Ms. Perfection... hmmm... do I know her? Why yes! Have I tried to be her? Yes! Do I still struggle with trying to be her? Yes! Do I know better than to try and be her? Yes! Did this chapter slap me in the face? YES! Can you believe that even after reading the chapter, I have lamented over writing the perfect post on Ms. Perfection? How crazy is that!
"About halfway through the service, I looked down at my crisp, clean white linen skirt. That’s when I noticed a glaring flaw in the plan. Right down the middle of my skirt, stretching from my left side to my right, was a bright, royal blue pen mark smiling back at me. Horrified at what I saw, I realized the only way to remove the stain was to take it to the dry cleaners. I couldn’t believe that after all my stressing and striving, the look I wanted to achieve that Easter morning was ruined with a mark from my son’s pen. So much for perfection, I thought."
After reading Lisa's description of Easter Sunday, getting everyone dressed in their matchy matchy outfits, Lisa admiring how pretty she looked, and then the horror of seeing the pen mark down her crisp white skirt - I recalled a photo that was taken of me and Jim for our church directory several years ago. I spent time finding the perfect outfits for us to wear. I did my hair, makeup, found the perfect accessories... we were going to have the most beautiful church directory portrait. Imagine my surprise when I previewed the photo... everything was in place. Hair - perfect, clothing - perfect. Nailpolish - oops... big chip in the nail polish for all to see! What a reminder! I looked so put together, but that tiny chip (that looked huge to me) reminded me of my imperfection. No matter how hard I tried, I was not ever going to be perfect. I can put a bow on the package, but what's inside is broken. Like the Christmas gift we received one year... it was beautifully wrapped. But when I picked the package up the unmistakeable sound of broken glass sounded from inside the package. It was so pretty on the outside, but broken on the inside. Trying to cover up my imperfection with makeup and nice clothes... well that's like trying to put a band aid on a gunshot wound. It's just not going to work.
Over the years I have learned to be real with people. I reflected on the question Lisa asked in the Bible Study section of the book: "Search your heart. Is it more important for you to be seen as perfect in a certain area.. or seen as real?"
Lord, I want to be real. I am so glad that what you desire from me is to be real, not perfect.
My heartfelt thanks to each one of you that lifted our family up in prayer this past week after Jim's dad's passing. It's a bittersweet time for our family. The loss of such a wonderful man is sad, but we also rejoice that he was a Christian and is safe in the arms of our Lord. The mansion with many rooms... a room that was prepared long before the earth was formed just for Augie!
I have to share with you also another woodpecker story! Yesterday afternoon, Jim's brother A.C. had to leave to go back to Seattle. Jim's mom, myself, Jim and A.C. were in the driveway as A.C. was preparing to leave. Our woodpecker swooped from one tree to another and sat there and sang for us. Yes, God was telling us all would be ok. It was so sweet... our messenger... our woodpecker.
Now, moving on to today's post!
I mentioned before that our church is participating in a year long spiritual renewal program focusing on prayer. Today we have kicked off our participation in Praying 4 America . For 30 days we will be praying for a specific state(s)... praying for the leaders of the state, the churches of the state, and for the Christians of each state that they would be faithful witnesses for Christ, humble servants of God, and positive influences on society. We are also asked to lift up our President, Vice President and Congressional Leaders in prayer as well. We received a special Map of the United States that breaks down the 30 days and which states to pray for each day. Our country is struggling these days... many families are experiencing the hardships of high gas and food prices, the struggling economy etc. I myself have reflected on the events that have led up to what's happened on Wall Street and Main Street and these words from Matthew 6:24 came to my mind
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
The word "greed" was used many times in a television report as being one of the catalysts for the current situation in our country. As the years have marched on, God has been taken out of schools, meetings etc... there are people who want to take "In God We Trust" off of our currency. Has America put it's trust in money? Has America been serving 2 masters? Has America been worshipping the almighty dollar?
I pray that as Christian Amercians we pray for our country to get back on track. That we focus our attention to God as our provider not our investments... Yes, we must be good stewards with the riches God has provided for us. Our monetary blessings come from Him.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6:25-34
Believe me... I have prayed over those verses for years. I will continue to pray over those verses... I will pray them for the states in our Union. I ask you to do the same.
Do not worry dear friends... God will provide. Rely on Him when contemplating ALL of your decisions, no matter how big or how small. He is in control... even when we are not!
Today, being day 1 of Praying 4 America, we are asked 1.) To pray for a great outpouring of God's Spirit on America (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17) 2.) Pray for the President and Vice President, that their hearts would be guided by God, that their decisions would be wise, and that their leadership would be principled.
