Archive for December, 2006

Lavatory Etiquette?

Hedgehog inspiration

The other day I was in the “potty room” and decided that it was one of those times when I could be productive in more way than one. I took my laptop in and started browsing for some Christmas crafts. As I was sitting there I began wondering what it must look like from the other side of the door – the evidence of my umbilical cord to the internet web elicits a number of feelings.

1. Laughter that I would take the time to photograph and blog about such things.

2. Pity for the poor laptop that I unnecessarily exposed it to such a work environment.

3. The satisfaction that can only be received from multi-tasking.

So, what I really want to know is – if this were your blog that I was fascinated with while indisposed, is it possible to be flattered? Does the same rule apply to laptops in the lavatory as food? Is there an etiquette for this sort of thing or just more of a don’t ask, don’t tell policy?

All in all, it was a productive session because I came out ready to make a pinecone hedgehog of my very own as evidenced below – although his cute little self has yet to be baked and painted.
Hedgehog project

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A little vanity goes a long way

Vanity Tray collage

Well, now that Christmas sadly has come and gone, I can share about my holiday gifting craft. I saw a beautiful tray on ebay this summer that was made from a window pane and I just adored it. While I didn’t bid on it, I did imagine making one of my own. About August I was pondering the idea of making vanity trays from picture frames, and from that idea these were born.

Over time the trays evolved from merely a table-top display to a glass-etched initialed screen for collages of “a few of my favorite things” that can be displayed standing upright, laying flat or hanging daintily adorned with favorite pieces of jewelry.

This was a precious craft because I was able to personalize each tray and choose colors and ribbons that reflected personality. My hubby also designed the presentation instructions for me – he is so artistic and he knows how to produce the pictures in my mind. Of course that comes of having a husband who lists web designer among his many talents.

Our oldest daughter expressed how much she wanted one of these and I wasn’t sure if it was a heartfelt desire or if it was simply because her perception of the amount of work that was invested made it appealing. However, when she opened the gift (as I was already making one for each of the girls), she smiled gratefully. It wasn’t until I went up to her room to say goodnight that evening and saw that it was already hanging above her bed with a cross and favorite hat dressing it that I knew she really did love it.

That gave me such a warm feeling inside…the kind of feeling that encourages me that I may not always fall short of the mother I would like to be.

I will be adding precious, handwritten notes to these frames on their birthdays along with new bookmarks, patches, photos and such through the years. They will be like my own personal message board to the girls. I also look forward to dangling a lovely new gift of jewelry on them on special occassions.

Complete Vanity Tray

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An instrument of the Lord

Joshua 1:8-9

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therin day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.

This passage commands us to do ALL that is written in God’s word and to write it on our hearts so that it may be with us everywhere.  Israel had a book (referenced in verse 8 here as the law). This book was only a fraction of what we have now in the Bible but it was very important. As God called Joshua to keep close to the words of that book, He calls us to keep close to His word in the Bible.

(Halley’s Bible Handbook)

An instrument of the Lord. That is what we are. If I were to give any instrument to a “perfectly seasoned” musician we would expect the music to be melodious and beautiful. I can, with certainty, call our God “perfectly seasoned”. His experience is endless, his mistakes nonexistent. However, the reality is that if His instrument, you and I, is not well maintained and in tune, the abilities of its artist will always be dwarfed.

I have often been inspired in the past when people say that the Holy Spirit spoke through them words and knowledge that was beyond their own human capacity. If I am to be completely honest, I have thought to myself that it is wonderful that the Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf in those moments because I sure can’t remember the scripture on my own! As I reflect on those thoughts now, I realize that I was using this promise to make excuses for my motivation, or lack thereof, to memorize scripture.

What an incredible gift we’ve been given to be the instrument of God! I played clarinet for many years, and I have not played for many more since that time. If I take my instrument out today I will find corks that have dried and rotted, keys that have rusted and pads that no longer seal – I can assure you that even if I were still a seasoned player, my music would be far from melodious! Just as my instrument needs to be maintained and tuned, so does my heart. I have to believe the more scripture I store there, the more in tune I will be with my Lord.

May I never again use the Lord’s grace as an excuse not to hide God’s word in my heart.

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Winter Wonderland

Winter Village Project

Here it is! This is our winter village scene…1 church, 1 school house and 9 homes. It was quite the project but I knew that with a wee one on the way that next year would probably not be conducive to such a time consuming project that required drying time without little hands of investigation.

