Category Archives: Life lessons

January 4, 2019 faith

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Step outside and take a deep breath.

Did you smell it?

It’s kind of like that new car smell. Or perhaps it was like when you light a new Yankee Candle for the first time. Or, maybe like a new bottle of perfume.

Or, like breathing in the sweetness of a baby’s head.

You know the smell well……the smell of something new. Something fresh.

I love the smell of a new year. Especially coated it a fresh blanket of snow.

No matter what 2018 held for you –

good,

bad,

sad,

happy,

funny,

serious, a

failure

or a success – it is done.

It is behind us.

But now 2019 lies before each of us. Breathe it in. A beginning. A new start. Let today be the first day of experiencing life anew.

Let change begin.

• Break an old habit.

• Form a new habit.

• Read Scripture more

• Pray often

• Seek Him above all else

• Forgive

• Love

• Laugh

• Encourage others

• Be kind

The year 2019 is before us like a clean slate. We face uncharted territory. May we find ourselves like the Israelites waiting to cross the Jordan River. God knew the people would feel apprehensive crossing. He understood that, at times, the unknown can be frightening. So He instructs the people to watch the priests & when they move with the Ark of Covenant, follow them. I absolutely LOVE the reasoning God gives them. It actually is one of my favorite verses in all the Bible….

“Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.“ (Joshua 3:4 NIV).

And that is us with the new year before us. We have never been this way before. But if we keep our eyes on Him, our hearts in tuned with His & follow His lead, well…..

there is no telling what the new year will hold for us!

So take a deep breath. Did you smell it?

Use this first weekend of this new year to lay out an attitude plan. Come what may.

My choice will be to live on FAITH.

It is the smell of hope.

FAITH for ALL that will unfold in the next twelve months. May God be with us all & bless each of us as we pursue Him & His ways.

Wake up.

Breathe it in.

Go.

January 3, 2019 praise

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Good mornin’ DearHeart. This prayer is worth sharing. It stuck with me and I kept going back to read it one more time.

‘O Lord Most High, You rule over the heavens and the earth, for You made all things by Your great power, and You keep them existing and working by Your mighty Word. You are exalted above every star and galaxy in the cosmos…yet You are also “the God of all mankind”,

the great,

personally present,

personally involved God who loves, rescues, and takes care of all who trust You.

I praise You for Your sovereignty over the broad events of my life and over the details. With You,

nothing is accidental,

nothing is incidental

and no experience is wasted.

You hold in Your own power my breath of life and my destiny.

And every trial that You allow to happen is a platform on which You reveal Yourself, showing Your love and power, both to me and to others. Thank You that I can move into the future nondefensively, with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, for You hold the future and You will always be with me, even to my old age….and through all eternity.

Amen.’

(from “31 Days of Praise” by Ruth Myers, pg 47).

January 1, 2019 devoted

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Good mornin’ DearHeart.

Lots of ground was covered in 2018. God went before and met me there. A few times He swept up all the pieces and carefully recreated parts of me. Lots of changes coming at us this new year, too. Your/My Creator is already there.

Remember the times of 2018 – try this … rapid-fire reflections on the closing year. Take a few minutes to write out answers to these questions:

What didn’t work?
What did work?
What were the highlights?

And then: What does the new year look like if it’s full of what works?
Bonus Q: What do your highlights say about you and your relationship with God Most High?

Holy instant pattern recognition.

If you stay out of your head and ask from the heart, CLARITY can happen like THAT. Snap.

Here’s how it rolled out for me:

What didn’t work… The situations need to stay private but the learning is the same as it always is … ignoring that weighed down feeling, giving way more than my fair share for the sake of so called harmony… disaster. It’s one of those classic, “Are you kidding me?” times.

Excessive-tolerance is left in 2018. Self respect is all in for 2019.
What did work…
– Focusing in on my inner circle of people. I got softer in the right parts and fiercer on the right subjects, and it has made me stronger.
-All of my writings were heartfelt, healing, and hope-filled. Confirmed.
-Momin’. Magic always happens when you’re a mom. It looks normal at the time. It’s magical in the reflection. What kind of God made up this supreme appointment? Mmm.
– Games and championships and grad and trips with my men- adventures make for deeper learning, and more snort laughing. More on the edge of your seat competitions.

⁃ Highlight. The Light! Deepened my walk with my Savior. I understand devotion in new ways.

And then… what does the new year look like, full of more of what works…very, very generally…

⁃ Excessive tolerance is OUT.

⁃ Relationships are everything.

⁃ More clean, more deep, more Light. All for Christ. Devoted.

So, for 2019, have decided, I am again going to make just one resolution…….

“Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.”(Psalms 119:18 NLT).

