprise - a ray of sunshine on my other wise drab day! I got to show Grant around too. It'd been three months since people had seen him. The kid has grown a ton in that time. And I got to feed him a bottle too. I love him. Oh, and he's learned a new "trick" as we call it. He's learned how to hug. You say, Grant, may I have a hug? And he dives over one shoulder like he's Superman and rests his little head on my shoulder. Awwww! I won't get to see him again until Saturday morning. Can't wait.

It's hard living alone sometimes. For instance, tonight, my goal was to not only flip my matress but rotate it as well. So, here I am, balancing on the box springs, rotating my matress, inch by inch, just praying we don't fall. And then, flip it too! Whew! Plus, I had to make it with flannel sheets (yeah Fall!). I hate making my bed up but I enjoy sleeping in fresh sheets.

I had it in my mind to wear something for tomorrow, but for some reason, I always have a try on session, just to make sure everything still looks ok. So, I found this shirt the other day, washed it and couldn't wait for Friday, so I could wear it with jeans. I pull it over my head, look in the mirror, and ALAS, it has a gapping hole in it. I now remember ripping it last winter. Darn. I don't have very many fall/winter clothes to wear. Since I've been losing weight, all my old clothes are too big. And I don't feel like I should go out and buy new ones until I get to my goal weight. (Not that I know what that is... I don't have a "number", I'll just know by how I feel about myself. But sheesh, that's a whole other topic for a whole other day.)

I just wanted to ramble today. I think I only have one faithful reader, so I feel as though I'm writing her a letter. Hi Stacey! Hope classes are going well. Study hard!

I was playing Tetris on my phone earlier and I started to fall asleep. People it was 9:30 at the time!! So crazy. I suppose I haven't been getting enough sleep. One reason, my old bed. It has major issues. I'm actually asking for a new matress for CHRISTmas. Oh... which reminds me of a totally different topic. Do you realize CHRISTmas is two months away from yesterday?!?!? Are you ready?? Have you started your CHRISTmas shopping? I started the other day. I do this thing call MyPoints (ask me about it sometime) and it was extra bonus points to shop through Amazon.com plus free S&H. I was looking for something specific, but quickly discovered that Amazon is the Walmart of the Internet. Literally, you can find anything on there. To take advantage of the free S&H, I took care of my sister and got some things for my family as well. Two things arrived today! Ohhh, I can't wait to get them wrapped, put under the tree and see their expressions when they open the gifts up!

I'm so A.D.D. today, it's actually quite comical. I have this t-shirt which reads, "They say I had A.D.D. but I just don't understand. Oh look! A chicken!" Get it? hahaha I love that shirt! Back to CHRISTmas trees. I think the average family puts theirs up Thanksgiving weekend, at least, we always did in my family. But this year, I'm thinking about putting it up after Halloween. Am I crazy? Could be. I know I'm crazy for being up this late!!! OK, enough rambling out of me. I'm going to bed.

TGIF!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In My Arms - Plumb

I heard this song on the radio today and then downloaded it on iTunes when I got home! To me, it's about a love from a parent to a child. Perhaps a love song from Jesus?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pay It Forward!

I did something today that I've always wanted to do. Have you seen the commercial where the girl gives the lady at the dry cleaners extra money for the guy behind her. Well, today I drove through Starbucks for some very yummy peppermint mocha, using a gift card I got for my birthday (Thanks, Micah!). The amount left on the card was more than I expected, so I decided to do something fun. I handed the card back to the lady and said, "Please use this for the people behind me." She got this very puzzled look on her face and I repeated my request and added, "If they ask, just tell them to 'Pay It Forward'". Her face lit up as she immediately understood my intentions. I quickly drove away, as though I'd just robbed a bank.

I didn't want any credit. In fact, I debated with myself about even talking about it because it might take away from the *magic* of the moment. Or perhaps you might think I'm bragging, but alas that's far from the truth. I just wanted to do something nice and completely unexpected for a perfect stranger. I have no idea who was behind me, but imagine their surprise when they pulled out their money to pay. "Your debt has been paid."

I just teared up as I typed that. How much is God like that with us? For all our sins which we continually commit, then come to the Father to ask forgiveness and He says, "No worries, you don't owe anything. Jesus took care of the bill." (Meredith translation) Like I previously stated in my last post. I don't think anything I experience is by chance. I believe He puts things in my path, so that I'm reminded of certain truths each day. I never know what God is up to, but I know He's up to something.

