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I’ve been adopted; and it feels so good!

Hubby and I have recently been “adopted” into a nearby neighborhood group of people who live on the same street. Most moved in around the same time and didn’t know anyone else so one person started things off by inviting everyone on the street to come to her house for a Saturday morning get-together. Simple and easy.

From there, the group has morphed into a monthly get-together with a published schedule for the year so everyone knows in advance whose house and what type of event. If there’s a holiday, the event will most likely center on that such as Valentine’s Day for February, and an Independence Day celebration in July. And each family takes turns hosting so no one family feels overburdened.

Despite only knowing a few of the ladies and Greg knowing even fewer people, this group welcomed us with open arms. They saw us as invited guests rather than moochers who were there for the great food.

Ever since this group started, I’ve thought how easy it is to do this. A general invitation via phone or handout distributed to the folks on your street along with a simple first meet-up such as coffee and donuts or dessert. And voila! A new social group is formed.

And you know something? I’m now greatly encouraged to do for the neighbors on our own street. Soon they will each be receiving their invitations to much more than food and a good time. They will be receiving invitations that will hopefully lead to personal connection with others.

As adoptees, Greg and I are now quite welcomed at any of their events. We get to bring food and eat the food others bring. We get to enjoy the social interaction. Though we live in a completely different neighborhood, we are treated as if we live on their street.

Our adoption into the family of God is similar. He extends an invitation for us to join His family and once we do, we are in. Completely. We have the full set of privileges others enjoy and that are outlined in His word. We have full access to the host (God Himself). And we get to enjoy wonderful fellowship with the other guests (the family of God).

The cost to join the neighborhood group is living on the street. Similarly, there is a cost to joining God’s family. We must repent of our sins and we must accept the redemptive work God’s son Jesus did on the cross to forgive those sins.

Once we do, we become adopted into God’s forever family and enjoy the ultimate: fellowship with Him.

If you haven’t yet made that decision, won’t you consider making it today? And if you want to chat with me about it, you can email me through my contact page HERE.

If you have already been adopted into the body of Christ, please join me today in taking an extra minute to thank Him for that amazing opportunity given to us. And rejoice in being able to know Him personally.

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 1:5 NLT)

 

Mimi

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Just in case…being prepared with what you really need.

Get a load of that little packing pouch. Filled with all sorts of vitamins, lotions, medicines, scissors, tweezers, band aids, Neosporin, etc. Until a few years ago, my little cosmetic bag was mostly empty when I traveled. Now it seems to overflow with items I don’t necessarily use on a regular basis…but things I might decide I need while away.

It’s crazy that I pack so much in this little bag because when packing my clothing and shoes I try to get by with just the bare minimum with maybe just one extra shirt or pair of sox. I really do like to travel light but as I age my “just in case” bag becomes more and more important. After all, I don’t want to have a migraine ruin the trip, or find my aches and pains slowing me down.

So, while my suitcase has enough for what I really need my little cosmetic bag is over-packed with items that MIGHT be needed. That seems a little crazy. And it makes me wonder if I’m doing the same spiritually.

Our spiritual lives can sometimes become so routine that we ended up doing the bare minimum to just get by. When we are confronted with a challenging situation, we may not really have what’s needed to get us through. To be victorious.

If all we do is punch our ticket each week at church or read a quick devotional followed by an even quicker prayer, then I dare say we’re not ready; we’re not prepared. And our spiritual suitcases are nearly empty. And with nothing to draw from, we are defeated, discouraged, and downcast.

Yet, how much better if we had our “just in case” bags overflowing with God’s Word, with God’s promises. What if we were prayed up and in constant communication with our Commander so we were prepared to fight battles and receive direction? What if His Word was so dear to us we were in it daily and “at the ready” so we could more easily recall the wisdom needed for the moment?

What if we had prepared ourselves by learning to know God’s voice through spending time with Him so that when a challenge presented itself, we were able to clearly hear Him speaking to us to reassure us, to motivate us, to direct us?

Having the right bag, the “just in case” bag, packed and ready would make all the difference in our lives.

I’m no better than anyone else at spiritual preparation but when I think about it and how vital it is to us, I am encouraged to set it as a goal this year and to strive toward reaching that goal.

Won’t you join me in 2018 in re-filling your own spiritual “just in case” bag?

Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Mimi

Oops, now there’s a bit of a mess!

A week ago, after a trip to Costco, we started on our way back. I remember asking Hubby if he thought the eggs (a 2-dozen pack) were safe on the backseat. “They’re fine,” he said. So off we went.

 

All went well until we were nearing home and the hubster had to slam on his brakes. We were fine; but uh oh, the eggs. I heard them slide off the seat and land on the floor yet a quick peek seemed to show they were fine.

 

However, once home we realized they were not fine at all. Half of them were either smashed or cracked with the insides leaking out.

 

Its such a great picture of our lives. Sometimes life is going just fine. No bumps in the road, smooth sailing. Then boom! In an instant the brakes are slammed on and something we didn’t expect happens. We’re often left with a mess, thinking all is lost.

