Friday, October 29, 2010

Only Love

i stole this from someone's facebook quotes.
i don't even know the person but i'm sure they wouldn't mind me stealing it.
i thought it was worth sharing.
i've been pondering life A LOT lately, and this helped put some things into perspective.
God knew i needed to read it.
hope it blesses you as it did me.

"There are only four questions of value in life. What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same: only love."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

i need to be slapped

i've been pretty pouty lately.
with no good reason at all, i've been pretty down.
just whiney about all the little things in my life that haven't gone the way i expected them too.
and i'm sure for those around me, it's gotten quite annoying because frankly, i'm annyoying myself with this attitude.
recently, i've heard/read stories about friends and loved ones and the struggles they have been going through and how they are handling these situations with complete grace and trust.
this is a pretty big slap in my face, considering how good i really do have it and how much of a baby i've been being.
God has been reminding me that He has a plan for my life that is far greater than i could even begin to imagine.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
this isn't the only verse that says something like this. there are numerous times in His Word that He tells us that He knows what He's doing and that He loves us and WILL take care of us.
but even if the verse in Jeremiah was the one and only time He said anything like that, that should be enough.
if He said it, He meant it, and He will do it.
our Father has indeed blessed me in this life. i have it so good compared to so many others and have no right to complain or feel distressed.
i need to be reminded of this on a daily basis.
i've been acting like a spoiled child lately and it's just not right. He gives and gives and gives and i continue to take and expect more. i've totally taken for granted His grace and love and mercy and gifts.
i pray that He forgives me for this.
and i know He will because that's how He works. :)
i will count my blessing today rather than my misfortunes. i know the former greatly outweighs the latter.
i will rejoice in the goodness of our Savior and put my trust in Him and Him alone.
and someday in the future when i go back to my pouty and selfish ways(because i undoubtedly will) i pray that He slaps me in the face once again, just like He did today.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

my heaven

I recently read the book "the five people you meet in heaven". It was a pretty good read.
If you haven't read it, I'll give you a little bit of info about it so that you can understand what I'm about to write.

In the book a man named Eddie passes away. However,  instead of going directly to heaven he must first meet five people and learn 5 lessons. With each person he meets, he goes to "their heaven"--a place they loved and want to spend eternity. For example, when Eddie meets the first man, he goes to a theme park because this is where the man was the happiest in his life.

This is a nice idea. I'm not sure I think that's how it's going to be but, I get the point.
It did make me think about what I would want "my heaven" to be, if I could pick.

So, where was I the happiest?

I love the beach. it's beautiful and peaceful. Warm and sunny. That would be nice. But not necessarily  my pick.

Scotland's rolling hills were incredible. A sight that is hard to explain unless one has been there. Rainbows upon rainbows. Green, rolling hills that seems to go on forever. One of my favorite places I have visited, but not THE favorite.

I love Thailand with it's amazing sights and incredible people.

Tennessee almost feels like home, even though I've only visited a couple of times.

All of those places are spectacular.

But if I had to pick one place, just one, I would pick the canyon on my family's land.

I've tried to describe our canyon to people before who have never heard of or been to such a place, and I fear I've done a poor job.

So let me try, once again to give a fair description of this place that touches my heart so deeply.

Through the land that my family owns runs a canyon. Not large and vast like the grand canyon and not small and shallow like a creek.

You drive through the pasture and there's a line of trees all along. It just looks like a regular tree row. But,  past those trees, lies the canyon. You weave your way down the trails that the cattle have created over the years. After a few minutes trek, you hear and smell the water before you see it. You come upon the edge and below is the stream and pools. green moss, red sand rock, wild flowers and clear water greet you.  There are streams to wade in and deep, cool pools to swim in. there are fish to catch. It's truly breath taking...almost magical.

But the beauty is not the only reason why I love it. =It's the memories that that canyon holds.

When my sister and I were little girls, after working out in the summer sun, our daddy would take us for a swim in the canyon. We'd splash and play. We were never afraid of snakes or any other animals because we knew our dad was there to protect us. There was never a worry or a care; just freedom and pure happiness.

Sometimes, if we had time, Dad, my sister and I would "walk the canyon". This meant, we would start at the swimming hole and walk south all the way to the end. There comes a point on the walk where the canyon splits and you can go left and continue until you leave our land and the canyon becomes someone else's property. This is a pretty easy journey. But, if you go right, there's a little more adventure to be had. This way is a little more rugged. Less traveled. More moss and fallen trees. But the end result is so cool! You get to the pool, which is called "the Devil's Soup Bowl" and it completely dead-ends. It's just sand rock wall straight up for about 15 feet. The water is so clear and cold, as it is fed by natural springs. There's even a little cave up in the wall. A long time ago you could access the cave via a ledge, but over the years the ledge has eroded. I hear there are some initials of some pretty ornery boys carved in there; one set being my dad's.

