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Seasons Change

I stepped onto the ranch one summer day, wearing my capri’s, closed toed shoes, and my ‘volunteer’ shirt.  Dressing to code, yet feeling way over dressed for the weather.  It was summer, it was hot, I wanted to be in board shorts, a swim suit top, and some flip flops. Even then I would have likely been too hot. 

I chatted with my favorite Monday greeter, and got my job assignment.  Clean the office. Perfect, there is an air conditioner in there.

A short walk up to the office, left my back soaked with sweat from the sun. 

After tidying up indoors, emptying trash cans, chatting with a friend, it was time to find the broom and sweep the stoop. (The stoop is how my Gram refers to the front porch, is that an east coast thing?)

I begin sweeping, and noticed something I wasn’t prepared for, something I didn’t expect to see…

Brown, Crunchy, fallen leaves. 

To my surprise, Fall had arrived, when I wasn’t even looking.

I was still basking in summer, wishing I were in the trough instead of on the stoop.

But season’s change. 

Whether we are prepared or not.

Sometimes after a long winter, we are anxiously awaiting Spring. 

When Spring arrives, and we get outdoors, we look forward to summer, water play, and prolific gardens (not mine, but yours perhaps).

After summer with the Fruit Loops, we look forward to the structure of the school year.

And once we quickly adjust to that neccessary routine, we begin planning for the ever precious Winter Break.

Do we look to the Season’s of life with the same grateful anticipation?

Do I bask in what the Lord has for me today, and look forward to the surprises He has for me tomorrow?

Today the hot sun, tomorrow the crunchy leaves under my feet…

Lord make me to appreciate the Seasons of life, to greet them with joy, and to let them pass with ease.

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This is too funny not to share…

  

Man Rules­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ 
           At LAST a guy has taken the time to write this down

Finally , the guys’ side of the story.
(
I must admit, it’s pretty good.)
We always hear ‘
the rules ‘ From the female side.

Now here are the rules from the male side.

These are our rules!
Please note.. these are all numbered ‘1 ‘
ON PURPOSE

1.Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat.
You’re a big girl. If it’s up, put it down.
We need it up, you need it down.
You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1.. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem < B>only if you want help solving it..

  1. 1. That’s what we do.
    Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

    1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.
    In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days..

    1. If you think you’re fat, you probably are.
    Don’t ask us.

    1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the   other one

    1. You can either ask us to do something
    Or tell us how you want it done.
    Not both.
    If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself..

    1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials..

    1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

    1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.
    Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A
    color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

    1. If it itches, it will be scratched.
    We do that.

    1. If we ask what is wrong and you say ‘nothing,’ We will act like nothing’s wrong..
    We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle..

    1. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, Expect an answer you don’t want to hear.
    1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine… Really .

    1. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball or golf.

    1. You have enough clothes.

    1. You have too many shoes.

    1. I am in shape.   Round IS a shape!

    1. Thank you for reading this.
    Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;

    But did you know men really don’t mind that? It’s like camping..

 

True Beauty is found in what is created, not in what is manufactured.

I recently visited Crater Lake.  Magnificent.

DSCN0858

We visited the ranger in the information center, and watched a short video about how scientiest believe Crater Lake came to be.  The story begins with ‘billions of years ago…’ and in my Creationist mind, I immediately stopped listening. 

I explained to my children that while scientist have their theories, ultimately God created this for us, to marvel at the beauty of His creation.

I have that same feeling when I sit before a waterfall…

DSCN0774

I thank God for this awesome setting He has created, and that I can see and appreciate the true beauty of His creation.

Recently, I began a struggle with my appearance.  Turns out it is not as easy to loose weight after baby number 4, in my thirties, as it was to loose weight after three babies born when I was in my twenties.

Spring Sprung, and so did the button on my cute capris!

It caused me to take a look at vanity in my life.  How much time and energy I was spending on a daily basis, wondering what to wear to make this ‘new body’  look cute…how to fix my hair so I only had one visible chin…

Then I was reminded…

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Prvbs 31: 30

And that’s not all…

“Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upo us; yea, the works of our hands establish thou it” Psalm 90:17

I was spending time on my ‘outer beauty’ (if you can call it that) everyday…

Was I doing so at the expense of cultivating inner beauty, the beauty God intended to display through my life?

So I streamlined the morning ‘dressing’ routine.

I took all the clothes that didn’t fit out of the closet and tucked them away.

I chose a ‘signature’ hairstyle, consisting of  long simple braid.

