Sep 17, 2010

Standing on our bridges

I've decided, we live in an area with the most beautiful views.
On the way home the other night, we stopped on a beautiful old steel truss bridge to take this picture. The bridge is a two lane, but it is a very snug two lane. It's the kind that I find myself holding my breath if another car going the opposite direction passes. We were the only car on the bridge when I started snapping pictures and Victoria alerted me when another car was waiting to get on the bridge to cross.

Our lives have changed drastically in the past six years. I never dreamed we would move from our historic home in the hub of town near the Salesman's parents and brother to the wide open unincorporated area we are now calling home. But, without a doubt, the LORD moved us to a very rural, beautiful place and the move has been the best *thing* ever for our family.

To say that country life is a little different from the city living is an understatement. The Salesman used to get frustrated with waiting three times to get through a stoplight to cross an intersection (on a Saturday morning!), to the patient traveler waiting to go the opposite way on the old bridge, while I hang my camera out the window to snap up the lovely views. God is good. And although I've been somewhat slow in fully appreciating where we are, It's good to be home. It's good to be in a home knowing that the LORD has you exactly where you are for such a time as this.

Sometimes I look at life and think I want to stay grounded. Never to be uprooted from where I am, or what I like, or what I'm familiar with. And then I realize as I travel the pilgrim pathway, following my road map that always brings me safely back to what I know, He has bridges before me. Bridges to take me to new things He is doing. Bridges that will move me from the common to His uncommon. Bridges that will train me, soften my sharp edges and lead me closer to Him. Bridges that I would not have chosen to cross.

But today, I am glad He moved me. I am thankful to HIM that He has me just where He wants me. He is in control. The glory of HIS creation is amazing even when crossing bridges.

He is standing on my bridges. And dear one, whatever your bridge is today, He is standing on your bridge too.

He is standing on our bridges.

Aug 31, 2010

A Season

I've been in a season of intense pruning.
At times, the lobs have been so deep, it seemed that all of me was ruining.
Everywhere I go, I seem to see
Evidence of pruning, like what the LORD is doing in me.
John 15:1 and 2
I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.

I pray, the harvest of this season, is that I will "bear more and richer and more excellent fruit."
LORD, may my life be so abiding in yours, that I cannot hold sin, not even a root.
I want to "bear more and richer and more excellent fruit."


Coriander on the dining room table
Pruned tree at Bonclarken

Jul 26, 2010

Memories of Mother

When the breath of these short earthly years
Give way to the graveside as they did with my dear mother, I remember the ensuing tears.
On the anniversary of her home going today, I choose to remember times of joy-
Our precious family - my mother, my dad and one happy, cow-licked boy.
Today, I recount the good times
Through the Spirit's sweet gift of a rhyme.
Mother kept such a welcoming and cozy home,
If a friend called, she sat down - although talking on a very long-corded phone.
Oh, the delicious delights that were served from her kitchen
Kept her family fed and happily (with a beater sometimes) I did some finger lickin'.
We ate out just once a week -
Recipients of the produce and work from the garden's bounty, especially at it's peak.
She made every holiday a fun and a most memorable celebration.
I remember anticipating those special days and then the expressions of great elation.
Parties and gatherings were beautiful and fun,
Her creativity never seemed limited or done.
Family was so important in our home
Time for them was freely given, never bartered or loaned.
Whatever mother did, I thought her title was "extraordinaire".
And, oh the childhood memories of her patiently de-tangling my thick, long hair.
Then the packages she mailed to my brother and me while at college across the miles
Still bring sweet memories of the love she packed like they were wrapped with smiles.
Her love language was definitely giving -
So like Jesus she was, as evidenced in her daily living.
But it is the well worn pages on her copy of The Word
That bless my heart to see the evidence of what she read and Who she heard.
When correction was dispensed, Scripture was what I heard
As she would wield the Word.
I think of the verse she marked when she received the fatal diagnosis -
She knew, without a doubt, her eternal prognosis.
With Jesus, she is alive today-
Part of His plan, His path for mother, His way.
She was of her time and resources to others constantly giving
And today, she is alive with Jesus, eternally living.
LORD, I thank you for the laughter mother brought, the joy and yes, the tears
I thank you for the memory of her 45 earthly years.


