Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This Time of Year, Part 2

You didn’t know there was going to be a Part 2, did ya?!
Well, you see, I have to admit that this next Holiday Season is close in the running of my favorite times of the year.
I love the Christmas Holiday season!!
I love the sights … you know all the pretty decorations in and on houses, in parks, on city streets. The traditional Norman Rockwell scenes, or the way it’s all captured by Thomas Kincaid. The colors of this holiday season are classic – those deep greens, reds … and oodles more thrown in to enhance them. Christmas is a time of beauty!
The smells of this time of year are some of the best! The pine needles of the traditional tree, oranges, cinnamon and clove, and all the odors of baking and cooking those special delicacies and delights of this season.
Which brings me to the tastes … Christmas candy is the best! Fudges, ribbon candy and hard tack, orange slices, and spice drops! Cookies in wonderful shapes or filled with good things and decorated just so! Nuts to crack and dig into! The feasts of the day itself – every family probably has its own traditional yummies that smell and taste so special.
The sounds of the Christmas Holiday Season are some of the most majestic, peaceful, happy, stirring, jolly, and holy sounds of all mankind! Words of the songs of the season have us remembering, worshiping, and celebrating throughout the season.
Decorations, traditions, music and songs, parades, the fabulous foods and drives to look at holiday lights! The preparation. The anticipation. I love it!
Not that I am able to listen to Christmas music – we didn’t happen to bring any Christmas CDs with us; and not that I have a Christmas tree – I have seen a few artificial ones here and there but we don’t have one; and not that I have any decorations up in our home but there’s several stores with a good variety of them here.
But, I bet you are and do … are listening to this once a year traditional music, and do have your tree up or at least are planning to do so very soon! And I would be in the middle of all that if I could … maybe, tomorrow, I will change some of that. I think there’s some holiday music on the laptop that I downloaded last year. I saw poinsettias the other day for sale – I should get one for us to put on our table.
Which brings me to the other biggie of this Holiday Season … and that is, you’re probably Making A List, and checking it twice! It doesn’t matter who’s naughty or nice – family and friends are going to get presents! It truly doesn’t matter how big or small as long as it’s special!
I love taking my time, thinking about just what this one or that one may love or enjoy.
There will 23 of us at our family Christmas celebration this year … none of us have the money to buy for everyone so, we celebrate part of our gift giving with “Dirty Santa”. Kiddos get treated and remembered special along with the dearest of dear ones. Lots of families or office staff or just small groups do this and I think it’s way fun.
And then, also, there’s the list goes on … “secret sisters” get to do something special for their secret someone. Teachers in school and at church are recognized at this time. Caregivers for young and old are given gifts of appreciation. You may traditionally buy a gift for your best friend or you may want to start a tradition this year. Preachers and ministerial staff are often acknowledged during this season too.
It can get overwhelming!
Here’s an idea:
Shop from home, online … with the holiday music playing in the background, outfitted in your coziest comfies, with a cup of hot chocolate or friendship tea only a reach away.
Yep, this year, for a great portion of your shopping needs, whether it be decorating, or gift buying, remember us. Know that when you purchase from Your Ninth Hour you are not only buying quality but also a percentage of all your dollars spent goes directly into our work here in Santa Rosa – you can look at Heart Notes and see what that’s all about.
Now what could be better than that – buying and giving more than you bargained for!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This Time of Year

