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Biscuits from God

Another goodie shared by a friend.

The Story

One Sunday morning at a small southern church, the new pastor called on one of his older deacons to lead in the opening prayer. The deacon stood up, bowed his head and said, “Lord, I hate buttermilk.” The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going.

The deacon continued. “Lord, I hate lard.” Now the pastor was totally perplexed.

The deacon continued, “Lord, I ain’t too crazy about plain flour. But after you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits.”

Let’s Pray

Lord, help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what You are doing…that we need to wait and see what You are making. After you get through mixing and baking, it’ll probably be something even better than biscuits! Amen.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.–Romans 8:28.

Mimi

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A Blue Rose

 

 

A friend recently shared this with me. It’s a great reminder to be on the lookout for opportunities to show kindness, be a blessing, or share God’s love with others.

The Story

Having four visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and bleach. So, off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, “Mommy, I’m over here.””

Hey Buddy, what’s your name?

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, “Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”

“My name is Denny and I’m shopping with my mother,” he responded proudly.

“Wow,” I said, “that’s a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve.”

“Steve, like Stevarino?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered. “How old are you Denny?”

“How old am I now, Mommy?” he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.

“You’re fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by.”

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone’s attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Answers from a dandelion.

Denny’s mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn’t even look at him, much less talk to him. I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God’s Garden; however, Blue Roses are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn’t stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they’ve missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, “Who are you?”

Without thinking I said, “Oh, I’m probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God’s garden.”

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, “God bless you!” and then I had tears in my eyes.

A small gesture makes a world of difference.

May I suggest, the next time you see a Blue Rose, don’t turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say hello. Why? Because, by the grace of God, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.

From an old dandelion…live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and leave the rest to God.

If this story blesses you today, please consider sharing it with others. People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Love to all,

Mimi

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

I subscribe to a daily newsletter from Only In Your State. Each day I learn about fun things to do or see right here in Florida.

A few months back there this picture appeared followed by a story about these amazing milkshakes. You can find them near Miami at Boca’s House restaurant in Doral, FL. That’s about 4 hours from where I live but I think they might just be worth the drive!

So, what’s the definition of worth of anyway?

I’m glad you asked. If you’re going to drive all the way to Doral to enjoy those fancy milkshakes, it would be good to know ahead of time if they were really worth it.

One definition is the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated. That sounds about right, doesn’t it? At least according to the world. Achieving that value or rating depends on many factors, most of them manmade.

But that’s a problem: if someone decides what has value, it might be arbitrary. And that means, it could change someday. Long ago, it was decided that diamonds and gold were rare and in limited supply so they had value. When given in jewelry, they became symbols of how we view someone else. The bigger the diamond, the purer the gold, the more valuable they were so when given as gifts they demonstrated to someone else the value you placed on them or the relationship.

But thankfully…

…yes, thankfully, that’s not the case with God. But I wonder how many of us can still fall into the trap of placing false values on things or other people. We can spend a lot of time and money pursing things we or others perceive as having great worth only to find in the end, it’s just stuff. It might cost a lot but it’s just stuff. And as the saying goes “You can’t take it with you.”

And that my friend, illustrates the problem with how we can fall into the same trap by believing some of the negative thoughts that bombard us all too often. Thoughts such as “I’m not good enough, I don’t make enough money, I have no talent, I’m a failure as a parent, etc. If we only consider a worldly view of value, we miss the beauty of how God sees us.

Our worth is God-given, God-ordained.

There’s not a big enough diamond or enough gold in the world to measure the value of our worth in God’s eyes. Isn’t that a relief? Here are just a few biblical reminders of the worth God sees in us:

  1. …for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. (1 Peter 2:9 NLT)
  2. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT)
  3. Verses from Song of Solomon: You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words (4:1); you have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride (4:9); Oh, how beautiful you are! How pleasing, my love, how full of delights! (7:6).
  4. For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)
  5. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)

Enough said! Do I hear an amen?

Those verses are just a sample of what you’ll find in the pages of the Book God gave us to reveal Himself to us.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s not a thing wrong with a pretty piece of jewelry. There’s nothing wrong with being rewarded for hard work with a promotion or a raise.

