Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I've Been Cheating

I feel as though I have been cheating on you dear blog.

I have started a relationship with...., Facebook.

So many said we should meet. I resisted. But finally I caved.

Ok, enough of this silliness.

My limited Facebook experience has been a real eye opener! God can use anything to reach us.

The way FB works is you sign up for it and you are then given a 'wall' where you see your activity on FB and where people can post. Who can post? This is where 'friends' come into the pictures.
You enter a name/school/business into the search engine and it will pull up all individuals with the name (or close to it.. sometimes) that you enter. You can then apply to be their 'friend'. Of course, the individual does not have to accept. They can 'ignore' your request for friendship (now that's not friendly).
So when it's gone a few days and you haven't heard from someone whom you offered out the www hand of friendship, you start feeling like 'they don't want to be my friend' (read with a pout). You start getting a little paranoid. (notice I say 'you' and not 'me'... This is simply because almost everyone I've spoken to feels the same way on FB - men too!)
Then you start getting in touch with some people from high school. If you're like me, you're saying to yourself, 'I don't even remember 85% of these people!!! Did I actually go to school there..?"
You start looking at their photos.. reading what's been going on in their lives.. notice some have matured.. notice some have not......
Before long, I (yes, I'm saying "I" as I have no idea if others feel this way.) start to feel like Diane from the BHS class of 89' (there you have it, I've dated myself). I start to feel like that shy girl. I begin unintentionally covering my mouth, forgetting that since high school I had braces on for five long years and no longer have Halloween-crooked teeth I need to hide. I start thinking about who I'll sit with at lunch (my son of course). Will I have to be lab partners with that boy who used to call me "Porky" in 5th grade? Will that popular girl who has the reputation for being smart ask me for my home work again?...... I start feeling like I'm shrinking, and not in a good way.

But alas, I am not that girl any more. I'm older. And wiser. I'm better!!

We studied last week in Bible study about when David cries out to God, "Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far." 2 Sam. 7:18

When I look back at who I was (thanks FB) and see where I am now, I can't help but think "Who am I O Lord God, that You have brought me this far?" I am still shy.. I still worry about who I will socialize with at a big gathering... but, or should I say, BUT - I know who I am in Christ!! I know my worth, not because of who I am, but because who God has made me.

When I stand before the group of ladies at church each Tuesday night as we talk about the Bible study (and DVD's) we are doing together, I am completely overwhelmed at where God has me. I, Diane, could NEVER stand before those ladies - NEVER!!!! But it is where God has me, and there's no better place than to be in His will!

Who am I Oh Lord God?...

I am your daughter ~ Thank you Jesus!!!! (and thanks FB for reminding me)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tea Anyone?

I was asked for a tutorial on how I made the tea bag holders that we used for the favors at our Women's Christmas Tea at church. So here it is!!
I promise, I'll write about the tea soon - it was an amazing day!!!
Cut a piece of cardstock measuring 7 1/2" x 3".
Score twice at 2 1/2" intervals creating 3 sections.
Adhere a piece of paper, 2 1/2" x 2" (holly pattern used here) for the cover.
At the opposite end, attach another piece of patterned paper.
Fold this section in and cut it on the diagonal.
Use liquid adhesive to close the bottom and side.

I put the title of my talk and the key scripture verse on another piece of cardstock and attached that opposite the tea bag pocket. (1 3/4" x 2 1/4")

Cut a 1 foot strip of ribbon. Attach with a mini glue dot on back. Tie into a bow.

I originally saw this on Split Coast Stampers, but without a tutorial. There some of the gals had put another piece of stamped paper on the front over the patterned paper.

Time consuming (to make 60 any way), but easy and fun!!


Friday, January 9, 2009

Get Ready, Get Set, THROW!

I suffered a little injury last night while running.

What, you didn't know I had taken up running?

Well yes. I took it up last evening.

The couch was my starting line.

I sprinted through the living room, down the hall (there suffering my injury when I stepped on that great hunk of green muscle himself, the Hulk), rounded into the 'gated community', and reached the finish line (aka, the bucket by my son's bed).

