When you just can’t enter the fast lane

Anyone else finding it a little hard to believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT week???

Me too.

On Tuesday I made a day trip down to visit Sarah. I hit the city at just the right time because there was not much traffic at all on the highway.

Which is great for me because it can feel like you stumbled onto the track at Daytona at times; and even with the few cars that were zooming around me, I was feeling a bit nervous and had to give myself numerous pep talks.

At one point, I was holding steady in the lane I needed to be in for an upcoming turn (as in I would need to exit a good 4 miles on down the road, but changing lanes is not my thing); when I saw a car coming up the entrance ramp to my right. It was moving slowly which I interpreted to mean another timid driver such as myself.

I slowed a little to make room for the car to enter, but it just kept creeping along.

Talking to the driver as if we were wearing headsets to allow for auto to auto communication, I began cheering him on….

Come on…just speed up a little…you can make it. I’m slowing down for you, just accelerate man and get on this crazy train.

Apparently he had his earphones turned off because he just kept slowing down at the same rate I was decelerating.

Finally it was clear that one of us was going to have to speed up, so I shouted my apologies that he hadn’t gotten the memo and sped ahead of him.

As I looked behind, I noticed that he was not really going much faster and then I took in the condition of his car.

It was an older vehicle and the front end looked like it had been bashed a time or two too many.

Puffs of blackish smoke wafted behind it.

I realized, it simply could not go that fast even if given the best of opportunities and all the breaks and encouragement it needed.

And I thought as I drove how sometimes we are like that car. Or at least I am.

The “holidays” are beautiful and wonderful and exciting. We have all kinds of opportunities and encouragement from friends to join in the festivities.

But we have some stuff that is weighing us down.

Changes in our finances, relationships, circumstances can leave us feeling a bit like that old beater car chugging along and trying to enter into the flow of those who are seemingly unhindered in this season.

Perhaps today we can examine our hearts and ponder which “car” we are as 2017 winds to a close.

Are we zooming along, giddy with the abundance of blessings flowing or are we limping up the ramp to the holidays with some heaviness in our hearts.

And then let’s take it a step further and look around us at our fellow travelers.

How can we quiet ourselves and step away from our busy-ness to extend a gentle hug to one who is struggling?

AND

How can we develop an openness to find the JOY of this season by trusting God with our circumstances and asking Him how we can embrace the celebrations just as we happen to be this particular year?

It is, as always, a pleasure to be traveling this journey with each of you.

Forgive me if I have, in moments of personal happiness, mowed you over with my abundance.

And thank you, most tenderly, for the times you have helped me to ease back into the flow of life when I have experienced set backs.

Be blessed today to know that whatever your circumstances are, you are loved and prayed over even as you finish reading this <3

How did I get so dumb without my smart phone?

Good morning to you!

Twenty-four hours ago as I type this, I was running around the house gathering my wits and my travel mug of coffee and doing last minute things to head out the door and make the 2 plus hour trip to see this gem…

We had a day date and with tight schedules on her calendar and mine, I had hoped to get an earlier start…but well…it’s me so…delays were inevitable.

But I was feeling pretty good about the window of late I was leaving in as I made my way through the backroads toward the interstate.

Until I was almost to the entrance ramp and decided to charge my phone as I drove.

Only to discover in all my packing up to leave, my phone was still back home.

I realize there was a day when we did not have phones and we made trips all over the world without knowing what politicians and athletes were thinking about in 280 words or less every two seconds.

We didn’t know if someone needed to get a hold of us until we got home and checked the answering machine, and I even remember a time before there was that recorder of information available.

Sometimes we had to wait until….gasp…we saw someone to tell them what we  were thinking or needing.

However; this is not such a time.

Not at all.

And what happened next was a carefully executed u-turn and a slightly stress-filled return trip home while I gave myself the usual lecture about running late, being forgetful…yada…it plays on a loop so I won’t bore you with it here.

I also did one of my “what-if” nightmare obsessive role plays of the scenario if I had not realized I forgot it until the turnaround was too late to make up for the lost time.

This one had my blood pressure soaring far above it’s usual comatose numbers as I envisioned things like …. me trying to navigate the traffic and even standing a chance of finding her house because I am the WORST big city nervous driver on the planet and I have absolutely no sense of direction let alone recall of how to get to places I have been to hundreds of times.

I also realized that pay phones are probably non-existent so where does one make a call if one does not have one’s phone with one?

