Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dear Paula Deen,

Cooking is something that comes from the heart and soul. It is a venue for expressing love, appreciation, and the value of friendship.... It's something you do well Paula. And what we do well can not be taken from us. 

Yes, Food Network dropped you. Kmart, Sears, JCPenny, and QVC... said goodbye.

You may have been dropped by these few, but you are still held by many. You are held by the one who called you and has used you to serve so many people. And the great thing is -you can still use all the butter you want in the next dessert you make, you can still make your favorite recipes for your friends, and you can still walk with God, living out His will for your life.

We could all learn a lesson from you Paula. We could all stand to put aside our prides and say sorry more often. Unfortunately, you had to do it on National television.

But maybe God is calling you to something new, something better, something totally different.
Maybe he will use you in ways you can't even begin to fathom. Maybe your place isn't on tv. Maybe your next big thing doesn't involve lights and a camera, but hearts and souls, and good cooking.

Suffering is a hard thing. Suffering is that place we hate when we are there, but also it's that place we are thankful for, years down the road when we realize that suffering gave us salvation. Maybe you are being saved right now.

Thank you Paula, for handling this whole situation with grace.
Our media could sure learn a lot from you.

I hope God blesses you in many ways.
See your road through, Paula-- there is bound to be a sweet new recipe waiting at the end of it.

Andrea Noles

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Aren't we still little?

What were your favorite things to do as a child?

Here are a few of mine...

1. Writing
2. Crafting
3. Singing
4. Reading
5. Playing in the woods

and I'm happy to say I still continue to do 1-4. I'm not against number 5, I just don't have woods in my backyard, and if I did I'm not sure what people may think if they saw a 5'7, 30 year-old woman in a tree?

But, like I said-- I'm not against it.

Are you still doing any of your top 5?  I hope you are.

Most of us are all grown up though, right?

 Going to our grown-up jobs, paying our grown-up bills. Living our grown up lives.

But the truth is, we're really not.
We are still little kids.
Fearful of our futures
Full of insecurities.

We've exchanged our stuffed animals for cell phones, our blankets for down-comforters, and our books for Kindles.

We still play dress up and want to feel pretty and significant.
We still pretend and play our parts.
We still throw tantrums when things don't go our way.
We still need the same love and attention.

So maybe we are not so grown up after all?

But Jesus is still Jesus.
How we see Him changes, but His love for us doesn't.
Isn't it amazing to think He still loves you the same as he did when you were little.

Be "little" this weekend.
Be artistic.
Write a song.
Dance on your porch.
Paint on a canvas.
And remember you are loved.
You always have been and always will be.

And if you get a chance, will you whisper a little prayer for me?
God is moving in big ways.
I'm eager and anxious and am doing my best to follow His lead.
I am so blessed and so thankful to ALL of you who take time out of your busy lives to stop and read my blog. The more I write, the more humble I become, as I know my words are not my own.
Turning words and crafting sentences is my art right now and has brought me into a renewed relationship with the Holy Spirit. I am praying soon, I can do this full-time, if God wills it. More than ever, I need you friends. I need your prayers. So please, please, whisper a few this weekend and I'll do the same for you.

Friday, June 28, 2013

8 Things I Learned in June...

Emily Freeman, over at Chatting at the Sky is linking up today and wanting to hear about things we have learned in June. I knew I had to play because June has really been a great teacher and I like great teachers. It's been a fun month and I hate to see it go, but I have a feeling July is cookin' up something real good for us.

So June, here's to you.

My 8 Things

1. My MaMa Lee always recommended the best books to me. The last book she recommended before she passed away in November was the biography, And God Came In, by Lyle Dorsett. It was about C.S Lewis's wife, Joy Davidman Lewis.  Like Lewis, she was an atheist for much of her life.  But she said she met God in a half of a minute and knew immediately she had been defeated. She confessed that she was not, after all, the master of her fate and the captain of her soul. She proclaimed that ever since that half-minute she had been changing into a different person. She set out to remake her mind. This reminded me that everyone has hope, regardless of where you have been and what you have believed. It's a great read and will always be on my shelf, right next to Mere Christianity, by C.S Lewis.

