Follow Me

 

shutterstock_334538270“You would follow Garmin right off a cliff if it took you there,” chuckled my friend to his son who held complete faith in his trusty GPS. It’s important to note that, at this time, personal GPS devices were a pretty new phenomenon and the technology was definitely not perfected. Certainly nowhere near as reliable as today’s impressively accurate phone apps.

shutterstock_265734134I too trusted Garmin way more than I trusted myself! While in the wilds of Tuscany we were completely dependent on this device. We faithfully trusted our “guidance assistant” to take us where we wanted to go. Even when directed down dirt roads with cows and chickens crossing in front of us. (Normal for the area it turns out.) We were in the hands of technology with no reference point for our senses. “Time to trust.” I thought to myself, “and if we get lost, at least it was in a beautiful countryside and not in a creepy city alleyway.”

Fast forward a few years and I am on a different sort of domestic road trip. Taking my daughter back for her senior year of college. This is the first year that she has her own car and her first apartment. One concern though… she has very little experience with highway driving. (Huge fear of mine! Sorry honey.) The good news is that we had to take two cars in order to accommodate apartment nesting needs (Her car is MINI…literally) and she could follow me.

woman setting gps.jpg.838x0_q67_crop-smartUsually, on road trips, I go on auto-pilot. Set my “Waze” app, put on my favorite music or talk radio (Need Sirius radio!) and make sure to have coffee or water within easy reach. My favorite travel “game” is to challenge myself to get to my destination sooner than the predicted time. Not this time. Every time I made a lane change, I had to make sure there was more than enough room for the two of us.

Other than a couple of overly fast lane changes she was doing absolutely beautifully. I could relax a bit. Or could I? All of a sudden, a car hubcap shot out of nowhere, barreling directly at my car. If I swerved, it would hit her car. There was no time to think, but I would do anything to keep that rolling weapon away from my daughter. I ran over the hubcap at 65 miles an hour and somehow it missed the MINI and, miraculously, my car took the beating without a flat tire or other crippling damage.

While many would say, “lucky break”, I know… angels were watching over us. Nothing less. My daughter continued following me with trust that her Mom, who loves her, would not lead her astray or into danger.

shutterstock_310507343Like a loving Father, God does this for us daily. He wants to be our navigator and knows when we should stay in a lane or change direction. Often times we change lanes that put us in danger zones. Our free will can, and will, lead us into places where God can only watch as we choose to ignore his many signs to us along the way. (*See “Bruce Almightyvideo below) Then…when we proceed to ignore, we can’t be surprised when we end up lost and the consequences that await. That doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us. It’s the opposite. A loving parent will not abandon or lead their children astray, but will teach their children to discern and make their own decisions.

 

Are we following God whole heartedly or are we only following Him when it is convenient? Life is an interstate most of the time. When we trust our God, our “lead driver” wholeheartedly, we will find ourselves in a place of peace. Let’s focus on Christ and following where He is leading us.

 

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12.

 

“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34

 

Jesus Christ died to save us from our sins; we tend to concentrate on that merciful fact. But isn’t it also true He lived to show us a lifestyle free from sin? So, wouldn’t following in his footsteps be something like preventative medicine?Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year.

 

Monday Must see video: (Carol King, I’m going to take the liberty of playing your song and I like to substitute the idea of God Our Father as the ONE here. JP.S…You are the best!)

 

Second Monday Must see Bruce Almighty Video snippet. “Give me a sign God!”

Weeding 101

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This blog comes to you straight from my backyard garden. I even delayed showering in order for you to feel my pain. Sweat is pouring down my brow, my t-shirt is drenched all the way through and my jeans are stuck to my legs. My hair, in a high ponytail, has developed Cindy Brady ringlets around all perimeters and my lower back…has a heartbeat.

shutterstock_59703064It’s August in DC and if you plan to do yard work you better get yourself out first thing in the morning or you are begging for heat stroke. The weeding with which I am engaged is not for the faint of heart, the lackadaisical, and definitely not for the impatient! By putting off this task for virtually the whole summer I knew I was in for a battle. A battle which must be fought for the sake of the beautiful flowers and shrubs that live there?

Let’s face it, weeding is pure and utter drudgery. We all know the weeds mission is not coexistence and they will joyfully take the good guys down with them! In order for my plants to thrive, the weeds must be yanked down to their nasty roots! A simple weed whacker does not deal with the root of the problem. (No pun intended!)

