“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Christopher's "Spring" Break... Literally!

Christopher flying high on our
neighbor's trampoline...
Oh, to be a kid, again!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"If you build it..." my 100th post

Field of Dreams
Ray Kinsella: What are you grinning at, you ghost?
Shoeless Joe: "If you build it -" [gestures toward catcher, who is Ray's father, John Kinsella] "- he will come."
Ray : "Ease his pain. Go the distance." It was him!
Shoeless Joe: No, Ray. It was you.
I often ask myself...why do I blog? Why am I compelled to put my personal thoughts and photos on the WWW? Do I really think someone would glean inspiration from my taps on a keyboard?

But when I ask God... "Should I continue to blog? Is it a good use of the time You have given me?" He cuts to my core... and asks... "Sheri, who has really received the benefit of this blog?" And it was me!

Two years ago, during what I affectionately call "The Dark Night of My Soul," I began to journal in earnest. I have always been a journal-ist per se... but to journal now became to heal. So, transitioning to blogging was not that great of a leap for me... except for the fact that the world-wide would now be able to read my thoughts. How to keep my words true to my thoughts without being misunderstood... or offending someone... or revealing more than I should... that was the challenge. Many a night, I have woken up and reworked my blog after having posted it... having given way to my anxiety of the thoughts of others.

When I reflect on the words I have written... and pictures posted... I realize... that blogging has affected me... more than I realize. I have connected with bloggers who have passions like mine... or who love to craft... or who share reflections that I have never thought of... I have learned more about being a good friend (Friendships of Women)... about grieving (My Beloved Soul Mother Ruth)... and about my pleasure of gardening (My Garden)...

But I couldn't have learned all of this... without you. Those who blog... and those who post comments... and those who encourage me face to face or e-mail or via phone or snail mail... and especially those of you who give me material to blog about... unbeknownst to you! And so to offer a little token of my endearment towards you... I am having a giveaway... If you're interested leave a comment on this post and you will receive your very own ILG hat. For those of you familiar with my blog... you know what I am talking about... if you don't... then ask me...

I'll be going on a little trip soon (details to follow), so I'm going to keep the drawing open for a little while... until April 16th. I know some of you only check my blog every couple weeks or so... and I want you to be included!
Annie Kinsella: If you build what, who will come?
Ray Kinsella: He didn't say.

Ray Kinsella: Hey, Dad... you wanna have a catch?
John Kinsella: I'd like that.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Intentional Living: Getting Healthy

**** This is not an advertisement! ****

I had mentioned in a previous post that I am in a coaching... mentoring... discipleship... call-it-what-you-will program. Basically, trying to have a balance in all areas of my life.

(Okay, it's funny that I am going to talk about this... after my last post has a picture with fried food in it.) I am in the midst of working on my Health Account. Now, health is comprised of many areas... emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical. So, let's talk about balance in my life... the physical is lacking. I knew I would need motivation to start working on this area. I prayed to the Lord... because I thought... basically, I'm okay... I don't really have (denial) to lose weight or get into shape for any reason... I thought... God this has to be about You.

James 1:5 says , "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." Well, He really does! So, two weeks ago, I'm sitting in a Sunday School class based on the book "DNA of Relationships" by Gary Smalley. The book is discussing how we need to have self-care. We need to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)... Heart = Emotional, Soul = Spiritual, Mind = Intellectual, and STRENGTH = Physical... Well, that's it! My Aha! moment... I will "love" or "honor" God with all my strength.

Of course, God doesn't just put us out there without any help... I end up having lunch with my friend, Amy, and I ask how she has successfully been taking off the weight. She mentions SparkPeople.com. I'm curious, so I look it up... and wow! talk about motivation, information, structure (my favorite), and accountability (gotta have it).

I think SparkPeople is so awesome that I didn't feel right about not sharing it with you. Get started at SparkPeople.com. I have not lost any weight yet, but I am already eating healthy and actually took a 10 minute walk yesterday... stop by my SparkPage.

No - I am not making anything to promote SparkPeople.com. I know there are others out there like me who need tools to help them to succeed in areas of their lives... and you know me... anything to encourage you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Denny's Disclaimer*

Okay, so I really have to clear this up... It was not that it took an hour for Denny's to take our order... it took us an hour to decide what to order... Fortunately, for me... Anthony was on the phone and I asked him what he would order... He said, "It's hard to get breakfast wrong." So, I went with the Grand Slam... and he was right! (Melissa had a burger...)

Sorry for the confusion!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I Have Hidden Your Word...

Congratulations PCC JBQ!
You have hidden God's Word in your hearts!

Congratulations, Christopher (front row, 2nd from right)! His team placed 3rd in his division. He also placed in the top ten for his ability in the Quiz Bee (like a spelling Bee... but you are asked Bible Questions through elimination). His team competes in a tournament with about seven other churches in the Oregon District.

This is Christopher's second year in JBQ... er, Junior Bible Quiz. The kids are taught
Bible facts, doctrine and scripture memorization. The mission of JBQ is found in Psalms 119:11 "I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You."

This tournament took us on a 4 hour... well ended up 6 hour... trip to Grant's Pass. (Hmmm... we ended up stopping at a Denny's... I think it took us an hour just to order... I hadn't been to one in what 15-20 years?) Christopher's highlight... besides the tourney... the indoor swimming pool at the hotel. Well, maybe the true highlight was playing with Bionicles in the backseat with his best buddy, Bridger (second row, second from right). My highlight? Talking to Melissa for 6 hours non-stop on the way down... and the 4.5 hours on the way home. Thanks for driving, friend! (BTW... just love your new hat! And heard your husband does, too!)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

And I thought... who are you?

