Friday, August 31, 2012

Must I be a pre-Raphaelite beauty?

"Windflowers" by John William Waterhouse
As I wandered through my small abode this morning on my way to the coffee pot, I remembered a certain section of poetry by Fleur Adcock. Specifically, I recalled a line that reads:
"But now that I am in love with a place
that doesn’t care how I look and if I am happy,
happy is how I look..."

I don't think she's talking about a place outside as much as she is writing about a place maybe that she has reached inside herself. She writes in her unique, witty way as if looking past the vain things she once thought, especially in the area of beauty. Beauty is a tough subject for women. As one friend reminded me over the weekend, most of us only ever look in the mirror to critique ourselves. So as you do look in the mirror over the next few days, I hope you'll consider these verses: Psalm 139:14, 1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 31:3, 1 Peter 3:3-4, 1 Timothy 4:8 - and maybe even tell your reflection positive words it is needing and perhaps longing to hear. I will post a practical exercise soon that may help. :)

My face catches the wind
from the snow line
and flushes with a flush
that will never wholly settle.

Well, that was a metropolitan vanity,
wanting to look young forever, to pass.
I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty
and only pretty enough to be seen
with a man who wanted to be seen
with a passable woman.

But now that I am in love
with a place that doesn’t care
how I look and if I am happy,
happy is how I look and that’s all.

My hair will grow grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake,
my waist thicken, and the years
work all their usual changes.

If my face is to be weather beaten as well,
it’s little enough lost
for a year among the lakes and vales
where simply to look out my window
at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors
and to what my soul may wear
over its new complexion.

–Fleur Adcock

Kareen Fleur Adcock, known as Fleur Adcock; CNZM, OBE (born 10 February 1934 in New Zealand) is a poet and an editor of English and Northern Irish ancestry, who has lived much of her life in England.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Love at Home

To the man I've waited all my life to meet:
It's so sweet to finally know
I can put my life in your hands
and let you love my soul.

Only you can caress my thoughts tenderly.
Only you can move my heart
or repair it when I gave it away too soon
and another ripped it apart.

I've searched all through the mountains
and skimmed over every sea...
how ironic to find you in my house
patiently waiting for me
to finally get tired of taking my life
and warping it with my own hands.
And with all understanding and gentleness,
you took my hand and I took a chance.

Now, my Love, the music's never-ending
and it's sung by the angels aloud.
My Lord it was You I'd been looking for
in meaningless faces of crowds!

Let me give You all that I have
that others tried to cherish in vain.
Let me be the woman You created
and may our love show where You reign.

~Love at Home; written by me Oct. 16, 2000

Monday, August 27, 2012


Ringside Announcer:

"Ladies & Gentlemen, this is the fight you have all been waiting for! In one corner is the Son of the Dawn, the powerfully persuasive, the fallen star...Lucifer. He is known for throwing deceptive 1-2 punches and for his low blows. He's knocked out more fighters than anyone can imagine BUT today his opponent, a new-comer, is bound to surprise and amaze you!

They call her (enter your name here) - The De-Terminator. She's looking to be in great's clear she's been working out with her trainer, Jesus, and that he's got her training in the Word and doing lots of knee bends in prayer. I heard it reported that she has the ultimate backer - God, creator of the heavens and earth - who is supplying all her needs. She's definitely the crowd favorite here tonight as her brothers and sisters cheer her on. I know we are all looking forward to the great things she will do.

Oh wait, folks...Look! Over there across the's a fan with a HUGE sign. What does it say? Oh, I just heard that it is the Holy Spirit who is holding a sign that reads..."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Special Guest

Two friends are coming over. They are bringing all the fixings for dinner and they have offered to help me with some housework. (Thanks Angie & Nikki!) Their help is a huge blessing for me yet even more just their presence in my home and the fellowship with them excites me! I enjoy having house guests. My parents even call my home their personal bed and breakfast. :)

my guest room
What do you do when you have visitors coming over? Well if you're like me, then you get the house all ready. I like to clean and straighten up when guests are on their way. My desire is to have a home that is safe, warm, and relaxing for friends and family. During my Coffee & Cozy this morning, I shut my eyes and tried to put my post called Trust the Picture into practice. I focused on only God and found myself picturing a scene from Isaiah 6. As I sat there picturing God, suddenly everything changed and I envisioned him walking into my living room. All I saw was his presence walk in and his robe fill my whole living room. Whoa!