Well, this was supposed to post yesterday but oh, well.  I will post it today. Blessings to all of you for a Wonderful Sunday!
You are actually coming to the conclusion of my favorite time of year – Autumn! For me, Thanksgiving Day is kind of like the culmination of all these wonderful days of harvest! I love the colors – browns, golds, oranges,  yellows, and reds …  and all their shades and hues. They make the prettiest pictures here, there and on the mountains! I love the smells – you know … the ’smokieness’ – with the first fires in chimneys, leaves being burnt, and of course, then there’s the smell of all these wonderful autumn foods cooking – apples, squash, pumpkins and you name it, I am so happy I can smell autumn! The produce mentioned above and others that are unique to the season – mmm, wonderful, most especially when you are harvesting from your own garden! And finally, I love the activities leading up to  and the actual day of Thanksgiving. I love it all  – the preparation, cooking and baking! Honestly, I don’t even mind the clean-up. Even then I am counting my blessings but, most especially in the States where it is just natural you wash your dishes in the kitchen at your own sink and have hot water at your fingertips. But, I’m wandering now so back to … I love AUTUMN!!
Now, I know not all the United States enjoy the fall season like I described, but I have been privileged to delight in living in the Carolinas the biggest portion of my life and we know how to put on a show!!
So here I am, in Honduras where there is no fall. No changing of the seasons. No pumpkins, no greens from the garden, no frost on the ground or brisk, cold winds. Between Argentina, Nigeria and now here, this is the eighth year I lived in a country where there is no changing of seasons and maybe that’s why it means so much. You know, ‘you miss what you can’t have’.
But, by contrast, here I live and there is green all around … there will be a time later when we’ll be longing for rains; there be a lot of dust and it will start browning up a bit. However, as mentioned, it is green here and you know what? Of all the colors on the palette of God, green is my favorite color! I love all shades of green, all tones. To me, green represents l-i-f-e … full, vibrant and beautiful. Well, how’s that for a gift? I sit here in our family room, on the second floor of our house and out any of the 3 sets of windows see beautiful, glorious, resplendent shades of green!



Greens to the left of us.Behind us.


Greens to the left of us and behind us.
There’s quite a few smells I love here too. So much of the cooking is done in outdoor kitchens that with all the walking we do we are going to smell any number of fragrant dishes being cooked on any given day. There’s lots of flowers in this climate – and their scents waft on the breeze continually. Walking down town we pass several bakeries, and although I haven’t found any pastries to rival those we found in Argentina, well, baking bread is baking bread and my, oh m, it is wonderful to smell!

'Greens' in our yard.
'Greens' in our yard.
My flowers - shades of red, orange, yellow!
My flowers - shades of red, orange, yellow!
I have yellows!
No, we didn’t have the usual Thanksgiving fare but we had most of it. We were reminded we were here and not there when Donna lost electricity at her house – since she has an electric stove, she had to bring the turkey to my house to finish baking in my gas oven. And we didn’t find any canned pumpkin or pecans but we did substitute almonds, lemon and chocolate and had glorious desserts after a big, wonderful meal.
Thanksgiving in Honduras!
Thanksgiving in Honduras!
Yummy food! Great Fellowship.
Yummy food! Great Fellowship.
All that to say: Life is what you make it. Wherever you are, you can decide on being blessed. What? Decide on being blessed? Yes, I can make up my mind not to dwell on what I don’t have but to insist from myself that I will take pleasure in the blessings at hand. So, I did. I do. I love living here. I love making do with ‘this’ when in my heart of hearts, I would really, really love and enjoy ‘that’.
Yep, indeed, God is good, and I am blessed and highly favored.
Me! Blessed and highly favored.
Me! Blessed and highly favored.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankfulness Week

This is what our daughter, Jessi, is using as her theme this week over at Musings of a ReNewed Girl. I love it. She is going from day to day with her list of Thankfulness. We have kind of copied her theme in our own family blog. You can see it here at Heart Notes.
I hate that we’re not more thankful more often. I am glad whoever decided we (the States) should have Thanksgiving as a regular holiday put it into writing and on the Calendars! It is so special to take time to reflect and really recognize how blessed we are.
This special day just could be my very favorite holiday of the year. I love everything about Thanksgiving. I love the time of year – autumn is absolutely the best season! Being always on this Thursday makes it predictable – you can count on it. The days leading up to this day are happy in anticipation of not only good eats, the gathering of family and friends but also the expectancy of being grateful. Everyone loves to count their blessings – sometimes we just forget.
I know some people routinely go out to eat their Thanksgiving meal or maybe cater it in and that’s okay, but me and mine LOVE the cooking part of it all! I like all the food that we prepare. We each have our specialties that we make from year to year. Pies, salads, dressings (stuffing) like this and like that, turkey, whole cranberries
This is what our daughter, Jessi, is using as her theme this week over at Musings of a ReNewed Girl. I love it. She is going from day to day with her list of Thankfulness. We have kind of copied her theme in our own family blog. You can see it here at Heart Notes.

