Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 31): The greatest ending

31 days? I can't believe I made it. Seriously, I had my doubts and I was wrong. And I learned more in 31 days than I thought I would. I did it and today is the last day, but it isn't the greatest ending. That is still to come. Not from me or you, but from the most loving, merciful, living God.

The greatest ending is a tremendously merciful act of grace. For me, not having to strive any longer, hurt, be disappointed, or deal with my own failures will be sweet release. A portion of grace I hadn't seen as grace until now.

Isn't life in Heaven an impeccable grace...to be given eternal life, life with completeness, wholeness, unending joy and holiness? No bad, evil, pain or deceiving days.
Amazing, beautiful favor.

To live forever with a God who has always seen me as worthy?

Who counted the cost just to be with me and paid the price with his only son. 
How then can I not fall down and quit typing at this moment in tears of praise and joy? ( I will, but part of writing this is my praise and honor to Him) Knowing how much I don't deserve this grace, but knowing that the living God I put my faith in doesn't see it that way...He considers us worth the cross!

Now, may we all consider this grace given gift that we have received and go honor God with our lips in our prayers and conversations. Let us thank our Father God for this gift! 


Your turn, tell me how you feel about this great ending...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 30): in examples






*Luke 2:40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
Jesus came into the world with the Grace of God on him. And would show the greatest example of grace through his death.

*Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Grace is for all humans. When we choose Christ, we receive it.
 
*Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
We should understand what we believe and our words should drip with grace not with a condescending tone.

*Acts 11: 22-23 22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.  
Men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and spoke to the Greeks and many of those people came to Christ. God's grace can change any heart and mind.


 
 *2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Grace is adequate, enough when I am not.



 

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 29): in the grieving


Grief. Not a fun word. No one wants to add it to their resume. "So I see here that you have 15 years of experience in grief. Can you elaborate briefly on that?" Briefly, well, really that is hard to do.

 So I will tell you that this isn't a blog written so you will feel sorry for me. I really want to convey hope. Because there is hope in our Savior, Jesus. He is where we should focus our grief when it comes.
AND...
 It does come. And it will come.

Today, they aren't here. Their faces, laughter, voices only captured in pieces of photos or videos. In memorabilia that I clutch in my hands.  I CAN still smell her (my Mamaw) in the sewing machine as I finish the boys' costumes.  My mother's scent still lingers in the leather jacket upstairs.
My hubby proudly wore his grandpa's boots yesterday at church. I hold onto to cross-stitches and sweaters (Elsie) and guitar picks (Papaw's) thinking this preserves their memories.
    It does a little bit.  It honors their presence in our lives.
6 years ago, I lost my mom and her mom (my Mamaw) and before that my Papaw, Aunt Sherri, and a close friend. 

And in those losses, I grew distant and then closer to God. There was doubt, anger, disbelief, vats of tears, plenty of whys and mounds of shock. Temptations to drown in my sorrows the way the world does. I couldn't eat sometimes. Okay, yes, I tried chocolate, coffee, and other sorted distractions. These only brought temporary relief, but sometimes those are needed for some sanity.

Yet, I held onto Jesus and in a needed act of grace, came the understanding that as I drew near to him, He drew near to me and there was hope. Not necessarily answers, but understanding, mercy. I still hurt, but so does God for me. He gently used others to bring support and prayers and he gave me these verses:
Psalm 6:6-7
Lamentations 3: 20-24, 31-32
And in the life of my first born son there was hope of those whom I love and lost continuing and a legacy emerging.

Then there is this song and it says it all...In my sweet brokeness came the priceless gift of understanding that Jesus understands ultimate suffering and in my tragedy came a deeper knowing of our beautiful, loving God. 



Linking up with Jen at SDG

Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 28): in disobedience


Grace is deep. Grace is amazing...amazing that God helps us even though we are a sorry lot. God has gone and still goes to great lengths to bring us to him, to forgive, protect, encourage, provide and love us...this is one obvious reason I am not God nor could I ever be: I would have given up on us at the Garden of Eden. 

Today, in Sunday school, my oldest son learned about Balaam and his disobedience. Where God used an angel and a donkey to get Balaam's attention. The story comes out of Numbers 22:1-38. The main idea they learned was, God helps us obey him!

Wait-I have to ponder that a moment...

Even when I don't feel like obeying or like Balaam, I choose to disobey our loving God will help me obey.
     He will use what he needs to (be it a talking animal which would freak me out first and then I would certainly take notice) as a means of steering me in the right direction and getting me back to his purposes.

