I'm so glad you've stopped by my blog! I am a Women's Minister and a former Pastor's Wife. I love finding God in my regular-everyday-stuff. I struggle with keeping up with the laundry, I love blogging, and my kids are my first line of ministry. I am recently widowed. So God and I are on a brand new journey as I try to find peace and understanding. Please grab a cup of coffee and let's get to know one another as we journey on our faith walk together.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Is God "okay" with this?

Mornings can be such a crazy time in our home.   Typically we have a calm breakfast.  The children eat their cereal while my husband & I share a cup of coffee and discuss the day's events.

Then as if an alarm goes off in the house, we all jump up from this very sane and calm moment to rushing around as if the house is on fire!  I'm looking for that missing sock, my 3 year old son is wanting more juice, my 6 year old 1st grader is looking for her backpack, my husband is looking for his cell phone... am I alone here in the morning craziness?!

So... once we finally get everyone in the car and buckled up...  I'm wanting to find that calm & sane moment again.  I usually do so by turning on the radio.  This tends to keep questions, arguments from the back seat, and general noisey-ness to a minimum.

Okay - moment of vulnerability...  here are my presets on my minivan radio:
#1 - LifeSongs - local Christian station
#2 - KLOVE - National Christian station
#3 - WNOE - local Country station - 
(Come on!  I'm from Texas!)
#4 - WRNO - local talk radio 

On one such morning last week, as I looked at my presets to determine which station I thought would bring the most peace to my humble little gray minivan bee-bopping down the interstate... I selected our local Christian station.  I knew we needed to infuse Jesus into our car and I wanted to hear the local traffic report if I could.

Well... I'M SO GLAD I DID!!!!

We were almost to Jordan's school.  The kids were being great!  My plan & selection had worked beautifully!  Then JP asked me a question I have not been able to get out of my mind and makes me think every time I turn on my radio...

A wonderful praise & worship song was playing - but granted it had a more rock-n-roll type of beat.  I'm even kind of singing it in my head... then he asked...

"Mommy, is God okay with this song?"

Wow!  He's only 3 years old!  And not only is he listening to the song, but he's listening to the words!  And more important than both of these... he gets that God cares what we listen to and he wants to please God.  He already wants his little life to be okay with God!

I learned many lessons that morning!  Here are just a couple...

#1 - my kids are watching and learning way more than I give them credit
#2 - I want my life and all that I do to be okay with God

I want more than just my radio stations to be okay with God.  I want what I say and how I say it to be okay with God!  I just kept thinking throughout the day, "What if JP had asked this about something I said or did, instead of just a radio song?"

That morning, I was able to say, "Yes!  This is a fun Jesus song!  God likes this song!"  Can I answer "yes" to other decisions I make throughout my day?

Today, examine your steps and ask JP's question... "Is this okay with God?"  I know it's simple.  But in this simplicity I have made improvements to my daily living that I think make God smile.

So.... just for fun... 
What are your radio presets?
Do they help you get down the road a little happier?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ask them! It might just change their life!

What’s God showing you lately?

For most of us, this is an easy question to answer.  In fact, most of our blog posts are about this very thing.  It’s probably why we started blogging in the first place – to let our friends and family know what God is showing us, teaching us, and doing in our every day lives!

But today, I want to ask you… are you asking this question to those around you?

It was this very question that changed the way I viewed my relationship with God.  There was a lady in our church, a staff wife actually.  And she was the happiest, most joyful person I knew.  I loved talking with her – and yet sometimes I avoided her.  Why?  Because I knew the first thing she was going to ask me was this question.  The conversation would go something like this:

Me:  Hi there!

My friend:  Hey Penny!  How are you doing today?

Me:  Good!  You?

My friend:  Great!  {insert something God was doing in her life}.  
So, what has God been showing you lately?

Me: {usually I would stumble with my words, try to excuse myself for something more urgent, 
or just make something up}

It was at this time that I realized that God needed to be showing me something on a regular basis!

Not just so I could have an answer for my friend – but because she knew, and I did too, that God desperately wanted to talk with me and show me great & wonderful things that I did not know (Jeremiah 33:3).  Today, I can’t get enough of what God wants to show me.  Usually when reading my Bible, I won’t get up until God has spoken directly to me!

So.. today I want to encourage you to do more than just share on your blog – or share with others what God is showing you – but rather to get up from your computer and ASK!  Ask those around you what God is showing them!

