There’s an attorney in my hometown that’s legally blind.  I see him going in and out of the courthouse all the time.  The computers in the courthouse have been equipped so that he can enlarge the print to where he can read it.  When I go in there after he’s been doing some research and the font is huge I’m usually in awe again of his determination and ability to practice law.  I also see this guy walking around town all the time.  Of course, I’m sure because he can’t drive, but this gentleman walks everywhere and in every kind of weather.  He doesn’t rely on people to drive him around even when it’s freezing.  I’ve seen him riding a couple times when there’s been ice on the ground, but other than that he’s totally self-sufficient…at least as far as I know.

I was having a texting conversation with a friend the other night.  I was offering my assistance in organization.  Which, for those of you who know me, you know that that is something totally laughable.  Once I revealed this character flaw to her, we surmised that it would probably be like the blind leading the blind.  The only think I could say to that is that at least we’d be bound to run into something!  Side note…man, I’m such a cheesy dork.

I’ve also been catching up on a television show that I’ve been recording all summer.  Hadn’t watched one of them, and then all of a sudden I found myself with some free time and have now watched all 12 or 13 episodes.  Covert Affairs is a spy show, but one of the cool things I like about it is that there’s a blind guy that’s one of the lead tech people.  He’s a computer genius, which amazes me because he can’t see the screen, but he knows exactly what’s going on.  He knows what’s going on in his area better than anyone else there.  Plus I like the show ’cause he’s pretty hot.  ;-D

That’s another thing that strikes me about the attorney in town.  Not that he’s hot, but that he knows this town way better than I do.  I see him walking around without hesitation.  He gets around better than most people with fully functional sight.  The thing is is that he HAS to know his way around.  He has to know the inside of his office, the voice of the people who work with him and the sounds of vehicles coming down the road before he crosses.  When people communicate with him, he can’t see their body language.  They have to actually communicate…talk…get to know each other.

How many times have I taken for granted that if I’m getting ready to cross the road, I just look the direction the cars are coming and cross when there’s nothing there?  How many times have I ignored the voices around me and misinterpreted body language?  How many times do I fail to really know where I’m at and who I’m with because I don’t really see and know who they are?  I mean, I know who a lot of people are, but do I really know them?  Have I taken the time to really see who they are and where they’re going, whether they’re taking great strides in the direction they should be going or stumbling down a crooked path?  Am I really taking the time to see people and love people the way I’m loved by the Creator?

I know my answer’s no.  Not yet.  What’s yours?

Before the Morning

1

Most of the time I don’t really understand the things I say yes to.   I’m house sitting for two weeks in a house close to mine.  This house is home to two seventy-pound dogs, a gecko, a snake, a cat with new kittens and, of course, two rats.  Had I known about the rats I probably wouldn’t have taken the job.  I do, however, enjoy the payday at the end of it.  I hate to say it, but really that’s the only reason I took this job.  I have my own house now, so I’ll probably be house sitting less and less.  I am, though, learning how to care for animals that I probably never — what do I mean probably — that I NEVER would have entertained before.  And when I say care for, I don’t mean develop feelings.  I mean physically care for.

I’ve been getting up at 6 a.m. to let the dogs out since I’ve been doing this job.  I let the dogs out of the house in the morning, when I get off work, and then they just run free when I’m there or I take them out right before bedtime if I’m running late or something.  Being up so early I’ve been noticing the sunrise.  I haven’t really seen a whole lot of sunrises in my life.  I’m not a morning kinda girl.  The ones I’ve seen I’ve appreciated immensely the beauty that God has given us in His creation.  These have been no different.  But I’ve also noticed something a little different about these sunrises and sunsets that I’ve seen these past few days.

There have been a few mornings where it’s been completely dark and I turn my back to look inside for something and when I turn back to look back outside it light.  It’s like instantly it goes from dark to light.  There’s no in-between time.  It’s dark and I can’t see a darn thing, and then there’s light.  Then there’s some days when the light comes in stages.  Every moment I can see a little better than before, but just a little bit, until finally I can see to walk around without doing a face plant.

