Thursday, December 17, 2015

Choice: Five Minute Friday

Prompted but unscripted, a "free write" for five minutes with no edits, no re-writes. Every Friday (or Thursday night if you're at the Twitter party), we receive the week's prompt and write. Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, and usually spontaneous, this community has grown so much and now means a lot to me! Join us, it's so much fun! Kate's site.
GO!

Kate's prompt was that we have a choice. We get to choose our own word this week.
That's not easy for me. I like to have structure, something to start with.
I'm not God. In the beginning He spoke, and everything that wasn't, suddenly WAS.

Still, made in His image, I believe He uses us when He has something to say.
We have a choice in the matter. If we are choosing to listen to Him and His prompting, then we will be able to speak in His authority into a situation. Perhaps He will use us to bring courage where there is fear. Or, we will bring freedom where there has been an enslaving.
God still speaks, and He speaks through His people.

He could use us to bring life to a dark and weary soul.
He had a choice and chose to bring salvation through a human girl and the child she would bear to the hungry, empty, angry world.

The world hasn't changed, and neither has God.
"In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) and the Word (Jesus) was with God and the Word (Jesus) WAS God."
(John 1:1)
"Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord,“who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:4-8)




So, you see, God has always and will always exist. You have a choice. Will you choose to exist in His presence or away from His presence?
You have a choice.
:)
Merry Christmas!
~Tammy

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reflect: Five Minute Friday

Prompted but unscripted, a "free write" for five minutes with no edits, no re-writes. Every Friday (or Thursday night if you're at the Twitter party), we receive the week's prompt and write. Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, and usually spontaneous, this community has grown so much and now means a lot to me! Join us, it's so much fun! Here's the link to Kate's page.

Go!

Tonight's prompt is Reflect.

I am actually using my timer tonight. *Good girl*
:)
At first, reflect stirred nostalgic candlelight and year-end memories by the fireplace.

Quickly, though, I realized how self-focused that post would have been.

My vein tonight is reflect as in a reflection.

My challenge?  That when others are human to me, that I would be a mirror, but that instead of seeing themselves, they would see Jesus looking back at them.

How do we accomplish this?  With love. "Rid yourselves of all malice" literally means to bless.

If a hating, spewing person does not get a hateful, spewing reaction, but instead one of love, they will be confused.

"I tell you bless those that curse you.
You will heap flaming coals upon their head."
Romans 12:14 "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."
Romans 12:20 "On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Matthew 5:40-48 in the Voice Translation states:


40 If someone connives to get your shirt, give him your jacket as well. 41 If someone forces you to walk with him for a mile, walk with him for two instead. 42 If someone asks you for something, give it to him. If someone wants to borrow something from you, do not turn away.
43 You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— 45 in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. 46 It is easy to love those who love you—even a tax collector can love those who love him. 47 And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! 48 But you are called to something higher: “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

The more we are looking outward to the needs of others, the less focused we are on our own needs (and wants). This does not mean irresponsibility, but instead, unselfishness. When somebody hurts you, ask yourself "why?" Was it really you they were upset with? Or are you an innocent casualty?

If we will choose to reflect instead of react, we will be Jesus to a dark world. And, on that silent, holy night, when the world was just as dark and gloomy as it was before He came, and still is, HE was brilliant and glorious, and He Was and Is and Is to Come!

When we allow our lives to reflect Jesus to others, we are removed from the depth of the sting that their "light and momentary" wounds cause us.
We can alternately choose to reflect on what they have done to us, moving the focus inward, and I think you and I both know, that there's a lot less of Jesus in that choice.

*timer has spoken*



Blessings to you and a Merry Christmas!!
~Tammy

(and I again ask for your linkup number or url in your comment, please, pretty please, so I can read your post and comment back!!)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Blessed Are The Pure of Heart: A Book Review






As somebody who enjoys books immensely, it was an honor when a friend of mine asked me to read and review his novel. I met Andrew through Kate Motaung's weekly linkup, Five Minute Friday.

Andrew has a blog, you can follow him over here.

This novel was engaging from the start. You are quickly thrown into a situation that causes you to empathize for the characters you have met. The series of events that follow are brilliantly woven together. From the beginning to the end, you will think you know what is happening, and then be given a curve that was unforeseen.

What I really appreciated about this novel is that the characters are very realistic. These are easily people that live next door to you, that you have met. You care about every moment of their lives, and there is not a single moment in the book that is wasted.

Without giving away anything, I also appreciated the ability of the book to stretch your ideas of what is possible in the human realm, in the spiritual realm, and how God uses people to affect others. This is a work of fiction that I have recently given as a gift to a friend who served in the Army overseas. The main character is a veteran, as is the author of the novel. His experience comes through the pages and gives insight to the adjustments back to civilian life for our soldiers.