I hate that we’re not more thankful more often. I am glad whoever decided we (the States) should have Thanksgiving as a regular holiday put it into writing and on the Calendars! It is so special to take time to reflect and really recognize how blessed we are.

This special day just could be my very favorite holiday of the year. I love everything about Thanksgiving. I love the time of year – autumn is absolutely the best season! Being always on this Thursday makes it predictable – you can count on it. The days leading up to this day are happy in anticipation of not only good eats, the gathering of family and friends but also the expectancy of being grateful. Everyone loves to count their blessings – sometimes we just forget.

I know some people routinely go out to eat their Thanksgiving meal or maybe cater it in and that’s okay, but me and mine LOVE the cooking part of it all! I like all the food that we prepare. We each have our specialties that we make from year to year. Pies, salads, dressings (stuffing) like this and like that, turkey, whole cranberries and sauce, homemade rolls, sweet potatoes like this and like that … and then the clean up … it’s a blessing too, because, we had it all to enjoy!

Well, I am not Stateside this year. But, I remember last year – and it was a blast! We were all together in Barling, ARK … Michael, Janna, Emily, Madelyn, Jessi, Benjamin, Jared, Jacob, Lowell and me. There was a lot of laughter … and a little fussing (brothers and sisters and husbands and wives), and more laughter and conversations and fun! And so, today, far away where there are no fall colors, no pumpkins, no autumn anything … I am thankful for memories of days gone by. Fun times. Family.

Tomorrow I’ll let you know the blessings of the here and now but today, ah, memories – they are precious indeed!
and sauce, homemade rolls, sweet potatoes like this and like that … and then the clean up … it’s a blessing too, because, we had it all to enjoy!
Well, I am not Stateside this year. But, I remember last year – and it was a blast! We were all together in Barling, ARK … Michael, Janna, Emily, Madelyn, Jessi, Benjamin, Jared, Jacob, Lowell and me. There was a lot of laughter … and a little fussing (brothers and sisters and husbands and wives), and more laughter and conversations and fun! And so, today, far away where there are no fall colors, no pumpkins, no autumn anything … I am thankful for memories of days gone by. Fun times. Family.
Tomorrow I’ll let you know the blessings of the here and now but today, ah, memories – they are precious indeed!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Relative Abundance

