About Me

Van Walton

Fun Facts about Van Walton

My favorite smell: The way the earth smells after it rains.

My favorite sound: The first notes of a grand symphony.

My favorite way to relax: Sitting anywhere outside - on my front porch, on my deck, or by the lake, early in the morning with my first cup of coffee.

My favorite birthday dessert: a Peach cobbler baked by my husband. He’s my fave chef!

I will not eat: Avocado. They turn my stomach into a volcano that never erupts.

Technology I couldn't live without and why: My laptop - it takes me anywhere I want to go.

One thing that makes me smile: My sons' faces!

FacebookFriend Van on Facebook

My Resources



My book, From the Pound to the Palace, is available for $10
from Proverbs 31 Ministries.


Pound to Palace


My book, Little Halos, is available for $5.99 from Proverbs
31 Ministries.


Little Halos


Proverbs 31 Ministries












Links




Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What's on your coffee table? Wednesday

Today I read the December 29th entry in the devotional guide, Streams in the Desert. The encouraging words end with an anonymouns quote:

                        "When faith goes to the market  it always takes a basket." 

I have a collection of baskets.

Last night I pulled one off my shelf and filled it with bread to take to a friend's home where our two families broke bread and ate yummy spagetti.

The basket sat in the middle of the table. I wish I had taken a picture of everyone's hands as they reached in to grab their bread. No one was shy. We took, we ate, we were filled.

I have a basket sitting on the desk in my kitchen. It is filled with Christmas cards.  Daily I reread cards and letter sent to me over the past month. I may not have seen my friends in years, but I KNOW they are my friends. I know because they remember me and they write to me. I really don't need much more confirmation.

On my coffee table sits a large basket filled with the books I gave my sons each year at Christmas. There are over 30 books - one for each Christmas. Each book represents a stage in life. Each story comes with a special warm memory.

I believe our relationship with God is like the filled baskets in my life- He asks us to come to Him because HE generously wants to give to us. He speaks to us through letters, traditions, and memories handed down through generations.

When I clean house and put up the decorations I am going to place an empty basket on my coffee table.

I am amazed that today's Bible verse is found in Judges (18:9-10). Right now the ladies with whom I meet each week to study the Bible are reading the book of Judges! Any way --- the verse reads:

"Come on...! We have seen that the land is very good. Aren't you going to do something? Don't hesitate to go there and take it over... God has put into your hands a land that lacks nothing whatever." 

Whatever I need is out there ~ mine to claim. .

My basket sits empty as this year ends and a new one begins. I will not be making a New Year's resolution. This year I will live my life out of a theme - Great Expectations.

Each morning I will begin my day asking God to fill my basket with the possessions He has promnised.

Friend- don't forget your basket when you head to the market place. Remember your basket and remember to

Shine!
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Who turns on the lights for you?

I'm privleged  to work with  the most amazing group of women in my church- they are the women who make up the leadership team. I wish every woman in the world were blessed with the servant leadership exhibited by the ladies in my church who sacrificially give of themselves year round. They provide the  spiritual and emtotional support we need in order to survive life's challenges.

Today I want to especially thank Melissa and Kendra:

Melissa heads up our women's ministry. You would never know she is the head honcho though. She leads with open hands. It is obvious the ministry is not hers. She has clearly allowed God to take control and she shares her leadership with others, allowing many to enjoy the blessings of leadership, honoring the women of our church by trusting them to use their talents and gifts, and inviting a large contengency of workers to participate in the field work.  Thank you Melissa for sharing the bounty of the harvest!

I also include Kendra in this posting because truly- I never see Melissa. Instead she allows Kendra to be my direct contact. Kendra is the lady who I go to for all my needs as a Bible study facilitator. She unlocks my room and turns on the lights.

Unlocking and lighting... Do you know how huge it is to have someone in your life who unlocks and lights? Just think about the implications of unlocking and lighting!

Do you have someone in your life who turns on the lights for you? Some one Think about it-- Kendra lights up my path. When I arrive at church after dark, I know exactly where to go because over there in that corner I see the light. That is where I take my gifts and serve my God. There is no doubt in my mind where I am go to. Kendra has turned on the lights for me! 

She doesn't just turn on the lights for me-- she provides the tools I need. She secures my resources- DVD's, workbooks, leaders' guides, hugs, smiles, and words of encouragement. 

I wish you all had a Kendra in your life.

Then to top it all off! She gave me the most meaningful gift this year for Christmas. Like I needed ANOTHER gift from her.

Note cards and magnets to remind me of my calling!  We all need to be reminded from time to time. What has God called you to do?                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


He has called me to~

Shine! 
Monday, December 13, 2010

Movin' on Monday

This essay, sent to me by a friend, moved me!

HOW GREAT is THAT DARKNESS
By Coach Dave Daubenmire

Most Christians are not. Not really disciples of Jesus that is. As I go about my work, I have become more and more convinced of that truth. The American Experience is in trouble because those who claim to be followers of Jesus really don’t follow Him.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, they “go to church,” and most “believe in God,” but they are not followers of Jesus. They don’t even know what that means...to follow Jesus…even though they are “Christians.” In fact, I doubt whether the Apostle Paul, or any of the first-century believers, would even recognize the “religion” that we call “Christianity” today. Just wondering….was Jesus a Christian?”

Jesus hated religion. It was the “religious” folks that He tried to free us from. “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" 
Read Mathew 23 to understand better what He had to say to “religious” leaders. He stated it better than I can.
Look. Christianity is not a religion, it is not “going to church”, it is not a set of rules and regulations after which you pattern your life, it is not a crutch for the weak, it is not an answer on the US Census, and it is not a home business designed to increase one’s earthly possessions.

Christianity is the life of Jesus living through you. It is an exchange of your life for His, a living out of His nature instead of yours, a “putting on” of the life of Jesus, not a process where you “accept” Him, or “receive” Him, or “come” to Him. It is a death process…a dying of you and your old nature…a transformation really…out of an old life to a new one. “Christ IN you, the hope of Glory.”

Most folks who identify as Christians claim to know Jesus as Savior. Very few know Him as Lord.

That’s why Christianity is so shallow in America. We love the “Savior” part of Jesus, but aren’t quite ready to bow to that “Lord” thingee. Most are interested in having “their Savior” bless their endeavors, but few are willing to “lay down their lives” for Him.
Everyone wants to “follow Jesus” until they find out where He is going…He is heading to a Cross…and He asks you to take up yours and follow Him. This flies in the face of popular Christianity and its “felt needs”… The hearts of Americans are hard to pierce. Stephen called folks like us “You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you.”

How did the religious folks receive Stephen and his honest rebuke? “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him…”

Here is what I am getting at. Most “Christians” are not open to the true Gospel because they already think they have it. They have learned to compartmentalize it, to compromise it, to hang it on the coat rack. But they have heard a different Gospel. They have been taught to follow Christianity, not Jesus.

