Saturday, April 29, 2006
So we are in the process of putting up the garage. It's a pre-fab building 40'x30'. The rebar is going in today, then the footings and slab as soon as the building inspector gives his okay. The garage is going up to the left of the house(the front right corner of the garage will be about where the red truck is sitting in the picture). I am putting some plants in the front yard. Moving them from next to the house to the front yard. You are not supposed to have any large plants next to your house in case of fire--there are no fire hydrants out here in the sticks and your well pump does not have enough pressure to put out a fire. The problem is with the dirt in this area. It is like moondust--except when it gets wet and drys out. Then it's like concrete! So digging holes and digging up plants to move them is a many day process of watering and digging, watering and digging. I moved the smallest plant yesterday and it's roots went down 4 feet. I hope the bigger plants don't go down 10 feet!
We bought a variety of used pavers and have been laying the 12" x 12" flat square in the front porch/carport area. We got some scalloped ones that make a circle and that's what I am putting the plants in. I have 5 of those. Then we have some round ones like stepping stones that we will make a path with. We are going to do a dry creek in the front yard too because if you don't want your yard to wash away during the monsoon season, you need to direct the water.
That's why I am putting the circular things around the plants. Monsoons come here anytime from August to October, but not regularly. You have to rely on the weather service in the Phoenix stations to forewarn of impending storms. There can be major flooding and the washes get full and can be quite dangerous. Monsoon season takes planning.
So, I am going back to work--see you all later!
Friday, April 21, 2006
I limit myself and my life. I think, "I can't do that" There should be no such word as can't--it's really "won't". I limit what God can do in my life by my fears and all those are based on is not wanting to look stupid. I know the Lord has much more in store for me. God wants to increase me–He wants to give me more wisdom to make better decisions. He wants to give me a stronger walk so I can overcome my frustration and outbursts. Yesterday He turned on another lightbulb when I spoke (once again)without thinking first. I realized I am often speaking out of emotion instead of thought. Then I say things that I regret saying and even with an apology, cannot really ever take it back. That emotion is based on old crap in my life, not the present! Get unstuck from that old rut of outbursts and apologies. That's not all there is to life. He wants to give me His strength to control my outbursts, so I can be a blessing to others. God has new frontiers for me to explore and higher mountains to climb! So I can say with great confidence that my best days are come.
Proverbs says, "The path of the righteous gets brighter and brighter and brighter." If I'm going to start experiencing these new victories, I must do my part and start thinking the way God thinks. Think positive, find the good in all things. Start expecting the miracles!
Father, sometimes the frustration of the moment consumes me and I lose sight of Your will for me. Let me dig to the root of where that comes from. Search me and remove that diseased part of me. I am ready to experience the wonderful things you have in store for me!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Inspired by Sunday's sermon to choose the positive outlook and by Carol at "She Lives" http://she-lives.typepad.com/she_lives I am going to write my 10 simple pleasures.
1. prayer time with Marlene
2. my sleep number bed
3. the new puppy's enthusiasm
4. Christian women's blogs
5. free minutes on the cell phone
6. sugar-free chocolate
7. ice water
8. holding hands with Phil
9. those incredible Arizona sunsets
10. my car
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
He said that research shows that we all do "self talk" all throughout the day. Studies show that we self-talk at about 400 words a MINUTE! Is our self-talk negative or positive? I know that a lot of my self-talk is negative. I began listening to what I say to myself. I call myself stupid, dummy, dimwit and even worse words--sometimes I say them out loud where Phil can hear me or even when I am alone. I never realized that I even did that until he talked about it on Sunday. These are words that my dad used to say to me. What a blessing Sunday service was.....it made me aware of this. I will replace the negative talk with things like: I am valuable, Jesus died to make me His child. I can do this with the Lord's help.
If we practice being positive, over and over, we will get good at it, just like with anything else that you practice at. We have to train our subconscious to think differently. WE have to work at it. Anything worth having is worth working at. If we want a beautiful flower garden, don't we have to plant, water, fertilize, prune and pull weeds? If we want a delicious dinner, don't we have to make a list, shop, prepare, cook, plate it and serve? How much more important is it to spend time in the Word of God and in prayer with Him? Sometimes retraining our subconscious takes a long time because we have spent a long time putting in the negative stuff--just think of how much negative stuff we see and hear in a day--what about what we watch on television or listen to on the radio. Every bit of info is stored in our subconscious just like on a computer hard drive. I need to delete the negative things and rewrite with positive. I want to retrain my subconscious to automatically think of something positive in each situation. So I will begin to practice, practice, practice!
