Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Counting Blessings

I once was a worrier.

Oh, how I wish I could make that statement with complete truthfulness. More accurately would be, I once was much more of a worrier. Worries are like darkness in my life growing fields of little stress-filled mushrooms. During times in my life, as with all of us, the darkness is abundant and the fungus of stress threatens to take over our garden of life.

Laura Story's "Blessings" is playing as I''m writing these, and she poses the question of what if these trials, these raindrops, these worries, are truly blessings. Worry robs our blessings is what I've always been told, but I believe God can turn our worries to blessings if we continue to have faith. We will always worry. We're human, and that is our nature, but it is when that situation that we have seen as darkness, as something causing strife and stress in our life is seen under the light of God's glory in His perfect timing that we see it for what it really is... a blessing.

Monday, April 1, 2013


An Invitation to Imagine

A heart-wrenching, heart-stirring read of 3 days that changed the world.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sunshine, Joy and Laughter

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Ecclesiastes 11:7
Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.

Still a cold day for spring in the south (or anywhere for that matter), but the sunshine today is gorgeous! It is indeed sweet and warms my body and soul. It is exciting as my blog really starts to come to life and the sweet comments folks are making along the way. I feel like a child at a birthday party just getting more and more excited as the time goes by. Whether it grows or not, I am thankful for the opportunity to share my faith and thoughts on my heart and use it as a way to journal these days of my life.

One important memory I want to record involves our never-ending hectic life these days. It seems like we never have a dull moment in the hustle and bustle, but my heart feels much lighter as God is showing me which parts are worth the hassle and which parts to release. Most importantly are the times with my sweet family. I just knew when my handsome little boy was born and introduced us into the world that is rambunctious/curious/loud/loving-boy, he would cause our first visit to the emergency room. To my surprise, his sister decided to slam each eyebrow into furniture 3 months apart with two stitches in one and four stitches in the other. It was a fairly easy introduction into emergency room preparedness with kids. Little did I know, my little 22 months old darling was going to keep my insurance company hopping with claims.

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I know the picture quality is poor. Kind of hard to get a good picture of a wiggling boy. The fourth jump from the toddler bed to the floor resulted in a twisted ankle leading to a nice limp. The x-rays do not show a clear break, but doctor said it could show itself in a week to ten days with kids' bones. So, we have a pretty green cast on Mr. Rambunctious just in time for Easter. The good news is he has the sweetest nurse in his sister to take care of him.

The muscles we use the most are often the most strong. I believe God is giving me a good patience work-out this week.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

When I Listen

This is a drawing my daughter did of our family. Left to right is me, my two lovely children and their dad. My expression seems to be one of concern. I don't honestly believe my daughter intended to draw my frantic look, but it definitely mirrors the feelings of my heart lately.

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I shared with a dear friend a prayer request for her to pray that God show me how I can have more time in my life to do the things I truly feel He is calling me to do. She shared some truly inspiring words and advice which moved me to tears. She is a bold prayer warrior and has taught me how we should not water down our prayers to God. He is the Almighty God, and we should never think anything we might ask of Him is too much. There is no too much for God.

And so I prayed and I pray giving Him my time at work, my time at home, my travel time... my life. Just as my friend said, I ask Him to shake me, stir my life and throw away all the things that are taking up my time that do not and will not bring Him glory. Move me, God, as I lay prostrate before you with all that I have.

I listen. I listen for His voice, for His word.

When I listen He fills my email inbox with Rick Warren's Daily Hope telling me to come to the end of myself. I hear him share A.W. Tozer's quote, "The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven't yet come to the end of themselves. We are still trying to give orders, and interfering with God's work within us."

When I listen He sends the daily spiritual reflection from my employer to read;

We can get overwhelmed by information from the Internet, television, radio, print media, and too much noise from well-meaning friends. Granted, not all of it is bad news, but even when the reports are good, it feels like an onslaught. My brain is stuffed to the headache level. And none of this takes into account my personal worries about job, family, finances, and health. My mind needs a rest. But it never turns off.

Talking to friends sometimes ramps up the monkey-mind. Therapists and spiritual directors are good listeners. I talk to God, but the conversation stays in my head.

That is when my journal is the best respite. When I write my prayers of personal concern, my mind releases the burden of carrying all the weight. I write a personal letter to God, and now my mind is clear because I can wait for God's answer. When I stop talking, God can then get a word in...and that word can be comforting.

When I listen I realize He is always right there, just beyond all the noise that I allow to fill my life. He is right there waiting, and the only thing between God and me is what I put there. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

O Spring, Where Art Thou?

