Category Archives: Musings of a blonde brain

One in a trabillionzillion <3

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I was trying to think what to send you and I keep pushing away this little story, but it persists in rising to the top and so I am going to share it. 

Do you ever have things happen that are just so sweet and tender that you almost want to hide them away in your heart? I do.

I never want to betray the sacred ground of our family life for a story and yet God seems to give me such moments to share with you – maybe something you can relate to…maybe He has a word of encouragement for you…maybe just to make you smile and think on good things in a world that is becoming increasingly hard and divided. 

So here is my little gift to you today from my heart.

A couple of months ago when I was spending the day with our crew, Graham took a super close zoom in on my face and very sweetly pointed out that I had something on one of my front teeth. 

I asked him if he was seeing a little divot near the bottom edge of the tooth and yes, that was it. 

I told him I have always had that. Some dentist along the way told me my permanent tooth had been delayed coming in and that caused this kind of chipped spot.

 I don’t know if he was correct in that diagnosis, but over the years various other dentists have offered to fill it in if I would like but I told them no. 

Graham seemed fascinated that I would pass on having this little mar fixed. 

I can understand why he would be surprised since I can’t bear having a spot on my clothes or a mascara smear at the corner of my eye and can waste a huge amount of time stressing over a chunk of hair that is stubbornly refusing to join ranks with the rest of my head. 

As he looked at me like I had suddenly grown a third eye in addition to my chipped tooth, I explained to him how I kind of love that little blemish for some reason.

 It is like a familiar friend to me and I always felt like it gave my ordinary features something special and unique. It was how God made my tooth and I actually love my little chip.

I totally forgot about the conversation and for story purposes, you need to as well….

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and another day with the band of brothers and Little Miss Thing. 

We were driving in the van and from the far recesses of the back, Graham asked me if I ever noticed he has a bald spot. 

Well, I did know that he has a tiny place on the side of his head near his temple where hair just never has grown. I noticed it first a few years ago and had asked Rachel if he or another Kindergartner had taken a scissor to it because he seemed self conscious about making sure it was covered. She told me he had always had it and yes, he was embarrassed when people noticed and commented.

So with this memory popping up, I immediately began to downplay any recollection of having noticed this on his precious head. 

Instantly he stopped me in my tracks. 

Oh no Lola!!! I do have a spot…it’s like the chip in your tooth. God made me that way. It makes me special and unique.

Even as I tell you this, I have a big lump in my throat and tears brimming thinking of the joy in his voice as he shared my own words right back to me. 

I took a peek in the rearview mirror at his beaming face as I asked him…Graham! Have you come to love your little bald spot the way I love my tooth? 

Nodding enthusiastically he replied with a happy….. Yes

Oh my word…such a moment. 

There are so many things about myself I wish were not so. 

Not just physical things, but ways I am wired and driven. 

And yes, God is in the business of transforming me more and more into the image of Christ. 

But how fun when He helps me see that some of my flaws and shortcomings (not my sins…just my human “stuff”)  are just the ways He has made me unique and different from everyone else so that we can all come together and add our flavor to the Body of Christ <3 

What’s your little imperfection or quirk that God has shown you makes you unique and uses to encourage all the other works-in-progress who share the journey each day?

Can we learn to love how we were fashioned because we love the One who made us this way? I hope so. 

You are unique and one of a kind beautiful and you are loved <3

And then sometimes God gives you your word…

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Good morning! 

I am super late getting a post up. I actually got ready first, which is unheard of…this new leaf thing is stretching me….hope it passes soon.

As I have been thinking about the “one word” thing…and I am quite certain that unless some random thought crops up that burns to be expressed we are done with it as of today…and it occurs to me that God is pressing a word on me.

Several words actually.

Do you ever find a verse or phrase or theme cropping up in a couple of locations and you start to perk up your ears?

Well, since we cracked open the 2019 calendar ten days ago, I have been smacked in the face by a passage A LOT.

It was featured in our Sunday School lesson, and then the sermon given by our pastor.

It has been in a couple of my devotional readings, from different sources and was thrown out by both a sermon podcast I listened to and a recorded teaching by Beth Moore from December 5th.

And if you feel like it’s hunting you down too, well then I find myself in good company this morning. 

I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God; that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  

Romans 12: 1 & 2 NKJV

I love The Message wording as well…

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 

Eugene Peterson adds this in the commentary:

“God doesn’t want a tithe from you, minced out of the pocket change of your life. He wants all of you. All of your heart. All of your mind. All of your time, your energy, your resources. All of your hopes and dreams. Every bit of who you are and what you have, he wants you to put on the altar as an offering to him.”

