i aM tHe mOtHer oF a 30 year old!

Today’s Joshua’s 30th birthday. I would try to say that my Chipper and I adopted him when we were sixteen, since we’re NOT old enough to have a MIDDLE aged man as a kid but, he looks like me and he acts like me too, so that won’t work! I’m so proud of my son, who I often call Peter Pan. He’s a nurse, who cares for critically ill children everyday; Pediatric Intensive Care isn’t an ideal place for most people to work and I admire those who can do it. Kids die in there a lot and it’s his call in life to comfort frightened, pain ridden children and their parents during an unimaginable tragedy. But, kids are brought back to healthy & Joshua celebrates those miracles, too. He is a wonderful son, a great husband, caring grandson, devoted brother, doting uncle to his first niece/goddaughter and dedicated to his patients. Happy Birthday my precious baby boy! I love you to infinity and beyond!! ❤

Dangerously Transparent

When we married, we knew that if I had a chance of becoming pregnant, it had to happen quickly. Joshua was born 17 months later. A difficult nine months; I developed gestational diabetes & severe edema. I gained just 23 lbs., but at five feet & normally 110 pounds, by all appearance, I was carrying multi-uplets! I’m not the least bit tempted to get BOTOX lips. I’ve got pictures that prove-an over inflated mouth-doesn’t suit my facial structure. 😀

On a snow forecasted March Thursday night, I’d been in labor all day so Mama decided it would be best to go to the hospital rather than get snowed in. When I got there-the nurse did the standard exam & determined that it was false labor. Come back when the pain’s REALLY significant & contractions are regular. I was only 22, but, I’d been sick most of my…

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“dUm sPiRo SpErO”

LYing awake worryingWhich do you ponder most when your head hits the pillow-a day’s successes or failures? I’d rather dwell on the positive, but my personality doesn’t lean that way; most nights I count my mistakes and begin an agonizing routine of punishing myself.  Guilt is an emotional mind bender that manipulates me easily. Loser. Why do you torture yourself with ridiculous goals? No matter how many times you try, you CAN’T. You’re just a dressed up failure. Why should GOD use you? He’s Wiser. She’s Prettier. They have more talent. More charismatic. Not impulsive. Not unsure. Comparison eats away at my identity until it reduces me to less than zero.
Brothers, I don’t consider myself to have taken hold of it, but one thing I do; forgetting what is  BEHIND & reaching FORWARD to what’s ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by GOD’S heavenly call in CHRIST JESUS. Phillipians 3:13-14
WEIGHTED WITH GUILT fear worryWe’re commanded to share GOD by showering hope, goodness, love & compassion. This ginormous responsibility guarantees that we will fail at times but, we can’t be afraid to go hard in all we do, without fear of not receiving HIS forgiveness when we falter. Yes, we can expect to be chastised, but only because HE uses mistakes to help us grow stronger. Difficulties aren’t maliciously or deliberately allowed to thwart progress. HE won’t hold us back, beat us down or purposely prevent us from celebrating victory over the things HE willed for us to conquer. HE doesn’t set us up to fail! I hope that makes your heart do the happy dance!  How delightful the trip would be if I’d fully grasp that GOD has every aspect under control. Guilt will keep us from slaying our giants, take away our happy & leave us empty and hopeless. Don’t give in to guilt!!
STATE MOTTO with treeWhen I’m brave enough for ink, I want the motto of my state, South Carolina, placed on my left foot. I want it on my left foot because I stepped in a hole a few years ago and snapped both bones in my lower leg. A freak accident that required a trauma surgeon and a whole bunch of metal to put my leg back together again.  I was non weight bearing for over three months and did I ever learn how to be humble through that experience. Suddenly, I needed help for the most simple of tasks like putting on underwear.  Nowadays, when I finish a 4 mile run or walk up several flights of stairs, I think back to that time when I could not and it makes me appreciate my bum leg far more.
“Dum Spiro Spero” (Latin) means while I breathe, I hope. May I always strive to find that place of peaceful nights when I fall asleep guilt free, not because I lived perfectly, but because I took each step with FULL confidence of  WHO was LEADING my way .FOOT TATTOO DUM

Aside

wHo’s wRiTing tHe cOmMaNdMenTs wHere yOu wOrsHip?

