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Listen, Love, Repeat – Week 2 – Chapters 3 and 4 – My Bible Study Notes

18 May

CHAPTER 3 – IT’S ABOUT TIME – Giving of Yourself    

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“Because our day planners are full of activity, our lives are often void of time spent loving other people so when someone does clear his or her schedule in order to make time for a loving gesture, the impact of the gift is magnified.”   Karen Ehman

It’s all about time.  It truly is as I look over my planner, and see how I  rush about doing things – some of them things that don’t really matter in the Kingdom.  I do see that most of those days on my calendar are full of keeping grandkids helping to mold them, to love them, to show them Jesus, and spending quality time with them.  Other things that fill up my calendar are housework, volunteer Bible study work, blogging and things I know matter in the Kingdom.

Joy is not found in accumulating stuff.  Joy is found loving others and giving of yourself.

We are a nation striving/working our rear ends off  to have it all – a big house or houses, a nice car or cars or trucks, a job that pays well, closest full of clothes (yes, I have three of my own), our kids involved in everything at school, and just on and on and on.   How do we put on or clothe ourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, meekness (gentleness) and long-suffering (patience)?  How do we change that mindset to echo the heart of our Lord?

Karen shared this quote by Charles Spurgeon:

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 But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.”  Psalm 31:14-15 (KJV)

Our time is truly in His hands.  What we do with our time here on earth is what matters.  Giving of ourself matters.

Karen shared how a friend drove several hours to her father-in-laws funeral.  Why did that matter?  Karen says because “it cost her something that is very dear to all of us these days time.  Have you stopped what you were doing to bless a life, touch a heart?

It’s hard sometimes with our schedules to stop and amend them, but amend we must if we are giving of ourselves.

Just this week I had kept my two-month old granddaughter and her 2 year old brother, and then picked up my 3 year old grandson.  I learned that day of a former supervisor who lost his 23-year old son, and well the memorial was that evening.  I pondered over going up there in the rush hour traffic – about an hour away and rushing to get dressed after the kids left leaving me only an hour and a half to shower, dress, and drive in whatever the traffic might send.

I decided to go, and my husband called and he was going to the hospital to visit a guy who worked for him who is dying – only 53 years old.  So rather than our normal doing things that matter as a couple, we parted in two different directions.

What a blessing to hear my former boss speak!  All though years I worked for him, I had not really known him and his love of God.   I sit there and listened to young men speak about not staying in touch and I sit there a little guilty because I am so busy and I have lost touch with some wonderful people I used to work with.  I am retired and as all my retired friends said that evening their calendars are full.  Mine is packed full of “good stuff” and some days there is not any wiggle room.

As I was leaving that evening and hugged Mr. Flowers goodbye, he said, “you will never know how much it means to me for you to come.”  I pray it truly was a gift to him to see so many of us there stopping our lives to touch his families hearts.

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Here are some ways that Karen shares how we can carry one another’s burden or just share our busy lives with others:

  • Check off something on their to-do list.  For me here are some simple things I’ve done. Right  now I pick up my toddler grandson from Mother’s Day Out, while my daughter-in-law is at home not having to load up twins to go pick him up, and sometimes the five grandkids might stay over for my daughter or daughter-in-law can pick up some groceries or take a nap.  It can be something like painting an older woman’s toenails/fingernails – yes my mother-in-law asked me last week, mowing a yard for a neighbor – especially one that is in the hospital or who has had surgery
  • Lighten a domestic load.  Show up with a few laundry baskets and kidnap laundry.  Do some housecleaning.  For me, I have gone over and allowed my daughter to work or clean while I watch the baby and toddler.
  • Spend a little of your time helping someone else save some of theirs.  Running errands can help a shut-in.  I use my shopping time to sometimes pick up things for my mother-in-law or the kids like trips to Costco.
  • Think in multiples of two.  Cook once.  Eat twice.  Karen suggests making a habit of doubling and freezing.  I am not good about that.  I did recently cook three meals at once to take my daughter and daughter-in-law when they both had three new babies in March a week apart.
  • Speak the powerful words of “me too”.   Karen quoted C. S. Lewis “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too?  I thought I was the only one.'”
  • Listen For Those Heart Drops and Respond.  Take inventory.  Live alert listening for heart drops.  Who is the Lord calling you to bless today?

