Encouragement, Happy Thought Indeed, Insights, Reflections

It’s all in the Bag!

Reusable-Bags

I recently had the honor of speaking at a conference in St. Louis.  The attendees received a nice book bag as part of their registration and utilized them as they toured the vendor shopping hall.  The bags were just the right size for books and flyers and had shoulder straps to make carrying easier.

As a bag-aholic, I admired these bags from the vendor booth that I was manning.  I struck up conversation with a visitor to my booth, who of course had a bag, and we laughed at the fact that as much as I loved bags, she actually hated them!  We were both astonished by the opposing passions we had regarding bags.

She asked me, with incredulity, what I used miscellaneous bags for.  I shared with her that I keep a few in my car to use at grocery stores that don’t provide bags.  I always have a bag on hand to fill with paper, pens, and coloring books for mini road trips with my daughter.  There is always a bag ready with a beach towel for when we go swimming or on a spontaneous picnic.  We parted ways with her chuckling at the “bag lady” she had just met!

Two days later, at this conference, I was to give the first of my speaking sessions.  I always experience the normal jitters, but that morning, I was overcome with dread, sadness, and fear due to a circumstance that had nothing to do with the conference.  I poured my heart out to God.  I agreed with him that I knew He had put me on this path, but that I felt like I wouldn’t be able to walk in that day.  I was completely broken before him.  God truly ministered to me during my quiet time.  He quieted my spirit, He lifted my downcast heart and gave me the courage to fulfill my calling.

I had to man the vendor booth before my first session and was very surprised to see the lady that I had conversed with about the bags approaching me.  Her arms were full and there was a huge smile on her face.  She said, “I am so glad you are here.  I brought you these!”  Spilling from her arms were bags!  Bags of all shapes, sizes, fabrics, and colors fell at my feet.  There were totes, backpacks, book bags and more!  Tears started flowing and I was so overcome that I could not even speak for several moments.

There was no way to communicate to her where my heart had been hours earlier.  There was no way to communicate to her how broken and downcast I had been upon waking.  There was no way to communicate to her how God had just given to me the biggest kiss ever!  I tried to regain composure and thanked her the best I could.  God didn’t have to give me anything tangible, but in his kind regard of my state, He did.  Only God would know how much bags would thrill my heart.

Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.

Happy Thought Indeed, Living in Freedom, Personal Growth, Reflections

Crickets and Curriculum

Cricket isolatedbooks

As long as I have breath, I will declare that the Living God of all creation wants to be seen.  He himself said that his “eyes of the Lord roam the Earth looking for someone to show himself strong to.” (2 Chron. 16.9)  If you have eyes to see with and ears to hear with, He can be found!

Last March we became the recipients of an incredible gift, our entire curriculum for our rising 6th grade daughter.  We are a homeschool family and the estimated value of this gift is ~700.00.  When the box arrived in the mail, it was like Christmas!  My daughter and I fawned over each book and could not believe the blessing.  Just this past week, the same benefactor, the curriculum publishers, sent an additional new edition of the language arts program!  I am in awe of God’s goodness.  God sends every good and perfect gift from heaven and wants to be seen in the giving!

Now on to crickets.  I am currently Chameleon sitting for my one of my older sons.  What that entails is misting his tree twice a day, refilling is auto mister and water dish and feeding him crickets.  Yuck.  This has been a busy week and I didn’t realize we ran out of crickets.  I was concerned that Drake the chameleon was hungry and was searching frantically outside for a cricket last night.  I could hear plenty of them but none were in sight.  I stopped and prayed, “Lord, if Drake needs supper, can you help me find a cricket?”  When I opened my eyes, there was a cricket at my feet!  Only God!  He cares about chameleons.  Surely, He cares for us!

Ask him to give you new eyes and ears and a heart of child like faith to see Him everywhere.  God wants to be seen.

Happy Thought Indeed, Living in Freedom, Reflections, value

“Arise my Darling…and Come Along”

garden path

Can you imagine any more intimate invitation than for your beloved to say, “Arise my darling, there’s something that I want to show you; come along with me.”?  This beckoning suggests that there is a hidden delight to be shared.  Perhaps it’s a surprise just for these two affectionate lovers planned by the one for the other.  As a woman who LOVES surprises, my mind imagines all sorts of treasures to be revealed.

In the Song of Solomon 2:13 (NASB), this adoring secretive call is found:

‘The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along!’

There is something to be shown and shared.  There is something delightful to behold that will be so sweet to encounter together.  There is something that the one lover has discovered and cannot wait for the other to experience.  I imagine myself placing a trembling hand with an anticipating heart into a strong waiting hand and being led to a place of utter joy.

As with most words, I want to know the depths and shades of their meanings.  So it is with this verse and I studied out a few words that captivated me.

  • Ripened – to embalm, as in the air, with a sweet aroma; to make spicy; to ease harvesting.

This actually led me to look the meaning of embalm.