There is no getting around the need to weed in a healthy garden. Do it yourself or hire shutterstock_272386709someone to do it for you, but it must be done. The more I ponder my morning steeped in weeds, the more I see its benefits. Maybe we can extract something positive out of all this mess. It gives you time to think, you get to see the fruits of your labor and you can lose weight! This morning I probably lost 3 pounds sweating while pulling up our vine-like weeds from hell and then found this quote by William Wordsworth…“Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.”

Weeds are a problem, a very obvious visual problem. Our human problems are not always noticeable, but they are as rooted and grounded as weeds. No one can weed out our problems for us. Sure they can help but unless they are “us” they can’t completely know how deep and in how many directions our deeply seeded weed roots actually grow. They grow right alongside of all that is beautiful and good using up the same fertile ground and limiting us where we could be soaring upward.

shutterstock_6340591While we can’t stop sharing our rich soil with our personal weeds we can get down and dirty with ourselves and ask God to remove our weeds so that we can thrive. The Bible is our plant food and Jesus the living water that quenches our thirst. Let’s grab our weeds by their very roots and yank! Prayer, digging in scripture and fellowship are sure to work as a substantive weed killer! Start this week out with your gloves on!

“Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.” Pope Francis

“I do some of my best thinking while pulling weeds.” Martha Smith

“A man of words and not deeds, is like a garden full of weeds.” Benjamin Franklin

“Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.” Gordon B. Hinckley

“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has neem sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23

Must see Monday: (Don’t miss the amazing tree in this video!)
“Thrive” Casting Crowns

Reach Higher

 

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I recall toiling over a boring breaded chicken dish that I used to make about three nights a week. My husband gently confronted me with, “Wow, honey, you should really think about making that with love.” While one side of me wanted to have words with him about that comment, my reasonable side knew he was ridiculously right on! There were many things I did with a survival mode mentality. If life was a race, I was not finishing strong at the end of each day.shutterstock_222361732

I was becoming an end of the day slacker and neglecting my purpose in life. Oh, there was good reason to be exhausted but not enough to throw in the towel. It’s like saying, “Ok family, I’m off now, have a good night!” I was in danger of becoming that mother who went out for eggs and came back four years later. (True story, yikes!)

Raising a family is the ultimate, “It’s not about you” stage in life. The stakes here are too high to slack off. Little eyes, little ears, “watching…always watching.” (Roz: Monsters Inc.) When they are older…bigger eyes, bigger ears… always listening. The early years are a snippet of life that flies by before you know it; parenting itself is for lifers. (Warning for young parents: Don’t blink!)

shutterstock_404720599The combination of the joys, the dramas and the monotonous tasks (aka laundry, dishes, cleaning) are all part of the journey. If you believe that God exists why is it so hard to believe that He, our maker, is smart enough to know that we desperately need a savior who knows what it is like to live through the trials of the human body and mind? There is a purpose in everything we go through.

Whether you have kids or not, single or married, we are all in this race together. Life itself is a gift. Your circumstances can sometimes feel like an insurmountable obstacle course. Whether it is in your family life, dealing with school pressures, overwhelming work life, or health issues in a retired lifestyle; they all have their fair share of road blocks. The good news…none of our them surprise our Lord! And no one loves you more than Him.shutterstock_318701762

Don’t go out for eggs and not come back for four years!

Reach higher by praying first, listening and then actingor perhaps, not acting. This week let the Holy Spirit be your life coach. His power will make a difference in your life; even in your cooking and laundry!

Post Script: If you really think about it….there must be higher love, without it, we’re just wasting time! (Steve Winwood song: see video below.)

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16

 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

  

“Experience is not what happens to you. It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters.” Rick Warren ~ Author “The Purpose Driven Life”\

 

This weeks: 2 Must see videos:

 

P.S. This video is with Lilly Winwood….beautiful version!

To Lure A Hummingbird

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“God…generously gives us everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17

Growing up, our living room and dining room décor comprised nothing but bird prints. Not a landscape to be seen. My maternal grandmother, who passed away long before I was born, was a connoisseur of these particular bird prints by English artist and ornithologist John Gould (1804-1881).

I have been surrounded by Gould’s prints my entire life because of my grandmother’s fascination and admiration for art and birds, more specifically, hummingbirds. In my mind’s eye, from a very young age, birds were flying, living art.shutterstock_285328910

Over the years, with the fostering of this joy by my mother, fascination with these tiny flying gems continues in my life. I simply cannot get enough of our local Ruby-throated hummingbird! Tiny birds, massive personalities!

As I watch them from our kitchen window, I often get lost in their world. (Note: Don’t be peeling anything with a knife when you are bird-watching.) Sometimes they mesmerize me, sometimes they frustrate me. Just when I say to someone… “Look, there he is!”, he decides to flit off or aggressively chase off other hummers, even if they are his own family members! “Share, would ya!” They can behave like naughty little children; but the kind of naughty you just have to laugh at!