I felt myself get so excited to think that the God of the Universe would just walk in and be my special guest. Then I remembered that the Creator is always present! (Check out: Ps. 46:1, Ps. 89:15, Ps. 139:7) He's always here, I just forget. In Luke 14:2b, Jesus says that he is leaving earth to prepare a place for his followers. I started asking myself, "Have a prepared a place for the Lord in my home? At my job? In my schedule? Do I set up my times with God the way I get ready for a guest in my home or does He just get the 'left overs'? "

So today I decided to spend time remembering and reflecting that my God is always my Special Guest. Today my focus is to give Him ALL my best! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trust the Picture

Over the weekend, I watched Columbia Pictures' original movies Karate Kid I & Karate Kid II. LOVE IT! I really enjoy the wise words that Mr. Miyagi's character shares with Daniel (and me) throughout the films. They provide some great life lessons.

In Karate Kid I, during one of Daniel's first deep interaction with Mr. Miyagi, Miyagi is sculpting a Bonsai tree. He has Daniel sit down in front of an unsculpted tree and tells him to close his eyes.

Daniel: "I may mess it up or something."
Mr. Miyagi: "Close eyes. Trust. Concentrate. Think only tree. Make a perfect picture down to last pine needle. Wipe your mind clean of everything but tree. Nothing exists in whole world...only tree. You got it? Open eyes. Remember picture?"
Daniel: "Yeah."
Mr. Miyagi: "Just trust picture."
"How do I know if my picture is the right one?" 
Mr. Miyagi: "If comes from inside you, always right one."

I think my whole spirit took a deep, relaxing sigh. What a lesson for life! What a lesson for my relationship with God!

Me: "I may mess it up or something."
Jesus: "Close eyes. Trust. Concentrate. Think only of God...Make a perfect picture of God from scriptures...down to last thread of being. Wipe your mind clean of everything but God. Nothing exists in whole world...only God. You got it? Open eyes. Remember picture?"
Me: "Yeah."
Jesus: "Just trust picture."
"How do I know if my picture is the right one?" 
Jesus: "If comes from inside you, always right one."

I forget that God's Spirit is inside me! The Spirit helps me. John 14:26 "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." This very Spirit is helping build my picture of the True God. I just need to trust, spend time thinking only of God, wipe my mind clean of everything but God and spend some time sitting in His presense as though nothing exists in my whole world...only God. :) ahhhhhh.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Usefulness of The Cup

The other day I was having lunch with some coworkers. It was a great lunch! During all of our discussions one woman brought up the fact that she doesn't like it when people "don't let things go" or when they don't forgive and forget. Then a woman next to me said she's great at this and that she easily forgives and forgets.

I sat there with the Spirit pressing down on me... and when it does then I know I need to open my mouth. So I shared with the group, "That is a real weakness of mine...I want to forgive and forget but I tend to fail. It's something I really need to work on."

I know I've gotten quicker at forgiving but forgetting is not easy for me. Most of the time, even if I forget the exact offense, I have this caution signal that flashes in the back of my mind. I am the type of gal who can give my heart quickly but then when someone hurts me, disrespects me, doesn't treat me the way I try to treat them, then I pull away emotionally and sometimes even physically. I don't know how Jesus did it! I want to be like Jesus.

My problem is I'm full of pride and expectation. Years of abuse. Years of reaping what I sowed. Years of hurt and pain. I know this is why I've taught myself these coping techniques. Honestly, I really hate them but I've not yet unlearned how I've taught myself to respond. Maybe I don't hate them enough yet or maybe I just don't know how to replace them? "The usefulness of the cup is it's emptiness." I'm not a fan of Bruce Lee but this weekend I heard him quoted as saying that and my heart stung.