If you decided you wanted to go north from the swimming hole, there are more initials to be seen. Etched into the wall of sand rock, you will find my papa's initials and my daddy's. you see, it was one of their favorite places too.

I've shared so many fun times in that old muddy canyon.
My first camping experience was on the banks of the stream in the canyon when I was only a few years old.
My nephews and I loved to go play there. Sometimes making our own "huckleberry fin" type poles to fish with.
My best friend Sarah and I would go there often when we were teens to just get away.

The summer before my senior year of high school, 3 of my best friend's and myself camped there. It was sooo hot, but lot's of fun. We played in the water and cooked hot dogs; built a bon fire that was way too big and completely unnecessary in August. We felt so grown up, being out there on our own.  I cherish that time so much because it was one of the last times that I  got to spend with my friend and cousin, Jan. We lost her a few years later in a car accident. The picture that was chosen to be on her headstone is actually from that very trip. I can still hear her sweet laugh and the other girls as well, as we lay in that tent so many years ago talking about boys and the upcoming school year and whatever else 18 year old girls discuss.

I've heard stories so many times about my daddy and his daddy in that canyon, that they feel like my own. My dad and his friends played there, making forts and doing God only knows what else. My papa played there when he was young as well.

Life always seemed so much better on the canyon. Not that I didn't have a perfectly wonderful life, but everyone has bad days now and again. But in that canyon everything else just faded away. For the moments we were there, there were no worries, no arguments, no stress. Just peace. Like I said, it was pretty magical.

I haven't been there in several years. but it's in my heart. I still know it like the back of my hand. It's such an important part of me. Nothing but joy comes to my mind when I remember the canyon.

So yeah, I guess if heaven were the place you were the happiest in this life, my heaven would be the canyon--tall green grass, wild flowers, clear streams and pools.  And memories, beautiful memories.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just let it go already

so, i used to think that i was really good at the whole "forgiveness" thing.
if someone hurt me, i could forgive them and move right along. often times, letting them hurt me again and again.
i was never prone to hold grudges and it really irritated me when others did. i mean, what's the point. when you hold a grudge it really doesn't hurt anyone but yourself.

i realized recently, however, that there are a few people in my life who i do indeed hold a grudge against. if you mention these people's names it makes me physically ill with anger. i can't stop saying hateful things about them. i've never even tried to forgive these people.

have they asked for but should i still forgive them? most definately. the Bible tells us to forgive as we are forgiven.

i've been holding out and holding on.
i don't why i hold onto this bitterness so tightly.
it's not hurting the person's i'm angry at.
i'm certain the couldn't care less that i'm still mad at them.
yet, it's eating away at me. it's only making me uglier; making my heart harder.

i have to let it go.
but it's so hard. because if i forgive them, then i have to be nice to them. and if i'm nice to them, that gives them the chance to hurt me again. and then, they win.

but that's precisely how Christ loves us. He forgives and loves and trusts and gets hurt, time and again. and that is what we are called to do.

people say, "well, i can forgive but i won't forget." yes, that's true. when you forgive a person the memory will not be magically erased from your bank. but, if you TRULY forgive that person, you won't hold that memory against them. you will believe whole heartedly that they will never hurt you again.

we talked about love in church yesterday. "love is patient. love is kind. it does not envy. it does not boost. it holds no records of's always hope, always trusts, alwasy perserveres..."
if i'm gonna be like Jesus, then i'm gonna have to be love because He is love. and if i'm gonna be love then i'm going to have to patient and kind and trusting and forgiving. that's all there is to it.

so, i'm making conscious effort to forgive. and to let go. and to trust. maybe, i'm setting myself up for a fall. maybe these people will break my heart again. but then again, maybe not.

either way, it's not about me. it's about doing what Christ asks of me. and there's no way i can lose there.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Part of the Plan

i consider my faith to be pretty strong.
i've gone through some tough times in my life and have come out still believing that there's a reason for everything.
my mind will never be able to completely understand this life. and i'm okay with that.
most days...
but there are times that i still wonder "why?".
this weekend was one of those times.

a dear friend of mine passed away very unexpectedly.
he was a good man.
he was my very first boss. a great boss.
he was also, the one who helped me to start my career.
he was a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, and a true man of God.

i have very fond memories of working for him.
and of just being a friend of his.

when i heard of his passing i thought to myself, "why? why do the good ones go so soon?" "why did his poor girls have to lose their daddy a week before father's day?" "why him? why now?" "surely this can't be right."

i wasn't necessarily angry, rather, just confused.

the next morning was Sunday. and i just happened to be back home and able to attend church service with my old congregation.

a good friend of mine, gave the "prayer of praise". i heard his voice crack as he spoke of bruce and praised God for allowing us to know him.

during worship we sang one of my favorite songs called "thomas' song". below are the lyrics:

Jesus, You were all to me,
Why did You die on Calvary?
O Lamb of God I fail to see
How this could be part of the plan.
They say that You're alive again,
But I saw death and ev'ry sin
Reach out to claim their darkest win.
How could this be part of the plan?
If I could only hold your hand,
And touch the scars
Where nails were driven.
I would need to feel Your side
Where holy flesh by spear was riven
Then I'd believe, only then I'd believe
Your cruel death was part of the heavenly plan.
Holy presence, holy face;
A vision filling time and space.
Your nearness makes my spirit race.
Could this be part of the plan.
I see the wounds that caused the cry,
From heaven, ocean, earth, and sky;
Where people watched their Savior die.
Could this be part of the plan?
Reaching out to hold Your hand,
And touch the scars where nails were driven;
Coming near I feel Your side
Where holy flesh by spear was riven.
Now I believe. Jesus, now I believe.
Your cruel death was part of a heavenly plan.
I proudly say with blazon cry.
"You are my Lord and my God."
as the hymn came to a close i brushed the tears from my eyes.
i realized then that although i don't understand now, someday, somehow, i will.
and because of  "the plan" my dear friend was able to go on from this life to rest with our savior.  
although our hearts ache for him here on earth, we can find comfort in knowing that he is safe in our father's arms.
he is able to see the hands that were pierced for him and the rest of us.
he is able look upon Jesus' face.
he can see "the plan" in full.

he is home now.
we will miss you dearly, bruce.
but, i know we'll see you soon, because it's all apart of the plan.

Friday, April 30, 2010

don't touch that dial

i let myself listen to the songs about war now.

last year at this time, that was a definate "no no".

my nephews and friends were over-seas and to keep myself sane i only let myself listen to and watch "happy" things.
but now that they are home, when certain songs come on the radio, i don't have to reach for the dial immediately.
i can listen to them now. it's still habit to want to change it but not an automatic reaction like before.

 today, as a song by tim mcgraw came on the radio i allowed myself to really listen to the words and i thought about those boys and girls that aren't home yet.

my family has a sense of relief, but there are other families out there that still can't listen to those songs. they still have to change the station or channel.

just because my sweet boys are home doesn't mean that i am allowed to forget those other boys and girls and their friends and families.
i can't forget about those precious souls that have already gone on.
i just can't. it's not right.

so now when i hear those songs, i'll thank God for protecting my boys.
but i'll also remember to pray for His protection over all of those others. and i'll say some words of thanks for those who gave their lives.

today, i will listen but i won't forget.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

promises, promises

i hate empty words.
you know, when people say things to you because they know that's what you want to hear or how they can get to you. women(and i'm sure men as well) love to hear "pretty words". but only if they are truly meant. otherwise, they just hurt.

i can't stand broken promises.
 if a person can't back it up, then they shouldn't say it. simple as that. otherwise, it's just gonna make someone mad or break their heart.

waiting annoys me.
when someone tells me they are gonna be somewhere at a certain time and then they are late, drives me absolutely crazy. or when they tell me they will get back to me, but they never do...i can't stand that.

it's funny that these things that bother me the most, are also the things that i do/cause all the time in my relationship with Christ.

i say all the right things in my prayers. all the "i love you"s and "you are my everything"s.

i promise to be better.
to change.
to read more.
to pray more.
to love more.

but, then, i dont' do any of it. i have no follow through.
i choose to do what i want, when i want, and i make Him wait.

and you know what? He DOES.
He waits.
on ME.
He doesn't have to. but He does.


He doesn't NEED me. He's still the Lord of the universe without me.

funny thing is, He WANTS me.
He just wants to be with me.
to know me.
to love me.
to care for me.
to listen.
to guide.
to protect.

He just wants a little committment in return. that's all.
and i promise time and again to give Him that committment. i say my "i'm sorry"s and all the other pretty words. and then, again, i make Him wait.

i've done this my whole life.
and i'm sure i will continue to do so.

i get tired of things not working out on my time, so i go and try to take care of it myself.
i seek out relationships because i feel i need to be in one, and then i end up broken hearted and ashamed. or worse, i hurt the other person.
i try to solve problems on my own, and end up making a bigger mess than i started with.

and then, i come crawling back to Him, with my life in pieces expecting Him to glue it all back together. and of course He does.
and then we start all over again.

but i just can't do it anymore.

i have to try to be my best.

if i can't stand it when people lie to me or build me up then let me down with such minor promises, how much worse does He feel each time we let Him down?

oh i'm sure i'll break promises in the future.
and He'll be there with open arms when i come back with my battered and shamed heart.

but i have got to cut this selfishness business out.
i've got to stop taking Him for granted.
i've got to be the woman that i know i am destined to be.
i need to follow through.

it's unfair, really, this love and grace He gives.
this mercy that He has.
this waiting that He does.

but, i am so glad He does.

so from now on, i'll work extra hard on meaning what i say.
i'll try my best to follow through.
and i'll wait on Him.
on His timing.
on His plans.
on His promises.

because, He can and will back it up.