Last year on my birthday I wrote about being a gift, and some random acts of kindness that I did on that day.  You can read about those ideas here.

In this chapter, Karen shares a story about a neighbor nine doors down.  It is sad.  She had seen a lady during her morning walks who would be out watering.  Karen would smile and say hi, and pop her headphones back  on, and keep walking.  One day she was driving home and saw flashing lights.  Her neighbor had died – no more waves and no more smiles.

That story resonated with me because I walk, but unless it is neighbors I know it’s hard for me to say anything much less hi, but my next walk I am going to see what happens.  Karen reminds us to give a “how are you” rather than a “hurried hi.”

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  Mark 12:31 (KJV)

“When God knocks on our hearts, we can knock on their doors.”  Karen Ehman

CHAPTER 4 – WHO MAKES YOUR DAY – Noticing The Necessary People   

This chapter teaches us how to show people we love them, and reminds us to love the necessary people – our mailman, school teachers, garbage men, hail stylist, grocery checker and sacker, etc..

One of my favorite paragraphs in this chapter reminds us who they are in God.  Karen said, “every day and every week, our lives naturally intersect with many people, all of whom bear the image of God.  When we look beyond ourselves-and beyond the flaws and quirks of others-we see God.  We have an opportunity not only to greet these necessary people face-to-face but to witness God’s very image in them.

WOW!  How often have I forgotten that when looking at others.  When I look at others do I see Jesus.  When others look at me, do they see Jesus.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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Moving Past Things I Cannot Change – Moving On

4 May

 

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr

Moving into different seasons of life is similar to changing seasons.  One thing we have to remember is God is in control.  Seasons change, but God never does.

Moving past what we cannot change sometimes can be hard. Sometimes we have to be still, and know He is in control.  I have learned that I can move beyond what I cannot change.  It can be difficult, but we have to trust in the One who is in control, and remember His plan is perfect.

Here are some things I have learned in my different seasons of life:

MARRIAGE

We marry.  Things change.  We have to adjust to different toothpaste, different ways of cleaning, being messy, being neat, introvert/extrovert and on and on.  We have to learn to love all the good things and get past the bad.  We have to learn to sit down and talk about our differences, what is bothering us, what we need.  We forget we married each other because we loved each other just as we were.  Why is it that we want to change that very person we fell in love with?  Why are we trying to change them?  Sometimes we  just need to stop and accept that person for who she/he is and how our Father made them, accept them where they are at, love them anyway, pray for them, and let God move in their lives.  Sometimes we have to forgive betrayals, and at times it is only by trusting in our Lord that we can put it in the past and move on.  We all sin every day and fall short of the glory of our Lord.  Why is it we can not forgive as our Father in Heaven has forgiven us?

CHILDREN

Psalm 127:3 (KJV) “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

We have children, but we walked through a season of not being able to have them because of miscarriages.  You can read about that here.  Being a mom is tough and I wrote a very long post about that here. During this season we were suffering through  staying up late, ear aches, changing diapers, excited watching them learn to crawl, walk, talk and then go to school, and grades, and sports, and off to college and then there is another adjustment.

Even today being a Mom is tough watching our children suffer the loss of babies and our first grandchild being born with a horrible disease.  We have cried, prayed and always put it in the Lord’s hands and watched as He as worked miracle after miracle on our grandson and our kids.  Today we are blessed with five grandchildren after storming the gates of Heaven and trusting that He would answer our prayers in His perfect timing.  He did BIG!  We have moved past what we could not change and thank Him every single day for all He has done today.

EMPTY NEST SYNDROME

It has been years now since our nest became empty, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  I remember the day our daughter pulled out of the driveway to go to college, and I bawled.  Really!  She was only about thirty minutes away and would be coming home most weekends and our son was still here and going to the same college, but I bawled.