I hope you will get a chance to read Andrew's novel, and then a chance to send one on to a friend. This was a very gifted writing. He also has an e-book on Amazon currently for soldiers who may be struggling with PTSD and the holidays. He and his wife Barbara are true servant-heart people that offer shelter to rescue dogs, and I hope you will visit his blog and leave him a comment or two.

Sincerely,
Tammy



Thursday, December 3, 2015

OneWord365: Humility

Alece over at OneWord365.com has been such a kind friend to me. I've been blessed to share guest posts over there several times now. This is my most recent, and I hope you enjoy it!





Some people have difficulty choosing their word for the year. Some people have a moment of inspiration. It seems the more time you meditate and center in on what God is speaking to you, the easier it is to hear what He says.

When you ask God to speak one word over your life, be prepared for Him to make a mighty change—sometimes that process begins before the calendar declares a new year.
My first year, the word was “trust”. I felt that I did not trust God fully, though my mind wanted to trust Him. By the end of the year, the transformation happened, and I do trust Him! This second year, my word has been “joy”, but He has been teaching me about grace. It’s amazing. Really. I can’t stop writing about it!
For 2016, the word He’s leading me to and through? “Humble”.
This is not a fun word to be led through. And the process began much earlier than I thought it would. Still, He is speaking and is gentle in His teaching, and it’s necessary for where He wants to use me next.

 To finish the post, please visit: http://oneword365.com/god-speaks-choose-one-word/


Season: Five Minute Friday

Prompted but unscripted, a "free write" for five minutes with no edits, no re-writes. Every Friday (or Thursday night if you're at the Twitter party), we receive the week's prompt and write. Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, and usually spontaneous, this community has grown so much and now means a lot to me! Join us, it's so much fun! Here's the link to Kate's page.

Go!

Tonight's prompt is SEASON.

Of course, in December, "Deck The Halls" will instantly pop into your head if you're a fan of Christmas carols.
If you're cooking, you season your food with various spices.

But truly? Season has had a different meaning for me lately.

I'm in a new job this year. One I hadn't really planned for. So, I'm in a season of learning. In that season, I make mistakes. And I really don't like making mistakes. I like to do a magnificent job the first time. Most of the time, I'm naturally good at whatever I try. Except athletics. I get a participation award in every event.

And I think that God intended for this job to undo some things in my life that needed to be undone. It's been a season of humbling. And truly? It's been ugly. There are things that needed to be surfaced and removed, and God allows us to have the perfect situations to uncover those hidden things. Character traits that are external don't extend to every part of our internal selves. I don't want to see those parts of me that haven't been transformed by His hand, but the only way for the process to unveil is for His good hand to bring it to the light.

This is why the fruits OF THE SPIRIT are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Those are contrary to human fruits.

And, fresh fruit in season is delicious. Out-of-season fruit is rare and expensive. And past-season fruit is overripe or unfavorable for consuming.

My fruit? Useless. My righteousness, as Paul puts it, is "dirty rags". (and if you go to the Greek, it's even more appalling than just "dirty") My good deeds are for naught.
But, God's glory and grand plan? All good fruit.

He created the world with a plan. He just happens to let us affect each other to eventually cause us all to be turned to Him and give Him the praise and honor and glory and worship! Some people encourage us, some cause us to be refined.

The best part about seasons is that they change. When we've gone through a season, we can look back with relief or with wonder, but it's gone and the new has come.

Our seasons offer a chance to mentor others who are coming behind.
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ." (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

Where I live, we have four seasons, and they are all beautiful. So, I'll close with Nichole Nordeman's "Every Season". Exactly a year ago this weekend, I had the great honor of standing in line and meeting her. I'm not a big celebrity person, but her music has impacted me since 1998. This was as close to a starstruck moment as there will be for this math teacher. 





Blessings on you in whichever season you are in. Whether summer, autumn, winter, or spring, may you find wonder and beauty in some small way, to remind you that God is in every season

~Tammy
P.S. Please include your url or linkup # on Kate's list so I can return the favor of reading and commenting! :D 



Thursday, November 26, 2015

Table: Five Minute Friday

Prompted but unscripted, a "free write" for five minutes with no edits, no re-writes. Every Friday (or Thursday night if you're at the Twitter party), we receive the week's prompt and write. Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, and usually spontaneous, this community has grown so much and now means a lot to me! Join us, it's so much fun! Here's the link to Kate's page.

Go!

Table.
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
We just had a prompt last week on the word "dwell". As I've been journeying through the Psalms one chapter at a time for the last three months, it's difficult not to call a Psalm to mind when I hear a word.
Psalm 23 especially has been sung in many versions and with many flavors.

As a high-school choir student, I had the opportunity to participate in the honors event "All-State Chorus and Orchestra" twice. One of the two years we sang "The Lord is my Shepherd."
Here is a youtube version of a choral group performing that song.