August C. Schwark June 10, 1917 - September 22, 2008
My dear father in law was welcomed home yesterday morning at 6:15am. Yesterday was also our 18th wedding anniversary. Jim and I both said we could not have received a more wonderful gift than sharing our anniversary w/ our father's homecoming! We rejoice knowing he is with our savior!
I posted on Friday that he had taken a turn.. we are so grateful for the time we had this past weekend. Although his body was very weak, his mind was so sharp. On Sunday we got out pictures and walked through his life with him, from childhood to now. He knew all the pictures, when they were etc. It's a testament to also being so healthy up until now.
There are so many other wonderful moments that happened over the weekend. One moment I want to share today happened Saturday afternoon. My sister in law Ann and I were sitting on either side of my father in law. We had the front door to the house open. The front door has a storm door with a window. While we were sitting there relaxing a woodpecker landed on the tiny corner of the storm door window. It was absolutely amazing, as that is something that is just out of character for this type of bird. The tiny woodpecker sat there on the tiny ledge, looking in the window for a few minutes and flew away. When I say looking, I mean looking. Not like he was just resting there... he was looking in on us. Right after that moment, my father in law looked at me and Ann and said "I see them coming, they will be here soon." I truly believe that woodpecker was a messenger from our Lord, sent to speak to my father in law and to us as well.
I have to tell you, a downey woodpecker is now my favorite bird!
We had many more cherished moments that I will always treasure. On Sunday night we were all sitting around the hospital bed that was set up in the living room. He was struggling a bit by then. I read the 23rd Psalm which happens to also be the Psalm that my mother in law and father in law's wedding sermon was based. We prayed the Lord's Prayer, we sang Jesus Loves Me, Beautiful Savior and Abide With Me to him. What a blessing, to spend your last days at home, surrounding by loved ones, wrapped in the arms of our savior!
My father in law was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and servant of Christ. I have included the link to my father in law's online obituary which will tell you a bit about his life and what his work for the Lord entailed. I will miss him like crazy, but as my husband said when he bent down to kiss his dad's forehead "I'll see ya later pop!" Yes, we have that promise! This is not the end... we will see him later! Glory!!!
Gracious Father, Your love never ends. When all else fails You remain to help, heal and make us whole. I thank You this day that in our time of sadness You give us peace, strength and hope. I thank You for placing me in this family and for giving me my Father in Law. He loved me as if I were his own and I am so grateful for the special relationship we had. Strengthen our faith and our our hope, for all time, through the all-sufficient grace of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Well done good and faithful servant, welcome to paradise! Amen
I know that my Redeemeer Lives! What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, he lives who once was dead; He lives, my ever-living head!
He lives, all glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same; What joy this blest assurance gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!
I will be hit or miss for the next few days... I am hoping to get some free time to finish up my 6 random things post as I was tagged by Kim as well as another post I have started about love.
My father in law has taken a turn for the worse. We know it is only a matter of no more than a week before he goes home to be with Jesus. The last few days have been bittersweet, but we have enjoyed many treasured moments as well. Family is so good! We are having to spend a lot of time at the house with my mother in law and father in law at this time, as well as juggle work, home etc.
I ask each of you to lift us up in prayer and ask the Lord for a speedy, peaceful release for my father in law. Losing him will be sad, but we know this is not the end! Praise Jesus that we have an eternity to be together.
Several of my blogging pals participated in this meme a week or so ago. I really enjoyed their lists so I thought I would play along. It looked like fun! If you haven't participated in the 5 Things about me meme - please do! It's so fun to learn about you gals (and guys)!
5 things under $5.00 that I couldn't live without:
My Lipstick My Mascara St. Ives Fash Wash Garnier Hairspray Red nail polish (toes only)
5 favorite movies
It's a Wonderful Life Holiday Inn The Passion of Christ Steel Magnolias On Golden Pond
5 favorite baby names I love
Phoebe Annabelle Ethan Heidi Gretchen
5 songs I love
In Christ Alone (w/ The Solid Rock) Travis Cottrell Days of Elijah Faithful to Me by Kathy Trocolli American Pie - Don McClean (gotta have some secular music) Blessed Be Your Name
5 life changing moments
The day I was married The day my parents told me they were getting divorced The day my first niece was born The day my sister Jennifer found out she had breast cancer The day I decided to become a Realtor
5 current obsessions (these are current, but have been ongoing and are not necessarily obsessions but I love to do!)