I was basically hyperventilating playing out in my mind the image of begging strangers to use their cell phone so I could call Sarah from some truck stop at some exit and then try to copy her directions onto the back of a receipt so I could get to her.

All that to say I am a bit freaked out today at how much I rely on this phone.

It often serves as my clock, calendar, notebook of to do’s, my communication method with friends and family, map, phone book, photo album, email, newspaper, encyclopedia/dictionary, entertainment when I have a long wait and even keeps track of how many steps I have taken in a day.

Oh my…I may need to excuse myself and breathe into a paper bag just thinking of it.

Which is why I think setting it aside intentionally a certain amount of time each day is not only healthy but necessary.

Ok. Now you probably need a paper bag.

Take your time and consider how much of your life is on your phone.

I think it is a wake up call that I might regain some skills like map reading, memorizing directions (ouch) and actually taking time to talk to people face to face.

That’s what I got out of it anyway.

So  now it’s off to another late start to my day..and I hope you have a blessed one <3

 

 

What’s in a name?

A rose is a rose…by any other name or so they say.

And I have absolutely no idea what that means…but…

On Sunday, in class, the question was presented as to why the name used for Jesus and God were anglicized. We could go on with that for really all the names in the Bible because truly the names you and I are familiar with are English forms of Hebrew or Greek names.

And I will stop there because my time is short this morning and so is my knowledge on this subject.

So two quick thoughts to share.

One is to satisfy your curiosity Jesus would have been Yeshua before it was changed to the English version Jeshua  and God would be YHWH until it was expanded Yahweh or Jehovah  in English.

And that, my friends, is a ridiculously condensed explanation gleaned from a quick google search this morning. You are welcome.

The second point is one that I have pondered and marveled over and mediated upon frequently since I left our class that morning.

And that is the name for Jesus that none of us know.

Yet.

Because in the Revelation of John at the end of the Bible, Jesus is described as He will be when He returns.

God’s Word will do you more good today than anything I could say to inspire or encourage you, so sit up straight…or stand up…and read it with me from my NKJV…

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.”    Revelation 19:11 & 12

I don’t know about you.

But when I read those words, my heart starts pounding and I can hear in my spirit THE MOST intense ever of all times climactic scores of music that would put all other music to the level of a kazoo playing Yankee Doodle.

He is called Faithful and True…but He has a name …

I’m sorry…

a NAME…

that no one knows yet, except Himself.

I love what Beth Moore taught once about that…

a name that no one has ever been able to use in vain.

A NAME that has never been misaligned or misunderstood.

A NAME above all names.

And then to top it all off…according to verse 16 of this same passage…when He returns He will have a name written on His Robe and across His thigh…and oh my…can we just picture that for a moment?

And that NAME is …

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

So until we know His name, we can know Him by the names revealed in Scripture …

Healer

Redeemer

Savior

Messiah

LORD

Forgive

Deliverer

What are some of the names of Jesus that you hold most tenderly in your heart today?

Call Him by His Name <3

As if I wasn’t challenged enough…

Even though things like untangling my bracelets is kind of an everyday challenge for me, I have somehow managed to commit myself to several more group type challenges for the holiday season.

The first one was self-imposed and gleaned from attending the Declare Conference.

I was introduced to the idea of a 30 Day Writing Challenge and have set a goal to write 1,000 words every day for the month of November.

The plan is to end up with 30,000 words of subject matter and then I can take a look at it and see if it is worth putting together into some sort of book form or maybe just something I needed to get out of my system.

A thousand words may seem like a lot, but ask Russ…no problemo for me.

Not only can I say that many on a walk around the block with him, I actually write 500-700 a day for this so it is doable….

if it wasn’t for the fact that ever since I stated that I would be setting November aside to do this…

every spare second has been sucked out of the universe.

Then there was the next challenge that came down the pike.

A fitness and health challenge for the holidays offered by Melanie Brown of  Motivated by More. See what she is up to here …. http://motivatedbymore.net

Melanie leads the twice weekly exercise class I attend and is an encourager extraordinaire.

So when she offered a Holiday Challenge group, I signed up and we are on Week 2 of this adventure.

This little junket into healthy eating and exercise accompanied by daily devotions had barely started when I received the 7 days of Black and White picture challenge I spoke of on Friday.

