Archive | January, 2015

I Burned The Beans

30 Jan

Blog - honeycomb

Company is coming.  School is calling for a substitute, and I so wanted to stay home to clean and work on that “pefect dinner”.  The phone started ringing at 6AM and I’m like no, not today. Well, honestly it rung at 9:30 last night, and I was in bed.  Finally, I wanted to blog today – it has been more than a week with no thoughts or even time to write.

I just burned the beans. YIKES!  What do I do?

First things first – family.  I texted my daughter, who delivered her first baby this week, to see their plans coming home from the hospital later today.   Guess whose coming to dinner?  You got it – my daughter, son-in-law and precious new grandson. But it’s a double treat – my son, daughter-in-law and 16-month old grandson are also coming.

So they are going home first, and because I haven’t subbed all week, and yep the guilt is creeping in because subs are short, I do it.  I accept a half-day job, in lieu of a whole day job.  I hope it goes well because I am used to high-school and jr. high.  The half-day job was with kindergarten kids and the high-school job all day with science 9th graders.  Oh me, oh my what is this day gonna be like?  I have never subbed below fifth grade.

OK back to the beans.  What do I do?

Well I am trying to salvage the beans – I would have to get dressed and drive 15 minutes to get new ones, and if worse comes to worse there are a couple of canned beans in the pantry – not as good but……..  I took a big spoon and got all the ones off the top.  As I got down near the bottom I tossed those in the trash.  So thankful the trash men are coming today. Stinky!  I poured my beans in a collander and rinsed them and put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in them.  They are sitting in a new pot because well, the old pot, one of my favorites is full of burned crud.  My favorite bean pot may be ruined.  I’ve got it soaking after much scrubbing.

Our lives are sort of like burned beans at times – all crusty and stinky and yucky.  Have you felt burned, stinky and yucky lately?  I have to admit it because God knows anyway I have those days.  Ugly, stinky thinking and sometimes the words coming out of my mouth are ugly and stinky.  OUCH!

I am in a wonderful study this week that just started over at Proverbs31.Org with 44,000 other women all over the world.  It is called Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman.  Boy do I need this.  I do well most days, but some days well I just stink at it.  i open my mouth and BAM, or I close my mouth and keep quiet with the silent treatment and BAM!  How about you, do you have those BAM or burned beans days?

Karen talked about how it “only takes a spark to get a fire going”.  Well this morning my fire was a little hot on those beans. The more they simmered and I was in my prayer time forgetting about them, the more they burned.  Our words can be like that.  That fire starts small, and that tongue starts small but both can lead to destruction.  “If we really want to learn to control our tongues, knowing what to say, when to say it, and when to say nothing at all, we need to drill down deeper.” (Karen Ehman)

Blog-Candle

The disgusting smell of burnt beans reminded me how disgusting and repelling my words can be or even my lack of words.  Karen talks about how even that lack of words can be used as a weapon.  She said, “Are our words weapons, and even our silence a part of the arsenal?”  I was thinking about how my parents and others would say “silence is golden”.  Today I’m thinking that is not always true.  I can massacre with my silence.  So true and so sad.

The following verse tells us that fresh water and salt water cannot both come from a spring, just as olives can not come from a fig tree:

Blog-fig tree

Joseph used his words and his silence.  Unlike me, they were used for the good.  Even though his brothers meant him harm throwing him in a pit to die, and selling him into slavery, Joseph remained steadfast in honoring God in his speech. Karen reminded us our words can’t spit out both righteous and evil words

One of my favorite things this week came at the end of Chapter 2.  I love, love, love this book, and I love, love, love these words from Karen:

“God intentionally orchestrated the relationships in our lives.  He knew who would share your last name – or your four walls.  Who would occuipy a seat in your car pool or dwell in the house right next door.  It didn’t surprise him who would wind up to be your in-law or be the one to teach your kids.

All the humans you encounter throughout the course of the day are “on purpose” people.  God plopped them into your life for a reason.

These souls – whether they are of he easy-to-love variety or the scratch sandpaper kind – can be used by God to mold, reshape, and sometimes stretch our souls as he perpetually crafts us into creations who are becoming more and more like his son.”

Will we be perfect?  Nope.  Never. (Not until heaven!)  Just like Joseph?  Maybe close.  

But this I am certain:  others can catch a quick glimpse of Jesus when they see us speak and act in ways that honor him and line up with God’s Word.

Others are watching, sizing up how we behave.  What will they see?  Stirred-up strive –  or lovingly covered offenses?  Speech that incites spats and squabbles?  Or speech that soothes and heals?

