Wednesday, January 30, 2008
If I Had A Dog
By: Meredith Quintana
If I had a dog,
I’d call his name Fred;
He’d wag his tail,
And I’d pat his head.
I’d take him for walks,
Down the street we’d go.
He’d want to run fast,
But I’d tell him, "No!"
I’d feed and bathe him,
He’d sleep in my bed.
I’d make sure his tummy,
Was always well fed.
All this is a dream;
It’s really not so.
All I can hear,
Is my dad saying, "No!"
Or lose your soul and gain the whole world?
You know how you'll see or read something, but not really process it until the time is right? Well, today, while reading on my new blog friend Emily's page, I watched the first video. Then found the second on You Tube a bit ago. Brian's testimony brought tears to my eyes; for reasons I'm unaware. I guess... to remember the joy of my salvation.
I tend to get tunnel vision; only seeing what's directly in front of me and getting too busy, overwhelmed or whatever other excuse, to remember to see the bigger picture. It's not about me. It's about Him. Telling others about my Father's love, so they too will spend eternity in Heaven. If only I was able to maintain that Heavenly Perspective my pastor always talks about. If only the land of Good Intentions were enough.
I know God created me for a specific purpose. I have no doubt about that. While I sometimes wonder if my choices have messed things up along the way or if I missed that one opportunity. But I'm beginning to think that's not the way it works. Sure, there might be one thing. Take Billy Graham. All the world over, Christians or not, know who Mr. Graham is. His purpose, to spread the Gospel unto the ends of the Earth.
What's my purpose? What's your purpose? I believe he's charged some of you moms with the direct initiative of raising strong Christian men and women. Like:
- Emily shared with me (I don't think she'd mind me sharing this) how she takes her son to school every day. Each morning, they watch the sun rise and she tells him how Jesus loved him so much, that He painted His heart across the sky. This conversation is a direct result of her son becoming a Christian.
- Stacey listens to her astute children and then learns more from the Bible, to be prepared for their questions. But she's also training to be a teacher. A teacher! Just think of the kind of enfluence she's going to have! To this day, I remember every one of my teacher's names and what they did to shape me into who I am today.
- Jennifer has three children of her own, but has always had a desire to adopt. She and her husband are starting the process to bring a little one home. Just imagine the purpose this decision fulfills in the lives of every person this child comes in contact with. They weren't just adopted. They were chosen. (Just like how God adopted us into His family -- He CHOSE us.)
God did all of this. Nothing is an accident. NO ONE is an accident.
So, back to Brian Welch. He used to be in the band Korn, but in 2005 was radically saved. Watch these videos and check out his amazing story. His purpose.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
During those times of, "God, what in the world are you up to? Why am I here at this job? I feel like my talents are being squandered here. Please show me the way." There's a still, quiet voice which says, "Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. Me. Child, you work for Me, not man." I silently whine in my head, which never helps by the way, but I think He understands my need to vent. Am I any closer to figuring out what's going on? No, but at least my focus has been, well focused back on Him. If only a split second, it was enough to plant a seed. The next time He might throw me a little fertilizer or some water; you never know with God. But I know one thing for sure, NO MATTER what I do, My Father NEVER stops loving me. What a comfort, huh?
Despite my confused life state right now, I'm so thankful for my group of blog friends. What a difference you've made in my life!! I just wanted to stop and take a moment to thank you for all your encouragement! You are a blessing to me!
When I first began this blog, I wasn't sure what would become of it. Was I doing it merely to obey God? Was I doing it to bring forth the overflowing wellspring deep within me? Was I doing it so that others would read what I had to say? Yes. To all three. But more importantly, I came to a point where I was like, God you ask me to do crazy things all the time. I'm just going to trust you and see what happens. I had to clean out the self-doubt so I could get on the other side and reap the benefits. Now, months later, all you wonderful women comment about things going on in my life. You share with me your thoughts and feelings and we, despite our often vast different life stages, connect on this amazing level which only our Father could set up. Pretty amazing if you ask me.
When thinking about this fact earlier, I started to sing the song, "Thank You". In my own way, thanking all you ladies out there. But in that same moment, thanking Him for allowing me this opportunity to use one of my passions for His glory. I'm a vessel, Lord. Fill me up!!