Saturday, April 15, 2006
As I promised, here is the final installment of the story:
That First Easter Morning
by John Fischer of the Purpose Driven Life
In the nearby barracks, a soldier snored on in thick oblivion. Soon his comrades would wake up to wicked hangovers, a usual Sunday morning experience. Things were always quiet on the Jewish Sabbath, so Saturdays became party time for the Roman soldiers. Out in the courtyard, roosters crowed, and Peter, curled up next to a stone wall, was sure he heard every last one of them. He hadn’t been sleeping, either. All those great plans and dreams for himself and his nation had vanished with three denials and two rooster crows. Roosters had been rattling and cackling in his brain for two nights. They wouldn’t let him sleep, and they wouldn’t let him forget that look on the Savior’s face that left him frozen in his betrayal.
On the edge of town, three women made their way quietly through abandoned narrow streets, clutching vials of sweet-smelling perfume. In the hazy light of early morning, they were headed for Joseph’s garden, where the remains of the man they pinned their hopes on as the Son of God laid without proper respect. There had been no time on Friday to anoint the funeral wrappings, and such activity was forbidden on the Sabbath. Nicodemus and Joseph had done a credible job with limited time and little preparation, but it fell to the women to complete the burial requirements – as much for their own sake as for the sake of the custom.
Just when they started to wonder who might help them move the huge stone over the face of the tomb, they found, lo and behold, that the stone had already been moved away. The soldiers guarding it shifted on the ground in a deep sleep; the wrappings that should have been around the body lay limply on the rocky shelf inside. And an angelic being, bright and glorious, asked a question that would change them and the world forever: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
May your Easter celebrations be filled with the same joy and wonder these women experienced on that first Easter morning!"
Friday, April 14, 2006
By John Fischer of the Purpose Driven Life
(Part II of a three-part series of historical fiction around the events of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.)
Better late than never, Nicodemus thought as he waited for Joseph of Arimathea to return from his meeting with Pilate. The sky was black with night, and the torches around the crosses cast long flickering shadows over the hillside. Only the shadows danced. The bodies were still, none stiller than the one in the middle. They had found each other, Joseph and Nicodemus: two wealthy Jews. Too well-connected to risk following Jesus in life, they had finally risen to the occasion now in his death and were prepared to ensure proper care and burial for the body.
Nicodemus had watched the crucifixion the way he followed Jesus for the last three years – from a distance. Now in the darkness, he ventured closer. Suddenly, a tear-stained face filled his vision as if out of nowhere.
“Aren’t you … ?”
“Nicodemus.” He finished it for the man. “I have followed from afar. I wanted to come closer, but I’ve been foolish and afraid. Now I am too late.”
“No, you aren’t. You are here,” said John, newly named son of Mary. “Come.”
John gently took Nicodemus’ arm and guided him closer to the women who were still huddled near the cross. They were in shock, out of touch with everything, even grief. Nicodemus had first resisted John, but once he was in the light and the company of the others, he broke into a thousand pieces inside and started to cry uncontrollably. Suddenly he was touched and held and surrounded by people he did not even know, and they all seemed thankful for a fresh supply of tears.
Nicodemus looked into the faces of people he would have judged hours earlier and wondered at what he saw in their eyes. These were unlearned peasants, but they seemed so much wiser than he. Then he looked at the body of Jesus, and in the lifeless form on the cross he saw himself – a tired old self-righteous man, weary of justifications and the foolish arrogance that kept him from people. He saw the ugliness of his pride and the lies by which he tried to maintain his superiority. He saw it all and hated himself in that moment, and he wept bitterly, alternately abhorring and longing for the touch he was receiving from those around him.
“He spoke of you often,” said John with his arm on Nicodemus’ shoulder. “He said you were one of the few in your position who could see.”
“He did?” Nicodemus raised his wet eyes and wiped them with the sleeve of his robe. “I didn’t know myself ... until just now.”
Up until now, Nicodemus had been dealing with Jesus and the prophets and the nation of Israel and the Gentiles in his mind – each part fitting like clues to a mystery that drew him closer and closer to the cross as if he were following a long shadow toward its source. But now that he was there, right to it, standing right in front of God’s intervention in human history, with all his knowledge and the new revelations he had gained, all he could see was Nicodemus and the sin of Nicodemus. And all he could do was weep, but not the bitter tears of self-pity and remorse he was used to. This was a longed-for release – strangely sweet, cleansing tears, the first blush of forgiveness, in the process of being won by the man on the cross.
