Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bye bye birdies

It's been a while since I've been able to post on here. A few posts back I told you about our little chicks. They were so cute and every time I'd be outside with them they followed me EVERYWHERE! Lucy, Ethel, Blondie and Sarah, each with their own little personalities. We were in the process of building their coop and things were rolling along quite smoothly when a neighbor gave us some news that brought it all to a screeching halt. Apparently there is an addendum to the local zoning laws for residential that states that in a residential area you have to be zoned agriculture to own chickens. I understand this to a point however you can have exotic birds that squawk and live to be 100-150 years old, their poop is just that...poop, unlike the manure that is produced by chickens, they don't eat bugs and garden scraps like chickens, and did I mention the noise? I'm sorry. I really don't have anything against parrots or any other exotic bird. I just don't get the mentality of the written law. But we knew we had to obey it so through a friend of a friend we were able to find a great home for the girls (as we used to call them). They will be free roamers on their new farm. And I'm sure they will love it.

Just like we need to be obedient to the laws of our land here, I am reminded about the need for obedience in our Christian walk as well. God's desire is for us to be able to "roam free". Not free to do as we please, like society tells us we should, but free from the burdens and yolk of this world. Free to live a full and blessed life. Free from the bondage of sin.

The foundation of our faith in Christ is rooted in obedience. Through obedience to Him we develop our character and strengths. We learn to be patient and loving. We learn to be more like Him. We learn to trust Him. Disobedience only leads to sin and ultimately death. Strong words? Let's see what God says. Adam and Eve were free roamers. They had free reign in the Garden of Eden having only one admonition from God, and that was that they couldn't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God gave them this instruction for their own protection, not to limit them, but to keep them from experiencing separation from Him and to keep them from death. Genesis 2:16-17 says this "16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17.but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." They had everything they could ever want or need yet when the serpent came crawling and calling with his lies and deception they couldn't’t resist. They had to prove their independence through a prideful action, completely disobeying what God said to them claiming lies to justify their actions. And afterward they both were immediately aware of their nakedness, their own vulnerability.

Just like them, we don't look at laws as being protective, but rather restrictive. We get prideful, believing we can do it on our own. We disregard what God is telling us choosing instead to believe the lies of the enemy, “If it feels good do it” or “just one peek won’t hurt” or “If everyone else is doing it then it can’t be that bad” or how about “If he doesn’t make you happy leave him. God wants you to be happy” or maybe “It’s just a harmless flirtation”. But that's so backwards. He doesn’t give us guidance to restrict us. He gives it because He loves us. Without laws there would be no order, only chaos. It's because of laws we can be free. We need to be aware of our nakedness and vulnerability without the cover of Christ Jesus. We need to know and accept His love and protection.

Because of Adam and Eve's disobedience death was brought into the picture. The serpent was crafty and he didn't have any regard for Adam and Eve. His purpose was to plant a seed of pride into the hearts of Adam and Eve. It was to cause them to doubt God's words. He does the same thing to us today. How often are you tempted to disobey God? Does the word obedience resonate a bad image for you? Obedience to Christ is a beautiful thing and shouldn't cause distress in the heart of the believer. Choosing it means choosing life. Even when you doubt, God is still God.

He loves you my friend. And so do I.

Until next time…

Friday, May 22, 2009

Majesty in the mundane

It seems that since losing my job my days consist of working in my home. I have wanted a home-based business for a while now. I just didn't expect that my home would be my business. (lol) It's been difficult to transition to being at home and I find myself wondering..well..lot's of things. "Is this God's way of telling me that I'm supposed to be a stay-at-home mom?" "Is this permanent?" "Are you trying to teach me something, God?" "Am I supposed to be learning a craft to try to sell?" OMG, the list goes on. And I don't know if any of you can identify but I can SO get inside my own head and convince myself of all kinds of things.