I have been thinking more and more about abundance since living in Honduras – first in Santa Ana de Francisco Morizan and now in Santa Rosa de Copan …
First of all let me clarify that I realize there are different ‘types’ of abundance if you will. I have actually devoted this site to the understanding that a person is rich only when they create a close relationship with God, are true to themselves and their dreams, when they realize abundance is found in the relationships one builds with  family, friends and community,  and it comes in choosing to celebrating life.
That being said, I want to address something that is glaringly evident in our lives here in Honduras … we come off as being rich.
The truth is: we are rich if you compare us to some Hondurans (but not all!) and we’re poor to middlin’, if you compare us to some Americans. You see here in the above pictures some homes – if you notice the 1st house and the last house, you will see they are the houses in which we’ve made our homes. We rented them from people who built them, loved them and had stories in them. The first house’s story is pretty sad for although many years were lived there, the family ended up a ‘broken’ home with the patriarch/husband leaving the wife and her spending years in bitter sadness, aloof from her neighbors and friends.  They rented it to us at a very reduced price after she was no longer able to live there by herself.  The second house, where we are now, is owned by folks who came here from El Salvador and make their careers as professors, have kids, and pets and are now teaching in Bolivia. They continue to have a good reputation in this small neighborhood. They rented it to us at a reduced price on a one-year contract that may last for the 3 years they are out of the country.
The pictures of the other houses are randomly chosen – with 2 thrown in that we helped build – just to show you that the homes are pretty much all a hodgepodge of people and economic levels – electricians living beside teachers, seamstress living across the street from military, cooks next to bankers. That was how it was in Santa Ana and here. Of course, there are more and more neighborhoods (or colonias) being built like regular neighborhoods we have in the states where the houses are pretty much from the same mold, but it isn’t common at all.
My point is this, there is richness or abundance, if you will in life all over the world just as there is poverty. The worst poverty of all perhaps is the poverty that is inflicted on oneself because of ignorance or their own neglect. We’ve been invited to a good number of homes here in Honduras. And we’ve opened our home to loads of Hondurans to come over and visit. What has become glaringly clear to me is that I am very rich and I thank God for it. The richness I am talking about is not what this nice home of mine represents – it is what is represented by the choices I make every single day and have made since I was 14 years old. I choose to follow Christ, his teachings and His Way.
I do not take for granted that I was raised in a family who chose to follow God early on. I had Christian parents, amazing church families wherever we lived, and then I chose to marry a Christian man, who along with me every day, chooses to live in accordance to God’s word to the best of our ability. Have I messed up? You better believe it – but I had a Shepherd out looking for me and wouldn’t rest til I came home. Do I still make mistakes? Yep indeed and I’m not proud of making them but I know it is only by grace I am here at all so, I don’t beat myself up about it. The point is, I decide to live ‘on purpose’ if you will, every single day and the fact that I know to choose this, is simply because of the sweet and dear legacy that was given me.
Here is a paragraph from our last newsletter and maybe this is what prompted these thoughts and reflections …
“We’ve met people here and listened to them tell who their siblings are … it makes your head spin just hearing the explanation of who is who’s kid and which is their father and on and on. I feel sorry for children that grow up in that kind of situation because they never know when one of their parents are going to up and leave. This is the reason we want these couples to be legally married. The cycle of abandonment needs to stop.”  Click here to read entire newsletter and see more of our work.
There is so much that is left unsaid, knowledge of terrible things that have happened and will continue to happen that make you walk the floor in tears in the middle of the night because you want to do something but don’t know what   - but know this, a good home is not to be taken lightly or for granted. Commitment, loyalty and fidelity are rare and are more precious than you can ever imagine. None of this may come natural but it can be taught, lived out and exemplified. I am encouraged by what is starting to happen around us … a new generation is arising that are intent on breaking the crazy cycle of what they have known and truly want to give their own children the rare gift of living on purpose – choosing the path less traveled.
And so I am today, once again counting my blessings. The blessing of a childhood lived in a home where abandonment was far from me, where I was able to learn about God the Father from a man who strived to live like a Christian, and a mother who committed herself to the betterment of each of us. I am counting the blessing of being in a marriage that is a true covenant before the Lord. We have four delightful children who are living “on purpose” and are walking that narrow way when the world screams at them – do this, try that.
This life of mine did not happen by accident. It wasn’t luck of the draw. It was and is an investment every single day. I lay aside moment by moment to store up riches for eternity’s sake. The beautiful, amazing thing is – in giving all I can, the richer I become.
Yep, I am so very rich and yes, thank God, I live in abundance.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hello Again - Welcome Back to "www"