I still can't get over the fact that Balaam's donkey starts talking and Balaam is all cool with it? Really? He is said to be a prophet and could supposedly curse people so maybe a talking donkey was not so surprising or weird?
  I am starting to digress...sorry.

God favors us tremendously! We are so loved and so important that our God will help us do what he asks.

He is perfect, but he knows I am not...what grace.
 
  
 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 27): When your tired...






It is Day 27 right? The days are meshing together and this writing 31 days straight is not only a challenge, but it is making me tired. Whew!

Well, hang in there, right? I mean after today, only four more days. This is what I am telling myself. Really I am grateful for being able to write here for 31 days, but I would be lying if I didn't say sometimes it has been a pain.

So here is what God gave me today:

John 15:5

New International Version (NIV)
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

 Oh, the beautiful symbol of grace this is...I can't write without Him. And when I am tired from striving and doing life on my own or when I am just tired from life, the Lord Jesus assures me that I must remain in Him and if I do I will bear fruit.

We can do no thing without Him. It is his grace that allows us to take our next breath. He sustains us even when we are not aware of it. 

And I've never thought of his grace like that until now. Maybe that is the point of this challenge...to go deeper with God and understand grace on a whole new level. I smile because it is true.

And now, I am going to relish these last five days.

Friday, October 26, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 26): Shut. Up.

 Today is Five Minute Friday where Lisa-Jo 
challenges us to not edit, but just write and not worry about it being perfect.  Go!


Shut Up! Not a nice phrase, but straight to the point.

It is what you say to the voice that doesn't deserve credit or any response. The one that needs to be ignored when you are trying so hard to do your best. When your serving with love and you wonder if only God notices because there isn't much return on the investment.

The voice that lies and creates furrows in your heart as it convinces you that you will never be loved like you want to by your earthly father. That you are the problem.

Whispers of deceit float in your brain and remind you of how your voice isn't heard and does anyone really need to read another blog? Your blog?

The flesh says cruel things. And the enemy even crueler.  And the only way to pop this hallucination of untruth is to tell it,  "SHUT UP" and to kill it with God's truth about you:

- (On serving)
...Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:31-46 NIV

-(We have a heavenly Father)

   "I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime-until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you..." Isaiah 46: 3-4 NLT 

(On my blog and who I really am...)


-For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph. 2:8-9

I am fearfully and wonderfully made and whatever I do, I do it all for the Lord!
 So Ka-pow to the liar!   :)

(5 minutes to write, 5 minutes to make sure scripture was all legit...a lifetime with the Lord Jesus Christ)! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Little Superheroes & homemade costumes

Prompt #5: Show us what your kids are wearing for Halloween.

My boys (4 and 2) are really into the super heroes and rescue heroes right now. Anyone who can leap tall buildings, has a powerful green ring or a catchy name like Billy Blazes has won their approval. If they save people or fight off bad guys...these sweet boys of mine want to emulate them.

This year, I chose to do a half homemade/half store bought Superman costume that my boys will be wearing for Halloween this year. I am still working on the boots and capes.



When I was little, we were pretty poor so one year my mom made our costumes on a whim. This was the late 70's and I decided to be a scary ghost. So my mom literally threw a white sheet over me with holes for my eyes and used her red lipstick to create streaks of blood. Awesome.

I think there is something nostalgic and fun about having your own costume made with loving hands. What about you? 

Linking up today with Mama's Losin it
for a little writer's workshop fun...come join! 

31 Days to Grace (Day 25): Past post called: Grace came Through

I didn't know that when I wrote this...that I would write about grace for 31 days. Enjoy a little blast from the past.

 
Today I am writing for 5 minutes. No editing. Just pure, raw writing. Come join us at http://lisajobaker.com Here I go:

Yesterday was my first time to lead a MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) group where I live. I am the Coordinator.

The thing is...this hasn't been your typical MOPS year and let's just say I wasn't all graceful and sometimes I wondered where the grace was hiding. I have 5 people including me on my team and there is supposed to be 8. I could feel the affects of this at the meeting. Some of my team showed up late. We were not 100% prepared. None of us were entirely graceful in our speech, but at least we didn't stutter or say "um" a lot.

Yet, despite less team, less than perfect or eloquent speech, and oh, my paper that explains a game I didn't memorize is in a folder that I have to get at the back of the room GRACE came through. GOD came through.

