Sunny Side Up!

My dad always ordered his eggs over easy & I remember hearing waitresses say to him, “Sunny Side Up!” As a kid, I didn’t understand what they meant, but later learned that this phrase was kind of a synonym for over easy. Now whenever I hear, “sunny side”, everything inside me smiles & I feel warm all over. Maybe this is because I remember my dad sharing his breakfast with me or maybe because the sunny side feels friendly, inviting & open!
I’ve been thinking about this sunny side thing lately because of some plants I’m attempting to keep alive. Even yesterday, I moved a tomatoe plant out of the shade & into the sun – to keep it on the sunny side 🙂
This is pretty cheesy, but we also have to keep ourselves on the “Sonny” side in our thoughts, conversations & decisions for each day. Following Jesus, God’s Son, means that we actively chose to stay on the “Sonny side” of life, sharing encouragement, hope & genuine love with the dark world around us. Indeed, let’s stay bright by letting God’s Son shine through us!

The Lethal Hangnail

“The devil would kill ya with a hangnail if he could!” My dad had lots of fun quotes like this. From my childhood, I remember people laughing at this quote & I smiled like I understood, but I didn’t get it. Now that I have some life tread under my belt, I get it.

The enemy of your soul is out to rattle your cage, poison your thinking & sideline you with anything possible, even a hangnail.
Don’t let him – full stop.
Some helpful pointers:

  • Keep your eyes in Jesus.
  • Don’t quit.
  • Keep loving wholly.
  • Pray intensely.
  • Feed yourself the Bible everyday.
  • Chose faith & reject doubt.

Never forget that greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!

Get RUDE!!

I don’t like rude people & I’d like to keep a wide berth from insensitive folk. But Jesus was rude & rude on more than one occasion. I think the pinnacle of Jesus’ rude behavior was when He cleaned out the temple on Holy Week. He overturned tables, made a whip & offended lots of important people with His house cleaning activities. More than a few people thought Jesus was rude & they didn’t appreciate His challenging words & behaviors.
I think that there are times when we get offended with Jesus as well. More to the point, our flesh objects to His gruff & confrontational behavior. And maybe that’s the point – either our flesh rules us or Jesus is our Lord, but we can’t have it both ways.
In this Holy Week, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to clean out the trash that our flesh accumulates in our souls so that Jesus’ resurrection life can wholly transform us. Indeed, the works of the flesh have to die to the resurrection life of Jesus!

Resurrection Continued

The day after Easter is always an interesting experience. It’s tempting to go back to “normal”, the regular routines & business as usual. 
But this Easter is different for me. 
It’s different for lots of reasons:

  • Jesus many unexpected appearances, reminding me to stay attentive & expectant to experience Jesus throughout any given day
  • Peter’s denial & Thomas’ doubt – exceptional grace to both men (Luke 24:34 & John 20:24-28)
  • The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead – more Heavenly Help!! Rom 8:11
  • Getting ready for Pentecost – grab a copy of Heavenly Help to prepare for this supernatural experience!

What areas in your life need resurrection?

Fun Thoughts About Spring

Spring is a wonderful season! Ive noticed some little buds on the trees & flowers poking through the cold earth. Spring is like a celebration of life in contrast to the dormancy of Winter. A few things to thing about today:

  • Spring Forward: time to get moving! Shake off the Winter hibernation & LETS GO! Gal 6:9
  • Spring Cleaning: be sure that you take some time to clean out the cobwebs & in particular celebrate Resurrection. Perhaps it’s time to get rid of some dead weight – Heb 12:1
  • Spring Break: I love that there’s this thing called Spring Break. It helps me to remember that in all of the Spring flurry of activities, it’s still important to rest! Matt 11:28

New Chapters

Most often, life feels like it happens in the middle of a chapter with some slow plot development, an occasional conflict & some mundane pick & shovel daily living. Then there are seasons when God turns the page & begins a new chapter. When the chapter turns, we can be sad to say goodbye to the preceding season & excited to embrace something new. 
No matter where you’re at in life’s journey, the best part is knowing that the Holy Spirit is always with us, in the ups & downs, twists, mundane & majestic. So let’s keep our focus on the Helper regardless of the season in which we find ourselves. This fellowship makes any journey vibrant, bearable & fruitful 🙂

Managing to Love Well

I was recently on a family vacation & there were a few tense conversations with family members – nothing major, but some scrappy & small conflicts. I was thinking about these conversations this morning in my prayer time & was letting God know that I was frustrated. Fundamentally, I want to love well, but struggle with how to role out genuine love in my daily living. I felt like God spoke this into my heart, “Give Me permission to love through you rather than trying to love from you.”
This has been extremely helpful because I know that my own love is far too limited, but God’s love through me can be infinite. 

So let’s agree to let God love through us & let the fun begin! Remain tied into God’s love ,)

  

A Zombie or Lazarus?

The story of Lazarus has a lot to do with resurrection. Lazarus was a really sick dude  (infirm as opposed to cool) who had an inside track with Jesus. Despite being a person whom Jesus loved, Lazarus died largely because Jesus procrastinated, if that’s ever really possible in a divine context. So when Jesus finally showed up, Lazarus was already dead for 4days & his body was very ripe – ripe for resurrection rather than decay. 

