Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mother's Day Tribute-A Poem for My Mama

I took down my memories from the shelf today- inside I found my childhood, so neatly tucked away

First thing that I came across was an old familiar face, upon it were reflections of another time and place

Creases of worry I saw buried upon an aging brow- these lines would be erased if I had known what I do now

There were traces of teardrops, some happy and some were sad, but each was a reminder of the love I have always had

I unfolded a pair of hands, worn and withered, yet strong- in comfort they had held me, but when needed, pushed me on

At the bottom of the stack there lay a heart of gold. It contained the strength of many and more love than could be told

Then I slowly placed them back, each precious, treasured part. Again my childhood memories were locked within my heart

Whenever I chance to wander down that old road back in time, the first one that I think of is that dear old mom of mine

Kathy, 1987

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Our Purpose Driven Life

I received an email today from a dear friend, one of those forward type emails and this one is truly one to pass on.....I wanted to share it and in essence make it a part of my legacy because I truly believe we all have a purpose in life, a reason we were born. Our life may be made up of many purposes occurring at different stages of our life and as we fulfill each purpose another on evolves, but if we follow our hearts and listen to the quiet voice of our maker, we will feel the joy of happiness and satisfaction in living a life pleasing to our heavenly father....

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity..

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life….No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.  

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems: If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others. We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy. It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease. So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. 

He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72. First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases. Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church. Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation. Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD.. 

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer", Matthew 21:22

Reflecting on My Day

Late summer and early fall are my favorite times of the year......if you don't count late spring and early summer, that is. Today was not one of our Slow Sigh Saturdays, but one that started early and at a fast pace. My husband had an event in Nashville, a reunion with his military buddies and I had an event in Clarksville with some of my home business team, so we went in opposite directions this morning. It would have been great to spend the day lounging and taking our time on deciding what to do, but we had obligations that spoke for regrets, just looking forward to next Saturday that belongs to just us.

This has been another picture perfect day, one that makes the freezing winter, the floods of spring and the30 plus days this summer with near and above 100 degrees seem distant and fuzzy in my memory. As I sit in the late afternoon shade and watch the sun slowly set, I long for the chance to have this day again and spend it looking out over our little piece of paradise after watching the sun come up, listening to the first chirp of the birds while the little community around us awakens to the breath taking start of the weekend. But I will enjoy this chance to see the beauty of a peaceful, relaxing Saturday afternoon and thank God I have some down time to reflect on what a joy this day has been for both of us, spending time with friends. It doesn't matter how much I dream of doing nothing........that is not what life is all about. Life is about building and renewing relationships and it has been one of those days.......Thank you Lord for a good day!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Down on the Farm

In the summer of 1995 we moved from a small apartment in Bellevue TN to a kid friendly neighborhood in Dickson TN, to my long awaited big white house where I dreamed of a white picket fence to go with it. After settling into suburbia life, we were content to watch our daughter grow up with a friend next door, celebrating birthdays together, sleepovers, ballgames, bike wrecks, karate, first dates, school dances and her first car and to watch our son romp the neighborhood with all the other little boys, competing in video games, enjoying camping trips, skate boarding, bumps and bruises and the joys of all the things little boys are made of, while we became workaholics, burning the candle at both ends.

Early in 2004, we got restless to make a change in our lives.... as the kids grew, so did the need to find out what else was out there. Our daughter was graduating and our son was getting ready for middle school and work was becoming more stressful for me, so I knew the time had come.......

My journal reflected my thoughts at this time in and on February 2, 2004 I wrote;

"the year is ticking by and like a wisp of smoke, January is a distant memory. My plans to journal daily have not taken off, but maybe this month will offer me a new start. The week ahead promises to be a busy one at work as well as preparing for Crystal's graduation and looking at the new property that may just be the change we are looking for. We have a lot of praying ahead of us about this one and then waiting for God to open the door".....

Well God opened the door and later the next year on May 10, 2005, my journal entry went like this.....

Philippians 4:6, "never worry about anything, but in every situation let God know your needs in prayers and requests while giving thanks".

"It has been awhile since I put anything on paper, but that does not mean there has been nothing to write about. The last year has taken us from suburbia to down on the farm! "back to our roots" you might say. Who would have guessed we would wind up here at a time when most couples our age would be looking at down-sizing to a place with less physical labor......we find ourselves on a farm where the days are never long enough to complete all there is to do! Sometimes I cautiously allow myself to think of all we have gotten ourselves into, with no end to the repairs and maintenance of our piece of paradise.

During these times I'd feel an overwhelming fear start to surface and then I'd  remember our prayers in asking God to open the doors for us, if this was his plan. So, here we are and if this is were He wants us to be, then I am sure he will provide us with the strength to maintain it".

