Thursday, September 30, 2010


Audience Participation Post

Thankful is defined as follows by Merriam - Webster:
1 : conscious of benefit received thankful>
2: expressive of thanks <thankful service>
3: well pleased : glad thankful that it didn't rain>

 The practice of being thankful has been greatly neglected in recent years. I find I need to be very intentional about being thankful. When I do this and  I consciously choose to thank others for small kindnesses, they are often surprised or flustered. Has the habit of saying a genuine "Thank You" become so out of vogue that it makes people uncomfortable? For my part, I find that when I deliberately work on showing thankfulness, on being thankful in my heart, I am happier and more contented. No one can make you happy. You must choose to be or not to be. When I am thankful for all the big and small things around me - It is easier to feel happy. Being thankful helps build up the positive in your soul.

So, I have a challenge and a request for you. Each week I will give a challenge and ask for your response. This weeks challenge is: For 2 days spend 10 minutes at days end journal-ling the things that you found throughout the day to be thankful about. Write down at least 5 things. Big or small it doesn't matter. Be thankful. Then post a response in the comments about how this practice impacted your outlook.

Thanks friends!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

word watcher

"Words, words, words I'm so sick of words" Eliza Doolittle 

I believe that words get on my nerves due to the misuse of some and the overuse of others. This has become a love - hate relationship. I am writing this blog because the Lord told me to do so. Words are necessary to this task. I find myself listening for unique words that can replace the tired and misused words so abundant in our culture. Isn't plethora a cool way to say 'a lot?'  This awareness of words has spilled over into my speaking and listening as well.

In becoming a parent, I have found myself also becoming a word watcher. I think this happens to most parents who wish to raise well - behaved, language - conscious children. We become careful with our language, our music, and what media we allow them to intake. This is an important part of parenting. Being a word watcher is also an important part of my own well being. Some words build up; some tear down. Our sub-conscious hears and absorbs them all. I am struggling with keeping my self-talk positive. Satan would have me believe I am so much less than my value. But God's word says I am heir to the kingdom. That makes me a princess. A person of great value indeed. Since it takes seven positive statements to override a negative one in our brains, we must take every thought captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5 "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (emphasis mine) I must choose to believe the promises of God in scripture. I must choose to reject the destructive words of the evil one. If I do not do this, I  find myself desperately trying not to drown in a flood of negativity and depression. While you may not deal with depression, we all get dragged down when we allow the negative to overpower us. So I choose. I choose to believe I am God's Princess. I am precious to the God of the universe. So are you. Believe it!

I challenge you this week to take your thoughts captive. Keep a journal of the moments when you choose who you will listen to. You will be surprised how easy it is to tear yourself down over little things. Take those thoughts captive and celebrate your heritage in Christ.

Lord this week help me to take my thoughts captive and focus on your voice.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What confidence?

Recently I was approached in casual conversation by my pastor "You should be on the worship team," he said.

I was floored, but he had planted a seed. That little seed festered in my mind. You see, I love to sing. However, in my opinion, I have never been terribly good at it . I do all right for in the shower or for tormenting my husband in the car, not so much in front of the general public. The Bible says "make a joyful noise.." (Psalm 100:1) So I do. I love to worship! There is a difference between singing for public consumption and worshiping the living God!

Worshiping our maker is a must! It is a passion for me. Giving of myself, my voice and my attention to the adoration of Holy God, that's a privilege. The little seed pastor planted created a war in my mind. Part of me really, really wanted to join the worship team. The other part of me wanted to run for the hills. I felt so uncomfortable. I felt afraid of messing up, hitting wrong notes, being off pitch, and generally sounding bad.

I vacillated back and forth over and over. IS this worship team thing something I'm supposed to ? The more I prayed the more I felt like I should. Then the worship director approached me. I took another 2 weeks after that to pray and try to talk myself out of it. Alas, it was not to be. The Admiral gave his blessing and I felt the Lord was pushing me to do this. I told them I would join the team.

I showed up to my first rehearsal, full of nerves but had a fine evening. They are a friendly and comfortable group. The first Sunday went well. I was nervous but God is good and I was able to move past the nerves and into worship. The second week at rehearsal the leader for the week said "I wondered if you would solo this bridge?" I thought, WHAT?!?!?, but said "um....  *mumble* well I guess I could...."

So, in obedience to this nudge, I practiced and practiced and practiced. I was obedient and ready to do it. To my great relief the song was cut Sunday morning due to time constraints. The leader for that second week said to me " I knew you had the confidence to do this solo!" I looked around to see who she was talking to. "What confidence!?!?!, I said. Me? Ummmm, No. Not confident. Scared witless but obedient." She laughed, patted my shoulder, and said "we will do the song again soon and you can do the solo."

I am really enjoying singing with the worship team. I am glad I was obedient. I am still pretty nervous. I DO make mistakes, and that is ok. Because I am not called to be the perfect musician, vocalist, or performer. I am called to be an enthusiastic, genuine, and obedient worshiper. Phillippians 4:13 " I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me" This verse gives me confidence that this is where I am supposed to be serving. My choice is to be available to God and let HIM equip me for this task. What confidence? The confidence that I am in the center of His will, focused on Him and not myself.

Lord give me the confidence that comes from you alone. Keep my hand firmly tucked  in yours. Walk me through this experience. Let my actions glorify you and you alone.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken Soup & Engineers

I am always on the lookout for quick prep easy recipes. I like to cook, in fact I really enjoy it. But I do not always make enough time to do it well. Our lives are full and on the go, and this often leads to the dreaded "Whatever shall I make for dinner?" question. When this question pops in my head I immediately draw a blank. I stand looking stupidly into the pantry trying to conjure something out of thin air. I wander around my kitchen discarding the old standbys because I am sick of making them or because I am short one crucial ingredient. (You simply cannot make Hamburger Bean Pie without the beans. I do not recommend substituting peas either - they turn to mush.) Since school has now begun and our schedule is getting solidified, I have identified some days as 'crock-pot days'. If I have to be out of the house most of the day, it is a wonderful thing to come home to dinner bubbling away in the crock pot. One day last week, a simple crock pot experiment turned out brilliantly. I thought I would cook some chicken breasts in broth until they fell apart and then use the meat for quesadillas or "pulled bbq chicken." After about 45 minutes, the chicken broth and meat smelled so good I decided to add carrots and celery to the pot. Some oregano and garlic salt went in too, and I went off to collect the kids from school. We arrived home after piano lessons to a tantalizing soup smell that just begged for noodles. So I quickly made homemade noodles. The soup was wonderful and filling. My girls even ate theirs with almost no complaining.

I realized in this success that I often over-think things. I frequently tease the Admiral about his habit of engineering things to the Nth degree. This habit makes me nutty. He will figure and plan and monkey around and re-plan and by the time he is done the project is so engineered that only he understands it. I love him for it. Because of his methodical way of planning and re-planning, the things he builds last a long time. I end up being blessed by the very thing that made me crazy in the first place. In cooking over engineering is usually bad. I find that the more I fiddle with a dish, the weirder it comes out. Sometimes you must just trust your instincts and let it cook. Situations in our lives are like this too; more often than not engineering them will only make them more complicated. We are better off to let the Holy Spirit guide us and only stir things up at His direction.

Lord Help me to trust your guidance about when to let it cook and when to engineer. Help me to give over the controls to you when I want to do it my way.