Long story short, Jesus called Lazarus back to life & told them to remove the grave clothes that bound Lazarus’ hands & feet & covered his face. 
I believe that Jesus has resurrection for each of us, but sometimes we let our hands, feet & face stay bound in the clothing of death. Let Jesus set free: 
*your hands free to do His work
*your feet with walk in His steps 
*your face so you can reflect Jesus’ life in our decaying world, desperate for resurrection
Let’s be alive in this day with Jesus’ presence wherever we go & in whatever we do!

un-grinch Christmas

Most of us are familiar with the story of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  The grinch was an evil villain and the antithesis of Christmas – no one wants to be a grinch, particularly at Christmas, bleck!  But there is a very ugly, mean, destructive and abhorrent grinch doing it’s level best to ruin Christmas for no one less than helpless & vulnerable babies.  This grinch is what the disease ebola is doing in three countries in West Africa (Guine, Liberia & Sierra Leone).  What makes this grinch so wholly abhorrent is how it has stolen the lives of moms & dads in these nations, stranding their babies often with no care, support, protection or food.

Saving Moses is conducting a campaign throughout December to raise anti-grinch funds to provide food, nurture, medical care & protection to these abandoned babies.  Please consider joining our anti-grinch campaign & give these babies genuine love, a chance to survive another day & thrive into the future.  Thanks so much for your prayers & consideration!

hot topic: laughter

Life can be very serious & ever so often, we all need a good laugh.  So today’s hot topic is an attempt to provide some comic relief.  Here are just a few brief & funny traveling stories:

  • wrong week:  last year, I was scheduled to go to Dallas & had a 7am flight (which means that I leave my house no later than 5am).  When I got to the airport, I was having trouble getting the kiosk to print my boarding pass.  When I went to the airline person to help me, she ran my confirmation number through the computer & helped me to see that I was a week early – my flight was booked for the following week;  I chalked it up in the “practice” column.  Consider my husband’s surprise when I walked in the house less than an hour after I left, ready to take the kids to school that morning ,)
  • buddhist monks:  one time I was in the waiting lounge in the Calcutta airport & there were around 6-12 monks who were all seated together.  My friend dared me to jump in the middle of them so he could take a picture of me with them.  I took the dare & the monks scattered faster than cockroaches running away from light.  I learned that they had all taken a vow not to touch a woman & I almost caused them to break this vow with my silliness
  • chief safety officer:  I flew on a commercial plane once (oversees) when the pilot came out of the cockpit on an active runway to close the front door of our airplane – he seemed pretty casual about the whole thing

speak, think, feed

I’m not a big fan of onions – when I chop them, they make my eyes water and sometimes they can have a really sharp odor & flavor.  But they can serve as an interesting metaphor with some helpful thoughts.  If you think about it, onions have many layers – you can keep peeling & peeling, ulimately finding that an onion may have up to 20 layers!

The layers of an onion are a little like our lives, with the first layer being what we say.  The things that we say are very important & since I’ve had children, I’m more convinced of this than ever.  Our words can give life, encouragment and be uplifting or they can be negative, discouraging and death oriented.  So our words are important, but our words are often a reflection of what we think, which is another layer of the onion, so to speak.

Second layer – Have you ever thought about what you think about – a thought inventory?  Many of our thoughts are about getting stuff done and general maintainence thinking (cooking, grocery lists, auto repair, etc).  But we also think about many other things – conversations, what we think people think about us, priorities, time management, how we feel, reactions to various people & interactions, etc.  What we let ourselves think about is very important because our thoughts affect our actions, words, decisions, etc.

But here’s the center of the onion:  what we feed our hearts is what affects our thinking & ultimately our words & actions.  So let me encourage you to take a few minutes to consider the things that you feed your thoughts, emotions & heart.  What are the inputs that you allow in your life?  Do these inputs give life?  Are they uplifting?  Are they truthful?  Do they have genuine love?  Our words are shaped by our thoughts which are shaped by the inputs we allow – so let’s chose these inputs with discernment, discretion, wisdom & love 🙂

when facing a challenge

We all have challenges in our lives of varying sizes and strengths.  Some challenges are relatively short & minor:  getting the chicken unthawed in time to bake it for tonight’s dinner.  Some challenges are massive:  nightcare with Saving Moses.  Regardless of your age, responsibilities, gender, season in life, etc, we all have challenges & it’s what we do with these challenges that’s important (not necessarily the challenges themselves).