Pictures from a visit to the family cemetery today.

Jul 8, 2010

A Beautiful View

Even though a stroke at age 45 ravaged the use of one side of his body, my dad does not complain. When his wife (my dear mother) went to live with Jesus after a short bout with Leukemia, I heard his sorrow; but no complaints. Though he was not able to live alone in the home he built with his very own hands or no longer able to lace up work boots and pursue his work as a plumber and pipe fitter, no complaints. What he once considered a normal life - in a moment seemingly, it was all gone. Yet, he never complains.

In the last year, I've met two women who do not complain. In the natural, much like my dear dad, they could have a very long list. The first dear woman is Shannon. She is a precious, godly, homeschooling mother of four who loves and worships our dear Savior. Shannon just stood in front of our congregation where her husband use to lead worship on the first anniversary of his home-going to live forever with Jesus, and gave encouraging words. No woe is me speech, but evidence of a mind set on some One beyond this world.

The second woman is Shelli, our vibrant, full of life, youth pastor's wife, who is choosing life and joy as she has been battling lung and colon cancer and now has a spot on her bone and liver, a complete ACL tear, a meniscus tear, AND a blood clot running the entire length of her calf. Yet when I read an update, Shelli is choosing life, a beautiful view, a God-is-in-control-no-matter-what attitude. Here's a link to Shelli's caring bridge site.

I see people choosing to live out to live out Philippians 4:8 Amplified:
"For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]."

As I think about my own life and *things*, situations, people or views that are not always pleasant, I have a choice on what I allow my mind to dwell on. There is much in life that could really get us down. Sickness, death, cancer, hurt, heartache is all around; but in and through it all, God needs to remain my focus, my choice. I am seeing others in the throes of life choosing a beautiful view.

God amazes me that this is the view I get to see from the front of our home. It is what is straight ahead. And isn't that just like the LORD, if I look straight at Him, in the midst of life, I can choose a beautiful view.

LORD,
If I veer to the left or the right - oh how easily I get off track.
But the Word, the Spirit's soft voice, bids me to come back.
As You speak to my heart about what I focus on
I ask You to change the places my mind dwells that are wrong.
So today, I'm fixing my mind on You, Father, a most beautiful view.
Please take my willing heart LORD and turn it as You need to.
Let me not veer to the left or to the right
And realize that all things are by Your Spirit, not by my power or might.
In the natural, a beautiful view is not what I see every time I turn my head
But, guaranteed, when I'm looking upward to You and then straight ahead
I am choosing a beautiful view.
And what a lovely perspective You give when Your glory shines through.
Amen.




A View from the front door of our cozy little nest.

Jun 20, 2010

Revival

Bridesmaid dress worn in my best friend's wedding circa 1990 and found tucked away in a closet...
The vision of one creative little lady to take it apart and make something new...
With sunlight spilling over her as she fashions a pattern from another skirt...
We are now enjoying the flowers inside and out...
LORD,
Take what is old and hanging unworn in the closet of my life,
And with Your creative Spirit, and the brightly shining example of Your Son,
Bring it back to life.
Guard me from always seeking something new when You have already given me so very much,
Use what I've already been given LORD; I purposefully move out and surrender all to Your heavenly touch.
Utilize what I already have LORD, even if the eternal purpose seems hidden from my daily sight,
Take what You've given LORD and make all that is within me pure, good, useful and right.
As You remove from me every unnecessary stitch and seam
Awaken within my heart, Your God-given and my tucked away dreams.
Let me be aware of Your hidden potential in me -
Bring Your will forth Dear Father and allow me to truly see.
LORD, unto You, please fashion all of my days,
As a daily, an hourly, garment of praise.
Amen.

