Friday, August 30, 2013

Revisiting Marina's Kitchen Table Archives #6

I recently found the hard drive of all my first posts, writing in a Yahoo Group called Marina's Kitchen Table. It was the same thing as here, but perhaps a little more devotional in writing, as I leaned hard on God during a really difficult season in life. 

I'm sharing those first writings again, as we make another move, and I anticipate my time at the computer to be more focused on getting the work done on that handbook on Missionary Care. 

I hope that you enjoy these entries as much as I do. I have NO idea where this journey will go, as I was as irregular a writer then as I am now! :)  Some things never change! 

Be blessed!
Marina
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As a child I came to believe simple truths that would not fail me. Kisses heal. Hugs are nice. The sun is warm. Candy is good. As I grew, I didn't think much about these things. I just KNEW them. It was GREAT to be reminded of them daily, by experience (like getting a piece of candy, or laying in the warm sun...) but a general assumption was made, and I didn't often think about it.

In my walk with Jesus, there are other things that I know. The problem is, I've forgotten what a profound impact these things have on my life, both daily and eternal. Things like: 

  • "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis1:1
  • "Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Psalms 55:22
  • "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to believe in man." Psalms 118:8
  • "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow." James 1:17

What would our lives be like without knowing these things? The only way we can be reminded is to spend time with our Creator. Praise. Pray. Read His word. As we continue to draw closer to Him, the more His truth will be etched in our hearts, our minds. It's like coming to our own mom or dad to get a daily hug, so we may be reminded of their love for us. Without that hug, we know that they love us. It is so much more real when it is shown to us, when it is put into action. PRAY. PRAISE. READ HIS WORD. ALLOW IT TO WORK IN OUR LIFE.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Revisitng the Marina's Kitchen Table Archives - #5

I recently found the hard drive of all my first posts, writing in a Yahoo Group called Marina's Kitchen Table. It was the same thing as here, but perhaps a little more devotional in writing, as I leaned hard on God during a really difficult season in life. 

I'm sharing those first writings again, as we make another move, and I anticipate my time at the computer to be more focused on getting the work done on that handbook on Missionary Care. 

I hope that you enjoy these entries as much as I do. I have NO idea where this journey will go, as I was as irregular a writer then as I am now! :)  Some things never change! 

Be blessed!
Marina
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At Maranatha Bible Camp we sing a song based on this verse. It goes like this:


Be excellent at what is good, be innocent of evil.(repeated)
And the God of peace will soon crush Satan, 

Yes God will crush him, underneath His feet. (repeated)


I realize that this does not do the song ANY justice, and if I sing it alone it could not compare to the power felt when 300 JR high or HS kids sang it, full of action and enthusiasm! Nonetheless, the words are for us! I love this message dearly.

Holiness takes practice! To remain innocent of evil means to NOT practice it! Now obviously, we will run across situations that will demand repentance (and probably always will!) but we need to refrain from willful disobedience..we need to be disciplined in our actions. That may mean to not turn on the TV when we know that the soaps are on (which may make us desire things that we cannot have..and is an incredible waste of time), or we may need to excuse ourselves (politely) in a group of "friends" when the conversation turns to
gossip, or we may need to practice restraint and stick to our shopping list to remain on budget. All little things, but all require practicing holiness to do the right thing. 


Maybe your situations are not reflected here. Mine are, and I have more! I think that if we ask God to reveal the areas of our life that tempt us with evil (even in the most innocent of forms, haha) He will show us those areas, and how to battle them. I know that the practice of holiness with the promise that God WILL CRUSH SATAN will help us to stay on our spiritual track. Isn't that what we all want! =)

Go to your Bible and look up Romans 16:17-20. Let's have a heart to do God's will, and be willing to "be wise in what is good, and innocent of what is evil!" Let's practice it with the enthusiasm of a room full of jr/sr high schoolers! 


WE CAN DO IT, WE CAN DO IT! WE CAN! WE CAN! 

With God's help, all things are possible!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Revisiting the Marina's Kitchen Table Archives - #4

I recently found the hard drive of all my first posts, writing in a Yahoo Group called Marina's Kitchen Table. It was the same thing as here, but perhaps a little more devotional in writing, as I leaned hard on God during a really difficult season in life. 

