Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Lighthouse

Psalm 139:19(MSG)
And please, God, do away with wickedness for good! And you murderers-out of here!

At the end of the island on Sanibel stands this beautiful lighthouse!  It is a historic island fixture constructed in 1884 to serve as a beacon for travelers moving through the coastal waters of Florida.  I absolutely loved walking around it and imagining what it has seen through the span of time. 
Towering tall over the trees and looming powerful over the sand this structure commands attention.  However, even more intriguing to me, were the two birds perched on it's railings.  These birds (which I have sense learned are Osprey) were firm in their commitment to watch over their territory.  As we walked closer to get a more detailed look at the tower, they barely took their eyes off of us.  Even as we stood at the bottom, they leaned over and locked in on our every move. 

Really, I can't even think of a more fitting picture of the light and guidance that God gives me every day than a lighthouse.  The Lord is an ever watchful eye protecting and guiding me away from the wickedness that attempts to come my way. 

The Psalmist plea is my prayer today~
"Please God, do away with wickedness for good." 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Sand Of The Sea

Psalm 139:18(MSG)
I couldn't even begin to count them-any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!

Sand Castle after the storm.
Walking on the beach early this morning, I caught this image of what must have been an incredible sand castle before the waves from last night's storm got a hold of it.  Thinking about the grains of sand in that one creation alone gives a whole new meaning to today's verse. 

I really can't count all of God's thoughts or even understand them completely for that matter....but I don't need to know them all.  All I have to do is get out of bed every morning and choose to live with Him!  As the verse says:  "....let me live always with You!"  While walking with Him and becoming more aware of His presence, He will teach me what He needs me to know. 

I have a big part to play, though, that's for sure.  I have to stick with Him by reading and studying His word,  showing up at His house, hanging out with His people, compassionately serving those in need, and sharing His love!  What a great privilege to be a child of God!! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews is an incredibly entertaining fiction read with deep life messages sprinkled throughout it's pages! 

It was a privilege to read this book and I am excited to share this author with you in case you've never read him.  He is what I would call a modern day C. S. Lewis!  I know that is saying a lot, but that is exactly the flavor of this book titled:  The Final Summit.  I can't wait to get my hands on the ten other books he has written, beginning with The Noticer and ending with the The Butterfly Effect.

The Final Summit is centered around the book's main character, David Ponder, who travels through time to gather in a final summit meeting with some of the world's greatest leaders from the past.  Their mission is to identify the one solution that will save humanity.  As the book progresses, the reader is drawn into history with a mesmerizing hold.  One by one, strong leaders from days gone by are introduced and their defining moments in life are revealed.  As the group looks closely at pivotal points in their lives, they grow closer to isolating the one principle that will save humanity. 

A cast of characters such as Winston Churchill, Joan of Arc, and George Washington Carver, just to name a few, make this book come alive with imagination and intrigue!  An easy and entertaining read with a very deep message places this book high on my list for recommended reading!

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing Company  (Since 1798) for providing a review copy of The Final Summit presented to me through  The statements in this review are a reflection of my own opinions and based solely on my personal  estimation of this book. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

God's Beautiful Thoughts

Psalm 139:17(MSG)
Your thoughts - how rare, how beautiful! God, I'll never comprehend them!

Isn't that the truth?  God's thoughts being beautiful and me never understanding them, that is!  It's another gorgeous day at the beach.  Enjoying the majesty of the ocean and doing a lot of thinking.  Thankful for time away.  Also grateful to my friend who just happened to need a house with a big back yard to corral her four large dogs in while we were gone.  She is "house sitting" while we are "sand sitting".  Humor...

Thanking God today for His love, goodness, faithfulness, and wisdom....

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Life Spread Out Before You

Proverbs 139:16(MSG)
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before You,

The End Of The Rainbow
There it is...the end of the rainbow... spread out before me like a beautiful splash of color painted across the water.  I caught this yesterday after a storm had blown over.  Isn't it incredible?!  I was too lazy at that point in the day to climb down the stairs and venture out into the wind to capture it clearly, so you are looking through screen from the back deck where we are staying....but you can still get the idea of the beauty of it.  I wish now that I would have made myself walk down and get a better shot.  Oh well.  Maybe next time.

