Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Scrapey-Thingy

You know what I mean - that lovely tool the dentist uses to get the gunk out from between your teeth and gums. The scrapey-thingy that makes a sound like fingernails going across a chalkboard, only you can't escape from it and make it stop because you are laying in a chair with a person hovering over you with a sharp scrapey-thingy.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, here's the deal. My dh preached a sermon two weeks ago and used this marvelous dentist's tool as an illustration. We can brush our teeth as often as humanly possible and do all we know to do to keep our teeth clean. Still, it is not good enough. We need a professional to get down in the nooks and crannies to get the bad stuff out so that our cosmetic/asthetic efforts are not in vain. No matter how hard we try, or how "good" we are, there is still junk in there. It's the same way with God.

We know what we need to do - pray, confess and repent of our sin, love others, meditate on His Word, etc. We might even do all of those things (sometimes all on the same day!) but there is still SOMETHING that we ignore or harbor or hide in our hearts, thinking that it's ok and that what we are doing is enough. Then God steps in and says that He is ready to take us a step further in our walk. No doubt, said growth will involve some pain. How much, I believe depends largely on us and how willing we are to be obedient. The more we fight Him and stamp our feet, the longer the journey.

Back to the scrapey-thingy. When God takes the scrapey-thingy to our lives, it is sometimes (often) painful. Yet, it is so very necessary. The gunk He is trying to scrape and rinse away from our lives will only hurt us in the end. The temporary discomfort of the cleaning process will generate great joy and eternal reward, if we are willing to let Him work.

Right now, God is using the scrapey-thingy on me. While I'm not particularly enjoying what I am going through, I am often reminded that it is for my own good. Once it's done and the nasty stuff is gone, I will have grown to be a bit more like Jesus- and that's a very good thing. Pray that I have a willing and obedient spirit - I don't want to be under the scrapey-thingy any longer than necessary!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spring Has Sprung......FINALLY!

It is another glorious day here, 10:45 a.m. and already nearly 60 degrees. I love sunshine and warm weather (but not too hot!)

We are busy with spring clean-up around here. The backyard is full of piles of dried grapevines and metal posts derived from the cutting down of a portion of the grape arbor in the backyard. This arbor was HUGE, and was well established. The fruit it bore was simply too much for one family to use, especially when most of the family doesn't really like the grapes that come from it. Most of the harvest over the last few years has gone to waste; the ground underneath the arbor is well nourished!

So, dh is out there right now, cutting the metal posts into smaller, more manageable pieces. We are hoping to haul them to the steel scrap place later this week and cash them in. The vines and miscellaneous other trimmings will be put through a friend's chipper so that we have our own mulch. That will save us a lot of money in mulch for the rest of the yard.

I have been busy doing some spring cleaning. I really need to wash my windows, but I'm not THAT motivated yet. I'll get to them eventually, hopefully before summer comes, but you never know.

The kids are back to school this week. They are in the home stretch now. Only ten more weeks until summer vacation. Then, I will have a high schooler, a middle schooler, and a kindergartener! It doesn't get much more spread out that than. The next school year will be a very busy one, I'm sure.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Just what I needed....

Yesterday was very difficult for me. I have been struggling with some situations in ministry that just have me so confused. I don't understand why they are happening or even how they started. Yet the reality of it is that there are some difficult things going on and they must be overcome somehow.

I was really feeling like I just want to put my head in the sand or put myself to bed and stay there...I just want to be left alone.

In my travels, I checked in on the LPM blog (Beth Moore - Living Proof Ministries) and lo and behold, a commission from Beth spoken over the women attending the Columbia event last weekend.

I almost cried when I read it because it is just exactly what I needed to hear. So thank you, Beth, for sharing this with all of us in cyberspace. It was so timely and so encouraging to me... Here is the commissioning:

Count it a joy, Dear One
When life gets hard.
God is doing something huge!
He is also proving
That you are NOT a fake.
Be brave, Mighty Warrior.
Your God is with you!
When waves are crashing,
Stand to your feet,
Throw your head back
And feel the wind of the Spirit!
God is painting a masterpiece
With multi-colored trials.
Go forth and display
Divine special effects
To the great glory of God.

This excerpt is used with permission...for the full entry see www.livingproofministries.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What I'm Missing Right Now

I used to be a voracious coffee drinker until the dreadful day when I realized that caffeine just had to go. The palpitations I felt on a daily basis were the most convincing clue. I don't particularly enjoy the feeling of my heart racing. Funny, because I never noticed it before in the 20+ years I've been drinking coffee in all its various forms, including espresso.