But don’t make life all about or only about things that hold temporary worth. Instead, rejoice in the amazing love of an amazing God who created you with value and worth to Him and His kingdom. Rejoice in how He sees you and in how much He loves you.

And that…you can take to the bank!

Love to all,

Mimi

How one little “owie” hurts the whole body.

Greg and I were talking recently about how important each member of the body of Christ to each other. In my part of the conversation I brought up a recent owie our son-in-law experienced and how it affected…everything!

Here’s what happened.

Turns out Chris somehow got an infection in his big toe. Not really sure how it happened but it took a few days (or a week) to figure out the hurt he was experiencing wasn’t going away. And, in fact, the toe started getting red and warm more and more each day.

While visiting with us, his mother-in-law (me!) looked at that toe and told him on the way home he MUST MUST MUST go to the urgent care center, he was not to pass go, he was not to collect $200, etc. Instead, he had to have this thing looked at.

Next thing I know, he’s doing a live stream video showing the toe being lanced so the “icky stuff” could escape and the healing could begin. He was also told to expect the nail to turn colors and eventually come off. Which, weeks later, it did.

During this entire process, Chris experienced pain which finally turned to soreness and then discomfort. The toenail came off recently and he admitted it’s still quite tender. I imagine it will be until the new nail grows in.

So, what’s my point anyway?

The point is, this shows the perfect illustration of how important each member of the Body of Christ is to each other. That one toenail on Chris, which seems rather insignificant, disturbed everything. It caused pain in itself. It also affected the way Chris walked. It limited his activities. He became mindful of it because of the pain.

So, too, in the Body of Christ, the Church. We all have an effect…positive and negative…on each other. Even if we feel we are unimportant, we are actually quite important to the well-being of each other, to the proper functioning of the Church. And when one of us is hurting, the rest suffer as well.

So, just what function do we serve?

Today the hubster and I were talking about the apostle Paul and one of us commented “I’m not sure we’re all called to be Pauls.” Well, duh. Of course not. But we are indeed called to a function just as important. We may be a foot taking the gospel to foreign soil; we may be a mouth speaking God’s word as an evangelist; we may serve in a supportive role as we pray and monetarily support others in the Body. Kind of like a toenail that only serves to protect the toe underneath.

Still feeling unimportant and insignificant?

Using The Message, let me share quite a few Bible verses below. In very plain language they detail the beautiful way God created His Church to function. (I am quoting most but not all of 1 Corinthians 12.)

You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink.

I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.

But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.

I love the verse that states “I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less.” That’s powerful. And that’s for us.

So, no matter your function, your calling, your gifts, you matter to God, and He has big plans for you. Plans no one but you can fulfill. Plans to show His glory to others. Plans that will testify of God’s beauty. Plans that will draw others to Him by the demonstration of Christ in you.

Be encouraged today. Use your gifts for God’s glory. Unsure what they are? Ask Him to reveal to you His purposes for your life.

Much love to all,

Mimi

God’s perspective is something to celebrate.

See him? Do you see my sweet grandson way, way up in the tree? Look again. He’s there. And boy, is he up there!!!

When I watch him scamper up the tree in person, I hold my breath and pray for his safety. Without a care in the world, he’s up in the top branches in no time. And the word that comes to my mind is FEARLESS. While perhaps the word that comes to his mind is “FUN.”

As a grandma, it’s difficult to watch an almost 8-year-old climb so high. I fight the urge to yell “Be careful, look out, take your time…” Even if his physical ears can hear me, his “listening” ears are totally tuned out at the moment. So, I keep quiet, watch, and try to enjoy seeing him have a blast.

When I was his age, I was climbing trees all over the neighborhood. It never dawned on me that it could be dangerous. It was just so much fun to reach a perch above the neighboring roof lines and get to enjoy the view and perspective only attainable by being so high above the ground.

On the ground and looking up, I have no way to really assess how Callan is doing. I can’t possibly know if he is as secure as he thinks he is.  I can’t judge if this is a good idea or not. I can’t predict if a limb will snap, falling to the ground along with him. And that’s because I just don’t know.