You can ask this question in just about any setting… while shopping, while on the phone, while waiting to pick up your kids from school, in passing at church.  

The point is… just ask!  They may not say much at the time – but 2 things happen as a result of the asking…
  1. They will more than likely think about it long after their conversation with you is over.
  2. They will know you as a person whom God speaks to often.  You might just become a mentor and example to them in the process!

You might just change their view of God and their very life!

So… to get things started in the right direction…

What has God been teaching you lately?

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I'll stop by your blog later today to say thanks!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

His Words Sunday

I love brand new weeks!  They bring such hope of a brand new start... I pray that this new week brings you hope and streams in the desert.

Isaiah 43: 18-19 (ESV)
"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

I pray that God blesses your Sunday and that you find a way in the wilderness of this next new week!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Me & my little man

Fridays.... don't you just love 'em!  They bring such hope of rest and escape from the daily grind of our week.

Today my 1st grade daughter is having a field trip at the zoo and my husband is playing golf with the Men's Ministry at our church.

So I have the awesome pleasure of spending the day with my 3 year old son.  What shall we do?  I'm thinking something like this....

What are you doing this weekend?
I hope it's filled with many smiles & giggles!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Will anyone ever see me... way down here?

Have you ever thought about how (or rather the position of where) you spend the majority of your day?

In the book of Ruth, we see this Moabitess position herself in a foreign land as a gleaner - someone who gathered and picked up, what was most of the time left on the ground, in order to provide for herself and Naomi.  

It was in this position that God chose to bless her!  He sent Boaz her way, who ended up being her kinsman-redeemer.

Now, I don't go out into a barley field every day - but here is just a short list of what I do from a bended position - picking up or gathering...

1.  Pick up toys - the same ones daily most of the time
2.  Pick up dirty clothes
3.  Clean toilets
4.  Clean bathtubs
5.  Retrieve that favorite "gotta-have-right-this-second-toy" from under the couch/refrigerator/bed
6.  Sweep up the spilled food or dirt into a dust pan
7.  Pull weeds from the flower beds in the yard
8.  Change diapers

The list could go on and on of all the ways we find ourselves in a position of humility!  Talk about lowly jobs, scrubbing toilets and changing nasty diapers!!!

To read the rest.... join me over at Seeds of Faith!

Seeds Of Faith For The Christian Mom

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Posititoned for a Blessing

"Ew!  No way would I want to do that!"
"But, I went to college - I shouldn't have to be doing this!"
"I've already paid my dues - Let someone else do this!"
God, when you said "serve Me" I didn't think you would mean like this!"

Have you ever said or even thought things like this to God?  I'm studying the book of Ruth with the ladies of my church (& with ladies Online - click here for more info) and I'm learning so much from this very small book!

I'm sure you're familiar with Ruth's story.  At the very beginning Ruth's husband, father-in-law and brother-in-law dies.  She & her mother-in-law journey from Moab back to Naomi's homeland - Judah.  Upon arriving in Bethlehem, Ruth immediately finds work.  She doesn't spend days working on her resume, or asking Naomi for the "hookups" for the best job - she immediately humbles herself by asking Naomi if she can glean.

Gleaning was a task for the poor!  Gleaning was something that widows and other less fortunate individuals did!  They would collect the grain that had been dropped on the ground, the harvest that had been pick over and probably stepped on.

Never do we see Ruth complain that this was the only work she could find or that she was above doing this kind of work!  Ruth positioned herself  - humbled herself - for a very menial task.  Not only did she humble herself for such a lowly task, but she worked hard at it too!!

Ruth 2: 2, 7 (NASB)
And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, 'Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.

"Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now;"

As a result of this humbling hard work, Ruth put herself in a position to be blessed - and she didn't even know it!  As a result of her gleaning, she met Boaz!  Most of us know the rest of the story of Ruth.  She marries Boaz and they become the parents of Obed.  Obed is the father of Jesse.  Jesse is the father of King David!  And from King David we eventually see Jesus!

Wow!  My take home message from this passage is HUGE! 

Have you been given a lowly assignment?  Are you still doing work that feels beneath you?  Or perhaps you just thought you would be further along in your career, your parenting, your service to God.  

God could very well have you in just the right position to bless you - IN A HUGE WAY!  
This position could put you in just the right pathway for God's provision!