She finished college, moved back home and got married just three months later, and our son was still here and working and we hardly ever saw him between work and hunting and dating, but soon he married and left.  I didn’t bawl, but I sure missed him driving up each afternoon from work or worrying about him at night not being able to fall asleep until I heard his pick-up pull up in the driveway.

We adjusted easily.  I suppose many have feelings of grief, loneliness, anger, but for us it was a time of excitement.  Both left and married and we gained another son and another daughter.  They married Christians.  What a blessing!

We had each other and that’s how we began – in love and helping each other.  Sure I missed them running up the stairs.  I missed their help.  I missed them talking to me, but they were just down the road a bit.  But GOOD GRIEF there was less washing, less ironing, less cooking and it was like we were first married again.  We would lay on the sofa, or I would lay and put my head in his lap, and watch television.  We went out to eat more. And well, it has been a wonderful season.  We still DO!!

There are times I still miss them if I don’t see them for a few days, but that’s not often now that we have grandchildren.  I watch the babies and toddlers often.  Three of our grand babies were born this March so they are two months old and then there are toddlers ages two and three.  Life is full of happiness.

The empty nest is what we make of it.  Rekindle that marriage.   Build a new relationship with your kids and their spouses.  Let me tell you though that being a Mom can still be tough watching your kids suffer through miscarriages, infertility, and for some even worse – divorce and loss of a child.

TAKING CARE OF AGING PARENTS

As tragic as it was to lose my Dad at 68 with a heart attack, I can count my blessings that he didn’t have to suffer, and he didn’t have to watch Mom suffer.

After Dad died we watched Mom go through so much depression.  She could never get back to her self.  Until the day she died she was ready to be with him.  She came to live with us girls after he died and we maintained her home and her yard miles away because she wouldn’t let us sell it.

People if you are living with your kids sell that house so they don’t have to walk through that pain when you are gone.

Mom fell one day, broke her leg, and while they were replacing the femur in her leg she got a horrible bacterial that ate thru her leg.  She went septic and spent months in the hospital, and then they had to amputate and she was in a nursing home.  It was a hard time, but it was a blessed time and I focus on that.  I focus on all the activities I attended with her.  I only missed one – her last Fall party because we were out of town.  I spent days up there taking her meals, and reading to her.  You can read a little about walking through that loss here.

This was a difficult season, and I dread our kids having to walk through this one with us, but I know it will be, and they will get through it.  Today, I cling to all the sweet moments and the precious little trinkets I have laying around that Mom gave me like her little tea cups.  I think of her every day through those reminders and I thank my Lord for her and my Daddy as I look at his old radio, pipe holder, and desk.

We can get stuck like Mom did losing a spouse.  I know it will be difficult if my spouse goes first, but I do know the only way I can walk through that season is to walk through it with my Lord clinging to all the good times we are having today, and staying active and volunteering and being with family.

RETIREMENT

I’m retired.  My husband is not, but he’s talking about it. because this March we had three new grand babies.  Three.  Can you believe that?  You can read more about that here and here and twins here and another one here.  We are excited.  We had all five grandchildren here this week together for our kids birthday’s.  What fun, what joy!

Retirement for me has been bliss, but it’s also been a little hard because well I have filled up my days.  I’ve heard of people retiring, sitting down or quitting, and they don’t live long.  Shortly after I retired, I began spending more time with my Mom.  I became a volunteer for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies.  I began to substitute teach.  Now I help with the five grandchildren.  I am never bored.

For me every season of life is what we make of it.  Moving on with God because without Him some of them I would never have gotten through – seasons of not being able to have children, seasons of losing our parents – too hard to do alone, seasons of watching our children suffer through infertility and miscarriages.  I’m overwhelmed by His love for me through all my seasons.

Joining my friends Susie and Crystal today.

