Under the dark shadow of a tree called envy
distorted all things will appear
lines and contours grotesquely twisted
the horizon stands up on its ear
The world and reality bent out of shape
by a heart so damaged it just can’t see straight
pride greed and malice companions these three
cling tightly to envy like roots to a tree
And roots they are of the foulest kind
nourishing self til they make it divine
St. Paul named himself Wretched and pled for release
from the body of death and the sin that won’t cease
And thanked with his next breath our God great and good
Who through Christ and His cross cut the root where it stood
Planting His Spirit down deep in its place
giving it new life and a wellspring of grace
Let another tree grow instead God said
casting light not a shadow ‘ore all
one whose leaves never wither
nor dry up and fall
bearing fruit we call love
offered joyfully to all
Envy= a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage, to begrudge.
. . .Love envies not
1 Corinthians 13: 4
I’ve been thinking recently about the damaging emotions that suck the love and joy from our lives.
Maybe you’ve seen quotes and graphics on FB and Pinterest with things like ‘Comparison is a thief’.
It’s true, but the deeper problem is rooted in our hearts.
It began in the garden and has been part of man’s experience ever since.
We want more.
We want what others have.
Their job, their hair, their money, their spouse.
The list is endless.
But, our faith should give us respite from the old cycle.
It should convince our minds that God is a generous and wise giver.
We’re counseled “Be content with such things as you have.”
I’ve experienced envy, as you can tell from the poem!
It’s not pretty.
It calls up the most evil of feelings and will ultimately find it’s way to what you say because ‘out of the abundance of the heart the mouth WILL SPEAK’.
I wrote the definition of envy on a post-it note and tucked it in my Bible so that painful or resentful awareness would be a cue to me that I was not being controlled by the Spirit and not walking in love.
It’s brought me joy and a deeper fellowship as I LEAN INTO GOD when I feel that old painful resentment.
Until we escape these bodies we are going to have to cope with temptation!
Make a plan for yourself!!!
How are you going to break the cycle of temptation and sin that leads to broken fellowship and diminished joy in your life?
What dark Gremlins stalk your heart and lurk in your thoughts?
How can you rebuff their efforts?
Faith isn’t a feeling.
It’s a deep conviction, a belief, that God has told us the truth.
What truth has God shared that relates to your Gremlins?
And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
If you struggle but don’t know where to find truth that will build your faith and help you battle the Gremlins—leave a comment and I’ll respond with some truth to help you 😉
We all struggle with sin, but God wants us to walk in the light not live in the shadows.
Photo by Ales Krivec https://unsplash.com
It’s a rainy morning—FINALLY!
(I live in drought plagued California)
While skimming through my emails I found one from Ann Handley, the author of Everybody Writes.
I subscribed to Ann’s site because I want to be a better writer, but also because she’s a guide to the good stuff on the Internet 😉
Think of the Internet as a giant forest and Ann as the seasoned guide who knows which berries you can eat and where to find water and shelter.
This morning she served up a feast of yummy berries!
Directing her readers to Distance, the monthly online magazine produced by a project management company called Basecamp, she introduced us to a special spot in the forest.
A place that offers “quirky” uplifting stories featuring quality writing about something you’d think would BORING—but instead is fascinating. The stories are about companies that have been in business at least a quarter of a century.
No startup hero stories here.
Just regular people with less than sexy businesses delivering the good stuff to their customers over the long haul.
My Dad and Grandpa were plumbers and ran the Laundromat in our little hometown.
So when I saw a story about a Laundromat I couldn’t resist.
It didn’t disappoint!!!
I wanted to share it with my WordPress friends because I know you care about good storytelling.
Basecamp has been publishing Distance for about a year so you can choose from 11 great offerings, so far!
I subscribed via email so I won’t miss new stories.
Why is Basecamp publishing stories that aren’t about their own business?
They’re doing it because they believe it’s harder to stay in business than to start a business and they want to shine a light on how people have managed to do it.