Today is the comemmoration of Jesus' death on the cross. Father, let me pause today to remember what that means to me as your child who was purchased at this great price.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
My pastor spoke about it on Sunday, which put me more at ease with how to deal with non-Christians bringing it up to me and then when I was reading something on the Billy Graham website, it made it clear in my mind why so many worldly people spend so much time trying to disprove the Bible and that Jesus was God and died for our sins.
Dr. Graham says: "To many people the mention of the blood of Christ is distasteful. It grates upon their proud egos to think that such a price had to be paid for their wickedness. A deep revulsion arises within them when we mention the precious blood of Christ and His supreme sacrifice on the cross. To the natural man Jesus' suffering and death are foolishness.
The message of the blood and the Cross and the work of redemption are still foolishness to a people who would like to believe that man can save himself by his own goodness. Modern man is in conflict with the truth of God at this point.
God speaks of a fall and a condemnation, and His key word is grace. Modern man speaks of the soul's native goodness, its aspirations and natural good will. Man's key word is works.God speaks of the depths into which men have fallen and the depravity of the natural man. Man boasts of his nobility, his ideals and his progress. God calls men to believe in Christ or be lost. Man says that it is enough to try to be like Christ. God says that Christ is the Savior of the world. Man says that Christ is just a great example.
We have drifted away from the biblical truth: "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22, NIV). God said that as a result of our rebellion and sin, man must die. Jesus Christ became our substitute. He suffered our death on the cross. That blood is essential and indispensable for our salvation. Without its mark upon us, we are unfit to come into the presence of the holy and righteous God."
The full message is at this address: http://www.billygraham.org/DMag_SpiritualHelp_Article.asp?ArticleID=671
Ah Ha! This is why the world works so hard at disproving! Especially at this time of year when Christians comemmorate Christ's death and resurrection. You can't need grace unless you admit you are a sinner. You can't accept salvation unless you are in need of saving.
Lord, Jesus, thank you for salvation and grace.
Yours truly in love,
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
The most precious drops in the world
by John Fischer
(Part I of a three-part series of historical fiction around the events of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.)
"The wounds on his hands bled slowly. Pressure from the weight of his body held back the flow. If there had been no other sounds that afternoon, it probably would have sounded like the slow, steady drip off the eaves of a mountain cabin on a damp, foggy night.
But there were many sounds. Taunts from the soldiers, weeping and wailing from the women near the feet of Jesus, even careless laughter from children playing haphazardly around the perimeter of the crucifixion hill, oblivious to the significance of this particular execution. Small dark puddles would gather briefly under the top beam of the cross, only to be covered by the shuffle of a guard’s feet. And then it would start in again: drip … drip … drip – little droplets seen but not heard.
Mary saw them. She stared at the puddle through her bloodshot eyes while his life flashed before her, and it seemed to her that the earth swallowed His blood as if it had been created for this. As if it were drinking its fill and would thirst no more. Then she slowly turned her eyes up to his face, and her breath failed her. He already had her in the grasp of his eyes. It was the first time He had looked at her from the cross, and suddenly it seemed as if she were falling into a bottomless abyss. She looked until she could bear it no more and turned her eyes away so she could catch her breath again. Once more her gaze went to the small puddle in the dirt, and it seemed now that she, and only she, could hear the droplets landing, loud enough to shut out all other sounds.
She heard His words spoken to her: “Dear woman, here is your son.” And to the disciple he loved, “Here is your mother.”
Soon after that, the dripping stopped, right after the earth shook and Jesus cried out with a voice that nearly shut down Mary’s heart for good. And all was still except for the sucking, sporadic breathing coming from the other two criminals.“This one’s already dead,” said one of the guards. “Can you believe that?” “No need to break his legs, I guess,” said another.
“Well, just to make sure …” One of them approached the dead body of Jesus with his spear, and before Mary could scream out, “No!” he thrust its tip up into the torso of the Son of God just under the ribs. Her scream and the sudden flow of blood and water came out at the same time.
Disgusted, the guard wiped a few drops from his face and walked away, oblivious to the fact that these were drops of blood that could set him free forever."
Lord, Jesus, if I praise you continuously from now until the end of my life, it will never be enough thanks for loving me so much that You were willing to suffer and die the way you did on the cross. I love you, Jesus, with all my heart!
Friday, April 07, 2006
This morning, I reread Diana's blog, www.dianaway.blogspot.com and was reminded of how the Lord can stop us right in the middle of anything and inspire change--if we are listening for His voice. I want to always be listening!
