Tuesday, February 28, 2012

focused on Glory (even when it's dreary)

I love to swing. It's one of my simple pleasures.

Some day I hope to have a front porch with a big swing, and another swing in my backyard. Even then I will probably continue to go to a park or playground to swing. At the playground you get the thrill of pumping and building velocity until your eyes climb over the top bar of the set, then relaxing as your momentum lazily sweeps you back and forth.

It had been weeks since I had gone swinging, and today seemed perfect. It has been a dreary day, but not in the typical sense. Sure it's as overcast and gray outside as putty, but I've never minded days like that. My dreariness is coming from a gray, overcast heart. 

There are some things that God has presented to me that need work, and some things that I've presented to God to ask for help. Then there are the gray things that are just hurtful.

So today I decided to swing. I looked up into the beautiful, murky sky and poured out my heart. I talked to God and asked Him to open my eyes to see His beauty in a place I've often deemed dreadful. Of course it runs much deeper than a physical location, and I've asked forgiveness for occasionally refusing to look for His mark on this season in my life. I want to look for His glory even when I don't feel like it.

God loves me. He has a plan for every moment of my life, and He knows EXACTLY what He is doing. I trust Him.

Beautiful God, thank you. 
(p.s. Thank you for swings too.)

There is something special about swinging on a swing set.

I didn't remove any color from this photo. This is how gray the sky was today. (I'm an oddball because I love these days as much as a bright, sunny one.)

As always, check out Jenifer's BLOG. I just love it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

focused on Glory (Winter Jam)

Winter Jam was this weekend and it was a great time. Moreover, it was a great time praising God! The music was fun, stimulating, exciting, and expressive, while the lyrics were moving, praising, encouraging, and passionate. 

I love music. Lots of music. And I'm not married to one style. Whether it's classical , "praise & worship", 80's hair bands (Bon Jovi), hymns (It is Well), Josh Groban (sigh), chamber music (my favorite is HERE), southern rock (especially Third Day!), instrumental soundtracks (LOTR, Pride & Prejudice), or opera I like it. 

I even like some of the harder rock (gasp). One of the groups I really enjoy is RED (who was not at WJ this year). An example of a "hard" RED song is here, and a "soft" song is here, and I really like both! (Before anyone decides to automatically dismiss this type of music as unchristian I would challenge you to research the lyrics and the meanings behind the messages.) Style preference does not equal holiness.

The headliner for the concert this year was Skillet, and they did a great job. All the bands were good. Besides delivering good music (of various styles) they also delivered the Word of God! Over 15,000 people got to hear how God had worked in the lives of the artists and how His Son was sent to us. 

The pictures are from my cellphone, so my only option was to point and shoot. Still, they get the point across.

Mary, Greg, and I sat behind the stage. It got us a lot closer than our other seat options and we could see well. There were also large screens facing our directions, and several of the performers climbed onto the back area and faced us, so we liked our seats.

Skillet's pyro show was cool. This was as the flames were dying. The full flames blew out the pictures I took! 

As a side note- I know there are people that would look at these pictures and think, "How do flames and special effects glorify God?" To which my reply would be, "Maybe they don't! And maybe it isn't a big deal either." 

What I do know is that there are thousands of people who don't have a clue about what Jesus has done for them, and those people are willing to go to an inexpensive concert to have a good time. And guess what?! They get to hear about how Jesus gave up His life to cover them and pay their way into Heaven. So if flames and special effects will draw someone in, who wouldn't go to a Gaither Gospel Hour, to hear about Jesus then I'm okay with that. (And those of us who already know Jesus got to enjoy the show too!)

As always, be sure to stop by Jennifer's BLOG!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Laughter is the Best Medicine?

I've been wheezy all day. All because I spent the better part of yesterday laughing. I literally laughed for hours.

It all started with my sister's comment on the post below. I responded on facebook that her words were sweet, and that I was due to spit on her soon, followed by a request to join me for lunch.

She offered to cook lunch for me, and I asked her to go into town to run an errand with me afterward. Lunch was yummy. Mary prepared grilled chicken, potatoes & carrots, biscuits with honey, and carrot cake. We ate, laughed and talked for an hour before leaving for Little Rock.

During the drive we shared stories of stupid people (aren't we precious!), and of what we wished we could have said/done. Whoever said, "There is no such thing as a stupid question," was wrong! Just ask my friend Mrs. Manly. She has customers call her and ask things like, "Do you have an acapella  song with music?" And she and I have both had variations of, "I'm looking for a song. I don't know who sings it, or what it's called, but it has a piano in it. Do you know which one I'm talking about?"

We laughed about ONE time I could not get someone to spell my name correctly. That story is HERE.

Then we talked about paying our personal property taxes and the fact that we are both delinquent. When I moved back to AR I went to the Assessor's office and DMV to get AR tags. It was explained that I wouldn't owe any taxes because they are assessed on the previous year. I already knew this and just smiled. When I returned the next year I was told that I didn't owe any taxes again. I told them there had to be a mistake, but they assured me they were correct. The next year I was told the same thing. I stood in disbelief and asked them to please check again because I did not want an ugly surprise later down the road. They gave me a statement showing that I owed NOTHING. Two months later my name was listed in the paper for being delinquent on my taxes! 


