Friday, April 27, 2007

I AM Bible Study

Lisa at The Preacher's Wife has started leading an awesome Bible Study via her blog. I got a late start, since I was on holiday. I originally thought that I would just print it and do it later. But the comments and the posts regarding it have been so great, I found that I couldn't wait. So here is a very long catch-up post to do the three lessons that have been posted so far. It's (obviously) not to late to start. If you'd like to join in go here for the intro or click the button above.

Lesson One: I AM your Beauty

Are there circumstances or relationships in your life where you can see God has intentionally placed you to be a light for them?
The simple answer is yes. There are women He has given me to mentor. There is a lady who I spend time with who is in a difficult place of decision making. The decisions are similar to ones we made a year ago and I know it is a God-incidence that we are together.

Can you honestly describe yourself as a woman with a "yes" in her spirit?
I am a woman who desires to have a "yes-Spirit." I do not always follow through with the desire, but I am growing in that area. Sometimes I still ask for details or confirmation before saying yes, and I know that is an area where I need work. I need to trust enough to say yes and allow Him to confirm the details in His timing.

Are you in an emotionally and spiritually healthy place today? yes
If so, what will you do with your series of unrecurring events? Will you continue to ask for Spiritual eyes to see opportunities to defend a weaker sister?
I'll continue to mentor, to teach ladies Bible Study, to stand in the gap with my accountability partner and for a friend who struggles with her faith, and I'll continue to seek His face regarding a friend who has fallen away as a prodigal, praying that I can be light to her again someday.

Lesson Two: Beautiful to God
What is your initial response when anyone suggests you are beautiful?
I was always the "smart" cousin not the "beautiful" one (I had two who competed for that role). So my initial response is disbelief. Told enough times as a child that you are plain, you begin to believe it. Although I am coming to a recognition of beauty in Christ, I'm still uncomfortable if a tangible person says it.

Do you find you engage in a lot of negative self-talk? How much of your thought life does this form of thinking consume?
I don't do much negative self-talk anymore. Once upon a time my life was consumed with it. Now I would say it would be way less than 10% of my thoughts, and most of those would be fleeting negative thoughts not dwell-upon-them thoughts.

Has it ever occurred to you that you are a City Girl? How do you plan to use this knowledge?
I love this thought. My whole life, this farm-girl knew I belonged in the City. My mother would say I was a city girl trapped on the farm from the time I was little. There was a need for me to interact with people differently than I could "in the middle of nowhere". As I've grown I have realized that it was not a geographical need, it was spiritual. I started seeking a community of accountability and believers at a young age. This illustration just brings my inner feelings into articulation! How do I plan to use the knowledge? First to realize that I am not out of step with everyone else, I'm in step with God. Second, to trust that He will lead me to be with the people who need to see "something different." And third, to constantly and deliberately allow God to make me someone who will attract others to Him.

In what ways has your views of Godly beauty changed as a result of these Scriptures?
Reinforces my need to look on the inner and not the outer package.

Lesson Three: When Life Doesn't Work Out Like You Planned, part 1
It was stated in the lesson that God has made you "once, twice, three times a lady." Where are you in this progression? Obviously we have all been physically born, but are you 'twice a lady'? Have you been born again spiritually? This may be a private matter you'd like to discuss confidentially...If you have already received this gift, write a brief prayer of thanksgiving or testimony.
When I was seven I knew that I wanted to go to heaven with Jesus and because of the bad things I had done, the only way I could go was through Him. I made a decision based on the best I could understand at that age. As a young teen, I surrendered more to Jesus as Lord and not just Savior. I believe that decision at a young age protected me from so much that friends struggled with as well as prepared me for the ministries that were to come. (If you would like to know more, email me through my profile, I'm trying to keep it brief.)

Are you three times a lady? Has God given you a stirring deep within your Spirit to be a 'deliverer'? Do you have a desire or are you already meeting a need in the life of the church, a particular ministry (such as jail ministry, food ministry, etc.) or perhaps individuals who share common issues?
I have a strong desire to see people discipled, drawing people to the depths of God's word and to not be content with just "milk." I do lead a weekly Bible Study to that end, plus have a couple of people in my life that I mentor in that area.

Do you ever get tired of waiting for that opportunity to do something worthwhile for God? do you ever feel God is using someone else instead of you?
No. I don't get tired waiting for opportunity to come. I do have moments where I wish I could do more, and I believe the day will come when I am able to do more in terms of teaching and writing. However right now, my main calling is to grow Godly daughters and I am content to wait on the other while they are little. I am learning to treasure the time that I do have.

