Jan 31, 2009

A Slice of Auntie Heaven

I've been in Auntie heaven the last three days. My precious four year old niece has been visiting. We met the Salesman's brother and his wife as they were on their way to a retreat, And gladly buckled our dear deposit in her car seat. Audra took on the role of Most Adored Librarian, As compassionate niece and teen enjoyed the stories read on the way home. Oh, I loved having three ladies in the back seat. Once we were home, it was outside to play and Chase Lilly Belle,
And play in the bird bath (according to my niece, she was making bird soup!)
Indoor fun with Lilly Belle and her toys,
And playing with dolls,
Baking cookies with the teens,
To be promptly eaten at a tea party.
Another day brought fresh aprons and more baking.
Decorating with Valentines.
Helping her dear cousin do sit ups.
I loved my nieces dancing feet and the impish grin on her partially cut off face.
My favorite picture of my dear niece.
Another favorite.
The Pretty, Pretty Princess game was brought out of the game closet.
Cookies decorated for another tea party.
"Aunt Lora, my bag has some icing on the outside."
Tea parties were very much enjoyed.

Pouring tea all by herself.
We were blessed with several impromptu piano performances.
A glimpse of a dear four year old looking at herself in the mirror.
Patiently waiting for her cousins to finish swim team practice.
After three wonderful days, it was time to say, "So long" for now with a cousins hug!
And a special thanksgiving to Audra Elizabeth for posting the What We Learn devotional this week. You bless my heart in so many ways. I love to hear what the Lord is teaching you.

And a big shout out of thanksgiving to Holly at Crown Laid Down who helped me (a true techno dinosaur) by making the dates appear on my posts! Holly also combined the picture and the blog name in the header, which was Impossible (yes, with a capital I) for this techno dinosaur. Holly is getting ready to start a blog design business and I am glad to spread the word about the excellent service. I highly recommend Holly. I have met Holly in person and she is a delightful and talented Siesta.

Also, totally unrelated, but a request for prayer. The Lord gave me a topic and points to share a few months back when I was invited to share with a small group at church. And praise His Name, He showed off in a big way! Please pray the Lord again grants His favor as I've been asked to share the same *talk* with another small group in the morning at church. Thank you kindly dear ones. My heart is truly full of thanksgiving.

Jan 28, 2009

What We Learn

Greetings Lamplighters!

Most of you all know me as The Oldest Teen, or even The Author. Of course, I'm both, but my real name is Audra. I just don't really like introducing myself as "Oldest Teen" or "The Author". Kinda awkward, ya know?

Anyhoo, to get to the point, Mom asked me to guest blog today.

I gladly agreed. Thanks for letting me blog today, Mom. And thank you, readers, in advance for reading this. If you're interested in reading anything else I've written, you can head over here.

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What We Learn


I've started back running in an effort to get myself back into better shape. After about three days of not running, I knew I needed to get back out, or I was going to have to start over.

So I got myself out the door. But before doing so, my mom told me (clad only in tights, sweatpants, a long sleeve shirt and t shirt) that because it was very cold (probably somewhere around 25-30 degrees, because there was ice all over the ground when I stepped outside) that I should probably wear some more layers and a hat.

Well...I decided that I knew what I was doing and that I was fine.

As I went out the door, the lovely wind God has made decided to greet me with a nice, frigid blast of air. But no matter. "I can do this," I thought.

And so I began to run. Less than a quarter mile down the road, my hands went numb. Then my face. My ears were next. Finally, by the time I was almost to the half mile mark from home, my legs started freezing up.

Now, in case you don't know, you're legs locking up on you while running isn't a good situation to be in.

Panic started setting in. Not only were my hands clamped around my iPod, unable to move; they were purple. Yes, I said purple. Panting for breath, I started desperately praying, realizing just how stupid I had been. My mom had known exactly what she was talking about.

But did I listen?

No.

