Sunday, September 27, 2015

autumn living

I love writing. I have been a passionate writer since I was was 7 or 8, when I started keeping a daily prayer diary. Those precious simple words, printed out my young hands are a treat to read, along with the simple illustrations painstakingly drawn. 

About the time I turned 21 and moved back from Indiana, the Internet had happened, and I turned to the pages of an online blog, first on Livejornal and then MySpace. And so it goes.

Now I have two blogs. One is private, the other public here where I write about what I deem encouraging or uplifting. I always get a writer's boon each fall season. I don't know whether it has to do with autumn being my favorite season, or whether it is refreshing after our wilting Florida summers, and I am seeking to reinvent more than the sweltering weather and my burnt-out garden. I enjoy the renewal, the cathartic release of thoughts and hopes and plans.

Here's to a blessed and restful autumn season. There's a lot going on, but I am going to endeavor to snatch moments for soul Sabbath. It's been a particularly difficult year, full of changes and issues that I can't reveal (as they relate to the workings and running of the school), and I am needing the peace. Shalom to all!

Sunday, May 10, 2015


It's Mother's Day, and I have an incredible mom whom I appreciate more and more each day. I see acquaintances posting about missing their moms who are now gone on to eternity, and I am reminded afresh how thankful I am to have my mom still here with me. I'm blessed, and I want to bless her!

Life has not been without its struggles. Mom didn't have many life examples...examples of godly wives or long-suffering mothers. She did have examples of good cooks and housekeepers, and she became both of those! But the wife and mother roles she forged on her own with the great Teacher to guide her.

She would be the first person to admit that she didn't do everything right. But she has done so much right, by the grace of God. Mamas, don't ever give up on the most difficult jobs that God gives you. Yahweh gave my mama the courage, strength, and fortitude to stand in the gap, to make difficult decisions, to reach outside of herself for strength, and to rely on the Lord to know what to do to make marriage and motherhood work.

My mama's children rise up and bless her. Her husband praised her every chance he got. I love and appreciate her every day.

When I need someone to bounce an idea off of, she is always ready to give advise. She loves God's Word and studies it daily. She fears the Lord and is honorable. She created a home for all of us, a feathered nest in which we could grow and mature. I remember many poignant moments and snatches of time that she spent with me as a child...reading Arch books in a sing-song voice, drawing my favorite Precious Moments figures, taking naps, kneeling by her side to ask Jesus into my heart, playing Uno with the fam all crowded on their bed, learning how to cook and sew, and some of our more recent ventures...trying new international foods and exploring the world of essential oils and wellness together. Mom is brave and truly a mighty warrior, even if she doesn't realize it. I bless the Lord for giving me to her.

I am several months away from turning 40, and I remember when she was 40. Our adult lives have had very little in common, but we have everything that counts for eternity in common: seeking first God's kingdom and His face first; loving Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths; and letting the Light of the world shine through us. And she taught me that.

I love you dearly, Mama! ❤️

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

my tongue is the pen of a ready writer

"My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." -Psalm 45:1

A Psalm of Individual Thanksgiving
The Lord Saves Me from the Troubles of Life”
By Mary Beth Jones

I love Yahweh, for He hears my petition and my cry for help.
I lift my voice in the night time and whisper aloud to Him in the morning hours.
My Abba is near and answers my prayers when I call on His name.
For the pressures of life sweep over me like an ocean wave.
I am bowled over and am in the grip of strong undertow.
I cannot free myself; only Yahweh can save me.
The sands of life drag me down into the depths, and I am drowned in anxiety.
I am overcome with fretfulness, and my responsibilities overwhelm me.
Sleep escapes me, and I lay awake in worry and apprehension.
Lord, you are sovereign. You are in control of the universe.
You rule over the principalities and powers of this world and reign supreme over the devil and his tormentors.
Remind me that You are also my Abba and that You care for me.
You know everything about me; I can hide nothing from You.
I am your child, and you know my comings and goings.
You, O Lord, have been kind to me. In my low state, you saw and rescued me.
Your lovingkindness has overcome my fears and brought me peace.
I am compelled to praise Yahweh in my troubles, for He has trounced them.
I will overcome, in the strength of the Lord, and will arise in victory over the dark places.
O Lord, my refuge, I will never be ashamed that I put my trust in You.
I will praise His name forever and live a life of thanksgiving.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

ridiculous, impractical faith

I have been on a journey of faith during the last six months or so. My sister Sarah became engaged to be married and announced something that I kinda knew was coming, that she wants to be free of the financial burden of the home that we purchased together almost a decade ago.

I have had mixed feelings all along.

In addition to my being physically and emotionally peri-menopausal now, I am not keen on the idea of losing ten years of equity. We still owe on the house, so selling it just sets us free from the next twenty-nine years of mortgage payments (we had refinanced earlier last year). But we will certainly lose the last ten years of investment if we can get out of it what we owe. That's a big IF.

