Sunday, June 29, 2008
Come on now, we've all got at least one thing we can fess up to. You know, maybe a bad habit or possibly a guilty pleasure. Maybe you drink straight out of the milk carton or don't bother to get a bowl for your ice cream. Or could you be the one who leaves an empty roll of toilet paper or puts the water pitcher back in the fridge empty? Maybe you like to relax and celebrate the end of the day by indulging in something delicious while vegging out in front of the tv for awhile. Anybody drive while putting on make up or texting?
I'll start us off by fessing up first. I have chocolate in my purse at all times :) Of course, I carry only the dark chocolate that docs have now declared healthy for us. Ghiradelli squares or Dove dark chocolates to be exact :) I can also be caught indulging in a few bites of low-fat ice cream at bedtime -- okay, maybe at some point during the afternoon, too :) Hmmm... anyone notice a pattern to my confessions? Maybe a food theme? A love for sweets possibly? Maybe that's why I have to watch my sugar intake now :)
Now if all this talk of confession is making you think about something more serious -- something you need to talk to God about -- just remember: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) The old adage is true. Confession is good for the soul.
But here on the blog, let's keep it fun, okay? What are you willing to fess up to? Don't be shy. Leave a comment. Let yourself go and tell your secrets. Let's make each other smile!
*Flickr photo by Funkdooby
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Winning the giveaway today is just the icing on the cake for Kelli, though. Yesterday Kristin, Kelli, and I all met in T-town for a little birthday fun for Kristin and a little car shopping for Kelli. As you can imagine, salesmen moved at breakneck speed to get to our little female threesome. Maybe because we looked ripe for the picking. Or possibly because both Kristin and Kelli are darned cute. Chances are, it was a combination of the two :)
Long story short? Kelli is now in car heaven. After driving her faithful little Cavalier for seven years --- and it was hail damaged and banged up for most of that -- she is now the proud owner of a 2008 Toyota Corolla. She lucked out and found one that was owned by the dealership and just driven by salesmen (only 5300 miles on it!). Kelli, I'm so happy for you! I'm also proud that you patiently drove your old car while saving for a new one. You deserve to be lucky!
The good things that come our way are really more than luck, though, aren't they? "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father..." (James 1:17) No, we're not just lucky -- we're blessed. Thank You, Lord!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
So what am I up to? I'm developing a Bible study for writers. And no, I've never done anything like this before, but like I said, it was more or less an accident. When my regular Bible study group adjourned for the summer, I decided to find a writers' Bible study and do it on my own. My search turned up only two possibilities, and I had already done those. Disappointed, I thought, well I guess I could try to come up with my own study. Of course, that's all it took to get my writer brain whirling, and the rest, as they say, is history. Or in this case, barely history and still in progress.
In fact, I'm sure it will be in progress for quite awhile. I'm only giving as much time to it as I would any other Bible study. I don't want to neglect my other writing projects. I figure I can work on it slowly but surely and possibly seek publication for it someday. I've already asked a few of you to pray for me in this new venture, and those of you I haven't asked yet, consider yourselves asked now. I'm sure I'll need all the help I can get :) Just teasing -- I certainly know where my help comes from. "My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." (Psalm 127:2) And He is fully able.
Is there some new territory beckoning you right now? Something new you should try? Granted, the prospect of the unfamiliar can be a little scary for us at times, but let's not let that hold us back. Just think of all the good things that can happen when we expand our horizons -- personal growth in skills, character, or faith; new groups of people that we can relate to or help; new places to experience; maybe even a new career. The list goes on.
So go ahead. Stumble into it if you have to. Let the challenge and excitement of the possible outcome draw you into your new path. The Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, stands ready to help you. Tell me about it, if you'd like. I'll pray for you if you pray for me! :)
**By the way, I finished reading The Shack (mentioned in previous post). I've heard there's some controversy over it in the Christian community. You can read more about it at http://www.theshackbook.com/. For me, there was much about the book I really liked, but I also had some concerns. I mentioned my main concern in the comments section of the previous post if you're interested.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I'll go first :) A few years ago, I finally started reading the Left Behind series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. I know -- I guess you could say I've been "left behind" everyone else on this front :) Right now I'm on book 10, The Remnant. I've taken a break from it, though, to read The Shack by William P. Young. This book has generated a lot of buzz so thought I'd better check it out before I'm way behind the times on it as well. I'm about halfway finished and am not sure what I think yet... Of course, I always read the newspaper (such as it is in our small town) and always have my stack of magazines next to my spot on the couch as well :)
This past year I've also begun reading some classic books on the craft of writing. The one I'm reading right now is On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. Crazy, huh? Little Cheryl reading Stephen King :) Since I'm not exactly into terror (hey, there's a big difference between disaster and terror flicks!), I've never read his books or watched the subsequent movies, but this book comes highly recommended by those in the writing industry. Granted, I've had to skim over some "colorful" language at times, but his insight about writing has proven to be invaluable.
