Monday, March 31, 2014

The Size of Our Portions.....

Which portion would you prefer~a teaspoon or a large generous spoon?

Have you ever yearned for a taste of something delicious and then asked for it and only be given a small, a very small portion?  How does this make us feel?  For me, it makes me want more, immediately!  The opposite can be true, you may have asked for a small portion and the giver was so generous in the serving size, you could live on the serving for a long while!  I suppose it depends upon who is doing the serving AND how much they want to share. I was thinking of this comparison in relation to Easter and how Jesus invited,  with a fervent desire, the twelve closest to eat the last Passover meal with HIM.  He knew the events that were about to unfold. He even gave them instructions on how to divide the meal among themselves.  It wasn't so much about this last meal that he was serving the generous portion of Himself, of which He was about to give TO and FOR them.  With this amazing meal, He was about to forgive them for every sin, every wrong thought they had ever done or ever would do! He was about to lavish them with a LOVE like no other and give them forgiveness for all eternity! He was offering the largest portion ever known!!! Actually, in HIS final week before going to The Cross, many of the twelve closest followers had wronged HIM and even denied Him and lied about HIM, yet even in the desperate hours, HE was able to forgive and extend mercy.

What a beautiful lesson for us on forgiveness and inclusion. How readily do you extend mercy and inclusion toward others when wronged or hurt?  How do you forgive? How do I forgive, I must ask myself?  Is it just enough to "muster" up a smile and pretend to be a friend or is it from the heart?  Psalm 86:5 says beautifully these words:  "For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You".  We can receive God's love and forgiveness and He can enable us to give it also to others just as we have received.  The two virtues - goodness and forgiveness - are attributes birthed by our Heavenly Father and He has desired these to be born in our own lives.  He wants us to forgive others transgressions in the same abundance of mercy He has shown us.  God does not want us to portion out our mercy and forgiveness with teaspoons.  HE is looking for people who will portion out their forgiveness and mercy with HUGE, unlimiting spoons!  

When you sit down for reflection and prayer, God has set a sort of "supper" for you.  Which spoon will you select? Just a small portion OR a generous and large portion to share in goodness and forgiveness.  Easter is about the new birth we receive in Christ, the NEW one He has redeemed  and given in the largest of ways!  He gave everything, His very life for you and for me!  It is my hope,  you will sense His GREAT and GLORIOUS LOVE for you this beautiful Easter season and embrace ALL that HE has for you! Blessings of JOY to you today dear friend! 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Little French Chair.....

AT Home With White by Atlanta Bartlett is a book I purchased in Savannah a few years ago while visiting one of my daughters who was living there at the time.  It was one of those books that was an impulse purchase but has greatly impacted my design in my own home.  No matter what your personal style, white can work in almost any home.  I wanted a lighter, more contemporary look throughout my home., our home is lighter and many of the soft coverings on our pieces of furniture have changed to white or shades of white.  Nothing has pleased me more than this cute little chair my husband brought home.  I loved the French legs,they were so graceful and refined.   For a couple of years, I enjoyed just leaving it as it was found, the the buttons and the fabric needed attention and it was looking its age so, I looked for some new fabric! My husband has lovingly placed his wonderful skills on this, yet another piece of our home! Mixing shades of white in our home has given us a crisp, clean, and new look!  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Praying for Your Children......and their children....

We are blessed with four daughters and one son!  One of our daughter's, Kacie, is celebrating today the birth of her twins six years ago!  She was so blessed to carry the twins to full term with a healthy pregnancy and delivery.  The day the twins were born was such a bright and joyful moment in my life to see my daughter and her wonderful husband experience this awesome miracle.  Twins do not run in our family and she did not take fertility drugs of any sort!  They were just a gift from Heaven!  I remember now looking back, and it is sort of funny how Josh seemed shocked with this new responsibility of provision and taking care of his beautiful wife and his babies.  He too has been a gift for God sent Kacie the most amazing partner to share her life's journey with!  From the time my children were small, I was taught to pray for their life's partner and so I did.  Sometimes, because I was so busy with life in general with our large brood of kids, I prayed on the run or had my closet time in the car while waiting in the school line. I love having fun and I love being active but what gets me through a day is being in touch with my Redeemer!   God, in His grace, answered those humble, heart wrenching prayers and they are still unfolding, one day at a time.  I am so grateful for the births of each baby born into our family.  I just love babies in general.  I think about my children and grandchildren all the time! I would love your's too if I knew them! As a mother or as a father or an aunt or uncle or friend, may I encourage to pray for the children in your own life and the children of the world!  Today and everyday, they need our prayers and we need God's grace and goodness and favor, now more than ever. Childhood is such a brief time!  I remember my dear mother in law would tell me this often and I did not fully understand until all of our children grew up, finished college and found jobs miles and miles away from our home.  God will move Heaven and Earth to answer our prayers on behalf of our children, even after they grow up, we can still be a part of their lives through prayer. Do you want to pray more often for your children?  Here are a few simple steps offered by "Moms in Prayer", a prayer ministry for mothers around the world!  1.  That I would be a woman of prayer.  2.  That I would gain a vision for the power of prayer.  3.  That I would seek to become an intercessor.  4.  That I would begin to practice aggressive praying, taking the initiative to pray with others as a way of life.  5.  That I would learn to pray through the Scriptures.  6.  That I would pray without ceasing.  7.  That I would be able to communicate to others what God is teaching me in prayer.  One of the blessings of being a Christian mother for me has been the honor of praying for my family and with friends and others who see prayer as one of God's highest callings.  Always be certain HE hears your prayers.  It's as simple as believing if  we "Draw near to God, He will draw near to you."  James 4:8  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Beautiful Morning and The Sunshine!

