Feb 27, 2015

The Silver Lining in... Baking Cookies. Breaking Windows. East Nash Thugs. Growing Community.

Yesterday I was baking cookies for the hubs and nino, actually, seventy of ninos best friends. His track team, heading to Indoor Track Finals this weekend.
I was also preparing for my IF dinner, a monthly gathering of ladies who share a meal, talk Tinder to terrible two's to terminal things. Gosh if Tinder isn't terminal... Lord help us. 

I was listening to music that made my heart sing, talking to God, thanking Him for His provision. He is so good, my life so rich. In March it will be a year that we pulled up roots and hauled our worldly possessions and hearts to Nashville. I don't have to look far, literally across the street, to see people God has brought to my life that I care deeply about. 

Everyday I thank God for a husband who is spiritually, emotionally and physically strong, which allows me to fly free. He pushes me to find my sweet spot in God's kingdom and that is where I find contentment and purpose. He is watching me blossom here and he is my biggest fan. Without him, I could not do this. We are a team, though our teams play in different states most days. 

As I pondered this yesterday I was overcome with the joy in recognizing that sometimes it takes years to find your sweet spot. I thought my purpose was one thing and actually it was another. By letting God lead, instead of pushing through, I learn and prosper for Him. 

So, I am pondering these things in my heart and praising God when my phone goes off. 
It's the daughter.
Can I check her house? Alarm is going off.
Probably dogs she says.
Hmm.... it's not dogs, my spidey sense says.
Her house is 3 blocks away. I'm gone!
I fly over. 
I'm a detective. Checking the alley on my way. 
Open the door to house... slowly.
Tazer in hand.
Walk in sideways to alarm. 
Look around. See window. Broken.
Call 911.
Officer asks where I am.
He orders me out.
I tell him, It's fine, I'm fine. Start to give him a run down and tell him I have touched nothing.
Should I dust for prints?
He is now screaming in phone at me.
I tell him I have testified against a mob boss. As in, The Mob. He went bye bye for life. I'm still standing. I aint scared of no piece of crap thug. We are gonna have a chat about Jesus.
Okay... I did not say all of that to him, but it's all true. 

In 5 minutes I am surrounded by the most amazing police officers I've ever met. Nashville's finest, really are the finest, especially the East Precinct, mostly women. Amazing women. I recognize the lead officer. She says,"Hey we have to stop meeting like this." 
They dust for prints, we talk, I text the woman I mentioned earlier who lives across the street. It seems before I hit send, she has responded,"That's horrible, I'll send my guys over to board the window." I look at the officer and tell her how much I love this gal. Fabulous neighbors, friends who I can count on. God, you have blessed us so... silver lining moment. 

And my day was going so well...
but you know what?
It was still a good day.
Nothing terrible happened. We have things in place to scare off intruders. 
Life is risky.
If you don't want to take risks, don't get out of bed.
Side note... I did go home and make sure my bullets were where I thought they were. 

I'm so proud of these women that live in this home. They are strong and will be stronger for this. They will be wiser for this. 
I thank God for His provision. We had just installed an alarm two weeks ago that protected this event.  
God expects us to be diligent and have discernment. 
We do not live in fear. We live in knowledge and peace of the One who created us and loves us. 
I can only thank and praise Jesus for His provision yesterday and His peace this morning!

Thank you Jesus, our Provider and Protector. 

Feb 12, 2015

Fifty Bales Of Hay...

We baled a lot of hay.

Early in our marriage my husband and I had two horses and a pony in the hundred acre woods where we lived. A log cabin with stone fireplaces, built from the slate of the land was nestled at the top of a lake that sat between the horse pasture and cabin. The wood we burned was cut by my husband from trees that had fallen along the forest floor. 

In the winter the husband would haul bale after bale of hay to his horses. Twice a day he would make sure they had water, hay, oats, shelter. 
Our barn was stacked full of the fresh smelling life. 

