March 28, 2007

Spring Reading Thing

Better late than never! Here's my reading list:

Where Yesterday Lives by Karen Kingsbury

Unveiled by Francine Rivers

Unashamed by Francine Rivers

Not many books, and not really challenging. I'll be in the middle of a science fair project, dance recital, and getting ready for summer camp. So, I'm not taxing myself (which reminds me, a tax deadline is looming!)

Head over to Katrina's to see what other, more industrious folks are reading!


March 25, 2007

If You Think Talking Trees are Scary...

When I was a young girl (back before the days of cable & VCRs), "The Wizard of Oz" would come on television once a year. From the time I saw the first commercial announcing its pending arrival, I could hardly wait for that night to come. Every year, I'd sit patiently through the "boring" (black & white) part, eagerly anticipating the appearance of The Lollipop Guild, The Lullaby League, and, of course, Glenda the Good Witch. I just loved the part where Dorothy met Scarecrow and invited him to come along on her journey to the Emerald City. I was enthralled by the bright Yellow Brick Road and those snazzy ruby slippers. My fascination was soon lost...when the trees started talking, I headed for the door. Talking inanimate objects are just plain spooky, if you ask me!

When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, the crowd went wild. They waved palm branches and shouted praises to God for all the miracles they'd witnessed during Jesus' ministry. The Gospel of Luke says "the whole crowd" of disciples was giving joyful praise. Some Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke them. His response is our 2nd verse in the 40 by 40 challenge.

"I tell you, " he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." (Luke 19:40)

As a girl who doesn't like talking trees, I'm not crazy about the idea of talking stones, either! So, how do I keep them from crying out? I praise God!

Last week's verse instructed us to remember what we've seen and to not let those things slip away from our hearts. But it's not enough to simply remember. We've also got to praise God for those things. He wants to know we appreciate them...that we recognize them as gifts only He could give. And we are also to let others know about it. Through our praise, we are teaching others about Him. We're also reminding ourselves of His goodness.

I'm convinced that I don't praise god enough because I don't look for Him enough. It's easy to find Him in the big things. It's in the mundane, daily living that I have a hard time realizing He's there. Wouldn't you think our BIG God hiding in the every day is kinda' like an elephant trying to hide behind a telephone pole? He's sticking out all over the place! Yet so often I'm focused on the part of Him that I can't see.

So, I'm making a concentrated effort to look for Him in even the tiniest areas of my life. Like this week. I recently decided I wanted a treadmill. I never voiced that desire out loud, because I couldn't justify the expense. Earlier this week, a friend asked me if I wanted her old treadmill! God heard my heart and provided me with something I hadn't even asked Him for! He also gave me a weekend at the beach with one of my dearest friends...a chance to fellowship and share with her, to discuss God and our families in a way we never have time to do in the "real world". I was able to be captivated again by His power and majesty. How can anyone watch the ocean's continual motion and not realize it's the creation of an ingenious God? How can I look at my family and my own life and not realize the same thing?

It's time for me to praise more and complain less. To remind myself how truly magnificent He is. To remember the amazing things He's done. I don't want to be responsible for any talking stones. Do you? If you need to jump start your praise, our dear friend Boomama has just the click here and get ready to shout to the Lord!

(updated to add: I lost another 0.6 pounds this I'm at -4.4 total. Considering how I ate at the beach, and that I'm foolish enough to track my weight on Mondays, I'm still pretty happy! I'll start bonding with my new treadmill tonight!)

March 18, 2007

Choosing to Remember

Almost every night around 9:00, my Palm starts beeping. I have it set up to remind me of bills to be paid, permission forms to be completed, birthdays on the horizon. I love a gadget that will do the reminding, because I have a severely dysfunctional memory.

Now, I can tell just about any trivial thing you want to know. Wanna' play "The 6° of Kevin Bacon"?...I'm there! Need to know who starred in an 80's flick, or sang a particular song? Usually, I have the answer stored in my brain. I can remember a small injustice I suffered at the hands of someone, even if it was 20 years ago. It's the important stuff I forget.

When I'm off wandering around on my own, it's because I forgot to listen for the Good Shepherd's voice guiding the way. When I'm worrying about the daily hassles of life, I've forgotten that He watches over me. When I question my current circumstance, it's slipped my mind that His ways are not mine. And always in situations like these, I stopped remembering the many great and marvelous things He's done in my life.

Even when my head remembers, my heart forgets.