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” -Jude

Do yourself a favor. Take the time to read the book of Acts. It is a record of the “Gospel” being lived out by those who were most familiar with the Savior. You will look long and hard, far and wide, to find anything even remotely resembling the modern-day Humanistic, self-serving, Jesus-wants-me-to-be-happy-and-rich- Gospel belching out of the pulpits today. Would they invite Paul, the greatest evangelist the world has ever known, to appear on TBN? Would Rick Warren and Joel Osteen allow him to stand in their pulpits? Can you picture him “dancing with the stars?”

Americans are following a “different” Gospel, which is "no Gospel at all."

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”

Permit me to state it more succinctly so that there can be no misunderstanding of the point I am trying to make. Most church-goers are not followers of Jesus. They are merely members of a social club called “Christianity”. “Membership has its advantages….”

How do you heal someone who doesn’t know he is sick? How do you save someone who doesn’t think he is lost?

“If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness…”
Americanized Christianity has everything backwards. Somewhere along the line the life-denying-Gospel has morphed into a life-enhancement Gospel. Instead of us giving ourselves for the advancement of the Kingdom we have been fooled into believing that Jesus gave Himself so we could be masters of our own kingdom.

The idea of sacrifice and suffering is anathema to modern, Americanized Christianity. How else can you possibly explain the calloused attitude that most “Christians” have towards the “increase of His government and peace.”

Read Mathew 13. It is here that we read of the wheat and the tares which GROW UP TOGETHER. That’s right. When you go to “church” on Sunday it would behoove you to look around. Many of those sitting beside you are destined for the bon-fire. They look like Christians, the sing like Christians, and they speak the Christian “language”, but they are not children of the Lord.

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” -Mathew 7

Could it be that many are getting the wrong answer because they are being asked the wrong question? It is not “do you know Jesus”, but rather, “does Jesus know You?”
In recent polls eight-five per cent of all Americans self-identify as Christians, yet this nation has become a moral wasteland. “Christians” complain about others “shoving Christianity down our throats.” “Christians” declare that “religion” is a “private matter” while atheistic teachings swamp their children in “public schools.” “Christians” have abortions and vote for “pro-abortion” candidates. “Christians” embrace homosexuality. “Christians” fail to keep their marriage vows. “Christians” ignore the precepts that Jesus taught.
How do you rescue someone who doesn’t think he needs rescued? How do you bring sight to one who thinks he sees? How do you bring knowledge to one who thinks he knows? How do you bring truth to one who doesn’t know he is deceived? How do you bring light to one who doesn’t know it is dark?

America is the most “Gospelized” nation in the world, but my dealings with Americanized “Christians” have convinced me that the greatest mission field in the world is inside the four walls of most American churches. The darkness thinks it is light. “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” “You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”
Most “Christians” don’t know enough about Jesus to tremble.
How great is that darkness…

Shine!
Monday, November 29, 2010

Rockin' around the centerpiece...

Statistics show that children, who grow up in families where meals are regularly eaten together at home, tend to overcome many of life’s hardships.

(If you, like me, don't like to cook and feel overwhelmed in the kitchen
       maybe a visit to my special friend- Leann's blog- She Cooks will insipre     you. I know she inspires me every time I taste one of her delicious dishes.)


A study, from Columbia University, found that “teens from families that almost never eat dinner together are 72 percent more likely to use illegal drugs, cigarettes and alcohol than the average teen” (ibid.). That same study reports that those who eat dinner with their parents fewer than three times a week are more likely to smoke and drink than those who eat with their parents six times a week.

         (...and for more ideas and encouragement on family life visit
                                                    Proverbs31 Ministries for Women)

Not only do I believe this, but I like the idea of families coming together at the end of the day. Traditions that develop during these times provide opportunities for the entire family to become involved in one another’s lives. The bonds that develop and the repetition of traditions contribute to children’s feelings of well being and security.

As some of you might have read in my previous blogs, I practice decorating with a purpose.
  
So what is my intention, while considering the kitchen table center piece? To bring the family together around the family meal a the end of the day, not only to eat but to build bonds and traditions.

My centerpiece is this year’s family center!

Not only do I use evergreen, pine cones, and candles, I have added special holiday table talk ideas to engage children and parents while they share the evening meal.

(Come back Wednesday for my "What's on your kitchen table? Wednesdays" decorating idea and I will show you simple steps for making a live centerpiece.) 

Inside each of the little scrolls which are tied to  colorfully sprayed sticks or tucked inside the giant pinecones, I have written a fun challenge.

These holiday dinner table games can be played in teams or individually. Open one scroll each evening and enjoy the fun.

At each place setting you may want to provide a pencil and paper. Or even better, small white boards which kids enjoy so much more than pencil and paper! 

Here are a few ideas:

How many words can you make from the one word, Christmas?


Name everything found in the nativity.


How many Christmas carols do you know?


Fill in the blanks or answer the following:


Who stole Christmas?


Who is Frosty?


How many “la’s” are in “Deck the Halls”?


Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?


What does a candy cane symbolize?


Who was the king in the Old Testament who was Jesus’ great, great, great…. grandfather?


We three kings from _____________are…


Glory to God in the _________________


Depending on your specific family circumstances, you may want to gather your children around the table before dinner. Let them play as you prepare the meal. That way they are out of your way and they have something to anticipate in the late hours of the day when they feel antsy or tired. Of course as you get dinner ready, you can participate.

What fun family traditions do you have that other families might enjoy incorporating into their Christmas activities?

For more ideas come back. Meanwhile, remember this is the season to

Shine!













I




Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance - all who seek the Lord!

Consider the rock from which you were cut,
                   the quarry from which you were mined.

Think about....  (your ancestors). (my insert)               from Psalm 51


Today I give thanks for my great grandparents, my grandparents, my parents - the rocks from which I was cut and the quarries from which I was mined.

I am thankful for my mother's reasearch into my ancestry. How amazing to know that my forefathers and mothers knowingly and purposefully sacrificed and struggled so my life and the lives of my children would be defined by freedom and knowledge of Truth.  

I learned my blood line paved the way for me. I also know that thousands of immigrants settled this precioius land for future generations - that we might all experience what they only dreamed could be a possibility.

Today we live in that dream!

I wonder - What am I doing today that will make a difference for the next generation of Americans?

I pray to God that the lives of my children and the generations that follow will be impacted by the way I live and practice my convictions.

Show me God, how to

Shine!    
Friday, November 12, 2010

Way to Finish the Week

T G I F - What a wonderful ring - Thank God it's Friday!

Most people would say this sigh is one of relief- The week is over. Yeah!

That's not the case in my last period class on Fridays. Eighteen 6th graders file in asking, "Do we get to hear about Bruce today?"

They are referring to Bruce Olson, a missionary  friend of mine who has now become their friend.