We are at the beach this week.  Not sure how much writing I will do, but thought I would post a picture here and there to share the beauty.  It's wonderful to think about how the Lord watches over every stage of our life.  I find great security in that.

Thank you for the Your love and watchful eyes over every season in our lives.  Teach me to be aware of Your presence.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Making Somethin' Out Of Nothin'

Psalm 139:15(MSG)
You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;  You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

It's a great day around the house today.  You of those days where you are not on any one's schedule but your own.  Nowhere to be and no pressing things that need to be done.....except laundry, of course....but that is always needing to be done, right?  In my continued endeavor to eat heart healthy and lower that cholesterol level, I decided to make some oat bran muffins.  My Northern Sis gave me a great recipe for them when I was there a few weeks ago, so I decided this was a good time to make a batch.

I got out the dish and started gathering the ingredients.  Staring into the empty bowl, I began thinking about today's verse.  Nothing but air in that bowl and I get to decide what to put in it.  All of the ingredients that the recipe called for were healthy of course....that's why it comes up bein' a good choice for those of us that are watching what's going down the hatch.  I threw it all in, stirred it up, and poured the batter into the muffin tin.  Ten minutes later~"wala"~(this word is not in the dictionary by the way)....presto....yummy oat bran muffins!!  Yay. 

Funny thing though....all the muffins looked different.  Some had more raisins....some had less.  Some muffins were kinda flat on top...some were puffy.  Some muffins were a golden brown....others a little darker.  But, guess what?!  They all tasted the same!  All those good ingredients mixed together and baked at just the right temperature, made a marvelous product!  And healthy have to love that!

Fruitful....for the Kingdom.

Yeap...those muffins are alot like us.  God took absolutely nothing and created something complicated and beautiful in His image.  We all look different, but we each one are designed to be healthy and fruitful for His kingdom.  What I do with that information is my choice to make.  Hmmmm......changes how I look at the day...that's for sure!

Thank You for making each one of us so uniquely.  I know that sometimes it's hard for us to see our own strengths.  For whatever reason, it is often easier for me to identify my weaknesses.  Help me today to see those areas in my life that are gifts from You, and help me to use them accordingly!
In Jesus name....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Every Tear Counted

Psalm 56:8(MSG)
You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights,  each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.

Walking the halls of the Joplin Middle School brought the reality of the destructive forces of the tornado occurring on  May 22nd, '11 up close and personal.  From the shards of glass scattered throughout my feet to the thick layer of a muddy grass mixture that was plastered on the lockers and walls up and down the halls, there was no escaping the realization of the force of this beast.  When I rounded a corner and found myself front and center staring at the remains of what used to be the gym of this well constructed brick building, I breathed out a praise to God that this had not happened when school was in session.  To go there in my mind brought tears to my eyes.  Visualizing the gym full of children during a normal school day, took what little breath I had in my lungs completely away. 

Slowly proceeding to the next room....the gathering room and cafeteria.... I saw more of the same...and one step further took me to the kitchen....or so that is what I was told used to be there.  There was nothing there now, not even a roof!  We continued down each hall, respectfully envisioning the order of yesterday and thoughtfully trying to process what was left now.  The library, the science lab, the administrative offices, the choir room, the locker rooms, and the classrooms had all been invaded by the horrific intruder.  Again, I fought back the tears of joy at the realization that these halls and rooms could have been full of children on a normal afternoon, but they were empty on that particular day.

Our job for today was to work with the Principal and Vice Principal to remove anything that was still in reasonable shape and load it on the truck to move to an awaiting warehouse, where we would unload, clean and store the items.  The school itself was a total loss, as was the Joplin High School, which appeared to have taken an even greater hit.  One by one, we found items that were salvageable and one by one...through dark halls filled with the smell of wet insulation, we carried them out.  Arriving at the truck with a treasure, we would carefully lift and place each item in the awaiting line of moving vans.  The sun beat down and the task went on, but we were not deterred from our mission. 

What's the mission?  Simply stated, it is to lessen the burden for the people of Joplin.  To come alongside them and lift them up through prayer, financial assistance, and physical presence until they have their feet solidly planted on the ground again.