So keep working steadily, like Ruth, find favor with those whom you're serving and wait for the Lord's provisions!  I have a feeling it will knock your socks off!

If you've experienced a HUGE blessing as a result of a menial task - please share it with us!
I would love to share in God's provision with you!

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Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Becoming a Woman of Refinement

I love when Jesus brings friends together!  I am happy to introduce to you, Sara Stephenson-Snyder.  She & I met after reading a wonderful book about Pastor's wives - "You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes" by Lisa McKay.  Sara has become one of those friends that just plain "gets me"!  I love her wisdom, her realness, her love for her family, she has an amazing talent with writing - but more than all of that - she ABSOLUTELY loves her God!  She can be found daily at her blog, Confessions of the Pastor's Wife.
Welcome Sara... to Living Above!

Becoming a Woman of Refinement

I woke up this morning with the song “Refiner’s Fire” stuck in my head.  
“Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you my God.”  

It’s a beautiful love song offered from the heart of the created to the One who creates.  I’ve been thinking about refinement a lot lately.  It seems to be the season in which I find myself.  I don’t think I’m alone in this.  When trials arise, we want to know why, and while I don’t believe that God wants us to suffer, I do believe that he can use that suffering for a very holy purpose—spiritual refinement. 

Have you ever watched a glass blower? 

It’s an amazing and beautiful process.  The glass is put into a fire which breaks it down until it loses its inflexibility and becomes pliable enough for the glass maker to bend and shape it into what it is supposed to be—a work of beauty and purpose—a wonderful and unique piece of art.  The process of spiritual refinement is similar.  

As author Maria Harris states, God wants to “fashion me a people”.  And how do we become people of God?  Like the Israelites, we wander through the wilderness and persevere through the trials to the point that we become pliable and God our maker can bend and shape us into what we are supposed to be—a work of beauty and purpose bringing glory to our Creator.

I will bring (them) into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.  They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’ 
Zechariah 13:9

Over the past several months, God has walked me down a road I never thought I would go.

I have been, as my mother would say, running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to solve my own problem because I felt like God was too busy or too removed to do anything about it.  

Yet, as I step back and evaluate, I see God working.  He is leading me to new place, giving me a new purpose, fashioning a new work within me.  One of the most beautiful things to come from our refinement is our powerful witness to the glory of God.  As a sheet of glass becomes a magnificent piece of art which testifies to the skill of its maker, so we become a magnificent work testifying to the saving grace of our Maker—the Lord, God Almighty.

These (trials) have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 
1 Peter 1:7

Therefore, consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you might be mature and complete, not lacking anything…  
James 1:2-3

Yet here is the glorious caveat to all of this.  When we walk through our Refiner’s fire, we do not do it alone.  God himself will walk through the fire with us and he has promised that it will not consume us.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. 
Isaiah 43:2b-3a

Did you get that?  
We will never be consumed by the fires of our trials.  Our Savior is there with us through all of our terrible, horrible, no good, very bad seasons creating a new work in each of us.  We are becoming God’s masterpiece.  
Praise be to God!

Blessings and Peace,

When Penny asked me to submit a biography my initial thought was that there really isn’t much to say.  I’m a United Methodist pastor’s wife, mother to a 2 and a 4 year old boy, an out-of-work high school English teacher, unintentional stay-at-home mom who has a passion for God’s Word and finds joy in writing.  Perhaps the best way to introduce myself to you would be to tell you that if I could have five literary heroines over to dinner they would be: Elizabeth Bennett, Marmie (the raiser of “little women”), Luna Lovegood, Bridget Jones, Olivia the Pig, and Miss Marple.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Legacy Builders: God's Word - Family - Books

I am so thrilled to have a guest on my blog today!  Welcome Lanita Pickard from Texas.  I am proud to say she is my Mother!  She is a wife to a retired military husband, mother to 2 daughters, still works for a national bank, and has been a Bible teacher for many years.  Her greatest desire is to pass on to those around her God's amazing grace.  She can be found passing on her legacy of wisdom at her blog Lanita's Legacy.


Wow, Lanita’s Legacy is at Living Above  today.  So glad to be at my daughter's blog and  I am truly honored to be here. I  just want to share with you a few of my favorite things. These  are not just a few of my favorite things, but the three things in my life that I am absolutely passionate about.  It is so amazing also how all three work together in God’s great plan. 

