Thursday, October 30, 2008

MMTR Revisited--Friday, Saturday Updates

Jackie, Cheri, Me, Tracey, and Robin--November 2007

Some of you are aware of my running "passion!" I've been an avid runner for 11 years. I began running the day after I stopped teaching school full-time. I was inspired by the daughter of another kindergarten teacher. I thought, if a 10 year old can run 3 miles, I should be able to as well! Thus, the journey began!!

Fast forward to last February. Two friends of mine and I decided to tackle the Black Mt. Marathon in NC. We trained diligently and were prepared. We arrived at Black Mt. which is a darling little town nestled right beyond Asheville. All of the businesses had signs welcoming the runners--which was really a ploy to entice you to shop in their stores!! We took the bait! The strange thing that the shop owners continued to ask was, "Are you running the short race or the long race?" Well, y'all, I've always considered 26.2 miles "a fer piece!" In addition to the marathon, the Mt. Mitchell Challenge 40 miler was also offered. We had already deemed those people "looney" for attempting anything further than a marathon. Who would do such a thing? But the comments of the short race sorta got under our skin. We ran the marathon, didn't see any bears, and no one fell off the side of the mountain. We had a ball!!

Soon after, something started bouncing around in our heads. Could we possibly attempt and complete something like a "long race?" even says in Matt. 19:26 that "with God all things are possible." We prayed about it, tossed it around some more, and offered it very tentatively to some other running buddies. We decided to give it a shot...what did we have to lose?

Last July, we began a strict regiment of training...hill work and long runs in the mountains on trails, speedwork on the tracks and regular road runs. We threw in a little bit of biking...not much. There were five of us who decided to give it a go. Three of us lived a few minutes apart, and our other precious friend lived in Roanoke, Va.--5 hours away. The ultra trail run was to take place near Lynchburg, Va. The race director, David Horton, is a Christian, a professor at Liberty University, and an accomplished trail runner himself. He is known throughout the ultra community as a little extreme. He "guesstimates" some of his distances. The race that we were training for, Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50 Miler--MMTR for short--was actually 54 miles. These Horton miles are famous in the Lynchburg area!

Y'all, even with all of the training, we had no idea what to really expect. We were all novices. This can be a little unnerving! We packed up our families and drove to Lynchburg to give it a go! All I can say is that having family support if the only way to try something of this magnitude. I learned many valuable lessons during this time! Another post for those!

We began the race in the dark wearing headlights to see our footfalls...we did start on pavement before we hit the trails. The sun had come up by then. Y'all, the scenery was magnificent, the volunteers just awesome, and the weather nearly perfect. God was simply all over the place! I could tell though that my breathing wasn't quite right...I assumed it had to do with the altitude as we climbed the mountains. The other four girls were doing fine, so I didn't complain. Miles down the trail, I was still struggling with the breathing. Another gal was experiencing stomach difficulties--that's all I'll say! Use your imaginations!! The other three were hanging in there. We continued to be blessed with encouragement throughout the day by seeing our families, our kids, and families of new friends--runners we met along the trail. You can share so much with strangers about your life and your faith while running for hours without interruptions! The majority of trail runners are out there on the trails for the beauty. No car fumes, no crazy drivers, no competitive runners vying for a prize...just the magnificence of the mountains that our Lord spoke into place. If I only ran trails for the rest of my life, I'd be thrilled. The difference is amazing.

Tomorrow, my precious friend (with the stomach issues from last year) is going back to revisit MMTR. She has prepared differently and is so strong! She is awesome. We are all so proud of her! I would just like to encourage you to keep her in your prayers on Saturday--from sunup to sundown. I know that she will finish strong this year. There are many things that she has to drive her. The biggest is a 12 hour cutoff. She will be pulled from the race if she doesn't meet certain timed cutoffs at the aid stations. That happened to three of us last year. By the time they pulled me, I was quite fine with being asked to stop the race! I was worn slap out! The next day, my breathing issues had turned into one of the worst sinus infections ever! But...God is GOOD! He allowed me to run the run with perseverance. I'll be forever grateful to my Holy Father for that!

I found this quote that I shared with Robin--who is running Saturday. I'd like to share it with you. Some of you may have seen it before, but it's SOO good, I want you to see it again!

"You are most fully alive when you are on an adventure with God." Erwin McManus

We can be on an adventure with God everyday, every minute, if we want to. I do!!! How about you?

