Monday, May 31, 2010

The Wrong Way?

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This picture was taken this past Sunday in Oklahoma. I was there for my granddaughters' dance recital. I was sooo disappointed because we weren't allowed to take pictures during the recital itself. Ashton and Noelle performed one dance together doing an interpretive ballet to "Holy, Holy, Holy."

This is a picture of us at their home. We are in their living room which they use for their home-schooling room. The canvas above us is one I painted for their dad, my son, Chris. The scripture on it is his life's verse which is:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
from Philippians 2



While visiting my grandchildren, I was reminded of this story that I told them and they enjoyed a lot. Mostly because I really "got" their oldest cousin a few years ago.

The story went like this.

When my first granddaughter was about ten years old, I was bringing her and her brother to Tulsa from Little Rock (this was when I lived in Tulsa) to stay a few days with me. At that point in time, I had been driving this particular stretch of road back and forth several times a year for about twenty-six years.

After taking a rest stop break, I pulled back on the interstate, and my little "know it all" granddaughter said "Mimi, you're going the wrong way." At that particular moment, I had what I thought was a good idea to really teach her a lesson about telling her grandmother what to do.

I groaned in a very pained voice, "Oh no, I got on going the wrong way and it will be at least ten miles down the road before there will be an exit and I can turn around. We are going to be forever getting to Tulsa." (It is about a 4.5 to 5 hr drive with a couple of stops)

So I told them over and over to be sure and watch for signs for the next exit. Sure enough, several miles down the road, the signs started appearing but just about the time that we got to the exit, I turned to my left, looked out the window and screamed in delight at a cloud that "looked just like an elephant." They immediately crained their necks and looked to the left. I started telling them about a book I used to read to my first graders entitled, "Spilt Milk." It is about clouds and their shapes. Then I proceeded to loudly lament that I had just missed our exit.

Of course, they cried, "Oh, Mimi, I can't believe you did that. Now we have to drive another ten miles down the road, etc. We are never going to get to Tulsa. You need to watch what you're doing....blah, blah, blah."

Several miles down the road I saw an exit coming up and there just happened to be a really long tractor-trailer rig up ahead. I made sure I got up beside him and acted like there was no way I could go fast enough to get around him. I was putting on a big act screaming all the while, "Oh, no, why did he have to speed up and now there is no way I can get around him to exit. It's going to be dark before we get to Tulsa."

Well, needless to say, they started screaming and carrying on--it was crazy. But by this time, I was in stitches laughing so hard I could hardly stand it. They thought I was laughing to keep from crying.

I finally decided to give it up at that point in time and tell them that I had played a big joke on them for being such "little know-it-alls."

At first they tried to act mad but then they ended up laughing and crying in relief. They were so worried that they were never going to get to their destination.

Now, just a little point here. I have a friend who admits to telling God how she wants Him to work out situations in her life. There are times to pray for specifics when the Bible has made clear to us what God's will is in certain situations. However, we all have things arise that we do not know what the best or wisest answer is. That is when we should, in my opinion and what I believe the Bible teaches, depend upon God for His answer, trusting in His wisdom.

Have you ever known any "little know-it-alls?" Or have you ever been a "little know-it-all?" I'm sure all of us have been at times and after experiencing this with my grandchildren, it made me wonder how amused God must be when we act like they did.

Dianne
2010-the Year of Longings

Lord, I long to depend upon Your wisdom and Your wisdom alone.

I am linking to Tuesday's Unwrapped today.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend Worship at St. Bartholomew's

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This week our worship takes us to St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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.........You are no longer foreigners and aliens,


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but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,


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built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.



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In him the whole building is joined together


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and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.


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And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling
in which God lives by his Spirit.

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Dianne
2010-the Year of Longings


I long to be joined with you, dear Christian sister and brother, to make this body of Christ a beautiful household of faith.

Verses taken from Ephesians 2.


I am linking to Spiritual Sundays, an inspirational place to visit.


If you click on the post title, it will take you to a site to read more about this precious congregation.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I have not yet begun to procrastinate

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Stephani over at "A Defined Life" (a beautiful blog and a beautiful person) made this comment on my post yesterday. "I first realized I had a problem with perfectionism in college when one of my professors correlated my procrastination with being a perfectionist. She said a lot of perfectionists procrastinate because they don't want to start things until they have the time and energy to complete it and complete it perfectly. That was over 20 years ago! I still struggle."