My 6th graders met him in September and since then we have been reading his book, For This Cross I'll Kill You, a little each week, gathering up excitement, causing wide eyed exclamations and deep from their hearts begging, "Please read a few more pages."

So each Friday I have set up a win win situation. At an hour and time when most 6th graders are climbing out of their skins causing their teachers major angst, my favorite cherubs are sitting still in their desks, waiting anxiously to hear how the next episode will end. Of course they realize that the stories I am reading to them, I first heard live from the one who wrote the book- maybe even before most people in the world even knew of this missionary, hero. .

What is it about his story they love?

The open and real heart of a boy who was never good enough to play athletics. The confessions of a young kid who didn't fit in. The outporing of a youth who wondered for a long time, "Who is my God?"

They are enthralled with his wild lost-in-the-jungle tales. His encounters with the spears that land deep in the muscle of his leg cause shreeks from the girls and groans from the boys. His diet of grubs, parrots, and monkeys bring "awesome" from the 12 year old boys and "no way" from the girls.

They love to hear the stories and they hate to hear them. They are conflicted yet adicted to Bruce's story- how he felt God calling him to the jungles of South America to reach a tribe never been reached by God's Word.

Doesn't matter how the week has progressed, what has gone wrong, or what tomorrow looks like, Bruce's story has a way of putting life into perspective.

You see he gave his life away at the young age of 19 in order to walk into the jungles and risk his life (he truly nearly died). He sacrificed comfort in the United States, the opportunity to earn a college degree, a chance for a family of his own,  - he gave it all up to bring the message of Good News to a remote tribe in Colombia.

His adventures are powerful. His life is a testimony. It never fails. Year after year I read this story with always the same response. "Please don't stop. Tell us more!"

Are you looking for a good family read these holidays. Find yourself a copy of this book and sit down with your children for a good, old fashion read. 
Monday, October 25, 2010

Movin' on Mondays

Movin' on in faith

When God calls you to move how do you step out?

Nothing gives me more joy or fascinates me more than to observe my woodland neighbors. If there is a neighbor I particularly would like to keep up with, it would be the squirrels who live in the trees surroudning my house. They are always on the move and they have fun at it! Although they spend their time working, building, saving, harvesting- they make a game out of each chore. I observe as they chase and soar.

What intrigues me most is their faith- how they "go out on a limb" and rarely pause to consider the dangers they may encounter if by chance they would not reach the next limb.

I have to admit my doubting nature. I trust God. I just don't trust myself. When he calls me to move I have to think about it. Plan. Prepare myself. Plot out my journey. Even then I may not step out in faith. So often I am my greatest hindrance.

As I sit here in my bedroom looking out at the trees I see these little woodland creatures scurring here and there without a care. They trust the limbs on which they travel. They get the job done and they make it all look so fun and easy.

I am pretty sure that is how I am meant to live my Christian life. Stepping out in faith, trusting God, joyfully.

Today is a new day.

God, let me learn from the squirrel. Today I want to step out in faith, living joyfully and all the while productive doing my work as unto You.

Oh and of course I want to always

Shine!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's on Your Coffee Table? Wednesdays

Decorating with a purpose.

I don't want to forget what I learned this week while reading about Joshua and Caleb, the battle of Jericho, praying, boldly asking and God.

Not only have I been reading my Bible but I have been looking at images on the web and pictures in books stored in shelves around my house. One of my favorites is this one:

Some view the Bible as a historical book, a religious tome, a collection of fascinating stories to be read in Sunday school...

While I read it for all those reasons, I also read to apply what I have learned to my own life.

Once I reached the middle chapters of the book a new character emerged - Caleb. About this same time is when all the tribes of Israel are receiving their inheritance- the land God has set aside for each group of families that has been wandering in the desert and fighting battles for decades.

Most tribes wait thier turn.

Not Caleb. He takes matters into his own hands. He makes the trip to Gilead, approaches Joshua and asks for Hebron - that's the name of a city. He asks for an entire city!

This strikes me as a bold move. Audacious. Who is he to break in line while thousands of others wait to hear the reading of the will, to gain their inheritance?

Not only did he break in line he asked for a certain track of land!

Guess what?

Joshua agreed and gave it to him.

Why?

Caleb had fully followed the Lord his God. One version of this story says Caleb followed God wholeheartedly. That is why his request was answered.

I stopped in my tracks and reread Joshua 14:14.

I'm sort of like Caleb. There is a piece of property I want- it is someone's life -  turned toward God. It is a healed heart and body.

My prayers have not ceased for years concerning this matter.

This week my prayers will change. In addition to my prayers I will search my heart to make sure I am fully following my Lord and God.

Got prayers? Follow God wholeheartedly. Then ask again- boldly!

Oh and what's on my coffee table? My book - open to the picture of the battle of Jericho.













I expect that one day my bold prayers for victory in the life of a loved one will be answered. I have placed that book on my coffee table, not only because it is an interesting picture book, but as a reminder- to follow God wholeheartedly, to pray boldly, and to

Shine!
Monday, October 11, 2010

Movin' in Mondays

Is This Our New Home?


"Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard." Genesis 9:20

After floating for weeks Noah and his family finally landed where God had preordained. The door to the ark opened and everyone filed out to begin a new life. Noah went to work and Mrs. Noah set up housekeeping. I am sure they never forgot their experience. God had picked up this family of eight and changed their lives radically.

I can relate to the Noah family. My husband is told to prepare for a move. He announces that we should get ready. We pack. We move. We arrive. He goes to work. I stay behind to get the house in order.

After one such move in the spring, I had spent several rainy days inside unpacking boxes. One particular day at naptime  my toddler and I crawled under the covers, he for his necessary mid day rest and I...

let me be honest. I just welcomed the excuse to escape into a deep sleep, far from the reality of loneliness, loss, and lethargy.

Bright sunshine met us when we yawned ourselves awake, opening our eyes to  welcome the afternoon. Happy to go outside to play, we walked into our new world. While admiring the long awaited sunshine we found a huge rainbow in the sky. There we stood side by side, mother and son, taking in the miracle and the message. 

Suddenly I noticed frustration in my little guy's face. He seemed to be looking for more. When asked to explain his curiosity, he turned his innocent face toward mine. “Mommy. Where is Noah and his ark? I only see the rainbow!”

I did my best to explain God's covenant. Noah had come and gone. Only the rainbow remains as a reminder that God will never again destroy the earth with a flood.

Oh happy day. Even though the move into my new home had begun with days of deluge, the weather inside and out was changing. The rain and the clouds had cast a gray mood on our household. I had wondered - "How will I adjust to my new surroundings? Is there really a future here for me and my little one?"

Now here I had my answer. God had placed a rainbow in the sky to remind me like He had reminded Noah so long ago.

Welcome to your new home. Now

Shine!
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Time Trial Thursdays


Is your life on hold? Is there something you have prayed over: a person or a circumstance or one of life’s issues… you’ve prayed and prayed --- to no avail?

