Thursday, January 30, 2014

When the Ocean Becomes the Inspiration for Your River

I spent last week at the beach in a condo, with only my memories, my laptop and chocolate...and I guess you could add coffee to that list.

I was working on my book and needed seclusion and quiet to complete it. I needed to be able to escape the daily activities that require my attention like laundry, cooking and cleaning, a high maintenance dog and my own busyness.

Going away to someone else's place freed me to concentrate on the task in front of me, and take away any chance of doing business as usual.

On Sunday after church, following a busy weekend, I got in my car and drove five hours, arriving just in time for Downton Abbey. So, I settled in and savored every moment. The television wasn't turned on the remainder of the week.

Sleep came easily as I allowed exhaustion to take over.

Monday morning arrived at 5:30 a.m., and with no sugar in the house, tea would have to wait. Since no one knew me, I didn't care that my hair wasn't brushed and the mascara had worn off. I don't wear any other makeup so that wasn't an issue. I slipped on jeans and a sweatshirt and off to the grocery store I went. I didn't even brush my teeth...must be the rebel in me.

After tea was made, I had a few other writing tasks that needed to be accomplished before I could begin work on the book.

Have you ever had to do something and it took you forever to get started? That's what happened to me.

One of my friends texted me to ask how it was going, and I told her, "I've done everything but fix the garbage disposal. I just can't get started on the book." She's a writer friend, so she knew exactly what I was talking about.

I finally sat down down at 3 p.m. after everything else was done. I read a little of the "back story" and the words came. They began to flow like a river. I wrote well into the evening. I didn't want to stop because I was afraid the river would dry up...but, it didn't. I finished what I went to do on Friday afternoon.

Sometimes, God has to do His greatest work in us, and for us when He has us all to distractions.

My time alone in that condo is one of the most sacred weeks of my life. I found I need very little to truly be happy. I also found that even when I'm alone, I'm never really alone. My constant companion was there the whole time.

There was something so peaceful about staring at the beauty of the waves crashing to the shore. The serenity of that place kept my mind focused and the solitude allowed the One who knows my story better than me to write it through me, as He helped me remember.

He may even need a byline...if my story ever gets published. If not, He and I had the most beautiful week Creator and me.

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Thursday, January 23, 2014

When Two Little Boys and a Chaperon Steal Your Heart

My intention was to write about Sole Hope, a ministry that puts closed toes shoes on children in Uganda. I was one of the organizers and was sure I'd write about the amazing turnout we had last weekend at my church. But, two little boys and a chaperon changed all that.

My church, Concord Baptist, hosted a Children of World Concert this past weekend. This is a children's choir sponsored by World Help. They bring children to our country who have been rescued out of horrible situations to educate the American people and find sponsors for other children.

It's a wonderful ministry that loves children and seeks to raise awareness of the poor conditions around the world. Their purpose is also to seek sponsorship of children and raise funds through love offerings and donations.

Christian as master potato chef
These little boys, Michael and Christian, and chaperon, Rechelle, walked into our home and then proceeded to walk straight into our hearts.

After we picked them up on Friday evening, I'd planned hamburgers and french fries for supper, thinking that's a meal everyone likes. As I was getting the potatoes out to start the peeling process, Michael, the oldest, comes running into the kitchen and asks if he can help.

So I'm thinking, "do I hand a 10 year old a knife, whom I just met?" Rechelle says it's OK. Before I know it, all three of them have knives and the potatoes are flying everywhere.

The fries never tasted so good.

The best quote of the night came from Michael, he said,"If you're not going to have a wife, you need to know how to cook." Pure joy filled the room as we all belly laughed at that one.

These little boys were polite and well behaved, yet full of life. Smiles were plentiful.

We were blessed to celebrate Michael's upcoming birthday with a cake, complete with eleven candles. He shared he didn't want to grow up. It was such a joy to sit with them around the table talking about their hopes and dreams for the future.

Rechelle and Michael
Because of World Help and their relationship with Jesus Christ, they now have HOPE.

Isn't that what every child needs...HOPE!

If you're interested in helping a child like Michael and giving them hope, here is the website for World Help, Check it out for yourself. It won't take long.

For $35.00 a month you can change the life of one child. You can offer them hope. For the price of one meal at a restaurant in Anderson, or wherever you may live, one hour of your time, you can change a child's life for an entire month...a lifetime of months.

Rechelle, the chaperon, now grown and educated, was one of those sponsored children. Your dollars really do make a difference.

They walked into our lives...and just as quickly...they were gone. But, they made an impact that will last a lifetime. I will see their smiles in my memory forever.

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Friday, January 17, 2014

What or Who Will You Trust?

Trust. It's a simple word. Five letters...easily broken. Difficult to earn back.

Last week I wrote about ruts and how we remain in them because they're comfortable. As I was mulling this over in my mind this week, I realized it goes much deeper. It's also an issue of trust.