Despite what the team knew was not flawless, the women laughed. They were smiling. The atmosphere was warm, calm, relaxed. Human. Like me, like them. 

Grace came through and I am smiling (this is how it was supposed to go in God's eyes and I am more than lucky to serve these women!

This is one of our decorations for this year's MOPS theme: PLUNGE. My heart felt as calm as this scene because of God's grace.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 24): When you let go


There is a peace and even empowerment when you hand over all that plagues, bombards, concerns or hurts. Yet, there is grace still when you clutch what seems hardest to relinquish.
Our gracious Lord won't nag or plead, pinch or tickle or pry it roughly from your hands. He will simply say, "I know what is best for you. Trust me with it. I will give you the best."  
 And He does.
And He did.
And He has.
 And He will.

He did at the cross with his only son. We got the best. Jesus received our worst. 

When the Israelite people messed up again and again, wandered in the desert for 40 years, God was just, but he still promised them the Promise Land. He gave them the best land. (GRACE).

In my own life, I have a roof over my head, food (at least 3 times a day), a loving husband, my health, two, sweet little boys, cars that run and freedom. Really, don't I have portions of God's best?

When I have let go and trusted God it didn't mean I always got what I desired or that the outcome was how I thought it would go...in the handing over of control, my experience has been one of desiring God's ways and plans. And I joyfully accept! 

It is rarely easy, but always worth it!


Share your "letting go" with me. I would love to hear some of your story...

 (thank you MAA for your story).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 23): in memories (a poem).


In the deepest of remembering
 every life that entered mine, 
I am given grace.

In recollecting,
my mind awakens 
to what God has done.
Again, grace.

In reminiscing
my soul moves to knowing
that grace equals blessing.

In the recognizing 
who holds my life
so lovingly in His hands
I receive grace. 
                                            -by Dionne Adkison
                                                                        (copy-protected. Please do not use without permission).

I enjoy linking up with this awesome blogger:

Monday, October 22, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 22): 5 behaviors that need grace.







Sometimes I don't feel like giving grace. Yes, I am going there. The other side of grace. The one from human to human. The grace that is hard to give when we are injured, disappointed, frustrated, etc. And sometimes when this happens, I need to work on being "assertive" or  "polite and powerful." Sometimes I just need to let it go and give grace. Even if the person doing it does it over and over.

Warning: You might feel guilty as I have for exhibiting any of the behaviors listed below. No judging. We all have behaviors to work on.
 
Here are the five behaviors I need to give the most grace to (especially if I wimp out and don't address the behavior):

1. The turn the head syndrome: I am in the middle of a sentence (for which one seemed interested in what I was saying and even asked a question about it) and then they turn their head to see or hear something more interesting or at least their eyes divert elsewhere. This action conveys to me that what I have to say is boring or uninteresting. Lovely.

2. I am discussing a subject for which I have expertise in and the other person acts like what I said isn't valid or asks another person (who is not an expert) to corroborate my statements.

3. Snide remarks. Just say what ya really mean. -Enough said.

4. When someone says something stupid or insensitive, but you know their heart was in the right place or they were just trying to help. 

5. My ultra favorite: Someone thinking they've got me pegged even though they really don't know me. Or believing they understand who I am based on a few experiences we had together.

Oh, in these moments I need God's grace to shower me so I can pour it forth to others in these difficult situations. I do find myself more often than not, keeping my mouth shut, but that isn't necessarily me showing grace. 

I have to admit I just don't have the answer here. There are times when we must kindly tell someone that their behavior hurt us and when we must give grace and forgiveness and move on.

Tell me your answer?  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 21): On being safe with someone






Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe 
with a person,
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, 
but pouring them all right out, just as they are,
chaft and grain together.
Certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness
blow the rest away.
-Dinah Craik


I can only count on one hand with a finger leftover of people whom I feel this safe with...and that is God's grace too. 

Thank you Andrea for this beautiful gift.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 20): In Opportunities


On Friday, I received a hug from a student whom came to my art enrichment class three times. I don't know why she hugged me. Maybe it was because I smiled and treated her with respect? I don't know, but this temporary job is an opportunity to do more than teach children for 6 weeks. More than just encouraging creativity. Perhaps it is to shine hope or light where there isn't; I know for sure that it has been a chance to love and serve a child I may never see again for the sake of the cross.

