Monday, December 3, 2012

I Live in a Box


I live in a box. Not literally – I am very thankful for my little house with its running water, electricity, and heat.

No, my box surrounds me, but others cannot see it. I try to hide it from everyone but those very close to me, and even then, I don’t always let people know.

The walls of my box are comfort, fear, complacency, uncertainty. I sit in my box with my fingers in my ears. Sound seeps in, so I sing to myself. “Lalalalala, I cannot hear you.” Truth is I can hear. No matter how loud I sing or how deep I stuff my fingers, I can still hear.

It is God. The rustling I hear outside my box. He moves around me, touching my walls. Whispering words of courage, conviction, love. His voice always permeates my barriers.

I try harder. I pick up my box and run. God runs after me, loving me, not willing to let me flounder in my current situation.

He sees the future. I cannot. I try, but just cannot. I try to trust because He loves. Trust is hard, but it shouldn’t be. That stepping into the unseen fills me with trepidation. My heart pounds against my ribcage. It hurts, but it is not physical pain. It is the pain of hearing God and hesitating. This is not who I am called to be. My human sight focuses on the now, ignoring the divine and leaving me in this place where God never meant for me to live.

It is easier here in my comfort and complacency I think to myself. But then the fear and uncertainty push in. No, it is not easier here in this hiding from God, so I poke my head out of my box.

“There you are. I’ve been waiting for you.” God speaks and I know it will be okay, this living on the outside of my box. With God, it will be okay.

Monday, October 29, 2012

NaNo What!?!

It's November which means it's time for NaNoWriMo.

What exactly is NaNoWriMo, you ask!?!

National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo, happens every November. All over the world writers set an ambitious goal of writing 50,000 words on a novel from November 1 through November 30.

Last year NaNoWriMos wrote over 2 trillion words during the month of November! I managed to finish with just over 50,000.

The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing; to get those novels out of our heads and onto a computer or paper or whatever your medium of choice.

I'm participating once again in this year. I don't know if I'm crazy or what, but I'm going to do it. Last year I was a rebel. To be official you have to start a brand new novel, page 1, word 1. I had a novel in process that I wanted to finish a first draft so I rebelled.

This year I'm going to be official and play by the rules. I'm writing a historical fiction that has been in my heart and mind for many years, but I've put off writing it because it needs lots of details so that match actual fiction. I've done some preliminary research, enough to be able to write the story.

My main character has been wandering through my mind whispering to me this weekend. She has a story to tell. I know some of it, the rest I will discover throughout the month of November.

So, that's what I'll be doing this next month. What about you? If you're a writer with a novel banging around inside you, won't you join the craziness? You can find out more information at www.nanowrimo.org

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fingerprint Friday

Fingerprint Friday is the brainchild of Beki at The Rusted Chain. I love the idea of looking for God's fingerprint in our lives so I've decided to make this a regular post.

Fingerprint Friday is based on these words from the beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman:
I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god

 
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: ~Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Broadmoor: Part II - Elegance

As promised, here are some pictures of a couple of rooms from the Broadmoor Resort.
 
This room has been turned down and is ready for guests to snuggle in for the night.

This is a sitting area in one of the buildings.

A most elegant suite.




 

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Broadmoor Resort

Dad and I had out of town visitors and I didn't get my "real" post done so I thought I would share these pictures taken at the beautiful Broadmoor Resort. These were all taken on the grounds. Thanks to a friend of mine we were able to tour a few hotel rooms. They were amazing. Some of the rooms' standard rates were more than my monthly mortgage payment! I'll post those pictures on Wednesday :o)














Monday, October 8, 2012

Things, They are a Changing


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: ~Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

For some reason, fall reminds me of these verses in Ecclesiastes more than other seasons. I’ve always loved fall and after the summer we had this year, fall was more welcome than ever. Fall, for me, is a time of renewal and regeneration. It’s a time of cleaning out and planning for the future.

Since I went on a blogging hiatus earlier this year I’ve had trouble getting back into the swing of things. Thoughts of the blog and it’s direction still swirl in my head. For those dear readers who are still sticking with me, thank you. I will be back to a more regular schedule soon.