It made me think about my Dry Cleaners, the Shoe Repair Shop, and the Knit Shop that all thrive in a little old outdated strip mall. Are they getting rich? No, I don’t think so, but they are there when I need them.
Without realizing it we all depend on these small business owners.
I get tired of the chain restaurants and long for a Mrs. Simon to open a little breakfast/lunch spot where I can take my grandkids.
*Mrs. Simon had a little cafe next to my Aunt & Uncle’s Shop Rite Market when I was a kid. It’s where my Dad took me for breakfast after we cleaned & opened the Laundromat on Saturday mornings 😉
You can read about The World’s Largest Laundromat here:
Here’s where Ann Handley writes about good writing:
Is there a business you depend on, but have taken for granted?
Next time you stop in share your appreciation and let them know they’ve helped make your life a little easier.
Tell a friend about them or mention it to your Facebook friends because sharing is nice 😉
Today I discovered a great tool for blogging.
It’s called easel.ly and you can find it at http://www.easel.ly
I love discovering and sharing cool Infographics, but I just don’t have the skills to make them on my own.
Hurray for the probably 20 year old freaky-gifted people who can make them and thought the rest of us might like to as well 😉 😉 😉
Bless you, bless you.
I also really love that autocorrect (or auto correct) thinks Infographic should be two words.
So here is my first try and you can’t believe everything you’ll read here.
Selecting a template that featured coffee consumption throughout the day, I simply tweaked it to fit my optimal day’s activities.
I totally don’t make dinner every night.
I also don’t have Devotions every single morning.
I couldn’t even write the part about exercising without laughing—all alone in my little office I’m still laughing.
This is art and fiction folks.
Homeschool Moms, you’ll find this sight helpful.
I saw lots of examples that were done by kid’s for their reports/term papers.
Here’s what I already love about easel.ly:
- It’s free. At least until you get greedy about the objects and want more, more, more. Then you have to go Pro which currently costs $3.00/month but opens 1000s of images, lots of fonts, and a partridge in a pear tree.
- It’s super easy. Compared to sites like Canva, which I love even though it makes me want to tear my hair out and try it all again over on PicMonkey, easel.ly is a breeze to use. When they say drag and drop they really mean drag and drop. BOOM.
- You can sign up with FB which is the most fun I’ve had with FB in a week. Google + is the other option. No additional User Name or Password to keep track of, YEAH.
- It opens up about a million ways to share more visually engaging content. Think about using it for recipes, DIY, poetry, or as a storytelling tool.
I originally found easel.ly.com through list.ly.com
That just looks weird in print, right?
You can find more cool resources from their list.
Now it’s your turn to show and tell.
Where are you finding new inspiration and help for your blog content?
I Will Worship You
Without the eloquence of a David
the fiery passion of an Isaiah
or the intimate knowledge of a Paul
In my own way
I will worship You
For the world and everything in it
declare divine design and infinite power
An incomparable mind
offering itself and all to us
I will worship You
See the lowly fern as fronds unfurl and hint of majestic robes
Rollicking Humpbacks make fluid play of strength
Birdsong a melody of grace
Whispered words from a bowed low face
I will worship You
Shadowed glimpses of Who You are
The gift hints of goodness beyond imagination
Power without limits says hello
Peerless wisdom extends an invitation to come and dine
I will Worship You
Photo Volkan Olmez https://unsplash.com
A man is already halfway in love with any woman who listens to him.
How well do you know your husband?
This year we’ll celebrate our 30th anniversary and yet this week I learned something new about my guy. That’s great because it opened up another way to show him how much I really love him.
Credit for my most recent discovery goes to Selland’s.
It’s a great little eatery near where I get my allergy shots. I have to wait at the Doctor’s office 30 minutes after I get my shots, so I drop by Selland’s first and grab a little lunch to eat in the car while I wait and hope that there’s not an EpiPen in my immediate future.
They sell a wonderfully delicious Broccoli Salad made with just 5 or 6 ingredients.