I'm sharing those first writings again, as we make another move, and I anticipate my time at the computer to be more focused on getting the work done on that handbook on Missionary Care. 

I hope that you enjoy these entries as much as I do. I have NO idea where this journey will go, as I was as irregular a writer then as I am now! :)  Some things never change! 

Be blessed!
Marina
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"Surely, O God, you have worn me out, you have devastated my entire household." Job 16:7 NIV


When I read these words, I new that God DID address EVERYTHING in the Bible!
Those that know me can honestly say that I am often worn out! Needless to say, my household often looks devastated too! I realize that this is NOT what Job meant, and yet in my little trials (that seem SO BIG from the middle of them), I get worn out too. Sometimes I feel devastated. I think that even this is a part of God's plan..you see, I've learned recently why I end up this way: I struggle. (SURPRISE!) 

I am learning to rest in the midst oftrials, to prayerfully wait. I am learning to seek God's will (NOT MINE!) and His timing (NOT MINE!). Period! I think it's great that we all relate to the "mountaintop/valley" picture. When we are on the mountaintop we are close to God..a deep spiritual experience has taken place..we are
conquerors...wind in our face..eyes level with eagles. Sometimes I think we feel close to God there because of WHO WE are, WHERE WE are.


Mountaintops are wonderful places to be, but sometimes, dare I say, mountaintops are barren. In the valleys of our lives we are forced to rest. The mountaintops provide the water to nourish us, for that is what makes
the valleys so green. And although we are far from being on top of the world, it is THERE we are the MOST dependent on God. We feel close to God in the valley because it isn't about us.It is because of WHO HE IS, the author and creator of ALL things.


So, in my wee little life, I am learning to admire the mountaintops of my walk with God, and to rest in the green, lush, FRUITFUL valley. I will learn my lessons, and wait for Him to lift me up in the victories. He will restore me when He is ready to. The longer I struggle, the longer restoration will take...and it will continue, until His return!


Blessings,
marina

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Ohio River...

The Ohio River at dusk, from the Twin Bridges at Henderson, KY

Great novels have been written about men and the sea - and I totally get that - having been raised within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. The draw to it's beauty, the lull of it's rhythmic waves, the pull of it's tides - it's all beautiful!

Then thrust me into an area south in Florida (or farther!) where the waters are the  most beautiful of blue-green, and translucent, like glass, as they tumble lazily on the shorelines of whisper-white sands... oh, this is relaxation at it's best!

So why am I so amazed (again) at the pull of this silent, dirty, seemingly ugly river, The Ohio, that slugishly moves along from Pittsburgh, PA and spills itself into the Mississippi River. There's nothing lovely about it in of itself. When it reaches this part of Western Kentucky it's muddy, filled with yuck (and worse) from all the industry and cities along it's banks. There's not a beautiful color to it, although it's darkness reflects the sky wonderfully, and in stormy weather it takes on the colors of a threatening sky, white caps blowing upstream. There is even something wonderful about watching the barges navigate The River, carrying coal (and other things, I suppose) under it's mats or laying on top, sometimes so many boats run together it is amazing to see them move so swiftly together. I'm thrilled to watch them go through the locks along The River too, men running back and forth, from barge to barge, manipulating these monsters through the slim canals.

What is NOT a surprise, is how, at sunset, it reflects the perfect blue sky tainted with God's handiwork. It's unmistakable. There's something about this place that captures the bluest of blue at dusk, as if God ordained it to become lovely then, and the darkness of The River captures the hues of the painted sky, and mimics it across the river.

That's when I love it most. As if it's doing best, what God created it to do. Not creating commerce, or filtering toxins, or providing recreation, or city water. It's reflecting the handiwork of God.

I want to do that too!

May I NEVER forget to worship The Creator - and give Him ALL glory for the created...the work of His hands, His mind, His will...




Friday, August 23, 2013

Revisiting the Marina's Kitchen Table Archives - #3

I recently found the hard drive of all my first posts, writing in a Yahoo Group called Marina's Kitchen Table. It was the same thing as here, but perhaps a little more devotional in writing, as I leaned hard on God during a really difficult season in life. 

I'm sharing those first writings again, as we make another move, and I anticipate my time at the computer to be more focused on getting the work done on that handbook on Missionary Care. 