The Message Study Bible, Eugene Peterson; navpress, 2007, pg. 1761

Seems like a lot doesn’t it. 

Kind of fanatical. 

Very risky.

Until we remember that the very breath in our lungs is by His will and power and grace.

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As Beth said so well at the end of her message I listened to (December 5th on her broadcast) and I paraphrase for you…

We have been raised from a stinking grave for crying out loud and we walk around acting like God has been holding out on us. 

God is calling me to renew my mind this year…to lay down before Him this every-day, ordinary life as an offering and then taking my hands off of what I gave Him. 

I am not loaning Him my life. I am giving back the life He freely gave me.

To stop conforming and to surrender to His transforming. 

What’s God speaking to you this year? 

Share. Please do. 

Oh sure…with me in the comments would be fun…but no… I mean SHARE it out there with others. 

Let’s be people who are effective witnesses because we have taken the time to really absorb and recognize what Christ has done for us. 

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What’s in a word?

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Good morning! I am running around like a crazy person trying to get some dusting done, laundry caught up and me ready to head out the door ON TIME for work…because…new year equals new leaf attempts. 

I am mulling over this whole “one word” thing and I know you all are just sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear more about my word last year…okay maybe not…but here we go with a quick observation and then I am outta here!

I mentioned last year and again yesterday about this word “simplify.”

It kind of sounds like simplicity, which is so out of reach for me I can’t even imagine that one. 

I will most likely overthink everything til Jesus takes me Home or I totally lose all mental faculties. 

I am wired to ponder and add layers to thoughts and activities, and I am somewhat drawn to shiny things.

Also, since I have the heart of a story teller by nature, I would be short on material if I lived without the unending complications I encounter just navigating a day. 

Case in point, I just googled the word “simplicity” to enhance our conversation and I was immediately taken to the website for the Simplicity pattern company. This transported me back to Junior High Home Ec class…and it is with great effort and discipline that I am logging out of that rabbit trail and looking for the definition!!!

So…simplicity: the quality of being easy to understand and do

Yes – this is not me. 

I don’t understand things easily. 

I am often an enigma to those who love me most.

I do not go about any task the easy way. 

I make a lot of work for those same people who love me most. 

So while “simplicity” may be a stretch, I CAN CHOOSE to simplify along the way. 

To simplify is a process, and I am all about processes. 

The very name of this blog is “Journey Onward” because it’s about the fact that we are all making our way along a path.

Step by step.

And while I am prone to want lots of rest breaks and detours to scenic spots…and while I grouse about other times when I must deviate from the quickest route due to construction and delays…it is all part of the way I am taking through this life and the people who are walking alongside me in different seasons. 

And sometimes I tend to focus on the wrong things at crucial times. 

That is where I grew a little through employing my One Word last year.

I can look back and see where I let go of some of my perfectionism issues…where I challenged myself to look at the big picture instead of micro-micro-managing the teeny tiny details of how I did things.

I got brave and left the house with a hat on some days when the errand needed to be run. 

I learned to think less about what every one else might be thinking. 

Oh, this is huge. 

I forced myself to make quick decisions on totally unimportant things like what to order off a menu and what was really essential to throw in an overnight bag. 

If you don’t struggle with over thinking, none of this sounds like much…but to me…it was kind of a big deal to realize I survived just fine and lived to order and pack again. 

So there you go…my synopsis of last year’s word. 

And just in time to post and head out to work.

Bam! 

Have a good day and I will see you tomorrow!

Closing out 2019 <3

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Hello to you and Happy New Year’s Eve!

I have taken some time to rest. And I mean that quite literally as I caught some sort of bug sometime Friday after I went to bed and ended up sleeping and resting and recuperating the next 36 hours. 

Thankfully I was recovered by Sunday morning and able to attend service at our church and then tag along to take John to catch his flight home. 

I also finished The Chronological Bible this morning and I can’t emphasize enough the feeling of joy to have completed the read through this year. 

It took an average of six pages a day and while I read ahead some and got behind others, I ended up with only needing to ready twelve pages the last two days and I loved every single word. 

There is nothing quite like ending the year with the great and powerful words of the Revelation given to John and saved for us to read. 

I understand the need to study passages and not just cram Scripture in, but if you have never taken the challenge to read through the Bible in a year, I would greatly recommend you doing so in 2019. 

Here are some of the ways I have done this if you are looking for a place to start:

<3 Different translations for a straight read through which include the David Jeremiah NKJV Study Bible, The Message, The Chronological Bible twice

<3 Use the Bible Reading plan in Our Daily Bread, which typically takes you through some Old and New Testament passages so you cover the Bible in a year but it ties passages from both of these into a thread

<3 Bible reading plan offered in the index of one of my Bibles (I believe it was NIV)

Yes, there are some dry places but as I have repeated this discipline over the years (I DO NOT do a complete read through every year!!) and add to it knowledge gleaned from taking classes and doing other studies, the passages have grown richer and deeper to me in meaning. 