And did it ever, ever hit home. I have always lamented the fact that I procrastinated and procrastinated and was so disappointed in myself for this particular characteristic of my personality. My procrastination has manifested itself in many areas of my life but especially now in my retirement years in my art endeavors. I will not start a piece for months, then start one and leave it sitting for days, weeks or months. And really, what is the worst that can happen?--mess up a canvas--well, since I can paint over it, that is really not even an issue.

So, I am mad. Mad at the enemy of my soul who has robbed me of years of productivity. Not that I've never accomplished anything--I have, but I have also been nonproductive for extensive periods and I don't like that. I am fighting back. In fact, I fought back yesterday. I worked on a canvas for a little while and I messed up a couple of hours of hard work that I did the other day.

But, I had fun painting the other day. If the piece never makes it to the light of day or out of my little art room, what harm is there? I had fun! And now I will paint over it.

For the first time in my life I feel like I have a handle on why I procrastinate. Okay, world, you better watch out. Here I come!

DO THE NEXT THING


From an old English parsonage down by the sea

There came in the twilight a message to me;

Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,

Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.

And on through the doors the quiet words ring

Like a low inspiration: “Do the next thing.”


Many a questioning, many a fear,

Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.

Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,

Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.

Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,

Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;

Do it reliantly, casting all care;

Do it with reverence, tracing His hand

Who placed it before thee with earnest command.

Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,

Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,

Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;

In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,

The light of His countenance be thy psalm,

Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.

Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

Author Unknown
Poem as quoted by Elisabeth Elliott






I long to be prolific in my art endeavors!

The title of the post: I saw this quote written somewhere and remember almost doubling over in laughter. No one around me was laughing. I guess they weren't procrastinators and no way could you really appreciate the humor of that quote unless you are a true blue, dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator so some of you will really "get it" today and some of you won't. I wish I was in the last category.

Disclaimer: I promise you that all of my posts from now on are not going to have a "negative connotation." I just need to confess all of this junk to God and to my Christian friends who I know will pray for me, and get on with a productive life. Thank you for loving me through all this soul-searching.

No reason for the photo. (Except for you) I just thought it was a beautiful bougainvilla that I saw recently at a nursery.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

insecurities anyone?

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Just for the record I will be the first to admit that I have some insecurities but thank God not nearly as many as I did once upon a time but more than I thought I did last week.

I'll try to explain why I am admitting to this. I was reading a blog--don't know whose, don't know the web address--I wish I did, I would love to give credit where credit is due. But, anyway, this gal (and I am very loosely paraphrasing her) said that she had always wanted to be an artist and she just found out she was one.

She was reading Beth Moore's new book, So Long, Insecurity, and came upon this statement. "Insecurity's best cover is perfectionism. That's where it becomes an art form." (italics mine)

This particular blogger was referring to her own extreme housekeeping, especially when expecting company--she has that down to an art form. She found out and now admits to being an artist. That got my attention--perfectionism coupled with the housekeeping. I figured I better read the book. I think I had it downloaded to my Kindle in less than 60 seconds.

Beth also says in the book, "Some of us never seek healing from God for our insecurities because we feel like we don't fit the profile. We think insecurity only looks one way--mousy, maybe even inept--and that's not exactly who we see in the mirror. At least not once the mascara's on. And it certainly is not the woman we present to the public. Security's best cover is perfectionism. That's when it becomes an art form."

I can't tell you how many times I haven't had people over because I didn't have time to clean the house. Okay, there, I have admitted a big one of mine and I recognized many others while reading the book.

Here is something a little funny about my blog. (This happened when I first started my blog and didn't know very much about posting) I guess the same is true for the blog as for my housekeeping--I want it to look perfect--although I mess with it a lot and have a lot of fun with blog design so I keep it messed up a good part of the time--anyway, I took a picture of some vases, etc. on my mantle not realizing while looking through the camera lens that the mantle had not been dusted in weeks--I placed that picture on a POST, just messing around and posted a TEST POST. After it posted okay and I was sure everything was working correctly, I deleted the test post. BUT MUCH TO MY DISMAY, when I added the Link Within feature at the bottom of each post, up came that picture of my filthy mantle and the title TEST POST. I was mortified!