There's the wonder of morning, as seen in the beautiful pictures, and the wonder of sunset at evening.  The wonder of sunrise and morning is my favorite time of day which this picture seems to convey, but the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul is the wonder that God loves us in spite of our human and fragile souls!

J. I. Packer says....."What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it--the fact that He knows me.  I am graven on the palms of His hands; I am never out of His mind.  All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me.  I know Him because He first knew me and continues to know me."

 Amazing love that God has for people.....all people.  It doesn't matter who you are,  what you've accomplished or still hoping to accomplish, nor where you live,......God loves you.   His desire for you is uniquely expressed in the Psalms and throughout His Word.  His desire is to have a relationship with you and lead you into paths of righteousness.
God is righteous and righteousness involves goodness, uprightness, integrity, morality, and purity.  In the world, it's hard to live that way......but remember, every morning there is the wonder of a new day and a choice to live for Him and for His glory!  May you sense His love and His grace in your life this week!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

An Outdoor Feast.....

One of the JOYS to be taken advantage of by living in warm climate is eating outside! A mere meal can become an outdoor feast! This breakfast  on the screened porch is perfect!  Table settings can change constantly too!  Spring tables are always so pretty!  The white linen table cloth adds just the touch of elegance needed!  Everyday is a GIFT!  I wish we could all live as we felt this were really true!  Spend time with the special people in your life and LOVE them without condition! Life is way too short to live it any other way!  Have a happy day! 

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Mother's Lasting Legacy.....

Mother Love: Giving or sharing tenderness with one's child. This definition is my own. Webster's does not really give a good definition [in my opinion.] A mother is called a female parent or a woman as she is related to her children. This definition is true but rather vague. When I think of the word entire life time defines the word for me. It's all I really aspired to be! Oh, I have had other jobs, such as being a school teacher, also working with adults who assisted children as tutors for children, and working with cancer patients assisting in a resource library, but compared to the role of mothering all these positions pale. I think most women who become a mother cherish the role of being called, Mom or Mommy. A good and loving grandmother cannot EVEN begin to take the place of a loving mother, for that is not our role. The role of the mother is one of God's highest callings! My desire has always been for my daughters to be good mothers, which they are, and any encouragement I am able to give them in their wonderful role of motherhood, I hope helps them with such an important and demanding role. As mothers, the first requirement is strength of character. Each and every day a mother is held accountable by her little child as the child looks to her for guidance over their entire day! Most mothers want their child to flourish, to become all that he or she is capable of becoming. This takes all our efforts and can become laborious, day after day but when that cute little angelic countenance looks up at us.....our hearts melt....with love. Nothing can replace the bond between a mother and her child when it has been blessed and cultivated. I have now been blessed to see all of my children grown. I have not been a perfect mother and they have not been perfect children but in a miraculous way, God gave us grace to develop strong and healthy bonds with one another. Mothers pass on a legacy. If you are a mom, or maybe hope to be one day, may I encourage you to begin your day in prayer, just a simple one liner will do......until you have a few uninterrupted moments to go deeper with the Lord. He is attentive to our prayers. In the book of I Samuel, chapters, 1~2 we hear the true story of a woman, named Hannah, who so desperately wanted to be a mother that before she even had a child, she promised God she would give her child back to God. This is humbling on so many levels and, throughout my life as a mother, there has been so many times that I have had to do this.....give back and start again. You see, childhood is fleeting and you will only have little ones and teens, and young adults a short time under your roof......then they'll be gone! Let me encourage you to slow down, look to God, look to your partnership with your husband and together pray as Hannah prayed, "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord!". I Samuel 1:27~28. Yes, Lord, I do pray that as a mother, you will BLESS my children as I have given them to you! Let us remember as we dedicate our little ones and our big ones to the Lord that they are an inheritance and gift from the Lord! What a beautiful legacy....this job of becoming a Mother!

