5 Goals: Demolished

Yeah, this post ended up long too.  God is putting a lot of words in my mouth as usual.  So if the posts are too much, coming too fast, just look at the artwork.  But if you want to know more….read on bloggy friends.Scan-035I had the drawing of the hand first in my journal.  Then I came across these words on Pinterest and I knew just where I wanted them.

DEMOLISH.  Isn’t that a fun word?  Sometimes I love the English language.  Another word lately I am loving is DANGLING.  I like how they feel rolling around my mouth, how they move my lips, the sounds they make.  I do not like the words moist, treat or Lord.  Yuck.  They feel funny.

Anyway, I digress.  DEMOLISH, not only does it sound good, it is overflowing with meaning.  It is not just to finish, not just done, it is:

de·mol·ish
[dih-mol-ish]
VERB (USED WITH OBJECT)
1.
to destroy or ruin (a building or other structure), especially on purpose; tear down; raze.
2.
to put an end to; destroy; explode: The results of his research demolished many theories.
3.
to lay waste to; ruin utterly: The fire demolished the area.
4.
Informal. to devour completely: We simply demolished that turkey.
OOOOO, there are more favorite words in there:  DEVOUR, EXPLODE, RAZE, RUIN.
That is what I want to do with my goals this year!  How about you?  What if we each set just five goals.  One for each finger.  And then what if we exploded them?  Demolished each goal one by one by one?  What if by the end of the year we had devoured each one and razed our life?  Broke it down on purpose to RAISE up a new life?  To utterly and completely be in our own life?
That could be pretty powerful.  I just got goosebumps thinking about it.  It is a little scary, don’t you think?  But think of the power that could have in our lives!  The positive effects that could take place.  The goals could be anything:  big things, tiny pieces of one big goal, moderately sized conditions.
You know my main goal:  OBEY.  My other four are pieces of that big one:  one for artwork, one for reading, one for my family, and one for my head.  If I can count those out on my phalanges then the thumb will be almost complete.
I hope you are able to demolish some goals this year.

 

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A new year, a new goal

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I lied, this post is chatty.  I promise to make the next few less wordy.  But this one needs the length.

Last year I couldn’t decide on a “word” for the year.  I tried to use several, and I lost focus about July.  I was still trying to stretch and grow into God’s plans for me, and that I think I accomplished.

I am not really a resolution kind of girl.  I never follow through on those.  I am a list maker, so perhaps those count as goals?  Yes, probably as goals.  As last year waned, my life changed, and as I became introspective, one thought seemed to surface more and more:  I want to do God’s will.  As more and more of the artwork was faith based, as more and more of the blog posts were faith based as well, I looked at myself critically.

And not in a bad, depression way, but clearly.  And specifically, I looked at my faith and my role as a Christian, or Christ follower or disciple, in particular.  Moving churches , a new study, and looking back at many of the experiences that have shaped my faith helped precipitate this. I have been thinking a lot about what I believe, why I believe, how I believe, what is comforting worship to me vs. what others prefer, and how I practice what I believe.   I want to be able to articulate the answers to all of those questions better.

I know that I have always had a deep faith in Jesus.  I have questioned all sorts of doctrines and theologies, denominations, I went through a feminist stage in college, and the result is my faith has become my own, not just beliefs my parents or a church indoctrinated.  I have always been a church goer, and served at each parish.  I have always felt like I practiced religion, and yet I have had many people discount my faith as not worthy, not as good, not as deep, not as pure, not the same.

Why?  So, other questions came to my mind.  Does my faith show on the outside?  Do I come across as a disciple or a hypocrite?  Am I a Samaritan or a Pharisee?  And do I question and judge the faith of others right back?

Which leads me to this year’s word and goal:  OBEY.  I want to really study what God planned for me.  And not just stretch into it, but to accept it wholeheartedly and to run with it.  Not what I think He wants, but what He wants.  I used the good ole thesaurus to look up meanings and synonyms.  I love assent.  I am willingly giving over my life.  I am going to comply with His rules, His expectations, His commands.  I want my faith to be visible.  I never want someone to question the sincerity of my faith ever again.

Be prepared.  This might be a common topic this year.

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Live long and Prosper

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This is a popular verse.  I do really like it.  This artwork is from last summer, but as I was reading a study recently it brought up this particular verse in relationship to people taking it out of context.  So I was curious and looked it up.  My guess is that the study author is referring to people looking for prosperity of material things.