So here are some helpful tips for dealing with challenges:

  • can do:  keep in mind that God in you is bigger than any challenge;
  • try:  don’t quit, give up or get discouraged;  a baby step is better than no step & a misstep is better than a regress ,)
  • selective nutrition:  feed the positive & starve the negative
  • timely inventory:  it can be super helpful, from time to time, to take an inventory of your overall progress rather than focusing on the lack of slowness of progress
  • encouragement:  encourage someone else in their dreams, goals & challenges – it’s good for you! 😀

Babies, babies & babies

I think that it’s really important from time to time to get some fresh perspective on life & the world in which we live. Today has been a day of fresh perspective for me. I’ve met heroic & legendary moms & dads who are doing everything in their power to keep their babies alive. But I also met a mom today who was extremely discouraged & I’m deeply concerned that she may have given up hope. Her baby, Josephine, is only 10 months old but is extremely sick & close to dying. Her mom, Miciah, brought her to our malnutrition clinic to receive milk & medical help but was herself not feeling well. We took a short break for lunch & upon returning to the clinic, I started looking for Miciah & Josephine but couldn’t find them. As I asked around, the nurse said that Miciah had left the clinic w Josephine & the nurse strongly encouraged mom to stay. Miciah left, regardless of the nurse’s appeals & we don’t have a way to track them down – no address or phone number. I have tremendous concern for Josephine because she was not doing well at all. Please remember to pray for her – I’ve attached her picture so you can please remember her. The lesson for all of us is to never surrender hope.

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Better thoughts

I’ve had some interesting interactions with people of late. Some of these interactions were in the intimidating & bully category. Being on the receiving end of the intimidation efforts, I can’t say that it was a pleasurable experience. And there have been more than a few occasions where I wanted to return some of that bullying.
Nevertheless, I decided with God’s help to look in my mind for some better thoughts & here are a few ideas for better thoughts:
*if God is for me, then who can be against me?
*I am more than a conqueror because of Jesus’ resurrection
*love never fails
*in God’s hands, a temporary affliction can turned into some heavy duty glory
*all things work to my benefit as I
Continue to stay in love with Jesus & true to His purposes in my life 🙂

Make the decision with me to choose better thoughts 🙂

Hello from Angola!

YAHOOO!!! We visited our first malnutrition clinic today & I saw LOTS of encouraging things!! I saw about 40 babies & toddlers drinking our therapeutic milk. I saw moms getting help for their babies. I saw some of the milk supply for this malnutrition clinic & I saw hope!!
To add onto all of this excitement, we were able to follow up with 2 families that we met last year: Manushe & Celestina (Augustino died last year) and we saw Angelina & Desorae! Both of these moms & their babies are doing GREAT & it was totally heartwarming to get to see them again this year 🙂
Thanks LOADS for all of your prayers & support – we are making a difference & changing the future today!! The attached picture is of Angelina & Desorae, who we were able to see today!! 😀

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en-courage

  I want to be a person who inspires courage, faith & strength.  In my mind, courage is an opposite for cowardice & I don’t want to be a person who’s influence causes others to be timid, scared, cowardly or insecure.  I want to put “courage in” people – to be an encouragement.

With this in mind, I’m real keen to hear your thoughts on what en-courages you, what puts courage into you???  Thanks for your help!!

aid for charades

Charades is a fun game to act out lots of different things.  If you’ve played this game in a group, you know that you’re supposed to act something out & help your team guess your word(s) based on your acting.  This game can be lots of fun, but unfortunately, I think we play this game in our life, from time to time.  Here are a few examples:

  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be humble, when the reality is that we’re merely insecure.
  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be confident when the reality is that we’re arrogant
  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be peaceful when the reality is that we’re apathetic
  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be strong when the reality is that we’re scared
There are lots of other ways we live the charade game & ultimately, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be humble, confident, peaceful, strong, etc.  But my sense is that we can’t really have these things well integrated into our lives as a normal reality without God’s help.  Just some food for thought 🙂

hearing God speak in a LOUD world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our lives tend to be really full with activities, relationship, things we have to do, twitter, facebook, concerns, etc.  If you’re like me, sometimes I have a hard time hearing God in the midst of the noise of life. Indeed, sometimes His voice seems so small that it is a stark contrast to the loudness of everything else.  Here’s something that you might find useful in listening to God:

H – help!  Ask God to help you to hear His voice (it’s interesting to note that Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Helper)

E – eliminate distractions.  Is there some “noise” you could eliminate? Switch off some unnecessary noise & perhaps this “off” could be an “on” switch for hearing God better

A – available.  Make some time on a consistent basis (I’d suggest daily) to be available to God – for Him to speak with you on whatever topic He choses, or even just to be in His presence, if He choses to be quiet.

R – revere.  It is often true that whatever we honor & revere tends to grow in our lives & the reverse is also true.  I find that I express my honor & reverence in lots of different ways, but very often by how I spend time.  Time can be a very honest reflection of what is important in our lives, especially our discretionary time

Have fun listening & watching for God 😀

God Helps Us

Today we had the privilege of meeting some really great & totally fun pre-schoolers, as well as some great moms looking after their babies who we are helping. One of the things that I’m wrestling with is the moms that I’m meeting who have lost babies. The majority of the moms whom I’ve met have lost anywhere from 3-10 babies. When I began to discover this, it simply takes my breath away because I can’t imagine how a mom processes such losses. When you meet the majority of these moms, you wouldn’t know that they’ve endured such tragedies. So as we are now taking a bit of a drive, I’m writing this blog & trying to talk w God about this and to let the Trinity help my heart. I will think & pray for a bit now.