Jun 4, 2010

Over the mountain

As we headed over the mountain to visit friends, I thought about how much life and the walk of faith was like this little jaunt over the mountain. God, the Creator, designed a path for us to follow. Sometimes on that path, it seems there is a mountain in the way. I've been reflecting a bit about a song we've been singing in worship that says "He can move the mountains". I believe that He can. Many times, God walks with me over the mountains of life. Maybe that's God's way of moving the mountain for me - putting it behind me instead of in front of me! We all have our own personal mountain to climb and yours is probably very different than mine.

As we drove, we could not always see over the bend at the top of each hill to see what was ahead.
But I hear His Spirit softly speak, "No need to be filled with anxiety or dread."

As the roads curve and then unravel,
With not another vehicle in sight, I feel like I'm alone on my travels.

The markers and boundaries are very clear and evident at times.

At others, the climb is all uphill and the direction appears to have no reason or rhyme.

Some paths are unpaved and unmarked along the way
And, I'm convinced, they keep me fully dependent on Him day by day.

I know as we travel, the LORD protects us from very present danger
His boundaries protect with love, not rules set out of fear and anger

Life is full of His glory and majesty evidenced in people, frogs and flowers,

The creative genius in everything displayed gives evidence to His Higher Power.

I am thankful to the Father, the Spirit, and Jesus, that we are not alone.

I'm thankful for my personal mountain and for those I dearly love at home.

So even when the bin I'm tending appears to hold no prize,

I'll keep running toward Him who thinks I am the apple of His eye.

I won't get sidetracked and give up and just play

I'll take each determined step He leads along the way.

Though some days the work seems downright dirty and no fun

Feelings are wounded and my thoughts undone

I won't be discouraged by the roadblocks and fences I see,

I'll look at them as loving guard rails sent tenderly from My Father to me

The view from the top of the mountain, even on a cloudy day,
Is more magnificent, I'd say.

He can move the mountains!

With thanksgiving to Victoria for taking many of the pictures as we traveled over the mountain.

May 9, 2010

Flowers and birds

There was a little theme with the Mother's Day celebration this year - birds and
Flowers...
Many flowers are blooming in the garden on the big hill...
The intricate beauty of God's handiwork is evident everywhere.
Abundant blooms on Audra's rose bush,
Opening in various stages of beauty.
The delicate irises
Colorfully proclaiming,
"The whole earth is full of His glory!"
From the cascading rose blooms overhead on the Lady Banks
To the azalea's tucked near the borders,
I am thankful for the sweet memories I have of my mother and for the precious women who are mother figures to me - Linda, Jan, and Tammy. I thank the LORD for you. You have sown seeds of faith and love into my life. Happy Mother's Day to you all.
Audra Elizabeth and Victoria Leigh, you are the most beautiful gifts the LORD could ever share with me.

As your mother, I am blessed.
Our days are not always perfect; but with Him we can pass each and every test.
May you, my little flowers, continue to bloom and grow -
His wisdom and knowledge, may you seek in your hearts and fully know.

You are beautiful young ladies, fragrant blooms of the KING.
May He give you your hearts desires, and to Him may your hearts sing.
May you be a reflection of His mercy and grace.
May the center of His will be your desire for each step and place.

Thank you today for a lovely celebration that included one of my favorite chocolate cakes!
Your planning and the preparation from hearts of love you baked,
I am blessed by your actions, your gifts and your time.
I'm so thankful to the LORD, that for this season, to me He has loaned you,
Gifts sublime.

Apr 27, 2010

So Long Insecurity Poem

Thank you all for your prayers! I am beyond blessed to say God allowed me to not be nervous while I was sharing the poem at the So Long Insecurity Connecting the Dots party Saturday evening in Woodstock, Georgia! Thank You GOD! The peace of God was experienced - thank you for interceding for me.

The weekend was an amazing God adventure and I will share more as the week progresses; but I've been asked to share the poem and since it is already in the computer and I think God is worthy of some praise for doing what only He could do through me, I'm sharing it first.