That version may put you to sleep, especially if you never sang in choir. It's nostalgic for me. Especially singing the praises of God with 1,000 high school students, most of us from public schools.

My journey in the Psalms has been in the 40s and 50s recently. And so many of the chapters focus on "no matter what comes against me, the Lord will prevail." And that my eyes should be on Him.


So as I think about what my mind "dwells" on or "feasts" on, I see that life is a Table. Before me are many things that I can feed on. I have a myriad of choices. Some sweet, some savory, some salty, some bitter, and all will taste different. They will all affect me differently. There will be things I have no choice but to swallow it quickly. (Brussels sprouts, anybody?)
Other things I can delight in and savor. We need a balance of all of these things. Just like our emotions. Without sadness, we do not appreciate "joy" nearly as much. And in contrast of fear and anger, the peace and love of God would not be so brilliant or appealing.


I'm pretty sure my time is up for tonight. When my time is up on earth, I know whose banquet table awaits me. I want to be sure that I'm not wasting time at this table, though. It's bad manners to sit and play with my food. ;)

~Tammy

And, for a livelier version of Psalm 23, here's Keith Green. Another childhood LP favorite!



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Dwell: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

The prompt this week is Dwell.

Last weak, the prompt was Weary. They're tied together for me. Where am I choosing to dwell? If I'm tired or weary, am I dwelling there? Or am I choosing to stop there for the moment and then move on?

The definition of dwell or dwelling is this: live in or at a specified place; think, speak, or write at length about (a particular subject, especially one that is a source of unhappiness, anxiety, or dissatisfaction.)

Well. There you have it. "Especially one that is a source of unhappiness, anxiety, or dissatisfaction."
Don't we often dwell there? Our imperfections, failures, or the mistakes of others and how we are affected by them?
I don't want to live there. I don't want those to be the walls of my home.
I've been singing a song at church, but it's been in my heart and mind all through the week for the last month as well.

"You unravel me with a melody, you surround me with a song
of deliverance from my enemies, until all my fear is gone.
I'm no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.
I'm no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.
From my mother's womb, you have chosen me. Love has called my name.
I've been born again into your family Your blood flows through my veins.

Bridge: You split the sea, so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me, so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God"


A slave is imprisoned. Not allowed to leave. We are not slaves. We should not dwell in fear, but in the House of the Lord.
Psalm 23:5-6
"Y
ou prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever."

I grew up singing the "surely goodness and mercy" song. I need to revisit where I am going to dwell. I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Every day I must choose where I want to be, where I want to stay, where I want to dwell. I have a choice, but I have to choose.

Time's up! :)
~Tammy

P.S. Please include your linkup # on Kate's site or your url so I can find you. Especially if I haven't met you often on Five Minute Friday!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Weary: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

This week's prompt is Weary.
With winter on the horizon and one less hour of daylight, naps are a natural tendency. Our bodies want to hibernate if we live in climates where the four seasons still exist.



What a blessing it has been to have been traveling through the book of Psalms for the last 2 1/2 months. For it is in the Word of God that I find strength to overcome weary thoughts and attitudes.


I equate the word weary with discouraged. Battling the loss of strength, hope, and vigor is a difficult task indeed. We face physical challenges, emotional challenges, mental, social and spiritual challenges. We can easily become weary if we look to those ups and downs to satisfy us within.



Psalm 42 gives some hope and perspective: (I have substituted the word "weary" for the word "discouraged")
As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?
Day and night I have only tears for food,
    while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
    “Where is this God of yours?”
My heart is breaking
    as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
    leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
    amid the sound of a great celebration!
Why am I weary?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!
Now I am deeply weary,
    but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
    from the land of Mount Mizar.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas
    as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
    and through each night I sing his songs,
    praying to God who gives me life.
“O God my rock,” I cry,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies?”
10 Their taunts break my bones.
    They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”
11 Why am I weary?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

Many of the link-up writes will most likely include Isaiah 40:29-31 or Galatians 6:9. I wanted to include something else that would bring new life in the light of those amazing promises. They are valid and hope-filled, but tonight, I encourage you to see that whether your life is full of affirmation or condemnation from others, if your hope is in God, then your identity and value and worth will be centered for eternity. You will not need the affirmations nor will you be devastated by the condemnations.
Is God your rock?
Psalm 43 continues with the same chorus, and states that God is the source of all my joy!!!

1 "Declare me innocent, O God!
    Defend me against these ungodly people.
    Rescue me from these unjust liars.
For you are God, my only safe haven.
    Why have you tossed me aside?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies?
Send out your light and your truth;
    let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you live.
There I will go to the altar of God,
    to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
    O God, my God!
Why am I weary?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!"