From experience, I can have a rough idea…

…remembering how I felt when I used to climb trees. I can use math to try to calculate weight and mass. I can make an assessment based on his athleticism. And I can even project my own insecurities and make him come down. The fact is, my perspective is too limited to make proper assessments.

But I have a Father in Heaven who has full perspective, the right point of view, because He is over all and He sees all. He created us and the world and knows exactly how it all fits together. Because He can see the big picture.

God knows the beginning from the end and all the in between goings on in our lives. He knows when we’re in dangerous territory, and He knows when we’re safe. He knows when we can stretch our wings safely on a new adventure, and He knows when we need to stay on the ground.

God can ensure all aspects of our lives fit together for good.

He can take a bad situation and turn it into something beautiful. He can pick up the broken pieces and create a masterpiece.

As our Master Designer, God has created a great plan for each of us. So, when He watches from a distance, He is completely aware of everything. Nothing is left to chance. We are His and He is ours. Our lives are in His hands and we can trust Him with everything.

We can be assured that God has a plan for us that will be fulfilled, and that the plan is a good one.

From the beginning I told you what would happen in the end. A long time ago I told you things that have not yet happened. When I plan something, it happens. What I want to do, I will do. (Isaiah 46:10 NCV)

“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 NIV)

Experiencing some things right now that don’t seem to make sense?

Praying that even if your own perspective is off, you’ll still be able to rest in the Lord, trusting Him with every aspect of your life.

Mimi

What are you waiting for?

It seems like waiting for something is a part of life. Waiting for a promotion, waiting for a wayward child, waiting for an answer to prayer. We even have quotes galore to inspire and encourage us as we wait.

  • Good things come to those who wait.
  • You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for. (Craig Bruice)
  • Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we’re waiting for. (Charles Stanley)

Recently, Greg and I took a cruise with my brother and his wife, and my Dad. We planned it about 8 months before our sail date. So, we waited and waited and it seemed like we were never going to actually go on the cruise. But finally, on November 27 after months and months of anticipation, we set sail for ten days in the Caribbean. It was a wonderful trip and well-worth the wait.

The wait is over: Christmas is here.

With tomorrow being Christmas, I couldn’t help but think about the waiting so many had to endure for their promised Messiah. Years and years came and went until that one night when hope and promise were ushered in with the birth of Christ. New life in Him would soon become a reality. At last, Messiah had come.

What are you waiting for at this moment? An answer to prayer? Clear direction? A reconnection with a past relationship?

It’s not always easy to simply wait. We like quick answers and fast results. But it’s often in the waiting room where God shows up as our close Companion reminding us that He’s got all things under His control. And our time spent in that room will not be in vain because:

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. (Lamentations 3:25)

The birth of Jesus was worth waiting for because a once distant God became Immanuel, God with us.

Tomorrow we once again think about the earthly entrance of the Son of God. Mankind waited and was not disappointed.

If you find yourself in a season of waiting, be encouraged. With God, all things are possible, and if waiting is involved…it will be well-worth it.

Merry Christmas

Mimi

Family Love

Family means everything to me. It really does.

There’s not a gift in the world anyone can give me that compares to time spent with my loved ones.

So, I feel especially blessed that the past few weeks were overflowing with family time: Thanksgiving, the Saturday after for our annual Family Craft Day, and three days later a 10-day cruise with Dad, the hubster, and my brother and his wife.

After all that, I already feel like Christmas has already come and that I’ve been showered with more gifts than I know what to do with.

While my Dad, kids and grands live close enough to see frequently, it’s tough being away from my brother and his family as they live in cold country in New York State. That typically means annual or semi-annual visits. And to me, that’s simply not often enough.

Despite that…

I’m very grateful for each and every one of them.

Desmond Tuto said “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”

So, thank you, God. The beautiful gifts you have given me are not found under the tree. Rather, they are flesh and blood. They are the ones who raised me, the ones I grew up with, the one who married in and eventually birthed four more to love, the one I married 44 years ago, the ones I birthed, the ones they married, and the ones born to them. No matter how they arrived, they are my family. My loved ones.

And though I wish I could be with them in person every single day, it’s okay. After all, they really are with me…because I carry them in my heart.

I love you all.

Mimi