Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Angela's Contest

One of the very talented members of CAST (Christian Artists Street Team) is having a contest and the joyful winner will receive a 5x7 photo of his or her choice from her shop. All you have to do to enter is go AngelasHeartWork and choose your favorite photo and then comment on her blog at Angela's Heartwork and tell her which photo is your favorite and why.

Angela is a gifted photographer and poet. Her photography reveals the beauty of God's creation and she has an amazing gift for matching the perfect verse of scripture or one of her lovely poems with each photograph.

My favorite is a beautiful photograph of the ocean and a ship at sunset and verse 10 of Isaiah 42. that you can view by clicking on this link:http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=13396262

You have nothing to lose and the opportunity to gain a beautiful 5x7 photograph, so visit her shop, pick your favorite and then visit her blog and tell her why you like it and she'll add you to the drawing!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I've Been Tagged

Well, what a surprise to be tagged! I had no idea what that meant but fortunately, if you follow the trail, it leads you to the source and the rules for this game!

I was tagged by The Coffeehouse who has some very interesting random facts that will probably make me look a little like Ms. Boring, especially since she's still a youngster and I'm one of those boomer peeps!

Here are the rules:
Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their name as well as links to their blog.
Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are the 7 random facts about myself:

♥ I didn't marry until age 42 and married my best friend.

♥ I suspect that I have adult A.D.D. however, I prefer to call it E.M.T.C. or extreme multi-tasking capability. One of my ex-employees recently told me that I was the best multi-tasker she had ever known. This just proves that you can use your disorders to your advantage if you try.

♥ I broke the glass ceiling at the company where I was employed for 27 years, by being the first female Vice President.

♥ I was a cheerleader in High School and a member of the Beta Club, proving that cheerleaders are not dumb! But I was blonde and still have blonde roots from time to time...if you like know what I mean.

♥ I love history and genealogy and have traced my family's roots back to the 1600's on both maternal and paternal sides. Have uncovered the good, the bad and the ugly. Not always pretty but always interesting.

♥ I have had five dogs since I have been married and they all were rescued in one way or another. A shepherd mix from the pound, a golden retriever who was abandoned and had heartworm disease, a shih tzu that no one wanted because it was too big and who had epileptic seizures, a toy poodle that was abandoned at the vet's office with breast cancer and other significant problems and a yorkie that was purchased by a woman who couldn't take care of her. They each turned out to be fabulous dogs who were happy and healthy and a great blessing to our family. Only two of them remain - the poodle and the yorkie.

♥ I have traveled to 25 of the 50 states. I hope to travel back to about five of them and to the remaining 25 before I die.

Notice that I didn't include being a Christian because it is neither random nor weird and besides anyone whose been to my blog knows that already.

Check out these seven favorites of mine that have now been tagged!
Mama's Little Ditty
Sunflower Songs
Standing at the water's edge
Artist on the Farm: Gina of RoseThistleArtworks
JUSTSO - terryann
Ginabee's Creations & Musings

Okay, so we probably don't have time for this but it's kind of fun and besides I want to know all the random and weird things about everyone!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

North Pointe's Women's Conference

Last Saturday our church held our 2nd annual women's conference. Our guest speaker was a woman named Debbie Williams who has written several books, including Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion. We were very blessed by her presentation and learned great techniques, like how praying God's attributes, A-Z, will help transform your life. We received a Prayer Journal that Debbie designed that helps keep track of prayer requests. She also pointed out how the Bible is filled with God telling his people such as Abraham and Moses to go to do something He wanted them to do and so they went! We need to strive to be God's Go/So women! We were particularly blessed that our conference was the kick-off of Debbie's nationwide tour to deliver God's message about prayer. If ever this country needed to be reminded of the importance of prayer it is NOW! Each of us could probably use some help in organizing our prayer life, as well!

If you would like to find out more about Debbie Williams and her ministry, please visit her website at http://www.hillcountryministries.org/ . You can purchase her books there and if your church would like to host a women's conference and invite Debbie to speak, you can find out about that on her website as well.

We were very blessed that Jenny, one of the women in our church, found Debbie's blog and heard about her P.R.A.Y. tour and took the initiative to contact Debbie and tell her our church might be interested. Debbie had asked God for confirmation of all that He was telling her to do and she received Jenny's comment and one from someone in Florida as confirmation! We are also excited that, Laura, a very talented person from our church created a video presentation for Debbie that will be traveling all across the nation with her! What a blessing to know these go/so women! There is no doubt that God's hand is all over her ministry and this tour. If you would like to keep up with what Debbie's doing, check out her blog - see the link for You Go Girl for God under favorite blogs in the left column of my blog or visit her website at the above link and click on blog!