If you look in GOD’S WORD you will see that God not only established the first FAMILY, but that He also established and called His chosen FAMILY from all the nations of the world—Abraham and his descendents .  Of course we can read about this FAMILY in a BOOK that is in GOD’S WORD—the Bible. In Genesis we get to meet most of the members of this FAMILY that became the Jewish nation and our adopted ancestors.  

Do you know any history of your earthly ancestors?  Where did they come from?  Why did they come?  How did their life end?  More importantly, how, if at all, were you influenced by their legacy?

 In the BOOK of Deuteronomy, GOD’S WORD tells us how to raise and nurture our FAMILY:

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way , when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deut. 6:5-7

I am embarrassed to admit that I did not always go by the BOOK, but God is good and my girls and their FAMILIES are faithfully serving Him today in spite of my disobedience in that area. So in honor of His faithfulness to me, I set apart these three things daily as of  utmost importance in my life.  In order for me to do this: in FAMILY, I must stay connected to them and other extended FAMILY members. In GOD’S WORD, I must study it daily and apply what I learn. In BOOKS, I must read, rent, buy, collect as many as I can to enhance the other two. 

Now for some, this is easy.  You all live relatively close (maybe too close). For others, it is not so easy.  You may be hours apart.  For others, it is seemingly impossible because of the distance.  But heh, unless it is other than physical distance—in today’s high-tech world this need not be a problem.  What with E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, cell phones, & texting , your choices are endless if you really want to communicate.

GOD’S WORD, FAMILY, BOOKS: these are the vital links behind my blog: Lanita’s Legacy. Using these things I try to share how important it is to leave behind something of ourselves that not only will guide our FAMILY  toGOD’S WORD, but will make us into a living BOOK for all  our world to read.  

How about it?  
Study GOD’S WORD, connect with a FAMILY member that you haven’t in too long, and read a good BOOK !! 
Then share with us the result.  
Then you too can be a legacy builder…

 Thanks Mom for being my guest today!  I know all of the Living Above readers will enjoy your visit here!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

His Words Sunday

I have just had a wonderful quiet time with my Lord.  I wrote several verses down in my brand new journal that my husband gave me for my birthday - and after looking them over, trying to decide which one to share with you today, my heart and my spirit just can't seem to get away from this one from Isaiah.

It's taking all of my strength to not give tons of commentary this morning, as I wish I could share with you what the Lord has shared with me.  But I know today He just wants His Word to stand alone.

I hope it speaks to you and gives you hope & rest this Sunday!

Isaiah 30:15, 18 (ESV)
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, "In returning and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."

Therefore the Lord awaits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you.  For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.

I love you all dearly.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday - Just fun stuff

Wow!  I can't believe that I haven't posted anything since Tuesday!!!  Where did my week go?!

Tuesday was my 40th birthday - I wrote a Decade in Review.
On Wednesdays I lead 2 Ladies Bible Studies and have a church staff meeting - so that day is super full and I just didn't get up early enough to post something.
Thursday - well - I just wasn't in the mood to be honest with everyone...

which brings me to Friday!

Friday are fun days in our house.  My husband has the day off and we typically do a fun breakfast, and just hang out with each other the whole day!

So I have a treat for you today.  Not too long ago I was reading my good friend Sara's blog, Confessions of the Pastor's Wife, and she shared with her readers about her new Mini-van!  She shared with us how they love to give their cars a name!  I loved this!  (by the way... if you've got time - you've got to click on my friend Sara's blog - she writes beautifully about her life and her faith - she is indeed a blessing!)

I love finding other minivan moms out there!  I NEVER thought in a million years I would drive a minivan!  Surely that's a sign that you're a nerdy Mom!!!  Right?  WRONG!!!!

I love my Honda Odyssey!  The automatic doors are life-savers!  And now my kids can close their own doors with just a touch of a button - and if they forget, I can close it... with just a touch of a button!  Genius I tell ya, genius!

So in honor of the mini-van - I have this video for you all to enjoy.  Again, I know this is an old video and you've probably seen it a million times - but it makes me laugh every time I watch it. (I also know it's about a Toyota - but I still love the concept even though I drive a Honda!)

So this morning.... I'm curious.... how many of you are driving minivans... 
when you thought you never would?!
And LOVE IT!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It took me 40 years to get here!

Well... today is my birthday.... no longer can I say that I am "30-Something" - today I'm entering a whole new decade!