Sometimes I feel like my cup isn't as useful because it's already full! I really desire for it to be empty. A fresh start for me and for others. What a blessing it is for those who say this is easy for them! If you struggle with forgiving, will you let me know you're there? And if you have any verses or stories that have helped you personally in this area because you struggle too, will you share them with me as well? Thanks so much!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Whenever Our Hearts Condemn Us

pic from:

My hypersomnia was really been beating me up the past two days. I've been doing some serious sleeping and I ended up missing church :(

So to stay fed spiritually and be on the same page with my brothers and sisters, I listen to last Sunday's message from when I was out of town for dad's 65th birthday. It was so refreshing...literally a hug for my heart!

The message is called, "How do you know?" and is specifically for those who are actively following Christ since the new testament letters are written to Christians and not those who are lost. I hope you'll give it a listen. Click this link: How Do You Know and then select the August 12, 2012 sermon by Jason Lugo.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Blessing of Touch

When is the last time you let your hands do the 'seeing' for a while? Yesterday for my Coffee & Cozy time with God I focused my time on "touch." Imagine with me and feel these verses:

  • He [Jesus] touched her hand and the fever left her...Matthew 8:15
  • When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed. Mark 5:27-28
  • Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. Luke 5:13
  • Then he [Jesus] went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” Luke 7:14
  • [Jesus after the resurrection] Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Luke 24:39

WOW! Inspired by these verses, I spent some time meditating on those scriptures and imagined I was the woman touching Jesus' cloak and what it felt like, or imagining what his hand reaching out to comfort me would feel like, or even what it must have felt like for him when he placed his hand on that coffin and the young man came alive again. Afterward, I used my hands to see and spent time noticing small but wonderful details around me.

feeling the felted pattern on my pillow...

 feeling how solid my coffee cup is...

feeling the thinness of my journal page...

 feeling the softness of Manna's fluffy tail....

I hope today you'll get a moment to really see something afresh...with your hands. May it overwhelm you with gratitude! May it help you cease from any numbness that can come in our spirits because we rush around so much! :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Match

If you were to look at me right now, you might notice a small, red, straight bruise on my forehead. This is an interesting battle scar. A few nights ago there was a storm, boasting 60-70 mph winds, that ripped through my neighborhood.

While evaluating the aftermath, I decided to do what most single women homeowners must do in these situations...and it's not call the lawn company to take care of it...I started dragging limbs to the front curb.

As I worked diligently, one limb jumped up and slapped me - right across the forehead! His hopes were to discourage me and remind me, "You're a girl." So I pinned him and sawed his arm off. Then I told the devil to get behind me, dragged that limb to the front yard and kicked him to the curb. 

Just saying. :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

DeCluttering: Days 4 & 5

I'm finishing up my 5 days of decluttering. I wasn't able to complete them in a week's time as I originally hoped but life happens and I'm happy to say I'm finishing it now.

Sock drawer before

 Sock drawer after

 Under kitchen sink before

Although not ideal, I found a small leak while decluttering under the sink. There seemed to be a lesson in that...the importance of clearing out the clutter in my physical life and reminder to keep my spiritual life clear of clutter too because things 'leak in' and cause trouble! :) As you can see in the picture above, the previous owners (or the realtor) had covered up old damage with vinyl tile so it looked 'clean' though it wasn't clean. I removed everything, bleached it all and now it's clean but it's not pretty! *sign* Guess, sometimes that is just the way it goes. Ultimately I know it's good that I found it especially before it got worse.

 Under kitchen sink after

All my lessons learned from the decluttering challenge?
  • To think about my motives for making purchases
  • To focus on my treasure in heaven instead of my treasure on earth
  • To declutter both my physical and spiritual life in search of bad things 'leaking' in and causing hidden damage.
Practical: Spend some time physically & spiritually decluttering your life this week.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Friendly Predator

Picture from:
Situation: Hugging some friends good-bye outside a coffee shop downtown then turning to walk to my car. Notice a guy is walking toward me. My street safety lessons kick through my mind. I make eye contact, little chin-nod what's up and then casual look to the side (not down.)