In context, it is a letter Jeremiah sent to the elders of the Israelites who were exiles in Babylonia.  They were to establish homes, go ahead and live life, and pray for the welfare of the state.  God promises that after seventy years He will listen and restore them, bringing them back together as a nation.  Nothing about winning a lottery, long life–in fact you are going to be lucky to last the seven decades in reality, getting what you want, or immediate satisfaction here.

Interesting.

Like so many other verses in the Bible, God is not promising immediate action.  He does not promise earthly wealth.  God promises HIS prosperity and hope.  He does think of us, always planned to bring Christ, always planned grace, always planned to pull us back to Him.  What could show more prosperity than that?

My hope is that my faith will prosper so that I can live in the promise that I will return to Jesus one day.  That sounds like a pretty good reward to me.  What do you think?

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Be Awesome

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Have you ever seen Kid President?  I love this kid.  (Click the purple to see him.)  I could watch him everyday, all of his videos.  Such simple words, from an adorable kid.  The story behind him is inspiring, too.  Plus, he likes to dance.  That’s always a bonus in my book.

It’s funny when you focus on good stuff, how it seems to pour out of you.  When you try to do what God intended for you it just flows.  The last two months I have been flooded with art.  Between ideas from ya’ll and my devotions and just God working I had four journals going at once.  I would paint in one, and then while it dried, I would paint in another, and another, and another.  I couldn’t help myself.  I have scanned in something like 80 new pieces this month.  And I still haven’t shared everything from last summer.  I know, I am out of control.  Jeff thinks I should stop painting,  but then what the heck am I going to do?  Explode?

Well, kind of.  I am going to explode this blog.  If I don’t start blasting you with art I am never going to get my library of work organized.  So be prepared people!  I have a piece a day coming your way for the next two months.  I may not write, I may let the art stand alone.  But then again, I do get chatty.  We’ll just have to see.  I am warning you now.

What are you going to do to be awesome this year?

 

 

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A super moment

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There is one moment that stands out among all moments:  Christ’s birth.  And the angels proclaimed it because it was outstandingly special.

Luke 2: 10-14

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people;  to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign for you; you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Let us all proclaim it with shouts of joy this night.

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86,400 Goodness

Oh, God can be so good.  When we stop and look at all the little blessings in a day we can be reminded of this, even in the Blue of December, the bleak mid-winter.  It might be a box of oranges and sand and seashells–summer in a box from a precious Texas cousin.  It might be smiling faces of loved ones on Christmas cards.  It might be the sweetness of a cookie.  It might be a joke in your favorite holiday movie.  It might be the glow of an Advent candle.

 

Look for them.  Notice the thousands of moments that God gives us each day.  There are 86,400 seconds in a day.  Surely at least half of them are good.  Even if they are when you are sleeping, filled with rest and peace.

Let’s do a little mind blowing math.

That is 31,536,000 opportunities a year to feel blessed.  If you have a MILLION good moments, that is a lot of thankful for.  Ten percent is 3 million moments.  THREE million, and that is only ten percent.  Three million are probably bad, too.

So if three million are really good, and three million are bad, that still leaves 25, 536,000 moments of in the middle.  That is a lot.

God is good.  All the time.Scan-016

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Stillness

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A perfect storm is near.  It could be fantabulous.  It could be crazy.  Who knows?

Now is the calm before that storm.

You know that, so take a minute.  Let this blog post be your reminder.  Take five minutes, right now if you can.  Find someplace quiet.  I will probably hide in the laundry room–they want nothing to do with that place.  The bathroom, outside, they will find me.  (They being the children and Jeff and the dog).  Where can you go that will be quiet?  Go there.

Then…be STILL.

Enjoy the quiet.  Know that God is with you, that Jesus came to carry you.

Fill your soul with as much peace as possible.

Then…eat a bunch of sugar, turn up some oldies Christmas tunes, wrap yourself in tape and wrapping paper and just roll with the storm.

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He is coming!

Oooh!  The countdown is coming close!  He is coming!  How are you preparing?  Are you ready for HIM?  Not Santa, that we will never be ready  for, but for our Savior.  This is one birthday I will always want to celebrate.    I will sing with the trees and the angels.  Let’s all do it together.