The Ecclesiastes verses have been wandering around my heart the last few months. I have a feeling  there are changes in the air, not only for the seasons and this blog, but in my life. The words community, intentionality, transparency are riding the waves of change. I don’t know exactly what that means. I can tell you that there is a bit of trepidation surrounding all this. Change and growth come with pain and well, I’m not so much a fan of pain. And I’ve been hiding from God on some of these issues the last few months for exactly that reason. In case you’re wondering, hiding from God is hard…He usually finds a girl. I do have a couple of posts that I’m working on relating to some of these things.

So, that’s a little bit of where I’ve been recently. My goal is to have a real post for you next week. In the meantime, enjoy a little pumpkin spice latte and the beautiful colors that come with the season!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Days of Mundane Faithfulness


What will you do in the days of mundane faithfulness?
This quote comes from Martin Luther, the German monk and professor of theology. I first saw the quote when my pastor’s wife began a new blog using this quote as her springboard.

Since I began reading her blog this thought has wandered around in my brain and my heart. It echoes through the quiet times and roars at those chaotic times when my faith is being tested.

The thing about this question is that it gets to core of faith for me. I’ve been asking myself, “What do you do with your days of mundane faithfulness, Tammie?” (Yes, I do ask myself fully formed questions and address myself by name, but that’s fodder for another post all together. Or perhaps a visit with a therapist!)

When I really consider my faith, I realize that in times of ease I put my faith on autopilot and don’t think much about it. In the quiet times I live as I will. I don’t ever think it consciously, but when life is easy peasy I’m like a toddler, “I can do it myself.”

Then the garbage disposal springs a leak or the brakes need to be fixed or my shoulder hurts like the dickens and suddenly I don’t want to do it myself, I want God to be there for me.

Since faith is all about relationship with God, this model really isn’t great. What kind of a relationship can thrive when one party only comes knocking when they need something?

It’s been sobering as I have mulled the Luther quote for the last few weeks. I know it’s way too common for me to not really live out my faith in those mundane days. And, that’s not the kind of Christian I want to me.

So, this week I’m asking myself, “Tammie, what WILL you do with your days of mundane faithfulness?”

 

 

 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fingerprint Friday

Fingerprint Friday is the brainchild of Beki at The Rusted Chain. I love the idea of looking for God's fingerprint in our lives so I've decided to make this a regular post.

Fingerprint Friday is based on these words from the beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god


 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Long Summer Update


Well, I’m back from hiatus, but I haven’t really blogged a whole lot other than pictures. When I scheduled my hiatus back in May I had no idea how important this time off was going to be for me.

About this time of year I usually write a post about how tired I am of the heat and how I detest the heat. I sometimes say things like “this is the summer of my discontent.” Really, though, every summer gets that way because I don’t like heat and I don’t tolerate it well at all.

The only thing about this summer that is different is that the heat started early and hit us with a vengeance. I have family who live in places that get much hotter than it usually gets here and they are always surprised that I don’t have A/C. I always tell them it’s because the weather rarely gets hot enough to really need it. This summer I longed for A/C like crazy.

The summer was tough for my city and my state. I’ve been on the outskirts of all that has happened and some say that we out here on the fringe weren’t really affected. I don’t believe that’s true. While not directly affected we feel the effects especially when it happens to friends and people we know. My heart has cried out over the things that have happened.

See, our summer started with a bad rain storm in early May. I’ve probably said this before, but this is a semi-arid state. We need moisture pretty much all the time. Rain like this doesn’t really help. The rain came in torrents in early May. Not for a long duration, but in buckets. So much rain that streets flooded and cars floated.

Not only was there rain, there was hail. Estimates to fix roofs and automobiles were in the millions.

Just weeks later I was at Dad’s on a Saturday when I saw a plume of smoke over the northwest part of the city. It was a forest fire burning in a canyon just outside the city limits. Being semi-arid forest fires are common. Still, we’ve never experienced one so close to the city.

