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May I never grow too old…

Pretty silly picture, huh?

It was taken last week when the family gathered for Callan’s school concert. While waiting for the kids to take their places on stage, Konnor and I had a little fun. Though unsure of what other 8-year-olds think when you get the camera out, to Konnor a camera at the ready definitely indicates silly faces. So, of course, I join in. After all, I have to uphold my reputation as a fun grandma. Oh, may I never grow too old to enjoy making silly faces with my grandkids.

The second picture is our little guy who was performing that night. I love five-year-olds on stage cuz you never know what you’ll get. Callan was fairly attentive to the director and didn’t do too much fooling around. He sang his heart out and seemed to enjoy himself.

The girl next to him was a hoot. She was fully committed down to exaggerated facial expressions and singing with great gusto. And the youngster on the front row was in his own world entirely, outperforming just about every other singer.

Can you remember back to when you were young and required to participate in school concerts? Were you more like Callan, doing what was told and blending in. or were you more like one of the others mentioned who were content to be in the spotlight?

I imagine our personalities at a young age are actually be predictive of our adult years. I’m a bit like the little girl next to Callan singing with her whole heart but still on task and keeping her eyes on the director. As an adult I don’t mind being in a leadership position or even in being visible by others. Sometimes I thrive on it. But I’m not a risk taker and I definitely appreciate great leadership and having my boundaries defined.

Now my grandson Konnor pictured above is a little more like the third child, sometimes playing to the crowd, often marching to his own drummer, and definitely not afraid to be different. And can I tell you a secret? I’ve always admired people like that.

Thankfully the Lord created each of us with unique interests, skill-sets, and innate talents. They are useful in our wonderful world and they are useful and necessary for the Body of Christ. Here are some excerpts from 1 Corinthians 12 (New Living Translation); please read the entire chapter for a more complete picture of this.

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ…God has put each part just where he wants it…some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. All of you together are Christ’s body and each of you is a part of it.”

This is actually pretty powerful stuff. Verse 27 again: All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

I want that for my life. I want to trust that the way God made me is for a purpose and that as I use my gifts and abilities our God is glorified and pleased. And His purposes are multiplied.

Let’s today determine to be thankful for the way God made each one of us and be grateful for our talents and abilities. And let’s be determined to use them to bring glory to God. And while we’re at it, let’s be appreciative of the way God made others, realizing how important each one of us is in completing God’s purposes here on earth.

Mimi

It truly was a Good Friday.

I’m sharing a copy of a BC comic strip I saw on Facebook this morning. It was fantastic. And illustrated the truth beautifully.

I have to admit the other day I was wondering why we call the Friday before Resurrection Day, “Good Friday.” Then I saw this comic strip and went “Ah…that’s why.” See what you think.

There’s generally lots of fuss about Easter/Resurrection Day. For weeks the stores have been full of spring-type items and all things related to Easter: plastic eggs, chocolate bunnies, baskets, artificial grass, small toys, new clothing, etc. And though Easter is definitely a religious holiday the stores treat it like a commercial entity designed to bring in more business. Can’t blame them really. But it surely misses the point.

But Good Friday, now that day is almost entirely passed over. I don’t even think that many churches observe it anymore. But we found one near us that did, Quest Church in Ocoee. And I’m so glad we discovered it.

When we arrived last night, we entered into the sanctuary adorned with soft lighting and lots of candles. Soft, contemplative Christian piano music was playing and the chairs were arranged in a circular fashion so the stage area was in the middle. It was very intimate. Very personal.

The format of the presentation was contemplation as four different Bible figures took turns describing their own experiences with The Christ: Peter, Simon of Cyrene who carried Jesus’ cross, Mary Magdalen, and the Centurion. In between their recitations two woman sang some amazing songs that depicted what was taking part in the crucifixion and in the events leading up to it.

I wasn’t the only one dabbing my eyes.

At the end, we partook in communion then quietly left the sanctuary. From inside the foyer we could see that 50 or more luminaries had been lit up to light our way back to our cars. It was very moving indeed.

But before walking the lighted path, as we exited the building the four actors stood by the doors and placed a red dot in the middle of one of our palms…a reminder of what Good Friday was all about.