The sunsets are no different.  There’s been some evenings where it seems like it’s just instantly dark and there’s no warning.  And then there are the times when it seems to come in stages, too.  Like when I think I’ve got enough time to walk to my parents’ house and back before dark.  Even if I leave at the same time every night, there are nights when it’s no problem and then there’s nights where I could run and still not make it back in time.  And believe me…you do not want to see this girl run.

I sorta think that life is like sunrises and sunsets.  There are times in our lives when we’re just  going along and everything seems fine then all of the sudden the darkness enters and envelops us.  We get a bad phone call in the middle of the night or something like that.  Then sometimes it comes in stages.  Things are going good then one bad thing happens.  We didn’t get this job, but it’s ok.  There’s another one out there for me.  I just know it.  After months of searching for a job or trying to catch someone’s attention or whatever the case may be, we look back and realize that the darkness had started back at that first job denial, and then we realize that we’re in the dark.

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you:  God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 5-7

What I seem to forget is that while we’re in the darkness, while we let ourselves wallow in the horrible darkness, that in God there is no darkness.  In the darkness there is no fellowship with Him or with one another.  Our relationships suffer and every aspect in our lives suffer because we’re walking in the darkness and not living by the Truth.  Ouch.  How many times have I been content to sit in the darkness and just let it surround me?

The good news is is that just like the darkness can come upon us so quickly, so can the light.  “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”  Now, the circumstances might not change…but the attitude does.  When we’re walking in the light with God, things are manageable emotionally, physically and spiritually for us.

“This is the verdict:  Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:19-21

I don’t know about you, but more often than not I bring the darkness upon myself.  Something happens, and instead of walking in the Light, it’s just easier to wallow in the darkness, but what God wants us to do is run to the Light.  Not only because it will make our lives better, but because it will make the lives of others in our lives better.  By us choosing to walk in the light the world will be able to see plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

That’s what it boils down to in my mind.  We’re here to walk in the Light so that God may be glorified through our deeds.  And even if we misstep and turn towards the darkness where God is not present, He will be there holding out His hand just waiting for us to reach up to Him in faith in our time of need.  My prayer for us as a community is that we would choose the Light in every situation and do not wallow in the darkness.  As we go forward through this next week may we notice more the sunrises and sunsets.  I know that I, while still appreciating the beauty of God’s creation, will never look at one the same again.

Chuck

0

I’ve fallen in love with a television show.  I enjoy watching TV when it comes time to unwind or to just have some noise in the background while I’m cleaning or whatever.  But I don’t ever remember being just plain excited about a TV show…until now.  I’m such a nerd.  I’ve never owned any TV seasons on DVD…until now.  I’m telling you, this show cracks me up and it’s a crime show, which always interests me.  The thing that gets me is it’s a little sci-fi.  Maybe I’m branching out a little.  Who knows.

What I like so much about this show is the story line.  And then, of course, the characters that they have developed over the last three years have just been fantastic.  The premise of the show is that Chuck works at the Buy More, which is pretty much a Best Buy, and works for the Nerd Herd, which equates to the Geek Squad.  He’s a Stanford man that had been kicked out when his best friend accused him of cheating on a test and since then his life had been the Nerd Herd, which he is way overqualified for.  Six years later this best friend, who is an international spy, sends him an encrypted email with all of our nation’s intelligence secrets and they’re imbedded in his mind, which is good because the actual computer with the images is destroyed leaving Chuck as the most valuable asset to national security.

As the show continues different characters are brought into the picture to protect Chuck and help him as he trains and becomes a spy and goes on missions, which are all usually pretty cheesy.  Maybe that’s why I like it so much.  It’s not heavy and I don’t have to put a lot of thought into solving the mystery or anything like that.