2. Brain Games is one of the only shows that I will watch without doing anything else. I don't need to eat, to write, to have a computer anywhere near me. I can rarely sit and watch TV without piddling. I love learning about the human mind and why we do what we do. And no matter what we figure out, I'm convinced we aren't meant to understand it all.

3. The more I write, the more God speaks. Writing a book is definitely one of the hardest attempts I have made in life. It has humbled me, required more faith than ever, but more than anything it is inspiring me to live out the words God breathes through my fingers. I always want to mean what I type, and live so my life mirrors that.

4. I like to hang out with old people. And you should to. Our family visits an elderly couple in our church every Monday and I always come home a little wiser. I have learned how to make a no-fail pie crust, heard about great scriptures, and listened to stories of love and loss. When someone has walked this planet for 80+ years, we better stop and take a listen and I'm glad we take time to do just that.

5. I've learned that Jennie Allen's heart is EXPLODING with God's love. My friend Sara, at  introduced me to her book, Anything a few weeks ago, and I am loving the words God has given her to share with the world. Here is a video that asks the question, What if we gave God everything by doing ANYTHING he calls us to do?

6. I've learned to see things differently, by looking a little longer. I've learned to hear things differently by listening a little closer. Inspiration is everywhere and often, least where we expect it. I saw a license plate on our way to the beach that said, Krupa. I thought it was a neat word, so I looked it up and this is what I found. It is a Hindu-Indian-Christian name for a female meaning grace, mercy, favor, love, passion, compassion, forgiveness, blessings, and hope. WoW! I thought my name was cool because it meant "strong." I sure hope I meet a Krupa one day.

7. I learned that I love Audrey Assad's music, especially the song, Wherever you Go. So so good.

8. (A sum of my thoughts)  I'm learning that maybe's can be a good thing and sometimes no's lead to yes's. I'm learning how to have a more eternal perspective, while keeping my feet on the ground and my head towards heaven. I'm learning that "right words" come and go but God remains. He chases us. He loves us regardless if words sound good or not.

I hope June has been a good teacher to you. Jump over to Emily's blog, to link up and share what you know.

Our stories and lives are meant to be shared, and when we share we make space for more. Here's to June and all that will come in July!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

She is a traveler...

She is a traveler. She sees. She hears. She speaks. She wonders and wanders. Her luggage is light. Her flight is uncertain. She carries no map. Desire, freedom, and adventure is her runway. She looks at the world gratefully and collects perspective at every corner. 

Who is the traveler? The traveler is me. The traveler is you. 

Where will we land between here and heaven?

Think about all the places we land in a day. We step out of beds, take showers, brush teeth, eat breakfasts and walk into our own little worlds. Each of our  little worlds exist inside the circumference of God’s vast world.

Yet our creator is with us in each moment. His hand is stretched out still, guiding, leading, and showing us the way. He is preparing a place for us to land when this life is over, a place we will never understand until we arrive. Isaiah 55 confirms this when God says, "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts. My ways are far beyond anything you could ever imagine."

So what can we do, where can we go, and who can we reach between here and heaven. 

Make a difference. Be a small part of God's voice and may your life today, bring a bit of hope to our world. It needs you. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Unpacking Isaiah 6

For the past month I have been "unpacking" the book of Isaiah, so to speak. Taking out every single word, spinning thoughts, and trying to turn truth from one of the most challenging books in the Bible.

But right now, I'm just stuck.

I can't break away from Isaiah 6, when the Lord appears to Isaiah, and he is cleansed and called to serve.Each reading brings a new depth of understanding, yet stirs up questions that leave me wondering more about this prophet's faith.