I pray you are lifted up by God tonight and encouraged and hopeful. For He is the lifter of your head. 

The first song that popped in my head begins with the lyrics
"Oh soul, are you weary and troubled?"
The chorus?
"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"

Just as He's been saying. Look to Him. :)
~Tammy

P.S. Please list your url or your linkup number if you'd like me to read your post. I'm not on bloglovin so I don't always know how to find you! :D

 






Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dance: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!


Dance! There are so many movies, so many songs! No matter who you are, the word Dance is not a static word. It moves you. If you grew up in my Mom's church, dancing was not a celebration of God. If you read the account of David dancing before the Lord, unashamed, you see that He was concerned about God before others.

There are two focuses on dance. Ourselves, or the One who dances over us. I love to watch talented dancers perform their skill with grace and athletic gifting! Though I love dancing, I'm not as graceful or talented as many I have seen. Still, when I offer my dance to God in worship, He delights in it. Why? Because it's a gift. From me. To Him.

So, I've got two different songs/videos for you tonight. If you need a quiet moment to soak in His amazing love for you, then watch this one. The first line is "You dance over me while I am unaware. You sing all around and I never hear a sound."



If you've been burdened and you need to be lifted up and break free and dance? Then this is the one for you! (Shackles by Mary Mary)


And finally, if you can handle a little country music, here's LeAnn Womack. "I hope you dance."


You see, God truly rejoices over us with singing.
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.(Zephaniah 3:17)

"They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.
    They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—
the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil,
    and the healthy flocks and herds.
Their life will be like a watered garden,
    and all their sorrows will be gone.
13 The young women will dance for joy,
    and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration.
I will turn their mourning into joy.
    I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
14 The priests will enjoy abundance,
    and my people will feast on my good gifts.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 31:12-14 NLT)

Heaven is just around the corner. Don't keep it to yourself! :)

Love,

Tammy

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bacon: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

Pop! Sizzle! Crackle! Mmmm. The warmth of the oven as I broil bacon gently wafts up around my feet and legs and embraces me like an old friend. The aroma of the savory meat gradually heating up to delicious crisp protein causes my mouth to water.

From the time I can remember, our Saturday morning routine began with my Dad whistling or singing in the kitchen. I can still smell the lemon-scented dish soap as he cheerfully cleaned dishes, wiped down the counters and simultaneously cooked a full "big" breakfast for the family.
After our breakfast, we all had chores to complete. A family of seven can quickly clean a week's worth of mess, when working together.
Often he would play music. Some vintage Maranatha Praise Strings or Keith Green "Songs for a Shepherd". Once in a while, Harry Chapin crooned "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" and "The Cats in the Cradle".

I always loved our time on the weekends with my Dad. I realize now, as a school teacher, how much my mom needed his help. My own husband carries on the same tradition of getting up and cooking us a hot breakfast on Saturday mornings. We have eggs, potatoes from our garden, and bacon. (other weekends, we'll have sausage instead).

I'm a little more conscientious about the bacon I purchase. It's usually hardwood smoked, uncured, without nitrates, and costs more, I'm sure, than what I grew up eating, but deep down, it's the love that gets cooked into the bacon that makes it so special.

I hope and pray that my girls have as rich a relationship with their Daddy as I had.
During the week, he and my mom were both "bringing home the bacon", but on the weekend, they were still a team. His servant's heart was something that showed his love and respect for my mom. I am blessed to have a husband with that same heart.

And, as the president of the "Super Swine" 4-H club, bacon was a big part of my husband's life.

Tonight, I am blessed by bacon.

~Tammy


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Joy: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!



This week's word is "Joy". What a fun word! Truly, it's pretty difficult to say "joy" in the English language without the corners of your mouth turning up. And, it happens to be my OneWord365 for the year. Joy, however, is not equal to happiness. In our language, we always equate happiness with joy, but sometimes joy is a choice. I am resolving to make the choice of joy, so I combine those three words and get re-jo-ice.

There are lots of verses encouraging us to rejoice in everything. I think it comes down to that deep, deep, non-temporary part of us.
I've finally figured out that joy is as simple as counting backwards from five.

"Will this matter in...
5 hours
4 days
3 weeks
2 months
1 year?"

And, if it's a temporary upset or annoyance that will have no bearing in the long-term, I can choose to let it pass. I must take a deep breath and relax. I will not let Satan steal my joy.

This summer a movie called "Inside Out" was released. It's a children's film all about the struggle for control inside the mind of an 11 year old girl. She has five main emotions, and Joy is at the head of the control. She's joined by Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger.

So during school spirit week, I dressed up as "Joy".





We were supposed to dress as superheros.
I explained to the students that the power to bring Joy is very important and a supernatural gift.

What brings you joy? For me, it's causing others to smile and laugh. To solve problems. To bring peace. To encourage somebody that's weary. To build others up.