Through the work of firefighters and other emergency crews the fire was kept at bay for three days. The Tuesday after the fire started an outflow wind whipped the fire up the canyon wall and it raced down the other side into the city.

People had already been evacuated and many were still in the process of leaving the area as the fire burned into populated areas. Pictures that afternoon showed a hideous orange-black horizon with long lines of cars making their way to safety. One family from my church was evacuating in that line of cars. The mom and daughter were in one car and dad was in another car. While trying to calm her daughter the mom was praying as she wondered if the fire would roar right over their car or whether they would die from suffocation.
My house is approximately 25 miles from where the fire entered the city and that night we had smoke and ash billowing over our part of the city also. I was glued to the TV and Facebook that night as pictures of homes burning were showed. Before the night was over 347 homes burned to the ground and 2 people died.

It was unlike anything this city has ever experienced. The community, though, came together and supported each other in a way I didn’t think possible. It made me proud to be a part of the city.

As the city began the recovery and rebuilding process the heat raged on. We get only a handful of days that get above 90 degrees in a normal summer and they come in late July or August. This year we had day upon day of 90 plus degree days starting in June and not ending until just a few weeks ago. I told my dad today, “Hard to believe that in the past 75-80 degree temperatures were hot for me and now when I see them in the forecast I rejoice for the cooler weather.”  Needless to say, this fall loving girl is just waiting for the cooler weather.

Just a week or so after the fire was contained and life moved on, the state woke up to the news that a man had walked into a crowded theater in a suburb of Denver and opened fire killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. Again, I was on the outskirts of this tragedy, but my heart broke for the families involved.

The saying goes that tragedy comes in threes and this summer proved that right. A few weeks after the shooting in Denver a local motorcycle police officer was responding to a call and was fatally injured in a traffic accident. The city reeled after yet another senseless tragedy.

In the midst of this hard summer there were some bright spots for me. In late June my siblings all came to town. Twelve of my fifteen immediate family members were all together at the same time. I love my family and enjoyed the chaos of having them all around.
Just days after the last of the family members left I flew off to visit my extended family in the heartland. Have I ever told you how much I love my family? It was a great vacation with aunts, uncles, and cousins.

This summer has a lot of people questioning and in pain. I try to cling to what I know is true and that is found in this verse.  “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13
In future posts I will give you some insight on my vacation and I will reveal to you how I ended up with a streak of green hair!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fingerprint Friday - Family

Fingerprint Friday is the brainchild of Beki at The Rusted Chain. I love the idea of looking for God's fingerprint in our lives so I've decided to make this a regular post.

Fingerprint Friday is based on these words from the beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god



I see the fingerprint of God in my family. This my Uncle Big Al. I have a ton of aunts and uncles on both sides of the family. Each of them are so unique and fun to be around. I love my family.




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - St. Anne's Chapel



Nestled among the trees on the campus of St. Mary of  the Woods College in Terre Haute, IN is this tiny chapel. The inside walls and the altar are decorated with sea shells.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fingerprint Friday

Fingerprint Friday is the brainchild of Beki at The Rusted Chain. I love the idea of looking for God's fingerprint in our lives so I've decided to make this a regular post.

Fingerprint Friday is based on these words from the beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god


This is a piece I wrote for another blog, but it's about a place I see the fingerprint of God a lot in my writing.

