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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Of Little Importance

I talked with my mother-in-law yesterday and she told me a story about one of her staff that intrigued me. She told me that she passed by a staff member and she was cleaning the garbage pail lid. My mother-in-law said " I have never seen anyone do that before." To which the staff member replied "I am a neat freak." This in and of itself is nothing exciting, but it got me thinking about the fact that my mother-in-law never saw anyone taking the time to do the most menial of tasks. I'm sure it is not a part of her job description, or anyone's for that matter, but she took the time to make sure her workspace looked its best. That to me said a lot about this girl's character.
It reminded me of what Jesus said when he talked about the "least of these." Whenever we do a small thing for someone of little importance (water, feeding, etc.) Jesus is pleased, because it is like we are doing it for him. In the same way, this girl who took the extra time to do more than the required task pleases Jesus, too.
Do we take the extra time to do more than the required task, or do a small thing for someone of little importance?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Change is good ( I think...) 2

The wind lies stagnant, unmoved by the world around it.
All is well, and equilibrium has been achieved, for the moment.
In a moment, the stillness is disturbed.
The temperature changes
The wind picks up motion
In that moment,you know what it is.
It is the wind of change.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Change is good ( I think...)

I am in the process of transitioning from the front classroom to the back classroom at work and trying to make it a preschool room. It has been a lot of work, but it is coming together, and in the end it will be a good change. Change at anytime can be bittersweet. Bitter because I have to say goodbye to some of the children I have spent the last 5 months with, sweet because it is a new beginning and a new change of pace.
Even though change is good, why is it so hard to adapt to change? Things are constantly changing all the time: the seasons, our age, the weather, all run on a schedule of constant change. So, why is it so hard to adapt when change comes around the corner?
Why is it so hard to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

That's What it is all about

This marks my 200th posting for my blog. When I think back to last year when i first began this blog, I nervously signed up for an account, on the advice of a speaker I had just heard, thinking "What will I write about?" I started with my first post, introducing myself and hoping someone, anyone, might be on the receiving end of my message. Now, I can't stop writing about the journey God has placed me on in the area of writing, as well as all He is doing in my life. In the beginning, I struggled with finding topics and subjects that would be of interest to my readers. But, what God has been showing me is that if I am seeking Him, and an faithful to what he has called me to do, what I have to say will always be interesting, because it will be honest, genuine and real. People will want to know more. They will want to know more about me, and ultimately, the one I serve.
That's what it is all about.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Learning to Fish 2

Mark 1:19-20 says “When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him."
The second thing I noticed about learning to fish is that John and James "prepared their nets". John and James most likely learned the trade from their dad. I'm sure he taught them everything necessary to catch fish and earn their living. I'm not sure how nets are prepared. But, what if they were not prepared? Would they catch the fish they desired most? 
Will you catch the "fish" you desire most if you are not prepared?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Learning to Fish

As I have been referencing the Apostle John for my book, I came across the first time we meet John in the gospel of Mark. "Mark 1:19-20 says “When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him." As I have been doing this, my sister contacted me to ask if my husband would take my nephew fishing. I couldn't help but see the parallels between my nephew's desire to fish and the bible passage. 
The first thing that I found is that both my nephew and John would drop everything for something they loved. In my nephew's case, it is the actual fishing, for John, it was an invitation to follow Jesus. 
I guess it is an innate part of all of us to be motivated to drop everything for something we feel is worth it. 
Are you willing to drop everything for Jesus?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Update

I must take a moment and praise God today for all He is doing in regards to my writing. I have been faithfully blogging, writing magazine articles and revising book chapters for almost a year now and to see how far I have come is nothing short of miraculous.
I want to give you all an update on how my book saga is taking shape. After much prayer, consideration and revision I have changed many of my chapter titles as well as the actual book title. the book is not called " Finding your place in the story of God" and I have used the overarching theme of the story that God is writing for our lives. I invite the reader to find their place in the story as one of his main characters and challenge them to "edit" their stories to realign themselves with God's will for their lives. I am still weaving the apostle John and his intimate love relationship with Jesus, but it is no longer the main theme of the book.
I am still prepping my book proposal for David C. Cook and am a couple of weeks away from submitting it, as well, as my first three chapters ( I rewrote the introduction and chapter two). I am in the process of submitting it to an editor to start the long revision process.
At the conference, I also pitched my idea (the original "Becoming the disciple whom Jesus loved" ) to a self- publishing company called Winepress Publishing. I received a call from them about a week later and they said, although they do not take every submission sent to them, they loved my idea and would definitely like to work with me on it. I mentioned I thought about changing some things and changing the theme to the story, and the representative said he liked that even better than my original chapter titles. I will send them a copy of my proposal just to make sure they still like the idea.  It is very encouraging to know that all my hard work will be published, I just don't know where yet.  While i wait for a response from David C. Cook, I will continue to revise the rest of my manuscript to get it ready for Winepress.
Please keep me in prayer as I continue to seek the Lord's direction on what he wants to do with this book.
Please continue to help me by following me on this blog if you have not already done so.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On the outside instead of the inside