As Mothers we never outgrow the opportunities we are given to help our children grow in Godliness. As parents, we have much to do with our children's destiny. Give them over to God's purposes and whether in your home or abroad or another state continue to nurture them to become fruitful in Godly living! The best is yet to be!!!! Dear friend.....I am praying for you today! Bless all who read these words from my heart, O Lord! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Good Manners.....

Good Manners are always refreshing!  Growing up, I was exposed to good manners through my grandmother who truly enjoyed the finer things in life and enjoyed teaching me and my siblings how to properly set the table for a dinner party during the holidays and other family gatherings.  She was a busy lady as a school teacher and community volunteer but still found the time to teach us what was important to her personally.  I will always remember her dressing in her pearls and heels when we would go out for dinner or to the theater.

She presented me with gift of six place settings of my sterling silver, one place setting a year at a time before I graduated from college.  She purchased the silver box also where they are kept today.  Along with this, she taught me how to properly fold dinner napkins, and use the words, "Excuse me", "Thank you", "No thank you", and "Yes, please".  She wore beautiful hats and gloves and a few of those, I inherited as gifts from her later in her life.  She was what I would call a lady. She carried herself with dignity and grace until the day she passed away. I was sooo blessed by her life!

Thinking about what it means to be a lady is probably not something most young women give much thought about today.  Today the emphasis is placed on sports, education, career, physical appearance and the social life.  Times have changed but the opportunity to develop good manners is still something we can appreciate!

When my son was growing up, he was taught how to always open a door for a young lady.  He was taught that this was the polite thing to do. In today's world, some young women may not care for this gesture, but I still think of it as just plain nice behavior for a young man or really a man of any age.  

In France, one of the proper etiquette's is to say, Bonjour when entering a boutique or shop and to say Au revoir when you leave.  Yes, manners are chic! Manners make a difference.  Etiquette is much more than a set of rules.  It is about connecting with our fellow human beings in a positive and polite way!

It's never to early or to late to begin to develop manners.  We can begin by thinking before we speak.  Choosing our words wisely and guarding our words so we do not blurt out anything that comes to mind.  As I said in the post yesterday, let your words be gracious.......think about how they will be received by others.  It is so easy to hurt someone's feelings with the words we speak or write.

A simple suggestion is to teach your children by allowing them to properly set the table for dinner or breakfast on a Saturday morning when family time is not as rushed or hurried. A simple "tea time" could be an easy beginning. You could show your children how to pour the tea, hold the cup, stir the tea, and place the napkin in the lap. For dinner, you might show them how to fold the napkins properly, where to place the fork, the knife, and the spoon along side the dinner plate.  Then, most importantly, allow them an opportunity to use the utensils properly during meal time. Teach them to use words properly such as , "yes sir" and "no sir".  It may seem foreign to you and to them at first but in time, I promise, these will be the very words and actions which separate the ladies and gentlemen for the ordinary.......manners are always IN STYLE!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

UPlifting Words.....

Gracious words are beautiful words!  Gracious words flow like a fountain out of lips that are thoughtful, kind, wise,  loving and good.  In the book of Nehemiah in the Bible, the Word speaks of a kind of patience that God had (and still has) with people who would not listen to HIM.  Even though, they did not listen, God did not forsake them because the Word says...."For you are God, gracious and merciful."  Nehemiah 9:31  Merciful and gracious words  are able to spill out of lips graciously because God is able to change a person's words into a sweet aroma that can fill a room!   He has given us beautiful words to follow and live by.  Everyday HE IS ABLE to pour into our lives living words of TRUTH that can penetrate....... even the not so soft places in our hearts.

We all love to hear words that lift up and encourage!  Encouragement is a gift and the person whose heart is filled with it cannot help but let it spill out.... blessing whoever walks into their world!  God is gracious in placing these people everywhere!  Recently, my husband and I had the honor of attending a beautiful wedding for a friend's daughter.  Truly the entire wedding was a blessing for me because I love my friend so much and to see her happy for her daughter and the love that I know went into the planning of every single second of the wedding day.  Her love was gracious for her daughter and her countenance radiated with joy.  Love spilled out of her lips for everyone who attended!

As I was thinking about that special day, I thought about how everyday,  gracious and loving words should spill out of our lips for others.  Sort of like a fountain that spills water out so beautifully  that we stand in awe!  We remember the sight (or sound) over and over again.  Beautiful words have a way of lingering long after they are the first, I love you!  Remember when you first heard those words.

Our days are filled with many things.  Many things that are necessary to do such as preparing meals, cleaning our homes, working at our jobs, running errands, paying bills, etc. but the day is better and the burdens of the day are lighter when we spend time on what matters. The time we spend with God.  May I encourage you today to fill your heart with what truly matters!  The value of filling your life with spiritual truths is to reach the highest human potential, to have abundant life. For us there is a promise if we do and it is to  "Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ!"   I Peter 1:13  HE has a great and gracious day planned just for YOU!  Enjoy!