I hope that you enjoy these entries as much as I do. I have NO idea where this journey will go, as I was as irregular a writer then as I am now! :)  Some things never change! 

Be blessed!
Marina
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"There is so much more we would like to say about this. But you don't seem to listen, so it's hard to make you understand. You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. And a person who is living on milk isn't very far along in the Christian life and doesn't know much about doing what is right. Solid food is for those who are
mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong, and then do what is right! So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don't need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don't need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding." Hebrews 5:11-6:3

OK...I give up! I surrender!
God has been teaching me an important lesson lately, and I confess, it's been a difficult one for me to get through. I am an expert at making excuses, especially when I'm trying to sidestep responsibilities.

Lately we have been praying about several family issues, no catastrophe's (praise be to God), but things that need prayer before changing. In the course of praying, in my little mind (with tiny amounts of faith), I keep coming to this part of the prayer that says, "But what about ME, God?"

Now that in itself should send up a red flag, as I should not need to ask about my needs! In retrospect, I see myself as the selfish kid, with a whole room full of wonderful games and entertainment opportunities, sitting on the floor with a long face and a "there's nothing to do" attitude.

God has given me the desire to write. It's been a gift that He ordained. I even wrote before I gave my life to Him, of course, not for His glory, but I used the gift anyways. Now He has given me the desire to write. He has given me the ability to write (I realize that you may not agree with that statement!). And (oddly enough) when I use my time wisely, He has given me the time and means to write. SO WHY DON'T I WRITE???!!!

What He has been teaching me is this...He has COMMANDED me to write. Out of obedience to His will, I NEED to do this!! When I don't do this I am being disobedient. Disobedience is SIN. Period.

He has not called me to write things to be pleasing to all people. I am not called to be concerned WHO reads this (and who deletes it!). It shouldn't matter at all, as He has only required me to write!! If I do something that is wrong for me, even if it's not spelled out in the Bible, it's sin in my life. In this case, I am not doing something that He wants me to do, and the effect is the same...I am sinning! Don't ask me why it took me so long to grasp that concept, but it did!

So, out of obedience to Him, seeking His will for my life, I will write. I will try to share my heart in an open and honest way, always hoping to encourage you to grow closer to Him. Although I pray that it will bless others, I pray that it will NOT be MY writing, but rather HIS Holy Spirit moving through these entries, that blesses you. I ask that you will accept my apology for my lack of obedience, as I confess this sin to you!! I hope that you may learn from MY mistake, and will find what gift you have that you should be using.


Blessings in Christ,
Marina

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Revisiting the Marina's Kitchen Table Archives - #2

I recently found the hard drive of all my first posts, writing in a Yahoo Group called Marina's Kitchen Table. It was the same thing as here, but perhaps a little more devotional in writing, as I leaned hard on God during a really difficult season in life. 

I'm sharing those first writings again, as we make another move, and I anticipate my time at the computer to be more focused on getting the work done on that handbook on Missionary Care. 

I hope that you enjoy these entries as much as I do. I have NO idea where this journey will go, as I was as irregular a writer then as I am now! :)  Some things never change! 

Be blessed!
Marina
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Someone Loves YOU!!

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great that you  will never understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of  life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 NLT

For each of us, there is a different reason that we came to Christ. Some have grown up with a relationship with Jesus. Some find themselves in awe of God, the Creator. Some of us just want to be loved, and we realize that the only love that will not disappoint is the love of Jesus Christ.

To me, the Bible is a love story. We were created in His image, to have fellowship with Him because He loved us. In the New Testament, our Savior is born a child (and who doesn’t love a baby?) only to grow into a man that gives his own life for our sins…out of His great love for us.  Sacrificial Love.

In Brennan Manning’s book  The Ragamuffin Gospel, he tells of his historical findings while in the Deep South. The phrase “born again” was seldom, if ever used in the Christian community. However, it was commonly said that “I was seized by the power of a great affection” to describe the personal breakthrough of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Mr. Manning continues, “These words describe both the initiative of God and the explosion within the heart when Jesus, instead of being a face on a holy card with long hair and a robe with many folds, becomes real, alive, and Lord of one’s personal and professional life. Seized by the power of a great affection was a visceral description of the phenomenon of Pentecost, authentic conversion, and the release of the Holy Spirit. The phrase lent new meaning to the old Russian proverb, “Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured.”” Well, AMEN!