I want to be awestruck by the truth in God’s Word. It is only as God enables me to see His truth that I will be able to effectively apply it to my life. As I read a small portion of Psalm 119, this is what jumped out at me:

⁃ His Word will encourage me (v. 28)

⁃ His Word will keep me from lying to myself (v. 29). Think about that one for a second. We are self-deceiving people apart from the application of God’s Word.

⁃ It is a privilege to know the instructions of God (v. 29)

⁃ If we are going to be faithful to Him in 2019, it will be because we deliberately have chosen to be so. It will not happen by accident. (v.30)

⁃ We must cling to His Word, hold onto it with all our might (v. 31)

⁃ If we will pursue His commands, He will expand our understanding (v.32)

As the year is winding down & we are looking with anticipation to a new year, a fresh start, may I encourage you to start with The One.

Thank you all for your feedback throughout the year and your prayer requests Let’s remember to keep each other in prayer. And, to enter in with expectation with The Most High God.

Have a blessed and peaceful and fantastic New Year 2019! May God bless you and your family and may this season be one of peace and love in your household, in your life.

All love,

Angie

December 24, 2018 chatter

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Good morning, DearHeart.

We spent yesterday with my brother’s families at Gram and Papaw’s. The neighbor’s friendly donkey let us pet him through the fence for a while providing a dose of country entertainment. Our great niece, Maggi noticed his coat had a cross on his back … a donkey like that likely carried Mary to Bethlehem.

Russ and Alana’s son, Turner is serving our country in South Korea, so we were not quite complete without him and Taylor, yet so over the moon proud of their courage and faithfulness.

Mom’s house was chaos all day and as I’d walk by she’d grin and say, “listen, to all the chatter!” Pure joy… compounded by Angels hovering and loving every minute just as much as we did.

“Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!’ (Luke 2:13-14 HCSB)

A heavenly host surrounds you, too. You can’t see them, but they are there.

Your focus is on your demands …

To do lists.

102 irons in the fire.

End of year wrap-ups. Stop it.

Stop.

In the back of your brain, an old Christmas Hymn calls.

Make yourself stop and breathe.

And, breathe again.

As your life has a destiny, your day also has a destiny….even as it is spilling over with your

need-to’s,

ought-to’s,

probably-should do’s,

you can choose to take control.

Or, not.

Close your eyes.

Listen for the ‘Joy to the World’. Or, simply hum ‘Silent Night’.

‘Away in a Manger’.

‘The First Noel’ …

Be absorbed by every single sound and innuendo.

Let your heart be transported to the very edge of the wooden manger. Peer down on your tiny Savior. Press his soft cheek next to yours.

Hold Him.

And, be controlled today by your true destiny.

It’s all about Jesus.

It’s all about eternity.

Wake up.

Listen. Then really hear.

Go.

December 23, 2018 Mary

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Jesus. His Mother, Mary.

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 ESV

As a mother, I ponder, just as she did. As my mother has done with my brothers and me. And, her mom with her.

There is no way a mother could possibly have words to express the fullness of that intricate threading of love for her child. No way they could know the depth no matter how many times they are told. I’ve asked myself, what did I do to deserve to be their mom? Mary must’ve asked herself the same. They are my most precious gifts. I humbly accepted the role of guiding them through childhood, and continue guiding them into the men and women God intends for them to be. It is one of the greatest honors of my life to love them. To pray them through. To notice their navigation of life. And, to know they are praying for me, too.

Even in the midst of the chaos and uncertainties and fears surrounding her circumstances, right there … in a little stable … a very young Mary taught us to

-be still,

-take time to be wrapped in the feelings of love and gratitude,

-be filled with the love a Savior,

-allow love to linger,

-open our eyes and see a world that is brightened by the love that you send from your heart.

Today, as our hearts prepare for a fresh glimpse of the Savior of the World, may your world in turn be filled with

peace…

and, love …

and, abundance …

because of His reflection you provide from the inside out.

Wake up.

Ponder.

Go.

December 21, 2018 affirm

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Good morning, DearOne.

Have you been focusing on Scriptures surrounding the birth of Jesus during this Advent month? Familiarity of the events, combined with the busyness of the month, can often result in the story being skimmed over rather quickly. Please tell me I am not the only one guilty in so doing. Yikes!

In my desire to read and absorb the story anew, I have slowed down in my reading. Often, I read the same passage for a few days. I am amazed at the difference it has made.

Zechariah, husband of Elizabeth, and father of John the Baptist hit a fresh place. I knew he was the priest who served in the Temple, when the events were to begin to unfold. While in the Temple, he was visited by an angel who announced that he and his wife would soon have a son. Both were quite old in age, probably past the age of childbearing. Zechariah questioned the angel and was struck dumb for the length of the entire pregnancy.