            I sit on a porch of a cabin tucked back in the woods away from the rest of the world. The forest around me is alive with the sounds of insects and birds. The heat of the day hasn’t begun to set in yet. During a pause in my writing two tiny gold finches perch on the feeder just feet from me and I enjoy their presence. Once the tippity tap of my computer keyboard begins they take flight. Peacefulness envelopes me.
            The cabin belongs to my uncle and is far from my home base near the Rocky Mountains. I stay here when I’m visiting family in the heartland. I love this place and my heart often yearns to return here.
            When I dream of being a full-time writer supporting myself with the work of my craft it is this place I imagine. The kind of place where my spirit is at rest and I can shut out the rest of the chaotic world and reconnect. It is here that I feel closest to the work God has given me in my words.
            As I sit here I realize that while this place is wonderful, it is not where God has me at this point in life. My world is miles away in the city and I love that world also. Someday, this may be what God calls me to, but for now He has called me to something very different and has blessed me with this time of rest and renewal away from it all.
            So, what’s a writer like me supposed to do when I can’t sit on the porch of a cabin in the woods (or on a beach or wherever this place is for you) on a regular basis? Am I to just put my work on hold when I can’t plug into this source of rest?
            I don’t believe that’s the case. I think God gives us these places in our life to encourage us and fill us, but we don’t have to be in specific place to connect to our inner most writer. I think the key is being able to find places and time in our daily lives to visit the place of our inspiration in our mind and heart. It’s a learning of separating ourselves for a few minutes or a few hours wherever God may have us.
The key isn’t in this porch or these woods, it’s inside me. It’s just easier to find that place while I’m here because the distractions of the world are far away, hidden from my sight by the green trees and sounds of nature. When I return to the city, I return to my life, but I carry this feeling, this place with me wherever I go.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Call of a Coward: The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife

Today I would like to introduce you to a dear friend of mine, Marcia Moston. She is one of those women who knows that when God calls we have to answer even in the face of our own fear. Marcia has a new book coming out on August 7th. Call of a Coward; The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife is the beautiful story of how God took one woman from a place of comfort into the unknown and showed her she could thrive there.  Marcia's book is an honest and moving account of her family's time as missionaries in Guatemala and how that prepared them for a season pastoring a small church in Vermont.








More about Marcia:

1.       Tell us about yourself.

                Although I hold degrees in sociology and Christian education, most of what I’ve learned has been by the proverbial seat of my pants. I’ve taught English in a Christian high school, worked with orphans in a Mayan village, led mission teams to Central America, delivered Yellowbooks, stuffed vending machines, and lived in everything from tepees to parsonages.

                I love to share the stories and lessons I’ve learned along the way about what a very real God can do with the smallest of our offerings. My first and most dear word from the Lord is Be still and know that I am God—Psalm 46:10.

                Visit me at http://marciamoston.com

2.       Your writing experience is unusual in that until 2008, you’d never written anything, but by 2011 you had a book contract with Thomas Nelson. How did that happen?

                I am grateful to have experienced such abundant grace and blessing on my work. When we moved to the South a few years ago, I had a singular image in my mind: buy a house with a pool where I could sit and write.  Although I didn’t know what I would write, nor did I know how to write a book, it was as though my story’s time had come, and I needed a nesting spot.

                I took a writing workshop taught by the editor of the city journal. At the end of the class, she offered me my own weekly column. That’s when I realized I could write something that people would read.

                I continued to take workshops and go to conferences. In 2010, my manuscript won at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference. I also won a self-publishing package, but turned it down because I felt constrained to wait.

                Later in the year, I entered the Women of Faith Writing Contest and won a self- publishing package from WestBow Press. Unbeknownst to me, Thomas Nelson was looking at my book, and a month after it came out, offered me a contract.

3.       Many traditional publishers avoid memoir. Do you have any advice for someone who hopes to publish a memoir?

                The first agent I approached told me no one would publish a memoir from an unknown. He suggested I turn my story into magazine articles. Although I didn’t do it at the time, I think his advice is good. Memoirists need the exposure magazines give.

                My path to publication, however, was through contests. I also made sure my story was about something more than me. Thomas Nelson must have agreed because they categorized my book as Christian living/spirituality.

4.       What do you hope readers will glean from your story, Call of a Coward-the God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife?

                A fresh confidence in the Living One Who Sees Them. A sense of expectancy in encountering him. Both the story and its path to publication are examples of the possibilities of an ordinary life in the hands of an extraordinary God. I hope readers will be inspired and encouraged that whether they travel a thousand miles or a thousand feet, God can do exceedingly more than they imagine.

5.       What advice have you found helpful to you as a writer?

                To do my part—learn the craft, be open for critique, write with guts, and then rest in Flannery O’Connor’s advice: “When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God's business.”