It’s quite visible—as I gesture, when I pick up something, when I look at it on purpose, and it most definitely serves its purpose as it truly does remind me of the great sacrifice made by my Savior for me.

So today I’m grateful for that reminder; and I’m grateful for the truth in the BC comic strip. Jesus took my place. He paid for my sin. And His sacrifice made it possible for me to enter into God’s family. So yes, it truly was a Good Friday.

Mimi

There’s a duck swimming in our pool.

Yes indeed, that’s a duck swimming in our community pool. Aside from the fact that a duck or any animal can contaminate the water we’re swimming in, it really was cute to see it enjoy a 15 minute stay. And why not? Hubby and I were cooling off on a hot afternoon, why not the duck, too.

But it did seem strange to see that duck there. It was totally unexpected and very much out of place.

That’s a challenge in life, too. We’ve all experienced those unexpected situations that appear and interrupt our lives with heartache, inconvenience, disappointment, etc. And it’s difficult to keep our eyes on the Lord during those times because that challenging situation just sort of takes up residence. Like the duck swimming among us in no great hurry to leave, the situation may linger much longer than we think appropriate.

What to do?

Depend on the Lord. It’s the best thing and at times the hardest. But as a friend so sweetly reminded me today, the Lord knows what He’s doing; His plans are good and His timing is perfect.

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:7)

So I’m resting (or at least trying to)…how about you?

Mimi

Beauty for Ashes

03-06-17-gardena 03-06-17-gardenbAs many of you know, we made a move in September from south Orlando where we had lived since 1999 to hilly, beautiful Clermont, about 40 minutes northwest.

Despite all my concerns about moving to a new area after our rather tumultuous 2016 and leaving behind the comfort of nearby friends, family, and familiar shopping and restaurants, it was the right thing to do and we love living here.

We ended up purchasing a new house in an active adult community where lots of building was still going on. In this community you don’t really have to do any outside yard work. Shrubs are planted when the house is built and those shrubs and lawn are taken care of by the association. Sounds good, right? Except for one thing: it’s very sterile.

While a few houses have some azalea’s installed during the building process, most just have boring, green shrubs. And if you decide to change it up, the gardens then become your responsibility. The desire to have a beautiful environment won out and hubby has gotten to work.

But it’s not just the fun of choosing plants and enjoying the gorgeous results, all the prep work must be done: removing sod, digging up gardens, redesigning the irrigation system, laying heavy landscape bricks, toting plants from the nursery, digging holes, lugging mulch, laying mulch, then the daily care of watering and fertilizing until everything takes root, as well as the ongoing care since all this meant you were giving up having the association provide future care. But the results are so worth it. And for our gardens, I have my wonderful husband to thank.

He has prepped three garden areas in the back and just this week we got one planted. So two to go, then mulch over everything but it looks so nice and he’s worked so hard I just wanted to publically share what he’s done to date and to say a big THANK YOU to my sweetheart.

Our lives so often reflect gardens. Sometimes they are in disarray where weeds of worry, troubled times, and sin have overtaken. Even if some hidden gem is still there, it can’t be seen because life has gotten rough and crowded out the prior beauty.

The answer? Restoration is possible and the beauty of your life will once again be displayed.

If sin is the culprit, then Jesus has done the hardest work of all and paid the price for that sin and our job becomes to confess and repent. “Now repent of your sings and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19).

If it’s worry, then we trust in God’s promises and do what I Peter 5:7 instructs: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

And when life is just plain hard, we remember Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.”

So let us not be despair of the work that may be required to allow the beauty to shine once again. Just as my yard went from stark to splendid, as the beauty in our lives is uncovered, it all reflects back on God and allows Him to be glorified in us (Isaiah 61:3).

Beauty for Ashes by Robert Whitney Manzano

He gave me beauty for ashes
The oil of joy for mourning
The garment of praise
For the spirit of heaviness
That we might be trees of righteousness
The planting of the Lord
That He might be glorified

Love you. Mimi

Expectations or Promises?

02-27-17-promises-promisesI saw the Promises Promises image recently and it got me thinking about the word expectations. Sometimes we mix up the definitions of those words and instead end up turning an expectation into a promise that we hold onto.