Then you must be in training, you know working through time trials until you get it right.

Time trials are just that --- trials, trials in life that threaten to undo us. They threaten to crush and destroy because we know we need our prayers to be answered, life’s situations to change, issues to be resolved. As long as we keep running through time trials nothing changes!

Thursdays are my favorite day for many reasons. I only have one more day left in my work week. The weekend begins tomorrow. Thursday nights are my Bible Study night. That is the night all the ladies in my Bible Study meet before study for pizza at our local Italian restaurant. That is where we hash out the week’s trials, issues, and problems.

Mostly we agree each one of us has issues and they all revolved around time trials. One of us is waiting for resolution in her marriage. Another faces the dilemma of a job search. She must put in her time at her new job before she can apply for the job of her dreams- on up the ladder. Another friend is waiting for her son to come home from Iraq. One of us is waiting on results from lab work. She never seems to feel on top of her game. Her health is just not where she would like it to be. Something is wrong. She knows it.

Time trials: trials we face as time marches on. Trials that could resolve themselves if they just would and we wouldn’t have to wait, concentrating on that which weighs upon us.

On Thursday nights we are studying the life of Joshua. You know, Joshua who fought the battle of Jericho. Before he fought that battle, before his wait was over, Joshua had been in a time trial – in the desert. He was one of only two men who left Egypt and also entered the promised land. He had waited and now his wait trials were coming to an end.

For centuries God had told his people about the Land that was theirs, yet they had not lived in that land for 400 years. Now they were moving forward to take the land that was rightfully theirs.

What Land is yours? What are you waiting to conquer? Is it your health, a situation with you work, a broken relationship…?
As we look at Joshua’s life we have learned that he took important steps while he waited. He prepared himself for the moment in time when God answered his prayers and he possessed the Land.

Joshua’s first time trial as he training in waits was to place himself under the authority of a trainer. His trainer was Moses. Joshua grew to become a commander in Moses’ “army.”

What Joshua learned was valuable. He learned from Moses how to walk with God, how to listen to God, and how to obey.

I am learning that God calls me to time trials before He gives me what I need or want. He calls me to His Wait Room to train because He wants me walking with him, listening to Him, and obeying Him.

After all, how on earth am I to experience victory over my “land” if I have no idea how to conquer it, till, it, plant it, or harvest it.

Are you waiting?  Walk with God and

Shine!
Monday, October 4, 2010

Movin' on Mondays

Finally, this summer, I got around to watching the movie Evan Almighty.

I enjoyed the back and forth play from the Biblical story of the flood to a contemporary version.

I also remember comparing a recent move to Noah's move and the drama that surrounds a move.

If you have ever seen Evan Almighty you know there was drama in the show. Familiy members, neighbors, coworkers all believed Evan had fallen off his rocker when he began to build that big ole boat.

Nothing but ridicule.

Can you imagine the real people in the real story?

I have actually felt that ridicule, from well meaning people, and it increased with each move our family made.

You're moving again?

Can't you just stay in town and find a stable job?

Just put your foot down. Don't go!

Can you just explain, why do you move so much?

I can hear Mrs. Noah's neighbors and friends asking the same sort of questions:

He's doing what?

Why?

You're sure God told him to build an ark?

Why don't you give him an ultimatum. Tell him to stop all that foolishness.

There is a large population of our society that has never moved. They don't understand the mentality of a corporate world that relocates its workers to improve productivity, to change worn out practices, to renovate the work force.

God called Noah to move for all the same reasons the corporate world today moves its workers. The human race had become wicked. God wiped out an entire generation of people so the next generation could begin anew and improve productivity, especially where humans' obedience to God was concerned.

God also wanted change. Changed hearts, changed activities, changed lives.

God renovated the world with the flood.

I believe God uses moves in my life to improve me. Moves get me out of ruts, allowing me to change and be renewed.

Moves are hard, but they are not bad. Are you moving? Try to see the move from God's perspective and then ask Him to let your light

Shine!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What's on your kitchen table? Wednesdays

Late last week my husband and I recieved a last minute invite to have Sunday evening dinner with dear friends.

While I enjoy entertaining, having friends into my home is far more important to me than cooking for them. So --- I always jump at the chance when company offers to bring a dish, you know make it pot luck.  Easier on the hostess.

My friend, on the other hand, loves to cook and show off her cheffy side. Consequently she does not let her company bring any food.

Meaning? What do I bring the hostess?

Well... I have this little patch of flowers that I have blogged about this summer- a little patch that has grown up around my mailbox. So - I cut a few zennias and stuck them in a darling vase I picked up at Goodwillfor $1.25.

Today my friend's kitchen table is graced by a gift my Father and I jointly gave her- a lovely boquet of flowers grown from seeds I planted, watered and nurtured by Creator God.

I hope every time she sees my little contribution to her home she smiles and knows how much she is loved.

Have you thought of doing a little refreshing work around your home or lifting someone else's spirts? Maybe a gift from God's creation is just the zing and pop you or your friend needs.

What's on your kitchen table? Something inspiring I hope. Whatever you choose, make sure it causes you and your home to

Shine!
Monday, September 27, 2010

Movin' on Mondays

WHEN GOD SAYS, “MOVE”

I believe God moves us to get our attention.

When God told Adam and Eve to pack up and move out of the Garden of Eden, I bet it got their attention.
Why do you think they had to move? We all know. They disobeyed. God needed to get their attention. Once out of the garden, whatcha’ wanna’ bet? They longed like they had never longed – to get back into His presence.

God has moved me to remind me that obedience is key to my relationship with Him. I long to live close to Him.

When all the builders joined to build the Tower of Babel and God saw their intentions, He sent them packing to the four corners of the earth confusing their communication.

God has moved me to remind me that He is higher than I will ever be.
When the next generations became wicked and God moved Noah and his family into the ark telling them to shut the door and set sail, He did so to remove wickedness.

God has moved me to separate me from sinful behavior. Sometimes He moved me to give me a second chance. Other times I moved as a result of God's protection.

I could keep commenting-continuing with Abraham and Sarah’s moves, charting Biblical history through the entire Old Testament all the way to John’s move onto Patmos where he received a saw a vision of heaven.

God has moved me to remind me that life is all about moving and one day I will move to the house of the Lord – Forever!

God has moved me to get my attention and He succeeded. I know my last move will be an attention getter – can you imagine pulling up to heaven’s gates, movin’ in to never move on again!

That's a reason to

Shine
Friday, September 24, 2010

Matters too great for me!

If you have dropped in for a visit after having read the Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today devotion, welcome.

Let's chat a while longer about composing and quieting souls surrounded by destruction and  disaster.
Lately I have been praying for healing:

Healing of relationships. Fissures and gaps so huge, I’m not really sure the pieces can ever be put back together. They are matters too great for me!

