Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What a difference a day makes!

I have to apologize for yesterday's post.  I reread it today, and I am not sure it made complete sense.  I don't know if it was the heat of the day or the fact I was trying to do 7 things at one time, but I didn't completely convey all my thoughts.  Today is a complete and total change from yesterday.  For starters, the weather is unbelievable!!!!  It feels like a perfect spring day.  Temps are in the upper 70s vs. yesterday's 90s.  The girls and I played and did our lessons and devotion outside today.  Instead of keeping cool in the sprinkler, we were trying to keep our paintings from flying away in the breeze.  (We painted w/ cut potatoes today and it was super fun!) The other change is it is just me and my computer right now...no other tasks on my plate (at least not for the next 30 minutes) and no little ones to answer...just the keys, screen and me!

What a difference a day can make?

I thought of that saying as I pondered the change in the weather as well as the changes of being back in good ol' NC.  We touched down at RDU last Thursday evening and I experienced a feeling I have never quite felt before.  I have always been excited and eager to get back home after being away for a few days.  But, I can honestly say I was not that thrilled about being back.  I realized that the trials my family has been facing seemed to diminish in the sunshine state.  They were out of sight and out of mind.  We didn't discuss the house selling.  We didn't discuss where to move.  We didn't discuss any of the things that have been the topics of most of our conversations.  We had fun!  We felt relaxed!  We had forgotten our troubles!  Now, as soon as we landed, everything we have been questioning came rushing back after being out of our thoughts for 17 days!

Yes we still prayed about the subjects while we were away, but they weren't staring us in the face. We had completely handed the matters to God and not thought about them more than necessary.  I felt a little down as we drove home...but why?  Why did I feel like I had to think, worry and wonder about what to do now that we were back home?  Worry is a sin!

But again, what a difference a day makes!

The Lord put so many inspirational stories and verses that touched my heart in my path over the weekend.  Things that could only have come from Him to lift my spirits.  Reasons to be thankful. Ways to count my blessings.  And most importantly my immediate family to remind me we are all in this together...we are seeking the Lord's will as a team, and I am so thankful for my team!  We also have a wonderful extended family who missed us dearly and was glad to have us home.

In my case it took a few days to make a difference in my outlook on life.  It took a few days to be encouraged instead of discouraged.  But today I am thankful for my God that is holding my hand through all my uncertainties. I am thankful He can change so much in a matter of seconds!

Today's Verses

Colossians 2:10a "And ye are complete in Him..."

Psalms 31:14-15 "But I trusted in thee, O LORD:  I said, Thou art my God.  My times are in thy hand:  deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me."

PS - Not to make anyone panic...but today is June 26th.  That means that this year is almost half way over (hence the recalculating of budgets yesterday), which also means there is now less than 6 months until Christmas!!!  Yikes!!!  The countdown begins!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Hot!!!

I am sitting out on the porch and let me tell you, it is hot!!!!  I am reminded of my days growing up on a farm.  My grandfather was a tobacco farmer and we were his proud little workers.  I remember the days as very hard work, but we made them fun.  I can also remember the days we would stand on that harvester and pray for a breeze to cool us off briefly.

I am longing for that breeze today.  The girls are keeping it cool in the sprinkler while I have been catching up on a little work.  Midyear budget reviews are needed and article ideas need to be typed.  The heat is miserable, but the breezes are oh so nice and refreshing!

The trials of life can seem like these summer days.  Almost Unbearable!!  The storms churn and we pray for a breeze of relief.  And they always come....right we need them most.  The unexpected phone call or email from a friend.  The sermon or Sunday school lesson that seems to be taught just for us.  A verse that takes on a whole new meaning during the current trial we are facing.  The relief is sent.  The breeze feels nice and refreshing.  The heat still remains, just like our trials still keep improving our faith, but the breeze comes periodically to help us bear it.

Today's Verse
Psalms 34:19 "Many are the afflictions of the righteous:  but the LORD delivereth him out of them all."

Unfortunately or thankfully, however you look at it, we face a lot of trials in life...our afflictions are "many".  These trials are times of growth, times of strengthening our faith and our trust in our heavenly Father. God sends the breeze and the relief is so sweet!  He delivers us out of "THEM ALL".  Not just some.  Not just a few...ALL OF THEM!!!!  Oh how the breezes get us through the heat and trials.  And when the temperatures cool down and He delivers us, we are so thankful He is our God! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Duck out of water!

So our days in Florida are coming to an end.  I cannot believe our time here is almost over.  I believe I have 2 little beach bums on my hands.  They have become little fishies and have loved every minute we have spent in the water.  We have been able to do a lot of fun and exciting things and made many memories that will last forever.  This trip has truly been a blessing.

Our second day here, I have to be honest, I had a moment when I was scared.  The what if questions swirled in my head.  What if something bad happens here?  What if the girls and I cannot find our way around?  What if they are miserable the whole time?  What if I can't make it in a strange town while my husband has to work everyday?

Later on that day we saw a funny site down at the beach.  It was a mama duck with her baby ducklings walking in the sand.  Now, I know ducks like water, but I have never seen a duck in the ocean before.  They looked so odd.  They seemed so out of place.  They looked so lost.  After a few minutes in the waves, she was leading those babies back to safety.