Decorating my house Cycling Snow Skiing Bible Study Indianapolis Colts football
5 places I want to go
Maine Germany The Olympics - someday, anywhere, summer or winter Vermont Greece
5 appliances or kitchen tools I could not live without
Coffee maker - gotta have my coffee Kitchen Aid Mixer My Cuisinart Santuko Knife My favorite saute' pan
I am so excited to be participating in my first "on line" Bible study hosted by Leila at Write From the Heart (click on the site name to sign up)
The book we will be reading is called:
Behind those Eyes, by Lisa Whittle (Click Here for Lisa's Blog)
Behind Those Eyes is the story of a woman who got tired of pretending and finally decided to choose what was real. It is about a woman who one day realized she didn’t have to have it all together to be loved by her Jesus. It is about being genuine…getting honest…and telling the truth. It is a book that’s impact relies heavily on the heartcry of its reader. It goes there, and if you take part in its study, you’ll have to…too.But don’t let that scare you. You are in great company if you’re uncertain as to whether or not you are ready to face truth. The woman I write about didn’t start out wanting to be real. For some time, she wasn’t fully committed to truth. No, it wasn’t something that came easy to her. She was a born pretender, like so many who share her gender.But one day, in a hair salon on the other side of town, she had a conversation with a hair stylist that changed her life. She didn’t go in expecting to find a story or get a spark of inspiration. She wasn’t looking for a light bulb moment or a “change your life” in a day scenario. But that’s exactly what happened. Because in a simple everyday interaction, Jesus showed up in the most unlikely of places and in the deepest places of her heart, showed her a picture of the game of pretense she had been playing. And it forever changed her soul.That woman, of course, was me. I wrote the book for you. And most of all, I wrote the book for me. Because I am the first one to need to hear its truth. I didn’t want to tell on myself quite as much as I do or be as honest as I was in the 10 chapters of this book. (I hope you can handle my truth, friends, as you read it.) But I simply couldn’t ask you to go there and get real if I wasn’t willing to first go there, myself.
I will be joining my blogging sisters Kim and Christy as well as several other gals whom I am looking forward to getting to know over the next few weeks. If you are intersted in joining please make sure you visit Leila's blog and sign up today!!
A gorgeous September morning... I was on vacation (taking time off to work around the house) that particular week. The sky was so clear, the temps were perfect. I was enjoying my cup of coffee and the paper in bed watching The Today Show. After seeing the top of the hour news at 7am and then again at 8am I decided to flip through the channels. Then the phone rang... it was my sister... "did you see that" she asked? "See what?" "Turn the Today Show back on!" Smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center Towers.
I doubt anyone will forget where they were, what they were doing the day the Towers came down. The day so many innocent people were lost. I remember wanting to stop watching, but needed to know more... to expericence what was happening, to mourn the tragedy. I called my friend Chrissi, I knew her husband had been in NYC. He was on a plane home and she was frantic. He landed safely in Boston and he and several others rented a car and drove home. I called my dear friend Tammy... we headed to church, to pray. We held hands, we cried, we called out to the Lord. We rallied with our Pastors to get a Church Service together for that night. So we could all come together for comfort. There was no making sense of what had happened.
Father, Today I remember our leaders, our President, the people of NYC, the fire department, the police department of NY, the Pentagon, the field in Pennsylvania... the lives lost, those directly affected by the loss of someone they love. I remember and thank from the bottom of my heart the brave men and women fighting for our freedoms... who volunteer to do so, because of what this country and all mankind mean to them. I thank You that you placed me in the USA, that I live in the greatest country in the world - where I can worship You without fear of persecution and death. I pray that Patriotism would live in the hearts of all Americans each and every day, not just during tragedy. I pray that people would draw near to You Lord God each and every day, not just in times of sorrow, suffering and tragedy. You truly are an Awesome God and I thank You that in our time of greatest national tragedy that You did not abandon us! That You were there, are there and will continute to be there! God Bless America! Let Freedom Ring!
O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet Whose stern impassioned stress A thoroughfare of freedom beat Across the wilderness! America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife. Who more than self their country loved And mercy more than life! America! America! May God thy gold refine Till all success be nobleness And every gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam Undimmed by human tears! America! America! God shed his grace on thee And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart
~ Jeremiah 1:5
I remember letting this verse fall over me a few years ago... God knew me first! He knew I was there even before my mom had the slightest inkling that I was growing inside of her. He knew I who I was even before my mom, my grandma.... were born. How cool is that.
Last week I asked you to pray for Sarah, her husband and her family. Today I ask you to pray again and offer up praises and prayers of Thanksgiving. Visit Sarah for wonderful news and a wonderful picture!!!!