Healing of mind, soul, and body. Issues so complex and overwhelming, no doctor, therapist, or drug will cure. These are matters too great for me!

I have also prayed for relief from life’s crushing blows.

I’ve asked God to answer specific requests, dreams and desires of my heart that would bring me such joy, I can’t even imagine the bliss, if He would only say, “Yes,” to my pleas.

Truth be told, my prayer requests appear to me to be the impossible dream. If I allow myself, I could easily despair over the thought that maybe I’ll be waiting a life time for responses to deep cries from my heart.

And then I begin to scheme, manipulate, figure out how to get my way, coerce people into situations that really don’t get to the bottom of the “issue”.

Anything for relief, answers, rest, peace.

“Oh to just have the power to fix those matters and get my way!”
Matters too great for me!
Finally, after working to unravel the web, after too many sleepless and worrisome nights, after dissecting the problem, and pursuing all the possible avenues to correction  --- I give up…
realizing the matter is too great for me.

Then truth dawns:
Matters too great for me are not too great for My God.
“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Jesus

So I go to Jesus and He performs a miracle.

In the midst of matters too great for me, He surrounds me with peace, quieting my pounding heart, wiping away my tears, giving me rest.

Matters too great for me are NOT too great for My God.

Somehow, by believing that simple truth, I can’t help but

Shine!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time trial Thursdays

What are you waiting for?

Here is a challenge. Carefully mind your converstions. You will be amazed that every one with whom you converse is waiting... 

Depending on the object of your wait, waiting might paralyze you.

Waiting is hard enough on its own.

But what to do while waiting is just as demanding. 

While waiting I have cried, despaired, quit, threatened, grown bitter, blamed, denied reality, kicked, argued, questioned, lost sleep and slept too much.  

What's a person to do when waits become unbearable? 

Sometimes answers come from the strangest of places. While walking down the street in Manhattan recently I spotted this sign:


Waiting?

Shine!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's in your entry way Wednesday's

Last spring I threw some seeds in the ground around my mail box. I dug up the dirt and stuck sunflower seeds and zinnia seeds into little shallow holes.

I didn't really have much hope. I have tried growing flowers from seeds before. Nothing really ever happened.

Not so this year. Although we have had a dry summer, I had a bumper crop of flowers. I have enjoyed them so.

Every week I cut flowers from my flower bed and fill a vase with flowers- just to make my entry way look cheery and inviting. 

It really doesn't take a lot to add a little life to a setting. Find a spot in your house where the natural light seeps in and put a few flowers in the rays of sunshine. Suddenly the room comes to life!   

Shine!
Monday, September 13, 2010

Movin' on after movin' in Mondays

On my way to church yesterday I spotted a home being moved into a moving van.


We don't see too many moving vans anymore. People aren't moving like they used to.

Yet, recenlty I have met several newcomers.

Of course the conversation moved in the direction of "moving."

It's hard.

It's lonely.

It's frightening.
It's intimidating.
Is it worth it to overcome the hurdles and become part of a new community?
Is it worth it to make new friends.

Is it worth it to open up, become vulnerable?

Is it worth it to step out?

Starting over... if you answer yes to the above questions, where do you begin?

How?

I have always been proactive. Rarely waited around for people to come to me. I reached out.

But in the meantime I have always had my own tried and true MO.

One of the first things I do upon moving is find a radio station. I make it a point to listen to praise music to keep my spirits up. Also because I usually have no friends in my new "hood." I choose to take friends with me wherever I go.
Who are these friends who can go with me wherever I go?

When my children were young I didn't have family to help me with my children so I turned to radio. Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family doesn't know he raised my children, that he was my forever, regardless where I lived, counselor upon whom I depended for advise and godly counsel. I would love to be able to tell him how his presence in my homne lifted me on more than one occasion.

Before I found a church I always knew I could depend on David Jerimiah for my daily Bible study. David doesn't know it, but we are best friends!

Maybe you are one of those on the move people right now. Maybe you don't have any friends in your new home, yet. Why not tune in to Renee and Lysa of Proverbs 31 Ministires for a dialy pick-me-up.

I know moving can be a daunting and difficult task. One thing is sure- you are never alone. A friend is as close as the nearest radio.

And God is closer still. Turn to him and listen to his voice. He will certainly guide you toward friends, a church, and a purpose for your new life.

And as you work to settle in, always remember to

Shine!
Monday, August 23, 2010

Moving Mondays

A new friend

I'm not moving, but I just met someone who has recently moved into my neighborhood.

This is just one fun story about the adventures of the moving tribe- those of us on the move, how God connects us, when we obey His call, and how we network: 
Years ago I met a lady in my neighborhood who had just moved to town. We met at a ladies' luncheon and became fast friends. She used the move to reconfigure her life. She decided to move from being a working outside the home mom to becoming a stay at home mom. She joined PTA, a Bible study, and a church. Oh the adventures she had as she brought her sons to Sunday School and her husband to church.

Then we all moved. They moved to one city and we to another. From time to time we have visited each other or met back in the town where we once lived.

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from my friend's husband. It seems a young lady who had worked with him has now moved to my town. He remembered how meeting a neighbor had helped his wife with her transition. So... he asked if I would reach out to his former co-worker.

Of course. My favorite thing to do is to meet new people.
So I called and we decided to meet at a coffee shop. Oh what a delight this young lady is. We chatted about children, schools, work, hunting for houses, transitioning into new towns and neighborhoods, and practicing faith. I found out we come from extremely different faith backgrounds. I am a Christian. She is a Muslim.

Talk about moving! Where will this budding frienship go?

I certainly don't know, but whatever happens I hope to

Shine!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What's on your coffee table Wednesdays

Decorating intentionally.

Last week my friend Shari gave me her new book---and signed it.


Weeeeeee I have an authographed copy

of the most awesome, useful, encouraging, book ever. What is so wonderful about it??? It is practical AND FUN. I want to page through it constantly. It's packed full of all sorts of info telling me about what colors look best on me, what size jewelry to wear - I have learned that I am a movie star and because I know that I know exactly what size earrings and pendants to wear. I also know that I have diamonds in my legs telling me the best length for me. 

Now that it is on my coffee table I get to touch it, look through it, apply it every time I shop or dress.

Want to learn about what looks best on you? If you live in the Charlotte area you are invited to Shari's book signing this Sunday:  Borders, North Lake Mall on I 77 (north) from 3 - 5.
Hope to see you there!

Now that it's on my coffee table do you know how many friends are goign to ask about it  and want one?     Lots! 

What are you doing in your home intentionally?

What is on your coffee table?

Let me challenge you to trim your house intentionally and

Shine!
Sunday, August 1, 2010

I've been moved!

Whew! Sitting on my big chair under the fan in the family room is just what I want to be doing right now. Why?

I am happily exhausted.

She Speaks, Proverbs 31 Ministries' anual conference has once again fisnished strong- really strong.