I met you today. I might've passed by you, but I noticed that you were filling out a "Friendship Card" before church which made me think that you might be a visitor.

I casually stopped by and said hello and introduced myself. You mentioned that you used to attend church here about a decade ago... but so much had happened... Then I noticed you were shaking and you mentioned that your wife had recently committed suicide.

My husband joined us and we found out that you knew a former pastor who still attends church here. Anthony thought if you knew the former pastor you might also remember Sam and you said you did. We prayed with you and asked if you would join us in Sunday School. You weren't sure, but we looked in and saw that Sam was there... we asked Sam if he would come out and speak with you... and he did.

Anthony and Sam caught you before you exited the church. They took you over to our new little cafe area... and spoke with you... and ministered to you. I thought to myself... who are you that God would providence that we would meet... Anthony would ask if you knew Sam... and Sam would be here today... and you would be ministered to?

I went to Sunday School and then church service not knowing how it all worked out... the choir sang "I'm Amazed"... and I thought I hoped you were in service because I knew that song would minister to you.

And then the former pastor that you knew got up on the platform to pray... and my heart jumped... and I wondered... who are you that God would work all these things together for you? This former pastor had not gotten up on the platform in a long time... I knew God had planned this for you.

And then... the former pastor mentioned that he had run into someone he hadn't seen in a while whose family member had committed suicide... and my heart jumped again, because I knew you had hooked up with him.

And as I wondered who you were that God would love you so much to bless and minister to you this morning... I realized I knew you. You are a precious child of God.

And then I realized how much God must love me to show His Handiwork in progress... that He would give me such a glimpse into how He cares for you... made me realize how much He cares for me, too.

I'm Amazed
No one knew how alone I was feeling,
And the emptiness I tried so hard to hide.
Though I laugh and said my life was fine without you.
I was covering up the secret tears I cried.
Then one day someone told me of your mercies,
And the love you showed on a Hill called Calvary.
There you died and purchased my redemption,
When you broke in spite and set my spirit free.

I'm amazed that you love me I'm amazed how you care
Through Your precious blood I've found pardon
And my sins are washed they're all washed away
All my sins are washed away

Yes there've been days when I've failed you.
Lord you know the many times I've gone astray.
Lord I've learned your love is stronger than my weakness,
And your ear is open every time I pray.
No one else has ever cared for me like you Lord.
Other friends could never be as close to me.
I'm not afraid to face the problems of tomorrow,
Knowing you are everything I'll ever need.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Friendships of Women #9

My Oregon Mom and newly born Christopher -
Sheila was the first loved one to hold Christopher...
even before Anthony and me!

The Friendships Of Women
(This is post #10 in a 12 post series. Click here to read the rest of the story.)
Chapter 10

God Knows Our Needs Better Than We Do

I have been studying the book Esther and God's Providence. (Actually, I was to teach on it yesterday, but God had greater plans... that's another story.) Providence means "to see beforehand and provide what is needed." Isn't God just like that? Providing what we need ahead of time? Where some may see a series of coincidences... the Christian sees God at work behind the scenes.

When Anthony and I moved to Portland in 1996, we did not have a welcoming committee when we got off the airplane. There was no party. No gatherings. No neighbors popping over with a hot cherry pie to welcome us. There were no friends waiting for us in Portland. AND there was no family. Nada. Not one. Just us. It was to be a very lonely time... especially considering the fact that we were both working out of the house.

But the Lord had placed in my heart that I should volunteer when I arrived in Portland. I didn't know what that exactly would look like... but I recalled the prompting when within days of our arrival to Portland... a flood began to brew. There had been ice storms and rain and the conditions were calling for a flood.

I had wondered whether I should go help with all the sand-bagging, but I had just recuperated from thoracic surgery the year before. I asked God, but He told me to wait. That there would be plenty of help needed after the flooding subsided.

So, I waited. We had subscribed to the Oregonian when we first moved here to get the lay of the land. One day, as I looked through the paper, I saw an article asking for help to clean up homes. I knew this was the day.

I called the number and they gave me an address of a lady who needed help cleaning up her Tupperware. I pulled out our handy dandy Thompson guide and headed to Scholls.

When I arrived Sheila was a bit surprised, but let me in and told me how I could help. She asked about my background, and when she found out that Anthony and I were new to the area... she decided that she would take us under her wing and be like an "Oregon Mom" to us. And so she did.

I am forever grateful to the Lord. He knew exactly what I needed. I could never have found such a dear friend so quickly with such compassion for me. She was endeared to me because I came to volunteer to help her. I could never have set this up. I could never have orchestrated this friendship. It was all God's doing. He prepared everything even before I arrived in Portland.

All I needed to do was obey.
And the blessing of this friendship continues on...

I encourage you to think about a time when the Lord brought someone into your life... exactly who you needed when you needed them... and praise God! You could even leave a comment to honor your friend... and then maybe write them a note... Okay, so excuse me while I go grab my retractable Uni-ball Gel 1.0 Bold Black pen and get out some pretty stationery...

Dear Sheila,
How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? (1 Thessalonians 3:9)...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gracie Girl

Stop by FreckledFarm to see an adorable photo of my little Gracie Girl wearing her new hat!