Wenesdays Wonderful World ... usually I post pictures ... because that's kind of the norm for people who do WWW but today I am just rejoicing. 
I feel like I am returning to a lost long friend after a lengthy period of traveling to a far away place. I am going to be doing some catch up time in the midst of writing some new thoughts and ideas that have come to me directly because of living in a foreign country.
For those of you who may be new to this site – welcome! And for those of you who have been here before, I am so happy we are re-connecting! For a multitude of reasons I couldn’t write in forever, but now life seems to be cooperating and I am back to one of my loves … writing and sharing my thoughts.
I live in Santa Rosa de Cop├ín, Honduras, Central America, with my husband and teen-age son. We are here with a team of people working hard to grow the Lord’s church in all kinds of ways. Our particular area will concentrate in building good, strong marriages and also in teen purity and abstinence. It is an amazingly cool challenge and so greatly needed. I am sure topics will arise where I will looking for advice, good literature and encouragement so, keep those comments coming!
I have two other websites – in one I concentrate on the spiritual side of what makes me ‘Robin’ – it is reflections of the essence of my very self and soul as I travel this journey back to the Father – Reflections from Robin.
My other site is a resource site which I developed after many people asked me for book suggestions or reading lists based on my own years of reading all kinds of excellent self-help books. I am pretty avid about my favorites in any particular area but am always open to suggestions from you as well. This site – Your Ninth Hour -  is actually an interactive site where you can purchase whatever book on my site and part of the proceeds go directly to our mission and also, you can leave comments and suggestions of your own.
Keep up with our work here at Heart Notes from Honduras. This is where we write about activities and experiences of our local work here in S.R.d.C. Sometimes it is Lowell writing and other times, me, and it is always informative and, I think, exciting. That is what our work here is – exciting. Our goal is to make a difference … one life, one marriage at a time.
So, for now, thanks for stopping by and once again … welcome to Road to Abundance!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mondays in Honduras

Marriage is marvelous where ever you are on whatever day it happens to be. As you know, my goal for writing my notes on Mondays is to recognize marriage and lift it up. My husband and I, along with Jacob and our pets happen to be completing six days in our new home … well, at least our new adopted country of Honduras … and at least our temporary home on the campus of Casa de Esperanza.

How did it come to this? Why am I here, trying to find us a house to rent, trying to communicate with folks in a language that is not my own, trying to make sure my family has all they need without offending anyone in this new culture? Why do I have to adjust to a place that is alien to all that I know and hold dear? Why did I have to leave my family, my church and my friends and come to this land?

Well, first of all, it was my choice to follow. It is my choice to be a part of this dream of my husband’s – I made it our dream. Secondly, it is nothing new for wives to accompany their men, to help fulfill dreams of their beloved. From the time Sarah followed Abraham, to Peter’s wife following him to establish new churches, to the earliest settlers throughout the Americas … but also new frontiers in whatever country throughout the world, women have followed their men. History is filled with story after story. The tales continue as it is still happening everyday all over the world – whether it be the military, or careers, or the quest of some new and better horizon, people pack up their families and move to new lands. Generally, but not always, it is the men who take this new appointment and the women who follow to create a brand-new place for their family to feel at home.

With all that said, I realize I am not unique, and I am not special in any way.
What Lowell, Jacob and I are doing here is not some radical event that has never been attempted before. However, it is my story and I will decide how it is written. Since I am here now, and because I have chosen to be a part of this new undertaking of our family I can also choose to enjoy it. Every single moment of this new life I will consciously make a decision to adapt, to love, to learn, to grow and to serve to the best of my ability. I can and will decide to have fun! I will live in a joyous fashion despite the difficulties that are sure to arise, despite the exhaustion that living cross-culturally entails, despite the mistakes that are sure to occur.

You know, you are writing your marriage story too. No matter where you live, whether it is a Monday or Thursday you decide to submit in a humble fashion, or not. You decide to put a smile on your face or grumble. You decide to be a part of solutions in life or participate in turmoil. I pray you will conquer your own unique battles in a victorious manner.

As for me, right now, I understand how I came to be here – I said yes when the opportunity presented itself … and through plans, prayers, and cooperation of many it came about. I am happy to be searching for a house, difficult as it may be. I am learning my relatively new language as I go – with a multitude of eager teachers. I am adapting to new ways of doing things and deciding they are pretty cool and make sense. Sure, I am missing my family and friends, but that is surely a part of life on earth and in the meantime I am thankful for the Internet and cell phones available!

So Monday in Honduras, being married to this man is pretty OKAY. I hope your life is going good too – if not, then tear up the old script and write your story in a victorious, happy way. It’s your choice – you can do it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

For the Nexr Few Days - continued ...