Interested in learning more about the Pay It Forward movement? Check out this site: http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org/

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just an observation...

I believe it's no accident that I see the world as I do. I see inspiration in everything! From the songs which shuffle on my iPod, to topics people talk about, to things that I read. I'm constantly trying to create something from nothing. It's kind of this game I play with myself. Life, all by itself, can be made into a blog entry. It's amazing really. If only I had the time to devote to it all. Perhaps one day my career will be a writer. How amazingly awesome that would be. Until then, I impart my *wisdom* on all who might read my thoughts.

Today, while stopped at a red light, movement caught my eye. There, in the gutter of the sidewalk was this precious bird. Although it was raining, it felt the need to take a bath. I found that humorous. Plus, I believe it was having fun doing it,w hich made me smile.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Meredith Quintana" by Tim Wasyluka

My friend wrote this amazing poem to encourage me. See what you think...


Ms. Meredith Quintana loves the Lord.
She shares her love throughout every day -
Through a smile that lights this oft dreary world
With the glowing warmth of a bright sun-ray.

By day, through the sound of quieter, quaint chords,
She solemnly serves Him dutifully.
By night, her sweet soul, with powerful words,
Pensively praises Him beautifully.

Meredith – no longer ponder. Now is when!
Raise your timid true voice above the crowd,
But your timely thunderous thoughts to Pen!
When you share, it makes our loving Lord Proud.

The Lord wants to hear what you have to say!
Now…point the world to the light, to the way!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I love fall!

Today, while running an errand, I had the pleasure to drive down one of my favorite roads. It's this little stretch, where the trees completely cover the road and make a canopy. It almost feels as though you're entering into another world, where imaginations rule the land. It was beautiful outside today in Alabama... although quite warm for October at 90+ degrees!! But that didn't stop me, I had the windows down, listening to Jennifer Knapp's "Trinity" and singing at the top of my lungs. I love this time of year. I love fall. I love the changing of the leaves. I love the crisp weather (which I assume will eventually get here.) I love the 'smokey' smell in the air. I love the way, when the leaves fall from the trees, it's as though they "rain" down upon me. I love the new season. It's just a great time of year. Finally things cool off and the world seemingly comes alive. Many of my happy memories as a child occured during Fall... Like spending a lot of energy to rake leaves, then take a flying leap into them! Feeling the rush of cool breeze on my face as I gain speed, then the crunch and crinkle as my body crashes upon those dried leaves! What about you... what do you like best about Fall? Please share with me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Busy Beaver

I haven't posted in a few days... been busy, busy, busy. I often find it difficult to cram everything into one day that I need, or want to accomplish. If I could only not work and write or do creative things all day long. Ah, that would be the life! Though, obviously, not realistic.

I have several ideas of topics I'd like to write about, such as: Bad Haircut, Soap Box Derby, Everything, and Adventures... just to name a few. But by the time I get home, work out, figure out what I'm going to cook for dinner and finally sit down, it's already 7PM or so. Not enough hours in the day. Each morning I wake up, I think, "Oh man, I should have gone to bed earlier." But in order to go to bed earlier, something's gotta give. (I'm just rambling here...something I do quite well.)

Ideally, I'd like to have enough energy to work out three times a week or more. Do something creative daily, whether that's blogging or making new cards. Read books and magazines. Vacuum the house. Keep up with my pen pals. Is that too much to ask? I mean, really. If I could merely --- oh, what's that word --- copy? reproduce? multiply? Oh, clone! If I only only clone myself several times over, I'd be able to get everything done! Somewhere, my priorities are way out of wack. Heck, I just realized I didn't even mention a "quiet" time above. What a slacker Christian I am. I need to study another book of the Bible, verse by verse. I grew leaps and bounds when I did that while writing my votds. I need to get back on the votd wagon. It's hard to sin when you've been hanging out with God.

In other news, today at work, my friend made me laugh so hard I cried.... She told me a joke, but what punch line wasn't nearly as funny as something she missaid. She said "hobbit" instead of "habbit". Oh man, this is one of those times, where, in the moment, it's hilarious, but after the fact, it's hardly even funny. I won't bother retelling the joke.