The central theme, though, that has been running throughout the whole series is the struggle for Chuck to transform from being who he was and changing into the man that this computer in his head is making him.  He started out as a complete underachiever who was a super nice guy and a big nerd.  Then this email gets sent to him, and the rest of his life is going to be a constant struggle between staying the guy he always was or becoming a hero.  Most of the time he’s lost trying to decide which person he wants to be.  One of the people sent to protect him is a beautiful young woman that Chuck is in love with, and who is an all-out spy.  She’s been so immersed in a culture of lies and killing that she’s lost who she is, and as Chuck tries to figure himself out, Sarah begins to start searching for who she was before the CIA.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really know where I was going to go with this until this very moment.  One part of my personality profile was a section that told traits about myself, and then it told the traits of people that I would work well with and with whom we would work best and with whom we should avoid working.  In the show Chuck has Sarah who helps him to be able to keep the person he once was in check but still be a hero.  There’s his best friend Morgan who is a big nerd and total underachiever who also helps keep him grounded and gives him the link back to reality.  Then there’s John Casey who is also there to help protect Chuck.  Casey is a sniper and through and through military guy.  It’s a pretty diverse group of people who continue to bring out the best in each other time after time.

After going over my personality profile I was able to sit back and look at my group of friends and look at why our relationships were the way they were.  I was able to sit back and look at our strong points and our weak points in each relationship that I surround myself with.  Now I know the places that I need to work on and the places that I need to keep growing and nurturing.  I’m so thankful for my friends and family in my life, new and old.  Some of you have been staples in my life for years, and some of you I’ve only known for a few months, but I believe that we’re building relationships to be the body of Christ.  We’re all different and I’m so thankful for that!  I love the diversity in my group of friends, and I love that we can sit back and talk about different subjects and sometimes even poke fun at each others qualities that we love and still remain strong in our “body.”

I don’t know all of your friends or family or who you surround yourself with, but I would definitely recommend taking one of the personality profiles that I took.  One was a DiSC profile, which I just did a google search for and found it.  It cost about $30, but it was definitely worth it in my opinion.  The spiritual gift test, I just did a google search for APEST, and did probably the first one.  It was $10 and totally worth it, too.  None of the results really surprised me, but it was good to have a confirmation not only on who I am, but with whom I surround myself, and that we actually are functioning as the body that we’re trying to be.

Season 4 of Chuck started last night.  I’m still trying to finish up on Season 3.  Good thing I’ve got DVR or I would have had to miss it!  I think that will be my plan tonight!

I took an APEST profile test a few minutes ago to help sort out what my spiritual gifts were.  It’s a series of 50 questions and you answer which one of two most describes you by your gut reaction.  It puts a number from greatest to least what your spiritual gifts are.  The five it chooses from are Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds & Teachers.

The way it numbered me was Teaching, 36; Prophetic, 29; Evangelistic, 27; Apostolic, 21; and Shepherding, 8.  My profile says my Assessment is Teaching + Prophetic and is described as follows:

“The Teacher Prophet has a deep understanding of what God is calling us to.  The TP is motivated to pursue the great ideas of Christianity and to explain how God’s truth calls and informs our involvement.  The TP has a dynamic understanding of truth and an urgency to respond to the implications of truth.  The Teacher Prophet is motivated to meed the needs of the kingdom and deep comprehension of why to support it.”

The characteristics of a Teacher, which is my primary 1 characteristic are:  Effective communicator of Truth; Others led to a deeper understanding and ownership; Philosopher, imparter of ideas and principles; Translator of great complexities into simple teachings; Systematizer for solutions, process and integration; Guides others with wisdom and understanding; Encourages exploration in thinking toward solutions; Core issue is understanding; Have a curiosity to know more and to explain this knowledge; Strong desire for people to understand teachings and wisdom of God; Willing to take the time for people to understand for themselves; & Discerns audience’s ability to comprehend, starts there.