Sarah's sister Christy has a wonderful blog as well! Congratulate her as well - she will be Aunt Christy!!!
Remember back in the day when school started after Labor Day? Now it seems the poor kids go back in the heat of summer.
Remember the 3 R's... Readin', Ritin' and Rithmetic? :) I am guessing that's how you spell reading, writing and arithmetic with an R. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, those three subjects that followed us along each year we were in school. I can tell you, I was NOT a math girl. I loved to read, loved history, but math - ick! But I digress.
How about three new R's... for our prayer life! Our church kicked off a year long focus on prayer yesterday. We were given 3 R's for our prayer life during this spiritual renewal program that I wanted to share with you.
Recoginizing Jesus' Lordship over all.
Then Jesus came to them and said "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. ~ Matthew 28:18
Responding to His Acts
Be joyful always; pray continually; given thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will fo you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessolonians 5:16-18
Requesting from Your Father...
When Jesus finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." Jesus said to them, "When you pray say" 'Father....' ~ Luke 11: 1 - 2
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Phillipians 4:6
The verse from Phillipians really fell on my heart this morning during my devotions. I am in real estate and the market is down. I have to admit that there are days that I feel scared to what the future holds. I had to ask myself some questions as I lingered over those words from scripture. Am I dancing around what I really want from God? What I really want to ask Him to do? Am I specifically asking Him to help me? Or am I generalizing what I want from Him? For instance, am I asking Him to get a house sold for a client who needs their home sold? Or am I just praying to help me in my business while secretly holding on to doubt? Oh forgive my unbelief Lord! If if be His will, it will be done! But ask child! That's what He is telling me. For crying out loud He knows what I want - I don't have to ask, but oh how He loves it when I do. I think we are afraid to ask for things that pertain to money sometimes for fear of looking greedy. He knows the heart. It's OK to pray for money - as long as it is in step with what God would want for us. I could pray to win the lottery, but is that what I mean when I say it's OK to pray for money? No, not at all... I need to pray for what provides me with my daily bread. That pleases Him... He wants me to ask.
So, I will present my requests, with thanksgiving, knowing that He will provide...
Gracious Father, You are an awesome God and I am so thankful that I can come to you and ask! I thank You for all the blessings You have provided me... I thank You for the blessings You will provide in the future. I thank You that I can ask You to help me in money matters and that You will answer! Forgive me when I doubt, when I fear, when I cooperate with Satan. You are Lord of all, You will provide me for what I need and there is nothing I cannot come to You and ask! Amen
Today I want you to say a prayer for Sarah and her husband Mike, as well as her entire family. I do not know Sarah personally, but enjoy her blog. Sarah's twin girl's lives were too short on this earth. But I am praising Jesus today for the faith she shows in the midst of her pain. In your quiet time today, please lift up Sarah, Mike and her family in your prayers.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. ~ Matthew 7:25
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." ~ Isaiah 40:8
It's hard to believe that both of these photos are of my backyard and both were taken this year. The first was taken early in June on a very rainy day. There was flooding in areas that never flood. The second photo was taken last week. As you can see the rains of June faded into the drought of August. The comparison of the two photos startled me and I wanted to share both for Word Filled Wednesday.
Our foundation is Christ and His promise... God's Word will stand forever! Hallelujah!
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
As Labor Day comes and goes my thoughts turn to autumn... I absolutely love fall. I am a nester and I love feathering my nest as the calendar promises cooler days and colder nights. Curled up in front of our fireplace w/ a good book and a warm cup of coffee... SIGH Sweatshirt and football weather, apple cider, raking leaves, pumpkins... I love it! As it is with my home, it is with my blog. I have changed the theme to fall... I hope ya'll like it!
Of course right now in Indy it's going to be in the 90's today as well as he next few days. Uggh! It's September it should be cooler! (she grumbles) God has a reason for these hot days - not sure what it is, I may never know. This is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it! If it isn't fall outside - it can be fall inside! The weekend after Labor Day I traditionally pull out my fall decorations. A wreath on my door, pumpkins, bittersweet vines... mums will replace the petunias in the flower pots that have grown weary from the heat of summer, maybe even a trip to Adrians to pick up some apples and some cider! Oh how I do hope the temps will be cooler.