Grant turned 11 months this past Saturday. He's learned how to put food into his mouth. Also, very shortly, he'll be walking. I LOVE that kid.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If That's What It Takes

It's my opinion that sometimes God does stuff just for my eyes. I think He not only loves to love on me, but He also knows how much I appreciate the little things, like:

...A multi-colored sunset splashed across the horizon.
...A butterfly, deep red with black polka dots, who floated by my car, as if to say, "Hello".
...The wildflowers which flourish beside my house, despite the fierce drought.
...Big, puffy, white, cotton-like clouds taunting me to make shapes out of them.
...The way trees sway together when wind passes through them, as though they can't help but move and Glorify their Creator.
...When trees begin to change colors for fall, it's like a symphony in the woods. All those majestic colors.

Well, something such as these happened to me today. Now perhaps it was my imagination, I do have an overactive one, but I don't think so. I was listening to Sandi Patty, "Hand On My Shoulder", when I glanced over the tree tops and saw what looked like a shape of a hand in the clouds. (I'm not making this up!) And the cherry on top of this, was that the "fingertips" were a rainbow. It was the coolest thing! As quickly as I noticed it, the next glance it was gone. Was this real? *shrugs* I don't know. But it was enough to get me thinking about all the ways my Savior, Creator, Redeemer CHOOSES to love me, when all I deserve is death.

It always reminds me of one of my favorite songs by Clay Crosse, "If That's What It Takes":

You say you fell out of love, with no place to stand
You say your heart's on the mend, from a broken romance
You say you don't want to trust, because it hurts too much
And you think I'd never understand
Tell me what have I got to do, to make a believer of you

Do I have turn water into wine, turn some stones into bread
Do I have to paint my heart across the sky, in a blazing shade of red
Do I have to push the sun into the sea, to make you fall in love with me
OH, If that's what it takes, then let it be

You say you don't need my love, but I know it's a lie
You say I shouldn't even try
Tell me what have I got to lose, to make a believer of you

Let it be
You need me to turn the tide of your ocean
Let me set your heart back into motion

Let it be yeah
Do I have to turn water into wine
If that's what it takes, if that's what it takes
Swim the deepest ocean, climb the highest mountain
If that's what it takes, if that's what it takes
If that's what it takes, if that's what it takes
If that's what it takes, if that's what it takes

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Seek Love... Part 3

Ok, last chapter for "Seek Love" unless otherwise *told*. I think these next verses really fit with what I've been talking about recently. I hope you're encouraged by them...

Romans 8:26-29 (The Message): Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basi s with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pic k us off one by one.None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Seek Love Part 2

Just to preface this post. I fought writing about this for a really long time... even as I type this, I don't want to post this, but who am I to argue with God? The funny thing about "running" from something, God will always find a way to get your attention. Hopefully, it won't be something as drastic as being swallowed by a big fish like Jonah was. For me, it usually takes the form of several different things such as: the message at church, something heard on the radio, or an email from a friend. It becomes a constant bombardment which I can't ignore, until I finally say, "OK! God, I'll write about it!"

I've been learning about forgiveness and been dealing with the aftermath of an argument with a friend. These sort of things are surreal. You think, can this really be happening? Then before you know or even realize it, months have passed. Who's to blame? At this point, does it really matter? I feel as though I'm mourning once was. It's strange, really. It's almost like I look at the world with different eyes. I 'm not sure how to explain it. Have you ever had an argument with a friend, which turned into months of silence? Or you stopped talking to them completely? At some point, regardless of how I feel, I knew I needed to forgive and really let go. (Though, letting go is never easy.)

What does forgiveness mean to you? I did some research and the best definition I found is: "to forgive is to grant pardon without harboring resentment". To dig a little deeper, I looked up resentment too: "Indignation or ill will felt as a result of a real or imagined grievance". Pretty stout, huh? To forgive without harboring resentment is key. Often times, I think, "OK, I've forgiven so-and-so." But have I really? To forgive them, means I must not fester nor have a 'victims' mentality. I fester far too often. Things in my life become sores, which get infected and then, pus starts to ooze. (Sorry, that might have been a little too graphic for some.) Though, it gives a great mental picture/analogy for what really occurs..... When we allow unforgiveness in our lives, it's like we're giving the Devil free reign for that area! How foolish of us.