Then there is the whole idea that I held when purchasing the property, that it was to be a long-term investment property that could be used to house members of the family or as residual rental income. I have liked this last idea, especially since I know I need to plan for support in the far future (i.e. I have no inheritance coming my way, nor retirement income stashed away, nor children to support me). I like to plan ahead, not in a "fearful of the future" way, but in a "wise man looks to the affairs of his household" kind of way.

And then on the other hand, I would like to be financially free from the obligation. I live in another home, as primary caregiver to my elderly mom and dependent sister and as primary custodian of two other household properties, so I admittedly have too much on my plate financially. I would love to be able to free up that mortgage payment to pay down my credit cards and make much-needed repairs and remodeling to the home that I live in. It seems like the sensible thing to do, to sell it. The practical thing to do.

So we made the decision to put it in the market. We chose the realtor, after Sarah vetted eight or more. Some were very depreciatory regarding its worth, while others were more hopeful to sell it as a great family home.

All the while, my hopes started to soar. If God is in this sale, it will happen...and quickly! How many times have I seen God sell a home or orchestrate a move according to His will?!? I know He can do it, if He wants to.

But does He want us to sell it?

Sarah is now married, and the financial pressure is on us even more. The Lord has sent renters to live in the house for the time being. I know that this is His provision, a way for us to save up to put in the much-needed HVAC system and windows and to make long overdue repairs. In the years we have owned it, none have been made. This has bothered me, but again, there is nothing I could do about it since I have had so much other responsibilities and demand for my time and money.

I asked the Lord for His direction, for a definite sign or word of guidance. He did speak through several verses in 2 Chronicles, that He would repay everything that I have lost, with more besides. 

But as to the sale He has been largely silent. I haven't known if He has had nothing to say, or if He has Ben speaking loudly through His silence.

Today, I have been reading Derek Prince's Through the Psams as an addendum to a Regent class that I am currently taking. And the Lord is finally speaking, praise His name! I have been waiting for this download!!!

Psalm 1:1-3
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night...whatever he does prospers.

"If you fill your heart and mind continually with His law, and if you direct your life according to it, then blessing and prosperity are your God-appointed portion." -DP

Psam 4:6-7
Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?" Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord...

"Real goodness has only one source. It comes from the Lord. When He lifts up the light of His face upon us, that light dispels the darkness of uncertainty and insecurity and pessimism." -DP

Psams 5:12
For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

"One the one hand, we need to deviate less time and effort to making provision for material security. On the other hand, we need to be more concerned about making sure our lives are right before God; that we qualify for that blessing of the Lord which He reserved for the righteous- and only for the righteous...Righteousness pays better-and more enduring- dividends than cleverness or expediency or self-interest." -DP

Saturday, February 21, 2015

life and provision

I spent some much-needed time out in my yard today, tending and weeding and enjoying the warm weather and sunshine for a change. It felt good to touch and inhale the wonderful aroma of healthy black garden soil once again. I was not able to plant a winter garden this last fall and have missed it! On top of having way too much on my plate life-wise, we have had a very cold winter here on the Florida panhandle. I know that most of the rest of the country has been snowed in, but still. This Floridian blood is too thin for unending days of freezing rain and bone-chilling, sunless 20's and 30s.

I now have a whole patch of the garden weeded and ready for planting. I am thinking that various greens seedlings (collards, chard, kale, spinach, and several lettuces) can go into the ground in the next several weeks.

Why does my yard get all the ant hills?!? I need better ant killer this year.

Burned the last of the 12 trash bags of old business records from the bakery. Since Trish has been sick for so long, we are just now catching up with sorting through all the accounting records and throwing out too-old-and-not-needed years of receipts and paperwork that only can be burned or shredded. It took me almost a month to get around to start burning it all in my barrel, but today I finished the last three bags! I love the smell of fire. Gotta get my fire pit set up and use it!

A roofer friend is bartering for repairing and re-roofing the shed. It has been in bad shape for many years now, something Dad didn't take care of before he passed. Whole sections of roof decking are rotten, and the second story has leak stains everywhere now. I don't like organizing this sort of thing, maybe because I grew up in a family that had pretty clear jurisdictions and boundaries (my area was NOT the outdoors upkeep!). It is difficult for me to see the need to invest in a piece of property that serves as storage, but if we don't keep it up, where would we store all our tools, Christmas decor, old furniture, and stuff?! It's going to get metal roofing that will last much longer this time.

Want to replace the wooden fencing that has fallen or is falling down around the family house, but after getting an estimate, that is going to have to wait. Everything costs too much, and I certainly don't have enough finances to fund it all by myself.