What do you consider 'worthwhile ministry'? Are you like me and sometimes find yourself thinking it has to be Big to be Important?
Worthwhile ministry is whatever God calls and enables. I've never equated big with important. When I was a little girl I remember my grandmother taking Sunday afternoons to write notes to those who missed church that day. She would tell us, "it's not much but it shows them they are important." At her funeral, more than one person commented on how much those notes meant to them. I think she instilled in me that God's calling makes the job important, no matter how small.

Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts test? If yes, what are yours?
I've done several spiritual gift inventories over the years. The results consistently indicate teaching, pastor/shepherd, wisdom, and knowledge. Those are consistent with the passions God has given me as well.

Chivalry is not dead

He's a moose of a man. A six foot six inch, two hundred eighty pound moose. He fills the doorway with his frame. He fills the room with his voice. Unmissable. Rugged. Built his home with his own two hands. A big frame. A bigger heart. Generous to a fault, and only expects honesty in return.

She is a tiny little sprite. One hundred pounds soaking wet. Five feet tall if she stretches, and that is getting more and more difficult. Wiry, opinionated, independent. Courageous spirit in a fragile frame.

And she can bring him to his knees.

She first brought him to his knees was when he was in high school. He was a basketball star. And he had fallen in love...with her daughter, the cheerleader. I don't know if he physically bent his knee to her when he took her daughter's hand, but I do know that he always showed her the utmost respect. That was 1959 and he held his mother-in-law in a place of honor for years to come because she gave him the love of his life.

By 2002 she had said good-bye to a husband. She had done the unthinkable of burying a daughter, her other child, twenty years before; a child stolen by that hideous creature called cancer. And that year she was walking that unspeakable path a second time. That same creature was stalking her only remaining child---his wife. Her grief became a controlling fear and she lashed it out at him in waves. His grief was a crippling anger that he had to say good-bye too early. So the double blow brought him down. Survive, he did--what else would you expect of a moose? Slowly his spirit restored--softer in places, harder in others, but intact. She rallied as well after his repeated promises that he would not abandon her. The vows he had made to the daughter he would uphold to the mother. She felt that she had no one with husband and daughters gone. This son-in-law remained the link to family. The father of her grandsons. The uncle of her granddaughters. This family's patriarch. The solid rock. And although the times were tough, love and perseverance brought them through.

It was fulfilling that promise that brought him down again. At ninety-five she was still a dynamo, although more firecracker than dynamite (all sound and no punch). Convalescing from surgery and rather oblivious of the effort caring for had become, she lashes out in frustration. Chivalrous and honorable he cares for her, trying to keep her out of a nursing home. One evening after dinner, when she is to frail to walk, he carries her over the threshold to go to the car. He stumbles on the stairs. Unsure of how he fell, the fact remains he fell. Instinct tells him to not land on her. He twists around managing to allow her to land on him. She is unhurt. Not a single bruise. He will be down for weeks. The knee broken. A jagged, ugly cut. But even in the hospital, he is concerned for her. He worries who will care for her as he is laid up for eight weeks. He needn't worry.

Chivalry is taught by action. Integrity is learned by watching. Her grandchildren have not missed a life full of lessons. Youngest son says, "I'll take her home." Eldest son and granddaughters say "we'll take our turns." Honoring the promises of dad and uncle. Living the life he modeled for them to live. The generation torch of love and honor is passed.

As I write this, she has settled with one of the granddaughters with the support of the others. He is convalescing at home cared for by his new love and the sons (and grandchildren) that he has taught so well. And although she is cared for, I am certain he is still fretting because he is not "doing" anything. Heal well Papa Bob, you've done a great job!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Let's talk stitching

First some catching up on SBQ's:

Today's SBQ was suggested Danielle ( and is:

Are you on "The Wagon?" If so, how long have you been on and how "serious"
are you about it? If not, have you considered it?

Nope, not on the wagon. I am trying to use stash instead of buying fabric and thread. But I am not imposing any rules on my craft buying.

April 5 SBQ was suggested by Heather
( and is:

How do you decide which stitching blogs are worth repeat and/or regular viewings? Are there certain things you look for in particular? Are there things you wish there were more of? Less of? Is your blog a good example of what you like to read?