I always thought I was pretty good at forgiving others. But alas, it's just one more thing which needs to be sharpened/refined in my life. I'm an emotional girl. I admit it. I carry hurt around with me like Pilgrim carried his burdens. It's amazing how these events can cause a catalyst for the rest of my life. Let me explain. You see, I've been made fun of my entire life... people are so mean! This has caused me to be the way that I am today. Low self-esteem. Self-conscious. Poor self-image. (Dang it! I hate being vulnerable like this!!) Why have I allow these things to hurt me like I have? I can't answer that. All I know is, a few years ago, I was prophesized over. I don't know what you think or believe about this, but all I know is that God showed up that night. I won't go into all the details here, but this one thing is relevant. God told me that I'd, "draw the pain from my past". My first thought was, "But God, I don't know how to draw." (My thought. I said nothing out loud.) To which He replied through His messenger, "I know you don't know how to draw, but people will see Me through you." He went on to say many other things but this conversation has stuck with me all these years. To think that the Creator of the Universe would step out of Heaven and use this Messenger to breath His life into me. Wow.

I've been thinking about and praying what "the pain from my past" is and I think I'm to figure out a way to be healed through art. That may sound crazy. But I know other kids feel like I did (and do) when they are being made fun of. I would love the chance to share Him with others through my own personal experiences. I have no idea what this will look like yet. I still don't know how to draw. But perhaps, I just need to express it in another form.

Ok, I share all of that to give you some background. I need to forgive others. Really "forgive and forget". Not forgive and then pick the burden back up again. Like Joel Osteen said in my first post "Seek Love", "Choosing forgiveness doesn't excuse the other person's behavior. It simply releases the debt they owe you so that God can release the debt you owe Him. Forgiveness opens the door so that you can be free! Choose today to let go of the past and look towards the future. Seek love by choosing forgiveness." Wow, freedom. How often do we truly allow God to fight our battles? "If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8)"

Seasonal Friendships

I was doing some "forgiveness" research on Google and found this poem... wanted to share it with you:


Creator gave me another day to live
Surrounded by sparkling sunlight
I greet the morning with gladness
Knowing He watches over me
Which is why I can forgive those
Who are hot, cold, inconsiderate

Pure blue sky with snow white clouds
Soon another summer will be gone
Just like the love and friendship of some
That come and go like the seasons
Just when it seems you can count on them
They disappear into other relationships

Lush green grass abundant with plants
Flowers in such variety to cause gasps
Roses like red velvet,irises like blue silk
Nature takes my breath away each day
Unlike fickle humanity that disappoints
Vacuous pals, there only when it suits them

Trees stalwart sentinels reaching towards sky
Mountains topped like vanilla ice cream cones
Oceans with waves cresting in white foam
That crash upon sultry sandy beaches
Praise God for a few friends who never waver
Steadfast like Creator, I pity the other kind

E T Waldron-2006

Jonah's temper tantrum

I read this the other day and thought it was interesting, especially considering Jonah had just witnessed a miracle. In that, God saved the city of Nievah. Yet all Jonah could do was complain. Not enough shade... too much shade. How often are we just like that? I'm sad to say, far too often. We pray that Jesus will do something for us and when He does, we complain because of something else. What a loving and compassionate Father we have, who would continue to lavish His love on us, when what we really deserve is death. I also found it interesting that this is the end of the chapter and book. There's no "happy ending" as it were. Rather, it is what it is.


Jonah 4 ~ "I Knew This Was Going to Happen!"

Jonah was furious. He lost his temper. He yelled at God, "God! I knew it—when I was back home, I knew this was going to happen! That's why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!

"So, God, if you won't kill them, kill me! I'm better off dead!"

God said, "What do you have to be angry about?"

But Jonah just left. He went out of the city to the east and sat down in a sulk. He put together a makeshift shelter of leafy branches and sat there in the shade to see what would happen to the city.

God arranged for a broad-leafed tree to spring up. It grew over Jonah to cool him off and get him out of his angry sulk. Jonah was pleased and enjoyed the shade. Life was looking up.

But then God sent a worm. By dawn of the next day, the worm had bored into the shade tree and it withered away. The sun came up and God sent a hot, blistering wind from the east. The sun beat down on Jonah's head and he started to faint. He prayed to die: "I'm better off dead!"