6.       What or who has influenced you?

                I’m sure influences from thousands of books are floating around my brain, but most recently, I’ve been inspired by the  imagery and metaphors of the Bible, the essays of E.B. White and Annie Dillard, and the stories of Rick Bragg—people who capture the extraordinary in the ordinary.

7.       How did you know you should become an author?

                Unlike my fiction writing friends, I never had voices carrying on in my head (at least not the kind you talk about) or flashes of the perfect plot. But threading throughout all the other things I wanted to do in life (astronomer, archaeologist, doctor) was the idea that someday I’d write a book. Of course, as Sholem Asch so succinctly points out: “Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.” A few years ago I realized I did.

8.       Do you have a writing schedule?

                I’m a bad example here. Wisdom leans on the side of schedules and quotas, and not on the side of sporadic, task-driven efforts, which I seem to favor. I’d rather pull rusty nails out of old decking than sit in a chair all day, but if I have a specific project that has the possibility of a future, like writing an essay for the Writer’s Digest competition, or better yet—writing a second book because my first did well enough to warrant one—then I’ll sit, and write, and squirm until I’ve got something. I always need the first line of every section before I can go on. (It may change, but I have to have a satisfactory one at first.)

9.       Are you working on a second book?

                Yes. My working title is Going South-the God of my Mistakes. When we moved south, we didn’t expect our plans to go south too—but it’s really a story of hope.



10.    Tell us about Call of a Coward-the God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife.      

                It’s about laying aside your hopes, dreams, and fears to follow God even though where He’s leading seems to require credentials you lack and courage you don’t think you have. And about discovering just how personal and gracious He is. Here’s my opening:

                The problem with promising God you’ll follow Him wherever He leads is that you just might have to go.

                 I suspect it would be easier if you were certain of His calling—like stepping out the door and seeing the lilac bush on fire and hearing a voice commanding you. But when it’s your husband who is delivering the message—well, that leaves a little room for wonder.

                At least that’s how I felt when my husband rocked my comfortable middle-class afternoon with his belief God was calling us to pack up and move to a Mayan village in Guatemala.

Permission link: Excerpted from Call of a Coward: The God of Moses and the Middle Class House-Wife. Thomas Nelson ©2012. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc. www.thomasnelson.com.

11.   How were you personally impacted working on the project?

                Recording events and later rewriting them helped me to see just how involved God was (and is!) in my journey. I gained a deeper appreciation of his grace, and then after the manuscript won several contests, including the women of Faith writing contest, I realized it was a message bigger than my personal story.


12.   Is there anything else you would like readers to know?

It was with fear and trembling that I put my name on the same line as Moses’, but the story is not about me or Moses; it’s about the God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.



Call of a Coward: The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Book Distributors or from your neighborhood bookstore.



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Psalm 1:3


He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.  ~ Psalm 1:3

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer Hiatus

Hi My Faithful Readers!

I just wanted to pop in and let you know what I'm up to...I've been meaning to do that for a couple of weeks now.

I have decided because of my schedule this summer that I'm going to take the months of June and July off from blogging. I'm racing against a deadline of September 1 to get my novel submitted to the Operation First Novel contest through the Christian Writer's Guild. That combined with family visits and other obligations has really cramped my writing schedule. I may do a few quick posts over the next month and a half as things come up.

In the meantime I am working on updating the blog and will have a new look when I come back in August.

So, keep me on your RSS feed and I will see you in a few months. Have a great summer!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Taking a Break

Hi My Faithful Readers,

I will be taking a break from blogging for the next few weeks and I didn't want to leave you hanging wondering what happened to me. The plan is to spend some time thinking about the direction of the blog and my writing in general. Take care and see you in a few weeks.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fingerprint Friday

Fingerprint Friday is the brainchild of Beki at The Rusted Chain. I love the idea of looking for God's fingerprint in our lives so I've decided to make this a regular post.

Fingerprint Friday is based on these words from the beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god

This week my fingerprint is my mom. I look back on my relationship with my mom and I see how God planned our lives perfectly in making me her daughter and the way she and my dad raised me.