I mentioned in an earlier writing that I will be concentrating on our new blog – Heart Notes From Honduras. Today I just wanted to do a wee bit of catch-up on here first. My husband, Lowell and I, along with our son, Jake, are moving to Honduras in 9 days. My time is filled with so many emotions but so is Lowell’s. I think we are doing a pretty good job at keeping each other balanced. I thank God for that. 
My usual theme for Mondays is ‘Marriage is Marvelous on a Monday’. Since a person’s relationship with their spouse is #1 after God then it needs to be dealt with or acknowledged as such on a pretty regular basis. 
The first and primary consideration in a marriage is: are you still best friends? Are you working on maintaining open communication so that you are on the ’same page’ in life? Do your dreams for the future coincide in a way that will be fulfilling for both of you? Are you loving your days together and working towards the same goals? 
The ‘why’ for this is so important. You have to stay tight in these ways so that when the storms come (as they surely will), when the way gets rocky and the footing on life’s path is unsure (which is a part of each life’s journey), when the circumstances you’re in the midst of are just crowding you in such a way as to be overwhelming and suffocating (inevitable) WELL THEN, you have to be there for one another – to be the anchor for the other, to lend a hand, to clear the way for one another. Usually one will do this now and the other will the next time … we balance, complement, and take care of each other IF we are walking side by side. 
This healthy co-existence takes time and work to be all that it’s supposed to be. It means respecting one another and acknowledging the gifts that are unique to him and her. It means you know and like each other. It means you can survive because you know you are not alone. 
Yes, with this move so imminent, emotions are running high. Unfortunately, one of the biggest reasons behind these negative feelings is once again a ‘worldly’ one. You see, there is still all this STUFF. All this stuff that I have already weeded through and decided months ago that it was worth keeping is now not so important after all. I know I already wrote Owned by Stuff and Owned by Stuff, Part 2 which should really help you realize that Stuff is hard to deal with. I am so tired of stuff and this is what I will address on the other blog – come join us at Heart Notes From Honduras where I will be discussing STUFF.  
This Road to Abundance is hopefully a wake up call. Realize that there is so much true wealth and beauty along the way. Let me remind you, Abundant Living is more than all your accumulations. All that amounts to is a pile of stuff that has to be dealt with either here in life … with you doing the dealing OR after you’re dead and gone and it is left for loved ones or even, God forbid, strangers to deal with.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Believe in Today

Wow, sometimes people can just rub you the wrong way. I let someone ‘get’ to me the other day. I hate it when it happens. Or at least when I let it happen. That means I am allowing them power over who I am when I let them affect me adversely. Have you been there? Are you relinquishing control over who you are to someone else? Are you giving up power you have to live positively because you, for a moment, believed the lies of impossibility? Have you forgotten you are surrounded by abundance? That you have unleashed power within you?

I am a fortunate woman in so many ways. I have countless wonderful gifts in my life that make me rich … not materially, necessarily, but in love and loyalty and goodness and joy. One of the most wonderful gifts God has given me was the gift of a Dad who believed in living a positive lifestyle. Dad lived life with a perpetual smile in his heart and a song on his lips. Did Dad suffer, go through financial stress, have to deal with unkind people or trauma in the lives of his loved ones? Yes! However, he lived in everlasting hope of a better day – of things working out in the end – with a knowledge that whatever misery had to be gone through was only temporary.

Dad always tried to see the best in people – pointblank, there you have it. He believed with a vengeance that all people were basically good and had it in them to be better. He didn’t ever condone blatant sin – wrong was wrong. However he could give a person a break and a hand up when others might not. Even though he and Mom weren’t rich, they always had enough to share with anyone who was going through a bad time.

One of my Dad’s favorite books was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale – now, that’s an oldie but a goodie! I have one of his copies and I love his markings in it and have added my own. I also have several other books that were his and it is the neatest thing to run across where he underlined places that impacted him or sometimes to see where he put a Bible verse by a particular paragraph for deeper understanding. Memories of Dad and his attitude on life, living abundantly in the now, came to the forefront and fortified me when I needed it.