I read Carol's blog, http://she-lives.typepad.com/she_lives/ and thought about the beauty of aging gracefully. I thought about God's grace and how He wants to bestow His Grace on us. We just have to be receptive. I considered my own aging as I sit here with a back ache from placing concrete pavers in our patio yesterday afternoon. I remember my Grandmother, when she was about 92 and getting senile--she looked in the big mirror in the dining room and said, "Who is that old lady?" My mom told her, "That's you!" And Grandma looked again, and just laughed and said "no that's not me" and did a double take. It took her a moment, after waving to herself in the mirror to realize that was her. I believe that when we leave vanity behind and replace it with God's grace, we can age gracefully and embrace all that the Lord has to offer us in this life.
I read Kelli B's blog, http://kelliburrier.blogspot.com/ and was inspired to write a list of my own. Thanks! Kelli! Am I going to post it here for all the world to see? Hmmmm, let me think on that one. I want to write it out first in long hand and see how big it gets. Then I'll pare it down to really do-able things.
I was reading Veronica's two blogs, http://eventhestarslooklonesome.blogspot.com/ and http://homeiswhereonestartsfrom.blogspot.com/ but she hasn't posted in a while. If you can, read some of her past posts . She is very insightful. I miss her. Sure wish she had an email that I could tell her I miss her postings!
I get daily inspirational emails from The Purpose Driven Life www.purposedrivenlife.com and Joel Osteen www.joelosteen.com Ministries. I usually watch on television and use the website of Joyce Meyer www.joycemeyer.org
I have a full life online, but I need to find a home church. I have yet to find one that feels like home to me. I miss the church that I used to attend in Orange County and I am looking for one like it. Maybe there aren't any in this area. I'll keep looking, though. I am following the Lord's leading in this.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
I have heard it said that one of the benefits of prayer is that it changes you--not that is changes things, but rather my attitude toward things.
That happened today. Not during prayer time, not during quiet time, but when I was writing an e-mail to my friend. The e-mail started with a long complaint about someone I know who had done something that upset me very much. When I thought about what I was writing, I realized that writing that to her would only upset her, so I deleted all of it. Then I was going to complain about my husband(we both tend to complain about our husbands to each other). As I started to type the words, Jesus stepped in and stopped me. I waited and listened. The Lord gave me such an "ah ha" moment that I was blown away. Now to most of you, it might seem just common sense, but within the context of my marriage and the interaction that my spouse and I have always had, it was an incredible insight for me.
Phil is a real easy going guy. He isn't a born leader, he is a follower. I have always been the decisive one in our marriage--bossy and overbearing, you might say. I can argue my point with the best debaters in the world and win the argument. I always said that this setup suited me just fine. Even though the Bible tells women to submit to their husbands, I didn't think that it applied to me, because my husband didn't lead.
I know now that God wants me to submit to my husband and how to do it. I have been waiting on Phil to lead and all he does is sit around, except when there is a drag race coming up, then he's full of energy, which I resent. That resentment comes out of me in angry outbursts, arguing and just a general lack of respect for him when I speak to him. What the Lord showed me today, is that I need wait for the right opening to start a conversation and suggest things to do in a non-nagging way. I know that the Lord will give me that opening. I need to modulate my tone of voice and let go of past frustrations that we have had. When Phil makes a suggestion for an activity, I can agree with him, instead of always stating my opinion(arguing, as he calls it). If I agree with him, what will it hurt? We might put a plant in a different spot or place bricks in a different way--so what? My way isn't always the best way, even though I often thought that!
Phil never says anything against my faith in Jesus or in any way prevents me from prayer time or church activities, so I am blessed in that area of my life. I finally have a clear picture of what God wants from me in submitting to my husband. By uplifting Phil, I can make him a better leader. To uplift him, I need to follow his lead and give him props for taking the lead. If he just wants to sit, I can start an activity without being resentful or nagging him. It will be good for both of us. And our marriage will be the way God intended.
Thank you Lord for the miracle that you gave me today. Give me your strength to hold on to the change you have made in my thinking.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I learned yesterday that we are finally receiving a settlement on the robbery that occured in our home last September. We lost about $20,000 worth of items. We are receiving $2,800 in compensation. My biggest personal loss was jewelry that had been handed down to me through the family. My grandmother's engagement ring and another ring that she had given me. Rings given to me on birthdays, necklaces and earrings made by my friend who is a jewelry designer, the ring I had given to Phil when we married and many other pieces that meant a lot to me in terms of memories. The robbers stole my great-grandmother's mantle clock, which didn't work, had been broken and repaired and I saved it from the trash when my uncle who had it was throwing it out. The theives couldn't get any money for it, but I had it in a place of honor in my house and I guess that's why they took it.