To my surprise, I'm actually excited about what God has for me in this new phase of my life.  My 30's were definitely better than my 20's and so I'm banking on that my 40's are going to be better than my 30's!

Here is my decade (30's) in review...

1.  Moved to Ft. Worth and started Seminary.

2.  Met the love of my life - John Franklin.

3.  Started really working in ministry as a Women's Minister.

4.  Experienced a 150ft. free fall (you won't see this on the 40 year-end review list)

5.  Had the most beautiful wedding in Ft. Worth, Texas.

6.  Enjoyed a fantastic honeymoon in St. Lucia!

7.  Got to live in Austin, Texas - such a wonderful place!

8.  Became a Church Planter with my husband.

9.  Became a Mother to a daughter.

10.  Became a Mother to a son.

11.  Started and sold my own business!

12.  Began speaking to Women's groups.

13.  Started writing!

14.  Began mentoring.

15.  Started a ministry blog.

16.  Added a new name... Aunt Penny - 4 times!

17.  Said "Good-Bye, I'll see you in Heaven" - to the last of my Grandparents & my niece.

18.  Bought and almost sold a house.

19.  Saw many come to Christ!

20.  Taught my Mom how to blog and understand Facebook!

21.  Walked my daughter into her first day of Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade!

22.  Watched amazing sunsets while on vacation... with just my husband!

23.  Attended my 20th High School Reunion

24.  Watched my daughter be a flower girl in a wedding!

25.  Planted a church in a Country & Western Bar!

26.  Moved to New Orleans - (i.e., left Texas)

27.  Experienced my first real Mardi Gras - New Orleans style!

28.  Cooked Gumbo

There are so many more things that come to my mind as I'm typing... and I stand amazed at what God has done, done through me and allowed me to experience through Him!!!

Now if my God who can do exceedingly, abundantly more than I ask or think - did all this from 2000-2010, just imagine what He's going to do from 2010-2020!!!

I hope you all have a great day! 
 I know I am!!!


Monday, September 13, 2010

How to keep up with all the prayer requests!

How do you pray for your friends?  When asked to pray for a friend or a relative, or a friend of a friend, or a co-worker - what do you do?  Do you pray with them right then & there? Do you grab their hand, give it a good squeeze, and say, "I'll be praying for you."

How do you remember all the prayer requests that come through your email, your twitter, your blog, face-to-face - from your family & friends... my question is...
Do you really pray?!

I've been wanting to share with you how I handle the many prayer requests that come my way for quite some time now.  Not just the ones from others but mine as well.  It's a system that the Lord laid on my heart in 1998 and I've been praying for others - intercession - ever since.

But before I share "my system" - I thought I would give you the history, the story, of how this even became a matter of importance to me.  God got my attention about intercessory prayer with this conversation:

Friend:  Penny, can I share a prayer request with you?
Me:  Sure.  Are you ok?
Friend:  Not really.  {insert prayer request}
Me:  Wow!  Thank you so much for sharing this with me.  
I will certainly join you in praying for this matter.

Then... because this was on a Sunday morning, I continued on my way with Sunday morning activities.  Then of course Monday morning work followed... then Tuesday through Saturday stuff that seemed to consume my every minute.  

Now it's Sunday again and I see my friend.  She comes up to me, gives me a hug and thanks me for praying for her.  She shared with me that she certainly felt the presence of the Lord this past week and she just knew it was because I had been praying.

My heart sank.  I might have said a few small prayers at that very moment, while walking away from our conversation - but I must admit I had totally forgotten to pray once my week got started.

We've all been at this exact spot!  But here's the deal... PRAYER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE DO FOR PEOPLE!!!  

1.  It is not a last resort - it's the first thing we should do
2.  It is not a one time sentence - it's something we should do without ceasing.  We should pray until we get an answer - be persistent in our prayers.
3.  If you say you're going to pray... PRAY!!  Be reliable in your praying!

So... after I felt horrible for not really giving my friend the attention she asked for and deserved - this is what the Lord told me to do...

1.  Write them down!  Yes, it's really this simple!  I carry a small prayer journal with me in my purse.  I don't write out the prayers - that's what I do in my intimate prayer time with the Lord.  This is just a list of people's prayer requests.
              A.  Number them
              B.  Date them - this is the date you received the initial request
              C.  Brief description of the request

2.  When you've got alone time with God - pray over your list.  Pray over your list until you get an answer.  Use the list to encourage your friends & family.  Email, call, text, tweet, facebook them to let them know you are still praying for (their request).  This will GREATLY encourage them to know that people are REALLY praying for them!