We trust what we know to have never failed us. When we find a rut that works, we stay in it. We trust it. It may stop working, or its' purpose may no longer be valid, but we remain because we believe it will not fail us.

Vancouver, Canada

I believe we're born with innate tendencies, and then your experiences shape your behavior. For myself, I don't think I would ever have been adventurous. My teenage years caused me to have trust issues involving security and stability. My family, on the other hand, is a different story.

I'm thinking of my husband and daughter. They're planning a trip right now that involves climbing. High. Really high. There is no mountain high enough, zip line long enough, or trout stream too far, they wouldn't like to conquer. Whereas, Andy and I are more home folk. Andy does like to venture out and travel some, but I love being home. Home speaks security to my heart. For my thrill seekers, they will need trust in each other, and a lot of planning. What wonderful memories they'll make, as well as learning how to get out of their comfort zone to try new things.

But, how many untold people will risk their very lives on a zip line, made by human technology, that could fail, and drop them to their deaths, yet, some of these same people will spit in the face of a loving God who has never failed them...AND offers them life? It's something to think about.

It all comes back to trust. We trust what we know or who we know.

Bailey at Whistler in Canada
God has been teaching me to trust truly trust Him. To let go, and allow Him to lead me on an adventure. My adventure doesn't involve rapids or trout streams or zip lines, though He has taken me to a few mountains and valleys. My adventure is the ride of a lifetime with the God of the universe. He has instructed me to, "Be still and know Him" and, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Has life handed you a mess and you've settled into your own rut simply because you trust it? Maybe you have your own trust issues to work out and you need to decide who or what you can count on. Just remember, there is only one person that is completely trustworthy, and that is Jesus Christ. He will never leave you or forsake you. He wants you to join Him for the great adventure that can only be found in Him. But, you must trust Him.

"Those who know your name will trust in You, 
for you Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You."
Psalm 9:10 NIV

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ain't Got Time For That Rut

I reread old blog posts from time to time...sometimes it's to see how my writing has changed over time, but most of the time it's because I second-guess myself. I've noticed I use certain words or word patterns repeatedly. My first thought was, "how boring." Then I realized that's just the way the brain works. It's much like slipping on your favorite pair of jeans and old sweatshirt. We do or say what is comfortable for us.

It's a new day
Sometimes though we can get into a rut with our lives. We can get buried in so deep in our routine and habits that the joys of life end up passing us by because they were out of reach. We couldn't see them for we were too distracted or focused on staying in our self-imposed rut.

I'm the bookkeeper for our family business and a new year causes me to organize the finances from the previous year and start fresh for the upcoming year...make new folders...clean out the old...start with a clean slate. As I said in my last post, I don't make resolutions, but the beginning of a new calendar is a good time to break old habits and think about a new course or a new direction.

Maybe it's time to make a new rut...slip into a new pair of jeans...toss out the old. There may be a wonderful new opportunity waiting for you just around the bend if you'll climb high enough to see it.

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:18-19

This is the "pot calling the kettle black" because I am the queen of ruts. I'm talking to myself more than anyone else...I hope you know that. Won't you join me in getting out of old habits and make new beginnings that bring joy to you and those around you? 

Open your eyes to a new year to all God has in store for you. He is making a way and joy cometh!

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Look Back...My Year of Grace

Laura, Katy and me at The Cove
I'm not a girl who makes New Year's resolutions or picks a word for the year. I'm a simple person. I love deeply, get my feelings hurt easily, try to live joyfully and love Jesus with all my heart.

I've changed in so many ways through the last several years...the result of physical and emotional changes in my life. Lost friendships and relationships cause pain and eventually take a toll. My feelings haven't always been so tender.

God began a work in me in the summer of 2012, actually it began in 2006 but I couldn't see the big picture till now. In the summer of 2012 something began stirring in my soul. His presence was felt like never before. This past year has been the most significant year of my adult life as He reminded me of who He is and what He wants from me.

In February, 2013 I went to a writers' conference at The Cove - The Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Little did I know, God had a plan for my life that would include my dream of writing and ultimately, my healing of childhood issues.

It couldn't possibly be anyone but God Himself as the source. If I could open the pages of my daily journal you would stand in awe, as I have. Its' pages are stained with tears, not always from sadness, but humility and grace...a sense of why me?!!
Finding peace

This year I've experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows, but He was with me every step of the way.

"Because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace."
Luke 1:78-79
And so...I've chosen a few pictures that capture the highlights of my amazing year, one I'll never forget.

 My Year of Grace.

What kind of year have you had? Please share in the comments. Don't be shy...

Happy New Year from My Little Corner,

Proverbs 31 Writers' Conference

High school/college friend reunion
A treasure returned after 40 years
Special friends of the heart

Special Christmas tradition with
The Roh Family