when the building gets in the way

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There once was a place where we’d go 

to take in a heavenly show 

but that marvelous sight 

has been blocked by the height 

of a building- causing me so much woe ;( 

For the last (almost) 16 years, my husband and I would drive into Charlottesville and park in a special spot to watch the sunset- A busy parking lot with a million dollar view. There are two park benches that overlook the city with a perfect view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  This has been our “spot” for years, and I have lost count of how many times we have gone there together to worship God’s creation.

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In this spot, we have bonded over talks about our kids, reminisced about our past, dreamed about our future… and we have praised God for His many blessings. In this spot, we have gone over all the crazy “God” things that happened to cause us to move to Charlottesville all those years ago.  I remember the first time I drove down route 250 heading into Charlottesville- it was as if God told me I was home.

And now a rather large church building has changed the skyline where we used to sit to watch the sunset.  Kind of ironic that a building for people to worship God has physically gotten in the way of the view of what makes this city so beautiful.

But that has got me to thinking…

Has a building gotten in your way? 

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Now that the church building is closed due to the pandemic, I see how a building has gotten in the way of being the “church”.

So much of the church has been focused one one goal-  Sunday mornings!

But now that we are unable to use the building to gather, I see how narrow minded my view of  “church” at times had become.

Over these last 6 weeks, our world has drastically changed- but I can see how resilient the church has become- and it’s inspiring!

-I see pastors of all denominations and all ages putting themselves out there on social media- making videos, sharing devotionals, encouraging people, actually BEING the church- and reaching far more people!

-I see people donating food to food banks, making face masks for healthcare workers, delivering groceries, generously supporting small businesses and helping one another.

-I see people being more intentional in their relationships- writing and mailing cards, actually having phone conversations, texting, FaceTiming, and even Zoom-ing.

-I see countless churches offering online worship services- making worship accessible to everyone at anytime!

-I see people not waiting until Sunday morning to “have” church, but people BEING the church every day!

And I have hope.

Maybe this is what Church was supposed to look like all along.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

1 Corinthians 3:16

made new

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making old things

new 

let the vintage

shine through 

cleaned up to

perfection 

for the 

clarity of my 

reflection 

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This past week, my hubby went with me to pick up a few of my granny’s things- a couple of dressers and her china set.  It’s hard to believe my granny passed away over three years ago… so many memories- especially Christmas and Thanksgiving gatherings- revolve around her home.

My granny and pawpaw bought these dressers new and used them for many years.  By the time I remembered seeing them, they were used in the guest room- where my sister and I would stay overnight when we were young.  I remember thinking they were so beautiful and fancy.  I have always loved old things- especially things that remind me of joyful times- like staying at granny’s house.

I remember always wanting to look inside the dressers to see what was in there.  I didn’t ever snoop- but when I was little, I imagined these dressers held fancy dresses and all sorts of treasures!  More than likely- it was extra blankets and boring things like that, lol… but it was fun as a kid to imagine and pretend 🙂

After my husband and I got the dressers safely home, I searched the internet and found a vintage ad for the exact same bedroom set!  It was in a Life magazine in 1959…

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How cool is that?! I remember sleeping in the same bed, but they must have gotten rid of it at some point.  Amazingly, the dressers are in excellent shape for being 60 years old! All I need is to find a couple of new drawer pulls for the tall dresser.

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The china was a perfect fit in my china cabinet.  I am looking forward to using it and making NEW memories around our own dining room table.

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Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are NEW every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”- Lamentations 3:22-24

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twenty five

take a step 

one at a time 

as your fingers

lace through mine 

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you go first 

I’m right behind 

other times 

I lead the line 

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give and take 

we step together 

twenty-five years 

closer than ever 

My hubby and I often talk about life and how blessed we have been.

“If you could see what your life would be like now when we were first married, would you even believe it?!” 

“We are so blessed.” 

That about sums up our conversations lately.

Thankful.

Grateful.

This past Monday we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our first date.  In some ways, that date is more special to me than when we actually said “I do.”   I remember everything about that evening.  He wore a bugs bunny baseball t-shirt and khakis.  I wore checked shorts and a t-shirt.  We went to the movies, and then we got ice cream and sat in McDonalds and talked for several hours- about life, our future kids… what we wanted to be when we “grew up”…

I was barely 17 years old, but by the time he dropped me off at my house that night, I knew he was the one!

And he still is.

So I met him at his office at the end of the day the past Monday, and we walked to a local restaurant.  We ate a fabulous meal, and then drove around and watched the sunset and took in the beautiful mountain views.