Sarah's and my house at 2110 is now on the market. I don't think that the realtor that was chosen is going to be aggressive enough, but I can;t worry about it. I am fully expecting God to sell it since He has promised me that He will! At first, I felt like I was being bullied into selling it, but then Abba spoke to me and let me know that His hand was in it. I need to be free of the financial burden that it has become. Sarah wants to be free of it now that she is getting married and has no use for it anymore. I try not to think in my finite human terms...almost a decade of investment down the drain and so much money lost on what was supposed to be a long-term real estate investment. I am praying that we can sell it for as much as we owe on it at this point in this economy. I have nothing left financially since I support both Mom and Tricia and receive no help from the other siblings (as Dad expected, I guess). God will provide, our Jehovah Rapha.

I joined a women's Bible study at Hillcrest these last six week, a teaching by Priscilla Shirer on Gideon. It was amazing! Am so glad I bit the bullet and squeezed it into my schedule, even though I have felt a bit frenetic in other areas of life as a result.  The theme of it has been "My weakness, God's Faithfulness." It has been timely in my life.

I now have a Twitter account! Yes, you read that right! Partly because of the weekly Bible study Tweets and partly because I have wanted to join for awhile now, in addition to my Instagraming and Facebooking. I remember my painfully introverted self of the past and chuckle!

My Young Living business is beginning to take off now; I told my fam that it is a little scary how fast it is picking up! I am teaching once-a-month classes at the school now; taught one in January, and on in Pace several weeks ago. We had 16 women (and 1 man!) at this week's class on Dr. Mom and Women's Health. So many people need help...I know this is another ministry from the Lord!

everything IS spiritual

I have been reading all the recent news articles about Rob Bell's interview with Oprah, a woman whom I consider to be the epitome of most-modern hedonism. Here is one such ARTICLE.

I had to watch the clips for myself, to hear Mr. Bell say that God's inerrant Word is not relevant for today's culture. Broke my heart to hear it.

This all brings to mind the months following Daddy's earthly passing, the long evenings and weekends of crying and grieving and missing and wishing. And then a friend, who was struggling with her own demons, loaned me her copy of Rob Bell's speech, "Everything is Spiritual."

I must have watched it close to a dozen times in the several months that I had it borrowed. Over and over.

The message spoke to my heart, plucking the out-of-tune strings of my emotions and tightening them up. It helped me to pull myself together, to know that God is good, even in the midst of the pain and sorrow.

Thank you, friend, for sharing it with me. You know who you are!

God can use perform His work whenever and wherever He wills. Even a blasphemer.

May God have mercy on Mr. Bell's soul and may he repent from the error of his ways.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

goals and planners

I started the Gideon Bible study last week. I think it promises to be wonderful. Mama and Minita are going with me, and I love the peppy lady Pam that facilitates the study.

Sarah bridal shower is next Saturday. I met with Tammy at the church to look at all the decor that is available, and I have been collecting everything that I have and want to use. I am feeling good about it, and the other bridesmaids are planning to be involved with helping. Tomorrow is a holiday, so I can get more done (photos printed, etc.)

Things are moving forward towards selling Sarah and my house, 2110. Her Mark has owned a house for several years, and they don't want to start married life with the responsibility and burden of two mortgage payments. At first, I was pissed, since I will be losing almost a decade of equity into a real estate investment (that was all it ever was for me, since I love the family home and want to live there). I asked the Lord what to do, and for a long time I heard nothing. Then, boom! Around the first of the year He spoke pretty loudly, and not just to me. Mama, Tricia, and I all are reading the McCheyne plan for reading through the Bible, so within a week's time we all had heard the same thing out of 2 Chronicles. It was cool. But Sarah and Mark have still been worried about it all because it affects their finances and could affect their wedding date. I am at peace that God will sell it sooner rather than later!!!

My Cognitive Psych class started in Monday as well. I love studying the brain and mind and love this professor, Dr. Russell, as well!

This week was busy. On Monday I had b
Bible study and came home to start my class. On Tuesday I went to an ENT appointment with a new doc, Dr. Bots at Baptist, to get my ears cleaned out before I have any more problems with them. That night I taught a "Basic Essential Ouls" class, and 11 ladies attended. On Friday I picked up orders across town: a Frontier Co-op order and some Ortho Jelly from Old Thyme Remedies. I finally got an iPhone 6 as well. That has been several years overdue, since I dunked my 4S in a pool while chaperoning at a school event. It is not a personal purchase since I mainly use it for school business every day of the the week, so that is a nice perk of working for a non-profit. Then yesterday, after studying cognitive neuroscience all day and taking a test, we took Sarah out for her 33rd birthday and went bridesmaid dress shopping. I think that I might have the dress that I want...a pretty lace-bodice chiffon dress with a fishtail back. 

Today is my Sabbath. I am doing Bible study homework, setting goals for the week, bridal shower prep, cleaning out the fridge, and sorting through a pile of paperwork and receipts that has piled up in the last month. 

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