From my students, I heard hurt. I saw it too. I felt their frustration and need for approval. And in my own human way, with the talents, skills and heart God gave me, I tried to help them. I am not sure if I have, but that won't stop me from being me with those kids. I want nothing to hinder me from obeying God and I don't want to miss his plans for my life.

When I choose to disobey, I pass up possibilities. I forego more of God's grace. You see, He give us all grace through meaningful assignments. For it is in the listening where we hear God share with us his loving purposes. Grace in serving that matters.  
Where the privilege of doing something in his name unfolds neatly in our hands and heart.

Oh, what a gift this is...I see it in being a MOPS Coordinator; I try to create a loving and accepting atmosphere each meeting. I desire for all moms to feel comfortable and welcome. I see God working...probably in me the most.

I see it in being a mom and wife. I am trying to model how to support one another and what it looks like to faithfully follow the Lord. Creating a home with abundant and limitless hugs, kisses, understanding and forgiveness. Hoping that my support and love towards my spouse shows my boys that they deserve to be treated with respect by whom they marry.  Again, God working, in my home to impact my family because I am obeying.

Friendships, strangers, neighbors...He is offering and I take it...I want to keep taking it. To delight in the spiritual joy it provides.

I am utterly addicted to His grace in opportunities. 

What about you? What opportunities has God placed in your lap?

Friday, October 19, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 19): Five Minute Friday: Look

Five Minutes to write from one inspiring word: Look  

If you look for the bad, it will cozy right up next to you and point itself out so clearly. It just isn't hard to see.
If given the chance, it rips, tears and shoves any goodness so your focus shifts from hope to discouragement.

This is where you must listen and look hard if you have to because the good is always present. God is always present. Sometimes the only remedy is the greatest offensive weapon: His word.  

Last night, my mind drifted to all that I forgot or didn't say. Then, another lie slithered into my mind to remind me of snide remarks and pessimistic words. All of it wanting to imprison me as minutes of needed sleep passed by.

Then, I simply said, "No!" and my mind saw the woman, a new friend who smiled and showed me respect as I made announcements to other moms just like us. 
 And more grace came. An encouraging word from another mom.

I am over a minute so my concluding thought is this...There is always grace and God's goodness if we really look.   

Where have you seen God's goodness when you chose to look?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 18): Playing with my food.

I have this propensity for seeing the odd or possibility in the mundane and the ordinary. I can't help it...it is seriously a "fun" disease. :)

Welcome to my mind, er, vision. Or something like that. See below.

No butter is complete without a face!


Booga, booga! Notice the strong resemblance to a Pacific Island influence. Now, I am starting to sound like an art critic. The apple seeds are eyes if you are unsure of what you are looking at!

It's Papaya Man! His seeds make for a great face.

My left over pancake became a bird. I am naming him a Berry-Cream Jay.

So what does this have to do with grace? Nothing really. Accept maybe it made you smile. Maybe that is grace you needed today to remember how much God loves you. I know He loves me and all of my quirkiness.  
Thank you Lord for making me and giving me such grace.


*Linking up with Our Sheltering Tree

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 17): What Children Teach Us About Grace


I truly believe I didn't grasp how God really sees me until I had children. There is a unique understanding of grace that occurs when they come into your life. A miracle unfolds even the minute you are told you are pregnant. At least for me it did. I instantly bonded with my children in this capacity. I fell in love before they were even here. Every little movement inside my belly was a reminder of the life that was to come...of a grace I didn't understand, yet.


It is hard to explain the love you have for your children to anyone because you can't really capture it in words. You just know that these little humans stole your heart and you don't want it back.  Yes, there have been times when my sons drive me crazy, when I have felt selfish and wanted a break from raising a toddler and preschooler, but I could never imagine my life without them. No matter what those boys do, it just doesn't change how I feel about them. Nothing can diminish my love for them because they don't have to earn my love. I would practically do anything to preserve our relationship.

Sound familiar? 

If you love and know God, if Jesus is your savior, then it should. My love for my sons and the desire for a relationship with them is the closest understanding I have to how God feels about me.  There is a distinct parallel between how I love and see my children with how the Lord loves and sees me. I don't have to earn his love. Nothing I have done today, did or will do can separate me from God. 
 These boys are teaching me an aspect of grace!
God sacrificed his child, Jesus to preserve a relationship with us.  

Now that is ultimate grace!

 What have your children taught you about grace?



