Monthly Archives: August 2011

Am I an Invalid?

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“Do you want to get well?” John 5:6

Some how I keep coming back to this story. I think it is the third time this summer I have had a devotion on it and our pastor did a sermon on it. The story of the invalid that couldn’t make it to the pool so he could be healed.

I have a million questions about this story. Why didn’t he ever ask for help? He had been an invalid for 38 years. Had he been coming to the pool for that long? And how did he get there, day after day, in the first place? Was he homeless and lived there? The way he tells it, he can’t get to the pool before anyone else. Why didn’t he just sit right by the pool and fall in when the waters churned? Duh!  I really don’t get it. I mean what was the guy thinking?

Jesus asked him a point-blank question. “Do you want to get well?” That is one loaded question! “Do you want to get well?” WOW! That’s all I can say. Do I? Do I really want to be more godly? Do I really want to reach more people for Jesus? Do I really want to turn from my sins? Ok, enough with the “really’s.” Am I so comfortable with the way things are I don’t want to change? Am I scared of change? I have to decide the answer to this question for myself and it is a question I need to ask daily.

Next in the story comes the excuse. I can almost hear him whining, “I have no one to help me into the pool then the water is stirred.” Put a southern drawl to that and you get “stirrrred.” We would have said, “Ain’t got no one to help me.” So, what are my excuses? And how stupid do they really sound? Really? I used “really” again. Sorry!

Then, Jesus said, ” Get up!…and walk.” Man, He can be straight to the point. In other words, “No more excuses. I am giving you the abilities to do what I want you to do. Go do it! Stop sitting here whining and complaining and go!” I can almost hear Him adding, “because I said so!” You learn not to argue with that here in the South.

I have been inspired by a gentleman that has come to speak at our church. I can not remember his name at the moment. It will come to me this afternoon. He is so full of joy. His story is just the opposite of this invalid. He has no excuses. Oh, he did at first but he got over it and got up and walked. Well, more like wheeled. You see he was injured in a football game when he was in high school. When he was hit, it broke his neck. He is a quadriplegic. He has some use of his arms, but not much. He went through his time of anger, denial and depression. Then he decided he could continue to be miserable and make everyone miserable with him or he could recognize how God could work through him and get up and walk. He chose to walk.

That is what I want to do. Get up and walk. No more excuses. As the old Nike commercials used to say, “Just Do It.” It’s that simple. So, here I go…I’m getting up!

Father, I am getting up now and I am going to walk. No more excuses. Help me to follow Your lead.

Let this inspire you…http://www.godvine.com/Hand-in-Hand-The-Most-Inspiring-Dance-You-Will-Ever-See-648.html

Read: John 5:1-9

 

 

 

Does Anyone Else Hate Clean-up?

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“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51: 7

Is it me or is there anyone else out there that hates to clean up after dinner? I really would rather leave the dishes til the next morning. I know I can’t be  the only one that does this. I just can’t be. I can clean the house all day long, but after I cook dinner, I’m done. That’s it! No more! I quit!

My dad tried to teach me to clean up the kitchen as I go. I do a pretty good job of it. Still, I have the pots and pans the food was cooked in. I still have the dishes to do. I still have the counters to wipe off. Even with the use of a dishwasher I still have to load it and wipe off the counters.

Maybe we should just get our forks and stand around the stove and eat out of the pots. That would cut down on the plates. We could just drink from the tea jug. Better yet, just turn the water on and drink from the faucet. No glasses to wash.

The last time we ate at my mother-in-laws she asked if it would be ok if she just served from the pots. Of course I said, “‘YES!” Less to wash. Why would I want to wash a pot and a serving dish?

I am the Fellowship Coordinator at our church. That means I organize eating events for the church. I love setting up the tables, decorating them, making the tea, setting out the food as everyone brings it in. We enjoy good food and great fellowship. But, then comes the clean up. UGH…can’t it clean itself up? Thank goodness for all the sweet ladies that help me. I wouldn’t do it if it weren’t for them. Even at the last fellowship we had this past Sunday I tried to put out the least amount of serving pieces. Mrs. Thelma just had to have some to serve the pies with. Really? Just use your fork. You haven’t eaten with it yet! No germs.

Clean up…well…it stinks! I have never been really good with follow-through.

There is one Person who is great with clean up. It’s not even His mess He is cleaning. It’s mine. And no matter how hard I try to clean it, I can’t. I can scrub and scrub and scrub and not ever get it clean. He cleaned my mess by getting messy Himself. Bloody messy. Covered in it. From head to toe.