And that was a blast….but still has me scrolling through Facebook to make sure I have caught everyone else’s clever and oh so artsy pics.

And then Sunday morning, I received a new challenge in church.

Pastor Brian shared a truly helpful and applicable sermon on the Lord’s Prayer and how he uses it in his devotion time.

Check out Part 2 of the Be Still series at  http://firstdecatur.org/sermons

The challenge is to use the model of the Lord’s Prayer every day through the end of the year.

Brian broke down the sections of the Lord’s Prayer and showed us how we can use it to shape our prayers to God based on Jesus answer to the disciples request for Him to teach them how to pray the way He did.

This sermon gives fresh insight into using this prayer and ends with offering an opportunity to commit to the discipline of prayer at a set time and place each day as 2017 winds to a close.

Something I have been learning through all of these different challenges is the great addition of accountability.

For the writing challenge, I have a couple of other writers I am checking in with who also committed to some kind of regular writing throughout these 30 days.

With a little text message here and there, we have been checking in on each other. Some days we share our frustration that we haven’t written, or just a shout out to do whatever we can.

The same is true for the Holiday Challenge.

Melanie sends out emails every day, menu plans once a week and has connected us all on an app that I just finally figured out I should be connecting more regularly.

On the app, there is a thread of conversations about wins when temptation was overcome or fessing up when we gave in. Members are sharing recipes and such.

I have found these comments to be so inspiring to me to keep me on the right path with making healthier choices for food intake and exercise.

And now with the Lord’s Prayer challenge…this one…I want to hold myself accountable to you.

I hope you will join me and if I glean anything sharable along the way of this challenge, I do commit to pass it along to you. I may even start a category for this one…we shall see…but…

The main thing is, if you have set goals for yourself, it’s not cheating to gather a few like-minded support people around you and devise a way to encourage each other even as you hold each other accountable.

Be blessed today in whatever you set your heart and mind to do <3

 

Black & White and Red, White and Blue kinda end to the week <3

So if you are on Facebook you may have noticed a challenge going around that has thoroughly captivated me and caused me to waste copious amounts of time…

the Black and White 7 day photo challenge.

Go ahead and skip farther down to the red, white and blue part if pictures ain’t your thing.

But I have loved it.

I loved looking for things to photograph …\

poor Dublin….

even he got in on the action.

and I love editing with iPhoto to see what kinds of effects the shading can have on the picture.

I have loved looking at what others have shared and have avidly followed the people I challenged and then others who they have added …

all to say this might explain why our kitchen counters look like a mail order distribution center this morning.

Russ asked if we needed to call a contractor and have more space installed…

he suggested we could take out the laundry room since it’s not being used much these days….

and with that…

on to the red, white and blue.

With all the comments and thoughts and tweets regarding the flag and who’s standing and who’s kneeling, how about we put our feet where our mouths are (see what I did there?) and show our support for those who have served this country in a tangible way?

This weekend we honor veterans around this country, those men and women who have served us.

I know you all read this all over the country, but for those of us locally I would like to share an opportunity to thank our veterans in a personal way.

One of those we honor used to lead worship for our youth group. He had hair about as long as mine back when I had to braid mine to keep it from looking stringy.

I have fond memories of him at so many different times, one in particular, as the youth gathered at a home overlooking some of the area’s finest farm fields following a cookout.

As we watched the glory of one of God’s amazing Midwestern sunsets, Cody played his guitar and led us in one song after another.

That was one of the most significant worship experiences I hold in my heart as it was truthfully one expressed out of a sincere heart of love and gratitude that just flowed as Cody sang.

We moms always told him we knew he was a worship warrior and we prayed extra hard for him.

And then he became a real warrior.

One for America.

He enlisted in the U. S. Military and was serving in a medical unit when his unit came under attack.

What he saw and experienced has shaped and changed him and he is a different kind of warrior now.

He works to raise funds for those who return from war to know they are loved and appreciated and to provide encouragement and support.

This Saturday the group that he is a part of is holding an event

Pardon my crude tech skills…but to find out more, check out this link

http://theh3f.org

or if you are on Facebook connect with H3F Veterans Day 5k fun run/ruck march

You don’t have to run to come out and support them.

The fact that I can type these words of hope and encouragement to you today and you are allowed to read them are because we have freedoms that were paid for at a high price.

Thank you dad, Uncle Theron, Cody….all the men and women who have served us and fought for the freedom of others around the world <3