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Listen, Love, Repeat – Week 1 – Chapters 1 and 2 – My Bible Study Notes

21 Apr

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CHAPTER 1 – LIVING ALERT – How To Hear A Heart Drop

What is a heart drop?  Have you ever heard that phrase?  I had not until Karen Ehman introduced it to us in her book, Listen, Love, Repeat.  She is introducing this girl to a whole lot of stuff in ways I have failed to see in the past.  A small group leader shared that phrase with Karen and her husband.

A heart drop is “when a person either directly, or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or hers heart.  It may be through actual words, or you may pick up on a feeling, perhaps sadness or loneliness.”

Karen began Chapter 1 telling us about how she had listened to a heart drop of a friend.   Karen picked up during a conversation about a time in her friend’s life when she had felt significant and safe.  Her friend had a reading disability.  When she was at her grandmother’s house there was a book she could read well cover to cover.  Karen listened and was excited for her friend’s birthday.  She went on to E-Bay and bid on that antique book and got it for her friend.  That’s a heart drop.  It is an art Karen tells us in listening and loving others.

Karen never had a slumber party.  Her mother was single, working and she never had a friend spend the night.  Her hubby told her to get ready to go out and her hubby had invited her 3 best friends. They kidnapped her and her husband had pulled off a party for 30 friends.  He had heard that heart drop.

Have you noticed how obsessed our culture is with me, me, me?  Karen Ehman reminded us this week that we have forgotten the joy that comes when we put others before ourselves.  Do you find yourself doing that whether it be on-line, in your to-do list, in your phone conversations, at work, at home with your loved ones, with your neighbors (do you even know them) and even at church and other areas of your life?  Shouldn’t it be more about Him, less of me?  Shouldn’t it be more of Jesus, then others, then me?  

Think about this one.  Karen says we are seduced by “selfie-centered living”.  It’s all about pictures we post on-line, what we are doing, what we are wearing, what we are eating, where we are going, and on and on and on.   She says “at every turn we seem to care about only one thing:  “What’s in it for me.”

We were reminded how many “old-fashioned virtues” have disappeared.  I was reminded what a sweet man I am married to who always opens the door not only for me but others too.  I don’t take for granted how he opens the car door for me, and how he opens doors wherever we go.  It used to bother me seeing him stand and let a dozen people in behind me while I stand waiting.  Now he opens, I go in and if there are two doors I let those folks go ahead.  Do you “give a helping hand”?  Do you “look out for others?”  Do you say thank you?  We do.

What would Jesus do (WWJD)?  “Jesus was never too busy to notice.  He lived alert.  He could be among a crowd of thousands and yet focus in on one weary soul who needed a look, a word, or a touch from him.”  “Jesus wasn’t about doing big things.  He was about doing the right thing.  And often for him, the right thing was noticing one simple soul.”  Have you, my friend, stopped to notice one simple soul today?  Do you live alert?

Karen shared with us her “magnetic kitchen island” and how when they were looking for a house that was her desire.  Her island is a magnet for others and pulls so many duties during celebrations and holidays.  She reminded us to open our lives so that we can sacrificially celebrate holidays, holy days, and the everyday because it gives us opportunities to serve.

Jesus noticed.  He took time to heal a common woman who had been bleeding.  Just a simple touch from her and immediately it stopped.  Jesus took the time to meet her need even in a big crowd.

As Karen talked about “ordinary holiness”, I not only reflected on my savior, but my husband.  Karen talked about a friend “who loved his friends, his community, his family, and his God.  A man who knew how to hear a heart drop.  And not just hear it, but respond.”  Also, “but he gave quietly” , and “quietly serving the person standing in front of him.  With an audience of only One.”   That’s my man.

We are here to have a relationship with our Father who created us, and we should take every opportunity to point others to Him.  Everything we do should point others to Him, not me, me, me.