Thanks so much for lifting up my precious friend in prayer. Her husband, Scott, and our other friend, Jackie, will be with her. They all would appreciate your prayers.
Scott and Robin

Many Blessings,
Friday Afternoon Update! I just spoke with Robin, and she says to please keep the prayers coming! God has already shown up in NC! An hour and a half outside of Lynchburg, they stopped at a rest stop and heard a noise from the car. They are now the proud owners of a new water pump to the tune of $500.00!!!! As Robin said, it could have happened tomorrow in the mountains while Scott was driving from aid station to aid station. Better now than then with no auto parts store for 50 miles. Oh, the rest stop was down the road from a Chevrolet dealership--God's timing and placement are perfect! :)
Saturday Night Update! I just hung up the phone with Robin....she made it!!! Woohoo! My sweet little friend completed all 54 miles of MMTR. Her final time was 11:25.08! She made the twelve hour cutoff. She is thrilled and tired at the same time--imagine!! Thanks to you sweet friends in bloggy land for lifting her up with your prayers! I really do appreciate it, and so does she! I'll try to post a picture next week.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Concealer--Beige #2

Join us at Lelia's blog for this great study!!

After reading these chapters (6 and 7) in Lisa Whittle's book, Behind Those Eyes, I knew that there was much to be said about these topics! Yes, I do wear concealer! It hides the dark circles under my eyes. When asked if you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could take only 2 items with you, what would they be?? Mine would be chapstick and concealer! I know that it SHOULD be water and food, but....a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!!

What things do I conceal? And why? Most of us --if we're honest with ourselves--do have something deeply rooted that we try to conceal. Be it jealousy, insecurity, loneliness or fear...God can see through our facade. He sees into the very depths of our hearts and minds. We can't hide these things from Him. So, why do we try to hide them from others? Lisa had so many great points about this.

I had to smile when I read her section on fear. Her fear is flying in airplanes. It is a control factor. I, too, have a fear of traveling....but it is in cars on BUSY interstates! It stems from a series of accidents that my husband and I were in almost 19 years ago. We were traveling to Tenn. for a wedding. It was in December. Well, Tenn. in December in the Smokey Mountains is long as you're not driving!! We were almost to Johnson City. Snow had been falling; it was gorgeous! Then something else began to hit the windshield--ice! Y'all, Southerners have a reputation anyway for not being able to drive in the snow--much less the ice!! We don't own snow chains! We don't have snow plows--just big 'ol trucks that put salt and dirt on our bridges. I can count on one hand how many times we see snow each year! And I don't need four of those fingers!

As hubby and I were on the exit ramp into the town, we realized that our Honda was not exactly hugging the side of the road. We were sorta sliding off the ramp into the grassy (now icy) embankment towards the next 4 lane road. We just kept sliding and sliding! Praise the Lord that no 18 wheelers were coming our way! He regained control of the car...but this was the first of a series of accidents that occurred throughout the weekend. I was never so glad to get back home! Neither of us had was all in Gods' hands. I tried to use that imaginary break that I wish existed on the passenger side of the front seat! I really need it now since our 15 year old is working on his driving skills!

I truly struggle with this fear of lack of control. Even though this incident happened so long ago, it still play fresh in my mind! It hinders my plans to go places with others. If I am driving, I do much better! I'm back in control. There are way too many stories from the last 19 years about this. Satan is having a field day with this bondage of mine! He jumps up and down in glee when I pass up an opportunity because it involves traveling in heavy traffic.

The scriptures that were in these chapters were great! From Psalm 90:14, we hear"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." And from 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." Y'all the only thing that I/you need to fear (respect) is God...and God alone. Lisa has yet another powerful scripture from Revelation 15:4, "Righteous your ways and true, King of the nations! Who can fail to fear you, God,give glory to your Name? Because you and you only are holy,all nations will come and worship you,because they see your judgments are right." (Message)

Lisa states that "our wonderful Savior seeks to comfort us through Scripture when it comes to our fears. He acknowledges that as finite humans, we fear things that we shouldn't. But He has compassion on us because He knows that we do anyway." If we can remember this and hold it close to our hearts, God can and will do a mighty big act on us...we just have to lay that burden at His throne...maybe many times over!

Many Blessings,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trunk or Treat!!

What a beautiful fall day the Lord blessed us with today! And it couldn't have come at a better time! Our church had its first "Trunk or Treat" Fall Festival. For those of you who don't know, car and truck trunks are decorated, and Sunday School classes or groups gave out candy from the trunk to little ones who are dressed up. This was a great church wide activity as well as an outreach to the community.