The baby was born and they named him, John, just as the angel had requested. It was then Zechariah’s speech returned and he spoke for the first time, giving a prophecy about the coming Savior.

Here is the “aha!”: I seemed to have overlooked until recently … Zechariah also prophesied over his own son …

“And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people of their sins.” (Luke 1: 76-77, NLT)

How have I missed that?

John was too little to comprehend all that was being said over him. But Elizabeth and Zechariah himself heard and understood every word spoken. They raised their son with the constant awareness of his identity and how God was going to use him.

My children are grown now and I truly pray that I have spoken words of affirmation and encouragement to them while they were living at home, like my mom and dad did for us. As parents (and grandparents), may our words be life-giving, helping our children to know God and His ways. May our words cause them to grow in the awareness that He has a plan which He has crafted just for them.

“Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24, NLT)

But here is the thing … we, their parents, need to hear our words as well. Our words will remind us:

-Our children are precious and made in the image of God.

-They are a treasure, entrusted to us for a season.

-God has a plan for their lives which He will fulfill.

-We will be held responsible for our parenting (grandparenting, too!)

-And we will also be responsible for the words we have spoken.

-Our children are the ones who will carry on after we are gone.

Right there in the midst of a familiar story lay a parenting lesson!

Wake up.

Speak truth and honey.

Share constant awareness.

Go.

December 19, 2018 earthling

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Good morning, My DearOnes.

As a mother, I have to wonder … what was it like to watch Him crawl for the first time?

The Savior of the World. Milestones.

Or lose His very first baby tooth?

Immanuel, God with us. Toothless.

How did He play with the other children? “Jesus, you stay in timeout til you decide to share.”

I broke a few wooden spoons – the big ones – on my boy’s backsides … they still shudder when they hear that drawer open from the kitchen. Many times they’d challenge back with a look that said it was worth it.

Did Jesus ever need discipline from His earthly parents?

Did they ever break a wooden spoon on His Holy hiney?

Scripture reminds us ….

“So the Word became human and made His home among us.” (John 1:14, NLT)

His home.

Among us humans.

I have found myself thinking quite a bit about His experience with humanness. It is both astounding and humbling as I think on the importance of this:

-His humanness brought Him understanding of my humanness. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NLT). I can come boldly to His throne and find mercy and grace when I need it most because He fully understands.

-His humanness brought Him the ability to help me in my time of need.

“Therefore, it was necessary for Him to be made in every respect like us, His brothers and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Since He Himself has gone through suffering and testing, He is able to help us when we are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:17, NLT).

-His humanness helps Him to remember. “For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust (Psalm 103:14, NLT).

He remembers.

He remembers

the struggles,

the pains,

the hurts,

the ups and downs

of being human.

And, that remembrance moves Him to offer mercy and grace to us still struggling in our humanness.

There are days I struggle with being human. Probably most days.

I get tired.

Overwhelmed.

Stressed.

Cranky.

Emotional.

Worried.

It is on those very days, I find He understands me most and comes to help me in my weakness.

All because He was born in the manger.

The Word became human.

And He remembers.

Wake up.

Bask in grace.

Go.

December 18, 2018 expectation

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Good morning, DearHeart.

When my brothers and I were little we lived in Harrah. Every weekend we’d make the trip to Caddo County to visit my grandparents, one night with the Coons in Carnegie, and the next at Mom and Pop Reinking’s in Fort Cobb. Every weekend in the car we’d fuss over who got to lay on the ledge between the back glass and the back seat, and we’d ask Dad, “How much further?” to which he may or may not have “patiently” replied “Three more hours” even if we were only ten minutes away. It was a familiar ride on a familiar journey.

There’s comfort in familiar.

Much of my journey to knowing Christmas, and to knowing Christ is laced with the same kind of familiar. Some of the questions that children ask their parents like “why” and “how do I do this”, are questions I repeat to my Savior. And, He patiently answers even if it is the hundredth time.

He knows me.

He knows the way that I take.

He knows the questions I will ask.

There is something so reassuring about being known. Being known takes your expectations and turns them into promises.

Today is my Bryan’s birthday. Even as his life plays out, twisting and turning, he is the patient anchor in our twizzling family life. He reassures me often that there’s no need to worry because the foundation of our future is already set in place. God takes each question we ask, each fear we hold too tightly to, and each uncertainty about what’s next and changes them into His beautiful promises. Just beyond each trial comes an opportunity that God is moving us toward. That’s expectation.