I have tried everything to get rid of it because I didn't want people to see it and see my lack of housekeeping prowess. I have deleted the Link Within feature several times and re-added it and even though that particular post has been deleted, it keeps coming up. Serves me right for this stinking pride.

As far as not seeking healing for insecurites, I really don't think that you have to know and recognize every one of your faults before you can seek healing for them, although it helps and ignorance is not a good excuse. We should examine ourselves but rather than spend inordinate amounts of time on that, I had rather focus on the true perfection of God.

I am not, in any way, suggesting that we not try to pinpoint and highlight our weaknesses so that we seek redemption and restoration. What I am saying is that I have spent more time, at times, reading books trying to figure out what is wrong than I have spent reading God's Word. For me that does not work.

One reason I read the Bible every day is seeking just that--healing and restoration from my sinful ways--renewing of my mind because I truly believe that God's Word is the only way for our minds to be truly renewed--God's cleansing Word.

Jesus tells his disciples in John 15 when He is discussing pruning that they (his followers) are clean because of His Word.

You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. John 15:3

For years, one of my main goals each day when I read God's Word is for renewing of my mind. I know that I will not know how to handle each day's problems nor have the power to use the knowledge I possess unless I partake of my sustenance, my daily bread. God makes it clear with the manna that fell in the desert and rotted after the first day, that daily bread is crucial, after all, that is a focal point of the Lord's prayer,-- "Give me this day, my daily bread."

While on the subject of reading the Bible every day, I will expound just a little on my other reasons. One is that I want to be healthy and have strong bones and the Bible in Proverbs 3 advises us to pay attention to God's laws and obey His commandments. That coupled with some other great words of wisdom will result in this:

8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

It give life to the bones--selfish reason,-- maybe, but I believe it passes God's inspection for a good reason to read it. Why else would He make sure He tells us that information?

And the other reason is that I love the relationship it builds between me and my God. When my husband and I were apart while dating I read and reread every letter he wrote to me many, many times and on a daily basis. I don't think I skipped a day of reading his declarations of love for me.

Back to the insecurities--A few years ago, I heard a youth minister say that he was the most "insecure, prideful person" he had ever known, referring to himself.

Isn't that just like satan to take arrows from the same quiver, one calligraphed on its shaft with the word, "Insecurities," shoot it at us, then quickly grab another arrow labeled "pride" and come right behind with what seems like a fatal shot to the heart.

When we know his tactics, recognize our own tendencies for certain sins, and are daily saturated in His Word, then we are forearmed. And what are we forearmed with? I love the scripture from Romans that speaks of our "armor of light."

This knowledge wrapped in the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit becomes our armor of light. Think about it--the brightest light you've ever seen-- or how laser light can absolutely obliterate certain tumors, etc. Satan is blinded by this light and his desperate arrows cannot reach our most vulnerable spots when we are covered in this Holy Light.

Precious Ones, a few years ago when I was doing some research on freelance Christian writing, I came upon lots of articles containing this advice. "Do not be preachy or come down too hard in your writings." I think there is a lot of wise advice in that statement but if I seem to preach reading the Bible daily too much or too hard, I can't apologize. It is the breath of my life and the only reason I have survived. I cannot apologize for advising daily partaking of this life-giving Word just as I would not apologize for advising you to eat a healthy diet of good food every day.

This Word, this daily Word, is the only thing I know that is total TRUTH, and will NOT in any way disappoint when taken with an open, loving mind and attitude toward Christ. In my beliefs about His Word, I have no insecurities.





I long to be covered in this armor of light at all times.

Art: My awesome artist friend, Angie (oh, my goodness, she deserves a post of her own-) painted this on a greeting card she sent to me a number of years ago. I thought it fit so well with the post--the light and the beautifully set table symbolizing the housekeeping--Thanks, dear Angie, I love you so.

Broken Cistern

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The "post" by Charles Spurgeon today is a classic. Sure hope you get a chance to google it or maybe you have a copy, such as I do, that has been laying around your home for years.

Ever thought yourself wiser than God? Spurgeon cautions us against this by taking "anxious care" of situations or people when we should be trusting God with them. He says when we do that we are going to the "broken cistern" and not to the "fountain."

How I identify with this, especially regarding my children and grandchildren. I am too anxious at times about their safety and well-being when I need to pray for them, place them and all thoughts of them in God's hands, and go about daily living that reflects love and faith back to that great source, to that great reservoir that overflows with grace and mercy.