Women, You Gotta Love'em

Our church's second annual Women's Conference was this past weekend and Friday night we all got together at the church to prepare everything for Saturday's conference.

Friday started out as a terrible day for me, filled with contention and divisiveness and hurt feelings and lots of pain. I'm not a big crier. Some people cry easily but I don't. If you see me cry it is probably because I am being significantly moved and melted by the Spirit or I am mourning for someone I love. I cried on the way to the church Friday night. Not boo-hooing, but a weeping of the Spirit. I had allowed myself to lose my joy and I was weeping for some women who I have come to know and love and who had attacked one another and literally caused the Spirit within me to groan and my heart to break. I haven't known these women long and I've never personally met any of them, yet they have become part of my eternal family. They have shared their trials, their joys, their pain and their happiness and I have prayed for them and rejoiced with them. They are all Christians and I met all of them through an online organization.

In a way it seemed incredulous to me that I could care so much for these women that I have never even met face to face but what was more incredulous to me was to realize at any given moment we Christian women each have the capability to quench (extinguish, put out, cool off) the fire of the Holy Spirit (1 Th 5:19,) both within ourselves and to some extent in others, by our actions and our words. We are each capable of the evil that Paul talks about in Galations 5:19-21, if we allow ourselves to give into the desires of the flesh. Some might look at that list and immediately see the "bad" sins such as murder, adultery and lewdness and overlook some of the other sins like contention, jealousy, selfish ambitions and outbursts of wrath. Maybe because these are so widespread in our society as normal behaviors, we don't consider them "bad" sins like we do murder and lewdness, but Paul put all of these things together for a reason...they are all equally as offensive in the eyes of God and to the Spirit within us. When we engage in any of these behaviors, we are quenching the fire of the Spirit. We can do this so often that we reduce the fire to a glowing ember that has little effect on the enemy. Paul cautioned earlier in verse 17 that the "flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another..." The Spirit doesn't leave us, but we can quench the fire of the Spirit to such a degree that we don't even know the Spirit's there and we stand virtually defenseless against the enemy and the sins of the flesh.

When I arrived at the church, I guess my day was written all over my face because no one believed my semi-permanent response of "good" or "fine" when asked how I was. Concerned, they probed and not wanting to get into it all, I justsmiled ruefully and said what I've heard my husband say so many times before, "I just don't understand women!" and kept walking. Considering the feelings I was having about women at that moment, I didn't want to be among those who were lined up in the hallway, chatting happily while they ironed tablecloths. So I dropped off my ironing board and iron and went to clean the nursery and kid's rooms. This I could do alone. Yes! While I dragged rugs into the hallway and swept and cleaned, I could hear the women talking about their lives and I found myself wanting to add a comment here or voice a word of comfort there and gradually I opened my heart to these women that I love and I felt my joy begin to return. I went about my tasks happily as I allowed the fire of the Spirit to grow within me and while we each reached out to be an active part of the body. We worked and ate pizza and laughed and listened to our worship team practice and we shared our excitement and I left believing that God was going to do great things in our church, in our community and across the nation.

I still don't understand women mind you, but God is working on that. He's helping me realize that I don't have to understand them, I just have to love them. I have to love them with agape love, not human love. Agape love is unconditional. It is the love that comes only from the Spirit and when we allow the fire of the Spirit to be stoked, that agape love starts pouring out and that's really all that matters!

I'll have to write about the conference later but I will say that we were right about God...He showed up and He showed out!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fingerprint Friday

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you.
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true.
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God.

For some reason this photograph of the sky reminds me of the Sistene Chapel. When I look to the heavens and when I think of SCC's song, I am reminded of Psalm 8:3-4:

"When I consider Your heavens;
the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which
You have ordained,
What is man that You are
mindful of him...

Visit http://pamperingbeki.blogspot.com/ to join in on Fingerprint Friday!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Friday Night Lights in a Small Town

My husband loves the TV show Friday Night Lights. He used to live in Texas so he knows that Texans are truly serious about their football even at the high school level.

We live in a rural area in NW Georgia that takes it's football seriously too! We go to a very large church in this small community and on Sunday mornings we usually get an update on the latest local high school football news because our Pastor also announces the games! The small towns all around us love their sports! My husband and I have lived here for about 16 years and we've been to high school baseball, fast pitch softball, basketball games and recreation league softball to support friends and family but it had never occurred to us to go to a high school football game because we really didn't know anyone who was playing.