My mess is my sin. Every single day I screw up and make a mess or two. Sometimes they are “accidents” and sometimes they are intentional. Doesn’t really matter though. Sin is sin. From a little white lie to murder, it doesn’t matter with Him. It is still dirt that He has to clean. He still had to get just as messy for my little white lie as He did for the serial killer. Think about it. The very first sin was eating a piece of fruit. He had to get bloody messy for Adam eating a piece of fruit he wasn’t supposed to.

I don’t leave the mess every night. I do have to admit that I like the extra time I have in the mornings when I am not having to clean last night’s mess. It only takes me less than 15 minutes to clean everything, especially since I have been cleaning as I cooked. I do feel good about having it out of the way.

I am so thankful that Jesus didn’t put off clean-up till the next morning. I’m so thankful that He didn’t leave me in the sink covered in dirt that gets dried on and hard to remove. He cleansed me at the perfect time. He has made me whiter than snow. Any mess I make in the future, He has already cleaned for me. All my past messes are so clean even a forensic scientist could find no evidence.

Thank You, Jesus, for washing me in Your blood and making me clean. You are awesome!

Read: John 19: 16-30

Confessions of the Unorganized

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“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33

Ok, I admit it. I am not very organized. At least my daily routine isn’t. It is very hodge-podge. I pretty much do what I feel like doing. Not much gets done. There are more days than not that nothing gets done. Yea, it sounds like fun, but after a while it gets old and I am bored. The Lord didn’t put me on this earth to do nothing.

So, I have decided to do something about it. I am getting myself organized. Here’s how I’m doing it.

First, I am going to start getting up earlier. Last year when I substituted I got up one hour earlier to do my quiet time. I have been hearing the Lord telling me to do this since school started back, but I’ve been ignoring Him. I read another blog on organization and she says she gets up 2 hours earlier. My favorite blog, The Pioneer Woman, also gets up early. Guess you have to when you live on a ranch. But, they seem to be able to get more done. I, too, can get more done when I get an early start.  This will mean I have to change my nightly routine and go to bed earlier.

I decided I need a way to keep up with everything so, I looked around my house to see what I could use. I found this.

Just a simple folder my kids won’t use for school. I don’t feel I need a binder, notebook, whatever you want to call it, just yet. I plan on cleaning it out every month. I’m using plain notebook paper inside.

My Man made fun of my son, Will, went he was packing his car for school. MM noticed Will’s white board. He asked if Will really used it. Both Will and Kathy said they couldn’t live without it! (Kathy was helping to see him off. She apparently uses one too!) I had recently read a book on home-based businesses and in it the author highly suggested a calendar. Ok…I got the message. I need a way to keep up with my schedule. I do remember things better if I write them down. Tell me something and you better tell me 2 or 3 times or I will not remember. Put it on paper and it is in my head. So, I made myself a calendar.

I’ll get MM to print me one this afternoon. Printer’s in his office. I’m too lazy to walk out there.  This will have to do until then. I do have a calendar in my kitchen with birthdays on it. Think I’ll leave the birthdays there and just use this for meetings and meets. Oh, I need to write “snacks” on the UGA meet. My turn to do them that day.

My friend, Pam, keeps a list of things she plans and needs to do for the day in a simple spiral notebook. I decide to follow her example. This is for Monday.

It’s wrinkled because I erased so much. I want to use a pencil so I can make changes if needed. I plan on allowing myself to be flexible and not get all bent out of shape if I don’t get something done or I am interrupted by something more important. See the “pay bills”? I really hate that one! I am going to try at least once a week, for now, to send a card to a shut-in of our church. I am not good at remembering to send cards for any reason. Just ask my family if they get their birthday cards on time or if ever. Lately Facebook has been my reminders. Not very personable. Maybe putting it on my “To do” list will help me remember.

I am hoping and praying that the crafting part of His Heart and Home will begin to grow. If so, I will need to be more disciplined in my schedule and sticking to it. I need to start off small and allow the Lord to guide me in its growth and scheduling. I do get overwhelmed very easily!

I’m going to give this a try for the next week and I will let you know how it goes. I better write that down on my calendar or I will forget! I hope I have inspired someone to get better organized. If I have, leave me a comment and we can encourage each other along the way. I need all the encouragement I can get!