The best part about bringing joy to others is that it gets your focus off of those non-joyful temporary circumstances (or permanent ones) for the moment, so you can focus on what really matters. Eternity. Will people be drawn to Jesus because they met you?


Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4) (NLT)

"For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!" (2 Corinthians 4:17) (NLT)

Choose joy, my friends. We may be tired, or weary, or weepy for no reason, but those are not our truest truths. Our bodies are temporary and dying, but our spirits are eternal. Let the Joy of the Lord lift us up like it did for Nehemiah and the Israelites rebuilding the temple. It is in His Strength and Power that we can shine with joy when we're facing the bleakest moments of our lives.

~Tammy

P.S. Please tell me your url or linkup number at Kate's blog this week so I can find your post too! :)



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Green: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

Green is my favorite color. I was so super excited when this became the prompt for our week! You see, for me, green represents life, strength, vigor, hope, energy, everything! Two of my three daughters have green birthstones, which makes my mother's jewelry absolutely delightful.

And writing to you on life? Well, where do we begin?
Let's begin at John 10:10. This was the immediate thought after green represents life.
"A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance."


I have come to give you life and that abundantly...even though I am truly a winter bird and love the beautiful snow, the green of spring is something to behold. Someday I'll visit Ireland. That is my long lost musical love. I'll quickly slip into a Celtic accent when I worship with Robin Mark on my CDs from the early turn of our century.

Recently I was transported to that moist but dewy glowing atmosphere while hiking some beautiful waterfalls. They're all on Highway 138 in Southwestern Oregon. There are more than we stopped to see, but I included some of my best photographs for you.

I imagine Heaven as green and luscious with beauty all over. Soft green grass under my feet and fresh mountain air as I stare out over the landscape. (I am Colorado-born, so there's a natural love for the peaks of mountains inside me.)

Sometimes we lack life. We lose luster. We become dull and dry and weary. Then our beautiful Savior leads us back to the Psalms. Since September, I've been journeying through the Psalms. First 121-150 in September. Now it's 1-31 this month. And in a week? Psalm 23 will be here.

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul;





Does your soul need green, peaceful pastures? Empty of cares and full of life? Can you listen to the babbling brooks and restore your soul?
In our study through the book of Revelation right now, Jesus' voice is described as thundering waters. Waterfalls and oceans must be an earthly representation for us.


Praying that you can take a few minutes this week to allow Him to soothe you into a warm, sunny summer day where you lay on green grass and let the sun warm your very soul.
I keep this 40 second video on my phone for those moments I need to still myself. The water was so loud that I was not aware of anything but the water. It was so large I couldn't take it all in. God is like that. He's all around us and He's everywhere we're looking and He fills our senses in ways we cannot describe!

Find me on Facebook and you can join our journey through Psalms. :)
(and list your url or linkup number if you comment so I can visit you too)

~Tammy

 
"In The Beauty of Holiness" ~Robin Mark

 
 
"Jesus, All For Jesus" ~Robin Mark



Thursday, October 8, 2015

Trust: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

(I did edit a couple dates for clarification, so you can call me a cheater if you need to. :) )





I'm so blessed to have some life experience to pour into this week's blog. My Oneword365 for 2014 was "trust". At the time, I did not feel that I really trusted God. My head knew, my heart knew, but connecting the two was still absent a piece.

Part of it was dealing with the grief of a planned pregnancy that only lasted seven days. Part of it was the great challenge of parenting a gifted daughter whose spiritual enemy wants to crush her. She has a gift of prayer and God has huge plans for her. I hit rock bottom that year. In April 2014, I told God. I was done. I wanted Him to take me and give her a mommy that would treat her like He would.

I didn't want Him to trust me. I didn't trust me at that point. Instead, He began to show me that if I would trust Him, then He would equip me to be her mommy-and a very good one at that.
And if you want to read more about that...God used Taylor Swift to help me, of all things!

Trust means yielding all control. Control of the outcome. Control of the process. You have nothing. You must COMPLETELY trust and give up EVERYTHING.

Remember that verse, "in everything give thanks"?? Christine Caine recently said in a devotional, "Note that it says "IN" everything, not "FOR" everything.

When we praise with our lips though we feel cursed, we defeat our enemy. We rise above his summary of the situation and lift our eyes to the redeemer of all. For it is for His glory that we endure, and exist and persevere.
Somehow, by the end of 2014, He had transformed me and I could actually say I trusted Him. Completely.

Last week I had some anxiety facing a situation. I'm not normally anxious, but I was shaken to the core with this one and not knowing the outcome.

My beautiful God then called my attention to a bright yellow paper with bold black letters,

"The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
-Hebrews 13:6

(my girls brought it home from Sunday school this summer and it was mixed with other papers that morning)

If man kills me, it means God used me to the maximum and I'm released from my learning experience.
If man does not kill me, my God is protecting me through each step and He trusts me to experience things that will bring glory and honor and praise to Him.