The characteristics for my Primary 2 characteristic, Prophetic, are as follows: Questions what has become normative; Disturbs common thinking and practices; Agitates for positive change; Desires learning for purposes to influence; Discerns the message of Truth; Seeks to ensure an authentic response to Truth; Core issue is one’s relationship with God; Urgency felt now, in the moment, “this must happen”; Comfortable dismantling the present for future hope; Deep compassion for the cause of the people; Inspires all people to respond to God’s message; May communicate creatively to get message across.

Secondary 1 is Evangelistic, which was a close second to Prophetic so I’m posting its definition, too.  Definition:  Evangelistic leadership communicates the gospel message in a way that people respond by having a greater faith in themselves and their purpose.  In a leader, he or she is a communicator/recruiter, taking the organizations message to the outside and convincing them of it.  The Evangelistic leader impacts the community through expansion.

So my question for those of you who know me is, What do you think?  Prophetic was 29 and Evangelistic was 27, so that’s not too much of a difference, which is why I posted them both.  It just didn’t give all the characteristics of the Evangelist, so I didn’t post that part.  Anyway, leave a comment and tell me what you think, please!!!

Ah, the life of a single girl is grand.  Tonight I made enough filling for my quesadillas this week to feed an army.  Now it looks like I’ll be eating quesadillas for two weeks.  I’m not really complaining too much, though.  I love em!  I’ve always had a hard time trying to figure out proportions.  I had just enough of each veggie, but when I put them all together, it was a crazy amount of food!  Maybe I need to have a party.  I’m not a fan of eating alone.  Have I mentioned that before?  It really sucks because I eat about 98% of my meals alone.  Just something you get used to, I guess.

I have good days and bad days.  I am in a really good place emotionally, but there are just some days that it would be nice to have someone come home to to just sit down and have a good conversation with.  What I keep thinking, though, is that my focus is off.  I shouldn’t have any days that I don’t feel as loved.  I was having a texting conversation with a friend earlier, and I was reminded of one of my all-time favorite quotes that I try to live by.  There are some days that I’m not quite there, but it’s always my prayer.  I can’t remember who said it, but I would put my money on it being Elisabeth Elliott.  Anyway, here goes.  “A woman’s heart should be so lost in God that a man must seek Him in order to find her.”  It just sounds like Elisabeth Elliott.

I don’t want to have to put on an act.  My friends know my heart, and most of the time know when I’m trying to pull one over on them.  They also know to call me out if I’m being a jerk.  I love that I can be completely me.  No masks, no games…just me.  And they’ll love me for me.

I left my Bible at my friends house last night, so this morning I felt really lost without it.  I am thankful that I felt lost without it, but I’m sad that I just now realized where it was.  It will have to wait till tomorrow, so I’ll miss my morning Bible study again.  Bummer.  I think my other Bible is still packed away somewhere.  Maybe, though, I’ll get lucky and find it before morning!

I’ve been struggling leading music for the last couple weeks.  I’m not trying to be a worship leader.  I’m trying to be the lead worshipper, but sometimes I feel like people expect us to be putting on a show that they’re just there to watch.  It’s gotten to me a little more than usual this week.  I’ve just been finding it hard to get to a place of pure and unhindered worship.  I don’t know.  Maybe my heart isn’t right.  It just feels like there’s a heavy Spirit in the room, and I’m not having much luck rising above it.  I’m sure that 99.9% of it is in my head and that they’re really worshipping and Satan’s telling me they’re not.  At least I hope that’s right.

Needtobreathe has a song called Garden.  The lyrics are incredible, and it brings me back to why we’re worshipping.  It’s not to give me joy in singing or playing.  It’s not to entertain people in church for an hour on Sunday morning.  It’s to show our love and adoration to our King.  That’s it.  Lord, help me get back to that.

Some of the lyrics that stand out the most:  “Give me strenght to die to myself so love can live to tell the tale.  Let the songs I sing bring joy to You.  Let the words I say profess my love.  Let the notes I choose by Your favorite tune.  And, Father, let my heart be after you.”