Mom passed away in 2007 so this will be our 5th Mother's Day without her here to celebrate. There's a line in the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie You've Got Mail where Meg's character says, "I missing my mother so much it hurts to breath." Even after five years I have those moments. Thankfully, I have many happy memories to get me through.

My mother was the most amazing woman and I am so very grateful for every minute I had with her.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Fingerprint Friday and Book Giveaway Winner!

Fingerprint Friday is the brainchild of Beki at The Rusted Chain. I love the idea of looking for God's fingerprint in our lives so I've decided to make this a regular post.

Fingerprint Friday is based on these words from the beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god

Speaking of songs, do you remember the old Garth Brooks song that talks about some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. Recently I had the opportunity to see how a prayer from long ago might have turned out if God had answered in the way I thought He should. I have to say that His plan really was better than mine.

I see the fingerprint of God in the way He orchestrates my life even through unanswered prayers.


Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Lisa from That's What She Said for having her comment picked by Random.org!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

As One Devil to Another, by Richard Platt


Do you ever wonder how the enemy gets so good at what he does? CS Lewis pondered this question and came up with The Screwtape Letters. Now, Richard Platt has given us a current day version of Lewis’ famous book.
As One Devil to Another chronicles the training of new devil trainee, Scardagger as his Uncle and Mentor, Slashreap guides him in his first tempting assignment.  The mentor gently guides his pupil in all the skills needed to pull his assignment away from the Adversary and into the realm of the devil.

This clever and entertaining book reads very much like The Screwtape Letters. Platt has done an excellent job of addressing current societal issues that have a way of drawing us away from our Lord. The book is filled with the truth of the Gospel woven through the letters. As a reader I couldn’t help but envision my very own tempter sitting somewhere contemplating ways of dividing my attention. While enjoying the book, I was also convicted of things in my life that I have let slide.

Walter Hooper is considered the foremost biographer of CS Lewis. He has put his stamp of approval on this book.  In the preface he writes, “The narrative voice of As One Devil to Another is almost indistinguishable from Lewis’ own.”  

Lewis is a hard act follow and done in the wrong way, this book could have been a dull parody of the classic. However, Platt has managed to skillfully write a book that does honor to the original.  

Leave a comment, win a book!

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a certificate for a free copy of this book to give away to one of my readers. All you have to do is to leave a comment below by midnight MST Wednesday, May 2 and you will be entered in a drawing for the book. The winner will be determined by Random.org.

***Disclaimer: Tyndale House Publishers provided a free copy of this book to me in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fingerprint Friday

Fingerprint Friday is the brainchild of Beki at The Rusted Chain. I love the idea of looking for God's fingerprint in our lives so I've decided to make this a regular post.

Fingerprint Friday is based on these words from the beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god


God's fingerprint really is all around us in the simplest to the most complex things. This week I am enjoying these little bits of God...


1. In the soft nuzzle of my kitty cat's head against my cheek when he wakes me up in the morning and the low, gentle purr he emits.


2. The fresh scent of grass and earth after the rain that is so needed to drench our dry land.


3.My dad's deep chuckle as we talk.


4. The gaping hole in my nephew's mouth that signifies his first lost tooth. This too is part of God's plan for our bodies.


5. The juicy, sweet taste of strawberries.



Monday, April 23, 2012

Discouragement and God's Answer to Prayer

Recently I’ve had a couple of things that I was really praying for. I prayed and waited. Then what I hoped would happen, didn’t. I’m sure you can understand that I was disappointed. It left me with a sadness that I couldn’t shake for a few days.


I understand that my prayers aren’t always lined up with God’s plan. I also know that sometimes what seems like an unanswered prayer is just one that was answered in God’s way, not my own.

During the time of waiting for the answers to these two situations I told God that I just needed this one thing in order to be encouraged and buoyed up again. I thought that if either of these two things came to fruition, it would saturate my dry spirit. Either would put God’s stamp of approval on who I am.