Now to devotional reading -- I realize that's quite a jump from Stephen King, but jump with me, if you will :) As you might have already guessed, I'm currently reading the devotional books in which my devotions have recently appeared. The One-Year Life Verse Devotional is my early morning one, and Daily Devotions for Writers has become my nighttime one. I also manage to fit in a women's daily devotional magazine called Journey.
The best devotional reading I do, though, comes straight from the Bible. Nothing can replace the wisdom, power, and hope found in the Word of God. Moses told the Israelites that God's words "are not just idle words for you--they are your life." (Deuteronomy 32:47) How true. God's Word is, in fact, my lifeline.
Now it's your turn. Don't worry -- you don't have to go into as much detail as I have. That's just the writer in me. Everyone jump in and leave a comment. C'mon and join the fun! What are you currently reading?
*P.S. Don't forget to sign up for the Stay Cool Summer Giveaway (deadline June 24). See June 1st post.
*Flickr photo by katerha
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Keith rode herd over his boys for years as a faithful and loving dad, and now Aaron and Adam will be playing that same role in the lives of their own kids for many years to come. Keith? Like any other grandpa, he'll be busy hugging and handing out treats :)
I have a message today for dads and granddads everywhere. Your lives, too, are pictures of love. I hope you're blessed by reading the following.
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us..." 1 John 3:1 NIV
Pictures of His Love
Dads, your lives are pictures to us
Of our loving heavenly Father,
So many of His characteristics
Are mirrored in the way you live.
Your love for us is without condition
You love us just because we’re yours,
You’re always ready to offer help
You’d protect us with your very lives.
We can always come to you for wisdom
We’re strengthened when you’re by our sides,
We’re continually amazed at your generous spirits
At your forgiveness and support.
And just like our Heavenly Father
You’ve given us discipline when we needed it,
Words of warning and sometimes rebuke,
Words to challenge and inspire us.
Now Dads, we know you’re just mere men
We know you make mistakes,
But you have succeeded in showing us
How great is the love of the Father!
Happy Father's Day!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
We wanted to go to lunch for a girlfriend catch-up session and decided to make a quick trip to Indy. We had heard about a quilt shop there that had recently been selected as one of the top ten quilt shops in the nation. In our neck of the woods? We needed to see this with our own eyes.
We were not disappointed. As we entered the shop, we seemed to step into another world. The high ceilings and rich-looking furnishings along with the beautiful and creatively displayed quilts and accessories created an ambiance of a luxurious and delightful retreat from the outside world. Everything we saw held a special touch. We were awestruck by the quality of goods and workmanship. And for those of you who know I don't even own a sewing machine and am craft-challenged -- yes, even I could spot the quality here :)
What fun to discover this gem of a shop in our own backyard. Teri was in her element, and I was trying hard to fit in :) When the salesladies were around, I just acted like I knew what I was looking at, and then when they walked away, I asked Teri one elementary question after another. Know what I discovered, though? You don't have to understand all the facets and complexities of a gem to enjoy its beauty. I loved the shop.
As I think about our lives, about each of us as individuals, I know a gem could be found in each one of us. Something beautiful and unique. Something quality. If others looked into your own very ordinary life, what gem would they discover? Would they find a master quilter, an artist, or a gourmet chef? Perhaps a talented athlete or musician? Or maybe like me, you're just good with words. The possibilities are endless, aren't they?
So take a closer look at yourself as well as others in your life. There's beauty all around. Go ahead - have fun discovering gems!
