Tag Archive | Mondays with Mimi

Take comfort: the Lord is your Shepherd

I discovered the above pic around Christmas time and it was very poignant. I think we often miss our loved ones a little bit more during holidays.

I lost my mom in 2016 and my dear friend lost her parents one year apart, one in 2016 and one in 2017. Both near Christmas. And while the first Christmas or two are no doubt filled with sorrow, my hope is that future Christmases for her are sweet with wonderful memories.

I hope the same for me as well.

And while I certainly can’t speak for Heaven and cannot attest to what our loved ones there are doing at any time or capable of doing, it really is a nice thought to look at the sky, see the stars and think maybe at that time they are whispering reassurances that they are fine.

And if they indeed are in Heaven, then we have great assurance that they are not only fine, but more than fine. They’re in the presence of the One whose beauty is beyond description…whose love for us is beyond understanding…and whose very essence is (in the words of the song) absolutely more than wonderful.

My heart goes out to those who have recently lost someone they love. Most times the pain of the loss begins to fade, at least with time it can. But for those whose pain is fresh and raw, may you find comfort in our wonderful Lord, experience His sweet peace, and rest in His arms of love.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23 NLT)

Mimi

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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

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

The majesty and glory of God.

Isn’t that a gorgeous sky? I took this pic with my cell phone a few weeks back, never really thinking the phone would be able to capture the wonder and majesty I was experiencing looking at it. But it sure did.

Why start off the year with such a picture? Because it serves to remind me that God is at work, always. Both when I’m aware of Him and even when I’m not particularly aware of Him.

The picture helps me realize our world is so much bigger than what I experience of it. And it reminds me that God is big, much bigger than I can comprehend.

It also reminds me that God’s “bigness” is there for me, to help me, to guide me, to grow me, to love me.

But the picture also reminds me that God is to be worshipped in majesty and holiness. Yes, He’s my counselor, yes, He’s my friend, yes, He’s my savior. But He is God. And He is God alone. And that means He is to be adored and revered. And obeyed.

He is not to be taken for granted or treated lightly. He deserves to be honored at all times…when life is good and when life is not so good. When I feel like honoring Him and when I don’t feel it. In fact, honoring Him has nothing to do with my feelings or how good I perceive my life is at any given moment.

Out of obedience and respect, I’m to honor God at all times and in all circumstances.

As I look back on 2017 I am so very grateful to God for provision, for breath each day, for healing and health, for family, and for relationship with Him.

But as I look ahead to 2018 I hope to add to this feeling of gratefulness a better understanding of who He is. I hope to grow closer to Him so I can know Him more. And I hope to become more like Him so when others look at me they don’t really see me, but instead see Him.

Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders? (Exodus 15:11).

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. (1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT)

Happy New Year everyone!

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

It’s everything leading up to Christmas

Christmas for me is all about the preparations—what happens between the day after Thanksgiving right up until Christmas Day: putting up the tree, decorating the house inside and out, enjoying Christmas music while putting together Christmas puzzles, shopping online and opening each Amazon box to rediscover what I ordered, wrapping gifts for the grands, baking AND eating Christmas cookies, and getting to attend some local Christmas concerts.

This year, Greg got the tree up and did all the decorations while I baked and ordered gifts. We did a very challenging Ugly Sweater puzzle, and have been watching Hallmark Christmas movies for weeks. But the musical events have really been the highlight. Outstanding and definitely reminding us of the true meaning of this wonderful holiday we celebrate.

On November 30 we were able to attend the Gaither Homecoming Concert in Lakeland and can I just say WOW!!! We were uplifted from the moment the music started. It was all about Jesus and absolutely glorious…especially when Mark Lowery sang his beloved song “Mary Did You Know?”

I wasn’t sure anything could top that so I wasn’t expecting much last Monday when the hubster and I, along with my dad, attended a concert right here where we live. The musical guests were two groups from the local public high school. And from the very first song to the last, each one glorified the Lord and told the Christmas story. I kid you not. This was a public high school. Let me repeat, THIS WAS A PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL!

These kids were full of life and smiles, enjoying every minute and often praising God while singing. I spoke with the director afterwards to express my appreciation and wonder at the songs, and he simply said “You can’t take Christ out of Christmas.” And boy, is he right!

At this point I’m completely filled with Christmas cheer and the wonder of my Lord, but there’s more. Greg and I were the blessed recipients of tickets for the First Baptist Church Orlando Christmas show last week. Two huge singing Christmas trees comprised of hundreds of singers and accompanied by an amazing 55-piece orchestra were the stars along with all sorts of other singers and animals. Did someone say “camel?” Yup, one of those, too. The event began with a stroll through Bethlehem Village complete with actors staying true to the biblical times, animals to pet, and pictures to be taken in the manger. The evening ended on a high note with the Hallelujah Chorus. What a fantastic evening.

So, the Christmas spirit has indeed taken hold in my heart this year. And I’m loving it. Hope, you, too, are able to find some events to attend. If not, you can always drive around to view the Christmas lights. Bring along a thermos of hot chocolate and some of those delightful Christmas cookies you’ve been baking and enjoy this very special time of year.

Yes, Christmas Day is wonderful, too. But the preparation time before hand is what gets to my heart much like the 9 months of pregnancy before childbirth. It’s all so very special as we anticipate the glory of what is to come.

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