Expectation means to have a strong belief that something will happen and that is quite different from the word promise which means an assurance that something will happen.

It’s with joyous expectation that we anticipate a healthy pregnancy and birth or look forward to a holiday or birthday celebration. New marriages, changing career paths, moves to a new location—all full of anticipation and excitement over the expectations about to be fulfilled…hopefully.

But if we treat those expectations as if they are guaranteed promises and instead are confronted with a sick child, being passed over for that promotion, not getting the gift we hoped for, etc. then we are faced with a new choice: how to react, how to adapt to what has actually happened.

It becomes imperative that we adjust to the unexpected situation and even learn to find joy. If we do not, we risk becoming filled with bitterness, frozen in disappointment, and possibly unable to ever hope for something again. At the very time when we should be leaning on the Lord, we may find ourselves withdrawing and unable to reach out for help.

You are not alone, dear ones. Every one of us has had an expectation or two (or more) that we foolishly turned into a promise and when the result was not what we anticipated, in shock and despair we had to regroup and figure out how to move on.

That’s why at those times and better yet at all times we need to follow the clear guidance in Proverbs 3:5 to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not depend on our own understanding. Trusting in God doesn’t necessarily take away the pain or challenge of a situation but it will put our hearts at rest so God’s peace can descend.

Then, even if we never discover the “why” behind what happened, we know we can depend on God to see us through.

What expectations have you turned into promises that may have disappointed? Perhaps it’s time to heed the advice from Proverbs 3:5 and take what you believe to be broken promises before the Lord and allow Him to fill you with His peace as you confess your reliance and trust is in Him.

Mimi

The fat lady never sang.

fat-ladyYou know how the saying goes “It ain’t over til the fat lady sings” meaning the opera continues until the final song by the final diva (apparently, often a rather rotund lady). In other words, don’t presume you know the outcome of something until the event actually ends.

Well, I’m one of those who missed the incredible win by the New England Patriots. Dad came over for dinner and stayed through the halftime show. When Greg took him home, we turned off the TV only to discover the amazing win after Greg checked in to see the final score and saw the game was in overtime.

At halftime, it seemed there was no way for New England to take the win. No way would they muster the passion and drive necessary. But they did. Good lesson for us all. Never give up.

Some of us have been holding on to dreams for years. Some have pleaded with the Lord for seemingly impossible situations to be changed. Did the New England team feel that way? Possibly. But they didn’t act on how they felt. They stayed in the game and it paid off.

What might we experience in our lives if we kept our passions and dreams alive, refusing to give in to defeat? What if we refused to grow weary but kept those dreams and hopes alive?

The Bible is full of glorious promises about not giving up (verses from New Living Translation):

  • So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9)
  • Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
  • But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:7)

Today’s reminder: don’t give up; all things are possible with God; and while we may grow weary, God does not!

Mimi

Gentle reminders bring big smiles.

01-02-2017-acorn

Recently while walking outside and talking with God, I felt a little something fall on my shoulder…an acorn. The timing was perfect. Because to me it was a whisper from God that He was right there and had heard every word I said. It was as if that acorn was God’s gentle reminder that He is always with me. And that little revelation made me smile.

As we look ahead toward 2017 I hope I will purpose in my heart to be on the lookout for more of God’s reminders and I hope that I can find my own gentle ways of reminding others that I care.

Sometimes we think we need to do something on a grand scale to bless others, but often it’s the little everyday things that speak the loudest. A text or phone call, cookies brought to a neighbor, a greeting card sent for no particular reason.

Often it’s a kind word or compliment that takes us by surprise and makes our heart glad. When returning from England, a flight attendant told me how much she liked my hair. The color? The style? I have no idea and it didn’t really matter. What mattered is that she took the time to tell me and just like the little acorn on my shoulder, it made me smile.

Proverbs 16:24 (NLT) reminds us that “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

So let’s look for ways to bless others in the coming year, remembering it doesn’t take much; it just takes being purposeful in looking for the many daily opportunities presented to us. Perhaps we can make a difference in someone’s life just by showing the love of Christ.

How about you? Have you recently had a smile put on your face by someone else’s love or thoughtfulness?

Mimi