Then, right after the second seeming no answer, an acquaintance stopped me and introduced me to her daughter by saying, “Hey, I’m sorry, I forgot your name, but this is my daughter, Sue.*” In the few minute conversation I learned something about the girl’s choices in life that was breaking her mother’s heart. It was something that even without her saying, I knew this was true.

Still, I walked away feeling even more discouraged. I’ve known this person for about a year and yet she didn’t know my name.

Later, when the daughter wasn’t around the person came to me and said, “Now you know how to pray for me.” I smiled and assured her I would pray for her and her daughter.

She didn’t remember my name, but she remembered that I had spoken of my faith. What seemed like a rude introduction was actually a mom knowing that her daughter needed prayer. She knows that the Bible says, “When two or three are gathered in my name, I am there.” And she knew that I would pray.

My sadness at not having my prayers answered in my fashion has lifted. In that one moment it wasn’t important that she didn’t remember my name, she remembered the essence of who I am and she asked me to intercede for her before God. I thought the encouragement I needed was a pat on the back, but God knew that I needed to be reminded of what’s really important about me. I am a pray-er.



*Names have been changed.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fingerprint Friday is the brainchild of  Beki at The Rusted Chain. I love the idea of looking for God's fingerprint in our lives so I've decided to make this a regular post.

Fingerprint Friday is based on these words from the beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god


Today's fingerprint is the simple beauty in spring blooms as seen in this photo.






Monday, April 16, 2012

Bucket List - The Herd Begins

Back in February I posted my bucket list this year with 47 Things I want to this year. One of the things on my list was to learn to make origami cranes and make 1,000 of them. Japanese legend says that any person who makes 1,000 cranes will have their wish granted. Now, I don't believe in genies from magic lamps or that making 1,000 cranes will truly change my life, but it sounded like a fun thing to do so I put it on my list.

I've learned to make them and have been slowly improving my technique. So far I've made 50 of them. (And Wilson, my cat, ate one of them...not ate as in chewed and swallowed, but he had fun pulling it apart!)

Here's the herd so far:


I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.


My coworker has been questioning me frequently about my bucket list so a bunch of these cranes are going to make their way into her cubicle today :o)

Friday, April 13, 2012

I first saw this on Lisa's blog and thought it was a good point so I wanted to share it here.
Thanks, Lisa, for posting this originally.

"For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you will never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be 
restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed.
Never throw out anyone."
~Audrey Hepburn

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

They call it Good Friday, but it commemorates the day Jesus died. We hung him on a cross and let the life seep out of him. Then he lay in a tomb for three days.

I often wonder about the people who were there, his followers. What were those three days like? I can only imagine the darkness that descended on them. They called him friend and messiah, but then he was gone. It must have been devastating for them.

Thankfully he didn’t stay in that tomb. He rose and lives. The followers rejoiced on that third day.

We call it Good Friday because of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. We know that he rose so we can mark Good Friday with hope and a quiet joy.

Praying the hope and joy of the Lord encompasses you this Easter weekend.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sara's Story

This was originally posted in March 2010, but I wanted to post it again. This week before Easter I find myself pondering what it was like, what people thought, how they must have felt during those days when Jesus lay in the tomb. And as I think about these things I am once again thankful He didn't remain in that tomb; that He rose again and conquered death.


The sun is high the sky as I head out to meet Mara at the market. I had finished my chores in record speed so we could have all afternoon to enjoy.

There is an awful lot of noise in the square this afternoon; not the usual noise of merchants hawking their wares. This is yelling and angry voices. I wonder what is going on. As I round the corner I see a huge crowd and there is Pilate standing on the stairs. Making my way to the front of the people I keep looking for Mara. There is a lot of murmuring, but I don’t know what it is all about.

“They say he performs miracles.”

“He is possessed of a demon; that’s why he can cast them out.”

“But did you hear, he raises people from the dead?”

“I heard he was going to tear down the temple and build it back up in three days. Such nonsense.”

“Sara, Sara, over here.” Hearing my name I turn to the left and see my friend.

“Mara, what is going on?” I yell out to her as I push past others to make my way to her side.

Mara’s eyes are wide with fear. “They have arrested that man they call Jesus and Pilate is investigating.”

