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.



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.


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.


"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".



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.


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 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!!


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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fulfilled: A book giveaway and review

It's easy in the summer to lose our edge. We get out of routine, relax from our harried schedules, and often lose our regular fellowship.
Amidst the changes comes a sense of disconnect. A restlessness and dissatisfaction with what we have.
Something is missing, but what?

I recently had the pleasure of reading "Fulfilled" by Danise Jurado. Utilizing personal stories and lots of scripture, she walked me through several chapters that touched me to my very core.
In her chapter on forgiveness, she says "Sometimes the pain others have caused us can leave us wondering if we can ever forgive them for what they have done."
In her chapter on restoration, she says "God was teaching me lessons I would treasure forever. I probably didn't appreciate them as much back then as I do now because they often came through correction."
(After reading those first two chapters, I had an opportunity to bring something to my husband and restore trust in our relationship. Not easy, but I was so thankful to have read these two chapters before that opportunity arose)

In each chapter, she takes something she's walked through and shows how God has a rich reward for us within that truth.
Another of my favorite quotes from her book was this one:

Perhaps the most helpful chapter for me was her chapter on courage, where she not only discusses the importance of the armor of God, but breaks it down into an easy application. I can see the need for each part and easily apply truth and righteousness and salvation into my prayers and into my daily devotion.

Truly, this book helps you as she comes alongside you, sharing her moments of strength and weakness and allowing God to receive the glory. Those moments where she was afraid to trust are not omitted, but highlighted as she relates our human need for fulfillment to the Almighty God and His unending supply of Himself for all that we need.

The best thing about her book is that each chapter can be read and read again. In her pages there is a depth and richness that is full of wisdom and life. Truly, the Holy Spirit will reach you through her book.

I am giving away a copy of her book, and she's also offering a social media contest. Here is a photograph with all the details.

If you'd like to win a copy of the book, leave a comment below. I will randomly draw from all comments on Monday, August 24th and announce the winner here.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Learn: 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.


This week's prompt is "Learn". I've been journeying through the book of Proverbs this month. (31 chapters, 31 days. It's so easy!)
This morning's highlight was Proverbs 13:10.
"Where there is strife, there is pride,
    but wisdom is found in those who take advice." (NIV)

I stated in my summary, "Pride has many faces. Thinking we know everything and not being willing to listen causes strife. Respect will lead to peace. We have two ears and one mouth. Perhaps if we used them in that ratio, we would have less fighting."

Guess what we are learning at our house?

Most of us don't master skills immediately. We learn from our attempts.
Taking advice is being willing to learn. Even if you think you know a lot, perhaps there is a different avenue. Today I took on a new job. You are looking at the new 7th and 8th grade math teacher.
I have a lot to learn before I can teach. I have three weeks to prepare. I really enjoyed being the substitute teacher for these students in math last year. I LOVE math. It's logical, and the answer is always predictable. (Why are people so complicated?!)

Anyway, one thing I discussed with our principal is the fact that not all students will learn the answer from the same process. I have to be able to learn a new way to teach so that they will learn and comprehend the concepts of Pre-Algebra.

I'm asking many questions and gleaning all the input the former teacher is willing to share. It's going to be new and wonderful but I'm terrified at being the one in charge. I've never had a failing grade, let alone given one to somebody. I'm really hopeful that I'll be able to make connections and comprehension flow so that I can keep my non-failing streak!

And? God is teaching me to become a nobody on Earth so He can be glorified through me. If I can let go of my need for achievement and accolades and acclaim, I can be content in all things. Then if He somehow has a large Earthly mission in which to use me, I won't want to take His praise away from Him.

I don't think I'll ever be done learning!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Here: 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.


Here, not there.
Well aware.
Omnipotence, He's everywhere.
He is here.

Always listening, always hearing
Peace He gives us, love endearing.
Storms may come, but then are clearing.
He is here.

In control though I am not.
All my battles He has fought.
Lessons learned that life has taught.
He is here.

For my children, He is here.
Never far but always near.
Lead them to their Shepherd, dear.
That is why you're here.

For His glory, for His fame.
Let us praise and raise His name.
Not to us, no great acclaim.
He is here.

Paper cups that pass away.
We are like a brilliant day.
Sunrise, sunset, then turn gray.

Still He is here.

Here I am, send me, I cry.
Trusting even in the "why?"
For us all, our Savior died.
But He is here.

Present is a passing gift.
What will I now make of it?
Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised,
but always...

P.S. Blogger doesn't tell me where you're linked, so please sweetly leave your linkup # (or your blog address) in your comment. Thank you!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Help for the Graphical Design Challenged

So, if you, like me, don't have a degree in Graphic Design, but love all the beautiful word art graphics out there, here's something for you.

Jennifer Ueckert has an online studio. She just opened her store today, but she's not new to design.
She's also offering a 20% discount in honor of opening her store. That's pretty exciting for those of you who have an idea in mind but can't quite get it to come out correctly.
I had asked if she had a design I liked but I wanted different wording, if she does custom work. Here is her response:

hi tammy! i saw your question to kaitlyn and yes, i do custom prints such as “this is my favorite verse and i like how you did this one.” :) just let me know what you had in mind!


And, if you look in the background of that collage, there are some beautiful prints there. I think I want to make some coffee mugs, and maybe have some prints on my walls.
So, again, enjoy the discount! (And here are some of her prints that you can order. They're gorgeous!)