  • Embalm – to fill the air with a sweet fragrance.  To preserve from decay.
  • Fragrance – a savoury smell; a soothing odor; the technical term for a sacrifice to God.
  • Blossom – a tender state; the peak period of development; the flower of a seed plant.
  • Given – to assign; to bestow, to cause, to permit. To stretch out. To deliver up. To assign.
  • Darling – attendant maiden, companion. An endeared person.  A particular favorite.
  • Come Along – to walk, to travel, to run, to go up and out.  To move in a constant direction or path.  To be in the company of another.

As you can see, this verse begins to explode with depth and richness.  This is just like God.  The first glance is breathtaking and sweet.  However, the longer you look, the more you study Him out, there are unsearchable riches to be found.

Look and listen for his invitation today.  See what delights He wants to show you.  Take His hand and breathe deeply the sweet fragrance of His being.

You are His darling.

Happy Thought Indeed, Living in Freedom, Personal Growth

God Remembers

poplar bloss

Today is the day God told me he remembered. For the past 20 years, God has shown me a Poplar Blossom to show me He is remembering the baby I lost in my first miscarriage. He is the faithful one. I forget; He remembers.

Some say there is no God. Some say there is a God but we can’t know him. Some deny what they have seen and heard and continue looking for another. But like Christ instructed John the Baptist to do….I am telling what I have seen and heard.

20 years ago, as I sat crying and mourning the loss of my baby, God allowed a Poplar Blossom to fall at my feet. As I looked at the beauty of the blossom, His Spirit, His Voice spoke to me. He assured me that my baby was no less beautiful or valuable just because it wasn’t with me. He assured me that my baby was beautiful, delicately and intricately formed, and valuable.

Every year for the past 20 years, He brings a Poplar Blossom to remind me of Him and his great love and care.  Today, as I was walking with a friend, He placed a blossom right in front of me!

There is a God. He can be known. He wants to be known. I have seen and heard!

Happy Thought Indeed, Living in Freedom, Personal Growth, Reflections

You will call me, “Ishi”

isaiah-scroll.l

I love words in all forms.  Written, spoken, or sung, they are fascinating to me.  I love the sounds of languages that are not my native tongue and I find myself listening for patterns and similarities in the words.  I enjoy roots and derivations and anything hidden in words and discovering their meanings.  For Jesus to have been referred to as, “The Word” makes my mind wild with excitement.  There is so much to discover about Him, thru Him and for Him!

My mind and studies frequently bring me back to Hosea 2:16 and the word, Ishi.  I love this little word, its sound and its meaning.

“It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord,
“That you will call Me Ishi
And will no longer call Me Baali.

Some time ago, my study of this word revealed its translated meaning to be “Husband.” Husband is in contrast to the word, Baali, which means “Master”.  There is a HUGE difference in being in a relationship based on servitude versus spousal intimacy.  I laugh with my husband.  We share secrets and have private jokes.  We share hurts and forgiveness.  Our life is made up of a past, a present and a future.  We have reached that place in life where we not only finish each other’s sentences, we finish each other’s actions.  The intimate knowledge we have of each other is thrilling, comforting, and incredibly fulfilling.

God longs to have this kind of intimacy with us.  In fact, He will settle for nothing less. He will not let us settle for less.  Earlier in this passage, his people are described as having settled for harlots, parties, clothes, food and the like and have forgotten Him.  Desiring to show His people the vanity and emptiness of earthly pursuits, His plan is to take Israel into a wilderness and show Himself to them.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.”

I , too, have had times of pursuing money, houses, parties, etc. trying to fill my deep desire for intimacy and fulfillment but came up even emptier than before.  I have also had the sweet pleasure of being spoken kindly to be the Lord.  His words are like honey to my soul.  With everything else stripped away, His words are true and life giving.  Intimacy with Ishi can also be thrilling, comforting and fulfilling.  Rest assured that if God has allured you into a wilderness, His intention is to speak kindly to you.

He longs for intimacy and for us to call Him, “Ishi”.

Happy Thought Indeed, humor, Reflections, Simplicity, Whimsey

Top Ten People – #9

bc_2

Beverly Cleary is my all time favorite children’s author.  Every time I read her books, I am awakened again to laughter.  She is the champion of humorous and realistic portrayals of children, animals, and adults and her stories never fail to bring a smile to my face.  Her writings also encourage me not to take myself or my children so seriously.  She provokes me to make room for laughter; not everything has to be a somber, “teachable” moment. Her humor and life might also prove scripture out.  Still alive, at age 100, she might be living proof that, “laughter works like good medicine.”   Thank you, Beverly Clearly for giggles!

bc-quote

Happy Thought Indeed, Whimsey

Top Ten People I wish I could have coffee with.

marktwain1

I wish I could have met Mark Twain. At the very least, I wish I could have spent an afternoon in his company.  His humor and wit reveals a unique insight into humanity and the need to laugh at it.  We take ourselves far too seriously and give ourselves far too much credit.  I believe he understood this trait very well and exposed it thru humor.  Obviously very intentional with his words,  I am sure he was a good listener as well. Mr. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, you are #10 of my Top Ten People I wish I could share coffee with!

Challenge for today: Listen more, speak less, and enjoy the gift of laughter!