You never know how the things you go through, will be filtered into writing, to share with someone else. If there ever were a video production team following me around on a daily basis, let me tell you, you'd have some interesting TV. Stuff happens to me all the time. More often than not, I write about those things. Which will create this ripple affect within comments. I think it's funny. As women, we often think we are the only ones going through such and such. But if we'll just stop and take a look around us, I'm sure many others are dealing with the same things. Satan likes to trick us. Don't listen. Your words are powerful... please continue to share your life story with us. I look forward to reading about your life!!
Monday, January 28, 2008
What a stinker! I love to watch him reason and think about how to do things; quite strong too. Today he learned cause and effect. Once he exercised his 14-month old independence, I put him in the box. He seemed to think that was pretty funny.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma the daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, b ut after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot , it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
May we all be COFFEE!!!!!!!!
"It's never too late to be what you might have been." -George Eliot
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Wow. That can be applied to life as well. Imagine the possibility for a moment. Did you know that flowering trees bloom best, only after they've been pruned? (I'm tired and honestly can't think of any more examples, but I know you know what I mean.) I think the same is true in our lives. While God doesn't enjoy making us suffer, in some cases it really is in our best interest.
Oh, I fight change. I struggle with storms in my life. I vainly believe I'm enough. Enough to get me through. And when I flop on my face... again... and my loving Father picks me up, again. Forever and always. I know as much as He loves me, I'm still headed for rough waters. Discipline. Refinement. It's never easy. But when I look back over my life, the times where I grew the most were the result of a war being raged within my soul. I don't say that to sound dramatic or to create some sort of crescendo within my writing. But rather, it's a depiction to illustrate my point.
Every single day, I know Satan wants me. I know He wants to drag me into the abyss but because I'm a Child of God, He has no power over me! The only power He has --- is the power I give Him! Think about that for a minute.
I once heard, you live your life in obedience to Someone, it's up to you whom you'll serve. I'm stepping on my toes here. It's hard to justify the decisions I've made when it's really so black and white. Oh, I know I'm washed in the blood of the Lamb. I don't deny that. I just, wish, I had made some better choices along the way. The encouraging thing to know, the Father has a soft spot for screw ups. I mean, look at Jonah. There are many examples where He used people like me to fulfill His mission. So, there's hope. Always hope.
I've traveled down a small rabbit trail, back to my point. Tearing down to build back up. Change. God's up to something, I'm just not sure what yet. There's a crackle in the air as though something is about to pop. Maybe it's the walls I've hidden behind for years. Maybe it's that I'm changing, from the inside out. I can tell I'm different than I was, even a month ago. Sure, I still struggle with depression, but I woke up one morning and decided I wasn't going to let it control me any longer. I wanted to change... for myself and no one else. I wanted to stop making excuses and push through *whatever* it is that got me where I am today. Boy, I'd love to have Bob or Jillian as my trainer. They'd kill me. But boy would I secretly love it!
I'm really excited about something I recently decided to do. You see, I've been working out at Curves for more than a year now. While I love it there, the people are great and I know they really care about me. I think I need more. I think I need to get out of somewhere that I feel comfortable and push myself to do more... to be more... Until I get over that hump, I honestly don't believe I can reach my goals.
Ooh, it's scarey. I don't like doing things alone; though you'd think I'd be used to it by now. (Oh man, Kristin, I know if you were here, you would have just hit me for saying that. Hey, at least I caught it, right?) A new place where I don't know anyone and they don't know me. Co-ed. Almost a little overwhelming. But, I'm about 95% sure that I'm going to cancel my membership at Curves and join the YMCA. There are many different reasons why I've made this (almost) decision, but I'm still sad to leave my friends behind at Curves. I just think, at this stage in my life, it's the right thing to do. Curves has been my building blocks. They've taught me the fundmentals, now I'm ready to take my training wheels off and see how riding on my own feels. (Although, I'd love to work out with a buddy. Anyone interested??)
To come full circle... change, albeit scarey at times, is what makes the world go round.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I believe He gave us dreams so we'd get beyond ourselves. It's far too easy to merely exist, going through the motion of life. But oh to live, to live with a Heavenly perspective, now that truly gives you wings!