Rabid dogWe’re proactive if a rabid animal is on the loose in the neighborhood, but if a potentially deadly poison threatens to infect our congregation, we hesitate to put up a defense, let alone launch an attack. Churches teeter on collapse weekly and though it may appear to stem from financial woes, music styles, race, abortion, homosexuality or one of the other controversial subjects we debate, most travesties happen when EVIL sprouts in the hearts of those we consider brothers and sisters. When it’s not eradicated, it spreads and when it spreads, it destroys.  JESUS had the utmost tolerance for the lost, but HE quickly rebuked hypocrites in the church-having no patience with those using HIS FATHER’S NAME for their own propaganda.

Playing church posterWe quote verses on judging to justify an unwillingness to combat uncomfortable situations. Well, we’re also told to use spiritual DISCERNMENT. It’s heartbreaking to realize how many of GOD’S children aren’t consistent students of the BIBLE, so they rely on self serving interpretations from others. Often, the same ones secretly devising wicked plans are the same ones being depended on to provide holy guidance.

James 3:8-10 no human can tame the tongue. It’s restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord & Father & with it we curse people made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth comes blessings & cursings. Brothers, these things ought not be so.

OVOLTAIRE criticizebserve those who worship with you. Who prays more for your church and leaders than talks about it or them? Who shows respect for all members, regardless of social status or political views? Who frequents hallways complaining and campaigning? Who uses social media to conspire or backbite? IDENTIFY them and RUN away just as you’d flee from a RABID dog!

I don’t usually choose this translation (THE MESSAGE), but in the case of Romans 16:17-18 I think it’s one of the best. 17-18 One final word of counsel, my friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.

Brave & trustworthy Spirit Warriors are the backbone of your church, so strive to be one who serves on the front line, unified with those who genuinely want ONLY GOD’S plans to succeed for your church.

2nd Timothy 3:1-17  1But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. 2For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, 4traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!

6For among them are those who worm their way into households & capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, 7 always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes & Jambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men who are corrupt in mind, worthless in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress, for their lack of understanding will be clear to all, as theirs was also.

10But you’ve followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love & endurance, 11 along with the persecutions & sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from them all. 12In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13Evil people & impostors will become worse, deceiving & being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you 15and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.proverbs10_9

tIme fOr a sPriNg sTrip! :D

closet clean stripYesterday I did my bi-annual closet strip. A rather strange ritual since my closet is the size of a hobbit’s. I don’t fancy shopping unless, of course, it’s for The Ladybug. In my younger days I felt compelled to keep up with trends, but now that I’m in my fifties, my clothes qualify as retro/vintage-which is great since I buy most at Goodwill or recycle shops. I wear them for a season, then wash and return the lot so that someone else can enjoy them, too.  The mainstays of my closet are things with sentimental value like the black floral dress Mama sent to New Zealand for my 40th birthday. When I put it on all these years later, I still remember how special it was to receive that beautiful dress in the mail. I look forward to sliding into my army khakis each spring. 1999. VINTAGE indeed.

May I recommend a book by Jen Hatmaker? If you lean to the excessive, it may put perspective on what you need & what you don’t. If you lean to the lean, it will help to reinforce a decision to simplify.

Cartoon accessoriesBy my thirties, I considered myself non materialistic despite a large home, Suburban, dogs, cats, bunnies, fish, pool, two refrigerators & extra freezer. Running shoes, walking shoes, open toe sandals, closed toe sandals, flat flip flops, wedged heel flip flops, 3″ heels, 5″  heels, black boots, brown boots, cowboy boots, snow boots, light jackets, heavy coats, vests, sweaters, pencil skirts, peasant skirts, church dresses, casual dresses,  3/4 sleeve blouses, long sleeved blouses, scoop neck tees, round neck tees, v neck tees, stonewashed jeans, black jeans, mom jeans, sexy jeans, colored hair shampoo, swimmers’ shampoo, everyday shampoo, wake up facial wash, bedtime calming cleanser, nighttime moisturizer, daytime sunscreen, am eye cream, pm eye gel, heavy foundation, light foundation, pink powder blush, coral gel blush, lipgloss, lipstick, lipbalm, lipstain. Shall I itemize every nook & cranny? Non materialistic alright.

THEN the CALL came to MOVE to the OTHER SIDE of the WORLD.

New Zealand certainly isn’t a poor country, but according to the standards I was accustomed to, stuff was sparse. People rarely used clothes dryers-why pay for something the SUN & a washing line did free? 2 refrigerators? Ha! We searched to find one taller & wider than me. We couldn’t store enough food for more than a few days in these over-sized coolers, how we’d survive the apocalypse was troubling. *wink*  ONE car per family? Ya kidding? Back home, the hubby had a truck, me an SUV, kids had their wheels. It wasn’t a luxury; our hectic lifestyle demanded everyone have their own transportation. But, only rich kids got new ones, regular folks could only afford used.