Sitting in the "cafeteria" drinking my water and eating my sandwich on our quick lunch break, I listened to the school leadership courageously tell us that they would start school on time in a mere 68 days!  What tenacity!  What incredible resilience being displayed in this small community!  I believe they will do it too...because they are determined. 

At one point, I heard a noise above and glanced up during the talk to see a bird flying lost throughout the school.  It was at that instant, that my eye fell on the open sky light that had once adorned the beautiful Student Center.  Quickly, my mind raced back once again to the blessing of the nightmare....that there were no children in the school when the tornado hit!  I stared in disbelief looking at a huge board that had been drilled into the opening that used to be the glassed in sky light.      
Sky Light in the Cafeteria/Student Center.
Yes!!  Yes, I thought these are a tough and determined people.  They are standing at the very pit of despair and looking up.  When they look up...this is what they see...but they are choosing to look beyond it to a brighter tomorrow....a "clear sky" so to speak.  Have they experienced great loss?  Yes, they most certainly have!  Does the Lord see?  Yes.  He most assuredly fact today's verse tells me that God has recorded every one of their tears!  That is a great comfort to me.  

Meanwhile, we can help.  First and foremost, we can continue to pray for restoration and healing.  I am understanding that we should no longer be sending random items to them, but instead, donating monetarily to organizations for the relief work.  (ie....Convoy of Hope, Red Cross, local Churches etc.)  We can also help by going there, not on an individual basis, but with an organization, so that order is kept and thereby projects completed by the direction of those that are in authority. 

I'm thanking God today for the lives that were spared on the night of May 22, 2011.  I am asking Him to continue to bring comfort to the families of those who lost loved ones.  I am also praying that God will bring miraculous healing to the injured that continue to battle with each passing day for their very life.  Finally, I am praying for the new foundations to be laid and the walls to be raised on every one of the homes, schools, and businesses that were destroyed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wonderful Works

Psalm 139:14(NIV)

Beauty in the mountains!
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Nothing like a good nature walk to remind me of the creativity of the Creator!  His works are incomparable to anything that we could come up with on our own, that is for sure.  Strolling through the woods and marshes this past week allowed me to take it all in.  The smells, sounds, the feel of the warm gentle breeze, and sights were a real treat to experience.  

I'm going to keep my eyes open this week for more of His works.  I will be traveling to Joplin tomorrow to work in the clean up effort there.  The goal is to prayerfully deliver hope through action to those who most certainly must feel overwhelmed and exhausted.  I know that it will be challenging to see the destruction and loss that these people are experiencing, but I believe that through the power of Christ and the perseverance of each one of us doing what we can to help, they will overcome!

Praying for the people of Joplin and once again praising God for the miracles that have taken place there.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Clever Creator

Psalm 139:13(NIV)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Sweet Mommy and her baby.

Awe....this is one of the verses that I most cherish in all of scripture!  It is so beautiful and speaks volumes to the sanctity of life and God's divine touch on each of us.  There are absolutely no mistakes from our God.  He creates each of us according to His good pleasure and purposes. 

I choose to hold tight to this verse during those challenging seasons of my life.  With the Word of God planted firmly in my hands, I can move forward.  Statements like this one supply the courage and confidence to know that I do make a difference and so do you!  We are each an individual life, uniquely created to accomplish His kingdom goals.  Psalm 139:13 is a fire starting verse for sure!

The richness of His word provides such energy to the mission.  Take yesterday for example.  As I was reading the Bible, it became like a conversation to though I truly was sitting on the living room floor mesmerized by a ridiculously loving Father.  (This is the only way I know how to describe it, given my human constraints.) 

Here is some of what He told me...and I have to pass it on to you, because it's hard to contain such amazing it's for you too!   

Isaiah 40:28-31(MSG) "...God doesn't come and go, God lasts.  He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.  He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.  And he knows everything, inside and out.  He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.  For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.  But those who wait upon God get fresh strength..."

"He energizes those that get tired out!"  Yeap....pretty incredible God!  

Thanking God today for His strength.  Also acknowledging and applying  the scripture verse Phillipians 4:13 (NIV)~"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Immersed in His Light

Psalm 139:11(MSG)
Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark!  At night I'm immersed in the light!"