I got this pattern out of my December 2000 Martha Stewart magazine – it only took me six years to get to this craft! I scanned the patterns into my computer and proceeded to enlarge and hold tracing paper up to the monitor to trace them out (of course our printer went on strike only days before I planned to start this project). So, the houses would probably be condemned if they were life size but they are so cute in their humble miniature form that you forgive them their shortcomings. It’s amazing what a heap of “snow” will do for a shoddy roof job!

As you can see, I went on to create templates and then to cut and score them piece by piece. We had several pieces of cardboard inserts from copy paper boxes and those worked like a charm. The next step was to spray paint them with primer and glue them together. Then it was on to the painting. We have an eclectic little village here with no HOA rules to stifle the Miami-ish vibes that permeate a home or two!

The school and church were my hubby’s painted and shingled works of art, while I threw together the other nine like an Arizona day laborer trying to get home for my afternoon siesta. Heaven knows I contemplated what a great idea that cultural ideal was after constructing these!

Next year we plan to add a post office and fire station to the collection and we are considering doing those in wood and then gradually replacing the pieces with wooden replicas over the years. Hubby loves wood working and as long as the project is not overwhelming (like 11 houses in a week) he will enjoy the journey.

My recommendation to anyone who is wanting to do this project for next year is to start now and do one a month. Also, you may want to cut a slit in the backside of each home to insert a strand of lights. This will illuminate the homes’ vellum windows quite nicely while allowing the homes to stay planted firmly on the ground.

I plan on enjoying our winter village through the month of January, in the least, because living in Arizona deprives us of much of a winter and there is nary a snowflake to be seen. Our children have fondly claimed the green and brown two-story home because it resembles our own. So, in our own magical way we did have a white Christmas.

Winter Village Collage

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Plastic surgery of the soul

Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

This passage makes it clear that it is not only expected, but that it is reasonable to give my life as a sacrifice unto the Lord. The word reasonable implies that it is not an extreme or excessive request, but rather an expression of sound judgement for me to do so. It is my intention to do so willingly and joyfully.

Flesh is weak. I intend to honor God, not only with my time, but with my physical being. I intend to honor Him as my Savior, but also as my husband. I will focus on keeping my thoughts pure by founding them in scripture and my flesh pure by striving to reside in God’s perfect will.

It’s no wonder Paul begins this passage by begging (“I beseech you”) us to be conscious of this spiritual service/act (not merely ritual activity but the involvement of heart, mind and will – Zondervan NIV reference)! Just as being conformed to this world is a process of exposure to its standards, so shall we be transformed through the process (not a single event) of conscious renewal.

“That ye present your bodies as a living sacrifice” – to sacrifice is to surrender something precious for the sake of something else. So often, the focus of the word sacrifice falls upon our own surrender of something precious to us. We struggle because we are so busy hanging onto those things we don’t want to let go of. We forget about the other half of sacrifice – “FOR THE SAKE OF SOMETHING ELSE.” We should not make this into a selfish process. The very fact that we are giving up something for the sake of something else defines sacrifice as a process in which self righteouseness and selfishness can play no part. Yes, we are giving our LIFE, but we are giving it so that OUR REASON FOR LIVING may be glorified. Which is more important? Our life, or our reason for living? What importance would our life have had we no reason for living it? Our gratitude would never suffice the gift we have been given through Jesus Christ. May we never hesitate to joyfully give what little God expects.

Romans 12:2 is one of my favorite verses in that it calls us to a higher standard by raising us out of the muck of this world. My how standards have changed over the years! When I read, “And be not conformed to this world” I instinctively think…we are not only conformed (acting in accordance with prevailing standards) but we are deformed (to mar the character of) by this world. What God made in the image of Himself has been corrupted. It isn’t enough to say that we have been changed. We’ve been volunteering for plastic surgery of the soul! Since when is being made in the image of God not good enough?

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Do You Know Him?

How Do You Describe Him?

(click below for audio version)

 

Famous Sermon by Dr. Lockridge.

 

The Bible says my King is a seven way King. He’s the King of the Jews – that’s a racial King; He’s the King of Israel – that’s a national King; He’s the King of Righteousness, He’s the King of the ages, He’s the King of Heaven, He’s the King of Glory, He’s the King of Kings and He’s the Lord of Lords!

 

He’s my King, Well, I wonder – Do you know Him?

 

David said the Heaven’s declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork. My King is a sovereign King. No means of measure can define His limitless love, no far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply, no barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings.