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Sparkle

Back to some fun artwork!  Wow, I can get heavy sometimes, so it is time to lighten up a little.  And what better way than with some sparkle and glitter? Even those of us in a blue period can enjoy some little kid sparkle.

 

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Kids are the perfect sparkle sprinklers.  They can’t help it.  I loved that ToysRUs commercial last year when the clerk told people, “Have a super sparkly day!!!”  I refer to Phoebe’s freckles as her sparkles coming out of her skin.  Her nickname, by the way, is Princess Sparkle.  I love a little kid Christmas pageant full of dressed up babies who can barely pay attention long enough to stand there let alone sing.  I love seeing their eyes light up at the sight of Santas.  I love the twinkle of lights on a tree. I love the sparkle of a crystal glass holding wine at the end of the day.

How about you?  What sparkle do you enjoy?

Take a few minutes each day this week to find some sparkle.  And no matter how hard it is, let it invade your soul.  Stand there for five minutes and revel in it.  If you can’t spread it yourself, let someone enjoy sprinkling you.

Go forth and find some glitter people!

 

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Be Brave

One more for this series, then back to the Christmas stuff.

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I don’t remember if I intended to add more to this one or not.  I ran out of pens for awhile and had to wait to add the black lettering and by then, I just sort of liked the simplicity of this one.

Of course, a song was running through my head…Sara Bareilles Brave.  (click for the video) This video is FUN.  I totally wish I had been in it.  It’s people dancing in public, and they are average people who are just filled with the spirit of dance.  Love it.  I can see my sister and I doing this actually.

But the message in the lyrics is the best:

when the words are kept on the inside, sometimes the shadow wins

I wonder what would happen if you would let the Light in

…your history of silence won’t do you any good. let your words be anything but empty, why aren’t you telling the truth?

Say what you want to say and let the words fall out

Honestly, I want to see you be brave

 

Let the words out. confess them, pray them, sing them, dance them, share them, BE BRAVE.  And HEAL.

Praying with you my bloggy friends.  Christ’s peace.

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Plum and Breathe

Actually the song is by Plumb (click here for song)

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I originally did not plan to share this journal page when I made it earlier this fall.  It is pretty raw.  The song was my anthem a few years ago.  It still is one of my favorites, but now I am able to listen and know that God did hear me.  But, transparency is good, right?  And this goes with this week’s theme, and maybe it will speak to one of you.

The lyrics say it perfectly when you are in a Blue December, or any month for that matter.  For me, this song was an all out prayer..me singing at the top of my lungs, beating on my steering wheel.  Now, it is with my head bent and my hands spread wide so I can feel little spirit tingles.  Does music do that for you?  Do you get goose bumps or tingling in your fingers when it really touches you?  Obviously, I get that.

Remember how I said I was doing better earlier this week?  Yeah, well, the Christmas/end of the month/feeling a cold coming on/crazy schedules/not getting everything accomplished/my family annoying me/feeling a spiral coming of guilt that it could be worse/I better do something to get myself in order …HIT.  I am actually yelling to God right now that I NEED him.  Just trying to be transparent.

We are praying for you.  My hands are spread wide lifting you up.  I have a feeling you are praying for me too.   I am so thankful for all of you who stop by.  God knows you need Him.  He will keep your breaths steady.  He will keep mine steady.

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Orange and Hope

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God is our refuge in the storms.  And every storm does have an ending.  Some are loud with thunder and ominous clouds–and then just pass by.  Some come quickly with devastating power and consequences.   I remember a storm this summer, the birds were the first to realize it was coming.  But they stayed seated on the wires, trusting they would be fine.

Even when I was at my worst, I felt blessed to be able to turn to God.  I knew that He had created me, loved me, and wanted better for me.  I took refuge in Him and it helped.

I hope that you are able to take refuge in Him.

I also hope that you understand you don’t have to stand alone.  That was my mistake, I tried to fix it myself, and I needed a community of people to help me.  Let us pray for you.  Leave a comment today here, or on the facebook page of how we can pray for you this Blue December.

One prayer at a time.