I realized my make up does not have to be perfectly applied, if my daughter wants her hair fixed or her doll dressed.

I am ready for the Lord’s work in minutes, spending less time agonizing over what I look like,

and more time focusing on cultivating TRUE BEAUTY.

Please note that this is not a campaign against make up, or short hair or any other vain imaginations that the enemy might be trying to plant. 

This is my simple testimony of the Lord has recently had to bring my heart back around to Him, to believing that who He created me to be is a vessel that displays is work in my life, and that is where True Beauty is seen to the Glory of God.

 

 

 

Find other Thankful Thursday Posts at http://womentakingastand.blogspot.com/

Spring Has Sprung

My sadly neglected blog…

I’m back…

But I don’t know how long I can stay…

I am busy about my house…

Spring Cleaning, Spring Planting, Sewing, back at the ranch volunteering and riding,Summer School projects, including Flat Travelers,

I find when I am truly engaged in all that my family needs, I have little time for my blog.

But I have tales to tell, and how I miss telling them here…

The Anti-Tithe

In all the churches, in all the years I have walked with the Lord, one common theme has crossed all denominational boundaries – the tithe.

In one way or another, every church provides an opportunity to give.  Some pass a basket, some have a box at the back, some talk about it every week, some talk about it once a month, some talk about it quarterly, or even yearly. 

Each Pastor that stands behind the pulpit has some encouraging word to say about tithing.

My personal favorite scripture that I believe is misused in regard to the tithe is found in Malchi

Mal 3:10 

 

“Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

 

The common theme, is that this means… tithe = financial blessing you can not contain.

A Pastor I sat under for years, a phenomenal teacher, whom I respected, took offereing every Sunday and every Sunday he would say that those who do not give, have not discovered the secret of  tithing. He would go on to request, ‘God Bless those who give’.

Many a Sunday I thought to myself, because I choose to put food on the table, rather than tithe, am I not worthy of God’s Blessing?

I hear the story over and over again, friends going hungry, loosing power and water, being evicted from their homes, and yet they are faithfullly tithing.  And there is a Pastor somewhere, directly or indirectly encouraging them to continue to so.

What a sad vicious cycle.  Pastors who are relying on tithers for their income, rather than relying on the Lord, and congregants trusting their leaders, and tithing to their own detriment. 

Is this what the Lord intended for either of these people groups?

After much study and prayer, my husband and I have reconciled this issue in our own hearts and minds.  Through the course of our studies we have waivered from questions like

 “Do we give 10% of our gross income?

10% of our net income?

10% of our food (because in biblical times they were giving the first fruits, thats 10% of what they had to eat, so they were in fact eating, they were just sharing their food).

We entertained putting 10lbs of oats in the offereing basket as it went by,  Can you imagine the look on the ushers face?  

We have reconciled that we offer what we have to the Lord, whether it be monetary, food, clothing, and we give where He calls us to give.  We do not expect monetary gain, I believe the blessing Malachi speaks of is the Joy that comes from being a blessing to someone, and has little to do with economic status.

In 35 years of church life, my understanding has never been validated from the pulpit.

Until Now!

Saturday night I attended a service at my church, incidentally the wealthiest church in town. 

We are in a series entitled REAL HOPE, and the message was great!  Straight to the heart of the issues we struggle with when times are tough.  I took two pages of notes…I haven’t had that much to jot down in years! 

And then came the Family Meeting…preceeding the offering…topic…the building fund…the expansion plan… the update…the offering speech

And the synic in me thought ‘here goes, the pulling of the heart strings to give to the Lord’s work’.

But what I heard instead, was the single most refreshing sentence I have heard from the pulpit in years.   

“For those of you who have given so generously, thank you. 

 For those of you who CAN NOT give, that is okay, you are where the Lord has you”

I noted that the pastor didn’t say, those of you who don’t give, or those of you who have not discovered the secret of giving, he said those of you who CAN NOT Give. 

Thank you Lord, this dear Pastor understands that there are times in our lives when we can not give, and the Lord is not requiring us to, nor is He looking down upon us because we don’t, nor is He withholding blessing from us!

I hope he doesn’t get a bad wrap for being the Anti-tithe! 

He certainly isn’t against tithing, or giving, or opposed to an offering,.

He is afterall pastoring the wealthiest church in town.  But it isn’t because he has abused his postion, and convinced people to give when they shouldn’t.

God Bless those who CAN NOT give,

God bring peace to their hearts,

God provide for their needs,

God reward their good deeds.