The love of Jesus  is what drew me to Him. The motivation of my young, promiscuous life was looking for unconditional love. When the search left me broken hearted, broken bodied, and depressed, I cried out “IF there is a God, he had better meet me here, because I don’t want to live any more!!” Surprise of all surprises, He met me there. It was no longer my way, because my way didn’t work. I was finally willing to accept His love and His ways. It was still with a struggle that I learned what He had to offer me, and that I would have to change my ways. He was patient (and still is!) and continued to teach me, the whole time showing me His perfect unconditional love. I learned that He doesn’t expect us to come to Him after we clean up our lives, that is a job that He cherishes. Like lovingly rebuilding an old house, or restoring a classic car, He removes the layers of what doesn’t work, or what is broken down, and replaces it with His new way, His new part, His new heart. Slowly we mend. Sometimes I would think that the old way was better, and He would gently pick me up, clean me off, and remind me that I am worth so much more now. He changed me from the inside out. I was seized by the power of HIS great affection.

So now I have the disease called Jesus, and I don’t seek to be cured! I am addicted to His love, pure and perfect. I am willing to wait on Him, for Him, and with Him. I desire to infect as many other people as possible with this disease, so that it becomes an epidemic. I am willing to allow it to change my whole life. I expect that it will change, and I can trust Him with it, because HE LOVES ME!!

Do you desire true love? Well, let me remind you…
There IS someone who loves you very much. He gave His life for you, and He desires to spend eternity with you. Every moment of every day He desires to spend with you. To tell you secrets and share His vision of the future He is planning with you. He wants you to love Him more than any other thing, and expects you to spend the most important parts of your day with Him. He is hurt when you do things that disappoint Him, but He is always willing to forgive you. He loves the sound of your voice. He loves to hear your dreams, your desires, but loves it most when you are willing to listen to His dreams, His desires for your life. He has written you a book, and it He loves when you read it, as it allows you to learn more of Him. He knows that the more time you spend together, you will become more like Him. Only then will you be able to love others the way that He loves you…unconditionally.

If it were an earthly person that this was about, most women would go crazy!! To think that there was a man out there who wanted these things…writing me books, spending time with me, listening to me?? It would be a dream come true!! The fact is, that He does exist. He does love us this way, and that is what our heart longs for. The only problem is that we expect that longing to be filled by a person. Imperfect, broken, yet what every romance novel leads us to believe is the only solution. Fall in love….it will satisfy all your longings….NOT! Only Jesus’ love will fill those longings. He made us with a hole that can only be filled with Him. When we allow ourselves to fall in love with Him, we are then made whole. We are then seized by the power of a great affection. It changes us. We are His, willingly surrendering our wants for His needs.  Only then we are made complete.

That is where my journey began, with the search for true love. It has led me on a wonderful walk with Him. Oh, there are valleys that have been dark and difficult, but I have not ever been alone. There have been times that I have chosen my own path, refused to walk in His ways, and I have had to suffer the consequences of those choices.  Still, He has never left my side.  He has shown me the beauty in those valleys, and the glory of the mountain tops. Just as each season has its' own qualities, I have things to learn in each season of life. I have experienced true love. I have been loved. I have loved. I will love, with His love in me. I am seized by the power of a great affection. This is what love is all about.

Blessings,

marina

Monday, August 19, 2013

Revisiting the Marina's Kitchen Table Archives - #1

I recently found the hard drive of all my first posts, writing in a Yahoo Group called Marina's Kitchen Table. It was the same thing as here, but perhaps a little more devotional in writing, as I leaned hard on God during a really difficult season in life. 

I'm sharing those first writings again, as we make another move, and I anticipate my time at the computer to be more focused on getting the work done on that handbook on Missionary Care. 

I hope that you enjoy these entries as much as I do. I have NO idea where this journey will go, as I was as irregular a writer then as I am now! :)  Some things never change! 

