I Sing Because I'm Free

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Who moved my tree?

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How do you react to change?  Let me just say that the word in itself makes me cringe!  I do not like change, Sam I am.  I do not like it in my house, I do not like it in my spouse.  I do not like it here or there. I do not like it anywhere.  Not one little bit.  Unless it is initiated by moi.  Then it is refreshing, exciting… perhaps the best idea in the world! I love knowing what to expect.  But if I am honest with myself, I think I just like being in control.

All to Jesus, I surrender…

My husband came to me yesterday and suggested a new spot for our Christmas tree this year.  As soon as he said it, I could feel my inner lioness come out. NO!  I want it where it always is!  It looks fabulous right beside our fireplace- where we have put it for the past few years.  How dare he suggest something different!

And as soon my inner roar came out, I remembered that where he suggested to put it was actually where I had wanted it all along- nine years ago!  But nevertheless, I had to put my foot down and say NO!

I am as stubborn as a mule.  I have yet to meet one, but I imagine they must be pretty stubborn, because I sure am!  I prayed and asked God to help me with my stubbornness last night.  Surely He can help me navigate the minor change of putting our tree in a new spot.  More of Him and less of me…

I am letting go of old habits.  Change is hard, but change is good.  When I am faced with change, I don’t like what I see in myself.  It makes me thankful for a Savior who understands me and my weaknesses… and who forgives me for my not so good reactions.    It makes me thankful that I have a loving husband who knows me all too well after more than 19 years together, and that he can show me grace… and I can do the same for him.  Change allows me to take a good look at myself.  When I look in the mirror, I want to look more like Jesus every day- not my old stubborn self!

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10

Before my husband left for work this morning, I told him I thought his ideas were great ones and that I was excited to do something different. Baby steps.  As I pray daily- He continually shows me that He ain’t done with me yet!  He is making me new every day- changing and growing me… shaping and molding me into His clay pot.

And then we discussed not only moving the tree, but switching the entire contents of one room with another. Gasp!  And my inner lioness didn’t even make a peep!  A mere day before, this would have sent me into a melt-down.

And since we’re going to change the house around, I might as well keep on changing… who knows?  Maybe I’ll color my hair blonde!  Maybe I’ll even change the side of the bed I sleep on!  Ok, maybe that’s a little too much change for one day…

“God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.  

He wants you to be just like Jesus.” – Max Lucado

Thank you for loving me just as I am and for loving me enough to change me into Your likeness.  I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the One who gave it all.  I’ll stand, my soul, Lord, to You surrendered.  All I am is Yours!

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In one ac”cord”

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Not quickly broken, 

a cord of three…

eldest, youngest daughter

and me.

My oldest daughter received the nickname “Sweet Treat” from a special lady several years ago.  I must say that she lives up to this lovely nickname in many ways.  Earlier this week, as I tucked her into bed, she said, “Momma, I have something for you!”  With her crystal blue eyes shining bright, she flashed me a smile as she hid her hands behind her back.  

“What is it?” I curiously asked her.  

“I made you something special!”  She then held out a colorful, tightly braided bracelet.  

“This is for you, Momma.  Don’t EVER take it off!”  

“Ok, I won’t!” I tied it to my wrist as securely as I could. All week I have pondered this verse from Ecclesiastes-

Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

 Ecclesiastes 4:12

Each time I look down at my wrist and see the braid, I am struck that these strands alone are simply just pieces of string… and even two of them would unravel if I tried to twist them into a bracelet.  But three…. they weave over and under into the perfect chevron pattern- not quickly broken!  Much like the relationship between my daughters and I.  Not quickly broken.  Because we love each other.  Because iron sharpens iron.  As I do my best to follow Proverbs 22 and train my girls in the way they should go, God also uses them in the most miraculous ways to teach me. I hold them accountable- and they also keep me accountable.  You know kids- they are the first to point out something you should (or should not!) be doing!  

Image 3And as I sit at the piano, with my cord of three strands around my wrist, I play a simple chord… three notes in perfect harmony.  One note alone is hollow sounding, simple, lonely.  Two are better than one, but still sounds empty… but the third note makes the chord!  Turning something simple into something magnificent!  Major to minor, adding color and emotion with a simple note.  All equal parts.  On their own they are ordinary- but together, they are extraordinary!

The keys of the chord are the keys to our cord-  we need harmony in our relationships!  What beautiful things we make when we weave our love for one another together!  When we encourage one another, and allow our best qualities to ring loud and clear.  My girls are as different as night and day,  but together- our family creates  beautiful harmony. When we work together to accomplish a goal, we are unstoppable!   Relationships are hard work, but when we are like-minded,  it is truly magnificent! And when the love of Christ flows freely through us, our cord is not quickly broken.  We are stronger together than we could ever be apart.  