I wanted to share a little bit of our fun evening together: Stephanie led us in worship and sang a song she had written about the LORD speaking to us. I was so glad I had already shared the poem, because I cried as I listened to and agreed with the words she sang.
Precious Angela shared her sweet testimony. She reminds me of my pastor's wife in North Carolina - precious!
The speaker was Lisa McKay. She shared a devotional about being ransomed with a very personal and heart wrenching story about her son. Yes, I cried again and was very thankful again that I didn't have to stand up after Lisa because I would have had no makeup on.
There was a sweet, sweet group of Siesta's at the party.
We ate and had a wonderful time visiting.
Have you read Beth Moore's book So Long Insecurity? I picked it up to read after being asked to be the poet laureate for this little gathering of Siesta's. The poem that follows is my own journey with insecurity and what the LORD gave me to share:

When asked if I'd share a dotty ditty
My first thought was, "Oh no! What if it's not pretty?"
What if it's like what I heard in Houston? Purse on a Chain...
Oh my, I can just imagine the disdain.
What if I stand and say: I'm Lora from By the Lamp Light
I can't speak because I'm too insecure and filled with stage fright.
So started my conversation with the LORD
About sharing here, something I thought I abhorred.
LORD, YOU know my knees will knock.
And then, Oh my - What to wear? Capri's or a new party frock?
I'll be just one lonely dot at this Siesta party,
And You know LORD, I am not a smarty.
My heart started racing in a thousand directions
Without seeking HIM with thoughtful reflection.
So in my mind while I'm walking to the podium and taking a tumble,
In quietness at night, I heard Him speak like a distant rumble,
"Read the book and then just tell your story.
I will do all the rest and get all the glory."

I knew immediately which book He meant for me,
Beth had been smiling from the shelf at Walmart (somewhere near aisle 3)

He said, "Dear One, I'm bringing other dots
Tonight to this party, to this very spot.
Don't be insecure and think you are alone
Among the many dots, you can feel at home.
As each lovely dot connects
And views the other with respect,
A lovely picture they will see
The body of Christ in Me.
I've brought each dot on their own journey to this very place,
An act of gracious mercy and abundant and tender grace."

But LORD, I so want to know the final picture.

He says, "Rest, don't speculate or conjecture.
You may not know in full your earthly destiny
But will you dear one, just rest in ME?
As I direct, in faith, go from dot to dot
The journey with Me is part of our story plot.
Hold our time together dear.
Be attune and ready to hear.
Do each thing I ask you to
Don't question; just do.
I will be with you when your life looks like it has no purpose or form,
When you feel discouraged, one dot, alone and forlorn."

So as I read, at times I thought it was my own story written upon the page;
But God graciously and tenderly took me through the journey, stage by stage.
When I read about those who "never fulfill their destinies because of their own insecurities",
It was like God drew the circle clearly and solely around me.
I would recommend this book to anyone; but along with a tissue box
Because it's not a fairy tale, like The Three Bears and the trespassing Miss Goldilocks
Our enemy too long has encroached on our holy ground,
And as dots we unite and say "he is no longer welcome to hang around!"
This book required action, change and work
And I'm certain, it is why so long, I avoided it with a shirk.
As dots read it and do it, we are changed.
No longer a single dot, but in His plan we are already eternally arranged.
The tears and pain this book unearthed,
I am confident, are fertile soil for His new works to be birthed.
Because deep within me as sins were uprooted, I know,
That as I released insecurities, HIS Spirit within me did grow
The freedom and the joy of saying so long to insecurity
To some of the *things* that for years have tormented me,
And made me feel like one isolated and totally disconnected dot
Has brought me, us, each dot, here tonight, to this very place and spot.

Dearest Jesus,
We turn our fears into
WE TRUST YOU.
Send each dot through Your cleansing wash where our sin turns to passion
And insecurity is totally washed out and no longer in fashion
We pray, that more of You we will intimately know
As on our dotty path, with Your security now, we go.
Connect us LORD, as the unified body of Christ,
And help us be willing to make personal sacrifice.
The enemy CAN NOT take what we've been given
So in the Mighty Name of Jesus we say, "So long insecurity and hello abundant living!"
Amen.