I know they are just things, but most of those things had memories attached. (Except my brand new Dell computer). I am very sentimental and have always had trouble getting rid of things that people have given me because I attach pleasant memories to them. For instance, my high school class ring was stolen. My parents didn't have much money at all and it was a hardship for them to get that ring for me. I didn't wear it any longer, and I'm sure it wasn't worth very much money because of being a ring for a Catholic girls high school in Pomona, but it represented my parents love and sacrifice.
I know in the great scheme of my life that jewelry and clocks and computers aren't important. I know that there are people who have lost everything--not just things but homes and livelihoods and even loved ones. My walk with the Lord should be most important thing in my life. I thought I had gotten past the loss of these items, but when I heard from our insurance company last evening, the sadness at the loss opened up again. I guess I am having a little "pity party" this morning. I'm going to snap out of it with prayer and thanks to the Lord for all He has given me that cannot be stolen. I will hang on to the things that are really important: Salvation, faith, grace, hope, joy, peace, patience and love. Close and loving family relationships, a dear husband, wonderful friends, three cute doggies, a nice house and car, a computer and the interenet. What more could I want? I need to divest myself of more things so I have time to appreciate important relationships rather than spending my time with things.
Lord, reveal yourself to me. I am ready to live the life you planned for me! You knew me before I was even born and I trust that You will lead me to victory in this life. In Jesus' name – Amen.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Even though I don't direct my anger toward anyone but myself, it spills over to the whole household. My husband, thinks it must be something that he has done, the dogs cower and run because they think they are in trouble. Immediately, I regret my outburst, but there's no taking it back. It's done. I don't want to do it, but it just explodes out of me.
I want to ask for prayer on this, because even though these outbursts have happened less and less often, I am still having them. I still try to control them by my own strength and will. I want to add this to my prayer list that my friend and I pray about each morning. Will you pray for me? Thank you.
I want my daily life to be a prayer to Jesus and angry outbursts take me away from that. I know that the lesson is to lean on the Lord for my strength in dealing with this. I understand that focusing on little frustrations keep me from thinking about the big issues, which I tend to place on a back burner in my mind. I avoid dealing with the big issue (or issues) and because they are not resolved, I get upset over little things instead.
Lord, give me your strength to take care of the things that I can. Remind me to lean on you for everything, even the little frustrations of daily living.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
When Kelli wrote to me today, telling me about some men at her workplace(2 atheists and a non-christian catholic), saying to her, that prayer doesn't work and other comments about, "you christians". It made me think, what do non-christians around us think we believe?
The best way to find out is to ask them, "What do you think a Christian is? What do you think I believe? Once we find that out, we can really tell them what we believe. We need to explain it in words they can understand, not Christian catch-phrases or references to Bible verses(without quoting them) that they wouldn't know about. We need to be clear and concise; it's not an opening for a sermon.
Jesus saved me because I chose to believe in Him and I confessed that I was a sinner and asked for forgiveness. I believe that I am forgiven for my sins and saved into life after death by the blood of Jesus' death on the cross as He interceded for me with the Father. I believe in the Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit--three persons in one God. I believe that the Son, Jesus became human for the sake of saving all who believed in Him. I believe that the Bible is the word of God and I can learn about Him and how to live my life by reading it. I talk to my Lord through prayer, that the Holy Spirit dwells in me and He can speak for me to God when I have no words to express how I feel. I believe in the grace of God, that I am not perfect(far from it), but I am forgiven. I believe that my prayers are always answered--sometimes in that moment, sometimes later or sometimes the answer is "no" or "wait". And sometimes prayer is way for me to change my attitude about someone or some event. I believe in that Jesus will come again, as He promised for his people, the trumpet will sound and those of us still alive will be caught up into the air to be with Him. I believe that there will be a final spiritual battle on earth for those that are left behind and they will choose God or Satan to be with for eternity. That there will be the Final Judgement and those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. I believe that I will see the throne of God live in the Holy City forever.
Amen. Come swiftly, Lord Jesus!
I want to make my daily life a prayer to God, but often get entangled in the world. I have to live here and often I get caught up in the details and lose sight of the big picture. I guess that's why they say, "The devil is in the details", huh? As I've said before, and it says in Ephesians 6 we are in a spiritual battle here on earth. I've chosen my side, have you?