Of course one ingredient is bacon so it qualifies as Man Food 😉
I brought home the leftovers and Gary found it in the fridge and ate the remains of the day!
When I got home he asked me where I got that great Broccoli stuff.
Will you be shocked if I tell you that I’d never made Broccoli Salad?
Suddenly I had real motivation.
So I cornered the market on broccoli, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and really good bacon for my culinary quest to make a salad that would rival the one I bought at Selland’s.
My first attempt was a flop.
I made the rookie mistake of barely cooking the broccoli.
It was OK the first day, but it couldn’t stand the test of time. The next day it was, well, yucky.
Back to the cutting board and a second attempt.
Tonight I rolled out Broccoli Salad 2.0 and he loved it.
It’s a small thing, but love over time—like 30 years—is made up of lots of small things.
~and broccoli salad, don’t forget the broccoli salad.
Years ago, when women still ironed their husband’s shirts, a friend discovered that her husband appreciated her ironing a shirt for him each weekday, but really wanted the novelty of opening his closet on Monday and selecting from several already ironed shirts.
She listened and made the effort to say I love you enough to give you the simple pleasure of choice.
You never lose by loving.
You always lose by holding back.
Barbara de Angelis
What’s the last new thing you discovered about you man?
Now find a way to use that knowledge to say I love you, I care about your likes, I’m still paying attention to your happiness.
Feature Photo by Caleb George https://unsplash.com
It’s OK to admit you have limitations?
We are all just human.
You’ve heard that a 1000 times. You’ve said it yourself.
But I’ll bet you’ve gone on day after day without telling God that you’re at your wits end with the kids, or you simply can’t get everything around the house done on your own, or you’re afraid you won’t be successful at work.
When I get overwhelmed, overworked, or overextended I have two different default modes: RAMP IT UP—or SHUT IT DOWN.
Both are bad.
In Ramp It Up mode I try to power through life—which usually amplifies my exhaustion, frustration, and ineffectiveness.
It’s like a gambler doubling down to recoup his losses.
The hole just gets deeper and deeper!
When that doesn’t work I go into SYSTEM FAILURE.
I shut down.
Do you do this too?
Vegging out in front of the TV, surfing the web, hours on Pinterest & Facebook, and aimlessly strolling through Target are symptoms of SHUT DOWN mode for me.
Every move is an evasive maneuver.
What’s it look like when you shut down?
Knowing your own responses can be key to getting up and running again.
Don’t confuse rest with SHUT DOWN.
Rest is important; we’ll talk more about that in a minute.
But first let me ask you this:
How realistic are your own expectations of yourself?
We tend to live life like people dining at Hometown Buffet—piling our plates impossibly high.
I love how practical the Bible is, how applicable to our everyday lives.
It’s not holy words reserved for Sundays, or special occasions like weddings and funerals.
It’s packed full of truth for ordinary people living ordinary lives.
My Bible speaks to Moms and Dads, to employees and entrepreneurs, to women and men, and to boys and girls.
Every Bible does.
Today I happened to come across the story of Elijah on a day when he was pretty much done. (I Kings 19:4)
He’s STOPPED, SHUT DOWN.
You can’t blame the guy really.
He’d just faced a bunch of false prophets at a Sacrificial Throw Down (thank you Break Dancers and Bobby Flay for that ;))
Then he’d told wicked king Ahab that rain was coming.
This is the guy that’s been trying to find and kill him for the last few years because he blamed the Elijah for the 3+ years of drought.
Elijah had prayed that there’d be no rain as a sign of God’s judgment on the idol worship that had consumed Israel under Ahab.
Hence the hit contract the king put out on him.
God honored Elijah’s prayer for drought—and 3.5 years later He honored the prayer for rain.
So after his mountaintop experience and spiritual victory, Elijah gets word that the evil queen Jezebel has threatened his life. For some reason that totally freaked him out.
He took off running and ran from Mt. Carmel to Beer-Sheba.
That’s about 100 miles.
About now you say hold everything—wait a minute, she said the Bible was full of truth for ordinary people living ordinary lives.