I did a quick turnabout, and ended up cutting through a neighbor's yard to bypass a huge stretch of road. The whole entire run back home, I was praying out loud with each breath, "God, I'm sorry. God, I'm stupid. God, get me back home. God, please don't let me lose my fingers. I'll never be able to write again. Please, please, please," over and over again.

I finally made it back. As I walked to my room, the panic started wearing off because I knew I was safe. I wasn't going to lose anything or die. I knew that within a matter of 5 minutes, I would be able to feel my ears and my fingers. I would be able to breathe normally, the adrenaline would die down, and soon, I'd be curled up reading, my body working normally.

Two minutes later, my whole body was stinging and burning. It was agony. I knew that the blood and feeling were returning, but it was pure agony. But I knew that I had brought this on myself, so I kept my mouth shut.

Then came the learning. You know, if I had listened to my mom and put on more clothes, a hat, and some gloves, I would've been fine. I would've been able to run the two miles I had planned on running. But I didn't listen, and that's the problem. My mom knew, in this instance, what was best for me, and I didn't listen. And boy, did I pay for it.

But it made me think - how many times do we hear God say something... and then ignore it, going our own way, just because we think, "Oh, yeah, whatever. I totally know what I'm doing."

Yeah, that's what I thought - A LOT.

Two days later, I went out - four layers on top (including a sweatshirt), two layers on the bottom, gloves, hat, and scarf.

I only started to feel the cold as I got up the hill to my house.

It amazed me how much of a difference a few extra pieces of clothing made. I was actually warm. I didn't feel like I was dying. I didn't have to hold back tears because of the panic I felt when numbness started to overtake my body, and I had to fight with myself to keep going, trying to get back home before collapsing. I didn't feel panic or adrenaline. Just a little sweaty from so many clothes. And I wasn't feeling numb, because I had listened to the wisdom of my mother this time around.

In this instance, my mom reminds me a lot of God. He tells us what we should do, but we ignore Him. In the end, we end up like me - cold, tired, and scared, racing back home and the warmth we know is waiting. But if we had listened to Him in the beginning, we would have skipped the cold, the tiredness, and the fear. We would still be wrapped up securely, confident that we're prepared for whatever is ahead.

The next time you hear God telling what you should do, don't go your own way. Go His way. You'll save yourself a lot of pain and mistakes.

-Audra


P.S. I told my mom I was posting a picture of myself with this. For those of you that know me, I have bangs. They occasionally get long (fancy that... my hair grows...) and I often get called "The Shaggy D.A." Mom asked me if I was posting a picture where one or two of my eyeballs show.

This picture has two.

I promise, one of these days, I'll bring you a one eyeball picture.

But you'll have to wait.

Adios now.




Jan 26, 2009

Memory Monday & Early Morning Orange

Merry Memory Monday to you. I'm so glad you have received and are enjoying your cards. They are a gift to you all, no charge. I do pray that the Word of God richly dwells in you.

This week I tucked James 5:16 in my heart:

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16

As I thought about this verse, in my flesh, I don't desire to confess to "one another"; but with the confession and prayer, God says there is healing. His Word is always true. My sins aren't an exception, praise His glorious Name! In the last part of the verse, a choice is available to me, to us, with the word can. I have the choice to spend time in prayer. I can pray, or I can _________. (Fill in the blank). To me, the Lord is speaking that it is a choice. He is not making me spend time in effective prayer; but after tucking this verse in my heart, I feel Him tugging at mine to spend more time in effective prayer.

This next week, I'm going to tuck Romans 8:1 in my heart:

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

His Word is so good!

I have a few photos I snapped of God's magnificent handiwork in the sky as I let Lilly Belle out. Our God is amazing - His handiwork is amazing!

The whole earth is full of His glory!