These are some highlights:


I met an amazing group of speakers in my eval group. They are courageous women with incredibly moving stories, tales full of hard struggles and challenging experiences. Honestly I canot even imagine getting back up on my feet as some of the women in my eval group have managed to do. God bless each one of you as you allowed our Father to lift you out of the mirey clay and set you on the Solid Rock. You go girls.

Cheers to Monica, Deedy, Carrie, Lotte, Linda, Sandy, Mary Kathryn,
Laura, Erin, Tonya, and Heatherly. You ladies shine!

I also met wonderful ladies everywhere I walked as I moved from one breakout session to another, as I sat to eat a meal, as I rode the elevator.

Let me share two examples:

I met Erica who sat across the table from me on Friday. She was actually in Bogota, Colombia, South America at the same time I was in 964! Can you believe it??? Jessica if you make it to my blog like I challenged you to over prayer I hope you will leave a comment.

I also met Rachel an amazing young woman who had just returned from Afghanistan where she had lived for 10 years. She answered all our probing questions. It seems we hunger to understand the middle eastern culture. She explained the veil and the wearing of scarves, men's roles, women's roles, her life and purpose in Afghanistan, and she showed us how to wear the scarf in its varoius fashions. God has quietly called His people to places all over the world so his news of salvation might be spread.

I heard some pretty exciting, inspiriing, and overwhelming messages from Lysa Terkeurst, Karen Ehman, and Angela Thomas. WOW! They challenged me to reach big for God sized blessings, to remember my first love and become a woman immersed in God's Word- to memorize scripture. Thank you ladies- for challenging me to a higher spiritual place- not only close to God, but closer to Him.

Oh! and to crown the weekend with the best icing of all- an editor wants to see my book proposal- YES- again!!! Yikes. Here we go... I don't know whether to be excited or just accept the fact that I may need to prepare myself for another rejection-- but before they reject me this time I am getting an editor to help me work it over. Any way I am so excited that someone thinks my idea is a good one.
Yipeeeeeeeeeee!

Here's to all of you who attended She Speaks. I hope you were as moved as I!

Won't you tell me about your experience and as you do remember to

Shine!    
Sunday, July 11, 2010

The ultimate move

Four weeks ago our family recieved the news.

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer!
We were not ready to hear this devastating information.

Fear, anger, sorrow, filled the hearts and minds of her children, grandchildren, husband, and friends.

On Tuesday June 7th the doctors gave the dreaded prognosis. On Wednesday June 30th she moved,

...moved from her home in Little Rock, Arkansas to her place in eternity.

We never expected the course of the illness to move so fast!

All I could think was---

"If I were told my very next move would be my move to heaven, how would I prepare?"

Of course our move to our eternal glory can't include packing. We can't take anything with us.

So how do we "pack", preparing for the ultimate move, the final relocation?

Are you prepared?

My mother-in-law was told she might have three months. She was gone in three weeks.
Are you ready- to make the ultimate move?
As you prepare, remember to...

shine!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Favorite places

Do you ever find yourself back in one of your favorite places? It has been a year or two and you return to a cabin, the beach, a museum, a special city only to wonder- "How is it that time has flown. ONly yesterday I left and now I have returned? Only yesterday I grieved having to leave and now I have been granted the gift of more time in this place."

Right now I find myself in one of those favorite places- a lake in Missouri- a place where my family spent summer vacations throughout my teens, a place where I brought my boys every year of their lives before they grew up and left home, a place of peace and nurture.

As we move through life we can go forward knowing that just because we leave a place it doesn't mean we will never return.

I think of the Hebrew people who every year made pilgrimages to Jerusalem. They anticipated and prepared for the trip which brought them to the temple where they met with God, made their sacrifices, and returned to life renewed.

I used to grieve and mourn leaving my favorite places and moving to new locations. I used to-- I no longer allow leaving to take me down, because I have learned that my God and Father in His loving kindness takes me back -- to remember, renew, and lift.
Tell me about yoru favorite places and

Shine!
Thursday, May 27, 2010

Survivor


Yesterday I had the awesome privilege of talking with Christy Pepper at Moody Radio

We talked about moving.

What has been your experience with moving?

Have you ever moved? Do you know people who have been transferred and relocated?

Moving is a lot like playing the game of survivor. For me each move has felt like an attempt to eliminate me from life!

But I bounced back- I survived!

Not because I am strong and resourceful, but because God was in the midst of it and He had plan- a bigger picture.

God uses the corporate move, the military deployment, and the missionary’s assignment to strengthen His ambassadors and build His kingdom.

And everyone I know has—survived.

So how do we survive those stressful and difficult demands- requirements on our lives that insist we move if we are going to eat, pay the bills, and get ahead?

My favorite manual for movers is a book- A WAY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS by Jamie Buckingham. It is a journal of sorts- a combination story of Moses’ journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land and our personal  journey,  be it our life’s trip to heaven or a mere move to a new home.

Either way- God has prepared for us an individual journey and for many of us it includes moving- a lot, like our spiritual forefathers.

There are rules in the wilderness- rules developed by the ancient Bedouins and shepherds – manners of sorts that were created to make sure that travelers survived.

Mr. Buckingham writes that “The wilderness code of hospitality recognizes that no man can exist alone in the wilderness. We are not only forced to lean on each other for help, we are obliged to reach out to the stranger who knocks at the door for help."

Long before I became a survivor- of the move, I had no problem reaching out to strangers – that put me in a position of power and control and gave me a feeling of good deeds.

But God wanted me to be more touchable, reachable, real and vulnerable. He wanted to teach me humility. So He insisted that I accept help. It was only then- when I humbled myself and allowed others to help me- that He allowed me to truly survive and come out of the move on the other side- an overcomer, one who not only limped through the process, but one who soared and along the way lifted others.

Want to survive your next move? Bring others along. Let them touch you, help you, provide for you- imagine the euphoria they will feel as they assist you in your attempt to soar to the next destination God has planned for you.

As you soar let your light

Shine!



Sunday, May 16, 2010

LESSON PLANS

When I signed my contract a year ago, I thought I signed on the dotted line- teach so many classes. Teach them Spanish. Since it is a Christian school, weave in spiritual lessons. Do everything possible to manage your classroom well. Make sure to have clear lesson plans. Teach ‘til June. Evaluate.

So here I am just a week away from finals and I am evaluating. Thank God and praise Him from whom all blessings flow- I can give my year a #10 on a scale from 1 – 10. Of course so much of my positive evaluation can be credited to the outstanding little school where I teach. I can’t say enough about small schools. They are a place where
      everyone knows your name
      leadership majors on key priorities
      creativity in the classroom and innovation in the process take precedence

And because of these three descriptors, learning and teaching can be fun and productive!

I digress! So what is new?? As I evaluate my year I also realize lesson plans were written for me. My students were not the only ones learning in the classroom. I leaned in my own classroom. I was not the only teacher. My students taught me!