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31 Days To Grace (Day 16): The half-way mark


So today marks about halfway since 31 days of blogging doesn't work in halves. Yes, math and me don't get along in the morning so this will have to do. It all started here: 31 Days To Grace (Day 1): Grace grew up

I will admit that I've doubted my ability to write well for 31 days...I am still hesitant to call myself a writer. I mean if we are comparing apples to apples, I would call myself a birdwatcher because I like to watch birds and all of their antics. So, yes, I like to write and therefore I guess I am a writer.

I have been stretched because I must think deeply before I blog on grace. Ya know, since I picked such a lighthearted subject (wink). But, honestly, I picked grace because I wanted to dive into its depths. My desire from the beginning of this challenge has been for the Lord to reveal a greater understanding of grace in my own life.
He is delivering.

The most profound discovery: Realizing God loved me before I was a follower of Him is grace too.

And...remembering all of the grace I have already received and how it has manifested into my core over the course of my life has been worth sharing. 

Thank you for reading thus far. May we experience gratitude as we relish God's grace.

Monday, October 15, 2012

31 Days To Grace: (Day 15) Not just a piece of peace


I am not what one would call a pie maker. Okay, pumpkin pie is one I have made and it was more than edible, but it wouldn't win any contests. And I would never be praised for the times I have made humble pie and swam in it. Now, if someone came around with peace pie I would take a slice even though it is tempting to want this pie all to myself. I mean who doesn't like peace?

  I didn't grow up with peace. I never voted to be raised in lots of chaos, but at times that's what it was. I was a shy, meek child who wanted us just to all get along, but yelling, gossiping, worrying and lack of forgiveness abounded in my home.
 My family believed in God, but didn't know His peace. I think they rarely even took a piece of His peace.

Can anyone else relate? When things seem crazy, uncontrollable, or even dangerous...it seems easier to just run in the opposite direction screaming, "The sky is falling! Run!" Or in some cases, to stand ones ground with attitude and fists. But, this is not God's plan for humanity. 

God promises so many times in his word that we are to take refuge in him when life is crazy. He is sovereign or in control of it all. We are to seek him and receive his wisdom when we need direction. We are to rest in His peace.

Moses understood this very well..."Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I trust him." Psalm 91:1-2 NLT

When we trust God, we can take more than a piece of peace pie...we can live in peace. We can know peace.  
This is a part of God's grace to us: peace
It is a great gift. Jesus said, "27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27 NIV

The more times I have handed God control of all parts of my life, the more peace pie I have learned to enjoy. I don't have to wonder if it will be my last piece because there is a great pie maker whose peace pie recipe I can access any time...so I don't have to be stingy.

Your turn...Tell me your thoughts on peace and have you enjoyed peace pie lately? 

Linking up with:http://www.findingheaventoday.com/

Sunday, October 14, 2012

31 Days to Grace: (Day 14) How to speak with grace

One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.
Proverbs 22:10-12

 Ever walk away from a conversation with regret? Realizing grace was not laced in your conversation? Wishing you could grab those words floating in the air or stinging someone's mind and gobble them right back up?

Oh, to practice speaking with grace. Not to manipulate, but to speak thoughtfully, carefully, and with love. Words that edify, uplift, compliment, and build others. Powerful, but polite speech.

Somehow many of us have learned to react and explode rather than talk calmly or even rationally. Or maybe some of us swing to the other side of the pendulum and don't say a word.  

Silence doesn't always mean grace.

Obviously when we speak with grace we have a greater chance of winning even kings for friends, but I don't believe that this is what the scripture above is saying. To use graceful speech "just" to win friends who have power.

It is learning to ask the Lord to teach us how to speak gracefully.  Carefully and with love...So that we even influence those in power towards the grace and freedom in Christ.


New Living Translation (©2007)
Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Colossians 4:6


 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

31 Days to Grace: (Day 13) Health Matters


I take my health for granted. Period. I wish I didn't. It isn't that I am not grateful. I am. I have had in the 38 years of my life, minor health concerns.  Yes, I have had surgery twice, but it wasn't brain or open heart. Yes, I have had pain, but not every day or even daily. These I speak of are resolved (even if with medication), or there is a solution. More than once, I have been healed.

Who am I that I am allowed this blessing? This grace? It is hard to watch, know or hear of others in such daily pain or inflicted with incurable disease or facing life-threatening surgery.