Then God said to Jonah, "What right do you have to get angry about this shade tree?" Jonah said, "Plenty of right. It's made me angry enough to die!"

God said, "What's this? How is it that you can change your feelings from pleasure to anger overnight about a mere shade tree that you did nothing to get? You neither planted nor watered it. It grew up one night and died the next night. So, why can't I likewise change what I feel about Nineveh from anger to pleasure, this big city of more than 120,000 childlike people who don't yet know right from wrong, to say nothing of all the innocent animals?"

Friday, October 5, 2007

When We Miss the Target

Read the first verse of Matthew’s gospel. Jesus knew David’s ways. He witnessed the adultery, winced at the murders, and grieved at the dishonesty. But David’s failures didn’t change Jesus’ relation to David. The initial verse of the first chapter of the first gospel calls Christ “the son of David” (Matt. 1:1 KJV). The title contains no disclaimers, explanations, or asterisks. I’d have added a footnote: “This connection in no way offers tacit approval to David’s behavior.” No such words appear. David blew it. Jesus knew it. But he claimed David anyway.

He did for David what my father did for my brother and me.

Back in our elementary school days, my brother received a BB gun for Christmas. We immediately set up a firing range in the backyard and spent the afternoon shooting at an archery target. Growing bored with the ease of hitting the circle, my brother sent me to fetch a hand mirror. He placed the gun backward on his shoulder, spotted the archery bull’s-eye in the mirror, and did his best Buffalo Bill imitation. But he missed the target. He also missed the storehouse behind the target and the fence behind the storehouse. We had no idea where the BB pellet flew. Our neighbor across the alley knew, however. He soon appeared at the back fence, asking who had shot the BB gun and who was going to pay for his sliding-glass door.

At this point I disowned my brother. I changed my last name and claimed to be a holiday visitor from Canada. My father was more noble than I. Hearing the noise, he appeared in the backyard, freshly rousted from his Christmas Day nap, and talked with the neighbor.

Among his words were these:
“Yes, they are my children.”
“Yes, I’ll pay for their mistakes.”

Christ says the same about you. He knows you miss the target. He knows you can’t pay for your mistakes. But he can. “God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins” (Rom. 3:25 NLT).

Since he was sinless, he could.

Since he loves you, he did. “This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10 NLT).

He became one of us to redeem all of us. “Jesus, who makes people holy, and those who are made holy are from the same family. So he is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters” (Heb. 2:11 NCV).

He wasn’t ashamed of David. He isn’t ashamed of you. He calls you brother; he calls you sister. The question is, do you call him Savior?


Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2006) Max Lucado

Worlds Apart

If I had a soundtrack to my life, this song would definitely be on it.


I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
more deeply than the oceans,
more abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
the battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
and wash the feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
the sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world all apart
take it now, take it now
and serve the ones that I despise
speak the words I can't deny
watch the world I used to love
fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
so wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
so steal my heart and take the pain
take the selfish, take the weak
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
take my world apart

--- By Jars of Clay

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Seek Love

After writing for the past hour and a half, I realized I need to break this post up into several different segments. I find it interesting how I start writing on one topic, then God will twist it into a completely different lesson. Be on the look out for more....


"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7 NIV).

Is there someone in your life who has wronged or offended you? Maybe it was intentional, or maybe they don't even know they've hurt you. No matter what the circumstance, as believers, we are called to forgive. When we forgive, we seek love, and the Bible says that God is love. If we don't forgive, we are turning in the opposite direction--away from God. Choosing forgiveness doesn't excuse the other person's behavior. It simply releases the debt they owe you so that God can release the debt you owe Him. Forgiveness opens the door so that you can be free! I've heard it said that forgiveness is giving up hope for a better past. Choose today to let go of the past and look towards the future. Seek love by choosing forgiveness. And once you do, as the verse says, don't bring up the issue anymore. Move forward and let God be your vindicator. Remember, He promises to take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it around for your good! Seek love today. Seek forgiveness and choose to step into the abundant future God has in store for you! (By Joel Osteen)

Pumpkins

My Aunt sent me this in an email. What a great analogy. I bet you didn't know you were a pumpkin! :-)

Being a good person is like being a pumpkin. God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all of the yucky stuff -- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves you a bright new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Maybe There's a Loving God