And there are the days I wonder what I have to get up out of bed for. What's the purpose today??? I was lamenting to my husband that I felt like if it weren't for having to get up and take my daughter to school I wouldn't have a reason to get up. Then he reminded me that I did have a reason...actually 9 of them, the 2 dogs, 3 cats and 4 chickens!!! It's true, these animals follow me around the house everywhere I go. Except for the chickens. They do not roam free in the house HOWEVER when they are outside and I let them out of their cage they follow me. So, now you can add "farm hand" to my ever expanding list of duties at home. Or pied piper, which ever one suits your fancy.

The truth of the matter is I feel like I am in limbo and not sure what to concentrate on. And I get so tired of feeling like Cinderella. I feel like my life has come down to driving my daughter around, doing the dishes, making the bed, feeding the animals, picking up their poop, cleaning the house, yada yada yada. I can get to feeling so lousy about my situation. Ever feel like that?

I walk in the mornings with a couple of friends who have also lost their jobs and they are definitely relating to how I am feeling. And I feel so guilty feeling this way. I have to be honest, I don't always take these thoughts and feelings before Christ and confess them. Maybe because I know what He's going to say and I don't want to hear it. How can everything we go through in life have a lesson in it??? But it does, whether the lesson is for us or someone else, there is always something to learn. This morning as I was commiserating (yet again) about my life I heard God speak to me in His still small voice. He reminded me of His words to do everything as unto the Lord. I have not been doing that. To tell you the truth I have not tried to imagine that anything I do at home for my own family is like doing anything unto the Lord. I have not served them as I would God. I am so ashamed. I have much to be grateful for yet I spend too much time feeling sorry for myself. "I just want to do something that matters and has lasting impact", I tell God. "I want to make a difference." I want, (I need) validation. Ya know what He said? "It matters to Me. You matter to Me. Everything you do matters to Me. Your heart and attitude matter to Me. Your happiness matters to Me. Your sadness matters to Me. You matter. Believe Me, I see. I know. I feel. I've been there. Treat your home and ALL the things you do as if you were doing it for Me. I am there with you. I am all the validation you need."

There is majesty in the mundane.

I cannot promise that I will have a great attitude everyday. I can only promise that I will try and I will be re-directable. Teachable. Humble.

Until next time...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Free Indeed!!!

In the months since starting this blog I have struggled to come up with a name that firstly, defines who I am and what I stand for, and secondly, isn't already taken (lol). It's gone from "Learning to Walk on Water" to "Planting Daisies", both of them are taken as blog addresses. Though I can title my blog anything I want, it doesn't make sense to me to title my blog one thing and not have a matching URL.

So, today as I was contemplating my life (so much there) it dawned on me for the first time what the name of both the title and URL should be....LivingTrulyFree. And..IT'S NOT TAKEN :)

In reviewing my blog posts and the sites that I follow it struck me that anyone reading this might wonder what my blog is really about. I think it's like any one's blog, it's a journey and we invite you go with us. But in putting all the thoughts together this is the reason for the new name. 1)I believe that if Christ sets you free, you are free indeed. 2)We are on a journey to become debt free and live more frugally and not be dependant upon others for our food and necessities 3)Both my daughter and I have celiac disease and need to stay gluten free.

So there you have it. LivingTrulyFree.

I do not intend to change the name again. But I do hope that this leads to someplace exciting. I'd like to use it as a forum to share a little, teach a little, learn a lot, hone my writing abilities and possibly write for profit, hook up with other gluten free peeps like us, encourage others who've lost their jobs, or lost anything that had worth to them, and reach out to the world that the God that I believe in created. You will see scripture reference here, gluten free comments and forums, gardening quotes and anecdotes, and always I will tie them together.

Until next time...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Green Acres, here we come!!!

We have had a desire since we first met to have a farm. Although I think a lot of our daydreaming had more to do with new and young love, and the rose colored glasses thing, there has always been a place deep inside of us that desired to get back to basics.

Since being let go from my job I have started to pursue some ideas we had been toying with. One of them was beekeeping. To my surprise John has shown a huge interest. So much so that we paid our membership fee to the local chapter and then to the state to become registered beekeepers! On top of that John has put an order in for a hive for next month. Then we start the Master Bee Keepers Program which, to my understanding, will give us the equivilant of a Master's Degree in Bee Keeping. I say coooooolllll!!!