Father, You are a God of great organization. That shows from how You created the heavens and the earth and the order You did it in. You know we need organization as well. Help me to get better organized. Thank You.

Read: Proverbs 1: 7,22; 2:1-6 and James 1:5

 

A Sense of Accomplishment

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“Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding; acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

I had an argument with myself this morning. I was fighting about whether to run or not. I really do like to run once I get going. It’s the getting going part I have a hard time with. I come up with a million excuses. “But I have too much to do today!!!” “It’s too HOT!” “I just don’t really want to.” Ok, really only three good ones, but they are good justifications to not run. Maybe not the last one.

I have to have a reason to run. That is why I worked with the cross-country team last year. I had to run. You can not coach running and not run. My only excuse not to run was to time the runners when we did timed runs. And I took full advantage of that excuse. Now, I have given myself another reason to run again. I challenged some others to run a charity 5k in November. (For those of you who don’t run a 5k equals 3.1 miles.) I have also set some goals and posted them on Facebook so now I feel obligated to meet those goals. So, I made myself run this morning.

I started with a warm-up of walking my driveway. (Mine is 1/10 of a mile) Not a great warm-up, but my legs knew something was about to happen. Of course my run would start on an up-hill, so I pushed myself up the hill. Once I made it to the top I walked for about a minute (or 2). Then I was off running again to the top of the next hill. Another small break. It is about 6/10 of a mile to the front of my neighborhood from my drive. At the front is a small, but very steep hill. I had made up my mind to run most of the way back home, since it is mostly downhill, so I quickly walked up the last hill. I turned around and started home.

I like the return home. It is mostly downhill and I can relax as I run and still make good time. It also gives me time to think. Going up the hills I am concentrating on getting to the top, but on the way down I just think. Can’t remember what I thought about this morning, so it must not have been too important.

At the end of my run with about 100 yards or so to go I really pick up the pace. Actually, I sprint. I do this to practice for the end of the race. At the end of most races you can see a big clock that is showing you and everyone else the time. If I am close to beating the time I ran before (my PR or personal record), I see that and do my darnest to beat that time. Always go for the PR.

After my run I felt pretty good. I felt good because not only that I was finished with running for the day, but that I accomplished something. It feels good to know I did something that I really didn’t want to do and that I did a good job at it. I am no where close to being ready for that 5k, but I am one step closer. And each day I run the running will get easier and I will be able to go farther, faster.

I feel that way when I choose to be obedient to God, too. Oh, I can come up with a million excuses to not be obedient. “Everybody’s doing it!” “It’s not that bad.” “I’m not as bad as so and so is.” Ok, only three again, but there are a lot more excuses out there. We have all heard them and used them before. We try to justify our behavior, when there really is no justification. We just need to be obedient.

By the way, did you know that an excuse is really just a lie for the real reason you don’t want to do something? Think about it.

Being obedient here on earth is our training for our life in heaven. Yea…like we’ll get there and tell God no. You really can’t tell Him no anyway. Oh, He will let you, but He will always bring the situation back around until you do decide to be obedient. Even if that means you fall flat on your face and have to say “yes.”

I find that if I just go ahead and do what the Lord is asking me it’s not that bad. Actually, it’s not bad at all. Like running it may take some hard work. I may feel a few aches and pains. I will have to make some changes, do things differently, but in the end I will be blessed with a sense of great accomplishment.

The more I read and study God’s Word, the more I realize how disobedient I am. That’s Ok. God’s grace has it all covered and He encourages me to keep on going, to push myself up those hills of life and to enjoy the downhills. He is running right there beside me, encouraging me, telling me, “You can do this. You’ve got this. We’ll do this together. We’ll run this all the way through.” I need that kind of encouragement, don’t you?

Father, Thank You for always encouraging me. Especially when I come up with excuses. They are just lies anyway. You never let me get away with my excuses but make me face the truth. Thank You for the blessings I receive when I am obedient. I love you!!!

Read: John 15: 1-8

Finding My Center of Valance

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“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 16: 25

I looked for it but couldn’t find it. I looked in the box that I keep my important papers in. Not the insurance or policy papers. The more important ones. All the drawings and report cards from my children’s childhood. It wasn’t there. I wanted to show it to you, but I could find it. 😦

It was a picture that Will drew for Dillon when they (Will and Kathy) were trying to teach Dillon how to ride his bike. It was so cute. Will had drawn the yard and Dillon riding his bike through it. He drew three pictures if I remember correctly. In one he had Dillon leaning too far to the left. In the other Dillon was leaning too far to the right. In the last one he drew Dillon up right and had written, “find your center of valance.”  My Man and I, of course, thought it was cute that Will had called it the center of “valance.” Even cuter that he had written it when Dillon couldn’t even read yet. But the funny thing is, after looking at that picture, Dillon went right out there got on his bike and found his “center of valance.” MM and I were impressed!