Each trunk had a theme for its decor! One was a fall scene--complete with a fireplace grill and wooden logs and a fall wreath over it. Another represented an African village--we have some missionaries that will be traveling to Tanzania this summer. One Sunday school class used a football theme--yes, this is college football country! They set up the trunk in tailgating mode! They had coolers of candy to share.
Our Sunday School class chose the theme of "The Wizard of Oz"--basically because we had or knew folks that owned costumes that the characters would wear! (We are working with a budget!!) Anyway, here's Glenda the Good Witch--don't you remember her wearing those sunglasses in the movie???, Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, Tinman, the Wicked Witch of the West and the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East--her sister! This witch happens to be the local PTA president for our middle school!! She is a hoot! I promise that she did NOT lay under the truck but a minute--just to have a photo op!!

What Fall Festival would be complete without food? Ours boasted hot dogs and chili (yummy!!), chips, homemade cookies, and Coke (we call ALL soft drinks COKE down here in SC!) for the low, low price of $3.00. This happened to be where I worked today! All of the money collected will go to missions, and the price of admission into the carnival was a packed shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Y'all it was a great success...God called, and we answered.

(I'm the tallest--my partner in "crime"... be it shopping, decorating, solving the world's problems, prayer warrior, etc. is sporting the pink poodle skirt and pink hair ribbon!)

I hope that your weekend was filled with love from the Lord!

Many Blessings,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trusting in the Lord

Yesterday, we received some news from a friend. For several months, there had been talks of cutbacks in his company. Thousands of jobs across the board--all over the US--would be eliminated. His job was a possibility of those being terminated. I know that many of y'all are seeing the same thing with your family and friends.

We've known him and his family for years. Our families go on vacations together, play sports together, and worship together. God has blessed our friendship. We love them dearly.

This week, God has continuously placed this scripture in my path. It's Jeremiah 17:7-8. "But blessed is the man who trust in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. I read it in several devotionals, heard it in my Bible Study yesterday, and just read in a blog a few minutes ago. I've heard it said that if God gives you the same scripture twice, He's trying to get your attention! I've seen it almost half a dozen times THIS week--and it's only Thursday! God has my attention! I have been trying to discern why this particular scripture at this time. Now, I know. It's actually for my friends! I'll see his wife at a luncheon in just a few hours. Along with hugs, I can give her something more substantial...a Word from God. Isn't that what we all need? To hear from Him? We have to keep the communication lines open all of the time...not just in a crisis. He longs for us to spend time with Him each day. It may not be the same time each day or the same place. He simply desires us...He created us for fellowship with Him. We gladly fellowship with family and friends, but do we always give Him that precious commodity...time?

Our friend texted my husband yesterday at lunch that his job was being terminated...or he could be relocated with the company 1000's of miles away. With their family being here and down in Alabama, they are choosing to stay here. I talked with him last night. He is at peace about it, but he knows that he needs to start searching to see where God can best use him.

Where can God best use us? We don't have to lose a job in order to follow His will for our lives. We simply have to say "yes" to our Redeemer and Creator. He will show us where He wants us...right beside Him.

Many Blessings,

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Challenge To Conquer Cancer (P3C3)

Today, teams of cyclists left Greenville, SC. en route to Texas on a week long journey. Their goal is to raise awareness and funds towards cancer research. There are 30 cyclists creating 5 teams that will ride 24/7. They will cover 1500 miles to Austin, TX.

There are 3 folks on the team--a cyclist, an EMT, and a survivor-- that are close friends of mine. What I would LOVE for ya'll to do for me is to lift the entire team up in prayer throughout the week. I KNOW how much they would appreciate it.

Rob is one of the cyclists on the team. He and his family live down the road from us. Please read his blog to find out all of the details of this event and read about his journey to health. Up until a couple of years ago, Rob was extremely overweight. He began his "journey to health" by going to the YMCA and following a fitness plan and changing his eating style--note....not a diet! Rob went from barely being able to keep up with his children to running marathons! We have watched him get faster and faster with his running and biking. He is amazing! God has truly blessed him and now, Rob is giving back to the community.