The other idea we had played with was getting chickens for the eggs. SOOOOO, we now have 2 little Rhode Island Reds (Sarah and Lucy) and 2 little Golden Sex Links (Blondie and Ethel). They are so cute. And again to my surprise John is very into this.

Honestly, I don't know where my farmer mentality came from. I'm from Orlando and for all intents and purposes I'm a "city girl". But there's something intriguing to me about being able to plant a tiny seed and get a whole bunch of broccoli, or corn, or strawberries, etc. I LOVE the smell of earth, and good soil. If they made a perfume that smelled like it I'd wear it.

I have contemplated my infatuation and love of gardening and can come up with only one thought as to why I love it...I feel closer to God when I am tilling soil, planting seeds and new shoots, pulling weeds, pruning, tending and then harvesting.

It reminds me so much of the Christian walk. Our hearts need to be fertile soil where the seeds of God's word can be sown in, watered and fed. We sit in The Sonshine to gain vital nutrients. Sometimes there is pruning (ouch) and always there is weed pulling. But aahhh, then comes the harvest. The fruit of time spent with our Creator, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. There are other fruits, the most precious to me being my friendship with Jesus. There's nothing like it anywhere!

I'm not a city girl. I'm not a country girl. I'm just God's girl.

Day #11 of my grateful journey I am grateful for time with my friend Gail this morning.

Until next time...

Friday, April 10, 2009

what true peace feels like

I had always wondered what true peace felt like. Now I know...

In this, my 5th day (sorry, I forgot to post yesterday. I know, I know, I need to keep up with it) of my grateful journey and spending intentional time with God, my reading led me to a quote out of Max Lucado's "Come Thirsty". In this quote we are challenged to examine how we respond to the stress producers in our lives. Do we react by worrying, complaining, pondering on the negative thoughts? He describes it as putting all of that into a big vat and turning up the heat, stewing on it, stirring it, moping and brooding about it and creating a delightful pot of pessimism. (yuck)


Do we cook up a pot of prayer? hhhmmmmm...sounds more delightful than the pot of pessimism.

Do we receive the lordship of Christ in our lives, acknowledging that nothing happens to us that God did not allow. Everything that happens to a Christian is filtered through God's loving hands. Could you imagine if it weren't?!

I know sometimes it doesn't feel like God is anywhere close when bad things happen. When I was diagnosed with cancer I was really upset with God. I remember asking John to go for a car ride. (For some reason driving around aimlessly is really relaxing to me.) Anyway, we stopped at a 7-11 to get drinks. I stayed in the car while John and Michelle went inside and I cried, and cried out to God asking Him why He let this happen. His answer surprised me. He said "I am answering your prayers." I must have looked like a crazy woman because I stopped crying, like someone had turned off a faucet and (out loud mind you) I said "WHAT?! Are You kidding God?! I didn't pray for cancer!!!" And He replied "No, but You prayed to learn to live by faith and not by sight. You asked me to use you to glorify me and show those around you that I do exist and that I am a loving God." He was right. I had asked all of those things however I had reserved the right to tell Him HOW to use me.

I wanted others to know and love God and to be used by Him but like so many of us, I wanted Him to do it without inconveniencing me, or allowing me to be hurt.

What if Jesus had felt that way? What if He had said "I love you guys, but I'm not willing to be put to death for you!! Are you guys crazy?! Man, those whips?! Those nails?! Do you know how bad that'll hurt?! That crown of thorns?! And on top of that having to carry my own cross?! No way!!!"

I'm so grateful that He didn't feel that way. The way I sometimes feel at my interrupted life. I have a long way to go to be like Jesus. But thankfully I have an understanding, patient, loving God who already knows my heart.

I said at the beginning of this post that I knew what true peace felt like. Most of you know that Michelle is in Trinidad on her first mission trip. I am the one parent that everyone would have pegged to be crying and sleepless HOWEVER I know in my heart that she is exactly where she's supposed to be and I have slept well every night (except for the animals wanting to get up at 3 am to go outside) and I have had no worry about her at all. I can't explain it other than the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Today, in my grateful journey I am grateful that Jesus did not feel the way I have felt about being used.