I’m sitting here thinking of what I’m going to title this post instead of just typing it.  I’m running short on time and just really need to be typing, but instead I’m trying to be creative and come up with a funny title.  Geez.

I’ve had a lot on my mind the last few days.  I’ve realized a few things.  For one, I’m happy and content with where I’m at and where God is leading me.  Since my nephew died in ’01 those feelings have been just out of reach it seemed.  Gradually over the past few years I’ve been getting control of different of my life.  The one thing that’s always lingered there has been my struggle with my weight.  I finally feel like I’m getting a handle on it, though.  I’m eating healthy and I feel 200% better.  Words can’t describe how much better I feel physically and mentally.  It’s crazy.

Recently I was blessed to be part of a group praying over a young man getting ready to go to college.  During this time of prayer someone started speaking in tongues, and then after that what was said was interpreted for us.  Keep in mind, I was raised General Baptist.  My one experience with people speaking in tongues was at a revival while I was in college.  I didn’t really know what to think.  All I wanted to do was listen.  What really hit me this time was that God was speaking directly to this young man through these women.  It was beautiful on so many different levels.  Sometimes I forget how personal God is.  He created us and knows us better than we know ourselves, and He speaks to us in so many ways.  Beautiful.

This got me thinking about Spiritual gifts and what mine were.  Have I really stepped into the best that God has for me?  I know I want to.  I want to be able to say that this is my gift, whatever it is, and use it to the fullest to bless God.  A lot of my prayer time has been devoted to this because when we’re functioning fully in our gifts, not only are we blessing God, but we’re such a blessing to others around us.  Just like those women using their gifts was such an incredible blessing to me.

Reading about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 lead me to read the “love chapter” right after that.  I’ve been thinking about love lately, too.  (told you I’ve had a lot on my mind)  My nutritionist has become a good friend.  She’s made it her mission to find me a husband.   It cracks me up.  Normally I shy away from setups and blind dates and the like, but like I said earlier.  I’m in a good place.  I’m happy with who I am, so if a date goes bad, I really don’t care…lol  I’m happy with me, and I’m pretty darn cool, so it’s their loss!  ;-D

This whole situation got me to thinking about a decision I had made in high school.  I made a decision to not have sex until I got married.  My decision was Biblically founded, but along with that I had decided that when I gave myself to my husband that I was going to give him everything.  Not just what was left.  I’ve stuck with that decision and am very thankful that I haven’t had to endure any of the heartache that goes along with giving those pieces of yourself away.  While I made that choice to honor my husband that way I just recently realized (like tonight) that I haven’t made that choice to honor God that way.  I mean, I want to honor God with everything I have, but most of the time He just gets what’s left of me.  He doesn’t get my best.  I sell out one way or another and come crawling back to the cross empty expecting to be filled again.

So it makes sense that the love chapter follows the chapter on spiritual gifts.  Love is everything.  We can exercise our gifts but without love “I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”  If we exercise our gifts out of love for God and one another, I’m going to just put this out there, maybe we won’t be crawling to the cross completely empty all the time.  Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to give God everything we have.  Not just what’s left.

Normally I post a song that goes along with what I’ve been writing about, but this post is so all over the place that I just don’t really know what to post.  Maybe I’ll think of something by the time I finish writing here.  I do want to end this, though, with a prayer request.  I’ve had this feeling as of late to just get ready.  Something’s coming and it’s going to rock your world.  Now, I don’t have a clue if it’s good, bad or ugly, but I do feel like something’s coming.  The feeling I get is not one of fear or trepidation, but it’s kinda just a feeling of this is kinda cool.  I’m gonna be ready.  I’m just asking that you pray with me to help me step into my gifts and be there at the cross ready to give all I have to Him and be a blessing to Him and to those around me.  I’m ready for something beautiful.