I do not understand pain and suffering, but am sure that we are also unaware of times we've been spared some awful things.

Though they slay me, yet will I praise Him.

And, just because I needed a powerful praise song this week, here's a gospel version of a powerful hymn. May it encourage you that God is indeed worth Trusting!!




Thursday, October 1, 2015

Family: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

Tonight's prompt is "Family". I come from a larger family. I remember my first Christmas away from "home". I was a newlywed with my husband, his sister, and his parents. I kept feeling like there was somebody missing. We've now been married 11 years. His sister married her husband a year after we were married. We have three girls and they have three boys, all fairly close in age. We had two overlapping pregnancies.

Though I have his family only 100 miles from our home (my parents and most of my siblings are over 400 miles away), our "family" where we live is our church family. My daughters are at a Christian school where I've been so blessed to teach this year. That is another part of my "family".
My third family has come from the relationships that have sparked after beginning the Five Minute Friday journey in January. Through reading other peoples' blogs and leaving comments, and the same receipt of reads and comments, I have gotten to know some beautiful souls. I will definitely forget some if I try to list them...but you know that you touch my heart, friends. :)

These people will still be with me in eternity. As my friend Kristy refers to it, "eternal friends". But for some of these relationships, there is such a deep bond that it's not just friendship. It's family. When we rally around each other in prayer, we bond. We become family.

I've had friends in crisis recently. We spread the word and lifted them up and checked in frequently and they're finally coming home after a week and a half. We have become their family.

Family is who you do life with. Your "life group" at church can become your family. Ours has. We help each other with meals, moving, babysitting, and just listening when we need a friend.

I'm so thankful for the growing family that I'm a part of. There are so many people that I have yet to meet that will be part of my family forever!

And, if you want to keep connecting with me, would you list your url or linkup number when you comment? I won't be able to find you otherwise since bloglovin doesn't give me a blogger option. I guess wordpress is the best. Wish I'd have known that in 2011 when I started. :D


~Tammy



Thursday, September 24, 2015

Doubt: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

Wow. When the prompt came up "doubt", it surprised me, comforted me, guilted me, and yet, I was ready to write!

How can five letters bring up so many different emotions within us? We are made in the image of the all-knowing God, but we really don't "know it all". We sincerely wish we did.

When we become independent in one realm of life, we gain confidence, but sometimes are too confident in our own abilities.

I think God gives us the emotion of doubt intentionally.

Doubt is a gift from God.

Yes, I repeated myself.

Because I just "got it". If I doubt myself, then I will reason that I might not be the answer. That will prompt me to ponder my inability. And, hopefully, will point me toward GOD's ability!

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:12-13)
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." (Ephesians 6:10)

The world markets to our doubt and insecurity with many products with all sorts of enhancing features. Physique, physical beauty, status, the list goes on and on.

When Peter walks on water and then falters, how does Jesus respond??
(Matthew 14:29-30)
"But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?

Friends, doubt is a gift from God. We question whether our faith is placed in the solid rock, or in quicksand. If we cry out, Jesus reaches out His hand and catches us IMMEDIATELY!!! :D


I've been journeying through the end of Psalms this month. David is afraid for his life and hiding in a cave but repeatedly is calling on the Lord. And the Lord is answering and saving him.

"
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    and will praise your name
    for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
    that it surpasses your fame.
When I called, you answered me;
    you greatly emboldened me."
(Psalm 138:1-3)

Bold is the answer to doubt. I doubt, I despair, I discourage, and yet, God. So if I turn my lips and praise Him in that dark disappointed ('light and momentary') trouble, He will embolden me.

Brave because of my God,

~Tammy

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Celebrate: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

This week's word is "Celebrate".
That word instantly made me smile.
We enjoy celebration. Life. We celebrate life. New babies, life anniversaries (birthdays), wedding anniversaries, and many other things.

Today I am celebrating fulfilled promises. In 2011, we began a journey at a private school with our oldest daughter. The next year, we had two daughters at the school. Then we had a major change at the school and we were in a transition year. It was so difficult for many reasons. Our administrator felt called away. We had one interim administrator followed by another one at semester (due to health problems). Year 3 was the year we had to choose. Many people had choices. Stay, go, trust, move on, and for everybody, the choices were different. We chose to stay.

Last year was year 4. We had prayed for a long time for a new leader for our school. God brought somebody who has cast vision of "God first, students next".
Because of this purpose, and that God would get glory, we have a servant leader modeling for the students what a Christian leader should act like. He mows the lawn on a riding mower. He pushed through the hurdles and we had a football game on our new field at home last weekend. This is year 5, we have all three daughters at the school and I'm a "part-time" teacher on staff! Next year we are supposed to have a better playground for the elementary.