Guy: "Hey, are you familiar with downtown?"
Me: "Yeah." (turn around to him so my back is not toward him, make serious eye contact and look him over for a description. I see my friends in their car backing out but stopping when they see the guy talking to my sisters in Christ!)
Guy: "I work at the Starbucks. (motions north) I'm not trying to get money or anything. (shows me a $5 bill and then turns his jeans pockets inside out to show me he has no weapons) My wife has gone into labor and I need a ride to the hospital."
Me: (put both hands up in front of my waist like 'wait a minute' and shake my head) "No...there are some guys in the coffee shop, you should ask them."
Guy: (turns away and walks into the coffee shop)

I played through this situation over and over again in my mind before going to bed. I've studied out body language as a hobby for years and have taught myself certain verbal and physical responses that don't come naturally to most women - like not looking down, making mental notes of description, physically putting hands up to say no...etc. You see, in my pre-Christian days, I hung out with many friendly predators just like this so I know the routine...approach, answer all their reservations about helping you right off the bat, leave their mind swimming in words and a story to get a quick response, get what you need then go.

This is the one predator trick though that I had heard of but not been personally approached with in the past...a stranger asking for a ride. I'm sharing this story because I am a strong believer that women have not worked through in their minds enough times what their response would be and you have too. The point of the predator is to catch you off guard...his approach was aimed to not give me enough time to think: "Wait, you don't look like a Starbucks employee...there's not even one in the direction you pointed...why didn't you ask your coworkers for a ride? Why are you spending time trying to get a ride from people when you could jog in just 15 minutes and be there?"

Many Christian women have mixed emotions about not helping someone who says they are in need. Most predators are fairly harmless and just want some cash but this story is not about someone just asking for money...this grown man was trying to 'get me alone.'

So friends, I'm encouraging you to talk through with your friends & family about what you should do if you are approached by someone (man or woman) on the street asking for something. We know the bible says a wise man gets get advice and know your plan. As Christians, we should help but our help doesn't have to be in the form they are asking. Example, if someone wants money for food offer to buy them food, if they need gas offer to buy them gas, if a man asks for help suggest they approach another man, if a woman asks for help pull in other women or men walking around to also talk to the woman to see how everyone can best help, if you are dead set on helping - call friends to come join you before doing anything. Please don't get alone with them in anyway. Let us be wise.

Below are some scriptures. Maybe now is the time to spend and meditate on these verses both in context and how they generally apply. Has it been a while since you spoke to your children about strangers approaching them or your husband about what you should do? What about your household - have you talked through these situations? Today, I just want to encourage you to take that time and opportunity. God has urged me through prayer that I needed to share this so I hope it helps. :)

  • Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-7 "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth."
  • Proverbs 12:15 "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice."
  • Proverbs 2:12 "Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse..."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quotes to Spark the Heart

Today seems like a quote day. *grin* I found these quotes pulled together from this website: Inspirational Christian Quotes. I hope they inspire you, challenge you, and spark something great within your heart. :)
pic from website ""

  • "Make a rule (and pray to God to help you to keep it) never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say ~I have made one human being, at least, a little wiser, a little happier, or a little better this day~." Charles Kingsley
  • "God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having."~ C.S. Lewis
  • "When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others---not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a [wo]man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one."~ C.S. Lewis
  • "Triumphant prayer is almost impossible where there is neglect of the study of the Word of God."~ Reuben Archer Torrey
  • "God loves with a great love the [wo]man whose heart is bursting with a passion for the impossible." ~ William Booth
  • "Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible."~ Corrie Ten Boom
  • "It was Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) that fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me. There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because He comforted me with rays of marvelous inspiration from the Holy Scriptures." ~ Christopher Columbus
  • "To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."~ Thomas Aquinas
  • "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."~ Martin Luther
  • "When the author walks on the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right...something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without will be too late then to choose your side."~ C.S. Lewis
  • "I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God; first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done." ~ Hudson Taylor

Monday, August 6, 2012

Good Job Jar

At the beginning of the year, I made a 'Victory' jar for my home. You can select the link below to read the post: Celebrate Your Victories

Right now it's self-evaluation time at my job and I've realized I really need one at work as well. I easily forget, as the weeks speed by, the victories and projects that I've completed successfully. So by using this new jar at work I won't have to comb through my work calendar looking for progress to share during the self-evaluation next year - I can grab my handy "Good Job" jar.