You who read my blog routinely must think I'm bipolar. One day, I'm all depressed and down in the dumps, then the next, I'm talking about how great life can be! I know, I'm crazy. I've come to realize I've reached a new level of nuerotic. haha I'm telling you, I'm an onion. I've got many layers to my personality. I find it humorous that it's as though I discover new things about myself every day.
Here's a for instance: I resolved to quit complaining about how I look (or don't look) and DO something about it. This step changed me a little. I know that must sound crazy. But it's like many things in my life, I had really good intentions, but never fully followed through. Boy, once I get in my mind to do something though, there's no stopping me!! (Some would call that stubborn, and quite honestly, it's both a good quality as well as a detriment.) However, I made a commitment with myself to work out at least three times a week, as well and write as much as I can. Both are extremely beneficial to me. Though, I didn't realize how much until tonight.
I'm really quite proud of myself. I worked out every day this week. And not just the recommended time, but usually around 45 minutes. When I walked out... I felt strong. Empowered. Capable. A sense of clarity, if you will. Yeah endorphines!! But today, with the threat of severe weather, Curves closed early. I was really dissapointed. A week ago, I would have been like, 'Sweet, now I can go home and get in PJs.' My how times have changed.
My dream to become something I'm not, has inspired me to continue to follow through on that which I began a year ago. I've noticed subtle changes; which is awesome. I wonder if others see it too? I tend to turn inward on myself and "fester", not necessarily in a bad way, but I have to internalize things for me to process them. Anyway, I've traveled down a rabbit trail. Let me get back on the path.
Dreams. God's given me some lofty dreams which can only be accomplished in His strength not my own. Such as:
- Get married to my best friend, in the midst of a field of wild flowers… barefooted.
- Write a book… and get it published
- Make a difference, in some sort of fashion
- Travel the world with close friends
- Be in two places at once
- Adopt older, "unwanted" children
- Take award winning photography
- Take the road less traveled
- Climb a mountain and repel from it as well
- Take creative classes, such as pottery, drawing and painting
- Ride in a jet
- Take a ride in a hot air balloon
"I want to set the world on fire!" Father, please give my dreams wings!!
Caedmon's Call's lyrically compelling song about redemption, "Ten Thousand Angels" will receive a rare and lengthy place on an upcoming episode of the ABC hit drama series "Grey's Anatomy" on January 10th. Featuring vocals by Derek Webb, the song will play for five consecutive minutes during an emotionally charged final scene.
"Ten Thousand Angels" is a bonus track only available on the limited edition of the group's current release, Overdressed, which was in the top 5 of iTunes Editorial list of 2007 for overall "Best Christian Albums".
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
I can go anywhere that He wants me to go
I am a promise
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
"28Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. 29He's actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won't quit until it's all cleansed. God himself is Fire!" Hebrews 12:28-30 [The Message]
You’re probably beginning to see how music inspires and affect my votds, well, I’ve been listening to Toby Mac’s new CD, Welcome to Diverse City, as though it’s the only CD I own. The second track, "Catchafire (Whoopsi-Daisy)" really describes my current season of growth. We’ve all heard the analogy of Christ being compared to a consuming fire. Though, I like how this verse states that He’s not only that, but He’s also purifying us to be more like Him as well, and won’t quit until we’re cleansed; which leads me to the percolating coffee analogy.
You see, as I was leaving for work yesterday morning, I heard the coffee percolating in the kitchen and thought to myself what an interesting votd it might make but as much as I tried, I couldn’t make it work. Today, as I was listening to this song on the way to work, it was like He quietly whispered, "OK, now’s the time."
I looked up the definition of percolating: "a method of extraction or purification by means of filtration". This is my interpretation of this definition in a practical application: If our life is a Mr. Coffee machine, we’re the coffee beans and God’s the filter, then the "purifying" or percolation process can begin. Ultimately, God wants us to be more like Him, but first we have to go through trials and testing of our faith before any changes in our character can be attained.
First, God must ground the beans (us) up. This usually takes the form of a "storm". During this time, God begins to basically break us as a horse trainer would a wild horse. Though, unlike the horse, we unfortunately have to be broken over and over.
Second, when we get to a pliable/broken state (the ground beans), it’s been my experience that He then places us in a situation where we have to completely and solely depend on Him; which of course, brings us closer to Him.