Jan 23, 2009

The Passenger Seat is a Good Thing

Oh I'm enjoying the many blessings of a teen driver! One of the blessings is being able to sit in the passenger seat and snap pictures. Pictures of a darlin', smiling teen driver.
Or on a long stretch of road, I turn to see what masterpiece God has painted in the sky. Lovely shades of yellow at 5:29 PM

5:30 PM
5:32

5:33 PM Being in the passenger seat is not always easy. The Lord has revealed recently that giving up control to Him is what He wants from my heart. But, I'm seeing (even through driver's ed) that sitting in the passenger seat (something new) is a good thing indeed.

Jan 21, 2009

Lord of All

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

We had tucked our house guest’s wee ones in the beds and the grown-ups and teens were gathered round the table playing a late night card game of Rook. Two reasons contributed to me not actually participating in the game: one, I was not asked to join anyone’s team and two, one of our dear teens wanted to learn to play the game. So as she held the cards, I sat near trying to guide her in how to play. Our games times are fun and competitive, and this night was no exception. There was laughter, chocolate, family and the player who sometime likes to crow like a bird! Good times around the table were evidenced by the fact that we would occasionally have to tell ourselves to be quiet so we didn’t wake the dear little ones.

After several games of me giving my best advice to guide the dear teen, and seeing that she was doing mighty well, I encouraged her to let the Lord guide her as she played and I moved to my desk nearby and started to write. And then one of the players asked, “Like the Lord’s involved in a Rook game?” My teen and I looked at each other and responded, “Yes!” Call us crazy, but we are believing the Word. He is either Lord of all or He is not. And when I read all, I believe it means ALL. All the things you think of as being “churchy” and the daily routines, the mundane, the fun, the silly, the beauty, the pain.

One of the first verses I put to memory as a child was Romans 8:28. As a child this meant that He could take my worries about being the last pick for kickball, or not remembering how to spell a word on a test, or having someone be unkind to me and work them together according to His purpose. If He loved the birds (Ps. 50:11) and He knew how many hairs are on my head (Matt. 10:30), so to my child-like mind, He knows what cards I hold in my hand.

As we watch the grains of time slip through the hour glass of sand
I believe, He, Lord of All, is even concerned with cards in hand
No thing passes His glance
No person, word, action or game is left to chance
He is the Lord of all
And daily to our hearts He calls
A child-like faith is what He wants
Not framed diplomas with fancy fonts
Let Him rule, Let Him reign
Heed His bidding and do not disdain
Maker of heaven, giver of life
Is concerned with all, heartache, fun, and strife
He is the Lord of all
And intimately to us He calls
Allow Jesus to be Lord of all.

Jan 19, 2009

Memory Monday & Mailed Memory Cards

Merry Memory Monday to you! How are you doing with your memory work? Anyone ready to join in on the memorizing? This week I tucked John 13:35 in my heart:

By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

Next week I am going to tuck James 5:16 in my heart:

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

And a big shout out of thanksgiving to my youngest teen who helped me package your Embrace The Word memory cards to send out! Thank you darlin' teen. Mama appreciates you and is especially thankful for your nimble fingers with the packaging tape. That big green tape dispenser does not like to co-operate with me. The cards went out on Thursday the 15th. And I've already heard from some of you that they have arrived - Yeah! May the Word of Christ richly dwell within you!

Jan 16, 2009

Reading the Manual

I must admit, reading manuals does not rank in the top ten of my most enjoyable activities. Personally, I like to put my hands on and get the manual out if I *need* to. But when you have children, you change your ways and try to teach them the value of reading the manual first. This week I saw both teens reading manuals, with slightly different; but definitely delightful outcomes. They never fail to be a source of joy and laughter!