My friend Hersch sent me this link on Facebook.  I thought I’d share it with you!  Actually, this subject was coming up, but this one is a great version of it!

http://stuffchristianslike.net/2010/08/3557/

Tiny

0

I couldn’t find a video of this song, so I posted the lyrics.  I was looking up at the stars last night.  They were beautiful.  Every one specifically created with a purpose and for a purpose.  Kinda makes you realize how small we are in comparison to all of God’s creation.   Kinda makes it pretty incredible that He loves us so much.

Enjoy the song “Tiny” by Enter The Worship Circle

“With my hands, with my tiny fingers I will reach out hard to You.  In this tiny room, with these tiny people I will tell the truth to You.

You are faithful.  You are strong.  You are goodness.  I am wrong.  You are larger more than anything.  You’re everything to me.

With my tiny words in this tiny song I will sing my heart to You.  On my tiny knees with my tiny dreams, I will give my life to You.

You are faithful.  You are strong.  You are goodness.  I am wrong.  You are larger more than anything. You’re everything to me.”

~Enter The Worship Circle~

My aunt lost her son about two months ago.  She’s been up to visit with all of us a couple times in those two months.  The last time she was up here I didn’t get a chance to visit with her at all.  Our paths never physically crossed.  What I’ve noticed, though, is that everywhere she went last time she was here, she definitely left her mark.

I went over to my parents’ house for dinner the other day, and the living room was freshly painted with new window treatments.  Now, if you know my mom, you know that it can take her weeks to get one room done.  So seeing that it had been done within the timespan of a weekend, I was a little surprised.  That Friday I went to my grandparents’ house, and all of their shutters and doors had been painted.  My grandparents are in their late 70s, so I knew they had to have had some help.  It seems that everywhere my aunt went during her visit, those places were now colorful and new-looking.

Last night I was unwinding to some TV and a preview for the new Julia Roberts movie came on: Eat, Pray, Love.  I’m not sure about the movie, but one of the quotes from the preview stuck out to me.  I’m going to mess it up completely, so I’m paraphrasing, but basically she said, I want to stand in front of something and be completely in awe.  I want to reinvent myself.  I want to leave my mark. (Keep in mind it’s a VERY LOOSE paraphrase!)

My aunt is creative and colorful and is currently in the process of reinventing herself.  She spent the last year and a half caring for her dying son.  He was her life.  That part of her life is over now, so moving on is probably a little scary.  But she’s leaving her mark wherever she goes…and it’s colorful and fun and happy.  That’s my aunt.  Eternal optimist.    I’m sure she has days that are really sucky.  But she paints and she sews and she creates.  She’s reinventing.

The earlier quote from Eat, Pray, Love, I can understand.  Sometimes I just want to see something amazing.  I want to stand in awe.  I want to make my mark.  What I think I get but sometimes forget is that all I have to do to be in awe of something is just to worship.  It’s so easy to get caught up in this life that’s so busy and that’s going by so fast that sometimes we just forget to stand in awe at creation or at the glory of His presence in our lives.

My goal for the next week and all the weeks after that is to just to take some time to just stand and worship and be in awe of His glory and His presence in my life.  I think that there’s not better way to reinvent yourself or leave your mark on this world than to be a person who shows the love of God and His grace in our lives.  I want people to remember me as gracious and loving more than anything else.  That’s how I’m going to leave my mark.  I’ll let God handle the reinventing for me!

Now I’ve got to call my aunt and see when she’s coming up next.  My living room needs a good coat of paint…

Sometimes you just need to sit back, relax and enjoy the music.  I’m all about enjoying music.  Most of you know it’s a huge passion of mine.  I want the new music from just about everyone.  I love hearing about new undiscovered people.  And I LOVE a fantastic guitar solo.  So here you go.  Just sit back, relax and enjoy Amazing Grace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UND-DtHBZQ

(Sorry.  It won’t let me embed it on here.  Just have to click the link.)