Somehow, there is grace in being reminded of what we have...being thankful for good health or feeling well when it is present. I am NOT speaking with a, "Oh, thank God it isn't me...sucks to be you attitude." No, that kind of insensitivity is not gratitude at all.
I want to alwaysfully realize how blessed I am. Where my thoughts ponder daily how to take the blessings I have and use those for God.

To not waste the blessings. To sow the seed instead of eating it.

Galatians 6:7,8 ...7You will always harvest what you plant...8But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the spirit.

Friday, October 12, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 12): She had stopped racing.

She raced to finish her blog and her cereal. She raced her children into the car and went 5 over the speed limit to get to a meeting early that never starts on time. She raced out of the meeting and went the speed limit this time with home as her destination. After all, there was lunch and naps and laundry to tend to.

As the cars were zooming by the desperate woman on the side of the street, she too wanted to just pass her by. God whispered, "Pick her up and show her my grace." For a second, her mind was tiptoeing towards no and well, she doesn't pick up hitchhikers. She's not into the whole ax murder scenario.

This was uncomfortable, but she remembered telling herself and God that she didn't want to tell Him no anymore. Obeying is of up most importance. She pulled over. She unlocked the door. She let her in...and she listened.
       Listened to the woman hitchhiker's story. She didn't have a car (obviously) and she needed to get to her home town about an hour away. She was in this town trying to get a job. She was desperate and had to drop her pride to get a ride.
    AND...God asked her, the driver to share a bit of her story and to drive past her destination...farther than she planned because she needed to slow down in order to give grace. She for a moment had stopped racing.
 TRUE STORY...(I am the driver).

Linking in this Friday @ lisajobaker.com

Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 11): Pumpkin Humor

Prompt #4: Pumpkins. Anything with pumpkins.
 I am not a green thumb or a brown thumb when it comes to growing plants. I fall somewhere in between...a greenish-brown. When the happy plants arrive at my house, they don't know that there is a 50/50 percent chance that they will cease to exist. 
Before I move on, I have to tell you that I often play with my food or in this case my pumpkins. If your curiosity is killing you, scroll down.

Like a good little gardener, I put two pumpkin seeds into a small container and grew them in the house until the time was right to plant them outside. Then, I placed two, pale yellow (I know, they were close to death) pumpkin plants in the soil in my backyard. I babied them and they lived! They grew, and grew and GREW. Basically, those vines took over half of my garden. Eight pumpkins. I call this success people. See some below:


My plans for the eight pumpkins? Well, at least four will escape my future carving and remain round and orange, but my dear friends, one unsuspecting pumpkin is getting a makeover. I may have scarred him for life. I am sure the other pumpkins will take his lunch money.




Can't you just hear the other pumpkins laughing?

Sometimes grace comes in the form of humor. And I am grateful.
 
 You too can have a fun pumpkin like mine for practically the cost of nothing. Just take two CDs and paint them white and brown. Next, attach them to the pumpkin with hot glue and paint the pumpkin part that shows through the CD holes black. Use black foam for eyebrows or a mustache. Lastly, find some random item from your garage for a weird hat! Voila...you've got yourself an odd pumpkin to entertain the other pumpkins.

Linking up today with Mama Kat at: http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/blog/

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 10): "Besties"


"Bestie"...a word meaning best friend. I've got two (Viviane and Andrea)...working on four if I have my way (wink). 

Bestie #1: Viviane (left in picture)
     25 years ago, in seventh grade, I asked her to sit at my table in the cafeteria. Only God knew we would be so close. She knows things about me that could be used against me in a court of law...or a terrorist situation. This is why we must remain friends.


Bestie #2: Andrea (right)
I met her at church. I couldn't believe she got me. Instantly, I knew we were going to be friends. Seven years later...Ya know that friend that you can be inappropriate with and no legalism creeps in? Yep, she's that kind of friend. We all need one don't we?


Besties come before workouts, sleep or dare I say it, coffee. Sometimes besties are all that keep you sane in this world. Often, they are the only people who give you grace when the judging comes. When the fingers are pointing. With besties, you just don't have to explain yourself.

My two best friends fall into the above category and more. What makes them special to me is not just their loyalty, but the fact that my tantrums, my weeping, my moping or bad, crabgrass kind of days never scare them off. Their grace comes in the form of forgiveness and understanding.

  
I am free to be me with God and with them. How lucky am I? What grace!



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 9): When She Hurts


 When she hurts, I hurt.