Five ways that Karen reminds us to live alert:

  1.  Pray each day
  2. Take notes: mental ones and sticky ones.  Keep a small notebook in your purse, notes app on your phone, sticky notes, etc..  When you hear someone talk about an interest, write it down – birthday, favorite childhood toy, sports team they root for, a deceased’s birthday.  Plan to do something for them when the days rolls around.
  3. Pay attention to special dates.  Surgery, sports tryouts, offer on a new house.  Pray for those situations.
  4. Start stalking.  Check out their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. Look for patterns – likes and obsessions and find ways to encourage and surprise them.
  5. Be a smart shopper.  Stock an arsenal of affection, stock-piling items that will be useful as you share love with others.

CHAPTER 2 – FIND YOUR WHY

Karen started this chapter with a new term for me – summum bonum.  It’s meaning is the highest good.  She was writing a paper in college and decided that she would write about relationships.  She decided that nothing was more important in life than people.  How about you?  Is it really people or are things more important to you than people?  One thing I’ve learned myself the older I get is it truly is people.  Things will rot, things will be blown away by tornadoes, things will burn, things end – memories with people do not.

Her mentor, Pat led her to the Lord  and shared the two  reasons why we are on earth – have a relationship with our creator who offers us a place in heaven and to tell other people about Him so they can go to Heaven.  Relationships with our family members, friends, co-workers even those we meet only a few moments and even relationships our enemies.

Jesus performed miracles – He healed the bleeding woman, He healed a demon possessed man.  Immediately the bleeding stopped.  He healed, He was alert, and as Karen said, “he didn’t Instagram it.”  Even when peopled crowded around He noticed, and we are reminded that when people and projects bid our attention that we Jesus is calling us to stop and notice and give a special touch to that one person who might need some cheering up.

Often it seems like Jesus was going to be these big grand things, but for Jesus  ministry usually  was the person standing right in front of Him.Not the big thing he was going to do but the person standing right in front of them

Who is in front of you longing for you to notice them.  We have to start making relationships our big why.  We value possessions over people or maybe it’s a position or popularity among our circle of friends.  About a year ago she spent 3 weeks in a hospice with her SIL after a battle with breast cancer and bone cancer.  She never talked about the things they accumulated, the big house, the cars.  Her sister-in-law asked her to tell her about the time we were kids and the boat turned over, her son in a Christian rock band.  It was about people, not things.

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Matthew 5:14-16 you are the light of the world.

“If you want to find your big why you have to lose it.  In order to bring joy to yourself first you need to be concerned with bringing joy to others.  The reason God brought us to earth in the first place was to have a relationship with him so we will enjoy him forever in heaven and take other people with us.  We want to be a mirror that lets his light shine so that he gets all the glory.”

Karen shared with us when she got away to write in the quiet at a friend’s home without distractions, and how a neighbor working in the yard kept coming over and interrupting.   She reminded us that “often interruptions,  especially of the people sort,  are God’s agenda for our day.  Sometimes we get caught up in what we think is big ministry like writing a Bible study but most often for Jesus true ministry was the person standing right in front of him.”

Is someone standing in front of you today?  Would you even notice if they were?

Our Bible verse this week reminded us why we should let our lights shine.  I’ve done it using the KJV.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven..png

Heart Drop photo designed using Pixelscrapper and Canva.

Max Lucado quote photo used free Canva photo.

Matthew 5:16 – Personal photo taken at Billy Graham Rooms

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MARCH GOALS AND FEBRUARY UPDATE

29 Mar

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I  thought January zoomed by fast, but February zoomed faster and well today is March 29. The first day of Spring has past.  We’ve had our first hail storm.  Many in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area had golf ball and baseball hail, including our niece so it has been a rough start to Spring,  last night  some horrible wind damage to some homes north of Dallas.  I love Spring, but this is the one thing that makes Spring in Texas rough.

Here I am today just now talking about March goals, reviewing February and yes behind.  Hoping I get April planned out just a little bit earlier.  I have not even taken the time to evaluate how March was going so today may be a shocker.

Since my last post I’ve become a Nana three more times.  I have three week old twin grandsons and a new granddaughter who is two weeks old, and this week I am sitting in a hotel with the pleasure of watching her while he mommy had to go to work to help with an evaluation at the college where she works with a team that was coming in to review them.  Now that’s my kind of life!  Cuddling and not worrying about housework or cooking or even substitute teaching.  A nice break from it all and who cares about goals?  Hmmmmm well I do, but not more than babies and family.