With school starting back things are getting busy again. Dillon has cross-country practice after school. Some Saturdays he will have meets (that start way too early in the morning). We have church on Wednesday nights, and then the committee meetings. MM has picked up some surveying that will have to be done either in the afternoons after work or on Saturdays. He is also helping to install some stuff on chicken houses. This is done also after work or on the weekends. The lazy days of summer are ending and things are getting back into full swing.

When things get busy I need to make sure that I keep my “center of valance” and keep my priorities in line. I can’t let the cross-country, or church activities, or anything else get in the way of my relationship with the Lord or my family. I need to make sure that I am doing things for God’s glory and not my own, even the “good” things. I can get too involved and ignore the most important things in my life.

On the other hand, now that I’m not substituting at the schools any more, I need to make sure that I don’t eat the “bread of idleness” and not get my chores done around here. It is way too easy for me to spend too many hours on this computer. I need to make sure that my work is productive and for the Lord’s glory. I need to do my share of the work around here so that MM feels good about coming home, knowing that things are taken care of and a good dinner is waiting for him, even when I’m not here for one reason or another.

If things are getting busy at your house now that school and all the related activities are in full swing, take some time with the Lord and ask Him to show you the balance you need in your life. If you must drop something then do so. It may not be what God wants you to do. He may want someone else to do that job. Give them the honor. Don’t forget that the number one thing you need to do is spend time with Him each day. Start your day with Him and end your day with Him. You will find your center of valance.

Father, today help me to work hard while keeping everything in balance. Let me keep my focus on You and not on the activities of my day. Show me where I am doing too much or not enough. Thank You for Your guidance.

Read: Ecclesiastes 2:17-26; 12:13-14

Fartlicks

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“Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize?”        1 Corinthians 9: 24

Fartlicks…yes, you read right. I said Fartlicks. Pronounced like it is spelled. I hate them. They are the worst!

I have been challenged by a friend of mine to start exercising again. I haven’t run since April. I have taken the challenge. I raised the stakes and challenged her to run a 5k in November. She has accepted that challenged. Now we are training for the 5k.

I think I have a small advantage over her in that, last year, I helped with the high school cross-country team. Dillon is on the team again this year so when he gets home I asked him what they did that day. I do that the next day in my training.

But, not today. Yesterday the team did timed mile repeats. I can’t even run a mile yet. What’s a mile repeat? you ask. It’s when you run a mile and are timed. You take a few minute break then you run another mile. They did three of these yesterday. Dillon’s times weren’t bad. He ran a 6(minute): something mile, then a 7: something, then a 6:something. I can’t remember the seconds. His three miles were at 21 minutes. Not bad.

So, what’s a Fartlick. It’s when you run fast, almost a sprint, for 1 minute, then jog easy for 1 minute, run fast for 2 minutes, jog for 1, fast for 3, jog for 1, fast for 3, jog for 1, fast for 2, jog for 1, fast for 1, jog for 1. We called them 1,2,3,3,2,1 Fartlicks. By the end of the season they were running 1,2,3,4,4,3,2,1 Farlicks. They are hard, but practice is short.

Then again, all of the training for running is hard. It is not just going out there and running a long way. There are hills to run. I hate hills, too. We run hills over and over. We run fast up the hills. We push ourselves to get up those hills as fast as we can. Then we have courthouse runs. We call them that because we start our run at our county courthouse. lol There is a nice, long dirt road that is a few miles long behind the courthouse. We run for 30 minutes out then turn around and come back. The girls can get in 3-5 miles while the boys get in 6-8. I like the down hills on these runs. You can actually relax and breath as you come down the hills. And although I do hate some of the workouts, I always feel good after the run. I feel like I have really accomplished something. Some people call it a runners high.

Dillon running the Patriot 5k.

Paul said that our Christian life is like a marathon. It takes training. There will be days the training is hard and intense. You will have to push yourself up those hills. You will have to do those repeat miles. You will have to do those Fartlicks. Man, I really hate them!!! Then you will have your downhills where you can relax even though you are still running.