The first came when our oldest teen received a box brought to the door. To say she was a bit delighted was an understatement! My darlin' teen has had this item on her Larry Burkett inspired, long term savings list, for over a year.I loved watching her smile as she patiently read every word. I could probably have given her a pop quiz and she would've sailed right through. But one of the joys of home schooling is that when something exciting, that you've been saving for over a year comes, you can pause and return to school work a bit later.And thirty minutes later (I know it was thirty minutes - because the manual said that amount of time was needed to allow the CD player to warm up before turning it on) we were treated to some beautiful music.
After reading a portion of the car manual on the way to my grandmother's, my youngest teen made an amazing discovery. I love her curious mind. I had asked her to read one section for me (and she did) and then she continued reading about a different area. My question was: When the gas light comes on to indicate we need fuel, what is the amount of fuel in the tank when the light comes on?A few moments later, "Ummm, Mama, do you have a screwdriver?" "Pardon me dear; but mama does not keep a screwdriver handy when I'm driving." I was able to offer a pen cap (shown clenched between her teeth).If we ever *need* to open the sunroof manually, we now know how!And a screwdriver (she is quite certain) would work much better than a pen cap! I love our teens!

Jan 14, 2009

Monkeys and Skunks

My mind and the keyboard have not come to agreement with the notes from hearing Henry Blackaby yet. The impact of what I heard the Lord speaking to me from the talks has been so very real and personal. When the Lord allows, I'll share. Until that time, I'll share some thoughts the Lord gave me on the day after trick-or-treaters arrived at our doorstop:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34

We had the most darlin’ trick-or-treaters this year. It started with sweet little Tigger who could not get his bag to open, and cried “I cannnn’t get my baaaag to open,” as he tried to open the straps. I got me on my knees right away to help the sweet little man. And was I ever glad I was there when the monkey and the skunk arrived. Cuteness wrapped up in a brother and sister. The little boy was the monkey and had the cutest felt banana in his hip pocket. Little sister was cute as a button and had a red heart on her hip that said “’Lil stinker” - too cute. When they left, I told my girls that I wanted to give them all the candy - you know, pour the sweets into their bright orange pumpkins, and turn off the light, and close the door. They were that cute and kind – if they said thank you once, they said it five times.

But, I didn’t give them all the candy, because I’m convinced the Lord had some work to do in my heart. And it was revealed when the next crew came to the door. A skeleton, an Indian, and the cutest little sheriff arrived. The sheriff was a toddler in jeans, cowboy boots, sporting a long brown jacket with the shiny “Sheriff” pin. And to date, he is the only sheriff I’ve seen sporting a hair do like Calvin from the Calvin and Hobbes comic – I could have just pinched his darlin’ face and begged his parents to let me keep him here to rustle up the bad guys. He was cute. Oh, I was lovin’ this trick-or-treat thing. The children were cute and I was having fun. O thank You, Jesus! That was, until the sheriff’s daddy bent down to help the little pardner open his bag and blew his Malboro in my face as he, too, had trouble opening his son’s bag. Puff, puff, exhale…In my mind I’m thinking, “Smoke in my eyes, smoke on my apron, my hair’s gonna smell like smoke! Why didn’t I give all the candy to the monkey and the skunk?” I was suddenly not feeling generous. Then that Still Small Voice, “It’s easy to love the lovely.” Yes, it is easy to give all my candy to the darlin’ monkey, and in literally one puff, my thoughts were stinkin’ like the skunk. But here on the doorstep of life was a puff of the hard to love. Were my thoughts reflective of Jesus? What would Jesus have done if cute little characters with smokin’ people in the party showed up on his doorstep and held out a bag or pumpkin, would He have said, “Pardon me, mister, you’re gonna have to take this group elsewhere,” or would he have said to the cute and the smelly, “Here, I give you freely from my supply.” I tend to think that He would have not played favorites with who looked and smelled good. I think He would have seen the heart behind and through the smoke.

Lord, it only took one cigarette puff
For my love to leave in a huff
I want to love like you
Without favoritism too
Help me to see others through the smoke
Let Your love in me not be choked. Amen.