I'm trying to work things out
I'm trying to comprehend
Am I the chance result
Of some great accident
I hear a rhythm call me
The echo of a grand design
I spend each night in the backyard
Staring up at the stars in the sky

I have another meeting today
With my new counselor
My mom will cry and say
I don't know what to do with her
She's so unresponsive
I just cannot break through
She spends all night in the backyard
Staring up at the stars and the moon

They have a chart and a graph
Of my despondency
They want to chart a path
For self-recovery
And want to know what I'm thinking
What motivates my mood
To spend all night in the backyard
Staring up at the stars and the moon

Maybe this was made for me
For lying on my back in the middle of a field
Maybe that's a selfish thought
Or maybe there's a loving God

Maybe I was made this way
To think and to reason and to question and to pray
And I have never prayed a lot
But maybe there's a loving God

Maybe this was made for me
For lying on my back in the middle of a field
Maybe that's a selfish thought
Or maybe there's a loving God

Maybe I was made this way
To think and to reason and to question and to pray
And I have never prayed a lot
But maybe there's a loving God

And that may be a foolish thought
Or maybe there is a God
And I have never prayed a lot
But maybe there's a loving God

--- by Sara Groves

A Barbaric Yawp

We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering: these are noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life; but poetry, beauty, romance, love: these are what we stay alive for. --John Keating, Dead Poets Society


All day long I've looked forward to getting lost in blog world, but alas, it's way past my bedtime, laundry is drying and I can't seem to quiet the thoughts rolling around in my head like marbles on a hardwood floor. Though, thankfully, their trip across the stained trees is a silent one. Funny how the ordinary takes away from the extraordinary.

Often, I am invisible, but writing gives me a voice. Sometimes, merely a whisper in the wind, while other times, I feel I must scream at the top of my lungs; a "barbaric yawp", if you will. I feel few people really "get" me. I could be completely mistaken. I spend a lot of time thinking within myself. I suppose that's one of the burdens an artist goes through. (I've only recently started referring to myself in this way. Trust me, this is an accomplishment in and of itself.)

I found something in a journal, which I wanted to share. Silly me, I didn't date it, but near as I can tell, it was written around 2002. See what you think:


Your grace continues to amaze me
When I'm lost beneath the sea of humanity
Consumed with worry
You become my breath of life
Guiding me to places I've never been before
Though You, I am restored
It amazes me how You continue to do great things in my life
I often wonder why You bother
When at every step, I strive for self-sufficientcy
Is it to show me Your grace?
Or the fact that You'll bless me despite my humaness
Or do you just simply love me?
Why is that such a hard concept to grasp?
I suppose it's the human condition to place levels of love on others
My human mind doesn't understand
Why You continue to love me,
Despite all the sin in my life
Despite my shame
But you don't see any of that, do You, Lord?
Since I am covered in Your Son's blood,
All You see is Him...
His perfectly shed blood covers my sinful frame
And washes me clean as freshly fallen snow

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Please Pray!

Calling all Prayer Warriors...

I just got an email from a friend:

Please say a prayer for Skye (her grandson who just turned one). He is having trouble breathing and spent three hours at the doctor, receiving three breathing treatments. Then the DR sent him home with a breathing machine. Pray the shots they gave him will kick in soon an he'll breath easier.

Update (9/28) Skye is in Children's Hospital. They had to take him in the middle of the night ane he was admitted this morning.

Update (10/4) Skye went home from the hospital Sunday afternoon. He is much better, but still a little congested and having two breathing treatments a day at home. -- THANKS EVERYONE FOR PRAYING. I know you didn't know this family, but your prayers were lavished on this family.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"You feel as if everyone should write a book before they die, but their book is already written. The pages live within those they've touched." -William Shue

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Clothes Line of Cyberspace

I gotta tell you. This whole blog thing is not only pretty intimidating but frankly, kinda scarey as well. My thoughts, feelings and fears hang on the proverbial clothes line of cyberspace. It would be nieve of me to think that no one reads my words. It's a catch 22, really. Yes, I want others to read my blog, but at the same time, what if something I say sparks a negative remark? As a writer, you'd think I'd be used to it. But I suppose, I've never written for such a large unbiased audience before. Perhaps I shouldn't care. Perhaps I shouldn't be so analytical. But then again, that's like asking me not to question. I don't know how not to be me. Though, in all honestly, I'm still figuring out what makes me, me.