This was not a race for the faint of heart or those without endurance. The race lasted from 9:36 pm - 1:48 am. Sometimes the gun would go off without warning and the race was on! There were also side trips to the laundry room and bathroom along the way.

Husband was not into the race. No.. When asked to participate, the frustration that occurred was enough to make this sprinter decided she'd rather run this track alone and sought no further 'company' on the journey.

It certainly feels like we're running a race sometimes, doesn't it?

I'm just glad that this 'way past her prime' runner is blessed with healthy children (aside from the normal drippy nose and bug) and therefore doesn't get upset with these occasional races (although sad for the one waiting for my arrival at the finish line). I'm just thankful that this mornings sprint will be of a completely different nature (son is 100% better today!).

Monday, January 5, 2009

For Such A Time As This..?

Saturday, January 3rd was our Ladies Christmas Tea at church and proved to be a lovely day!

We started with a few glitches, no heat, frozen seafood and so forth. But God simply used these bumps to prove that He is in complete control and though these things were bothersome to us, He saw to it that the day went off beautifully.

As the ladies entered, they came to the check-in table with the above beautiful flower arrangement, program on display, and a basket of tea holders (so easy to make - but time consuming).

The tables were set with pale pink table clothes, pretty floral napkins and a teapots filled with pink tea roses. (so feminine - gotta have me some girlie time living in a house with males!)

The buffet was filled with finger sandwiches and dainty sweets on doilies.

During set up, it was lots of busy work. Wonderful time chatting with the ladies (some of my good friends from Heart2Heart). Many hands make light work and laughter makes everything more enjoyable!!

But once the busy work was complete and it was time to review the set up in the sanctuary, the nerves set it.

You see, I was the speaker for the event and it was my very first time doing anything of this sort. Sure, I've lead Bible studies and prayer circles - but that's very different from coming up with a whole talk and standing up before about 40 ladies.

I had started over a month ago planning the lesson. God put on my heart so clearly right from the get go exactly what He wanted this tea to be about. We were to learn about the Magi from the east and the gifts that they brought to Jesus at His birth. We originally were going to hold the tea prior to Christmas, but due to scheduling difficulties, we had to do it after. But the topic was to stay the same and on we proceeded.

It amazes me how much God teaches us when we are open and active in our studies! I didn't know where the lesson was going to go, but with each new discovery God enlightened me with, I was more and more excited to read on! I found myself sharing new insights at the dinner table with my husband that had me so excited, but although encouraging and interested, he didn't have the same excitement. I think this is just due to the fact that when I learned these new truths, it was through communion with God. Whereas John was hearing it second hand from me.

Once I had gathered all the verses and information I needed for the talk, I practiced, by myself down stairs talking to the tv (which kindly stood in as the female congregation). Even then, I felt nervous. I was in prayer constantly asking the Lord to prepare me for the event and that I would be a pliable vessel for Him. I prayed for the ladies who were to come and that the Lord would be preparing their hearts for what He had to say.

The preparation was over. There I was after the tea, sitting in the first pew waiting for all of the ladies to take their seats. My friend Debbie started the music that was to play as we all prepared ourselves for God's message. It was a song by Nichole C. Mullen (she's great!) called 'Call on Jesus'. My head was bowed and I was praying something like, "God, please help me not to mess this up. I pray your word would reach these ladies, help me not to get in the way. Please help me remember what You want me to say..." and on it went. My nerves were reaching a fever pitch, when suddenly the music got through to me. I heard the line 'when you call on Jesus all things are possible'. Suddenly, without any thought, my prayers changed to , "Thank you Jesus! I praise you Lord!" I felt a wash come over me, and I relaxed. Normal nervousness remained, but the panic was totally gone!

As I stood behind the podium, I felt God's presence so tangibly. I shared what He had given me. I believe the passion I have for Him and His word came forth - and my earnest prayer is that someone was touched by His message. That they look to strengthen their relationship with Christ. That if they had not yet taken the step to accept Him as savior and give their life to Him, that they would. It's easy to get caught up in church. And for some, that means they can miss the part that church doesn't save, only Jesus Christ can!!