Be blessed!
Marina
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“The most pleasure in life is giving with NO strings attached- just the gift-”
Bill Bull, November 10, 2001

What words would you say to impart some great secret that you have learned over your life? The quote above was written by our dearest friend Bill, to my daughter Melissa. He wrote from a hospital bed, when he was unable to speak, just days before his death. After encouraging her in her walk with God he wrote the thing that was the most valuable lesson to him…to GIVE…without expectations…from the heart as Jesus did.

When there is a great need in our country, we give. We send blankets and food to tornado stricken communities.  We give water and supplies to  hurricane damaged states. When lives are lost we send money to put children through college and cry with the widows. We give our own blood to help others maintain life. We will our organs to give strangers a quality of life that they have lost. When disaster hits closer to home we give our time and talents to help our own communities. But why do we wait?

There is an old saying that I haven’t heard much lately…“Flowers for the living”. Or how about simply, “Celebrate Life”? To give when it’s not needed, or rather, not expected. To give from the heart, “just because.”  Because you love them. Because we know that it’s been a rough year, or month, or week, or day. Because you appreciate the way that they are there for you when you need them. Because you CAN.

So what can we give? With Christmas over we have given plates of cookies, or elegant gifts wrapped in finest papers and silky bows, spending beyond our bank accounts and leaving us exhausted and disappointed. It’s what we have learned to do. It’s what our families have always done. It’s the American way. Well, let’s change it!

I would  suggest that we start with a note. A few kind words, handwritten on plain paper, dated and signed is easily done. It takes a little time, and your own heart will be warmed with the blessing it brings. What do you write? Maybe it’s a special memory that you have, an event shared with them that has been on your heart. Perhaps it’s “thank you” ,or “I love you”, or “I’m sorry”. Consider that it may be the last thing that you can tell them, because we never know when we are called home.

If you feel prompted to do more, then consider a gift of time. A cup of coffee and a cookie at a quiet table is a wonderful, relaxing setting to share words. Make a memory. Take a walk. Take a drive. Take a few minutes to tear down a wall and let someone know that you have missed them. That you understand. Or that you don’t understand, but you want them to know that you care, and you are here for them. Now.

Pray FOR them. Pray WITH them. Pray in your note, in person, or on the phone. Let them know that you are thankful to God for this person and how He has used them in your life. A written prayer of blessing is a wonderful thing to have tucked away in a drawer. It’s not about accomplishments, or talents, or gifts. It’s just about being. It reminds you that your life is of value, that someone is blessed by you being there, for who God has made you. It lets us know that He has used us, and IS using us.

I think that somehow, if we as a family (or church, or community, or nation) started to do this, that we could impact this world. We can decrease depression and low self esteem. We can increase friendships and share God’s love. We can tear down walls of indifference. And we will become stronger in Christ, for praying, for caring. For having a heart that was shaped after His. For giving the gift with no strings attached. Could there be a better way to start the year??

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it.

Jesus, Matthew 10:39 NLT


Saturday, August 17, 2013

An Early Blog Birthday

Recently I've been going to a few writing conferences, and my brain could not comprehend that I'd been on blogger for SO long - so I thought I'd go back and verify my facts. I thought I could just jump back in the archives to my first post, but what I ended up having to do was page back... farther and farther... to the very first post on here. It was, in fact, on August 28, 2007 (I honestly thought it was more like 2004... but the site wouldn't lie!) and it was in fact about starting a new chapter! You can read that first day's post here.

I've found the old hard drive to locate the dates on the posts I blogged (well, I didn't use that term back then... I WROTE!... lol to all you Jeff Goins fans!) on a Yahoo Group... it was all I knew - being new to the internet and all. It was around the late 90's that I wrote these first posts,  (I thought it was in 2001, but that was when we changed computers, and moved them all to another drive!). our computers were hand me downs from dear friends that were retired from IBM, so they had new computers once a year or so.

Our first few computers weren't even internet compatible, which was fine, since we didn't have internet in our area for a long time! Once we did get it, of course it was dial up (remember those tones?) and I soon got a Yahoo Group account set up for Marina's Kitchen Table (I looked just now, and it isn't there any more - I'm sure I deleted it!). As our computer got outdated, and Yahoo increasingly added more and more cookies to their programming, I ended up shutting down the Marina's Kitchen Table Yahoo Group and eventually started it back up as a blogger site.

Now that I've found those old posts, I think I'll run them as a series a few days a week - something good for me to do in the midst of this move! In the mean while, I'll celebrate my 6 year blogger birthday on here!!