Reuben is the EMT on board. He will cover any medical emergencies that the team might have. He is also an accomplished rider and runner. He can take over and ride if a cyclist needs any assistance. Reuben has a heart of gold! Last year, while I was training for an ultra marathon, he called me out of the blue. This was a week before the race. He simply asked if I thought the race director could use his assistance. I told him sure, just to give the race director a call. Well, the day before the race, Reuben called me and said that he was leaving Greenville and headed toward Lynchburg, VA. Y'all, that's a pretty long drive! It's not a hop, skip, and a jump! The next morning on the trail, I heard a familiar voice at one of the aid stations (where volunteers hand out drinks, food, bandages, advil, etc.!) It was Reuben! I was thrilled to see a familiar face out in the middle of a strange mountain trail hundreds of miles from home! Reuben blessed me that day--he was at other aid stations as well! He will allow God to use him this week to bless others.

Jeni is a precious sister in Christ! She is one of my running buddies, biking buddies, and "help me out in emergency" buddies! She is also a cancer survivor. Jeni will be flying to Texas on Thursday to be there to greet the riders and participate in other areas of raising cancer research awareness. Jeni has skin cancer. She's had all three kinds: basal, squamous, and melanoma. She discovered the first one and had surgery to remove it when she was 15.

Jeni's been around water all of her life. She is an accomplished swimmer. As a matter of fact, my sweet little friend was on the Olympic Exhibition Water Polo team in 1992. Jeni is now 38 years old and has had over 87 surgeries. Y'all, that's way too many! God is using her in so many ways. Jeni has such a servant's heart. She's a wife and a mom to twin girls. She works full time at our local YMCA. She is trying to appreciate the body that God gave her as His temple. Jeni feels very blessed. Her goal for P3C3 is to raise awareness for skin cancer through philanthrophy through the Greenville Hospital System. One of her favorite scriptures is Phil. 4:13. "For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." She totally claims this verse; she lives it daily.

(This is NOT my kitchen!!! This is a condo rental at Kiawah Island! Over forty of us had just finished a huge pasta meal before races the next morning. These are some of my darling friends! Jeni is the one on the far right on the second row-next to me.)

I just encourage and thank you for your prayers this week! I went to Rob's blog a while ago, and he has already posted about part of the ride today! Enjoy this gorgeous Sunday that God has given us.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Can't Buy Happiness

I just returned from running errands. Let me tell you about my purchases.

1) I found a pair of darling "reading" glasses for a dollar at Target--for those of you over 40, you know where I'm coming from! They really do make me happy because, not only are they cute, I can see the small print as I type on this computer!! I enjoy, like, and need to see!

2) I used my 30% coupon at New York and Co. to purchase a great little fall outfit. (It looks like a fall ensemble because of the colors, but I can still wear it comfortably when the temps are in the 80's--like TODAY!) I was happy to have the coupon, but the clothes are just clothes. I have way too many in my closet now.

3)I bought some cool gel pens to write my notes for my Bible study. They are fun, but they don't make me happy.

4)I bought an I -Tunes Gift card as a thank you for a stranger who found my youngest son's cell phone. Child#2 dropped it in a huge field on Saturday at a Cross Country meet at a nearby college. This stranger chose to take the time to call the emergency number--my husband--and to locate him in a sea of thousands of people. That brought me joy...his honesty and integrity...what a lesson for my children.

5) I bought an icy cold Coca-Cola--temporary happiness!

6)I witnessed a precious sight while leaving the mall. I feel like it was a little gift from God. It brought me pure joy. I am trying not to cry as I write about it. As I exited the mall into the parking garage, an elderly man was getting out of his car. He looked to be in his eighties. He was parked as close to the entrance as possible. It was in the handicapped section. I smiled and walked onto my car thinking he looks about the same age as my Daddy. (I'll post about him next week!). I saw his bride in the front of the car. Her hair was lovely and white as snow. He was opening the trunk when I walked by. I kept walking to my mama mini van--a woman on a mission before school let out! As I pulled out of my parking space and drove by the couple, I was so blessed! Y'all, he hadn't pulled out a package out of the trunk to return in a store as I thought he might. He had pulled out his bride's wheelchair from the trunk of the car. He was wheeling his lovely bride--with her pocketbook in tow!!--up to the doors for an afternoon of shopping. It so reminded me of my Daddy and Mama.

Mama suffered from a stroke 9 years ago. Daddy went through the wheelchairs and shopping and hair day and going out to eat as part of her therapy. It was time of stress and not being sure about things in our family. It was not a happy time at all; it was a scary time. But, God is SO good. Mama recovered almost 100%. It was and still is such a blessing from Him. Seeing this gentleman and his bride brought me that same joy that it brought watching how tenderly and lovingly Daddy was (and still is) with Mama. Joy...pure joy that ONLY can come from our Heavenly Father.