My precious friend, I pray that you will go to the true well today. It will not disappoint.

Love all of you,
Dianne


2010-the Year of Longings

I long to jump in to that fountain and be splashed with His glory.

Monday, May 24, 2010

don't mean to be disrespectful, but......

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My husband and I went on a garden tour last Sunday afternoon. Thought you might like to see just a fraction of the beautiful creations that were growing in that garden.

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Amaryllis

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Wine Cup


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Clematis

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Oak leaf hydrangea

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This little Lenten rose is so beautiful yet so hauntingly sad to me.

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Solomon's Seal

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Pomegranate Bush

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A nice place to sit after being in that 90 degree heat for an hour and a half.





Oh and one last thing: A quote I found written by Sydney Ellison in Horticulture Magazine--
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Now I don't mean to be disrespectful to Mr. Eddison but I think there is only ONE qualified to sign that autobiography.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Like grass

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The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8

"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall, 1 Peter 1:24

We know from scripture and from experience that we will fall, we will wither. So I have a question for you. If today was your last day to live on this planet, what would you do with your time?

Would any of your plans for the day change?
I would love for you to leave a comment and tell me how your day might change or how it might stay the same. Or give us some Godly advice as to what we should or could do. This is not a ploy for comments although I know we all love them. I would really love to hear what you have to say about how you would spend your day.




I will fill in my "longing for the day" after I read your comments.


UPDATE:

Thank you to those of you who responded to today's little challenge question. I wasn't trying to be morbid, just trying to get my day prioritized aright. My longing for each day would be that I live it to glorify Christ no matter what it is that I do.

I've not done this but a few times in my life, (confronted myself with that question) but every time I do, I end up getting things done that I have been meaning to do for ages--write that over-due thank you note, send a message of love or gratitude to someone special, and usually don't spend as much time "sweating the small stuff."

Amy and Sandy I loved the time that I spent with you two today. I have missed you both so much. My prioritizing took me back to the art studio where I have painted in the past but where I haven't been in quite a while due to some health issues.

I hope for those of you who participated that it added an element of meaning to your day.

In Acts 17 we find the scripture that says, "In Him we live and move and have our being." That is the way I hope I lived today.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Worship His Majesty

It has taken us three weeks but we finally get to go inside at Highland Park United Methodist Church, Dallas, TX. I hope it was worth the wait.


THE BUGLES AND THE PIPES

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The bugles and the pipes are massive and take over your senses for a few moments as well they should. Can't you just hear the organ now with all the stops pulled out, the voices of mass choirs and a congregation full of gratitude lifting up praise to the One True and Living God?


"The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." 2 Chronicles 5:13


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In the middle of all this majesty are stained glass windows that speak to us of the incredible range of colors and gems God created that will be present in heaven.

The wall was built of jasper, and the city was made of pure gold, clear as crystal. Each of the twelve foundations was a precious stone. The first was jasper, the second was sapphire, the third was agate, the fourth was emerald, the fifth was onyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was chrysolite, the eighth was beryl, the ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst.

Each of the twelve gates was a solid pearl. The streets of the city were made of pure gold, clear as crystal. I did not see a temple there. The Lord God All-Powerful and the Lamb were its temple. And the city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light.


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THE PODIUM

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In the bottom right hand corner of the picture above, you can see one of the panels that are featured below. The panels encircle the altar area and shield the front pews.



THE PANELS

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And the panels, oh my, the intricately carved and patterned wood that hauntingly captures the tone of Jesus' voice as He says:


"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,

I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."




THE CALLIGRAPHY

And being a calligrapher, I was struck with the incredible preciseness, the form, the gilding and illumination incorporated into each word and phrase and was reminded of this scripture:


Jesus answered, "It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4


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Just to the top left you can get a perspective of just how large this lettering really is. Psalm 62 is inscribed all around the top of the sanctuary.

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1 Oh, Lord be merciful unto us and bless us: and cause His face to shine upon us.

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2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

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3 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.


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4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.


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5 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.

7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. Psalm 62 KJV






I long for You to be glorified, and You only, with this post.

I long to worship you in Spirit and in Truth.

I long for each reader to be blessed beyond their wildest God-given desire.

I am linking to Spiritual Sundays, a wonderful place of inspiration.

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