What do you like about fall? Is it a season you love? I am a "seasons" kind of gal. I love the change... as the seasons come and go I appreciate them. When the end of summer heat parches, I look forward to the crisp cool of fall. As the last leaf falls to the ground the holidays are getting close... have I told you I love Thanksgiving? As the thoughts of roast turkey and cranberries fade, I really look forward to settling down for a long winter's nap and the most wonderful time of year Christmas! :) I even love snow! (I know call me crazy) As the snow, ice and cold temps continue I long for the warmth of spring and the promise of new life. Winter melts into spring and the outdoor work on the house begins. Digging in the dirt, reparing the garden for summer veggies and then spring blossoms into summer. Bicycling, swimming, bbq's... I am excited to enjoy all the outdoor fun summer has to offer.
As the seasons continue to turn from one to the next... I will rejoice in the gifts that each season brings. Yes, there is a time for everything... a season for every activity - aren't we blessed!
Labor Day Weekend, for most of us, symbolizes the last hurrah of summer. Of course in my neck of the woods summer temps are going to be hanging on at least through the first few days of September as temps will hover in the low 90's. Believe me when I tell you, I am longing for fall.
A little history on Labor: Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. The holiday originated in 1882 as the Central Labor Union (of New York City) sought to create "a day off for the working citizens".
Congress made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894. All fifty states have made Labor Day a state holiday.
Websters (online) defines labor:
1. productive activity, esp. for the sake of economic gain. 2. the body of persons engaged in such activity, esp. those working for wages. 3. this body of persons considered as a class (distinguished from management and capital). 4. physical or mental work, esp. of a hard or fatiguing kind; toil. 5. a job or task done or to be done.
–verb (used without object) 9. to perform labor; exert one's powers of body or mind; work; toil. 10. to strive, as toward a goal; work hard (often fol. by for): to labor for peace. 11. to act, behave, or function at a disadvantage (usually fol. by under): to labor under a misapprehension. 12. to be in the actual process of giving birth. 13. to roll or pitch heavily, as a ship. –verb (used with object) 14. to develop or dwell on in excessive detail: Don't labor the point.
What does the word labor mean to you? Does the idea of "work" thrill you or does the idea bring about thoughts of disdain, contempt, loathing?
Yesterday in church our pastor gave us a sermon titled "Taking God to Work"
It was a wonderful sermon (A Godly praise to Pastor Bill) and is worthy of me posting some of the key points on this Labor Day. If you have an opportunity this week... I hope you ponder the points. There is so much more meat that could be covered, but little time to post. And, I am not sure anyone would want to read a 3 page blog post! ha ha!
#1. Work is ordained by God!
"The LORD God too the man and put him in the Garden to work it and take care of it." ~ Genesis 2:15
#2. Work is disdained because of sin
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all your days. So the LORD banished him from the Garden to work the ground from whence he came." ~ Genesis 3:17, 23
Work isn't cursed, the ground, the condition at work changed after the fall. Work is not the result of sin.
#3 Jesus Christ has redeemed us from the curse
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." God redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to us through Jesus Christ..." ~ Galatians 3:13-14
#4 Work as a form of worship
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men -- it is the Lord Christ you are serving. ~ Colossians 3: 23-24
God ordained work - that is refreshing isn't it! I have to admit, there are days when I need an attitude adjustment at work. To realize that my work isn't cursed. The profession in which I serve is an opportunity to worship.
God ordained work - it was not meant to be a burden. Jesus worked - he was a carpenter. He used his hands to build things. The hands of our Father got dirty when he formed us, the hands of our Savior used hammer and nails to build things. Can you imagine... Jesus building a table for you? The hands of our Savior took the nails to prepare a table for you...
Gracious Father, you lavish us with so many gifts. I thank you this day for the gift of work. The opportunity my work gives me to glorify You, to worship You to reflect You. Most days Lord, I love what I do, however, I know there are days that I fall short. I grumble because I have to work, I am frustrated with the current market. Forgive me, restore to me a right attitude toward work. Change my heart. Lord, the workplace can be a very "worldly" place. An off color joke, aggravation toward the boss, the temptation to steal or cheat, becoming a "workaholic", becoming lazy in our work... so many ways we can dishonor You and cooperate with Satan. Forgive us Lord. You ordained work! I thank and praise you for this profession you have placed me. I thank You for the many, many Christian workers out there who dedicate themselves and their work to You! All honor, glory and blessing to You, in the wonderful, awesome, saving name of Jesus! Amen!
Enjoy your Labor Day friends... may you enjoy a day of rest as we reflect on the gift of our work!
Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Doggie Mom, REALTOR, Cyclist, Gardener...
I love to share my home, my heart and my faith.
As I journey with the Lord through this earthly life it is my prayer that I come to know Him deeper and deeper each and every day.