Please join me at Lelia's blog for the continued discussion of a chapter called "Ms. Happiness." In her book, Behind Those Eyes, author Lisa Whittle talks about how you cannot tell if a person is happy or not by the smile that they wear. Sometimes smiles are masks hiding the truth that is underneath. True joy comes from within when we are operating in our life in the way that pleases God. That's what I want! Joy...pure joy from the Holy Spirit. Happiness is but for a short time, but joy is forever. It doesn't change even though our circumstances might. Call on Him. He will fill you with joy.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. (1 Peter 1:8)

Many Blessings,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Great Charade--Ms.Confidence

I am extremely late in posting my response to Tuesday's Bible study! Sorry! We are discussing Behind Those Eyes by Lisa Whittle through Lelia's blog. I hurriedly read through the first few pages of this chapter. (I've been in a hurry all week it seems!) Then I read this poem that really hit home. It's by an unknown author and is just wonderful!

"A Strong Woman vs. a Woman of Strength"
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape...
But a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape.
A strong woman isn't afraid of anything...
But a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear.
A strong woman won't let anyone get the best of her...
But a woman of strength gives the best of her to everyone.
A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future...
But a woman of strength realizes life's mistakes can also be God's blessings and capitalizes on them.
A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face...
But a woman of strength wears grace.
A strong woman walks sure-footedly...
But a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.
A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey...
But a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.
Y'all, I believe the author wrote that just for me! I want that strength that makes me confident in Christ all of the time. The scripture reference that Lisa used of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 drove the message home.
6If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I'd still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I'll spare you. I don't want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you'd encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.
7-10Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Yesterday, my son ran in a cross country race. He just started running a few months ago, and he has improved his time in the 5K race (3.1 miles) quite a bit. It's really fun to watch him and his teammates. He has confidence in himself and his running abilities. We remind him that these abilities are gifts from God. God needs to get the glory for his achievements. Well, sometimes he remembers, sometimes he doesn't! Sharing this with close family and friends is fine, but we've also told him that if he is going to boast, it should be in the Lord.
While he was running yesterday, the message behind this scripture came into play. He was running a strong race at mile two when we spotted him. He was positioned right behind the runner on his team who is just a little faster. Everything looked good for a strong finish. I was confident that he would do well!
Fast forward to the last tenth of mile...the fastest runner from our team crossed the finish line. My son should have been next. But..another runner on his team finished, then another, and another! I was eagerly looking for my child to come over the last hill...not stressing, but I was wondering what was going on. Then, as he crested the hill, I saw his hand pressing into his side. He was struggling with a side stitch . We encouraged him to finished strong as he ran past my husband and me. After he exited the finish line shoot, we went over to see what happened. He said that his side started hurting, and he struggled with breathing and nausea (the joys of running fast!) His time was off just by a minute or so, and he still ran a great race on a very tough and hilly course. There were no excuses, he simply had a bad race. You can have all of the confidence in the world, but there are "thorns in the flesh" we have to deal with daily. If we put our hope and our strength in God, He will walk us through these obstacles day by day. In our weakness, we will become stronger and more confident in Him--not ourselves. I believe that this lesson came alive for my family yesterday.
Many Blessings,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Blogging Time

I have come to realize that I spend quite a bit of time on the computer--a tool that usually aggravates me because it doesn't do what I want it to do ( sorta like my kids!). My children and hubby have made comments about my time on it and blogging. I have also noticed that some of you in bloggy land are experiencing the same issues. I really do need to be cleaning bathrooms and dusting now, but I have been a sponge for the past hour reading some wonderful blogs!

The blogs that attract me are those that are related to our walk with the Lord, sports--particularly running, and cute home decorating ideas. The first one that I mentioned are the ones that tend to grab my attention first.

Sunday school is only an hour. At our church, preaching is only for an hour. Bible studies are the same--one hour! Y'all, I crave more! I want more of Jesus! I want to see, hear and experience Him not only during those times and my quiet time, but also through your writing! I glean so much from your blogs! Some are deep; others are lighter. I need both! I want to comment on each one that I read, but I don't always have the time. But, I do want you to know, that I am learning from your writing...and to me, that's another way to spend precious time with Him.

So, I want to thank those of you whose blogs I read that fill me with thoughts of Him to ponder and pray about during my day. We're all on this journey of life together, and God allows us to learn from each other. Y'all are just precious!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Adventure With God

Hey, everybody!