My whole life has been a struggle. A struggle to prove myself at each and every turn. I'm constantly underestimated, overlooked, and underappreciated... I often feel invisible. But these factors, have led me to be the way I am today.

I rarely take anything at face value
I question everything
I'm fiercely competive, but also utterly passionate
I'm an artist
Writer
Photographer
Poet
Tomboy
Cook
Organizer
Creative
Sister
Daughter
Aunt
One who finds the silver lining in everything
Outspoken, yet shy
One who loves deeply, and whole-heartedly
Pensive, reflective, introspective and imaginative
One who doesn't follow the crowd
A child of God
Half Spanish, half German
One who smiles a lot
Constantly thinking
One who wonders what others think
Generous
Humble
Meek
In need of refinement
A sinner
Forgiven
Thirsty (for Him)
Searching
Adventurous
Funny
Not afraid of getting dirty
One with many 'hats'
One who also wears many 'masks'
Emotional
One who doesn't often express my emotions
Free
One who is tactile
Deeply committed to friends
The Bride of Christ
Was once hidden and unknown
Optimistic
Kind hearted
A child of the 80's
One with learning disabilities
One who spells phonetically
One who shies away from conflict
One who often feels misunderstood
One with a child-like curiosity
Extremely inquisitive
Tall
Right handed
In need of Him
Very observant
Apart of the 268 Generation (Isaiah 26:8)
Easily distracted
A worrier
A list maker

Monday, September 24, 2007

Roulette Wheel

I'm so tired I can hardly function, which is why I'm going to bed very shortly. Shocker, actually getting 8 hours of sleep. I can't wait. But, I haven't blogged in a few days and while tons of things have happened, I don't know how to pick just one to talk about. You see, my brain is pretty much like a roulette wheel. Always spinning. A ball, my thoughts, always bouncing around from one place to the other. Which makes it very difficult to concentrate. Also, the best way I can describe A.D.D to someone.

I'm not I've ever explained what the title of my blog means. If I did and I'm a complete goober, then just stop reading HERE.....

Ok, good, you're still reading. I thought long and hard about an appropriate name and finally came up with "Strenght in the Struggle" based off a song by Lindsay Haun, called "Broken". Read through the song and you'll see why it fit so perfectly.


Wake up to a sunny day
not a cloud up in the sky,
then it starts to rain
My defenses hit the ground,
And they shatter all around.
So open and exposed.

I found strength in the struggle.
Face to face with my trouble.

When you're broken in a million little pieces and you're tryin but you can't hold on anymore. Every tear falls down for a reason. Don't you stop believing in your self. When you're broken.

Little girl don't be so blue,
I know what you're goin through.
Don't let it beat you up.
Heaven knows that getting scars
only makes you who you are...
only makes you who you are.

No matter how much your heart is aching,
there is beauty in the breaking....yeeeaaaahhh

When you're broken in a million little pieces and you're tryin but you cant hold on anymore. Every tear falls down for a reason. Don't you stop believing in yourself. When you're broken.

Better days are gonna find you once again every piece will find its place!

When you're broken in a million little pieces and you're tryin but you cant hold on anymore. Every tear falls down for a reason. don't you stop believin in your self When you're broken.

Friday, September 21, 2007

VOTD: Scales

August 28, 2006
VOTD: Scales

“So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.” Acts 9:17-19 (English Standard Version)


As always, a song inspired these thoughts. My good friend introduced me to Shawn McDonald, which – if you haven’t heard of him – you’re missing out! He has a unique way of phrasing that which he’s expressing. I relate to that. I often think in terms of analogies. In his song, “I Am Nothing”, this is what stood out to me:

“…Please mend these broken wings
And take the scales from my eyes
Without You I am nothing
I will not survive…”

I began to research scales. For fish, they are a means of protection. For humans, most often it is used to describe the fact that something has hindered us from seeing the Truth, usually those whom aren’t Christ followers.

You see, earlier in chapter nine, Saul had been blinded by his hatred of Christians; killing them at every chance he had. After reading this, it’s my opinion that with God’s funny sense of humor, He decided to literally blind Saul when He met him on the road to Damascus. Or perhaps, when He put the scales on Saul’s eyes, it was to protect him, much like the fish. Saul, knowing the Lord did this to him, had no choice but to follow and depend on Him.

