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!

(10/27/07) This is my mom and Grant...

"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,


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 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.


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:

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)


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