Third, once we’re broken and depending on Him, then the real percolating begins. As we’re being filtered from what the world wants us to be and into something that looks more like Christ -- the finished result coffee.
Finally, you know how great roasted coffee beans smell, well think about how great made coffee smells (go to the break room or kitchen if you need to). Now remember that while we’re attracted to that smell, I think once we fall so in love with Christ, we too give off His sweet fragrance, so that others "smell" Him radiating from us.
I don’t know if you get my analogy, but it makes sense in my head. I hope He gives you divine understanding, so that you may grasp the concept of percolation. It’s really quite interesting, and for me, resolves some of the "why are you doing this to me, God?"
Monday, January 7, 2008
Faceless and so busted up inside
You've been searching you've been crying out
Will you be destroyed by all your doubt?
(Who will you run to)
Wrong or right
(There is no reason)
For you to hide
Only love can change your life
God is calling out to you again
Let Him pull you, let Him take you in
From the fear that swallows up for your life
Will you stay the same or will you fight?
(Who will you run to)
Wrong or right
(There is no reason)
For you to hide
Only love can change your life
Only love can change your life
Every day you hold on to your lonely broken heart
(It's tearing you apart)
God is calling out to you just let healing start
(Will you open up and let Him in)
(Who will you run to)
Wrong or right
(There is no reason)
For you to hide
Only love can change your life
(You Decide by Fireflight)
I heard this while driving to Atlanta this weekend to visit and *old* friend, whom I haven't seen in entirely too long! (Hey Erin, Jeff and Love Bug!) iTunes has it in Alternative genre, but when I really listened to the words, I realized it could easily be a Christian song as well! I'm in some sort of weird transition right now. I've felt it coming, but didn't know what to do for myself to make me feel better. I don't even necessarily know how to translate what's going on in my head. I feel very . . . .
Man, this song really describes how I'm feeling. It's funny. I was talking to Erin about this yesterday. How often God will speak to me through music. It's my springboard for knowledge. I hear something, mull it over for a while and finally decide to just write about it. What's funny is that I often feel as though I'm screaming but people look right through me as I don't exist. It's one of the many on-going battles I have. . . and unfortunately, Satan jumps on it. But, that's another post for another day.
Remember my resolution not to resolve? Well, I'm reading this amazing book called, "Coming Up For Air" by Margaret Becker. (She's also the author of one of my top ten favorite books, "With New Eyes"). It's basically about how she took two months and refocused her life back on God. (That's the extremely simplistic explanation, but you should seriously check it out!) In a chapter I read yesterday, she said 'instead of making resolutions about things I'm going to do, I'm going to make a list of things I'm not going to do'. Funny how a different perspective completely changes the way one thinks? What am I not going to do (or try really hard to not do) in 2008? (That too will have to be another post. I keep getting sidetracked from my original intention.)
I believe there's a battle waging in the Heavens for me. Yes, I'm saved, but am I living victoriously? Yes, I'm one of His children, but do I run to Him when things go wrong? This past year has been, well, just interesting. As my friend so boldly told me that night at Starbucks, I'm heading down a path which might take me years to recover. It's not that I'm doing anything bad, necessarily. But I'm not really living! That in and of itself is a great tragedy.
The song says, "Will you stay the same or will you fight?" That about sums up this post. Am I going to keep repeating the monotony of my life or am I going to get out there and start making changes? I know there are caverns yet explored in my being. God made me SO creative and often, I don't have a clue how to express what's buried deep within me. I don't want to stay the same. I want to one day stand on a stage and proclaim how God healed me. Share about how I over came depression and didn't allow Satan to use that in my life. Oh how I long for that day. What a glorious day that will be!
Friday, January 4, 2008
When it comes to New Years Resolutions, I decided a few years ago to "Resolve not to resolve". I know that sounds crazy, but my emotional well-being often gets the better of me. So, to save me from being hard on myself, I just decided this was the way to go. I mean, come on, how many of us actually keep our resolutions for the new year? I'd say, maybe 99.9% of the population. So, yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
God's funny, you know? I think He sometimes tries to speak to me in a still, soft voice, but I'm too busy being busy that I don't hear Him. So, He has to use other methods. I learn through repetition. Always have. Always will. I don't know why it surprises me when He wants me to learn a concept, that He'll continually bring a theme up, in several different avenues. Today wasn't any different. This below quote was sent to me twice today... which I believe to be no accident. I figured if I'm to learn this lesson, then you all should too!