I remember crisp, cold winter mornings, the sun so bright and snow so deep, the husband would be frozen from shoveling, cutting a wide path to the horses. One winter it seemed to snow every Tuesday and Thursday. It was beautiful but I started to think we were living a real life, Little House In The Big Woods, that we read with our daughter each night. 
It was hard work. He would lace his LL Bean boots, heavy coat and gloves and be gone early in the morning, before his 8 am O.R. schedule.

In the spring the horses would be restless and the pony would start the gallop through the field searching until she found a broken fence post. The horses would follow her out into mischief.  The husband would get in his truck, searching the country roads, sometimes a phone call would come in, letting us know the three amigos had been spotted. He would lead them back to safe pastures, mend the broken fence. 

It's been more than a few years since we lived on that land, but I remember clearly. Hard work and green earth leaves impression upon us. 
Fifty bales of hay popped into my head as I was hearing commotion about Fifty Shades Of Grey, just in time for Valentine's day.... That was the plan I'm sure. A romantic movie for your valentine. Nice. Fifty bales, fifty shades, couldn't be more different, but they rhymed. A little.

When I think of what my husband does that makes me love him, desire him, feel proud of him, hug him hard when he comes home to me...
I think of bales of hay, working hard, day and night, being available to me, never quitting on us. Affirming me, pushing me, believing in me, loving me well. He never made me wonder if he loved me, or still loves me. 

So how should we, I, feel about Fifty Shades Of Grey? I have heard enough to understand the premise of the book and movie. I'm a reader. No, I did not read this book.
I can read a variety of books and have a take away from most. 
I chose not to read this book. 

Here are the questions I ask myself.
1)  Is this movie a picture of how God intended my relationship with my husband to be? Is it healthy? 
2)  Is it explicit and is that something that I should/will be comfortable with? Okay, cut to the chase. Is it porn? Is porn good for us, really? Really? 
                                        Then you can ask what moms ask their kids... 
3)  How would you feel if God was sitting with you in that movie theater... Because He is you know. You know that, right? Duh. He's God.

So, if you believe it to be edifying, will help your marriage, increase your love and respect for one another, and be an enjoyable night together... because you must go as a couple, right? Oh, men don't really want to see this movie ?! Gasp. No kidding.

I think number 3 is the question we should ask ourselves most days, in most situations. It cuts through  the crap we tell ourselves, the lies we believe, making us comfortable. 
If God lives in you, He goes where you go, as part of your soul. 
Think about where you want to take Him. 
Pretty simple.

Jan 28, 2015

Fear Is A LIAR...

fear is a liar
"Consider it great joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you experience various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance.
But endurance must do it's work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."
James 1:2-4

Friend ~ are you going through the fire?
When fear comes your way, recognize the author. It's not from above. 
It's a lie, from the father of lies and fear is his number one weapon. He shoots it from a cannon, not a BB gun.
But... it's still a lie. 

You live in the Light of the Truth.
The One who holds your hand, every step, every day.
You... are an overcomer.
Because Christ overcame sin... for you, for us.
He took your place... forever.
His Power and Spirit live in you.

He has given you His power to endure and mature.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and sound judgment."
2 Timothy 1:7

Find your joy in Him today and pass it on...
and remember,
fear is a liar!
YOU... my friend, are an OVERCOMER!

Jan 21, 2015

Make Sure You Have Sara(h)s In Your Life...

It's Tuesday night. Sarah is sitting in my living room, talking with my daughter who just got stopped in, on her way home from work. It is 9 pm. 
I am on the phone with my friend, another Sara. This one in Beaver Creek, one of my favorite places. Both Sara(h)s are friends of my daughter. 
Yes, I have a daughter who connects me to amazing people. 
We are talking Pacific Crest Trail hike and a way to raise money and awareness of women and children in slavery. 
This girl, the one we have called Beyonce for years because, yes, she has a personality this big and because she aint scured of nothing. 
I like that in a girl. 
When she comes to town she searches me out and we talk, we laugh, we drink beer.
 I love that she does this, because she doesn't have to.
I look forward to watching her life go forward. She's gonna be a game changer.