Light reflecting off the lake water.

It's hard to completely describe my strong and rather amazing husband.  He really exemplifies the love of Christ in our home and has become a strong tower that I have grown to trust and lean on in all situations.  Today marks our twenty third year of marriage!  Those years have been filled with much love and a few trials.  There has been a lot of laughter and a few tears.  We have shared mountain top experiences and a hand full of deep valley travels.  Through it all, we have persevered and clung to our faith in God and His goodness in all things.  

My husband has a consistent saying that he will utilize when things get a little bit rough for us.....whatever that happens to be at the time varies, but it usually is a situation that is not turning out the way we had intended for it to.  Ironically, I got to hear it today.  You see, yesterday we scooped up the kids and took them to the lake for some fresh air, a little diving, swimming and a good old fashioned camp fire.  (It's good for the soul....gettin' out in nature....have I mentioned I LOVE the outdoors?)  Anyway, we were all together and that is exactly the way we wanted to spend our anniversary....together...the four of us.  It was awesome. 

We enjoyed the evening relaxing by the fire and throwing a marshmallow over the flame.  We got up this morning and splashed right into the lake for a full day of sun and fun.  By evening, it was a quick pack up and out the door for the drive home.  That's when it happened.  Yeap....craziest thing.....I'm backing out to head back home and bang~crash....!!  Someone put a tree right in the middle of the road....and I slammed right into it!  We all jumped out to see that I single handily smashed an entire section of the car!  Oh bother....I really hate it when that happens.  (No...the tree wasn't in the middle of the road...I guess I backed up crooked and sort of ran right into it......good grief!)

Now, is when my compassionate man decided to use his "consistent saying".  Are you ready to hear it?  He says, "Ah...that's ok Babe....'In the light of eternity~what does this really matter?  This isn't that big of a deal!'"  He proceeds to give me a huge hug and usher me right back into the car.  Who does that???  Seriously?!  Could I be anymore blessed?  Nope...I didn't think so. 

I am immersed in His light tonight....and thankful for a husband who stands in His light as well. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

He's Holding Us Fast

Psalm 139:10(NIV)
even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.

Kayaking in the mountains.

Simply amazing the comfort that is mine (and yours) when I hear those words.  No matter where I go.....His hand is holding me tightly is He holding me that I cannot break free!  I don't want to break free either.... 

Resting in this promise makes most of my cares and concerns melt away.  It gives me the confidence to pursue those God callings that I know I have been given.....some big assignments and some small....but all callings that seem to require a gargantuan leap of faith!  It is the type of trust that calls for a releasing from my own security.   Candidly....that's tough for me to find but, after I soak up this verse.....the Holy Spirit empowers me to get a move on!!

Thank you Lord, for giving me this verse and assuring me that You are there for me to follow and You are holding me tight!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Psalm 139:9(NIV)
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

Well, I'm home from the mountains and what a wonderful time my daughter and I had!!  It is always such a treat to get to stay with my "Northern Sister" and her gentlemanly husband.  They are so good at teaching us about the nature that they adore and allowing us to experience some of God's most beautiful country with them.   

So here are a few revelations from my respite: (some of them are new...others are gentle reminders to me)

 #1.  My children will only be able to go where I lead them.  If I don't answer the Lord's
         calling...neither will they.  If I am complacent....they will be quite happy to do nothing
         right along with me.  (I am still pondering this one.)

#2.  Courage is not the absence of fear, but the resistance to fear or mastery of it.  It's being
       afraid, but managing to do what I know I have to do despite the "feeling" of fear.  (I got
       this one from the amazing book I am reading~The Final Summit by Andy post coming soon, by the way.)

#3.  It's very healthy to laugh.....and laughter usually follows the choosing of "joy"....which is a
        choice I frequently forget to my complaining mind.

#4.  I am blessed....very blessed.

#5.  I want to live my faith....not just talk about it.....or write about it.

I am certain there are more things that I learned during my journey, but for the sake of time, that will be all for now.  Today's verse inspires me to be more aware of His Kingdom purposes~where ever I go...because His plans for my life (and your life too) are far greater than my loveliest dreams could ever imagine!  

Thanking Him all things.