And we talked and dreamed of our future…

However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—   1 Corinthians 2:9 

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June Walk

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Softly stepping

sunlight blazing

umbrella trees

perfectly shading

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rustling leaves

deer are feeding

toddlers shuffling

songbirds tweeting

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couples hand-holding

walking slow

enjoying the view

down below

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sounds of nature

creation in tune

a blessed summer

walk in June

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord- Psalm 150:6

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Sun- shining bright like a diamond 

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Where’s Waldo?!  Can you spot the deer? 

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A little songbird feasts on some twigs 

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This gorgeous butterfly led me down the trail 

growth

Usually I file and clip 

and hear the choppy 

snip snip snip… 

but now they’ve grown 

and I can’t stop staring 

’cause it looks like press-on nails 

I’m wearing 

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I have let my nails grow and they are reaching enormous lengths!  It’s not something I normally do, because when I play piano they break easily…but I have been blessed with a few weeks off from ministry (it’s called a sabbatical) and I am grateful for the time of renewal and rest.  I am also completely amazed at how fast my nails have grown over these 2 weeks!

I’m sure they grow fast all the time- it’s just that I normally don’t notice it because I keep my nails filed down.  I always say it’s a good Sunday when I am leading worship and I break a nail playing piano!   I give my all every Sunday morning for Jesus- and it brings me great joy to lead worship.

But this time away has been good.  I’ve been able to reflect on my spiritual growth, and as trivial as it may sound- I’ve also enjoyed having long nails for a couple of weeks 🙂

I have been the worship pastor at my church for over 10 years now.  Years ago, when I would miss a Sunday-  I couldn’t stop thinking about church and wondering what I had missed!  What if this happened, or this didn’t get done… would people miss me being there?  So many what if’s, it exhausts me just typing them out!  But now, I have learned that He always makes everything come together.

And time away is a very good thing.

When we stop, everything somehow keeps on going 🙂

I can’t wait for that first Sunday back- it’s going to be a “nail breaker” for sure!

 

Two Years of Freedom

I’m finally free- 

free from the bondage of food

now I eat to LIVE 

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Today marks 2 years since I found food freedom!  Two years ago today, I embarked on a new way of eating- a plan called “Trim Healthy Mama”, developed by two fabulous sisters named Pearl and Serene.

Before I tried THM, I was a slave to numbers- counting and imputing the calories of everything I ate in my phone apps.  Counting how many calories I would burn on the treadmill or the elliptical.  Food was a reward and a punishment for me.  And the guilt I experienced when I skipped a day of working out, or when I would eat something indulgent was ridiculous.

And even though I did all the things I thought would help me reach a healthy weight- the weight loss never came.  Just a feeling of discouragement.  I couldn’t lose a pound- no matter how little I restricted my calories and how much I would work out. I was exhausted all the time and miserable.

But two years ago, I traded in all those habits for something NEW!  I got rid of those calorie counting apps, and ditched the scale.  I stopped counting calories and I stopped working out completely for a while.  I cut out sugar and bread.  I ate well balanced meals with lots of protein, veggies, and occasional healthy grains.

I traded in my sugary creamers for stevia and half and half in my coffee- and I actually love it that way now!

I lost about 35 pounds in 8 months, but I gained so much more!  For the last two years, I have learned how to eat to live instead of living to eat.  I feel better than I have in years, and I have stayed at a healthy weight for the last year and a half without much effort.

I am praising the LORD tonight for the freedom I have found from food!

I know not everything works for everyone- but if you have struggled with weight loss or self control when it comes to food, I would highly recommend you look up THM.  The rules are simple- eat protein at every meal, only eat every 3 hours, and have healthy fats OR healthy carbs with your protein at every meal.  Never mix fats and carbs together if you are trying to reach a healthy weight.  That’s the basic idea of the eating plan.  No special ingredients are needed.  It’s that simple!

If I can do it- anyone can do it!  In fact, my whole family has decided to do it with me beginning tomorrow. I can’t wait to see the changes in my family as they begin their journey with me in 2019!