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  Philippians 2:2

 Lord, thank you for using my daughter’s simple gift to remind me of the special bond we have!  May you weave us together in perfect harmony!  Help me embrace our differences so that we might create a symphony for You!

 

 

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It is more blessed to give than receive

I am humbled to have been nominated by two bloggers for two awards!  I am excited to pass them on to other bloggers who continue to inspire and encourage me through their exceptional writing!

The first is the Sunshine Award.  This lovely award was given to me by January who blogs at

http://coffeewithashotoffaith.wordpress.com

She is a fabulous writer who writes about her faith with honesty from her heart!   Thanks, January, for the nomination!

sunshineaward

The rules are:

1. Include the Sunshine Award badge in your post.

2. Link to the blogger who nominated you.

3. Answer 10 questions about yourself.

4. Nominate 10 other bloggers to receive the award.

5. Link to your nominees and let them know you nominated them.

6. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

1. Who would play you if your life were made into a movie?  I would have to say Claire Danes.  I loved her in the show “My So Called Life” and used to color my hair that same shade of red.  She was great at playing the angst-ridden teen… everything about her in the show reminded me of myself.

2. Where in the world would you most like to travel?  I was born in Germany and have always wanted to visit my birthplace.

3. What is the best thing about blogging? Definitely meeting so many inspiring bloggers! And learning how to be more proficient at using a computer… I am soo not tech savvy

4. What is your secret indulgence?  I don’t have too many secrets… ice cream and thrift-store shopping

5. If someone handed you $1,000 tomorrow what would you spend it on?  I’m pretty practical… I desperately need a new mattress!

6. What do you never leave home without? my cell phone

7. What is your favorite meal of the day?  breakfast- love my coffee and cereal!

8. What makes you laugh?  I laugh at myself all the time… I can say and do the stupidest things!

9. Who would be your ideal dinner party guests?  I adore Francesca Battestelli’s music and would love to have dinner with her

10. What was the last thing you googled?  honestly?  It was how to cut and paste these awards into my blog post!!

I received the second nomination for the Inner Peace Award by Ellie who blogs at

http://newcreationsministries.wordpress.com

Ellie is a wonderful writer who shares biblical insight about nutrition and  health.  I have learned so much by reading her blog!  Thanks for the nomination, Ellie!

inner-peace-award

The only ‘rule’ for the Inner Peace Award is that you write a short piece on why you are accepting it. 

After years of turning to food for happiness and struggling with my weight, I am thankful to be at peace and have balance in my life.  I have found peace in Christ.  I struggled for years and lost 100 lbs before I had my first daughter.  I am not as thin as I once was before I had my girls, but I am thankful to be healthy.   After years of focusing on what I was eating, it is pure joy to focus on my walk with the Lord.  Putting Him first in my life has brought me more peace than I could have ever dreamed of!

 Those who love your law have great peace and do not stumble.- Psalm 119:165

Then write 10 interesting things about you. Here’s mine:

1. I wanted to be a reporter when I was in elementary school.

2. I love, love, love jeans!

3.  I love music… there is always a song running through my mind!

4. I do not like (most) movies

5.  I love painting

6. I used to teach aerobics

7.  I wanted two daughters…. and He blessed me with them

8.  I met my husband when I was 16 and we’ve been married for almost 17 years!

9.  I do not like mayonnaise

10.  I once accidentally dyed my hair green in high school

Here are my nominees.  Please accept both awards, or if you have already received one- accept the one you do not have.  I am so thankful to be part of a wonderfully supportive blogging community!  Thank you to these nominees for inspiring me with your blogs!

http://evanlaar2013.wordpress.com

http://journeyofsadiegrace.wordpress.com

http://pleasantplacesblog.wordpress.com

http://godscharacter.wordpress.com

http://coffeewithashotoffaith.wordpress.com

http://5kidswdisabilities.com

http://lauracrean.wordpress.com

http://journey-with-jesus.com

http://jamesdvoigt.wordpress.com

http://kevs-domain.net/about-my-blog/

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You Take My Breath Away

“You Take My Breath Away”

Help me to see Your goodness in the land of the living

I see the beauty around me and I can’t stop praising

Praising You for who You are, for what You do, for what You’ve done

who am I that I would be saved by Your Son

You take my breath away

Amazed by how You show me that You love me

without Your grace in my life where would I be?

You are my strength, You are my rock

You are my calm in the storm

You steady me and ready me

and You keep me safe from harm.