A couple of months ago, my pastor shared this verse in his sermon. The sermon was, in fact, directed to the men in our congregation. But the Holy Spirit grabbed onto me during that message, and this verse in particular shouted to me. During the invitation, I stood up to sing, and I literally felt the Spirit push me back into the pew. I hung my head and just sobbed. I've never experienced anything like it.

Two months later, here I am back where I was. I'd forgotten that experience until the Lord reminded me of it for the first 40 by 40.

So, for those of you who are joining me on the Scripture memorization journey, here's our first challenge.

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." --Deuteronomy 4:9

For me, this verse is a call to actively remember His Word and what He's done in my life. I hope that at the end of this journey, I will have been so focused on God that I won't dare forget what He's said and done. That I'll be able to pass those things along to CJ, and to give her the spiritual foundation I didn't have as a child.

So, get out your index cards or whatever else you use...and let's start remembering!

P.S. - Thanks to Boomama for the cute sidebar icon! If you'd like to add it to yours, let me know in your comments and I'll send it to you.

Updated to first week's weigh-in results (drumroll, please)....I've lost 3.8 pounds! And I even had cheesecake!

March 12, 2007

40 by 40

I've got a birthday coming up in a few days. THIRTY-NINE. For the life of me, I can't figure out how I got here. I certainly don't FEEL 39. I'm sure I don't ACT 39. And I don't LOOK 39 (it's more like 45, I think!)

I've been telling friends for the past month that this is the last birthday I'm acknowledging. Not the last one I'm HAVING (Lord willing)...but the last one I'll openly celebrate. During the past week, God started writing something on my heart... a plan which, if I follow it as He's laid it out, will enable me to celebrate the BIG 4-0 with a bang next year.

Are you ready for this?

It's called the "40 BY 40 Plan", & it involves 2 things.

First (and most painful), I'm going to lose 40 pounds by my 40th birthday. I want to. I need to. I've GOT to. I'm giving myself permission to take my time on this, and not set any unreasonable goals or focus on unrealistic expectations. I started Weight Watchers again today, and I know with God's help, I can do this. Well, not God's help so much as Him doing it ALL! The Holy Spirit is going to have to knock me over the head more than once to get the chocolate cravings out of my system!

Second (and most importantly), I'm going to commit 40 Scriptures to memory. And "Jesus wept." isn't one of them. I don't know what they are yet, but He's going to give them to me. I just know He is.

So, I'll be LOSING the weight and GAINING Jesus! How great is that?!

I'll save myself the embarrassment of actually posting my weight, but I might be brave enough to keep track of pounds lost. I'll be posting the Scriptures on my blog every weekend. If you'd like to join me in hiding His Word in your heart, let me know in the comments. Who knows, we may be able to get Boomama to make us a fancy-schmansy icon for our sidebars ;-)

March 9, 2007

Crawling Out of the Pit

Recently, a family member told me she enjoyed my blog, which I found odd...I haven't blogged in months. I think the Lord knew I was taking blogging WAY too seriously. He put all these barriers in my path and, all of a sudden, blogging became a chore I needed to live without. I would read blogs once in a while, but mostly I didn't have time. (I'm still trying to figure where I misplaced November...let alone all the months that followed!)

So, where have I been? As Beth Moore would say, I've been hanging out on my "Pottery Barn couch", using my "Williams-Sonoma cookware" and basically making myself comfortable in a pit. I had it decorated so nicely, I wasn't sure I wanted to leave. I have only recently seen it for the dark, slimy & miserable place that it is.

I'll be honest. I found this book, "Get out of that Pit" in Wal-Mart for 1/2 price back in January when I was on vacation. Being a Beth Moore fan & never one to pass up a deal, I bought the book even though I didn't think I needed it. I'm thankful the Holy Spirit knew how to get my attention (and can I tell you that I sent a couple of friends to that same store that week...but no other copies were marked down!).

I've been reading the book for a while now...taking my time to really soak it in. I have to say, it's hit me like a ton of bricks. I love how the Holy Spirit uses Beth to speak practical, Godly wisdom. I also admire how up-front she is about her own struggles (gives me hope!). I am grateful that she never minces words, and that she never minces The Word. Most of all, I appreciate that Beth never fails to start a dialogue between me and God. This go 'round, it's a much-needed and long overdue conversation.

I'm still reading "Make Up Your Mind". I believe I almost have. And I so want it to stick this time! So, maybe my blog will take on a new tone from now on. I'm not sure how much I'll be writing, since I'm pre-occupied with crawling out of a pit right now. But I know Who is on the other end of the rope pulling, and He's a lot stronger than I am. Praise His Name!

Now, go to Robin's to see what everyone else thought of "Get Out of That Pit", or to leave yoru own comments.