My husband preached on Revelation Sunday morning. It already is a difficult book to meander through because there is so much literal and figurative language used, but Joe was able to make sense out of a lot of hard to comprehend passages. One questions he posed, which was a good one was this: in Rev. 3:20 when it says " Behold! I stand at the door and knock.." he asked "Did you ever wonder why God was on the outside of the door in the first place?
Interesting. I had never stopped to think about that reference, but looking at the passage a bit more closely today, the reason why he was outside for that church is because they were separated from Him. John makes reference to it earlier when he says " shameful nakedness" the same thing God said about Adam and Eve in Genesis after the fall. Because of their sin, they had separated themselves from him. In the same way, this church had separated themselves from him by their pride and arrogance, thinking they are rich and independence, when they really were poor in spirit. It is something to think about this week.
Is Jesus on the outside of the door, when he should be on the inside?

Monday, August 16, 2010

If You are Going to Run a Marathon, You have to Put on the Shoes

Good shoes. Lots of water. A comfortable outfit. These are just a few of things that are absolutely necessary to run a marathon. In fact, without them, you probably wouldn't get very far. So, then, why do we as Christians expect to "run the race marked out for us" without the proper tools? When is the last time you read the bible thinking it would prepare you for the days or months ahead, instead of reading it merely because you think you have to? When is the last time you prayed to find out what God's plan was for your life, instead of praying because it's the right thing to do?
In the same way, if we want to run a marathon, we need the proper gear. We also need the proper preparation to prepare for the trials ahead in order to "run the race with perseverance".
Are you prepared to run the race marked out for you?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Consider Others Better than yourselves

I gave my daughter the choice yesterday as to whether or not she wanted to go to VBS ice cream social or come with me to a friends' party. When I gave her the choice, I thought I already knew her answer? Who would want to pick their mother over ice cream? But, without hesitation she said" I'm going to to go with you mom. So, you won't be alone." What a generous, kind statement to make from a four year old! I hope I will always make the cut when she soon chooses between friends and her mom, or her new boyfriend over her mom. It's not that I don't want her to have friends and socialize, but I hope that she will always consider others' needs before her own.  It was a great day, and a great memory for me.
Although she did ask me " Will there be ice cream there?"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just Look at your Father

My son reluctantly accepted the offer to be my brother-in-law's ring bearer for his wedding. I say reluctant because he was nervous that he would have to walk down the aisle by himself. I explained to him as I escorted him to the back of the church before finding my seat, "Just look at your father" (my husband was officiating the ceremony). It was one of those moments that made me remember all those same moments in my life when I needed to "look at my father" when I was nervously anticipating the road ahead. Sometimes all I needed was that reassurance that God was in front of me, going ahead of me and guiding my every step. Sometimes I trusted in the fact he was guiding me, and other times, like my son, I didn't have the self-confidence I needed to believe I could complete the task at hand. It wasn't easy in those moments, and has not gotten easier since those times. I probably will always need God to say to me " Just look at your father."
Have you taken your eyes off your father?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Look

I've seen that look.
The look that signifies disappointment, frustration and hardship.
I know that look because I have expressed it myself many times before.
I saw that look again as I passed by a woman at the conference last week.
I didn't know her, but I felt her pain.
She didn't look directly at me.
She didn't have to. I saw her look away with tears streaming down her face.
I knew where she had just come from.
The large spiral bound folder in her hand told me everything I needed to know.
She had just been at a publisher meeting.
I know what they had said.
My mind raced back to high school when i saw that look.
During my sophomore year of high school, i ran for student council.
I had never run for anything before, and didn't think i could win.
Only the cool people got onto student council.
My look was one of surprise when my name was announced over the PA system as one of the winners.
I left the classroom ecstatic, only to see that look again.
That same look of disappointment, fear and frustration.
The look belonged to another classmate who ran for student council.
Her name was not called over the PA system.
Our eyes met as I made my way down to the school office.
I never forgot that look.
I knew what that look meant then.
I know what that same look means now.
I thank God today I didn't have that look.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Missing Puzzle Piece

Have you ever felt like you don't fit?
I purchased a 100 piece puzzle for me and my children to complete while on vacation. After five minutes, I was the only one sitting at the table, struggling to put pieces in their proper piles. I tried to put many of the pieces in spots that I thought worked for them, but to no avail. After about thirty minutes, my patience had worn thin and I wanted to give up. Then, I found one piece that set into motion all of the pieces falling into place. It was like I had picked up a key that unlocked the mystery to solving the puzzle. After an hour and a half, I put the last piece in place, lifted my hands and said "Yes!" Sometimes the littlest things in life please me the most.
As I thought about this, I thought about my life before Christ. I tried so hard to fit myself into the mold that I thought was right for me, but to no avail. When Jesus called me, it was like the mystery that unlocked the key to the rest of my life. The moment I prayed to ask Jesus into my life, the pieces of my puzzle fit into place.
Sometimes the littlest things in life please me the most.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Zephaniah 3:17