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A wind chill of below freezing for our sixth day of spring caused me to dig up this quote and picture. The seasons in the south are always just a bit off, but it seems like this spring is being tardy for everyone! Instead of enjoying popsicles on warm afternoons, I have friends sharing pictures of making snow-cream with their kids. There are pieces of every season that I love dearly. I love the rebirth and freshness of spring. Summer is probably my least favorite just because I am not a fan of our hot, humid weather, but I do enjoy watching my kids play in the pool and a cold glass of lemonade under a shade tree. Fall's colors light up my heart with the cozy feeling of love and family as the holidays near, and I love to share a cold winter's night with a fire warming our hands and hearts.

As the season has changed on the calendar but not so much on the weather man's report, it made me think of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

While we mark the beginning and end of a season on our calendars because those are the dates told to us by men studying the earth's relationship to the sun, this spring reminds me that God is the true author of our calendar. In our lives we will have a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, just as the scripture says. The times to weep may last longer than we would like. Our tears may continue to fall even when we pray for a change in the season of our life. We must always remember, the seasons of our environment, just as the seasons of our life, are planned by our Heavenly Father, and He has a purpose and a blessing for each one.

Denise In Bloom

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Compass

Lately my life has felt like a broken compass. My sense of direction and focus are spinning so quickly that I barely know which way is up. With so many changes on the horizon for me and my family, I have initiated a time of taking stock in my life. Over the weekend I found myself sinking, falling into a dark place where stress and life events were pulling me into a pit and stripping me of my gravity, my peace, my joy.

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It stopped me cold in my tracks for a moment as I realized what I was allowing to happen. Yes, I was allowing my joy to be taken away by situations around me. This quote about joy speaks volumes to my heart. For the past few years I have felt like there is more that I am supposed to be doing. No, not more items to put on my to-do list, but different items. As spring is trying so hard to bring bright colors and warm rays to our lives, I am taking this time to take stock. I want to do, be, share and spend more time with what brings me joy. I want my life to be about soaking up all the moments of joy I can before they fade away. I do believe there will always be joy to be found in every stage of life, but I don't want to miss the moments of joy in my life right now.

Short of our salvation, those two souls in that picture are God's greatest gift to my husband and I. They bring me great joy. They are full of life and personality and no darkness exists in their presence. I feel God calling me to be the woman, wife, mother, friend He wants me to be, and I feel the changes coming are going to be exactly what He requires of me to fulfill those duties.

I am excited.

I am nervous.

I am joyful.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Counting Down the Days

I love this quote by Karen von Blixen-Finecke. It rings of truth and experience from a woman who probably had many adversities like we all face every single day. She found her release, like we all do sometimes, through work, tears and getting away from it all. 
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Some people pour themselves into their work when they are stressed, and may indeed do some of their very best work during those times. Personally, I tend to deep clean the house when I'm stressed, which is definitely making a positive from a negative. The emotional stress relief of crying may be the one I use most often. I call mine the meltdown. Honestly, I handle stress really well. I've had loved ones in the hospital for cardiac issues or sick babies running high fever with a cry that just breaks your heart. Through all those things, I hold it together to take care of the matter at hand. Emotions only get in the way at that point, so I try to stay focused and alert to always know what is going on around me and what decisions I need to make. Once I know those I love are safe; once I know the threat has passed; once I see them without pain and fear in their eyes, then I have my meltdown. My body releases all the emotions and fears it kept at bay in a huge flood that shakes me to my core. I firmly believe we need that total release in order to pull ourselves back together and go forward with our lives again. 

The final stress reliever she mentions is the sea. 

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This is a picture my husband took on our last trip to Florida in September. Our trip is already booked for this year. There is something about the sound of the waves, the breeze like no other and the sand underfoot that literally melts away the burdens that weigh heavy on our shoulders. This is my very favorite!

Right now our lives are like walking through a thick forest where our path is filled with the unknown and uncontrollable. As we walk through this forest for the next year or so, my husband will take a new job in a new town which will take us away from all that we have ever known to be home; I will become a stay-at-home-mom, cutting our family income in half; I will start homeschooling my children as my daughter starts kindergarten, and my in-laws will continue their battle of the cancer that has invaded each of their bodies. The forest of unknowns. For a girl who likes a plan, this is not a good place to be. While some of our changes are exciting, they are all a bit terrifying; too terrifying to try to think about all at the same time. For now, we focus. We focus on the days until we are there for the salt water to aid in our stress relief, and we face one day at a time in the best way we know how.