Until next time...

PS...yesterday in my Grateful Journey I posted on my facebook that I was grateful for 26 years with John. It was our anniversary :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An empty vessel

Third day in a row of my reading and you guessed it...on the money again. The title is "A Useful Vessel".

Scripture reference is Luke 9:24 "Those who give up their lives for me will have true life."

For the past few months I have felt anything but useful. Defining your value by the world's standards always sets you up to feel inferior, insecure, insignificant. But define yourself against God's word and amazing things happen.

I read a verse today that I've read and heard in sermons a bazillion times. It's where Jesus says "If people want to follow me, they must give up he things they want. They must be willing to give up their lives daily to follow me. Those who want to save their lives will give up true life. But those who give up their lives for me will have true life." Luke 9: 23-24

As I pondered this verse my eyes were opened even more to what God is doing in my life. If my days were filled with external deadlines, boss' demands, office issues, I wouldn't be able to focus on the things that I need to focus on. I wouldn't have the time to spend with God that He needs (more like I need) for me to have. I'm not saying I'm a saint or where I need to be. But I'm where I'm supposed to be. He's bringing me back to the basics. I keep hearing Him say "Just concentrate on ME. Do not worry about anything but spending time with me."

I was reminded today that I am in a place of preparation and foundation building, and that I need to be an empty vessel in order to be a useful vessel. God cannot fill me if I am full of myself.

Day #3 of my Grateful Journey I am grateful for the sunshine :)

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Time for God...

As promised to myself, and proclaimed before you all and God, I spent time with the Lord today, again reading in my Grace for the Moment Bible (by Max Lucado). Yesterday the topic was on the money. I couldn't wait to see what the topic for today was.

Are you ready??? Again it was right on target. The topic is "A Cleared Calendar"!!!

Bible reference Psalm 42:2 "I thirst for the living God. When can I go to meet with Him?"

The next sentence was what got me. It was a question..."How long has it been since you let God have you? I mean truly HAVE you? How long since you gave Him a portion of undiluted, uninterrupted time listening for His voice?" Then the author reminds us that Jesus did just that. He arose early in the morning and went to a (now get this) LONELY place, where he prayed...(Mark 1:35)

Most of you know that God has been speaking to me about surrendering my whole life to Him. I am sure that being unemployed is part of His plan for this journey. I am convinced that He has cleared my calendar on purpose so that I will have time to meet with Him, and listen for His voice. How long has it been since I've done that? Too long. It's interesting the choice of the word lonely because that's how I feel so much of the time. And yesterday I took a walk after my time with Him (I almost said quiet time but all of my time lately is quiet time) and on my walk I was contemplating on the difference between being alone and being lonely. There's a big difference. defines loneliness as this, "affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome. 2. destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, a lonely exile. lone; solitary; without company; companionless." And this morning as I was reading the verse, it dawned on me that I am in a lonely place for a reason...however I am not alone. And there's a reason I am here.

Remember that I had said that I was hoping that through this journey I would find out what my true purpose was? For years I've been told by many people that I would make a great counselor (or teacher) and that I should be writing for a living. I've just never known how to get started. It hit me today that the place I am in right now is a place of preparation, of cultivating my relationship with my Creator and readying myself for what he is bringing my way. I have wanted to be able to have it all, a career, a family, etc. You know, the way the world defines having it all. But what I really need is to have all of Jesus, and He needs to have all of me. I've known for a while that I was not giving my relationship with God my all, that I operate at times by "winging it". The problem is that I am not honoring Him that way, and I am not being a benifit to others. And I am missing out. I don't want to miss out anymore.

So even though I feel like I am in isolation, I know that I am not alone. I know that God is continuing His good work in me and will be faithful to complete it. I need to be faithful to give Him all of me. I want to take this time that He has granted me and use it wisely, to grow and to truly know God.

Day #2 of my Grateful Journey and I have 2 things I am grateful for 1) Michelle and the rest of the Trinidad Team made it to Trinidad safely and are having a great time of fellowship with the people there. 2) Cool weather in April :)

Until next time...