The Sarah on my couch and daughter are both social workers, fresh faced and ready to take on the world. 
A difficult profession, one that can leave you feeling you can never quite catch up, like swimming up stream during a spring flood. Exhausted at the end of the day, but you've been treading water... not really swimming.

Sarah and Ali met volunteering at their church's student ministry. Wednesday nights bring a couple hundred inner city Nashville youth to Crosspoint. They play games, eat, sing... hear Truth. Truth that they are loved by this church and also Jesus Christ.
I'm giddy inside about this place. 
Truth and transparency do that to me.

Sarah shared with Ali that she wasn't feeling well. She was worried. She seemed to know it was serious, even when others brushed her off.
Sarah was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkins disease. Sarah is twenty three years old.

This is where I meet Sarah. Sarah, the pixie faced, darling girl.
 I imagine her mama raising her as a little girl, not much different than now, but for the ideas that spring from her, law school being next on her agenda. 
 She has a sweetness and insight you notice quickly. In one breath she beams the morning sun and in the next she shares a fear that reminds you, she is human, simply wanting to be done with this so she can go back to her life. Maybe marry some day, have babies, the picket fence. 
What's wrong with that dream... nothing my sweet girl, nothing at all.

Sarah and I meet when she is at chemo. It's a long day for her. She smiles the whole time.
She sent me a message once that said, "I look different, I cut my hair." She had been worried it would fall out, as most do going through this treatment. 
When I came around the corner I saw her in her chair, and her hair was darling. I asked who cut it. She pointed to her dad, whom I held my hand to greet for the first time. 
He had a big smile and admitted he did it. 
I thought I might cry... picturing this big guy taking scissors to his baby girls long locks, deciding how and where to start snipping. 
The reason could not be lost on him, and how hard it would be, cutting your sweet girls crown of beauty. The end result was charming, curly locks and my eyes were wet.

Sara texted me one day telling me she had a really big favor to ask. I thought. "Oh no, it's time, someone actually wants that kidney."
She asked if I would take her to chemo. Um, hello, Lord yes! I felt honored that she would ask me. She stayed with me for a couple days after. We lounged, slept, ate and watched gobs of Friends, Modern Family and Gilmore Girls. 

These Sara(h)s in my life... they remind me of my purpose. They point me to Be... this years word. If I am to Be, I must be available and willing. Open and honest, quiet, willing to listen and encourage.  "Be Still And Know That I Am God." Psalm 46:10

I struggle to BE. I'd rather Do. Doing isn't always good for me. I'm like that chicken. You get the picture. I'm busy, I squawk a lot and stomp around. It's not pretty.
When I BE, I'm quiet, thoughtful, purposeful and present. 

These Sara(h)s in my life... they point me to 
 the Biblical Sarah, who had a clear purpose and vision. She had courage and was a role model. She became the mother of a nation... even though she did not mother until her old age. 

Nothing was impossible for Sarah, for God's hand was upon her. 
The same will be true here. 
I hope you have Sara(h)s in your life. 
They make life rich. 
They are wise women and I look at them and they give me hope. 

Who gives you hope that you can share, encourage, be with?
Reach out. 
They need you... and you need them.

Jan 19, 2015

MLK... Ten Commandments Of The Movement

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Ten Commandments of the movement.
This pledge was a way to affirm the values at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. 
It is still true today to maintain safety, and be a witness for those who stand in solidarity against violence, abuse, and racism.
Shouldn't that be every single human?

"I hereby pledge myself - my person and my body - to nonviolence, peace, and justice for all people everywhere.

Therefore I will keep the following commandments:

I will meditate daily on the teachings of Jesus.

I will remember always that the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation - not victory. 

I will walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

I will pray daily to be used by God in order that all people might be free.

I will sacrifice personal wishes in order that all people might be free. 

I will observe with both friends and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

I will seek to perform regular services for others and for the world. 

I will refrain from violence of fist, tongue or heart. 

I will strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

I will listen with respect to those who love and teach me." 

These ideas, commandments, this is the way to live my friends. 
Let us remember those who came before us and led the way... to peace, freedom and salvation. 
Pass it on today.
Thank you Mr. King.

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?"