Praying for drought.
Praying for rain.
Calling down fire from heaven.
“Not the stuff I usually do on Tuesdays.”
But, if you were an Old Testament prophet it would be.
Instead you’re a Mom, or a Coffee Shop Barista, or a second grade teacher.
God says the principles are the same regardless of your day job.
As His child you have His ear.
And His heart.
He cares about you and the stuff of your everyday life.
That costume you need to make for the school play, the presentation you’re slated to give at a meeting, or the child who refuses to participate in Potty Training.
God knows, He sees, He cares.
So before you run your own version of 100 miles and fall on your face in fatigue, frustration, and depression—Remember that you are not in this life ALONE.
If God doesn’t build the house,
the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?
Now here’s the part of this Elijah story that we can’t forget.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree.
And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
And he lay down and slept under a broom tree.
And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.”
And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water.
And he ate and drank and lay down again.
And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” (I kings 19:4-7)
Finally Elijah gets it.
He sees that the situation is too much for him to handle on his own and he prays.
But His prayer is a ‘sigh prayer’ born of dejection, fatigue, and fear, yet God sends an angel to meet his physical needs.
To strengthen him and give him rest.
The real lesson is to learn to pray the “It is enough, O LORD” prayer before you reach the 100 mile mark.
Running is good, but running on empty is bad—for you and those that count on you.
If you need some help ask God.
The strength, wisdom, and discernment you need are just a prayer away.
What help do you need today?
Don’t run yourself ragged, beat yourself up over your failures, or give in to desperation and despair.
Close your eyes and call His name.
Photo by Chris Sardegna Unsplash.com
To that one thief on the cross next to Him Jesus said, “Today you’ll be with Me in Paradise.”
Why aren’t we?
In Paradise I mean.
If we’ve believed at, say, 7 years old, then why don’t we just blink and find ourselves in heaven.
Or maybe 17 like I was when I first heard that God loved me and I dumped all my sin and yuckiness right into Jesus’ nail pierced-hands and said, “Can You, would You take this from me? It’s gotten too heavy and I can’t seem to get rid of it myself.”
What’s the point of the rest of this life after a person has come to Christ?
Those people in the crosswalk with you on the way to work.
The gal ahead of you in line at Starbucks—it’s about her.
Or maybe your own kids.
They’re the point.
Jesus told that rag tag group of disciples that He was going to make them fishers of men.
And later He said, “You guys are the salt of the earth—the light of the world.”
We have a job to do, little by little, day by day.
A job for God.
And that’s why you’re not in heaven yet;)
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.
Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.
And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:16-20
A worldly perspective makes us discount others and focus our energies and attention on our own lives.
But God isn’t into our ‘selfie mindset’.
He’s given us both a ministry and a message of reconciliation.
Today look at someone in a new way—not from a worldly perspective, but as someone God has put in your path.
How will that change your interaction?
Photo by David Marcu https://unsplash.com
Unlikely Pairs Part #2
It’s now a rainy evening and while curled on the sofa I’m exploring tumblr to see what’s new.
I just found this and thought it was a nice sequel to this morning’s post.
Do you have a tumblr blog?
I fill mine with all the images and quotes I find there that resonate with me.
If you’re curious you can see it here http://input-image.tumblr.com
Add your tumblr to the comments section so I can find you there!
Are all of your friends just like you?
About a year ago I saw a special on the Nature channel that featured strange animal friends.
A deer and a dog.
A horse and a goat.
The new Android commercial brought a little sunshine into this rainy Saturday by featuring the playful antics of some unlikely animal friends.
Gather any kiddos in the house and watch the fun together.
Maybe we can all learn something from these creatures about having fun and being friends with others who are very different from ourselves 😉
After you all watch, ask your kids about their friends—maybe have a talk about how they decide who they choose to bring into their circle of friends.
And who can resist a mama cat snuggling up with her brood of bright yellow chicks???
All you need to do to be my friend is like me.