Case in point: I had a few discipline issues.

I deal with my students individually. I know each is different. I know each learns and understands uniquely.

Al is very smart. He is way ahead of the game. Not only is he intelligent, he is a talented athlete, putting him in a special category. He is handsome, likeable, curious, and involved. Oh is he involved- center of attention involved. And if I ignore him, he gathers his corner of the classroom, builds his own platform and takes my students away from me!!

I CAN’T let that happen.

Al and I had a few little talks early in the year. After a while the talk wore off. I contacted his home with a good response. After a while that effort wore off. I sent him into the hall, left the door open and let him learn from his desk outside the door. He begged me to let him back into class.

By mid April- all my efforts had worn off. I put him in time out: a desk reserved for the most incorrigible. A desk that faces my desk, meaning that he faces me! His eyes on me. His mouth open only to my ears. My eyes on his every move and…
one-on-one attention.

Now- of course he completed his work. He had no choice. So after I taught my lessons, made my rounds, answered questions, and returned to my desk--- there was Al- finished with his work – lessons completed perfectly and ready for something more.
…more to learn.
Al’s basic personality had not changed. He still longed for attention; still sought answers to his myriad of questions. Having no one to talk to, he turned to me- his teacher.

He conjured up subject matter that only deep thinkers consider. He amazed me with the depth of his mind. We talked about God, how He created the earth; about angels, how they fulfill their purpose; about salvation, how it works and is played out in the lives of believers.

Slowly God revealed an interesting picture: the importance and the necessity of discipline. I thought I already knew a lot about discipline and I did- disciplining others. But what about my own need for discipline?

I watched Al submit to authority. I was privy to his heart as he shared his struggles and opened up. Truthfully – these were the lessons I most enjoyed teaching this year.

But what lessons did this teacher learn?

Simple—there have been times in my life when I forced God to discipline me. No, I am not kidding – really! God began with soft forms of discipline. When lite lessons didn’t work, He progressively allowed discomfort to increase. So much so that there have been times in my life when I felt, no I was convinced -- He had cast me out. What I didn’t know – He was not far from me- just "around the corner, in another room." I couldn’t see Him, but He knew where I was. Unfortunately even difficult trials didn’t turn this child’s heart for long.

That is when I forced God to move me into a place apart- apart from the world and all I held dear, apart from my family, friends, and treasures, even apart from my career and my calling!

And there – in that place apart, because I had no distractions,  I opened up to my Teacher. He had my complete attention and before long we were deep in discussion. Not only did I talk to Him and ask Him questions I never knew existed he answered - I heard Him talk to me!

So as this year draws to a close, as I sit evaluating the lessons I taught. Whether or not my students learned, I know one thing for sure ---

the lessons my students taught me far outweigh what I taught them!

I owe you a great big thank you- students. You make me smile and help me

Shine!
Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Time Trials

Last Saturday I spoke in Pinehurst at the Village Chapel. The ladies planned an all day retreat at the Country Club of North Carolina and invited me to speak. We chose the topic:

                             Wait Management
So of course I spoke on waiting. Although the Bible teaching was deep and my stories seemed to be relevant, I got lots of comments about the practical suggestion I made- a “gym bag” to take to God’s Wait Room. I suggested that the ladies create their own little tote bag and fill it with items that would help them survive their time trials. The bag I showed them can easily be stowed away in a big purse or under the car seat to be used when our lives are put on hold- you know, when a child runs late and you are stuck waiting in the parking lot or when an appointment runs over and the doctor or hair dresser puts you off a few minutes or half an hour!

I have found that when I have something worthwhile to occupy my time I am less likely to lose my patience or become frustrated.
In my Wait Management “work out bag” I have a small Bible, a notebook, pen, highlighter, note cards for writing notes of encouragement, a devotional, pictures of my favorite people so I can pray for them, a collection of my favorite quotes, Bible verses, the latest P31 Magazines – sometimes I even give them away in waiting rooms!
Why not make it a priority to make yourself a work out bag and prepare yourself for the next time you are in the Wait Room or better yet- create a few to have on hand and give away to friends whose lives have ground to a halt and be a blessing to someone who needs encouragement. Be a meaningful blessing and
Shine! .
Sunday, April 25, 2010

Movin' on Monday

MOVING CLOSER TO YOUR DREAM 

Normally, on Mondays I write about moving. Today I will continue my moving blog- but in a unique direction:

I want to encourage those of you whose names were not drawn for the She Speaks scholarship to keep on movin’ on --- in a new direction. Get creative about how you can design your next “move” toward your speaking and writing ministry- mainly getting to She Speaks.

First let me mention that I would like to say to all the ladies who posted comments on my blog last week, you ladies whose big dream right now is to attend She Speaks --- I dreamed that dream once and I know that your dreams and plans are exciting ones. What a future and a hope you have. I encourage you to never give up until you get to She Speaks.

Now even though the scholarship winner has been announced and you are not her please keep the P31 conference a high priority and a future hope.

The first time I ever felt God’s nudge to step into any form of public ministry I couldn’t believe it. I was happily engaged in a career I loved, one which allowed me to minister day in and day out. I was a teacher. I continue to be a teacher.
So why was God adding to my plate by calling me to a new journey? Today, twenty five years later I understand – the call was the first step. For years I remained dormant as to the call. I continued to work, a second baby boy was born, my husband’s career moved us not once, not twice, but three times- and then we moved to Charlotte where I finally felt God place me on a fast track.

So why did he call me and then leave me to wonder???

He was preparing me! He was giving me material. There were details in my life that I didn’t understand 25 years ago. Bottom line – I was not ready. Even since I’ve stepped into speaking and writing, there have been times God has placed me in a holding pattern. I’m experiencing a pause right now!

We don’t always understand His ways, but we can trust that His way is perfect.

So dear one- don’t despair during this pause. Use this time to open your heart, fill your files and journals with stories, Biblical knowledge and spiritual wisdom.
And use this time to create and develop a scholarship fund for yourself.
I am reminded of Paul who, while he preached and traveled, while he spoke and wrote, he built tents!

“There he (Paul) became acquainted with Aquila and his wife, Priscilla… Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.”Acts 18:2-4

Want to use this brief blip in your life to prepare for a speaking ministry- begin now to do what you do whether it be tent making or … to invest in your future. The Proverbs 31 web site has easy to follow directions on developing your own scholarship fund. Today is the best day to begin.


Why not let your friends, family members, co-workers, and people from your church know about your desire to attend the conference. Many women have been afforded the opportunity to attend in years past just by getting the word out. We have prepared a letter that may help you in your fundraising efforts. For a copy of please email Samantha at Samantha@proverbs31.org for more information.

Should you decide to raise support, you will need to register for the conference to ensure your spot AND send Samantha@proverbs31.org your mailing address. This is imperative to making sure your funds are allocated to you.