 

He’s enduringly strong, He’s entirely sincere, He’s eternally steadfast, He’s immortally graceful, He’s imperially powerful, He’s impartially merciful,

 

Do you know Him?

 

He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world! He’s God’s son, He’s the sinners Saviour, He’s the centrepiece of civilisation, He stands in the solitude of Himself, He’s awesome and He’s unique! He’s unparalleled, He’s unprecedented, He’s the loftiest idea in literature, He’s the highest personality in philosophy, He is the supreme problem in higher criticism, He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology, He is the cause and necessity of spiritual religion. He’s the miracle of the age, He is – yes He is, He is the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him, He’s the only one who is qualified to be an all sufficient Saviour;

 

I wonder if you know Him today?

 

He supplies strength for the weak,
He’s available for the tempted and the tried,
He sympathises and He saves,
He strengthens and sustains, He guards and He guides,
He heals the sick, He cleansed the lepers,
He forgives sinners, He discharges debtors,
He delivers the captives, He defends the feeble,
He blesses the young,
He serves the unfortunate,
He regards the aged,
He rewards the diligent and
He beautifies the meek

 

I wonder if you know Him?

 

Well, my King He is a King! He’s the key to knowledge, He’s the well spring of wisdom, He’s the doorway of deliverance, He’s the pathway of peace, He’s the roadway of righteousness, He’s the highway of holiness, He’s the gateway of glory

 

Do you know Him?

 

Well, His office is manifold, His promise is sure, His life is matchless, His goodness is limitless, His mercy is everlasting, His love never changes, His word is enough, His grace is sufficient, His reign is righteous, and His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

 

I wish I could describe Him to you!

 

He’s indescribable, yes He is, He’s incomprehensible, He’s invincible, He’s irresistible, you can’t get Him out of your mind, you can’t get Him off of your hands, you can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him.

 

Well, the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him, Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him, the witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree, Herod couldn’t kill Him, death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him!! That’s my Jesus! That’s my King!

 

And Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever and ever and ever (how long is that?!) and ever and ever and when you get through all of the forevers then AMEN! Good God Almighty, AMEN! AMEN!

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Are you suffering from spiritual starvation?

As our Christmas feasting draws near and busyness ensues, the hunger pains of our spirit can seem mute amidst songs of merriment.  It is at this time of year that we claim our love for Jesus Christ but how often have we proclaimed it to Him in thankfulness during this season?  Take time today to be silent with your Savior, to remember His sacrifice,  claim His gift of salvation and proclaim your gratitude.  It is the greatest gift you can offer the One whose birth we celebrate.

After all, what’s a birthday party without the guest of honor?

Psalm 119:9-11

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.

Do I seek my Father with my whole heart – not lacking in any one part of me that doesn’t desire, or even moreso, demand it of myself? This is a verse I wish to engrave upon my life with my actions.

I will call upon the Lord to go before me and to prepare my way; this request acting as a reminder of my promise to Him to seek Him in all I do with my whole heart. I cannot possibly ask for God’s guidance and assurance without receiving personal conviction to give Him my whole heart in return.

The human appetite is a strange thing. It seems to me the longer I go without eating the less hungry I become. Don’t get me wrong – initially I want those things I have become accustomed to, but as time goes by I find that my hunger recedes. And when given the opportunity to eat again I am initially unable to digest as much as I used to. It is the same way when we feed upon the Word. The longer we neglect our appetite for the Word the more our hunger and capactiy for it diminishes. Granted, the taste is much more intense when we do eat again because we have been deprived, but we are unable to initially digest the same amount because we simply cannot contain it. We are suffering from anorexia while God is offering us a feast. Are you suffering from spiritual starvation? I urge you to taste and see God’s goodness!

“With all my heart”…the defnition of the word heart according to Strong’s concordance encompasses the following, “soul, mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory, inclination, resolution, determination, conscience, moral character, appetite, emotions, and passions”. Imagine for a moment, devoting every thought, every reflection of the mind, every memory of the heart, every waking moment, every twinge of hunger, every emotion, every passion to God.

“Do not let me wander from your commandments.” Do not give me a single opportunity to stray. If ever there were a request to which I could predict God’s answer, it would be those words. I hear His emphatically loving, “No.” Essentially we are saying, “Do not fail to prevent me of my own free will.” The intention is good, but the request against the very nature of our God. It can be interpretted as asking God to remove all accountability because, after all, we asked Him to prevent the testing of our faith by removing free will. Where is the testimony in a faith never tested?

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