It is important in training that you do a warm-up and a cool-down. The same is true with our Christian walk. We should begin each day with a warm-up or a quiet time, and a cool-down, a time of prayer and thanksgiving for what God did for us that day. And like in running you should always take a day off. The team take Sunday’s off. Sunday’s are good because it allows you to relax in the Lord and rest in His arms. It is time to be refreshed for the next week and the training it will bring. It allows both our minds and body to gain the strength they need.

I need that strength. Those stupid Fartlicks are waiting.

Father, Thank you for exercise and the benefits that it brings. Thank You for your Word and the benefits that it brings. Thank You for helping me get through the Fartlicks of both running and in my walk with You!

Read: 1 Corinthians 9: 24- 27

Dillon finishing the race. Not a personal record, but everyone was slow that day.

One day we will see God’s finish line and He will say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Stupid…Stupid…Stupid!!!!!

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“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately.” Luke 19: 5

Meet Buddy. He is just over a year old so he is still very much a kitten. We have had him since the day he was born. Will, my son, brought his mom home from college when she was a kitten. I claim him as my cat.

Since he still is very much a kitten he still likes to get into all kinds of things. He still chases the other 4 cats we have. One day he is going to regret that. He still likes to chase bugs. He is always walking in front of me an flopping down so I will pet him.

When ever we open the door Buddy is right there wanting in. You can’t open the door for him being in the way.

Buddy likes to find cozy places to sleep. I found him in this box, that was under the porch, sleeping. He was so asleep that I actually moved the box on the porch before he woke up.

Buddy is a brave cat. At least that’s one way to put it. Last fall he stocked a deer that was in our front yard. No joke! Here’s proof…

Buddy started on the porch and slowly moved his way down to the walkway. He sat perfectly still by a mum so the deer wouldn’t see him. He slowly moved down the walkway as the deer moved and got closer to the walk.

I will say this for cats. They are very,very patient. My Man and I both tried to video these for over 15 minutes, waiting for Buddy to pounce. We both decided that it was all for show and turned off the cameras. Wouldn’t you know as soon, and I mean as soon, as we turned them off, he pounced. Scared the poor deer to death. MM was upset that he couldn’t get his bow and shoot the deer himself. Bow season was still a couple of weeks away.

But Buddy isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, or the sharpest tack! He did something really, really stupid one day last spring. Remember I told you he liked to chase the other cats? He decided to chase Scaredy, our oldest and other gray cat. Scaredy turned the tables. I heard the fight, but since it was 6:00 am, I ignored it.  I wanted to sleep. The fight didn’t last long.

During my quiet time I heard this awful, pitiful, groaning meow. Again, I ignored it. About an hour later the cat was still groaning. I can usually tell which cat is which by their “meows”, but I couldn’t recognize this one. Never heard it before. And I couldn’t tell where it was coming from, so I decided to investigate.

I walked out on the deck and found who was making the noise and where it was coming from. The tree! Buddy was at the top of the tree. I mean about a foot from the top. I walked back inside and told Dillon. He said, “what do you want me to do about it?” haha. I walked back outside and tried to coax him out of the tree. Wasn’t working. He was stuck. This truly was one of those times I could have called the fire department.

Will to the rescue! He had to take pictures first. lol I was below taking my own.

Can’t see buddy? Let Will’s editing  help you.

 Buddy was scared. He had been up in that tree for a few hours already. It took Will about 15 minutes to get Buddy to come even close enough for him to pet. Finally, Will was able to grab Buddy by the neck and pass him down to me. He really wanted down. He had to go to the bathroom. lol

I can’t help but think of how many times I have done stupid things like Buddy. How many times have I gotten myself up a tree with the stupid things I say, the stupid things I do. How many times have I been stuck up there “meowing” to get someone’s attention only to be ignored because I have done the same stupid thing before and others are tired of it and leave me there. (Can’t say that I blame them.)

I am so thankful that Jesus will climb the tree and help me down. He coax me to face my fears and let go of them so He can help me down. He passes me on to Wisdom who holds me and comforts me and teaches me my lesson.

Buddy learned his lesson that day…somewhat. He still chases the other cats, but he has never been back up that tree. LOL  Hopefully I will be like Buddy and learn my lesson, too. Oh I will do something stupid again, I’m sure. And I know God will be there for me.

Father, thank you for helping me out of the trees I have been stuck in. Thank You for your forgiveness.

Read: Luke 19:1-10