Pull up a chair, and choose your cupcake! :)



Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Hmmmms of Being in the Middle

He was supposed to be home 2 days ago...well, we'd hoped so anyways. But it wasn't to be... and he's just now on his way back home...and 3 more hours to go till he gets here (at least).

We move from this place a week from tomorrow; 8 days from now we hope to be rolling in to KY and seeing all that fescue growing green on the hills. No more of this Bermuda (ick), and our life starts over (again) in the smallness of a 2br/1ba apartment.

But today, on the phone, we hit a wall. For the first time I spoke my fears out in the open to him, and he responded with "we don't HAVE to go...".

A pregnant pause ensued with every ounce of my being wondering what the heck was going on here. My mind raced as to all the pro's and con's to making this move. I uttered a prayer under my breath - Lord let me HEAR You!

But silence responded. Not a peep. I know we're supposed to go because of the doors He opened, the doors He closed. Not even reminding him of the reasons he didn't want that job before (a year ago, before we moved here) mattered. It's all boiling down to being home most every night. Being in a place of ministry TOGETHER. Building community that will build us up too, and support us - and not tear us apart or beat us down. Being a couple.

But those moments come. And go. And I might not ever feel like this was a right or wrong move.

How do you know?

This place I've spent SO much time alone in has grown on me...yet he reminded me that because of the unexpected demands of the job here, he's not had much time here - at HOME - at all. It barely feels like home to him. He's lived more nights in the hotel in Pine Bluff than here. Yet when he walked into the new job place - it WAS going home to him - because he had spent nearly 3 years going there daily. Every day. No weekends off except vacation time and exceptions, and it scares me to know that he's walking into that again - with more responsibility now - and I have to make another home for me... hopefully not the apartment for very long, but if so - God equip me to do that!!

Perhaps our idea of home will always look different, and we'll just have to find a place to be together between them... for this missionary in a chicken plant (him) and the writer (me)...

The view from the dining table, windows open, sorting paperwork, enjoying the fountain sounds...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thoughts on the Declare Conference

It's been a few days since returning from The Declare Conference, and I wanted to share a few things that God showed me while experiencing the conference and listening to the amazing keynote speakers and workshop leaders.

There was such an amazing sense of COMMUNITY there, and the affirming Spirit of unity prevailed. Now I'm still a newbie to blogging conferences (although I've been online since the late 90's!) and I may have been oblivious to any strife in the group - but I sure didn't feel it, or see it. I LOVE that we can DECLARE that God is our King, our Creator, our Lord and Savior - and in all that - we are unified and taking our eyes off of ourselves and lifting Him higher!

Way down here is this beautiful thing that we can encourage, inspire, and hold accountable our sisters in Christ as we allow Him to walk us through this gifting He's given us. We write for Him, not for us. All glory to our God!!

It's a delicate balance then, as a writer, to have enough moxie to put our words out here (or there, or in a book!) and still be humble enough to continually go to the ONE that gives us those words. I don't want to ever try to do this without Him. Not even in my measly little blog.

So Lord, give me that balance (give it to EACH of us!) and stir up enough courage to be a writer, enough faith to put it out there, enough ego (really??) to "pitch it" and hold our head up and speak these words when You open doors, and enough humbleness to remember that we can't do ANY of it in ourselves. We are TOTALLY dependent on You.

I loved the process of preparing a book proposal and "pitching it" to Jessie Kirkland of The Blythe Daniel Agency. It wasn't so much that I have hopes of getting my book published - that's God's dream, not mine, and I'm content on doing it as a FREE e-book; it was more the process of preparing the proposal, and for that I think it will be a better book - even if it's only ever a free ebook!

I learned a lot about Social Media from Amanda White from OhAmanda.com - like it's ok to NOT like an area of Social Media! Life goes on!

I loved the humor and lessons from listening (and laughing WAY out loud!) to Jeff Goins and his antics on parenting, life in Nashville, and BEING A WRITER. It was a GREAT evening of taking so many notes!!

I think my most favorite was listening to Mary DeMuth as a keynote and workshop leader. Her life mirrors mine in many ways, so I can relate to the struggles of healing, forgiveness, and the need to be heard... and yet I learned so much about her and from her in many other ways. It was almost like learning at the heels of a wise woman. (oh wait, it WAS learning from a wise woman!) I'll save my notes on that for another time.... stay tuned!!