House hunting. A three bedroom house & 1 bath? Is this a joke? Setting up the house. 6 cabinets in an entire kitchen? Closets? YES! I am SO excited about the DOUBLE Barbie townhouse closet in the master bedroom. 🙂  Mail is delivered to the letterbox at the house, but I must take a single piece of mail to the local post shop to send?  But, we only have one car over here.  No worries, the bus stop’s around the corner. Me? Ride a bus? UGH! We aren’t poor! I was so FULL of myself; it’s a wonder I made any friends at all. I had MUCH to learn about being materialistically minded.

So, I began my journey to minimalism out of necessity when we rented our first home. It was a lovely cottage overlooking a pasture. We had lemon trees & mandarin orange trees outside-but no dishwasher inside. I didn’t buy everyday dishes and Sunday dishes but we were troopers & somehow suffered through it now that we were roughing it. 😀

In Jen’s book I found a defining confession-Getting rid of clutter is an amazing way to simplify, but how pious was I to be so incredibly proud of myself for being so “sacrificial”?  That was me.  I relished the attention from friends and family when I moaned about the conditions we were having to adapt to. I welcomed the praises about all I was giving up in order to serve the LORD. *sigh*

I’m ashamed that I was so spiritually immature to believe-I deserved credit for washing dishes & using the same glasses to drink out of on Sunday that we did on Tuesday. As if having to wait an extra 5 minutes to brush my teeth was something to merit a high five for enduring. I was embarrassed to be seen getting on the bus or hanging out clothes.  I was materialistic; I’d just been too wrapped up in my stuff to realize it.  I’d been filled with pride about what I had, what I drove, what I wore and what I gave.

Giving something to someone because I no longer WANT it-is hardly a sacrificial offering so why do we think that? I’ve confessed so many of my faults, it’s easier to spill my guts than it used to be. Prior to moving to New Zealand, money wasn’t as tight as it had been. After ten years of making do with a second hand bedroom set, we purchased a new one. We put an ad in the paper to sell our old one for $175. We’d already bought the new furniture, but weren’t spiritually mature enough to discern that it made more sense to GIVE away the one we no longer wanted-as opposed to charging a little something because it was too good to GIVE IT AWAY. What kind of self centered, crazy nonsense have we talked ourselves into believing? We gave ourselves credit for being overly generous when a family came & we LET THEM HAVE it for $125 because it appeared from the jalopy truck and worn out shoes they needed a break.  We weren’t kind and we weren’t a blessing. We were selfish. S.E.L.F.I.S.H.

Hindsight is a great teacher. I thought I NEEDED that beautiful comforter set that I’d seen at Belk while we were bedroom shopping. That’s how I priced the used set-just enough to cover what I needed. But you know, something? I really didn’t NEED new bed linens, I simply wanted them. Not only that, but when we later fell on hard times, I realized what that family likely SACRIFICED in order for me to have an expensive set and it broke my heart.Cartoon family

I can’t undo that foolish decision, but because of it I genuinely see needs more readily. I pray GOD repaid them for me.

tHaT rOaD isn’t eVen oN tHe mAp!

Warning confusion aheadOn the journey with CHRIST, MapQuest isn’t part of the deal. People refer to the BIBLE as a map, but in my opinion, a more befitting view of GOD’S WORD is-divine compass, spiritual warfare army fatigues, healing balm, joy-meter, hope floater, problem solver, dictionary, unlimited text messages 🙂 It’s an ultimate travel manual full of essential, vital information on the Highway to Holiness, but you’re not going to get precise destinations spelled out nor can you pinpoint a preferred route. Well, you could-but chances are VERY likely that you’ll stay L.O.S.T.  You better pack plenty of BLIND FAITH if you expect to cross the finish line because you aren’t going to know where you are or why you are there half of the time!

One of the most relevant scriptures for my personal journey is, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you aren’t able to hear them right now“. In other words, Lis, if you want to make this leg of the race easier, trust me on this. Don’t stress out trying to map out where this road leads. Don’t ask for details because if I tell you in advance, you’ll be afraid to go any further.LOST to find ourselvesWhat I’ve learned is; don’t waste energy mapping out the destinations; when I’ve done so, it didn’t end well. There are roads that GOD led me down eons ago that to this day, I don’t understand. Detours that HE’S chosen lately have baffled me silly, still I’m confident that what HE does in my life, no matter how HE does it-will always be what HE has determined BEST for me. Blind faith enables me to keep moving whether I see the road clearly or not & in the rubble of the confusing places- dark & painful as they may have been, it’s not the suffering that lingers in my memory so vividly as the indescribable, unique intimacy that evolved when I had no other source but HIM to place my hope.