It's been a busy week!! Only one post, and that was done late at night with my eyes starting to cross! But God is good, a new day has come!

For those of you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I have listened to God's promptings--after many times of ignoring Him. He laid upon my heart to pray about a women's ministry at our church. After MUCH MUCH prayer--thank you!!!--and planning, our FIRST leadership team meeting took place this afternoon. Now, no church meeting in the South would be done properly without food! I only asked these sweet little things to bring their favorite dessert! Yummy!!! I tasted several goodies and I have to say, these girlfriends can cook! We prayed, discussed, laughed, ate, and came up with several things that I think the Lord is pleased with. He is just so good! Although we would simply love to jump in head first and start doing things OUR way, we know that we must "Apply your (our) heart to instruction and your (our) ears to words of knowledge." Proverbs 23:12 We have to wait for Him and His perfect timing--not ours. For women, in particular, this is NOT easy! So, our joy is to stay in His Word and pray and seek His truth for this, His ministry at our church. I'll let y'all know what happens next!! We're working on the logo now...I am so loving this!!

We came up with a name for this ministry as well. It's"Growing In Grace" based on John 15:5. It fits perfectly. We are like the branches attached to the deeply rooted vine. We are reaching out into our church family--to new members as well as visitors searching for Him or for a new church home. Those branches are also stretching further out into our community. I am so excited about God's plan! I found this quote that I want to share with you. "You are most fully alive when you are on an adventure with God."---Erwin McManus. Don't you just love this?

Bloggy friends, please keep this baby ministry in prayer as it matures and grows according to God's perfect will. Thank you!!!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ms. Perfection...Not!

Hey, y'all! I'm posting tonight--and I am NOT a night person--about Ms. Perfection! She is the perfect woman who lives in most of us. She's the one that we want our family and friends to see each day--happy, under control, organized, etc. The Martha Syndrome has hit many of us squarely in the face and head! But what about our hearts? Deep down, we know our failures, our disappointments, our disillusionments ( I know, big word for a Kindergarten teacher!)

I'm studying Lisa Whittle's book, Behind Those Eyes, through Lelia's blog. Please feel free to get a copy of the book and join us through the next chapters--they're great!

I was trying to just pinpoint one example of my lack of perfection....there are way too many to blog about! Last week, I began a new Bible study at a nearby church. I was very excited about attending and learning more about God's Word. Y'all, the ladies were sweet and so helpful. I received my packet of materials--extremely thick-think 20,000 or so pages--just kidding! No, there were several hundred. I was seated in front row where there was no table--I did get there early enough to sit behind a table, but I was busy visiting with some girls I hadn't seen in years, and the good seats got taken quickly!! Can you relate? Anyway, I sat down with the stack of materials balanced precariously on my legs. I had my Bible on top of that. My pocketbook--huge and silver--was squished up beside me in the chair. My bookbag was on the floor--it contained the usual--reading glasses for TINY print (can I get an AMEN from those of you following me here?), gum, pens, pencils, highlighters, mints, kleenex, water bottle and chapstick. You know, the normal bookbag stuff!

We began the class with prayer and introduced ourselves. Then we got down to business--the lesson! The teacher asked us to get out our materials and turn to page whatever. So, the process of perfectly getting my things organized began. Then...the unthinkable happened. was moi! Those 20.000 sheets of paper tilted when I leaned over to get something from my bookbag. They hit the floor...sorta in a fan shape. Can you see this with me? At another time in my life, I would have been mortified! Just DIED of embarrassment right there in front of thirty women that I had just met! They could see through my pretense...they saw the real me! Clumsy and unorganized!

But you know what? I simply said " Well, we knew that someone was going to do this! It might as well have been me!" I laughed and began to pick up my mess --then I had to rearrange the papers in numerical order--still some perfectionism going on!!! One lady slipped out of the class and returned oh so quietly with an empty binder in her hands! She placed it on my pile and gently smiled at me! Oh, how precious was that grace that she just poured over me!

After class, the darling senior citizen lady beside me ( who was dressed in her best Sunday outfit along with heels and jewelry --precious!!) introduced herself to me. She said, "Your honesty is just simply refreshing!"

Hmmm.....refreshing....honesty....that's what God is trying to get us to see within ourselves. No, we're not perfect. It has taken me years to be able to laugh at myself---sometimes I still cry! But my Heavenly Father loves me just as I am...flaws and all. And that's how I love my family and friends....flaws and all.

Good night, y'all!

Many Blessings,