And fyi- the newest book- Trim Healthy Table is available as an ebook at Barnes and Noble for  $1.99!  That’s a steal of a deal!!  Here’s a link-

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trim-healthy-mamas-trim-healthy-table-pearl-barrett/1126396593?ean=9780804189996&st=PLA&sid=BNB_NOOK+EBooks&sourceId=PLAGoNA&dpid=tdtve346c&2sid=Google_c&gclid=Cj0KCQiAmafhBRDUARIsACOKERPxw2Q8i_9YNOFQX8xGGSaUB-fC5pGMLXwl8JFm15onx-nzFrGE2oEaAvZDEALw_wcB#/

I hope all of you have a very blessed New Year!!!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  

2 Corinthians 5:17

a little closer to home

I’ve wandered near and far

in search of you

looked high and low

for a perfect view

when all the while

all I had to do

was look

a little

closer

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When my husband has the whole weekend off, I love for us to do things together.  He is a meticulous planner, and I am a fly-by-the seat of my pants girl.  It works out pretty well for both of us!  A little give-and-take goes a long way, and compromise is always a winner for both of us.

So the other night, I randomly suggested we go to the lake together to watch the sunset.  Why have we never thought to do this in our 14 years of living in this neighborhood?!  

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We journeyed the 5 minutes down the street to the marina, parked the car, and found a resting spot against the guard rail.  The sky was absolutely gorgeous. Just stunning.

We could see Carter’s Mountain off in the distance from the lake. And there were pontoon boats tarrying near the marina, taking in the spectacular view.

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Sometimes I think about how much time I waste looking for something better- like looking for a better sunset view….

when we had a perfectly fine view right here all along!

He put your feet on a wonderful road
    that took you straight to a good place to live- Psalm 107:7

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You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  

Psalm 16:11

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get thee behind me

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“get thee behind me” 

everywhere I look

temptations lurk

seeking to derail

hoping I fail

and fall

into sin’s trap

sticky like sap

it clings to me

images of

the enemy

and what he

wants me to be

Get thee

behind me!

By the grace of He

and His mercy

I am now free

So to the enemy

I say-

make like a tree

Since He himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.  Hebrews 2:18

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take the picture

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 blink too fast 

and before you know it 

the moment is gone 

with nothing to show for it 

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tick tock ticking- 

time’s passing me by 

so I’ll keep my camera 

close to my eye 

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I had the joy of spending the entire day with my oldest daughter this past weekend.  It was a perfect day.  I have spent a lot of time with both girls recently as they have had multiple snow days off of school, added onto the 2+ weeks off for Christmas break… let’s just say the girls were getting a little tired of one another!  They are as different as night and day, and being with the both of them can be emotionally and mentally exhausting.  And honestly, we were all ready to get back into a routine!

So back to my day… we took a road trip, and my normally quiet, tired teen was bubbly, giggly, and chatty the entire day!  We talked about everything from school to politics to her friends- all the things I wish she would talk about with me ALL of the time!

Having her all to myself allowed me to appreciate her so much more…how she likes peace and quiet,  how she, too,  loves coffee (just like me!), and her desire to have as many dogs as she can possibly take care of when she’s on her own.

As we were heading home that evening, I noticed the sky was brewing up a beautiful sunset.  I wanted to enjoy every second of that evening.

“Living in the moment is so overrated, ” my daughter told me.

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

“Like how everyone says not to take pictures- to just enjoy the moments… that’s silly. Take the picture. Then you’ll always have something to look back on to remember the moments.”

Wise words from my (almost) 15 year old-

and I even have a few pictures to remember it 🙂

You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. 

Ecclesiastes 11:9

 

Free at last

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I am free 

like a bird 

flying high I soar 

because I’m not

weighed down 

anymore 

the chains

broke 

the shackles

fell 

and I am feeling- 

pretty swell 

because you see- 

I am finally 

free

New Year’s Eve marked the one year anniversary that I began following the Trim Healthy Mama plan. It has been a year of food freedom for me- but so much more than that!  For years I have been a slave to counting calories- how many calories I consume at each meal and how many calories I burn at each workout.  Even on the days when I would “take a break”… I would still keep a running tab in my head.

And the worst part of it all?  None of that effort made any difference!  No matter how much I worked out, no matter how carefully I watched my calorie intake- I couldn’t lose a pound to save my life!!  For years I felt defeated and discouraged.  My body hurt all the time and I had no energy.

I have my friend, Natalee to thank for introducing me to the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  Just give it a try, she told me.  So I began reading about it and checking out recipes on Pinterest.  I started looking for ways to make the things I already eat fit in with the program. And the great things is that I have found ways to eat everything I love!

For all of 2017, I have not counted a single calorie! That is a miracle for me!  And I have worked out less this past year than I have in the last 15 years!  And praise the Lord- at 40,  I feel better than ever!  I have lost 35 pounds over this past year and I have gained so much more-

-balance 

-food freedom 

-freedom from the scale 

-self confidence

Thank God Almighty-  I am free at last!!

 

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.  John 8:36 

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