I was listening to my Ipod the other day and came across this Jeremy Riddle song. I wanted to share the lyrics, with you, dear reader, in the hopes that you may be reminded of the depths of God’s love for you. It is hard to even fathom at times, yet these lyrics capture the essence of His love for you:
He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden,
 I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
              And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great your affections are for me.
May the Lord rejoice over you with singing today (Zephaniah 3:17)

Friday, August 6, 2010

As Exciting as Friday

I was watching The office the other day and Michael (surprisingly) said something insightful. He said “ You all are working for the weekend. I’m working for the week.” Part of the charm of the show is that most people either work or know someone whose office looks like that: a set of people working in an environment who barely know each other (and don’t want to) trying to get through the mundane activities of the week, looking for Friday to welcome us, and our plans, with open arms.
But, what if everyday could be as exciting as Friday?
What if we lived our lives worshipping God everyday and looking for the people and unique circumstances God has put in front of us to help bring forth His kingdom here on earth? What if we lived in the knowledge of Zephaniah 3:17 which says “the Lord your God is with you, the Mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Wouldn’t that make everyday as good as Friday?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Make every moment count

I had the opportunity this week to reflect on my week off on vacation. Here are some things I took with me:
1) Sticky marshmallows and paper towels are never a good combination
2) Shopping can wear even me out
3) Treasure the small moments in life- the second game of Trouble, watching kids explore the outdoors in a new way, every car ride, walk around the block and cool summer day
4) Those small moments will only be snuffed out by the everyday duties of adulthood
5) Those moments are the things in which memories are built, character is developed, and God thoroughly enjoys.
Make every moment count.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My favorite part

My most favorite time of my vacation is never the zoo, the shopping or the swimming, but the peace and quiet that comes from a long hard day of shopping, walking and sightseeing. I don't get much of that in my daily life, so it is a treat when I get to sit in that big, comfy chair overlooking a placid pond in our rental cabin. I love to sit in that chair for hours, inhaling the cool, clean air that is a staple of life in Maine. It is here that I write, or think, or read or pray. It is also here that I spend quality time with God. This is also something that comes in small quantities in my life, so when I have those moments, I try to take them as often as I can. My husband goes fishing in the evening and the kids, worn out from the day, fall asleep to the gleam of their TV screen playing their favorite video. I become one with nature, in a sense, enjoying the riches of God's creation in a way not presented to me in my home in CT. It brings home Psalm 119 which says 
 The heavens declare the glory of God; 
       the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
       night after night they display knowledge.
 3 There is no speech or language
       where their voice is not heard. [a]
 4 Their voice [b] goes out into all the earth,
       their words to the ends of the world.
       In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
 5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
       like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
 6 It rises at one end of the heavens
       and makes its circuit to the other;
       nothing is hidden from its heat.
 7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
       reviving the soul.
       The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
       making wise the simple.

It is in the quietness and stillness that the mountains are more majestic than I can fathom, the skies are more vast than the world can hold and the sovereignty of God is greater than my mind can comprehend.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Taking the Backseat

We were at the zoo the other day, and this zoo has some kiddie rides. Since we have gone to this zoo every year since the kids were born, we knew it well. My son has always liked trains, so he jumps every year at the opportunity to go on the train ride. The train has a huge bell which he likes to ring as he goes around the track. But, this year was different. A little boy, equally excited about the ride jumped in front and wanted to ring the bell. I can see the disappointment in his eyes, especially when my husband said " Let him ring the bell. Take the backseat." My son had the opportunity to make that situation a huge scene, but he didn't. Instead, he climbed in the back seat quietly and smiled and waved at us as I enthusiastically took his picture.
It reminded me of the battle we face as Christians between doing what we want to do vs. what would be in someone else's best interest. All of us struggle between selfishness and selflessness, humility and pride, gentleness and harshness.
Luke 14: 7-11 says  "When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
It is easy to want to take the best seat, the most convenient or the most prominent seat. It is in our nature to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. But as a follower of Chtrist, we only have one choice of seats - the backseat. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Can you do me a favor?

Hi Everyone!
The conference was amazing! One publisher, David C. Cook is interested in seeing a book proposal for my idea! I'm very excited, but there is a lot of work to be done. That's where you come in!
One of the main pieces of advice I received at the conference was to establish a "platform"- these are the ways I can get the book out to the public. If I can establish a large enough platform, the publisher will be more interested in making a deal. Since Facebook and my blog are two of my main ways I want to market my book, I need a large amount of "followers". If you are reading this, and you are not signed up to follow my blog, please do (even if you do not read it that often or have never read it). There is a follow button on the page that you have to click. You need to sign up for an account (it is free and your info will not be sold to anyone.) If you can post a picture, that would be great. But, I don't think it is necessary. If you can post a comment either on my blog (although I don't think it is letting people do that) or on Facebook, this would help, too.
Canadian friends- It would be so important from you, too, as it shows I can break into the American and Canadian markets.
It should only take a few moments to complete. You would be doing a huge favor to me personally and I appreciate it! Thank you so much!