3.  When they/you receive an answer - record it!
              A.  Highlight the entire request
              B.  Date it - put the date God answered that request - I know you will be encouraged to see God's timing!
              C.  Record how it was answered.  Be honest here.  In my book I have record when God says No, Yes, and Wait.  I even put smiley faces, and sometimes frowny faces, or just confused faces.

Here's what an old one of my prayer request journals looks like (the picture is fuzzy on purpose):

Several things will happen as a result:

1.  You will see the provision of God.  You will see yellow page after yellow page - God does still answer prayers!

2.  You will become a faithful prayer warrior!  People will begin to know you as a woman who prays!

3.  You're life will be more blessed because you are praying for you friends!
        Job 42:10 "God restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends."

This is just my way of being a faithful pray-er!  
How do you keep up with prayer requests?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

His Word Sunday

Do you "get" just how much God sees, knows, and cares about every detail of your life?

He even catches every tear that falls from your eyes!  And He cares when you toss in your sleep.   Today, on Sunday, I hope you can celebrate just how much He loves you!!!

Psalm 56: 8-11 (ESV)
You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in Your bottle.  Are they not in Your books?
Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call.  This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  
What can man to do me?

I hope this verse brings you comfort and hope today!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Early Birthday to me!

I'm so glad you stopped by my blog today.  I know Saturdays can be a very busy time around the house.  It's either a totally chilled out day - hanging with the family or it's a day to get caught up on all those household chores that you didn't get to during the week.

I'm really excited about my Saturday!!!  My Mom & Dad have come in for a visit from Texas.  Next week I'm celebrating a really big birthday (new decade!).  They arrived yesterday afternoon and have been "treating" us ever since!  They took us out to a fun New Orleans po-boy sandwich shop for lunch and then brought the nicest, tastiest steaks and potatoes you've ever seen!  I think with that they just about brought Texas with them to New Orleans!!!

Today my Mom is taking me shopping (for my birthday present)!!! I can't decide what I'm more excited about... new clothes or fun hang out time with my Mom - (oh!  did I mention we get to do this shopping kid-free?!).  And she's also enrolled in what she calls - BLOG SCHOOL - with me!  So in addition to shopping - me and my Mom are going to do blog-stuff today! 

By the way - she blogs at Lanita's Legacy - it's already super cute - come check it out!

Could this day get any better?!  I don't think so!
Happy Early Birthday to me!

What fun thing are you doing today?  Whatever it is - I hope you have a restful & fun Saturday!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fridays = Chick-fil-A

Well... it's Friday!  Yeah!!!  I love this day for many reasons... it's the beginning of the weekend but mainly because it's my Pastor Husband's day off!!!

So most Fridays we go to Chick-fil-A for breakfast so the kids can play and we can have a quiet cup of coffee (relatively speaking).

So in honor of Friday, my husband's day off, and Chick-fil-A -  I thought I would share this video with you.  I know you've probably seen it a million times - but seriously I laugh every time I see it!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lessons from Gumbo

So what does Gumbo mean to you?  Okra?  Sausage?  Seafood?  Spicy?  Mild?  Thick?  Thin?  Do you serve it over rice or perhaps if you’re a true Nawlins resident you serve it over potato salad.

I would imagine if I asked you how you like or how you cook your gumbo, I would get as many different recipes as the number of people asked.

It’s often been said that doing ministry in New Orleans, specifically our church, is much like Gumbo – you just never know what’s going to come up in a spoonful!  Now, I’ve eaten Gumbo (Come on!… I may be from Texas, but I know how to enjoy good New Orleans cookin’!) and I don’t think I’ve ever had the same Gumbo twice.  Each bowl brings a mystery and a story.

To read the rest of the story come and visit me over at Seeds of Faith!  Yummm... you'll be able to smell the delicious aromas better over there today!  LOL!

Seeds Of Faith For The Christian Mom

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Favorite Kitchen Utensil

I read a verse recently that reminded me of one of my favorite things in my kitchen.  We probably all have a favorite cooking utensil.  Maybe it's particular spoon or spatula, or a bowl or pot.  I know you know what I'm talking about... it's the one thing that you will dig and dig for in that "kitchen" drawer... searching for it with all your heart - because you love it so much.  