I had heard of this Jesus before. He had been traveling in the area and drawing a lot of attention. People either loved him or hated him. I didn’t know what the fuss was all about.

The noise quiets down as Pilate begins to speak, “I find this man guilty of no capital crime. I will order a flogging and release him.”

The uproar around Mara and me is horrendous. When it quiets down Pilate speaks, “Very well then as is the custom, I will release one prisoner. Should I release Jesus or Barabas?”

“Barabas, Barabas, Barabas.” The crowd roars back to Pilate.

“Mara, I can’t believe it. Barabas is a murderer and they want to let him go free. That is crazy. They haven’t proven Jesus guilty of anything as bad.” Something wasn’t right here and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“I know Sara, it is so sad.”

“What should I do with Jesus?” Pilate questioned the crowd.

“Crucify him!”

We watch in disbelief as they put a crown of thorns around Jesus’ head and lead him out of town. I know where they are taking him and I’m not supposed to go there. My parents don’t allow me to hang out at the Skull like some of the kids do. They say I don’t need to know what happens there, but I know that is where they take prisoners to die. I know I will get in trouble but I can’t stop myself. I have to see what will happen to the man with the crown of thorns.

Mara and I run to follow them as they make Jesus carry his heavy wooden cross. As we go we hear people talking about him. It seems there were as many who were upset at this turn of events as those who want him to die.

People talk of his compassion and how he heals the sick. They talk of love and beauty. Surely it wasn’t the same man they spoke of.

I see Jesus fall and go to help him up. They take his cross and find someone to help him carry it. I use my robe to wipe away the sweat and blood from his face. “Jesus, why is this happening? I hear great things about you, but they are going to kill you for no reason.” The tears flowed and I couldn’t stop them.

“Oh, little one, don’t be sad. This is my father’s work. I must do this.” The big brown eyes are full of light and something else. They look the way my daddy’s look when he looks at me. It seems Jesus loves me. Could it be?

“But Jesus, you have done no wrong. I don’t want you to go. I want to get to know you.” I sob and sob as he holds me in a tight hug.

Just then he is ripped from my arms by one of the soldiers. “Move along brat. You don’t need to be here.”

Jesus is pulled away as he says, “Child, do not worry. I will see you again in heaven. I do this for you.”

When we all arrive at the Skull there are two prisoners already hung on wooden crosses. The soldiers begin to nail Jesus to his cross. My heart aches each time the hammer comes crashing down.

“Oh Mara, this hurts so much.” I turn to my friend. She looks at me with tears in her eyes.

We sit there for hours on that dusty hill as the crowd taunts Jesus and tells him to save himself. “If you are the King of the Jews take yourself down from the cross.”

I cover my ears to drown out the horror but it seeps in.

It seems like an eternity when suddenly Jesus cried out. “It is finished.” And then he dies. The sun is blotted out and suddenly it is dark. Mara and I sit and hold each other. As I cry I remember what Jesus said. He had done this for me. He died a painful, awful death for me. Just so I could be with him in heaven.

Later they take Jesus’ body down and put it in a tomb. The place of the Skull is silent again. Mara and I head home.

Over the next few days I go about my chores, but can’t stop thinking about Jesus dying for me. He said he was doing it for me. I wasn’t sure I understand, but somehow that makes my heart happier.

Three days after his death I am at the well to get water in the early morning hours when a man approaches me. He looks familiar. “Sara, it is good to see you.”

“How do you know my name? Do I know you?” I search his face which is wreathed in bright light. When I get to his eyes I see the love and compassion and I know. “Jesus, is that you? How is it possible? I saw you die.” I run to him and hug him.

“Sara, you did see me die. But, today I have conquered death. I am as alive as you are and I will soon go to heaven with my father to wait for you.”

Oh my goodness. This is too good to be true. Jesus is alive! “Come with me to tell Mara. She will be so excited.”

“I must go to my friends, but we will stop at Mara’s on the way.” Jesus takes my hand and we head down the road to town to spread the news.

Jesus is alive! Death could not hold him in the grave!!!