Several things determine if I go back to a stitching blog. Writing style usually draws me. Finishing techniques that are different will draw me back so I can learn. The stitching style does not have to be my style. There are a few blogs that I regularly read that I would never stitch the same patterns, but the presentation of the pieces and the quality of the stitching inspire me. I would not say that my blog is a good example of a stitching blog. I want my blog to be a reflection of who I am as a person (especially a person growing in Christ). Stitcher is part of who I am, and so it is reflected, but the blog itself is not just about stitching.

And now some actual stitching.
When I learned that Margaret and Megan were willing to drive to the airport to meet me, I knew I wanted to make something for them. Two of the stitched bags I showed before my trip were for them (blue for Margaret, pink for Megan). I put these little biscornus in as well. Megan is a math major like me, so I did the Pi-squared freebie from View from an Alternate Dementia for her. Margaret is a Bronte fan, so I stitched a silhouette of Charlotte Bronte on the front, and then put CB initials and the names of her works on the back.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here is a little biscornu I made for an exchange on a message board I frequent.
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And here is my part of Kell's Blackwork RR. I really love this piece and I'm sure it will end up on my wish list.
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Hopefully, I'll be posting some larger project finishes soon. Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Vacation Recap

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Thank you all for your prayers while we were traveling at the beginning of the month. Leading up to the trip, so many things were happening in the lives of those we were going to see, we truly did not know how it would work out. But God knew all along--and it was an awesome holiday. It is always so much fun for me to watch my girls experience American life since they only know it a couple weeks a year. Jewel was amazed at the number of US flags adorn gardens, houses and buildings. That kind of patriotism is foreign here. She would sit in the back seat and yell "another US flag" "a Missouri flag too" "oooh there's another one" every time we were in the car. I hope as she grows she understands the importance and freedom that flag represents. A funny thing was her spotting her first mobile home. She said, "Mom why is that house on wheels?" (it did not have skirting around it). She was dumbfounded that houses were built that could be moved. There were hundreds of other cute sayings, some I am sure will find their way into the blog at some point. But, here are a few pictures to recap the trip.

I had a long layover in Newark. Blogging and stitching friends Megan and Margaret drove to the airport just to spend a couple of hours with me. It was awesome! It was like we had known each other all our lives. And they even put up with me, scatterbrained that I was after flying for 9 hours! We talked stitching and photography and other stuff. The time flew. I hated to leave them as early as I did, but since it took me 52 minutes to get back through security (but hey who's counting?) it was a good thing I did. I had about 20 minutes to wait before boarding my flight. Sure made the wait in the airport more enjoyable. Here we are (picture taken by Margaret's daughter):Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

First overnight stop was St. Louis. We spent the night with my brother-in-law, then moved out to our friends "little cabin in the woods" they just bought, for a few days. Papa B broke his leg just before we traveled, so things were a little up in the air. We had fretted about not being able to stay for Easter which is our tradition. But with his leg broken, Papa had decided that he could not host Easter this year. He said it would have been more difficult to cancel if we had been staying. God knew months ago when we booked our flights it would be best if we were not there. How awesome is that! But we were able to have some real quality time visiting with him and his family because we were not so busy running all over the place (since he couldn't). German's godson is graduating from High School this year and we spent some good time with him, and met his girlfriend. The granddaughter of another friend had been in a car accident just before we left and we did not think we would get to see them. But she was released from the hospital the day we arrived and we were able to spend one evening with them since they were not at the hospital anymore. God is good! (And Valerie is doing amazingly well!) We came back to the city to spend Good Friday with my brother-in-law.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketHe took us to City Museum--a wonderful maze of climbing things, caves and slides to explore.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe girls had a blast. This is actually a slide! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe museum is built in an old shoe factory. These were the chutes used to send shoes from one floor to the next and they have been made into slides. German took Flower down it (much to the astonishment of the people around us). She was probably the least afraid of anyone!