A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her. Unknown Author
Wow. That's pretty profound if you think about it. I think.... as much as I don't want to admit this, I want to *make a dertermination* to impliment this in my life. (Somehow that sounds better, than a resolution. Semantics, I know.)
I'm not real happy about where my life is right now. This past year flew by and honestly, I don't have much to show for it. My Walk with Him is definitely misplaced. I'm all out of sorts. The person I thought I'd be, isn't who I am now. If you'd asked me, say 10 years ago, where I'd be now, it would be different than the reality of now. While I realize everything is in God's timing and His way are not our ways.... I still long for what I do not have. However, I don't want something just to have it. I don't want to be married if I'm going to be miserable. I don't want another job, if it's not where I'm supposed to be. Contentment is the name of the game. (Not that this is a game, mind you, but I think you know what I mean.)
When I was prophisized over a few years ago, I was told, amoung other things, that I needed to be chasing after God. And in my pursuit of Him, everything else would fall into place. It's sadly funny how I can't seem to get this concept down. Everything tends to be an uphill battle with me. You'd think I'd learn. My life tends to be like a roller coaster, up and down, up and down.... and sometimes, flat-lined. I know this isn't how He'd want me to live.
Good grief. I'm sure I'm making this more complicated than it has to be.....
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
We didn't really do anything (but chase Grant around the house), didn't really go anywhere, just spent quality time together. I loved it. Even if I was on Aunt duty a lot and only got to watch one movie completely through. That's OK too. Grant's adorable. I'll have to upload some pictures of him later.
Highlights of the past week:
- My best friend came into town and we did fun goofy stuff together as well as had a really serious conversation in Starbucks. She was sharpening my iron, but I didn't like it. Who does? She gave me a lot to think about though. I'm sure that'll come up later in different posts.
- Saw "August Rush". GREAT movie. Clean. Amazing music! (I downloaded the soundtrack off iTunes.) Take your kids. You won't be dissapointed.
- Singing Grant to sleep. I love when he snuggles into me and lays his head onto my chest.
- Laughing hysterically with my sister at a time when we were supposed to be quiet, which of course made it funnier. She kept snorting, which would set me off again. Good times.
- Reading a great book until time stood still, and I looked at the clock and it read 3AM.
- Watching Grant crack up when I 'rattled' a plastic bag. Kids are the best, aren't they? All these presents and he's intertained by such simple things. Let that be a lesson to us. Later in the week, a yard stick was his toy. (Sidenote: why is a yard stick called a yard stick, when it's actually more than a yard?)
- Family dinner at my parents. Everyone around the table, talking about everying. Great times.
- Watching people open gifts. I love that part. Seeing the joy on their faces.
- My favorite gift, a posturpedic pillow. The best thing since flannel sheets.
- An adventure with my Aunt, a girls day out. We ate lunch at Zaxby's and went to see "P.S. I Love You". Another great movie. Clever. Touching. I teared up a few times and also cracked up too. (I have this inate ability to predict when something funny is about to happen on screen. So, if you're ever in a movie and hear laughter before the audience laughter, that's probably me.)
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It was completely different than what I thought it would be!!! But still amazing at times. Definitely worth the experience, but something I won't attend again. (Funny story, at the end, after new years celebration, he host guy said they had a special treat for us. Apparently the lead singer of Styx is from Alabama and agreed to come out and give a mini concert. I know this shows not only my age, but my lack of music knowledge past say 1995, but my friends and I had NO IDEA who this person was!! But boy, the crowd loved him!!) We actually ended up leaving early, as the concert was still going strong at 12:30 and we were sleepy.
"Life is an open invitation to adventure for all. It’s not only for the brave, but for the timid-hearted as well… The great adventure of life in Christ is possible not because the world is "safe" but because our Father God is watching over us. We will never take a trip without him. We will never be left behind. We will never put our head down on a pillow at night and be alone. Our God is with us where he belongs… Because of the security of His perfect love, we can be honest about where we are and dream of where we would like to go. Our fears and hopes are in our Father’s safekeeping." - Sheila Walsh