All in all, the fellowship was great, the encouragement amazing, and the women who arranged it all were gracious in Southern Hospitality. The vendors had meaningful displays of great causes, and the food was tasty, the beds comfortable and clean. I'd love to go back again, for work or pleasure, but definitely for The Declare Conference!!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Here's the Scoop!! What God can do in a YEAR!



I've always been up for an adventure when it comes to traveling. Not an adventure of climbing high mountains, achieving strenuous physical activities, or jumping from outlandish bridges.... no, mine seems to be (thankfully) limited to traveling on the firm, solid, feet beneath me (except for those occasional flights) ground.

And so, a year ago, when Mark was looking for a new challenge at work and the opportunity came for him to make a move to the corporate offices for his company, I was thrilled content to make a move to the area of NW AR. God handled it all in perfect timing. Our house in KY sold; we found a lovely home to settle in to. Our kids came to visit (and grandkids too!) and we settled in to a routine of  church, weekly Bible study, and (trying) to build community. It wasn't perfect, but we saw God at work, listened HARD to His voice, and bumbled through life with Mark traveling WAY more than the 30% on his job description (he's been gone about 85% of the time this year) and me doing life in a usually empty house.

We've had guests stay with us, made new friends with many college students, and had a chance to meet many new people that God had also "just brought" to this area. We tried to force-fit working with a ministry that didn't have the same vision or ethics of how we felt God lead us, even if they did great things - and learned how God can make things work well - even without me being in it. (He is not dependent on me - I am on HIM.) We found a church, left a church, and in being obedient to God in leaving He opened the door for us to "bump in to" my dad - whom I hadn't heard from in a year, or seen in over 3 years! We were able to be closer to our son, as he proposed and then married, the love of his life. It gave us the chance to be more a part of their plans, their life, because we were only 2 hours away instead of 8 hours away. We were able to connect with our neighbors, and meet new people that were also new to the area.

I was able to work with DaySpring and learn what a missional God-serving company is like! Learned so much about blogging as I worked on Roy Lessin's blog, Meet Me In The Meadow. All of it has expanded my horizons in new ways of doing Social Media, and working there has been the jewel in living here. The women (and men) that I've met have taught me SO much, and I know that God has a plan for that knowledge to continue to work in other facets. I would love to continue to work with DaySpring - but I haven't heard about that yet - so I'll keep praying about God's will in that and trust Him to fill that spot with good things.

But now. Now it's time to go! Mark's grown weary of traveling on the road (and I'm glad he wants to be home more!!) and an opportunity has arisen for him to work back in Kentucky, at the very plant he left, but in a new position with new opportunities!

So in just a few weeks - he starts a new job! And my life will be in transition for a while - a season. I'll feel unsettled, and not have pictures hanging in the wall (may not even have my own furniture in the house!) and see the season's change. I'll chronicle my travels, and expect I'll put on miles, driving, flying, crying. I don't even know what I'll cry about - but I'm sure some wave of emotion will catch me off guard and throw me to my knees... and I'll stop trying to control the things I can not... and surrender it to Him again. I've walked this way before. I know the journey well, and I'm trying to start it off by remembering what not to do... and how to keep Him in charge of it all. Let HIM plan my steps (not ME jump to conclusions) and allow HIM to fill my calendar (and not ME do what I want to do, or see happening, just because I did it before).

I am His, and we'll walk that path together...

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:31 NLT 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's the heat...AND the humidity!

I haven't written in nearly a month - partly because life is going on in our home and I'm not ready to share that news yet - taking it to prayer instead of writing about it all!

The other thing is what you've probably heard others say who work in Social Media...

"When you are on a computer all day, it's the last thing you want to do when you get home!"

And that's pretty true!! I love my job, but I don't love that I don't want to write right now online... but I'll bring everyone up to speed next week...I promise. Just too many undone ends that need to be sorted, and then I'll spill the beans as to what's going on in our life... what's being said at our kitchen table, and what God is teaching me!

And you? What is God teaching you? Wherever you live, is it the heat right now, or the humidity, that's keeping you inside??