Life on the farm has been an adventure and some of my future posts will recount those adventures with our children and our grandchildren. Though we have survived,  6 years later, we feel that restlessness stirring again. Our daughter has married, our son is getting ready to graduate in the spring and the wander dust is starting to swirl......where will it take us? Only as we turn the page in our book of life will we find what God has in store for us.

Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to to give you hope and a future.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dream Chaser

I read somewhere that when you stop dreaming you die.....well if that is true, I will live forever. What is life if there are no dreams? Dreams are Hope and if there are no Dreams there is no Hope! I have always had dreams; dreams of achievements, dreams for my future, dreams for my children and dreams for my children's dreams keep me motivated, passionate, enthusiastic, in turn I try to encourage motivation, passion and enthusiasm in others, especially my children. My daughter Crystal has always been so positive and focused, but occasionally I have had to remind her of what a wonderful creation she is when she has let herself feel defeated and without entry from my journal describes a time when she was still in high school and struggling with her studies. She had a test coming up and could not grasp the concept of the subject.....feeling defeated she was ready to give up and settle for a failing grade. As I watched her in despair, my early morning journal entry reminded her of who she was....a Child of the King!

November 6, 2002~~~~~Today my heart is heavy with the pain I see in your struggles to learn. I know you have the ability to succeed in your studies, but feel you are selling yourself short. You are smart and intelligent, but often seem to want to be so hard on yourself. Sometimes, we find it easier to give up on something than to overcome it. I know you can accomplish anything you set your heart on, but it takes desire and trust in God to get you through the difficulties you come up against. The Bible tell us in Proverbs 1:7- "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Don't be a fool and turn away from learning, but rather turn to God for the knowledge you need. Then don't expect God to do it all, but have faith the He will open your mind to absorb what He puts before you to learn. Your attitude is the first thing you need to turn over to God because learning starts with the desire and desires begin with the attitude of our heart. In Proverbs 23:12 it says, "Apply your heart to instruction and ears to words of knowledge" and in II Timothy it goes on to tell us, "may the Lord give you understanding in all things." This is my prayer for you, baby girl.....please don't give up and let life pass you by. Don't let these things defeat you and rob you of the vast world of knowledge that God has created for you. Don't let anyone tell you can't!

As my daughter was getting ready for school that morning, I copied what I had written and took it to her room. She got though her test that day and faith and encouragement in her made her believe in herself, believe in her dreams and believe the future held great things for her......

Life on the Farm

Did I ever say I liked animals? Well, if I did, I don't anymore! I had this beautiful afternoon and I wanted to just sit beside the pond and listen to the water fall, let the sun warm my back while I take in the beauty of the afternoon on this breath-taking day....My quiet relaxation was interrupted by a scratching dog and a snorting horse swishing her tail and breathing down my neck-----I am ready to leave this peaceful country life and try my luck at a relaxing afternoon on the balcony of a high-rise overlooking the hustle and bustle of a noisy city somewhere far away from horses, cats, dogs, chickens, donkeys and any other animal we have befriended, housed and fed over the past 6 much for an evening of solitude! I think I will just sit within the confines of the fenced in area of the barnyard where the animals can only look at me from I will pen my thoughts about this wonderful day~~~~~~~
2 weeks ago, my husband and I started our SSS....Slow Sigh Saturdays....we had our second one today. Every other Saturday is great if we can't make it every Saturday. Our SSS begins with no alarm going off at 3:15am and we get up when we wake around 6:00am and he around 7:00am. I sip my morning tea on the screen porch until he gets up and then we make coffee. This morning I had to have a blanket on the this cool fall like weather...Somewhere around 9:00am, we go into town and have breakfast at Ace Diner then check out the local shops and thrift stores just doing what we want and forgetting about the clock.....
Today has been the most beautiful day with fall in the air, a welcome surprise after the summer heat that has beat down upon us for the last 3 months. Our adventure today took us to Vanleer, Tennessee- a beautiful rural area, even more primitive than our little corner of God's country in Tennessee City. As we drove slowly along the very narrow country road, it seemed we were the only thing moving. Time stood still as the bright sunshine fell across the quiet country homes nestled back under the trees as the bright blue sky peeked in from was truly breath-taking......we visited a bustling Mennonite store out in the middle of this quaint country setting where folks came from near and far to get home-made breads, sweet pastries, home canned jams and jellies or to lunch on fresh made-to-order sandwiches and hot homemade soup simmering in a crock pot in the eating area that doubles as their worship center.......we continued our slow drive home with our goodies from the store in hand and the memory of this day in our hearts....loving a Slow Sigh Saturday~~~~~