Still determined to feed my coffee addition, I switched to mochas. You know, half cocoa, half coffee. I figured some octane in my cup was better than none. Got addicted to mochas, sometimes three or more cups a day. When the caffeine in that got to be too much, I switched to decaf mochas. Not bad, but no octane.

Then came the Daniel Bible study (by Beth Moore). She challenged us to give up something for a 12-week period of time, just like Daniel did. I thought long and hard about to give up. I wanted to give up something easy like aerobic exercise, but I easily give that up on my own. No great sacrifice there. I prayed. I decided to give up dessert in its various forms. You know, cake, cookies, ice cream, pie, pudding. I drew the line at chocolate, though.

Funny thing with me and chocolate. I love chocolate, but as much as I love it, I don't typically overdo it. I can make a candy bar last a week or more. If it's a good quality chocolate, a little piece is quite satisfying. I digress.

Alas, just giving up desserts was not enough. Deep down I knew that what I really need to give up, at aleast for a short time, was my mocha addiction. Everyone in my circle of friends knew my love for coffee. I always said coffee was my last vice and no way would I give it up.

I gave it up.

The first two weeks were hard, but not impossible. Not willing to admit defeat, I switched to straight decaf. Hazelnut decaf to be exact. Of course, by this time coffee just didn't taste that great to me anymore. Must have been the chocolate that clouded my judgment.

Fast forward about five months and I find myself in a situation where I feel that God is asking me to do another "fast." Food is often my crutch and I want to be free from that.

This time, after only a little arguing with God over what to fast from, I knew my answer. Chocolate - all things chocolate, including hot cocoa, mochas, Hershey kisses, chocolate chips, chocolate chip anything, M & Ms. You get the idea. Eliminating chocolate also effectively eliminates most desserts, which I have also decided to fast from.

This fast is for 30 days, until May 1. My husband is joining me with his own fast - he is fasting from anything spicy (hot). You see, he has this addiction to all things fire. If it has capsacin, he'll eat it in vast quanitities. The hotter the better. Chipotle? On everything. Habanero? You bet. On everything. He is a fire eater.

So, here we both are at the halfway mark of our fast. I can say that I haven't missed dessert all that much, or even chocolate for that matter. Very surprising. A few short months ago, I thought I woul dabsolutely die without them. Now, I am realizing it's not that vital to my existence that I have dessert or chocolate. Not to say that I never will. Never say never. But, I am praying that its hold over me has somehow been broken or at the very least loosened.

What I am missing is my Starbucks Hot Chocolate. I know, I know...the true chocolate lover would make hot chocolate from scratch with high quality Dutch process cocoa. But, when you are imbibing at work, such endeavors are quite impossible. Most powdered cocoa mixes are nasty. I agree. This one, however, is quite good. Very good, in fact, with hints of vanilla and a rich dark chocolate flavor. Quite good. I can probably do without dessert and M & Ms for a long period of time. I am, however, looking forward to being able to enjoy this drink again soon.

Coffee just isn't doing it for me. Who knew?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Great Day

I love days like today. Days where I can get a lot accomplished. I love the feeling I get when things get done, especially those things that I hate doing and have avoided because of said intense dislike.

It is now 1 p.m. EST, and I have just sat down for the first time since 7:43 a.m. I have washed my kitchen floor on my hands and knees, with a sponge, one tile at a time. My floor was nasty. Those that know me IRL know that my kitchen is pretty big. It took almost an hour. It's done.

I have cooked three meals - chicken dumpling stoup (Rachael Ray recipe), mini meatloaves (14 of them) and ramen noodle soup for the kids (I'm babysitting two children in addition to my own today). I have washed the living room room - I cheated on this one and used the Swiffer. I vacuumed; I have washed more pots, pans, and Tupperware than I care to count.

I've made beds. I've cleaned my bathroom.

I've even rearranged our front room - my computer area is now in the corner and J's scrap table is in front of the picture window, closer to my scrap area. I hope with this move, she will be more inclined to "be an artist" in her own space, instead of trying to sit on my lap while I'm working on my own masterpieces. Time will tell.

Well, I better dash. I am sure there is more work to be done....like the mountains of laundry that have been screaming my name since last night.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ah, Relaxing.......

Today's blogger challenge is to write about something relaxing, or more specifically what I do to relax.

This is a very good question, because truthfully, I don't think I know how to relax or what that means, exactly. I simply cannot sit still, for when I do, I find myself waking up from a nap! If I'm not moving, I'm sleeping. I have two speeds -- full throttle and dead stop. I prefer full throttle.

I know I need to relax, or at least find a way to slow my mind down, especially at the end of the day. Waiting for the weekend just doesn't work because weekends are just crazy, plain and simple.