You take my breath away

And even the rocks cry out

when I have no voice to praise You

when You take my breath away

I wrote this song about a month ago.  I had been dealing with minor health issues- allergies, a cough that wouldn’t quit, inability to sing, and just feeling down-right tired and miserable.  I was so tired of feeling sick.  Singing- the very thing that brings me the most joy was something I was not able to do.   I still spent time with God… but I had to be a little more creative with it.  I prayed, read the Bible more, and I wrote poetry.  Then one day I told God how frustrated I was for not being able to sing- or talk-  for so long.

And that morning, a verse popped out at me-

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Psalm 27:13

I began praying to God- that He would help me focus on Him and not my circumstance.  That He would show me His goodness and get my eyes of myself and help me to stop having a pity party.  And day by day, I began to feel better.  I was more aware of His presence and less of my own ailments.  It was as if He painted each sunset and colored each mountain top just for me- I would tear up at every little beautiful thing… He literally took my breath away with His creation! He was so clearly working on me to worship Him in other ways.  There is so much more to worship than singing!   He used that time to open my eyes to His beauty around me and to hear His voice.  Time to remember all that He has done for me.  Time to be thankful for all He has blessed me with, and a little more time to be quiet and let Him do the talking!

Be still, and know that I am God-   Psalm 46:10

Thank You, Lord, for never ceasing to amaze me with your unfailing love.  Thanks for opening my eyes a little more, and for helping me to be quiet and listen to You.  Thank You for showing me Your goodness in the most awesome ways! 

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A Slice of Heaven

 

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A slice of Heaven-  I take in the beauty of His creation and I am compelled to worship Him.  What a Wonderful Maker!

Yours, O LORD,

is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty,

indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth;

Yours is the dominion, O LORD,

and You exalt Yourself as head over all.  

1 Chronicles 29:11

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Happergy

Happy Face

 

Oh, what a joy it is to raise a highly spirited, strong-willed child!

Each morning the madness begins… get up!  get dressed!  where are your socks?  did you brush your teeth?  don’t forget to brush your hair!  are you wearing deodorant?  you have to eat something!!

This morning, my youngest flings her shoes down beside her as she sits on the floor.  They have been double knotted from the day before and she can’t get them undone.  “I CAN’T DO IT” she yells at me as she throws them.   I pray a thousand prayers for patience for both of us in a mere second.

“Babe, just hand it here… I will help you.  You need to calm down- you are very excited.”

Through gritted teeth and beady eyes she calmly tells me that she is not excited  and that she is very mad that she cannot untie her shoes.

I tell her that being excited means that she is energetic… and that she needs to focus her energy from being mean to being happy. I told her it takes much less energy to be happy than it does to be mean, and that by having happy energy, she will surely have a better day.   Happergy– I called it!  I continued to help her untie her shoes as I made funny faces at her.  She then burst out into her contagious “happergy” giggles.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  Ecclesiastes 3:12

I don’t always react in the most positive way when my children have outbursts, but He is teaching me to pray in the moment.  I pray so often that both of my girls will be strong-willed for Christ!   I have to remember each and every interaction I have with them is teaching them something.  They are learning how to react to the world around them by watching me.  Oh, how I pray for self control and patience!

Lord, help me to be a joyful mom and to keep my cool in the midst of the hustle and bustle.  Help me to shine Your light to my children so that they may be a lamp to others today.  May we be filled with grace today and share Your love to all who cross our paths!  

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Fire Cloud Haiku

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Clouds of Fire

fiery clouds billow

consuming the autumn sky

collide with heaven

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You are Enough

“You Are Enough”

I’m ridding my life of sin

I’m gonna let You in

Jesus, take my heart

and give me a brand new start

Jesus, You are enough

You’re more than enough to fill me

Jesus, You are enough

You supply my every need

I’m ridding my life of things

of emptiness and broken dreams

I’m living in Your light

Jesus, help me shine so bright

Jesus, You are enough

You’re more than enough to fill me

Jesus. You are enough

You supply my every need

I woke up early this morning, overwhelmed with my to-do list- feeling like there would never be enough hours in the day to accomplish all I needed to do.  As I began to pray, He reminded me that He is enough.  I wrote this song a year or so ago, and as I prayed this morning, the words came back to me.  Jesus, You are enough.  You supply my every need.   Everything on my to-do lists can wait.  He’s at the top of my list.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness

     2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that my relationship with You comes first. Without You I can do nothing.  Thank you for putting new songs on my heart.  I praise You for your goodness and for providing for my every need.  Jesus, You are enough!

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