Mostly, I wonder how in the world Isaiah did it. How did he so quickly, eagerly, and faithfully say, "Here I am! Send me."?

My response may have gone a little something like this.

"But God, what if I get hurt."
"But God, what about my family."
"But God, what about my job, and my house, and...

Here, you give it a try and ask yourself what you would have said...

Isaiah's Commission from the Lord

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, Here I am! Send me." And he said, "Go, and say to this people: "'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."

How do you dull a heart and make ears heavy, and blind eyes?

I would have argued back. And the truth is I argue back

I profess faith and say things like, "God is in control." and "God's got a plan for my life."  I profess those things and minutes later, I profess fear. I ask "what if?" questions all the time. I wonder if I'm really supposed to be a writer? I wonder, and question, and I just don't know how to say "yes," and mean it, and live it.

Isaiah was commissioned and he said "yes." He responded with a holy, ambitious, "yes" to the call.
His one and only question for God was, "How long?"

The only bit of information he needed before he left was how long this call would last.
That's faith.

God calls us every single day. We may not have an Isaiah account in which God appears to us and we see the Lord sitting on a throne, with angels singing, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts.

But we do have alarm clocks that call us out of bed and into the world.
What if we woke up every day, and instead of hitting snooze, we said, 'Here I am, Send me!"?

I wonder how many calls I've missed because I'm too tired, to scared, too wrapped up in myself to even hear.

This week, may you see, hear, and understand God's will for your life, my friends.
May your morning call come, and your response ring truth.

He needs us out there in this dying world.
His kingdom will come. His will, will be done!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What I've Learned This Year (Mom Reflections)

You hear a lot while you wait.
Waiting to be a mom was a scary thing.
I remember saying to myself...
"I'll feel okay when I get to the end of the first trimester."
Then I said, " I'll feel okay when I get to week "27."
"I will feel better when I am at the hospital"
"I'll be able to breathe once I am holding him in my arms and know he is healthy."
After I had him I said...
"I'll feel good when I can get him home and my mom will be alongside us, helping us."

I said all those things.
And really, the truth is...
When you're a mom you never fully feel okay, or better, or good. Mostly you do, but some days you just don't. There are days of worry and wondering and watching to see if they are still breathing while they sleep.

And you never breathe the same after you breathe life into another. You never breathe the same because you're holding on to moments, wishing for more time to take back milestones and redo them, just so you can experience, and remember, and watch life happen again.

And you forget who you were. Because who you were freefalls from the plane the minute a new life lands... and you just can't remember you. You lose your life, really. Just as Christ lost his. He layed down life so on earth we could live.

And when I pushed, and screamed and experienced a pain like I'd never known-- I layed down my life for him. And because of that my son can live and he can understand love and what it really means.

You hear about how time grows wings and a propeller and woooshhh you suddenly have a teenager. You hear about  love and how it takes off and never comes back down. You hear about God and how a child is the greatest gift he gives, beside his Grace.

I heard a lot. And all of it was true.

This year has been the most beautiful year of my life. There was good and there was bad. There were tears and confusion and a loss of self. But mostly, beautiful.

Today is Weston's first birthday. He landed last year at 5:25 p.m. I plan to celebrate his life all day. Because life is a celebration in itself. And I don't want to miss out on this day because it will never come back.

I hope we end each year saying, "Wheww, what a ride."
Because life should be a ride. It's meant to be a wild, but beautiful ride.

I've learned a lot and I've learned a little.
Mainly I've learned how to love a little more, and worry 
a little less. Give a little more and take a little less. 
But mostly, I've learned to live Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not 
on your understanding, and in all your ways acknowledge
Him and He will make your path straight."

Breathe that in today and breathe out trust as you remember His plan for you.
Enjoy your landings today friends.

And remember to bring home a few souvenirs while you're out in that 
great big world today. 

What have you learned this year?

If you have time to lengthen your landing, take a listen to Amos Lee singing,
"I've learned a lot" It's a great song!