So as you are making plans and setting goals for 2019, I pray you would consider giving yourself the gift of a year in God’s complete Word. 

I love you that much that I am willing to nag you on New Year’s Eve…(insert a smile)

I hope you have a wonderful time ringing in 2019. 

I hope this year brings you some answers to long-prayed for blessings. 

I hope that you will feel and know the presence of the LORD Himself each and every day. 

Are you one who likes to read the end of a book to make sure it will be worth your investment of time and emotion? 

I am…no surprise to you probably. 

So let me share with you one of my most favorite passages from the final chapter of God’s written word to us, His people…

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be nor more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”   Revelation 21:1-5

He who testifies to the these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Revelation 22:20

And can we all with one accord, join with the Apostle John and say?

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen  Revelation 22:21

Happy New Year dear friends! 

I look forward to continuing to journey with you until we are united with Him or He returns to take us Home <3

Proposal for a new act of Congress…

I know there are a lot of very important issues and I am not trying to take the pressing needs of our nation and minimize what are real struggles for people, but on a light note…wouldn’t it be lovely if Congress or Senate or the County Dog Catcher could pass some kind of decree that we always and forever had an extra week between Thanksgiving and December?

Please.

Because I have found this week to be an open space to breathe and have enjoyed it thoroughly even in spite of the fact that I have had the mother of all colds going on.

With the fortification of essential oils, Vick’s, night and day cold meds, mucinex and an antibiotic, I have been able to carry on and have progressed with getting our Christmas trim up, some gifts purchased and coped with only mild panic attacks pondering how to produce a picture for the Christmas cards.

You all may know I am a big fan of shopping local, particularly small businesses, even though there are times that due to lack of places to shop for certain items I do order online.

And I am also a big supporter of small businesses who give back to help others so in light of that, I am sharing some ministries I have become aware of that I believe are sincere in their mission to help others.

I am not getting any perks or benefits from these places but I have met the women behind the business and I can say they are bright lights in a dark world.

So check them out in your spare time…enjoy <3

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<3       The first is called Loved and Blessed.

It is a subscription service for encouragement led by a beautiful lady named Jamila Jackson. 

You can order one box or select your number of months to send (or receive). 

The boxes include some little gift type items including one to pass along to someone else as well as a daily devotion to work through that is themed each month.

Jamila takes it a step further and provides an online community setting where she shares weekly encouragement, provides a place for shared prayer requests and expands on the devotion through some guided discussion. 

You can check out her website here

https://www.lovedandblessed.com

www.laurareimer.net

I reconnected with Jamila at the Declare Conference in October and she is as warm and loving in person as she appears on social media.

She is the real deal and such a blessing in my days. 

<3     Another ministry/business I discovered at the Declare Conference is Winton and Waits.

They have a store front in Fort Worth area but also offer their products online. 

You can check them out here

https://wintonandwaits.com/pages/about

The founder, Jenna Lee, is darling and many of the beautiful products (particularly the candles and bath salts) are made locally, while others are made through partnership programs she has developed through women around the world. 

Through partnership with other ministries, Jenna’s company provides income and way out of poverty for women and children around the globe. 

I purchased some beautiful and reasonably priced earrings that are featured here…

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and if you are local to my area… I happen to know a gift shop in town that is selling some of these beauties to support the ministry of Winton and Waits…just saying…

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The last visit today is with ….

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Mercy House Global. 

Kristen Welch was the author of a popular blog We Are That Family

at http://wearethatfamily.com

and was quickly rising in popularity when she made a trip to Kenya with Compassion International in the company of other bloggers who had been invited to travel so they could share about the ministry of this organization. 

Her life was forever wrecked by the experience and her desires were completely rewritten by God. 

For those in my church family who have been to Kenya…we get that…

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She and her husband founded this ministry and I was blessed to hear her speak at the Declare Conference. 

Mercy House Global had a shop at the conference and the products are not only excellent in quality, they provide income for the least of these…women and children who formerly had no option but prostitution to feed their starving children now have places to find refuge and to learn skills that provide income for their homes. 

You can check out their ministry and shop here

https://mercyhouseglobal.org/about-us/

I wanted to do a better job putting this together and I so hope I have accurately portrayed the ministries represented.

And goodness knows… I do love to shop… I can’t help it. 

It has been fun to window shop with you, my friends, today. 

I hope you enjoyed our visits…and I will see you tomorrow <3