There are many creative ways to build your fund. In addition to letting others know you are working toward a really important goal in your life, take a look at your daily habits – a soda or Starbucks treat or fast food lunch or tall sweet tea (sometimes I am aghast that I pay $2 for a glass of tea!) What can you eliminate? Look for other opportunities. I know you can find them. It may take time, but what a challenging journey and how proud of yourself you will be when you reach your goal. The wait is always worth it.

How about letting me know what ideas you come up with so we can share them with all the other women looking for ways to get to She Speaks.

Meanwhile I have prayed for each of you who have left a comment on my blog. Thanks for coming over to visit. I hope you come back often and as you begin your move toward Charlotte for either this year’s or next year’s conference let me remind you to

Shine
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Win a Scholarship to She Speaks

Reading has been one of my favorite pastimes since I could pick up my own book and make sense of the words. I grew up in a storytelling family surrounded by lots of communication, so not only did I like to read I liked to talk. My reading and speaking led me to study education in college and eventually, I  landed in a classroom teaching.

One day I saw my life's experiences coming together- God was using what  he had allowed in my life to begin a new thing in me --- I moved to Charlotte where I met the P31 women. One day Glynnis asked me to write an article for the magazine - a simple article to encourage women in their moves.

That was before She Speaks had  been conceived.

A couple of years later after volunteering in the office, after having stepped out of public school teaching and into women’s ministry, especially facilitating Bible studies - I was privileged to attend my first She Speaks Conference . Since then I have learned so much about writing and speaking and good books and leading women to God’s heart and most importantly I have learned to look to God as my guide as He develops in me a unique passion to glorify Him.

Have you by chance felt God’s calling to speak or write or lead or develop a personal ministry. Maybe She Speaks is the place for you!
Proverbs 31 Ministries is giving away scholarships to this year’s conference. We invite you to a tour of our blogs: visit us (listed on the side bar), leave comments and we will be gathering your thoughts. The tour ends Friday night. Monday the winners will be announced.

While you tour I invite you to visit our Shop 31  store. You will be surprised and amazed at the wonderful encouragement you can find tucked away in our resources.

Hope to see you at She Speaks and until then,

Shine!
Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Time Trials

I have decided to rename my posts about waiting. I am moving to Thursdays where I will discuss the timely trials placed before us. Time? because waiting is all about time- “How long must I wait?” Trials? Because almost inevitably one of life’s waits comes with a test. “So how do you pass the test?” you might wonder.

There are two bench marks, I believe

1- Endure~ with God’s grace, clinging to Him

2- Behave~ by God’s grace, shining so the world can see that all things are possible for those who love the Lord.

Endure means we continue on with faith, practicing what we say we believe, giving each wait regardless how light or heavy – to our loving Father who asks to carry our burdens.

Behave means to live as if God had already come to the rescue. We live confident knowing He is working, even though we don’t see it or feel it. We treat others with dignity and kindness. We smile. Yes we can grieve and cry out to God, and while we do, the vulnerable in us shines, encouraging others to persevere.

So while we practice endurance and good behavior we have a choice in the midst of our time trials. We can despair or we can be desperate.

The March 25 entry in Streams in the Desert encourages those of us training in waits to “be desperate for God.” Despair gets us nowhere.

When obstacles and trials seem
Like prison walls to be,
I do the little I can do
And leave the rest to thee.

And when there seems no chance, no change
From grief can set me free,
Hope finds its strength in helplessness
And calmly waits for thee.

Shine!
Monday, April 12, 2010

Movin' on after movin' in Mondays


Moving through The Gate

Hello- chances are- if you are purposefully reading this post today- it is because you know that I regularly write about moving on Mondays.

Welcome- sisterhood of move-hers.

Even if you think that you are not on the move- better get up and start movin' - don't want to linger and stangnate! 


Jesus says in Matthew 7:13, “Enter by the narrow gate.”

 
Jesus goes on to describe the narrow gate as being small and one through which few pass. In verse 21 he explains, “Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of My Father.”



Are you going to be moving around today? I know you are. Some of you are actually in the midst of a move- cross country, to the mission field, a military deployment, maybe life is changing and along with the changes you simply are moving out of your comfort zone- or across the hall to a new office.



Wherever we move, let’s be diligent to move through the narrow gate, always remembering to ask God- “What is Your will for me today?”  When we walk through the narrow gate- we can't go wrong.



God’s will is that wherever we go, whatever we do, we move through His Son who said to his disciples:


“I am the gate for the sheep. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.”



“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Jesus John 4:6



Come, walk through the Gate with me and together let’s

Shine!
Friday, April 9, 2010

Potholes in the road

Welcome, those of you who have ventured into my life from today’s Encouragement for Today. I am praying for you. I pray God be with you to lift you and give you courage, strenghthen you and give you joy for today's journey.
It’s that season of the year, post winter roads pitted with potholes.

Years ago, when I was young and totally naïve about cars, the front end of my car literally fell into a huge pothole. I mean my teeth rattled. I was actually surprised when I maneuvered my car out of the deep rut. I remember the feeling of relief and elation – I drove away and all seemed well.


…until months later when I took my car in to have it serviced. The mechanic asked me too many questions, and it was then I recalled the massive hole in the highway. No longer did I feel so proud because I had to pay for neglecting my front end.

You know, if we don’t check ourselves after experiencing those unavoiadable emotional falls into  the deep pits of life, we may sustain damage – just like a car. And if we continue along as if nothing has occurred we may end up with irreparable concerns.

I’ve got to be honest with you: for too many years I kept on going after driving through potholes. Either I ignored the damage or I refused to check out the possible harm. I denied reality or suppressed truth. Consequently fear, anger, insecurity, bitterness, and lies slowly eroded my faith, trust, relationships, and joy. I found myself becoming…a bitter, weak, and whiny woman. Discontent ruled my life. The abundant life I longed for seemed like an impossibility.

I knew I had to make a change.

Potholes are inevitable. How we deal with them is up to us.

I realized that “driving around” with a scratch or a dent, mud on me, or splashed by spoils of the road was not a good practice. I needed to learn to take myself to the nearest “mechanic’s shop.”

For me that place of repair became God’s Word, prayer, Sunday morning worship, Bible study, and friends who are willing to hear about my smash ups and give me healthy perspectives on the inevitable destruction life doles out to all of us who are on the road.

Rather than ignore reality I slowly began to accept – potholes are everywhere! They can’t be avoided, discarded, denied. I had to find a way to repair the damage. I couldn’t procrastinate.

I’ve learned to no longer allow potholes to surprise me. They exist to threaten and thwart my progress. But I am not going to let that happen. Instead I choose to run to my Father for cleansing and purifying, to worship my God even when  I don't feel like it, to ask my friends for prayer even though pride would keep me from sharing all, and, because Jesus has told me I can, in the midst of the mud and dirt I strive to

Shine!