Jan 12, 2009

Memory Monday, Memory Cards & Dr. Blackaby


Good morning and welcome to Memory Monday or today, the world's longest post. So much good news to share; but first, let me do my memory work which is so exciting to me because it is one of the verses I learned in Experiencing God and I just got to meet Dr. Henry Blackaby (jumping up and down!!!). Oh, I am getting ahead of myself....This week's treasure for my heart:

Matthew 22:37-39
And He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39

And I wanted to review:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

And reviewing:
John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

Thank you for holding me accountable. I really do appreciate you!

Next week I am going to tuck John 13:35 in my heart:
John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Thank you all for your interest in Scripture memory cards. A secretary at our church found 8 more decks of the cards from the Embrace The Word campaign in a file folder! And they are thrilled to give them to you, my bloggy friends who are hiding God's Word in your heart! Remember, the cards came wrapped in cellophane and in a neat little box, just like playing cards? Here are the pictures again. Week one started with the aces,
And week 52 ends with the 2's.
Here are the 7's so you can see there is a heart, club, diamond and spade.So, if you want a set, please let me know in a comment and I will e-mail you to get your mailing address and postage. My church has also made available to me the computer set up they used and it is ready for you to print on your own business card stock. Let me know if you are interested in the computer set up of the memory program that was shared with me and I'll be more than glad to e-mail it to you. It's exciting to know so many are interested in hiding His Word in our hearts.

And this morning, I met Dr. Henry Blackaby! Last month, it was Travis Cottrell, Shaun Groves and Cindy Morgan. My heart has been in the wildest state today friends. I've done more weeping before the Lord than I've done in a long time, just weeping. God spoke in mighty and amazing ways today and I just can't and don't want to get over it or Him. God is just blowing me away. Have I mentioned to you all that I live in a lovely, rural, no stop light town? My God is so aware, so aware. But there are days like today when I think I need to be pinched because I'm amazed at the wild ride I'm on with God. This morning we rode to a nearby town to hear Dr. Blackaby speak. Before the service I told my oldest teen that I wanted to go meet him and thank him for writing the Experiencing God study and get a picture with him. My teen encouraged me to go. Bless her heart, bless you young lady, bless you for encouraging your mama because I would have sat there and wished and not gone had it not been for you. So up from the third row we trekked (only 1 row up) to meet Dr. and Mrs. Henry Blackaby (I almost wrote Henry and Marilyn - but I couldn't do that out of respect for them.) Precious, precious, precious they are! And me? I could not speak without my voice shaking - I could feel and hear it shaking as I choppily poured out my heart of thanksgiving to Dr. Henry Blackaby for God's work in my life through his study. And you all, he blessed my heart. He repeated my name and told me he knew a woman by that same first and last name in Canada and shared about this woman. He spoke words to my heart that encouraged the very depths of my soul and ended with "and God wants you to do His mighty work in your life for such a time as this." As I was about to just fall over in amazement, I remembered to introduce my oldest teen. Talk about blessing a mama's heart; I am the most blessed mama alive, truly I am. Dr. Blackaby repeated her name while shaking her hand and asked how old she was. When she told him "15", both he and his wife talked to her, and then Dr. Blackaby put both his hands on her and prayed over her. Oh, love me, love my children. Here I am weeping again. Powerful words of life spoken over my child. You all know what I am talking about when somebody blesses your child and as a parent, you are just blessed. Extremely blessed. We visited a few minutes and then I asked if we could have a picture taken together and Mrs. Blackaby offered to take it for us and that just blessed me to. So, thank you Mrs. Blackaby for the following picture:I will come back another day and time and try to share more from the message the Lord spoke through Dr. Blackaby. I cried the entire service this morning and I've never done that, friends. The Lord's presence and the urgency of the message was amazing and very personal. We went back to hear him speak again last evening and praise the Lord, will hear him again today.

Have you done any of his studies?

This will be a memory Monday for sure, thanks to our Most High God. And I must tell you, I'm already wondering who the Lord will allow our path to cross with next month.

Delight me again Lord and I'll jump up and down for you.