Just as a mother knows her child, God knows every intimate detail about us. I can’t’ get enough of the reminder that God chose you and me even before we were born. Bryan’s the one that reminds me of the expectation that God has already planned out

every word,

sentence,

paragraph,

and chapter of our life story.

He had it all planned when we were just a twinkle in His eye. Even before each of my sons made their way into the world, I dreamed of their future and planned so many things for them. All the love I knew filled my heart as I waited for their arrival into my life. That’s also expectation.

God does the same dreaming and planning for each of us. He is doing the same for Bry.

And, for you.

And, for me.

He has a plan and a future and a story outlining everything He knows about each of us, just as He did for His son,

born in a stable,

the hope of all who seek Him;

the hope of our world.

“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from Me, for my Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are One.” John 10:27-28

Wake up.

Arrive today with expectation.

Go.

December 17, 2018 prepping

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Good morning, DearOne.

Yesterday we had our Christmas program at church. Those days are extra-special … memory making days for the families who make up my church family. My church is about 20 miles from home and the drive always adds a bit more time to get my heart ready.

I was wondering as I was driving, ‘what does “Sunday” evoke in me? How do I approach the day?

Most every Sunday I get to spend with my folks, Sunday dinner … sometimes there’s about 30 of us, sometimes it’s just Dad, Mom, Steve, and me. Yesterday, Steve was working so it was different – just Dad, Mom, Luke, and me. It is rare that we don’t have the extra leafs/leaves (?) in the table.

I love the ‘set-apartness’ of the day that is different from the other 6 days. I need that. The day is to be dedicated to worshiping God. It is to be a day set apart … different from the other six days.

In his book, “The Sabbath”, Abraham Joshua Heschel says “it is incumbent on every man to be very, very zealous in making the Sabbath day preparations, to be prompt & diligent as a man who has heard that the queen is coming to lodge at his house, or that the bride & her entire entourage are coming to his home. What would such a man do?” (p.65)

That was a fresh read so driving along I was thinking about that level of preparation, listening to my Christmas playlist, and this song came on:

“Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing
.”
“…Let every heart prepare Him room.

If we are going to receive our King, then we are going to need to prepare Him room- in our hearts, in our lives. We must eagerly be ready & waiting for Him.

Our God patiently waits for us to come to Him. He is ready & waiting to bless us with His Presence & His Word.

It is, then … a mutual preparation … He for us & us for Him.

I asked myself on my drive … ‘What would this woman do this day to be prepared for the Sabbath?’

‘For her Savior?’

“Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!” (Isaiah 40:3 NLT).

Clear the way through the debris that exists in our day. In our minds.

Make a straight highway into our hearts & lives.

As we hear concerts and programs and the jingles … let the sounds move you to make the preparations, and, it happens….

He comes!

What will you do to be prepared for your Savior …

this Christmas season?

this week?

this day?

this hour?

Wake up.

Make room in the inn of your heart.

Do it now.

Go.

December 15, 2018

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Good morning DearHeart.

Years ago, dad was asked what his favorite tv show was. He said “the news”. We laughed because growing up it was true. We had to quiet down and ‘quit horsin’ around’ so he could hear it. I think his answer now would be “the History Channel” because the daily news is so bitter and the History Channel is always on unless his beloved A&M Aggies are playing.

We live in a different world. Often, the news causes me to switch to Scripture. This season I keep rereading the story of the birth of Jesus. And, the more I read it, the more, as a mom, I read the untold parts.

We concentrate on the manger, the birth, the star, the wise men, the gifts. But something occurred right after the wise men depart from the manger. Joseph is warned, through a dream, to flee with Mary & the baby, Jesus.  Joseph flees that very night.

“Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in & around Bethlehem who were two years old & under based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance.” Matthew 2:16,17 NLT

That was the world that Jesus was born. Can we even begin to imagine the panic that set in? Little boys being taken from their homes, perhaps ripped from the very arms of their mothers who were trying to protect their little ones. Mourning filled that little town of Bethlehem.

The mass murdering of little boys.

And Jesus came to be light in the midst of that darkness. He came to be hope in the midst of hopelessness.

He came

& lived

& died

to be our Savior.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy & find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15,16 NIV

He experienced all that we experience.

He KNOWS what it is like to doubt God,

to question His activity.

He KNOWS what it is to wonder if God has left us,

abandoned us

& left us to ourselves.

He KNOWS.

He KNOWS we are weak & frail & will be tempted with our questions about God in times like these. And He made a way. The way to make it through these times.

We approach the throne of grace with confidence.

We come to God with our doubts. With our questions. With our pain. With our grief. With our anger. With our fear.

We approach the throne of grace with confidence.

Why?

So that we may receive the grace & mercy to help us in our time of need.

Wake up.

Approach the throne.

Jesus.

Go.