Today, God showed me a rainbow as I was coming back to the school and it stopped me. He is so faithful to us! I'm journeying through Psalms this month. Yesterday was Psalm 136. Twenty-six times we repeat "His love endures forever."

Not only when we're thankful or have something to celebrate, but when it's bleak and dark.
In the photo, you see the darkness contrasted with the vibrant colors of His promise.
When it is dark and stormy, "His love endures forever."
When enrollment is dropping and they can't afford to fill the positions but still want your service, "His love endures forever."
Two years later, enrollment is rising and they need more desks. "His love endures forever."

Today, I celebrate God's faithfulness to keep His promises. Even when I don't know what He has promised, He is using His children to complete His work. And that is certainly something to celebrate!

~Tammy

Friday, September 11, 2015

Same: Five Minute Friday

The linkup is over at katemotaung.com!
This week the prompt is "Same".

I'm typing this post on my phone and it will affect my five minutes greatly. Sometimes less is more.  Today is Friday, September 11. Today is my 11th wedding anniversary! 12 years ago, I drove over 1000 miles for a summer job. The job was a bust, and I barely paid my bills, but I met my eternal best friend. When you make a relationship on earth with somebody who loves this same Jesus, your friendship will be eternal.
Dave and I have so much in common! Our upbringing was basically the same. Our fathers were self-employed, we were born two months apart in 1981. We are both the oldest child. Our parents are both still married to the same person they first married.  We were both involved in 4H with animals, we both valued academics and hard work. We both laugh at wit and British humor. We work well together.  We both wanted a stay at home mom for our children. We went to the same beach at the ocean for much of our childhoods.
 We both value what is right more than what is popular. We had both been hurt in relationships and had sworn off dating two years prior to meeting each other. On September 11, 2001, we were the same.  We were single, lonely, hurting, and thrown upside down by what had happened in a recent relationship. We both found God to be our everything. Two years later, in September, I was already away from him and back at college. At that time, we had been dating for three months, but we knew without doubt we would be married.
After 11 years, Dave's wedding ring has rubbed at his "freckle" or "mole" a lot, but we have matching marks on our wedding ring fingers!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. We are made in His image to bring glory to Him. As Dave and I grow in our faith, the two become one. As we journey as Christians we become more and more like the Jesus we follow.  When I pass away on this earth, I hope I will be the same as Jesus. That when you meet me, when I speak to you, there would be nothing different between how Jesus would speak to you and how you would feel.   My prayer is that someday I will be so immersed in Jesus and His Spirit that after we part the feeling would be the same as if you had actually sat with Him. That you would be thinking upon Him long after we have parted ways. He is my comfort, He is my strength, and He can be the same for you!

~Tammy

Friday, September 4, 2015

Yes: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

"Yes"

Jesus loves me, This I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so.


Jesus loves me, This I know
As He loved so long ago
Taking children on His knee.
Saying, "Let them come to Me."

Jesus loves me still today
Walking with me on my way
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.


Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven's gate to open wide
He will wash away my sin
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way
Thou hast bled and died for me
I will henceforth live for Thee...



It's urgent on my heart to write today about somebody else. Somebody who said "yes" to Jesus and all that it has entailed for him.


Saeed Abedini is currently imprisoned in Iran for the crime of Christianity. He is my age. He has a wife and two children. They have been married for about the same number of years and the children are close to the ages of my own.
This could have been my husband.

Saying yes to Jesus means saying no to many things. For Him, "are you a Christian?" is a "yes" he did not back down from. How brave would we be in the same circumstances? When you walk faithfully with Jesus, is there any answer but "yes" that we could offer? When you breathe His strength to get through the most difficult days, is there any other answer but yes?

I long to see Jesus' eyes. To gaze into them, though it terrifies me all the sin He will see in mine, I know His love is so merciful.

Join me, please, in praying for Pastor Saeed. Soon the Iranian President will be here in the United States for United Nations meetings. God can be glorified in the midst of the ugliness. You can click here and sign a letter to the Iranian President on behalf of Pastor Saeed, or you can even compose your own in the form and it will be sent on your behalf.

In the darkest prison, in the foulest hole,
Saeed is waiting, his hope still full.
The prayers of saints lift him each day
and to our Jesus still he prays.
His wife and children wait in Boise,
the enemy's schemes are loud and noisy
like Paul and Silas, he waits in chains,
but ever trusts in Jesus' name.
#PrayForSaeed

Lord, please let my faith be strong when I am tested. Let me not deny you because of fear or desire for what feels "safe" or comfortable. Let me say "yes" to you first, instead of myself.
Amen.

~Tammy

Friday, August 28, 2015

Alone: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

"Alone"

My favorite hymn, as of late, is by Charles Austin Miles.