FAITH GOALS

In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul..png

FEBRUARY

Continue my Bibles Studies from January – Finding I AM and 1 Peter – A Living Hope.  Done.

Continue First Five App.  Done.

MARCH

Begin Listen, Love, Repeat Bible Study by Karen Ehman.  It’s not to late to join us.  The study starts on Monday, April 3.  Sign-ups are here  You can do the study right there on the blog 24/7, but we also have small groups.  They fill up fast so if you are interested click here and see if that is still an option.

First 5 App Daily Devotionals  – Stay caught up on my First 5 daily devotionals.  I highly recommend the Proverbs 31 First 5 App for a daily devotional.  They have a book for each Bible  study, but it is not required – takes the devotional into a little more depth and so inspiring.  I do both, but if you aren’t in to really digging in then I would suggest you download the app for your first five minutes of the day to spend some alone time with Him.  You can check it out here and see a sample of today’s devotional.

FAMILY GOALS

Is that not a house-full of love?  These are truly grandchildren that the Lord has given to us, His servants.  Miscarriages, infertility and years of waiting BUT see what the Lord can do as we stay faithful and pray.  Four boys and one girl all three and under.  JOY unspeakable!!

 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.-2.png

FEBRUARY

Special Day with grandson, Colt.  Not sure what it will be, and will depend on the weather.  Done – we went to a new wooden park as he calls it.  Stopped at McDonald’s first and picked up lunch.

Lunch with my daughter.  Done.  We had a great lunch together as always with my two-year old grandson climbing under the table.  So much fun having burgers, and doing a little shopping.

MARCH

I am going to say March is DONE because there has been a whole lot of family time with three new grand babies.   I have been running my daughter places until she could drive.  Kept the toddler while my son took my DIL for her post delivery check, and then went with my DIL to have the twins PKU test, and their post birth check with their pediatrician and then we had lunch together.  Ran my daughter to Sprouts last week and then drove the new baby and toddler around while she shopped for shoes and then we had another lunch together with the toddler dancing in the booth.  On Saturday a week ago we kept the twins while the kids took the 3 year old to Disney on Ice, and then the other kids came over and well I forgot to snap a picture of all five grand babies here for the first time, but I do have a great one the kids took.  March is not over and this last week I am here at the hotel being treated by the kids for staying here keeping our only grand daughter.  FUN, FUN, month and it isn’t over.

HEALTH GOALS

Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak_ for your work shall be rewarded.-2.png

FEBRUARY

Walking – Treadmill and in our neighborhood at least 1 hour a week.  Still some catching up but doing well.  Been on two walks with one of my grandsons, two by myself and tonight on the treadmill.   Small steps are good.    I made several new recipes.  One of them was called Philly Cheese Steak Casserole.  YUM!   I’ve had a protein shake almost every morning during the month of January and now into February.  DONE

MARCH

My March goals have not been so good mainly because I fell and could not exercise.  For two weeks there was so much pain in my leg, my shoulder, my breast area, neck and head.  Yep it was a very hard fall but nothing broken and today I am a lot better.  I put the baby in a stroller yesterday and we went walking to a shopping area.  May try that again today or take her down to the gym here while she is sleeping and get on one of those fancy machines.  Still doing well on our diet making small changes like more yogurt, salads, healthy muffins, etc..

FRIEND GOALS

FEBRUARY

Lunch with a new friend – one of my group members on my team.  Met up with Donna.  DONE

Visit our Sunday school teacher’s wife who had knee surgery.  DONE

Met up with both of the ladies on the same day.  Was a very enjoyable day.