SHARK in DESERTWhen on scary terrain, places where the fog is so thick it sucks the breath from us, it’s natural to cower in fear, to vacillate from trust to doubt. While the two often cross paths simultaneously, we must choose which is to be our companion. Trust and doubt don’t travel easily together and progress comes to a halt when our soul wrestles between the two. A GOD guided tour of duty is difficult. HE instructs us to count the cost before we start. But, there’s no greater honor in life than to serve CHRIST with steadfast surety that no matter how tumultuous the sea, steep a climb, deep the cavern, barren a valley, you are going to conquer the challenge because HE created this path exclusively for you. SO, when you are in the desert, being shot at by a sniper after you’ve being swallowed by a great white shark, you’ll survive it! 😀 Yep, I’d say this photo just about sums up the blind faith bit! 😀

You can’t follow CHRIST and expect to avoid sorrow & suffering; the most likely reason why HE mercifully didn’t provide a complimentary map for the trip. Think about it. Have you ever gone to MapQuest to request the hardest, most difficult route? Of course not! We want the fastest, easiest, arrow straight way. We can’t help but think it’s all about me whether we want to think it or not. That’s not me talking, PAUL said it first!.

If you don’t mind me saying so-what’s in YOUR wallet-doesn’t impress GOD. From what I read, HE isn’t prone to delving out first class tickets to HIS children. Count on WALKING in areas not hospitable for humans, but never lose sight of WHO you’re walking with as you’re passing through those places. I guarantee, HE rewards every hard trek with a vacation! *Smiles*

dO yOu hAve fEEt liKe a dEeR?

HANNAH H.In 1955, English author, Hannah Hurnard, penned my absolute favorite allegorical novel, Hinds’ Feet in High Places. If you’ve never read it, you must, even if you aren’t typically a book worm. You can finish it in a day, but I recommend that you take your time so you won’t miss any portion of a beautiful treasure.BANNER for HINDS FEET

We lived in New Zealand when a friend and I were talking about favorite books. Knowing I was an avid reader with a vivid imagination, she was shocked that I hadn’t read this one, so the following morning she dropped by her copy. From the moment I began, I couldn’t put it down. It was the story of my life; since that first read, it’s been a-go to-when I need comfort food.

HINDS FEETIt narrates a young woman’s journey away from her FEARING family, to the High Places of the Shepherd. Naive & vulnerable, Much Afraid is accompanied by two-let’s say-most unpleasant companions. She determines bravery while on her quest to meet the Shepherd, but quickly discovers that the mysterious path towards the High Places changes continuously, the landscape grows more treacherous & unpredictable and each time she makes any headway, it’s overshadowed by setback.  You never know what will befall her & question if she can remain strong enough to take another step. The first time I read it, I was practically begging her to end the excruciating pain for both of our sakes, abandon this dream and turn around! It’s spellbinding!

The title’s derived from Habakkuk 3:19  The LORD GOD is my strength, and HE will make my feet like hinds’ feet and HE will make me to walk upon mine high places.  If you venture with Much Afraid, expect this verse to be tattooed on your heart forever.

Aside

leT tHe yOung oNes teAch Us!!!

Today I’m posting the recent blog of Stephanie Nease, a young woman who has followed GOD’S plan all the way to Asia. Many of you remember her mom, Leslie, as the Christian woman who refused to bow in the temple on the reality series, Survivor China. Leslie is now the co-host of the morning show on HIS radio. While my Chipper & I were in Savannah, Georgia, we were privileged to have Stephanie’s South Carolina youth group help us carry out a VBS that targeted a low income neighborhood beside our church. She was amazing with the kids and it was evident even then that GOD had great plans for her life. Read and be blessed.

untilallnationsknow

Alright, so here is the scenario: Moses just finished talking to God through a burning bush. In case you missed that or, like me, unfortunately your amazement of that fact has become numb due to the number of times you’ve heard this story, God was talking through a burning bush. The Lord gave Moses instructions to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. Then the Lord showed him signs to show to the Egyptians that the Lord is God.

Here’s where I’ll pick up: “But Moses said, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” (Exodus 4:10).

Okay, I feel like that’s an honest confession. I would feel the same way, and I actually do as I can relate word for word with his statement as I am a child in this language…

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