Here’s a daily ‘exercise’ I adapted recently for myself and it comes from a combination of The Power of Positive Thinking but also, Better Than Medicine by Leroy Brownlow. It is a method to ensure your spiritual power – based on affirmations told to yourself throughout the day and taking to heart a dozen ‘power verses’ from the New Testament that you decide to commit to memory. I came across this at just the right time for my son, Jacob and for myself. Our life is hectic and topsy-turvy – I needed to add some oomph to my mornings just to keep my spiritual heart together. I have put the following on little cards the size of business cards and I keep them handy to re-read throughout the day.

*****
Here’s a couple of affirmations:
Jesus is right beside you. God is holding you in his right hand. If God is for you, who can be against you?

Here’s some gentle reminders:
Restore Belief, Positive Thinking, Faith in God, Faith in Other People, Faith in Yourself, Faith in Life!

Power Verses by the Dozen: (one per card)
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 9:29 – Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”
Matthew 17:20 – Jesus replied …I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Mark 9:23 – ” ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:31 – What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
II Corinthians 5:1 – We live by faith, not by sight.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:19 – And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
II Timothy 1:12 – … I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

****

For today, I believe. I have faith that all will work out in the end. I am serene in my confidence in God and his workings in my life. Just for today, I believe.

Try this for yourself – you will not be disappointed! ;)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

For The Next Few Days …

For the next few days I will primarily be writing on our Honduras blog. But a little for here to whet your taste buds for the upcoming adventure …
Our move to Honduras will happen before we know it. It is scary and exciting all in one.   
We are making plans and fulfilling them!
  • Tickets … We are securing tickets but because of pets, it’s a bigger process than originally anticipated. Thanks Rosann, you are the best!
  • Funding … We’ve met once with the folks who will be handling our funds while we are ‘on the field’. Thanks to Michelle and others at the Wilkesboro church! See information below for contributing to the work.
  • Roadtrip … We finally, at long last got the hitch attached, the lights wired up. My #1 hero – Lowell with 2 other heroes close behind – Jed and Jake. We got the trailer in place and … loaded up! Whoohoo! Then began our roadtrip North and West… and it was a loooonnnngggg one. 2,673 miles logged through snow, ice, and frigid temp … through NC, VA, WVa, KY, IN (yay for Bob and Joan), IL (thanks to the Phillips), MO, OK (Thank You, Shleby), AR (family, love those grandbabygirls!), TN (family), VA and finally, 6 days later, back to NC (home, sweet home)!!! So, thanks for the prayers for safety!
  • Shipment … In IL we joined others who are loading a massive wonderful shipment to Honduras … medical supplies and hospital beds, supplies for young mothers – diapers and blankets, crafts for the kids, a little bit of furniture and odds and ends for our Santa Ana home, school supplies, canning supplies for the childrens’ home, new chainsaws that will help build houses, Lauren’s goodies for the girls at La Casa, the gifts in honor of Jerlene, Lowell’s Mom and so many more wonderful, donated gifts to be used in Jesus’ name and to God’s glory … so very fantastic! Thanks to Maria and ALL the Jacksonville, IL gang!! Here’s a great article about this wonderful venture … The Mission Goes Undeterred.
  • Packing … In the meantime … our home looks like a tornado blew through … but a happy tornado. Preparation for leave-taking to live on a mission field is an amazing adventure.
Stayed tuned.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 – Out With …, In With The New – Whoa, Again!

Out With The Old generally leads to … In With The New. However, I’m not so sure all of us need to take on the ‘out with the old and in with the new’ philosophy, especially when it comes to this time of year when were re-assessing life and resoluting to do ‘better’. We’re getting a little too free with our letting go of some good stuff, like ideals, traditions and even models of behavior. It seems to me a whole lot of people are confusing just what is disposable in our society and what is NOT! Sure, I know this may be kind of opinionated and may even seem biased on account of who I am but this is my blog and I feel obligated to share a few little insights on life.

Which leads me to a few thoughts on what is Abundance … and it sure ain’t Stuff!