MARCH (ALREADY DONE)

Met a couple of my girlfriends (Cheryl and Mary Margaret) that  I used to work with before retirement for lunch.  Mary had to leave and Cheryl and I stayed and visited for hours over dessert and coffee.  DONE 

HOME GOALS

FEBRUARY

Clean out under my bathroom sink and my bathroom drawers again.   Not touching my hubbies area.  DONE

Clean out two bottom drawers on one of my dressers.  DONE

Clean out some cups in my kitchen. DONE

MARCH

I’ve done a lot this month trying to clean out more and donate and get things ready for a resale shop.  Making slow progress this month with so much that has been happening.

BLOGGING GOALS

FEBRUARY  

Lesson 2 – Blogging Course. Continue working on Lesson 2 cleaning up 500 blog posts. It’s going well but the new babies are due soon and seeing all the work designing new pictures on many of the blogs and re-writing some I am going to make this date May.  DONE

Review and clean-up 15 more blog posts plus 50 I already completed so it will be 65. DONE

Linky Page – Continue cleaning  DONE

MARCH

Lesson 2 – Blogging Course – Continue cleaning up 500 blog posts.  Averaging about two a day.  My date is May and hope I don’t have to slip it.

Review and clean up 15 more blog posts plus 65 already done or 80 total.

Linky Page – Continue cleaning

Gallery

Finding I AM Study – Week 2 Notes -“I AM” The Light of the World

15 Feb

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Week 2 – I AM The Light of the World

Day 1 – The Festival of Tabernacles And The Living Water

Do you sometimes look for signs from God?  Are you wondering what He wants you to do?  Sometimes we aren’t even paying attention to what is in front of us.  Lysa shared about a neighbor who lost his wife to cancer and his loneliness.  With his words how he was not doing so well, Lysa invited him to dinner. She knew it was an assignment from God.  A tradition started at her house on Monday nights.  Her family has continued this tradition of Monday night dinners where they invite others.

I know in my heart God has been telling me to invite my neighbor women over for a tea/coffee.  He has placed my neighbors right in front of me.  I know that and yes, I do things for them.  We have ice cream, have had a widower over for a New Year’s meal, other neighbors over for meals and ice cream,  and so many other things.  God’s stirring my heart.  Somehow I have to find the time, and I think that God wants me to write that on my calendar for Spring break and start it as a monthly thing.  I let busyness get so in the way of ministering right here where I live.

How about you?  Has God spoken to you about an assignment and you are missing what is right is in front of you?

A story that Lysa has shared before is when Ken walked out of her house that evening and he picked one of her flowers and told her, “Don’t miss this.  Don’t rush through your life, Lysa.  Make time to stop and breathe it all in.”

I am reminded of that story so many times – when I walk out my door and see all the beautiful plants, the trees, the clouds, birds, fruit growing on our trees, bird eggs,  a sunrise this morning from my den, or sunsets in the evening from my kitchen,   and just so many other things.  I looked out a bit ago when I was getting another cup of coffee this morning and saw six doves sitting outside my kitchen window – six big doves – a family of them that have been here a very long time.  Actually, the first dove we ever saw showed up the day we pulled in the driveway from one of our nephew’s funerals.  He was sitting right on top of the eave where we enter our home.  It was like a sign of love from God, and I guess he/she has been here ever since and now we have a family of six.

Eventually  Lysa’s friend Ken remarried, but Lysa says they still invite friends, family and co-workers over on Monday nights.  They pay attention to breathe it in even with to-do lists and schedules that are tugging at them.  They “don’t allow anything to take priority over these moments. They refuse to let people that have been entrusted  get their “less” instead of their”best” because of distractions.

Don’t be distracted.   Be engaged.  Breathe it ALL in.  It can change your life, and others.

Now on to the Feast of the Tabernacles.  It was a joyous and the longest festival celebrated by the Jews.  Can you imagine an eight day festival?

Lysa shared the three major events of the feast:

  • Participating in a procession of psalms;
  • Observing as the priests daily poured water from the fountain of Siloam onto the altar;
  • Illuminating four large menorahs each night int he temple courts.

There would be a sacrifice, pouring of water on the altar, and a torch at night – thus water and light.