Maybe I should have asked them to check under the 
name T-a-u-m-a.

We completed my errand and decided to go to a thrift store. I LOVE thrift stores. I am forever on the lookout for item I can re-purpose and craft. And time in a thrift store with my sister is always good for a laugh fest! Anything can be used as a prop to propagate giggles. I didn't find anything great, but Mary found a dress that will work for her 40's inspired party in a few weeks!

Our last stop was Michael's. I got some bead component on sale and two sets of fat, wax lips. SCORE!!

On the way home it rained hard. The road was beginning to flood, but we didn't mind. We still had a few snickles and snorts going on. When we got back to Mary's house I went in to hug Greg and Caitie. 

I tried to tell Caitie about some of the funny stuff that happened, but Mary kept interrupting me. She was imitating what I sound like when I am overcome with laughing. She kept sputtering, "P-p-p-p-p," and making mock wheezing noises. I might have been annoyed if she hadn't be so stinking funny. Instead I was bent over trying to breathe.

From the time I got to Mary's to the time I left again, we laughed. It was the gut wrenching, food spitting, asthma inducing, st-st-st stuttering, wet your pants laughing!

It was a good day. Good thing I have inhalers.

p.s. I love laughing so much that I added my motto to my debit card when I designed it last year.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

focused on Glory (Valentines)

Happy Valentines Day!

I really like Valentines Day, even though I'm single. As a matter of fact, I've never understood the disdain held by some of my fellow singles for this sweet day. Some go as far as to proclaim malevolence for the 45th day of each new year.


Yes this is a day of love, but who says it must be a couple-love only? Yes there is a lot of money made by marketing to couples, but I'm not prone to allowing advertising and marketing campaigns dictate my emotions.

One of the sweetest (and sometimes challenging) commands from God is to love one another.Valentines gives us a special day to celebrate those we love, and I love a lot of people.  And shouldn't we celebrate each other? Of course it doesn't have to be only once a year, but it is fun to have a special day. (And any day with extra chocolate is okay with me!)

And speaking of advertising, there is a credit card commercial (here) that I don't care for too much. The message seems to be that marriage isn't ever necessary for couples. That's sad to me because I think strong marriages and families are a necessity to a strong community, nation, and world. That is all the more reason I am so blessed to have parents who have been married for over 45 years. Of course there isn't anything perfect about them or their marriage, but that hasn't stopped their dedication to each other.

 This week's foG picture is of two valentines. I caught them as they returned from their early dinner date. (Daddy and I both look funny without glasses, but his were so dark you couldn't see his eyes.) What cutie pies.

Don't forget to check out Jennifer's blog here. She has had some really good stuff lately. I can't wait to see her next foG post.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

focused on Glory (African Children's Choir)

Last Wednesday I went to see the African Chirdren's Choir. I was still on meds for bronchitis and  felt as if I could sleep 10 hours a day. As much as I knew I would enjoy the choir, I really wanted to stay home. 

In my pajamas. 

Under a quilt. 

With my eyes closed.

But I didn't -because my mother wanted someone to go with her. 

So I got dressed and went to church. We went early to get a good seat, which meant we also had a good wait until the show began. I sat with my head lolling and bobbing as I tried in vain to stay conscious. 

Suddenly three little boys ran down the center aisle and up the stage steps. They took their positions in front of the drums and smiled

I melted. 

Then I heard whispers behind us. (We were on the second row from the back aisle.) Lining the back of the sanctuary were the other 12 children. I smiled at the little boy four feet from me and he smiled back. His eyes danced from me to the stage as he waited for the cue to run.

From that point on I didn't have any issue with drowsiness. In fact, I only had two problems. First, I had forgotten my camera, and second, my face was hurting because I was physically incapable of not smiling.

About an hour into the concert, when then kids ran off stage for another costume change, I ran out to the car and made a mad dash home for my camera. FINALLY, something I truly appreciated about living in such a small town. The round trip took 10 minutes and I had only missed one song and a testimonial, but it was so worth it.

The ACC has several choirs that tour simultaneously. This group of children was from Uganda. Oh the JOY that filled the room as they sang and danced.  

We should all look like this when we sing about Jesus! And I will never understand why the SBC doesn't condone dancing. It's okay to have visiting groups like this dance, or a ballet at Christmas time, or even dancing at special events like Tiger Tunes (held on a SBC college campus), but we aren't allowed to dance for our LORD at any other time? (We interrupt this rant to get back to our previously scheduled blog post.) 

 This is the choir leader. Forgive me for not remembering her name -and added forgiveness for the picture quality. This lovely woman walked past me so quickly that I didn't have an opportunity to change any settings on my camera. I had one shot and hoped for the best. Regardless of technique, it is impossible to miss the beauty of this lady. It's a good thing this feature is focused on Glory, and not my abilities. 

Be sure to stop by Jennifer's blog HERE
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