"I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

Refrain: And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

V2. He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

Refrain

V3. I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

Refrain"


"After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone," (Matthew 14:23 NIV)
Jesus got up by himself early to pray. By himself could also be written "alone".
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (Mark 1:35 NIV)

I still remember a crisis in college. I don't remember the details, but I remember that I was distraught and tried reaching multiple friends on the telephone, knocked on dorm room doors, and nobody answered. I then sought God's help.
Sometimes, God purposefully allows me to feel all alone so that I will seek Him alone for help.


"You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you." (Nehemiah 9:6 NIV)

"Sometimes it is in the stillness of solitude that we are silent enough to hear His still, small voice." [tweet this].



And then, there are times where I feel isolated, desperately alone, and He allows me to be encouraged by others. This Five Minute Friday group has been that for me. Through interacting on the weekly Twitter #fmfparty on Thursdays, I have gotten to know a few dear friends. And also through reading each others' posts and commenting, I have come to know that validation of "me too!" "You're not alone!"

When we struggle on Earth, we desperately need community. God made us for that.

"For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living." (Romans 14:7-9 NIV)


Last night, I was blessed to not be alone whatsoever. I was hosting a gathering of friends, so I completely missed the #fmfparty. This morning, I had two friends, Susan and Ruthie, who were inquiring if I was going to be posting. It feels so good to be missed! And, I had encouragement from a very dear friend, Andrew.

Andrew is a man who has contributed much to Five Minute Friday. One week he commented on my post, and I began to read his posts as well. He is living out His faith and has taught me that there are so many temporary distractions that are not important. We wear ourselves out for nothing. What really matters are the relationships we have with people. Those are eternal. Rich and famous people are often unhappy as they feel alone. They do not trust friendships. How blessed are we to be relatively anonymous and "nobody" on Earth! Andrew is on a fast track to heaven right now, and just sitting up to write blog posts or finish the book he is writing brings him immense pain and takes great strength. I encourage you to visit his blog and let him know you are praying for him and his wife, Barbara.

I'm past my five minutes, but we need alone time with God and we need fellowship with other Christians. If you put yourself on only one side of that, you will miss out. (though if you choose only one, I'd advise choosing isolating yourself and only being with God. :D )


And, here's Elvis. Really. It's Elvis singing "In The Garden".


~Tammy



 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Find: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.

Go!

"Find"
For those of us that have the time, we have a "twitter party" leading up to the word prompt on Thursday night. Basically you have #fmfparty searched at the top, and everyone who posts something puts that phrase or "hashtag" at the end so we see what we're all typing.

In the midst of the party last night, I had an interruption. A knock at our door. 
That is why I'm not posting this until this morning.
(What has become beautiful about the Five Minute Friday linkup? I have connected with friends who may post the night of the prompt or not until much later the next day. We look for each others' posts, even if it's not in our immediate line of posting. I cannot tell you how it builds me up to have somebody find my post and comment, though I am 20 posts down from them. We long to be sought after, and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I will take a risk to list some of my weekly friends that always seem to find me and comment...Jeanne, Andrew, Ruthie, Susan, Tara, Denise, Tondra)


In a week, I'm hosting a ladies' night at my home, but I had a guest arrive a week early. She's an acquaintance, but she's actively seeking truth right now.
She just checked out multiple books from the library on religion, but the conversation we had last night led me to ask if she'd be interested in driving up to our church for the Thursday night service.

She said yes! I asked dear Tara and Kate (and hopefully others prayed too) to pray intercession. There is a darkness that plagues her and she often has bad dreams. Our conversations last night in the car were the most revealing, though the drive was short. I was able to listen and hear, and then to speak.

This month of August, I've been leading some friends through the 31 chapters of Proverbs, one at a time. Yesterday the verse 20:12 caught me. "Ears that hear and eyes that see—the Lord has made them both." Jesus often said, "He who has eyes to see, let Him see." "He who has ears to hear, let Him hear."

Today I embraced Proverbs 21:21. "Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor."

What we seek is what we will find. I'm sure many of my friends this week quoted Jeremiah 29 about "When you seek me you will find me when you search for me with all your heart."

I challenge us to be listening and looking, for those opportunities that the Holy Spirit gives us, because if we seek them, I believe we will find them. And that emptiness we have when we're not active will disappear because like 12 year old Jesus, we will "be about our Father's business."


I continue to pray for this friend, that she will find Jesus. And if you haven't found Him, keep looking. He is here and He is real.

Speaking of find, I cannot "find" your post if I don't already know your website...so can you tell me your link-up number or just include a link to your post in your comment? I love to reciprocate the joy of reading and posting!!

Sincerely,
Tammy

*and I'm sorry to confess I took a little more than 5 minutes today...* :)