"...its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel..." Revelation 21:11
*Flickr photo by ivanpw
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Puzzled surprise soon gave way to joyful surprise. After emailing the compiler/editor of the book, I learned that my email address had accidentally been left out of her list so I simply missed getting the information about the book's release, etc. She filled me in on the details, told me how I could get copies with the contributor's discount, and then I happily began to enjoy the moment. What can I say? Writers love publication :)
When I first heard about this project, though, I wasn't sure I wanted to submit anything for it. It was going to be a fundraiser for The Writing Academy, and writers were being asked to donate their work. I usually try to avoid submitting to non-paying markets (ultimately contributes to devaluing writers' work), but the Lord reminded me that one of my goals is to help other writers. With this project, I could help the writers of the The Writing Academy as well as writers who would one day be reading my devotion (if it was selected for use).
I'm so glad now the Lord prompted me to write a piece and send it in. It's always a tremendous blessing to know my work has been used and that my words might offer just the encouragement, joy, direction, or hope that someone may need on a particular day. And this time, the chance to help other writers carries its own unique satisfaction and joy.
Were you treated to an unexpected joy this week? Tell us about it with a comment and let us rejoice "Rejoice with those who rejoice..."! Romans 12:15a
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
And speaking of the grace of God, He granted us an absolutely wonderful family reunion! He blessed with everyone being able to come, safe travel, good weather when we needed it, well-behaved kids, sweet fellowship, and last, but not least, lots of great photo opportunities :)
I can't tell you how much I love this group of people. In fact, I get teary-eyed just looking at the picture. We enjoyed such great moments together this past weekend. The reunion was not just an "event", it was personal. We got to hug each other again, introduce and embrace new family members, catch up on news, laugh and play games together, indulge in inside jokes and stories, makes scenes wherever we went, and pray together as we shared meals. (And yes, the tears are rolling down my cheeks now!)
One of my favorite moments happened quite spontaneously on our second evening together. We were about to call it quits for the day when my nephew Aaron brought up an infamous story from the early days of his Uncle Don's and Aunt Cheryl's marriage. That story still gets laughs every time. Before we knew it, more stories from the past were being recounted -- for our own amusement, yes, but also for the benefit of those new to the family.
Kristin quickly realized that something extraordinary was taking place and whipped out their video camera to record this impromptu oral family history (thanks, Kristin!). Without consciously deciding to do it, we found ourselves keeping these stories alive for another generation. Definitely a highlight of our reunion, I would say.
It actually made me think of scriptures like Psalm 78:4 that exhort us to "tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done." We need to keep our God-stories alive, too, don't we?
I can't help but wonder... Do you think perhaps we'll be sitting around one day at that grand reunion in heaven telling stories on God? Reminding each other of the mighty things He did for us on earth? Imagine it with me now. Another reunion highlight. Thank You, Lord!
**For those of you who are trying to figure out who everyone is in the picture, here you go:
On the steps from the bottom up: Gavin (my sister Carolyn's youngest), Lyndsey (my nephew Adam's wife); Emmalyse (Adam & Lyndsey's new baby!); then left to right going up - Cody (Carolyn's oldest) and Adam (my sister Debbie's son); Joanna (my sister Janice's daughter) on the next row by herself; our daughters Kelli and Kristin next to my mom, Charlene;
Back row: Keith (Debbie's husband), Samuel (Aaron & Monica's son), my sister Debbie, our son-in-law Shawn, Monica (my nephew Aaron's wife), Aaron (Debbie's son); my sister Janice, my dad Duane, me, my husband Don, my sister Carolyn, and her husband Dave.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Sometimes when the heat is on, you've just gotta find something to do inside! Would a $10 Blockbuster gift card help? Pick out a couple of new releases or a few old favorites, crank up the AC, grab a drink, some popcorn and M&Ms, and relax. Like the scripture says, "...Come home...and refresh thyself." (1 Kings 13:7 KJV).
To be included in the drawing for the gift card, leave a comment on this post by midnight June 24 (CST). That way I can get the prize to the winner in time for the searing hot month of July. Just tell me one of your all-time favorite movies or the name of the last movie you saw. Be sure and leave your email address if I don't know you personally, or you'll be disqualified since I won't know how to reach you.
I'll kick it off. One of my all-time favorite movies is White Christmas. You can't get much cooler than that! :) C'mon and join the fun. Refresh thyself! :)
*Flickr photo by Charleston's TheDigitel