 

Yes, many times these interruptions in life bring about circumstances we can do nothing about. But sometimes they simply need a different perspective. Instead of our immediate thoughts that all is lost, if we stop and breathe…and most importantly, pray, we often find something salvageable in our mess.

 

Maybe life has recently thrown you a curve ball and you feel fresh out of good options to remedy things. But rather than succumbing to despair, or throwing a pity party, maybe the answer is to turn to the Lord, seek His direction and wisdom and find instead a work-around. Maybe there’s a blessing just waiting for you to ask.

 

Easy to do? Not always. After the egg mishap, I was at the sink washing off the 12 good eggs, getting ready to toss the broken ones, which had been my first thought. But thankfully, I continued looking at that mess and soon a second option presented itself…quiche! (And it was as tasty as it looks in the picture.)

 

I know life may be treating you well right now and if so, I’m sharing your joy. But when that curve ball comes your way, take a minute. Don’t despair yet. Have hope. There just may be a great remedy that’s only a prayer away.

 

Spend some time with your Heavenly Father and see if He can share a different perspective with you. Then shoot me a comment. I would love to hear all about your triumph.

 

For your encouragement: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

 

Mimi

Thankfully, God Looks at the Heart

While taking a walk today, I saw this in the sky. Kind of looks like a funny cloud, doesn’t it? But I know differently and for that, it made me smile. It made me happy. And it served to remind me of God’s love.

So how could a funny cloud do all that? Because I know what is really going on beyond what you see. About 30 minutes earlier I had seen some letters in the sky put there by a local skywriter. On a day with no breeze, the letters stay up quite a while, enabling you to clearly see a reminder of God’s love. With today being breezy, the letters were barely visible and for only a brief period of time, but having lived in the area since 1999 I knew the message beyond what I was actually seeing. And that’s why I smiled.

Here’s a typical message written in our skies: Jesus Loves U. (Want to know more? Here’s a LINK to an article from 2011 about the Holy Smoke pilots.)

As I walked this afternoon and saw the “funny cloud” I was indeed smiling because I knew in reality it was a message of hope and inspiration. It didn’t matter to me that the message was obscured because I knew what wasn’t showing. And this reminded me of how our Lord sees us.

We often look at our lives, look at our actions and judge ourselves harshly. We are unable to see potential; we instead see ourselves through obscured sight. But the Lord sees clearly and He sees someone He loves and has a plan for. He sees who we are in Him and through Him.

Whether or not you have a skywriter in your area posting reminders of God’s tremendous love for you, please be encouraged to know:

  • You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Peter 2:9-10 The Message)
  • For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation)
  • But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 New International Version)

Anyone struggling to see yourself as God sees you? Please let me know. It would be my privilege to pray for you.

Mimi

Oops.

Salvaged freezer items.

Two oops actually. (1) I forgot to schedule this post for Monday so am posting it today instead. And (2), read on to learn about my next oops.

Recently, hubby and I spent an afternoon combining a trip to Costco with catching a movie at a theater, both about 35 minutes away. Knowing we would be gone for hours and also knowing we would be purchasing refrigerator items that needed to remain cold, right before hopping into the car we pulled out some bags of ice and ice packs from the freezer, tossing them in the cooler.

We did our Costco run, saw the movie, and arrived home about 4 hours later. The Costco items were still cold from being in the cooler so we felt very successful about our trip.

But upon entering the garage I began to hear a very distinctive beeping which turned out to be the freezer alarm. You guessed it. The freezer door had been open the entire time and it was now dripping with melting ice, circulating warm air, sending water all over the garage floor, and it was easy to see many items were already ruined. So, we quickly began mopping up the water, tossing out the ruined food, and then we turned our attentions on figuring out what, if anything, could be saved.

Cooked goodies.

I ended up with lots of blueberries I had lovingly picked by hand several months prior, a bunch of chicken and ground beef that was still cool to the touch, and a few other odds and ends. Everything else was pretty much mush and was thrown away.

But my afternoon was just beginning because now came the task of doing something with what remained. So, I cooked. The raw chicken and beef became dinner over the next few days with the remainder going in to the freezer for future meals. The bread products were eaten over the next week. But all those blueberries…what to do!

With the blueberries, I made a crumb pie, muffins, and the remaining berries were cooked down with thickeners to be used for pie or a cobbler in the future.

I have to admit; the situation didn’t get the better of me. I was grateful we were able to save some of the items. Plus, I learned a very important lesson. And while I’ve owned freezers for decades without a problem like this, I now am very careful to be double sure the door is completely closed after I retrieve an item.

And through it all I laughed. Laughed that it happened, laughed that I had to quickly get in the kitchen for several hours to try to salvage what I could. And even laughed at throwing out the entire blueberry pie because I hadn’t thoroughly drained the berries after thawing and the excess juice soaked the crust in a very unappetizing way. It was basically a horrible pie.

Life kind of hits us like that every now and then. Sometimes we’re more prepared than others. But in all cases, we need to make the best of the situation, deal directly with whatever is happening in a timely way, try to view it from God’s perspective, and when necessary…learn from it.