Another advantage is that when times are tough or I'm feeling discouraged at work, I can simply pull out a few slips of paper to remind myself I'm doing just fine. :) This is the best picture I could get to upload from my phone but it's turning out cute. The scripture on top reads:

“Whatever you do, work at it

with all your heart,

as working for the Lord, not for men…”

~Colossians 3:23

Let's face it, we are not always the best at remembering the good and it's okay to celebrate your victories. Maybe you need a "Good Job" jar too or maybe you need a "Victories" jar somewhere so you can celebrate your personal daily victories? If so, I hope you'll grab a jar, bowl or envelope and start today.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Being Thankful...

I recently created a wreath to use on my door for the Thanksgiving/Autumn season. Why, you may ask, when it's summer and 106 degrees outside am I even thinking about the fall? Well, because I was on a website the other day and I saw something about Thanksgiving plus the cool weather of Fall & Winter make me happy!

So I worked on the wreath above and as I placed it on the door to take a photo, I thought about what I'm thankful for in my life right now.

  • First, my home with God. I'm so thankful for the sanctuary it is not only for me but often times for others.
  • My family - we cheer each other on, I learn so much from them, and they have really supported my dreams.
  • Dear friends - my little circle of gal pals who I connect with weekly and join me for adventures!
  • Health - I've had some health struggles but that doesn't mean I'm not thankful for the health I DO have and the blessings that come along with it.
  • My job - mostly because it pays for the life I desire to have in that it lets me give to and help others, I get to have adventures, and my home...leading back to my sanctuary with God...ah, the big circle! :D
What are you thankful for right this moment? If you are like me and the extreme heat makes you grumpy, we can tend to forget to focus on the why not take a little time now?

Practical Possibilities:

  • Make a list of what you are thankful for like I did above
  • Turn a frame into a chalk board or create your own DIY dry erase board to hang in your room to jot down things you are thankful for that day before going to sleep
  • Post a message on fb of what you are thankful for and ask others to comment and share theirs
  • Write a card to people you are thankful for to encourage them 
When people walk up to my door during the fall the message I want them to see is that -  I'm thankful. What about you? :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

DeCluttering: Days 2 & 3

I was under the weather on Tuesday so I'm combining two days in one. It's amazing to me how things get stuffed in the wrong places like my bathroom drawer (hello, Splenda packet?) This little challenge has helped me get organized and put things in the right place. But more than that, because I hope to find some items to give to others, it's almost felt like a treasure hunt as I walk through my home. I've also started reflecting on what it means to be 'rich towards God.'

Matthew 6:19-21 [ Treasures in Heaven ] “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

1 Timothy 6: 17-19  "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

There is SO MUCH deepth in those verses that I could chew on for weeks! My heart got excited about the sentence reminding me to 'take hold of the life that is truly life.'

Bathroom drawer before




Cute business shoes. I hope they help someone else feel amazing!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Deeper Thoughts of DIY

So I'm into wrapping random jars with yarn lately. This is a picture of my most recent 'jar wrapping' for some bathroom items like make-up brushes and cotton balls. (No worries the decanter holds my mouthwash, not liquor - *grin*)

When doing DIY projects, especially ones that are redundant like wrapping jars in yarn, I can start reflecting: "What am I all 'wrapped up' in right now?" and alternatively, "What should I be wrapping around me?"

Lately, I've been wrapped up in the stress and politics of work. ARG! No matter how many health articles I read, I can feel stress affecting me and damaging my health. What should I be wrapping around me? I can only think of one name: The Prince of Peace...Jesus. (Isaiah 9:6) But I have trouble doing that with all this noise and drama. So I'm fighting hard for it, pray for me please.

One key scripture I'm focusing on is: Colossians 3:15, "And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts..."

I'm also taking time to shut my eyes and focus on a powerful historical account in the bible...Jesus calming the storm. As I focus on Jesus bringing his calm to that storm, I find my body relaxing. I have started to repeat to myself, "Jesus calmed the storm" and it fits perfectly in my situations and is giving me peace.

What do you do to bring yourself back to to a place of peace?
Any tips you use at work to shake of the drama?

Please share your wisdom!

DIY instructions: To do these jars, simply tie the yarn in a knot around the top lip, take strips of double stick tape and place them the length of the jar then start wrapping! Once you get to the end of your yarn, secure it to the glass with a little bit of hot glue and embellish.