Would another utensil do the trick just as well?  Perhaps.  But you love THIS one!  I'm that way with my Cutco knife!  I love it!  I like everything about it.  I like how it feels in my hand, I like the shininess of the blade (silly I know) and it has that perfect sharp blade that will cut through just about anything!  I have almost 2 sets of good kitchen knives and yet - this is the one that I use every day for almost anything that I need to cut or chop.  

Most of you know that if I'm passionate about anything - it's about how alive the Word of God is - and I love to find ways that will remind me in my every day living about God's Word.  It's not just a book I pick up on my way to church - but it's something that I need to use every day.  

Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)
For the Word of God is living and active 
and sharper than any two-edged sword, 
and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, 
of both joints and marrow, and able 
to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Now, let me set the stage for you... I'm at my kitchen table, coffee in one hand, Bible in the other reading this verse.  I look up to ponder it for a moment and my eyes land or rest on the Cutco knives on the counter across from me!   I know my God was giving me a visual, if you will.  He was showing me that as much as I love my Cutco knife - His Word is sharper than that!   

Don't you just hate it when you pick up a knife and it won't even cut through a tomato?!  I don't have this problem with my favorite knife.  And this morning I was reminded that God's Word is sharp enough to cut through anything that I'm dealing with - and His Word has far better treasures in it than the shiny blade of my knife.  I know it seems silly that a simple little knife would make me smile - but it does.  I enjoy cooking just a little bit better when I'm using my favorite knife.  

Here's what I learned from this... every time I use my favorite knife, I will think about God's Word and get a visual that what He has to say is super sharp and will never dull!  It can cut all the way to the spirit and soul, bone and marrow of my thoughts and my intentions.  Secondly, I need to use it every day!  Just like I love using my Cutco knife - I need to enjoy picking up God's Word.  And I bet that I will enjoy living just a little bit better and find joy in life if I do!

Today, just like you dig and dig for that favorite utensil - dig into God's Word.  Be patient and wait for Him to speak to you and remember, His Word is living, active and above all else - sharp!  Use it with care - but make sure you use it!  Keep it in an accessible place like you do your kitchen utensils - I promise that it will truly not only enrich your life and bring you joy but help you cut & chop through the hard parts of life.

Do you have a favorite kitchen utensil?

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Comfort in the "all"

I hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day weekend and truly got to take a rest from your "labor."  I know how hard "resting" can so often be for Mothers.  Someone is always dirtying a dish, and someone is always walking across a clean floor, and just by the sound of the toilet flushing you know that someone is making your clean bathroom go down the drain.

On Saturday I gave our house a thorough cleaning and Sunday was a great day with our church family (this day is always a busy/enjoyable one since my husband is the Pastor).  But yesterday we really rested!  Yesterday we spent the day with some friends in Mississippi at their house on the Bay.  The weather was perfect!  We ate incredible New Orleans food (Liz, the jambalaya was to die for!) and rode on the boat and even went down an incredible water slide!  We all went to bed totally rested and exhausted!

Then Tuesday morning - back to reality - awaits me first thing this morning.  Back to the daily grind.  Back to commitments and responsibilities.  Before opening my Bible, I made a small list and shared it with the Lord.  It was a list of things that I must get done before Friday.  I must admit my heart skipped a beat thinking of my responsibilities.  Have you ever been there before?  I know you have!  Wishing I could clone myself if just for a day!!!

I love it when the Lord speaks directly to my heart.  He knows just what I need and leads me to His still small voice and says just the right thing.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Don't you just love this word - "ALL."  Let's just do a quick inventory here:
1.  ALL grace abound to me
2.  ALL sufficiency - meaning having all that I will need
3.  in ALL things
4.  at ALL times
5.  abound in EVERY good work - EVERY and ALL are like sisters, so I thought I would include it as well!

Oh!  The word abound means to overflow.

Basically the Lord was telling me not to worry.  My God is able to allow His grace to overflow in every area of my life.  To every part of my list.  I will have all that I need (ideas for blogs, time to write, time to study, etc) and in the end I may overflow in every good work.

Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed at reality this morning?  

Allow the grace of God to overflow in your heart and life and find comfort in His ALL.

His All-Sufficiency in your all things, at all times, and watch Him abound in your every good work!