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Green and Understanding

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 One green leaf + one green leaf+ one green leaf = the tree of life

The sermon I heard this weekend focused on Blue December.  How it isn’t easy.  One of his points was the idea that the first Christmas was no walk in the park, but more likely one hot mess.  The things that we try to see as quaint and peaceful, probably made Mary want to shake her fist.  Let me list them:  not married, riding a donkey–pregnant, no rooms at the inns–not even space at a Super 8, giving birth next to a cow or sheep or goat–and all that goes with that, and a ton of people crowding in to see her right away–strangers no less.  Then add in Joseph and his questions, Herod’s killing spree, and then you know, lets move to Egypt (the land of slavery for their ancestors) all by ourselves.  And all of this without any government or family support.

If I had been Mary I would have been wondering what in the world was going on.

Have you heard the saying God only gives us what we can handle?  I have prayed before, “God, I am not sure what you think my threshold is, but according to me we have maxxed it out.  Enough is enough already!”  I wonder if Mary hit that point?

There is so much in life we don’t understand.  So many things will seem bigger and worse because they are combined with the holidays.  We will never know just how Mary and Joseph handled that first Christmas emotionally.  But we do know this:  they believed and trusted God.  They believed that their son was beyond special.  They believed they had a job to do.  And they trusted God would get them through each hot mess presented to them.  And He did.  And He will for us as well.

I can think of four families right off the top of my head who seem to get hot messes thrown at them constantly–and on top of other issues, all four are dealing with cancer –that evil of all evils.  I am praying to God that they are maxxed out and that it will get better.  I am praying that the magnifier of December will lose some power.  I am praying that they will be able to trust and get them through it.

Time for us to pray.  To pray for understanding, belief, and trust.  Time to give it up and hand it over.  One hot mess at a time.  Or one thanksgiving and praise at a time.  One at a time.  Lifted up by many.  Sort of like green leaves on a tree…one leaf at a time fills the branches to create a fullness and a canopy of life.

 

 

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Blue and Burdens

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December can be hard, can’t it?

This year, I am handling it so much better than I have in YEARS.  In the past I have dreaded the Christmas season starting in October.  By the time December rolled around I was a mess, ready to crawl in a closet, crying at the drop of a hat.  By Christmas day, I was not fit to be around people.  The pressure I put on myself, the constant large parties and gatherings of people, the commercial nightmare of it all, Santa (not a fan), the shorter days and bleak skies, all of it rolled me into a ball of jangled nerves and depression soaked pores.  I detest gifts.  I am getting WAY better though, for the first time ever, I have enjoyed finding things.  I still am not good at receiving.  It is not that I don’t want to show love and appreciation, it is the stress of it, guilt, perfectionism, etc.  And most of it goes back to my issues with depression.

So between some  lovely little happy pills, journaling and prayer, and bi-weekly visits to the fake sun I am dealing this year!  So far no tangled tinsel.  See this post.

And then there all of you coping with the sadness and stress of:  illness, death, lost jobs, bills, divorces, broken relationships, bullying, and other forms of broken-ness.  Everywhere you look people are proclaiming it the best season, most wonderful season, of year.  Bah.  So many of you are where I usually am…crying, looking for hope, wanting to hide away for the season.  You have questions about why something has happened, or maybe not happened.  You miss loved ones.  It all seems different, strange, wrong.

People close understand, but in some ways not.  They think we should be able to put it aside and still enjoy the holidays.  Slap on a happy face until you really enjoy it.  That is not nearly as easy as it sounds.  Because the harder you try to do it on your own, the harder it gets.

Notice that three sentence paragraph up there.  I am getting some outside help.  I was able to give God those burdens and He lightened my soul.  I thank Him each morning for the happy pills, for giving me the strength to admit my body needs the help.  I thank Him each day for His words of comfort in the Bible and his grace, that though I might flounder that day He will always love and walk with me with forgiveness for my shortcomings no matter the season.  I thank Him for encouraging me to let it all spill onto paper in color and words.

I hope that you are able to find hope and peace in God’s words.  I pray that you are able to hand over some of the burdens and let Him carry you.  Start small–give up not the BIG thing, but all of the other things that annoy you, remind you, frighten you–whether it be driving and traffic or deciding what to make for dinner–start small and give them away.  Think of it as filling God’s stocking–little stuffers to keep Him happy until you can unwrap the BIG thing and hand it over.  Thank Him for lightening your burden.  Thank Him for the grace to get through the day.  Thank Him for the peace to sleep and rest.  Start small, but start.  And the more you hand over the lighter you will feel.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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