The ladies were all so kind and supportive after the event. This has been the most humbling experience of my life!!! To think that God used me to speak to His daughters!!
I've felt led in Ladies Ministries for years, but it's been a very slow process. I've had many hardships and troubles over the years. Even earlier, I didn't have a smooth childhood - lots of hurts. But as I looked back up at the podium after the event I couldn't help think, all of the experiences I've had to make me grow and mature in my faith, may it not have been for such a time as this?

Lord, thank you for allowing me to serve you!! May my love and passion for you never lag! I praise you for your loving kindness and faithfulness!! I will seek you all of my days!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Now & Then

Last year at this time I had chosen a key word for myself for 2008. That word was "Simplify".

I was somewhat successful at this, but not the screaming success that I was hoping for. I discontinued my Hostess Club which relieved a lot of stress and follow-ups. I cut down to one blog, there's barely time to do one. And I have tried in an ongoing attempt to not put so much pressure on myself. This is a work in progress...

But not long after the year started, my mother became ill and died after being diagnosed with cancer for only 5 1/2 weeks. This as I'm sure you can imagine, made my plans and goals seem very unimportant.
The remainder of the year I can give you dates and occurrences, but really, the year for me can be summed up by simply saying "2008 is when I lost one of my best friends, the woman who would still call me 'baby', and the person who loved me so unconditionally." I've spent the rest of year keeping my head up, doing for my boys and husband and fulfilling obligations.

It's been a year of keeping my mouth shut when people have said things in an attempt to be.....'helpful'. A year of smiling and nodding. A year of waiting until everyone is in bed fast asleep before I can cry whole hearted in silent sobs.

But also, a year of appreciating just how blessed I had been!!! A year remembering my mother's kindness and compassion, affection and devotion, silliness and daffiness (I say with respect). So many live their lives at odds with their mothers. I was blessed to really love my mother - not just in retrospect, but while I had her!!

It's been a year of recognizing how good our God is! It's when we are at our lowest, that we can feel just how tangible Jesus is. When no one's words or hugs can really reach us, His peace and grace penetrate and touch deeper than someone 'with skin on' sitting right next to you.

For those who have asked/hinted/wondered... No, I am not depressed or in seclusion. If you have been concerned of this, it is simply because you do not see me enough to know that I have been going out, laughing and continuing on with life as one does. Although happiness was extinguished for some time, my joy never was (thanks be to God).

The loss will never go away, I think that's when I would worry. But I take my mother with me every day of my life. I get a chuckle when I do something stupid (as I do so often) and think how my mum would have loved to have heard about that. I get happy and sad at the same time when I fix a dish of hers that came out close enough to know it was her recipe. I remember learning to make those dishes with her. She will always be with me!!!!!!
Looking ahead to 2009, I considered many words that I thought should be my theme for the year. The word with which I have settled on is: "Order".

I want order in my life. I don't want to feel the strain of the 'captivity of activity'.

I will have order on my calendar so that I not only do what I must, but what I want to. I will schedule in family time, date nights with my husband and time with friends, and if someone calls with a task - we'll say "sorry, that day is booked" - no apologize and no guilt!

I will have order in my home. We have to be the record holders for 'piles'. Piles of school papers, mail, books, toys....ahhhh... We will apply the motto 'don't put it down, put it away'.

I will have order in my faith. I will create a 'devotions basket' complete with Bible, journal, note cards, pens, stamps, highlighters, sticky notes... I will schedule a time every day with the Lord. I will be a Christian with inertia (an object in motion stays in motion), and not grow weary on my journey with the Lord but cherish each step, and I pray, never take the gift of His grace for granted!

I will have order in regards to my well being. I will journal what I eat (even when I don't want to admit what I have eaten) so that I can keep track. Too easy to just take a bite of this and that - the journal will keep me accountable to myself. I will take my vitamins. I will take care of myself. No promises that I'll drop 5 clothing sizes - but I will take back control of my well being.

This is my goal for the year (keeping in mind I'm all too aware that life can throw us curve balls at any time). With God's help, I wont be chasing after my life, but live it the best way I can for His glory!!