I can't tell you what is hurting her. I won't even tell you her name. What I can tell you is that she is a dear friend and in the midst of horrific news I left her. Not because I wanted to, but I had no choice. I don't live near her anymore. I had to drive home with a heavy heart. I prayed for her with tears. I held her hand before I drove off and tried to extend some form of grace. I sputtered words of sorrow. Told her that no matter what happened that God loved her...to remember that...I prayed while gaining 200 extra miles on my car. I begged for mercy.

What was even more cruel was that at first there was hope that what seemed to be was not going to be and I thanked the Lord. Shortly before I arrived home, the dreaded news came a second time.
Twice? The same news twice. Why?

I can only imagine the thoughts, the whys, the questions and the pain of my friend. I have never experienced this before. I have no idea how it really affects her.
 I only know how to pray and listen. I can't fix this and it tears me apart to feel and hear her heart breaking. 

Lord, I don't understand your plan for my friend. I don't even know what to pray. Please hold her as she grieves. Help her to hold onto your promises and most importantly to you.

Linking up today with  the SDG awesome bloggers @www.findingheaventoday.com

Monday, October 8, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 8): You can never go home


"You can never really go home." 
       This is what I experienced over the weekend and it made me sad. Yet, I also felt hope and peace. Weird to me too. Let me explain.

I drove to where I used to live a year ago and some months to visit friends. This was to be a fun, girl time, hang out trip. Not a learn a lesson trip. A mini-vacation, not some find yourself journey. Well, if ya know me, I am always looking deeper into things. Sometimes it's a curse.

My trip was fun. I did reminisce, laughed hard and enjoyed being with friends. What I couldn't ignore was the nagging truth that once you've been away from a situation, a friendship, a place, interactions aren't the same. Not all is familiar, comfortable and safe. You aren't quite in the loop anymore and it hurts to feel left out.

I was disheartened with this reality. I panicked for a short bit and even felt a tad sorry for me. Then. Grace. Came. 
 God spoke to my soul, "This is no longer your home. This is why it feels foreign. Where I have you is where you are to be."

Yes, Fort Collins is no longer part of God's plans or purposes for me and honestly, I am seriously okay with this truth. I realized how comfortable and complacent I had become while living there...something we all fall into from time to time until something shakes us or literally picks us up and moves us.

Following in His will always leads to a peace and satisfaction that is beyond understanding. I am going to just soak that in...

 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

31 Days to Grace (Day 7): "Schafer"isms

I'm cold. I'm tired. So instead of wallowing in that, I will turn up the house heater or put on a jacket and I will blog about one of my favorite subjects: my comical four year old. 

You are wondering what this has to do with grace? Well, this is grace to me when I feel like a failure as a mom. When I think I am not making an impact. Or When life beats me down...my own child shows me grace and gives me laughter. What a gift...

Let me introduce you to "Schafer"-isms...
These are the funny statements and thoughts from one little person in my life. 
Here are a few of my all time favorites:

"I think the Hulk is green because he ate a lot of pickles."

"I believe in Jesus. He can take me to heaven when he feels like it."

"I am not a mean guy because I don't have a mean suit like the Penguin or Catwoman."

My clever, fun son, Schafer!

"Really, I am sad because I don't have a mustache." (I don't tell him how I will never be sad to not have a mustache).

Sung to the tune of the french song, Frere Jacques (in English, Friar John)  
"Where is Jesus? Where is Jesus? In the air. In the air."

Another kind of oops song and a bit odd is the Farmer and the Dell:
"The farmer takes a life, the farmer takes a life (Supposed to be wife. I know, creepy, but he didn't know what he was saying)."

"You are the best mom I've never seen."  Really...never seen?

Wanting to understand the name of the restaurant, IHOP...out of confusion he said, "Why do you hop?" 

"Look at those big rocks (boulders)! Someone must've hammered them tight so they wouldn't fall."

A Christmas song...cute and um, a messed up version below:
"Deck the halls with boughs of miserable." (I honestly had nothing to do with that).
 
 "In January, I turned into a baby." -As opposed to being born...hehe.

"If you are pretty and smell good mom, then I will marry you."

Some are really hard questions to answer:
 "How come Jesus doesn't make mistakes?"
"Does everyone have God in their hearts?" 
"Where was I before I was born?"

AND my two personal favorites:

"Mom, you are a pretty princess."

"Dear Jesus, I don't want to die to go to heaven so could you please find another way?" 

Do you have any fun quotes from kids you have overheard? Please share!







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