It was at this time that Jesus, it says in John 7:37-38  that Jesus stood, cried and said “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

Last week we studied how Jesus Christ was The Bread of Life, and this week how He is The Living Water.  What are you filling up your bucket with?  Let Him be the one that quenches your thirst.  Keep your eyes on The Bread of Life, the Living Water.

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Day 2 – I AM The Light Of The World

Today we learned about the end of the Feast of the Tabernacles where they have a torch dance.  Women stand on a roof and men below, and there are four large menorahs with seven lights each, and they light up the whole area.  Lysa said they would light up all of Jerusalem.

She said this happens every night of the feast and that the light “symbolized not only what God had done in the past (pillar of fire/light that led the Israelites through the wilderness) but also pointed forward to what God was going to do, specifically through the coming Messiah.”

During the feast, Jesus told the people that He was the light and that once we have that light He would take away the darkness.

We were reminded that each one of us have dark places in our lives where we refuse to let Jesus shine in.  Had a little soul searching time during this week.  What darkness do I have?  The only thing I can think of is food and I am finally realizing what an addiction food can be.  It’s got to be almost as bad as drinking, but God isn’t finished with me yet.  He keeps talking, and I haven’t been obeying – listening yes, but not obeying.

Day 3 – Light Word Study

We started day 3 going back to Genesis when God created light – He separated the light from the darkness.

We took some time to think about light and it’s functions of illumination, sustaining life, causes things to grow, provides warmth, and dispels darkness.  I can associate with everyone of those and really all of them today.  I love sitting here in the morning in my Bible when the sun rises and how beautiful it illuminates the earth, how in the Spring it causes things to grow and even right now the days have been close to the eighties and buds are starting to come out on the trees,  one of my plants already has flowers on it and my bulbs are blooming.  The warmth felt so good today at the park last week.  I took my grandson and when we sit down for our picnic lunch he said he was cold.  I was too.  The wind was blowing hard and clouds covered the sun.  I said let’s pray God sends us son and soon He did,   and we had a wonderful time playing in the wooden park as he calls it.  I was home alone two  weekends ago, and well I don’t sleep well when my hubby is gone so I dispelled some of the darkness by leaving a couple of lights on in other rooms.

God is always there to shed light during our dark times.  We just need to remember to call out to Him.  Stop and look for glimpses from Him during those times.  He’s right there every moment of light and darkness in our lives.

Day 4 – Healing The Man Born Blind

This chapter spoke a lot about the dark places, discouragement , the light, and a blind man.

The disciples thought the blind man was blind because of sin.  Jesus responded the man was born blind so that the work of God would be seen in Him.

Our first grandson was born with a disease called EB.  It’s horrible, but God has performed miracles on him – toes grew, feet straightened up and sores disappeared.  When I read Jesus’ response I guess this is the first time I’ve really let that sink in, and probably because of what we’ve been through wondering, worrying and asking why.

Only Jesus can illuminate our dark places.  Only Jesus can perform miracles.

Lysa ended this day saying, “And because of Him even my darkest of nights aren’t so daunting and confusing.”

Day 5 – Optional

We read John 5-9.  You should too.  These are the things that I wrote down that spoke to me.

  • That I need to always put my trust in Him, and that I need to bow down and worship Him.  (I do that prayerfully some days, but need to do it so much more.)
  • We know the Word but are blind to it.   (Really I know so much of the Word, but there are new truths every single morning as I open my Bible.)

Video 2 Notes

Lysa’s videos are filled with so much truth that I can’t share here on my blog.  You can purchase them here.

Just a couple of notes I want to remember:

She shared the Samaritan woman in this video and how many times have I read and heard sermons on the Samaritan woman.  You would think I would be tired of that woman, but the story never grows old and always has some new truths for me.

I loved today’s video where Lysa took us to Shechem where the well is that the Samaritan woman visited.  It was such a blessing to watch Lysa at that well.

She talked about how we are all broken cisterns like the Samaritan in some way.

She reminded us that fifteen minutes with the Living Water can change our lives.

 

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