I love to scrapbook, and I find that if I just sit at my scrap table and work, I become much more pleasant. The trouble is, I'm often wound up so tight, that the thought of sitting and having fun seems wrong to me - I liken it to avoiding the Bubonic plague (in my own mind, of course. There's no such thing as the Bubonic plague anymore, is there? - time for a WIKI check, because you know I can't just sit and do nothing!)

Anyhow, I have given this some thought, and since the purpose of responding to a challenge is to answer the question, I suppose my answer has to be that I don't often relax, but I do enjoy a massage every now and then and that is REALLY relaxing! If I could afford it, I would get a massage as often as I get my haircut, every six weeks! More often than that, and I think it would lose is relaxingness, KWIM?

So, what do YOU do to relax? Leave a comment - maybe your suggestions will be just what I need to get me to relax!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Some Quotes I Came Across Today

and very appropriate ones for where I am right now.

Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go... And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over. --Gloria Naylor

We judge others by their behavior but ourselves by our intentions.--Stephen Covey

Monday, April 9, 2007

WIKI meme

My friend Kay tagged me on her blog, loopdeloops. It's my first meme! Thanks Kay (and yes, I am easily amused).

Here goes:

The rules are:1) Go to Wikipedia
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday
4) List two important birthdays and one death
5) One holiday or observance (if any)
6) Tag 5 other bloggers to complete

Three events that happened on my birthday:

1. 1774 - First Continental Congress assembles in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
2. 1882 - The first United States Labor Day parade is held in New York City.
3. 1914 - World War I: First Battle of the Marne begins. Northeast of Paris, the French attack and defeat German forces who are advancing on the capital.

Two important birthdays and one death:

1735 - Johann Christian Bach, German composer (d. 1782)
1951 - Michael Keaton, American actor
1997 - Mother Teresa, Albanian missionary and humanitarian, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1910)


India - The birthdate of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India.

I don't have five bloggers to tag, so I'll pick the one I do have - Amy.


Today I want to talk about color.

The challenge question was: What colors are you gravitating toward lately? Which ones really move you? Which ones do you really like?

Lately, I have been gravitating toward greens and purples, sometimes used together, sometimes separately. However, my sister reminded me yesterday of the fundamental rule of color - TURQUOISE goes with everything. We learned this little tidbit of information at a class we took at Right at Home Scrapbooking two weeks ago. "When in doubt, go with turquoise. " And that works in your wardrobe, too, not just in scrapbooking. Time to add some color variety to my wardrobe, I guess. Supposedly, all this turquoise stuff will match what I already have.

That will take some getting used to, as it is not a color I normally relate to, which is a great segway to the next question.

Which colors really move me?/Which colors do I really like?

I am drawn to vibrant colors - red, blue, purple. Anything vivid, but not flourescent. Pastels just do not do it for me.

My other color family of choice would be earth tones. I love rich shades of brown, amber, gold, and rust. They remind me of autumn, which is my favorite time of year.

I wonder how turquoise fits in with that color scheme? Perhaps I should do a layout with these colors as an experiment.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

20 Things That Light Up My Soul

I got this challenge from the 2 Peas board, so here's my list in no particular order (except for the first one - He belongs there!)

1. JESUS - He loves me always; totally; completely; unconditionally. Without Him my soul would be dark and lifeless

2. My children's laughter

3. My husband's smile

4. Spending time with my friends

5. Online shopping, especially if there's a great sale and free shipping!

6. Starbuck's hot cocoa - that stuff rocks!

7. Date nights with my hubby

8. Scrapbooking

9. Writing

10. Bible study

11. Autumn - I love the clean, crisp air

12. Music - especially Christian rock, the louder and faster the better! My faves are Third Day, Kutless, Skillet, and Bleach. I will listen to just about anything though, except jazz.

13. Getting a great haircut

14. Seeing fruit in my children's lives. Those glimpses of godliness make parenting so worth it.

15. Driving, so long as it's wide open spaces. I don't do city traffic very well.

16. Reading a great book

17. Hugs

18. Kisses

19. Praise & worship

20. Christmas

I'm New To This

I've decided to join the blogger world, so here it is - my first post!

Today is Resurrection Sunday - the day my Lord rose from the dead to give me eternal life through His sacrifice on the cross!

It is a glorious day here on the East Coast - the sun is shining, but it is COLD - only 27 degrees. No sandals for this girl today; too bad, 'cuz my toes are done and ready to be shown off. Alas, New England weather is unpredictable, warm one day, cold the next. You just learn to go with the flow.

Well, that's all I can share for now. Gotta go get ready for services at church.