There seems to be more and more folks who are longing for that perfect relationship, a big-shot career, or a ‘dream job’ or they’re just getting the itch to build ‘bigger barns’. They need bigger houses, more storage areas, larger garages. What in the world do we do with all this stuff? We sleep in a bedroom, eat in a kitchen, relax in a den; we wear one pair of shoes at a time. We only sit in one comfortable chair at a time. We can only drive one car … you get the picture. We’d have to multiply our personages and the hours in our day to ever be able to be in or use up all our stuff. It’s unreal and surreal at any time, but especially now when so many are hurting in this recession.

I know, I know, stuff just accumulates, our tastes change. We hardly know where it all comes from … this longing and lusting for better and more. Well, read this about bigger barns and maybe do some re-evaluating on what’s important.

*~*~*~*~*


The Parable of the Rich Fool

 13Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

 14Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

 16And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

 18″Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

 20″But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

 21″This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

*~*~*~*~*


So, yeah, this then, is the crux of the matter … RICH TOWARD GOD. And for the next verses read how it’s spelled out in The Message:

*~*~*~*~*

Steep Yourself in God-Reality

 22-24He continued this subject with his disciples. “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion.    There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.    Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.
 25-28″Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the   fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed    men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you   think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
 29-32″What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know     God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants                to give you the very kingdom itself.
 33-34″Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers,  a bank you can bank on. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

*~*~*~*~*

  1. God-reality: This Father God knit us together in our mother’s womb. He knows us through and through and loves us more than we can imagine. Our precious Jesus-Savior gave himself so we could be counted among the redeemed in spite of ourselves. Our dear Spirit comforts us and speaks on our behalf when the rejoicing is too great, the pain is too deep, when we have no words. This is rich and this is reality!
  2.  God-initiative: This is power in its truest, most pure form. If God is for us then who can be against us? We have within our grasp the strength to move mountains. This is more initiative than imaginable or attainable from any self-help book or self-proclaimed guru on motivation!
  3.  God-provisions: Abundance is in the love we give and receive on a daily basis … our spouse, our children … all those we count dear to our heart. The traditions, deep-seeded honor and integrity passed down to us by our parents. When we’re walking the walk … God not only meets our daily needs … every good and perfect gift is from the Father. He sent His Son so that we might have not just life but, have it more abundantly!

And so, this “bank you can bank on” is … The Bank of Relationships. You deposit to it daily … you invest in it moment by moment.

  • Your relationship with God.
  • Your relationship with your spouse
  • your children
  • your family
  • your friends
  • your co-workers
  • your community    

These and only these are what will matter for eternity’s sake.

This is what amounts to NON-DISPOSABLE – God, and the people in your life. These are what you fight to keep sacred.

You can’t dispose of a marriage and get away with it. It will come back to haunt you. You can’t toss out time with your children. You will live to regret it. You can’t dispose of the sick, aged or needy – chucking them off to some institution because they cause you inconvenience … and then believe you’ve done your part. You can’t box God in a room and say I will visit you and have a relationship when it’s convenient. God is not, and never will be, the manager of some social club … this is not true religion.

So, Out With The Old, and In With The New … well, to a certain point, concerning appropriate things. Think, think, think. Use wisdom and discernment in all your resolutions but for me, myself and I …

I love Beginnings! I love Once Upon A Times! I love making decisions to better myself, my life or the life of my family. I love stories and being a part of new story, on chapter one, that’s the absolute best thing in the world!

 And here we are at the brink of making resolutions. You have within your reach the power to make a difference towards depositing into your own personal bank … investing time, energy, love and laughter into all the relationships in your own world. A time a resolve … to make the world a little bit better. We’re here at this awesome, incredible point of decision … To DO or not to do. To CREATE or not to create. To DREAM or not to dream. You can have it … the life you always dreamed of. You can do it, give another a chance at their own dreams. Inspire, encourage, enliven your loved ones. Kind of goes to your head, huh?

 Resolutions and New Beginnings! … ya gotta LOVE IT!!
0-0-0-0