Freezer items aren’t a big deal to lose. Yes, it cost me some time and yes, we lost the value of many items, but it was fixable. But when life hits us hard, it isn’t always immediately fixable and sometimes losing money or health is devastating. And most times there really isn’t anything to laugh about.

But after walking with the Lord for years, this I do know: God is still God. He still loves me and He still loves you. We may not understand all that’s happening and most times we don’t have his perspective on what is happening or why; but He is completely trustworthy.

Those two precious Bible verses from (Proverbs 3:5-7a) that we know and love remind us of this: From The Message: Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!

And from the New International Version the same verse reads: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

I certainly haven’t learned to do this consistently but I’m welcoming lessons that will help me more clearly see that so much of what we worry about really doesn’t matter. What matters is keeping our eyes on Him, seeking His plan, following Him, and learning to completely trust Him to take care of us.

How about you? Any life lessons you’ve learned that you’d care to share?

Mimi

 

Pardon me, boy…is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?

Can you guess where we went recently? If you guessed Chattanooga, you got it. And it was wonderful.

Living in a flat state with palm trees and very few other trees that actually change color, it was a thrill to travel to Tennessee and view the very beginnings of autumn’s explosion of color along with majestic mountain ranges.

The 9-hour car ride was quite enjoyable because we were armed with our favorite travel foods (Cheez-Its and peanut M&Ms). Not exactly healthy, but sure fun to enjoy while the miles just roll on by. But besides the yummy snacks, it was so nice to see mountains come into view for a delightful change of scenery.

The main purpose of the trip was to meet up with Greg’s brother and sister-in-law. Because they live in Ohio, we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like to but Chattanooga, as it turns out, is about the same distance from our homes so it was the perfect meeting spot.

If you haven’t been, you should consider it for an upcoming get-away. Lookout Mountain has several attractions including Ruby Falls, Rock City, and the incline railway. And the city of Chattanooga is small and easy to navigate. The name itself comes from the Creek Indian work for “rock coming to a point” which refers to Lookout Mountain.

You’ll find museums, sculptures, a walking bridge, a steamboat to take you on a lunch tour, a fantastic aquarium, and some great restaurants. They have a free shuttle that allows you to park once and travel all day, hopping on and off wherever you like.

In its hay day, Chattanooga was a big railroad town with nearly “all trains traveling South passing through. And the original Chattanooga Choo Choo train was Cincinnati Southern Railroad’s small wood burning steam locomotive that started its journey through history from Cincinnati, Ohio on March 5, 1980. The wood-burning Choo Choo was the first to provide non-stop service.” (www.choochoo.com/about/history)

Some of the original railroad tracks are cleverly designed into the pavers surrounding the aquarium right beside plaques showing the lyrics and melody line of Glenn Miller’s famous song of the same name. Don’t be surprised if after reading this blog post and viewing the above pictures you find yourself humming that song, too.

Visiting new places is so much fun. Doing it with family is even better. And getting to see family members you don’t see often enough is just priceless.

Where are some of your favorite places to visit?

Mimi

Rush, rush…rushing to history!

As grandparents, we are often on the lookout for creative ways to be more involved in the lives of our grands. Recently, I’ve embarked on an adventure that’s both creative and enables me to spend more time with my grandsons. Reading a book each night using my Facetime app.

This isn’t necessarily an original idea, but it’s been so much fun I thought I’d share it with you.

Our first book is Book 1 in the Rush Limbaugh history series for kids, “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.” From his forward: “(This country) is a land built on true freedom and individual liberty and it defends both around the world. The role of the United States is to encourage individuals to be the best that they can be, to try to improve their lives, reach their goals, and make their dreams come true.”

What a great way to teach history and the truth of our country’s foundation, through historical fiction with adventurous kids, an amazing current day history teacher, a talking horse, and the ability to time travel (which is always preceded by the words “Rush, rush…rushing to history”).

The chapters are long, so I divide them into 2-3 readable segments of 15-20 minutes each. Konnor typically initiates the Facetime call and while holding the phone in one hand, and the book in the other I begin reading.

To make it as enjoyable as possible, I use acting skills to try to create memorable characters. Along the way I’ll stop and ask for word definitions or I’ll explain things I believe the boys might not understand such as the difference between a wharf and a pier (I had to look it up). At the beginning of each reading, I either review what happened previously or ask Konnor for the recap.

While reading, I’ll also be sure to point the camera on the many pictures in the book which are both real photos as well as illustrations, just like you would if I were reading a book to them in person.

Our typical time to read is bedtime which is just perfect! What kid doesn’t want a bedtime story. And what grandma doesn’t love that she’s not only sharing a story but history as well.

It’s just another way to connect with my boys. And when I see the girls this weekend, I’ll see if they would like to do something similar, although I’m sure it will be more along the lines of princesses or Disney characters.

I love finding creative ways to connect with and be involved in the lives of my sweet grandkids. Have any of your own thoughts? Feel free to share them by replying to this post.

Mimi