On Saturday we flew to Birmingham where we checked our things in storage, and paid for it. Then we visited with our former neighbors and had dinner with old friends. Easter Sunday we attended our former church for the first time in six years. They have moved into a new building and are now at 3 services. It was an amazing time of worship and seeing friends. Two dear friends asked us to join them and their daughter for Easter lunch (more on their hospitality later). It was a perfect way to spend the day!Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday we flew to Tucson Arizona to see German's cousin. She took us to the Desert Museum. We saw an amazing raptor show where the hawks were literally about 3 feet from us. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Jewel's favorite was the mountain lion. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I personally loved the quail (this is not taken with a zoom--he came that close to me!)Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday it was on to Texas! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
We celebrated my Dad's birthday with him. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
He got married this summer, and so we had the opportunity to meet my 2 step-brothers and step-sister for the first time. Again, it was like we already knew each other. We had a really great time. We had several opportunities to go visit my Mom as well. She continues to decline in health, which is hard to watch. My brother, niece and nephew also spent a day with us.
Back at my Dad's, we spent time out on the farm and the girls drove the tractor. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket My step-brothers rodeo, so we went to watch them rope and they put the girls on the horses. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketFlower was in heaven! I am afraid we could develop a very expensive hobby if we aren't careful. On Sunday, we attended church with my Dad and Larry Ford who travels with the Gaither's Band happened to be leading worship. It was a wonderful gift of old Southern music to my soul. I am sure God smiled at our delight. The entire trip was a wonderful time! Jewel burst into tears when she said good-bye to my step-Mom. She had fallen in love. I pray that they will come visit us soon.

It was a wonderful holiday. I'm glad to be home, but I am so glad we had the opportunity to go. Thanks for sharing the memories with me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In Other Words--Busyness

“Busyness is not a spiritual gift.”
From an interview with
~ Lisa Harper ~

I could easily be a hamster spinning in a wheel this week--lots of output and getting no where fast. Busyness is calling my name. Unpack. Laundry. Iron. Sort clothes out of the closets. Plan meals. Prepare meals. Clean kitchen. Teach the girls. Go shopping. Go to the library. Write. Catch up on email. And on and on the list goes. And that is just home stuff. There is also "ministry" stuff--Prepare Bible Study. Plan lunch with the ladies. Go to PDC. Email Prayer Chain. And more.

But the question comes down to this: Is my busyness really accomplishing anything for the Kingdom of God or for developing God's character in me. And the answer is: no. All of those things can be good things to do, but when I am doing them just because I have to accomplish them, they are lots of output and no progress.

But when I stop and ask God to accomplish through me what He would have accomplished today amazing things happen. Two specific things happen--my true spiritual gifts are used and the fruit of the spirit is developed in me. How, you ask? Because the activity becomes more than busyness.
Preparing Bible Study becomes an extension of my gift of teaching, rather than something to check off my list.
Teaching Flower and Jewel develops self-control in me as I discipline and teach them right from wrong rather than problem manage behavior.
Preparing meals with the girls teaches them how to manage tasks and grow to be women who will manage their own homes.
Ironing shirts develops joy in me as I praise God for the husband He gave me and who provides for our family.
Yet another load of laundry develops perseverence that the task can be managed and develops thankfulness for the abundance God gives.
Yielding my day to God develops meekness that I can't do it all myself--especially as I see Him accomplish everything on my list and I don't feel "busy" but "empowered."

Busyness is not a spiritual gift. God calls us to be steadfast with the tasks that He prepares for us, but He does not want us to do those tasks in our strength. He expects us to depend on Him to accomplish the tasks of our day. Then He will develop our gifts in us. Amazing! (If you haven't read Cyndi's post at CWO Cafe last Friday go read it now. She talks about giving our days to Jesus in a much more articulate way than I could ever dream. Her post has gone a long way to allow God to change my heart this week. Don' miss it!)

Heavenly God, help me to discern this week the tasks that you call me to do and those that are just "busy" on my list. Help me to hand them over to you and be a conduit through which you work. May the things I accomplish this week bring You glory, and may they be a part of your plan to make me more like You. Amen.

Christine at Fruit in Season is our hostess this week for In Other Words. Please visit here to read what others are writing.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

I have returned to the land of the functional after our 17 day trip to the States and the massive jet lag and cold that I endured when I returned. I promise, holiday pics and details soon, but for now here is my menu plan for the week. We are getting back to a South Beach way of life after not worrying about it on the trip, so menus are heavy on proteins/veg and light on carbs.

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Monday: ground pork burgers with cheese (no bread), mixed green salads
Tuesday: Grilled Salmon with lemon pepper, steamed carrots, salad
Wednesday: South Beach BBQ chicken, steamed peas, corn
Thursday: Indian takeaway
Friday: Lamb steaks, green beans, salad
Saturday: Pork in marscapone sauce, steamed broccoli, salad
Sunday: Bean soup with ham

For other great menu ideas, please join Laura at orgjunkie.