How much are we like Saul sometimes? We are blindly running around, thinking we know what’s best for our lives, when really we have no clue whatsoever. (Perhaps I’m the only one to do this, I don’t know.) Just a thought: maybe sometimes we need scales on our eyes, to protect us from ourselves.

We are nothing without Him.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where have all the gentlemen gone?

"I'm Just a Girl,
Standing in front of a Boy,
Asking Him to love Her."
-- Nothing Hill


Isn't this how we all feel at one point or another? The need to be accepted and loved is overwhelming... nearly, breath taking. In some ways, I think women's lib set us up for a fall. Sure we've gained a lot of privileges, but at what cost? Is it really necessary for women to be on the same level as men? No, I don't think so. Which, I find to be quite humorous that I'm even talking about this. Not only is this not even what I wanted to write about, but also, I don't think I knew I had these feelings until I read them on the screen.

Sometimes my fingers do my thinking for me. If I analyze my words, I tend to over think a theme. But to freely allow my fingers to glide over the keys... that's when my true feelings come out. (Try it some time. Open up Word and just start typing. Don't edit yourself. Write about whatever is going on with you. You'll be surprised, not only by what comes out of you, but also how you'll feel after. Trust me.)

I get so frustrated with men and how they treat women. Has anyone else noticed this? Perhaps it was the way they were raised? Perhaps they don't know any better? Or perhaps, society has taught them to have different values than what was once considered "gentlemanly". Recently, I've noticed a shift in how I'm treated as a lady. For instance, I rarely see men open doors for a woman. Heck, even continue to hold it open as they walk through in front of us. (I honestly don't mean this to be "guy bashing" type of post, I have a point, I promise.)

The only problem with this? We're partly to blame. We wanted to be independent. We wanted to stand on our own two feet. Reminds me of that song from, "Annie Get Your Gun": Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything, Better than you.

I wasn't alive for the shift in women's lib, but I would assume the men resisted the change as much as the women thought they wanted it. Time and time again, I'm sure women pushed forward for change (we're quite persistent after all). But it's my guess that if those women back then, saw how things are now, they might have thought differently.

I don't mean to say that all women are good for is "birthing babies", but I do think we should allow a man to lead every once and a while. Allow a man to be a man. If you're married, your husband's head of the household. If you're dating or single, God and your Dad are your authority.

OK, I think I'm digressing from my original point. I brought up all this because I'm upset with one of my best friends. We've been friends forever. We used to write LONG letters to each other and talk all the time. But within the last year or so, we rarely talk. The occasional phone call, a letter every few months, but I miss the connection we used to have. While I realize some friendships are seasonal, I didn't think ours was. I thought I was different. So, I can't help but get my feelings hurt when I'm treated this way. Oh, I know they don't intentionally set out to hurt me, it's just a byproduct. But it doesn't mean it hurts me any less.

I wrote a letter, basically explaining how this was making me feel. I also said, I don't know how you can maintain a friendship with only occasional communication. In that moment, Jesus spoke to me. "My dear, precious Child. This is exactly the way I feel about you and Me. I long to spend time with you too. I can't wait for the chance to sit with you and hear about your day. But you've been so busy lately. I wait and wait... why haven't you been spending any time with Me? Do you not love me?" In that moment, with tears in my eyes (as they are now), I realized my mistake. I took for granted God's "omnipresence". Just because He's always around, doesn't mean I'm spending quality time with Him.

I need self-discipline to make time for Him, as He deserves. I do so enjoy it too. I'm just a goober and make excuses. Why? Several years ago, I was inspired to write VOTDs (verses of the day). I can't tell you how much I grew during that time!! It was amazing. Why oh why did I stop? I can't give you an answer. What I can say is that God's given me this really unique way at looking at the world. He teaches me through seemingly random events in my life as well as through the lyrics in songs. (I listen to my iPod all day at work.) I'm able to translate these things into life lessons, which in turn I share with others. I never know who might read them. All I know is that I'm obeying when I write about Him.

I pray in the coming weeks and months, you'll see nothing but God through this blog. I pray you'll be encouraged from this girl's ramblings. And I pray, together, we'll grow closer to Him.