While my family may think I’m a little obsessed with “my hummers” that doesn’t stop them from smiling at their feisty little antics. And between you and me, I think this love for them has been passed down to yet another generation. What a gift! (I bet that makes my Grandmother smile in heaven!)

Like anything in life that is worth propagating, keeping the birds around takes some diligence. Not only do I have purposeful plantings that attract them, but new nectar has to be made every few days and the feeders need to be carefully scoured. After a few short days the nectar actually spoils and can tick off my little friends. (Thankfully it only takes boiling water and sugar to make. If it wasn’t easy I might have to re-think my hobby and consider ant farming. Oh my gosh, not really!)

shutterstock_378847852Is all the work worth it? You bet! When you value something…you work at it and often a beautiful passion ensues. As believers, how do we keep our “nectar” fresh and our scent sweet? Being in the Word of God and praying for His will to be done in our lives is a good place to start. But we must build this into our daily lives so that a strong wind doesn’t just blow our scent away.

This week consider your fragrance. Showing others the love of Christ is the very best scent there is!

How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 104:24

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26

“I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.” Psalm 50:11

When God pushes you to the edge, trust Him fully, because only two things can happen. Either He will catch you when you fall or He will teach you how to fly.” Unknown

“It is not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.” Tolkien 

Must see video of the week:

 

Vital Signs

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As August quickly moves into the Mid-Atlantic, our household is experiencing the summer version of a hibernation. This past week we have hunkered down and become air-conditioning dependent home-dwellers. If it’s 105 degrees in July, what in the world is August, the hot month, going to feel like?!

What’s worse than going out into a 105-degree sauna? Going out dressed for work and wearing heels and spanks! As if it’s not bad enough publicly perspiring and having instant bad hair. “Oh, let me just squeeze into this size 0 torture girdle and go outside and test my survival skills.” A sure ticket to passing out in public.
Forget Vanity! I’ve decided that self-preservation is in order. yellflippyflopsMy new uniform… very light sleeve-less t-shirts paired with shorts or skorts. Fit flops are a must because if you wear them, you stay fit. Socks and shoes are too seaty. Going out somewhere? Dress it up with earrings and lipstick.

Inside, after a while, it gets too cold so I put on my favorite sweat-shirt. Outside too hot… whip off my favorite sweatshirt. Ugh, why do the three little bears come to mind? Too cold, too hot? I just want to be lukewarm! Is that too much to ask? (I realize that we are indeed blessed to have air-conditioning so try not to judge me too harshly.)

My need to find this comfortable in-between temperature reminded me of a Bible passage that has often baffled me at best and at worst, made me feel unworthy of my relationship with Christ.

“I know your works; that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am going to spit you out.” Revelation 3:15-16

In the context of this passage, lukewarm means; “self-righteous” feeling arrogantly content with our own good deeds and good life. A person with no need for a savior.” In other words, “I got this God.”

jesusThe prodigal son (a good example of cold believer) hit bottom in a pigsty and realized how good his father was. He grasps his need for saving and comes back home. The “hot believer” is one who realizes their neediness and consequently depends on God to burn away their impurities and become a loving part of a whole with God. A relationship. See the similarities? Both cold and hot recognize the need for God. The lukewarm person is like “milk-toast” and their self-righteousness will most likely keep them from ever seeing their deepest need for a savior.

I always thought that because my life had more than its fill of repeated mistakes and battles that perhaps I was not good enough for Jesus. I was harmfully classifying myself as that lukewarm believer. There are so many people out there doing so many “good” things, and I’m just plain old fallible me. It turns out, God wants “just me”. The good me will only be revealed through that relationship. Phew, I can stop sweating it out now!

This week take a close look at the temperature of your relationship with God. Who is in charge?

Post Script: After writing this post, we had an enormous thunder storm and it felt like a fever had broken! 

“If you live by the spirit, let us also walk by the spirit.” Galatians 5:25

 

“Having the appearance of godliness but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 3:5

 

“Both hot and cold Christians see need, insufficiency and helplessness. The fatal condition is to be needy while depending on your own righteousness. The lukewarm Christian is one who says, “God must be pleased with my devoted church attendance.” Eric Pazdziora~ “The myth of the lukewarm Christian”

 

“We can never be worthy on our own. But many believers allow Satan to rob them of precious life by believing his lies about how God sees them. They believe they can never be worthy in his sight.” David Wilkerson ~ “Who Told You You Were Unworthy?”