You choose.  (Psst….The correct answer is “g”. Grace.)

Mirror, Mirror – Not Looking Back – It’s Not About the Mirror

20 Jan

blog James 123-25

Do you ever find yourself gazing in a mirror and thinking:

  • I am not beautiful and not even pretty.
  • Look at those lines.
  • I’m so fat.
  • I’m getting so old.
  • My skin looks awful.
  • My hair looks bad.
  • I need to go get my hair cut, colored, permed.
  • I am a crumpled mess.
  • I am broken.
  • I am unloved.

Scripture says we are God’s masterpiece.  What if we looked into a mirror and see what He sees?  What we should be thinking when we look in the mirror is:

  • I am loved.
  • I am God’s masterpiece.
  • I am valued.
  • I am beautiful.
  • I am forgiven.
  • I am redeemed and set free.

It’s not about what we are looking at in the mirror.  It is and should be about who we are trying to mirror.  I need to look in the mirror and say, “Thank You Lord for how You created me”.  I need to look in the mirror and die to my self every day.  I need to look in that mirror and examine myself in faith and God’s eyes.  We need to be asking God who we are, and looking to be more like Him by studying what the Word says.  We need to spend time in our mirror – the Word – and not just glancing in a glass mirror.

Do you ever finding yourself looking back to your old life as you gaze in a mirror?  Remember Lot and how his wife looked back?  Just as God told her not to look back, we should not look back, but rather gaze in the Word moving forward and looking ahead to all that God has for us leaving the past, the hurts, and doubts behind just like looking in a rear-view mirror.

May you begin to look at yourself differently as you pause in front of a mirror, and feel the confidence that can only come by seeing yourself and others through God’s mirror.

Morning Stirring – Coffee Date with My Lord

14 Jan

coffee cup

I love stirring out of bed in the morning thanking God for waking me yet another day, washing my face, making the bed, and heading to the kitchen to get a bit of breakfast ready, and stir that first cup of coffee with a little bit of stevia and some fat-free whip cream or a little bit of gingerbread creamer this time of the year.

blog-heart coffeea

I take that cup of coffee, sit down on the sofa, and delve into some kind of Bible study. I keep saying I am going to call someone over for coffee with me some morning, but as I pause and think about it, I do have a guest every morning – my Lord.  Not only is He my guest, but He is my date.  I love that – morning dates with my Lord having a cup of coffee together.  My cup overflows with His blessings.

coffee

Right now I am reading through the Word chronologically with Wendy Pope and a group of ladies using the One Year Chronological Bible, NLT and, of course, it is the Large Print Edition.  In a couple of weeks I am starting a study with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies called Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman.

Stir my heart Lord as I stir my coffee each morning.

Blog-Lamentations 323

52 Books in 2015

5 Jan

BooksI have a one word for 2015 and a verse to pray over my family.  You can read about those here.  I decided I am going to try two other things this year, as if my calendar is not already full with substitute teaching, keeping my grandson on Fridays and another grandson due in less than four weeks, and leading on-line Bible studies which you can join here.

One of my hobbies is reading.  When I retired two years ago I had added many books to my bookcase anxiously awaiting to read them on those cold wintry days. I would rush to Half-Price Books and pick up books getting ready, and bought all those by Terri Blackstock (Christian mysteries). I would buy books on sale after Christmas at the Christian bookstores.  My mother-in-law read and she added her used books to my library, and I think she has kept a few waiting for me to get caught up.  And there are all those e-books that show up on our newsfeeds that are free for a day to download.  The computer is full of those and I haven’t read a single one, and there are books sitting on my book shelves for probably seven years and more waiting for some down time.

It is time to clear some of that clutter so I decided that I am going to read 52 books in 2015 – one each week.  Really, how hard can that be?  Honestly, probably hard with my schedule, but progress.  A book generally has 200-300 and sometimes 400 pages.  If I take 300 pages/7 days per week that means I only have to read. – 300 / 7  = 42 pages per day or 28 pages a day for a 200 page book.  That’s a big goal and I am not sure I can do it, but I am going to try.  It’s January 5 and I started a book last week, but behind already today.

The second thing I really want to do is read through the Bible.  Actually, I don’t want to just read through the Bible.  I’ve done that before.  This year I am joining Wendy Pope to read through the Bible, and I’ve ordered her download and made a notebook so that as I read through the verses she assigns each day, I can really ponder over what is in those scriptures and learn from them.  That’s another big goal for me, but again I am going to try, and even if I don’t get through the year I’ve attempted and learned from what I do get finished.  I am loving this Chronological Bible and loving the study so far giving me verses to read each day and a video to watch.

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