Oh how I felt like those ducks at that moment.  I compared my girls and me to those ducks.  I felt out of place.  I felt a little odd not being back home.  I wanted to gather my girls and head back to the familiar.  Back to where I knew my way around.  Back where I didn't get so many stares when I started to speak in my southern accent.  Back to where we felt safe and at home!

Looking back all those days ago, I am so thankful the Lord gave me the peace and strength I needed to stay.  As I said earlier, this trip has truly been a blessing and we have loved every minute!  Everyone we have met has been so kind.  We have been able to meet new people from my husband's work.  I even had the chance to meet someone who had lived in my hometown for a time period.  We have had a lot of interaction with all the hotel staff.  It has been fun!

So I will gather our things over the next couple of days and we will make the trek home, but I have definitely learned a lot about myself and about how I treat travelers I may come in contact with back at home.  We all have times when we feel out of place, and it is those people we meet that can either make us feel better or make us feel more homesick.  I want to be an encouragement for those I come in contact with that may be new to my area or just passing through.  I want to be a kind face that they can ask directions from.  I want to be a good example to my girls at how we treat everyone with love and respect no matter where they are from or how they talk.

Today's Verse
"Love ye therefore the stranger:  for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."  Deuteronomy 10:19

This was a verse my husband and I read the first week we were here in a devotion.  It was so appropriate for our current situation on many levels, but especially since we were feeling like a "stranger" ourselves.  Moses is telling the Israelites the importance of loving strangers and reminding them they used to be strangers themselves in Egypt.  I think God was trying convey through Moses the importance of being kind like that demonstrated in the golden rule... "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Do we hold that rule true to our hearts?  Do we always treat others, and especially "strangers", the way we want to be treated?

The next time you see someones who looks like a duck out of water, why not smile and offer a kind word.  Wouldn't you appreciate someone that would do the same for you when you feel out of place?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The View

I pondered a question that was sent via email by our Sunday school teacher.  (I do not think he'll mind if I share the question.)  We had begun a new series on Colossians just before we left for our trip here to Florida.  My husband and I were planning to have our own discussion concerning the verses and questions that Sunday morning since we would not be able to attend our own church.  I have to say that I felt a little guilty as I looked at the view out of my window and the thought of the many answers to the question...

" What do you see in creation that especially reflects Christ?"

What an awesome view of God's handiwork!   

In Colossians 1:16 we read  "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible...all things were created by him, and for him:"

God created this earth.  He made the ocean, the land, the mountains, and the sky.  He made you and He made me.  How often do we look at the beautiful creation around us and think about how awesome it is to personally know the Creator of the world?  

As I watched the waves role in, I thought of how the ocean reflects Christ.  

The ocean seems to go on forever...His love and grace does go on forever!
The waves crash on the shore with power...His victory over death is the ultimate power!
The water's depth is impossible to explore...His forgiveness is impossible to completely comprehend!  (Thankfully we just have to know He does forgive us!)
The water is refreshing on a hot day...His arms are always open to refresh His children!
The grains of sand are an endless number...His mercy is endless!

I could go on and on!  Our Savior can be seen in all of God's creation.  We have to look for Him in everything.  He is there.  From the shade of a tree, to the soft grass, to the glorious flowers...His love for us is evident and radiant throughout the earth!

I really never watch much TV during the day, but I have seen the show "The View" a few times.  I know they end by saying to take time to enjoy your view.  Today, please do take time to enjoy the view God has given you...rather it be clouds or sun, rain or rainbows, look for ways Christ is reflected in creation...and thank Him for it!

Today's Verse
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."  Genesis 1:1

Monday, June 4, 2012


We are in the midst of packing for the longest trip of our lives.  It is not so much a vacation as it is a trip. Daddy will be working the majority of the time, but we will be in sunny Florida right on the beach.  We will be gone for almost three weeks, and we are excited but a little frantic at the same time.  With summer officially here and so much fun to be had in these short months, I will be posting a lot less.

This morning we took a break from packing to do our devotion time.  We were finishing up when my youngest daughter started to spin in circles and singing Zachaeus to the top of her lungs.  Well, before I knew it, she had toppled over and hit her little head on the table.  It is a really bad boo-boo.  She is black and blue by her left eye.  She looks pitiful.  She didn't cry for long; she is tough, but it is still sad to look at.

As I was putting her down for nap I kept thinking of the verses I had read this very morning.  We all fall sometimes.  We sin on a daily basis, even after we have given our lives to Christ.  We disappoint God, and we disappoint ourselves.  I have the tendency to beat myself up frequently when I mess up.  I feel like a failure when I think of all the ways I need to improve.  But with the help of today's verse, I hope to remember I am not a failure in God's eyes.  He sees me as His child.  He loves me no matter what...even if I have disappointed myself.  He forgives me and offers grace and mercy.  He enables me not to fall, and He picks me up when I do stumble!

Today's Verses
Jude verses 24-25 "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen."

When we have accepted Jesus, He will be able to "present you faultless" before God the Father.  We are perfect in God's eyes because our sins have been washed away by Jesus' blood.  Only Jesus can prevent us from falling.  Only He can present us to God as perfect.  This is all possible because of His love and sacrifice for us.  Even if I will fall, thankfully I am still forgiven.

Please do have a fun and safe summer!!!!!