Early Friday morning my husband said, "why don't we go to the Adairsville game tonight. I think it would be fun to go listen to Jim call the game." We usually go out to eat on Fridays and I was lukewarm on the idea but said, "sure, if you're sure that's what you want to do," while kind of hoping he might change his mind but I didn't say anything. If he really wanted to go, I could handle it! I like football but I'm kind of particular about what I watch...Penn State, Dallas and the Steelers or any important games that might change their place in ranking...but high school...hmmm! When I watch sports, I like for it to be something that I can get into from a "we gotta win" kind of thing. My husband will tell you that I get really nervous in a close game when my team is up or down. I pace, I speak in my "outside" voice at the players/drivers, the manager/coach/pit crew, the umpire/referee. So, when I thought about going to a H.S. football game where I didn't really know the players, I didn't figure it would be all that exciting for me.

We arrived early and perched ourselves on the 50 yard line. Not too many people were there yet and I didn't see anyone we knew. Our pastor normally calls the games but we didn't see him anywhere around. Turns out he was out of town. We go to a very large church in this very small town, so there were a lot of familiar faces but no one that we're really close to seemed to be there. I started looking around and just taking in all of the activity around me. It brought back lots of memories of my own high school football games. I was a cheerleader and football season was always the best time of the year for me. Cold nights in short skirts (not by today's standards of course), pom poms, greasy concession stand food and wondering where we were all going after the game and, of course, hoping that we would win so it would be a really good time!

It made me think about the crowd at our football games back then. I grew up in the suburbs outside of Atlanta and it's just not quite the same thing as growing up in a small town. Everyone here knows everyone else and most of them have been here their whole lives. Kids know that if they do something wrong, mom and dad will most likely hear about it. It's hard to get away with much in a small town! I noticed the younger kids (ages 5-9) were running around and had the freedom to disappear from sight without much parental consternation because someone who knew them, possibly a distant cousin, would most likely be keeping an eye out for them where ever they went. Encouraging myself, I told my husband that I would at least have fun "people watching."

Some pretty close friends of ours arrived with their friends and that lifted my spirits quite a bit. I was beginning to get over that feeling of being a stranger in a strange land. Our friends and their group are the official cheerleader fan club because most of their daughters are cheerleaders. Very good cheerleaders, I might add! We did a fair bit of tumbling and cartwheeling back in the day but these girls are amazing! Cheer leading today is much different from the way it was then (we won't discuss how long ago "then" was.) They have much shorter skirts, cuter uniforms, less individual jumping, more being thrown in the air and definitely more tumbling! All in all, much more athletic I thought!

It was a beautiful warm night and the Adairsville Tigers were playing one of their big rivals, the Calhoun Warriors. I was a little concerned looking at the difference in the teams. The Calhoun boys looked a good bit bigger than our Tigers but I was hoping that maybe it was the white of their uniforms that just made them appear larger. All women know that white makes you look bigger. Right? See, I was already beginning to get into this a bit, I had begun thinking of them as our Tigers.

Well, the game started out with a 60 yard touchdown by the Warriors that was called back because of an ineligible receiver down field. They didn't let that get them down and later managed to score on a two yard run. Meanwhile our Tigers kept stacking up penalty yards and were definitely doing the two steps back, one forward kind of thing. It looked like yellow flag day on the field. Even with all the penalties, the Tigers managed to put the ball in the Warrior's red zone at the close of the first quarter and came back in the opening of the second quarter and scored on a toss and five yard run, tying the game 7-7.

Nothing much happened in the way of scoring during the remainder of the second quarter but I was beginning to think, " hey, this is pretty good ball, even if I am having a hard time concentrating." I am easily distracted because of my A.D.D so I missed some plays while watching the cheerleaders doing back flips and somersaults down the track and observing family weekend reunions across the bleachers. Then there were also the three boys who had painted their upper torsos and faces in the dark green and white school colors, each with a painted letter for AHS on their chests who were doing their own brand of cheer leading and dancing to band music. All very entertaining stuff...truly!

Right before half time we made our way to the concession stand to grab a burger and then back to our seats so we could see the half time entertainment. Half time is something that I always enjoy but that you never get to see on TV anymore. Again, very entertaining.

The first half had ended with the Tigers receiving a personal foul penalty (surprise, surprise) , which was enforced on the kickoff to start the second quarter. This gave Gordon good field position. The Tigers defense were able to stop the Warriors in spite of their advantage. During the third quarter Adairsville lost one of their key players when his ankle popped. He was out for the game. Their quarterback also left the field with cramps. The replacement quarterback was able to continue making headway into Warriors territory and then was able to make a 17 yard pass to put Adairsville outside the Warriors red zone. The original quarterback returned to the game and the third quarter ended with the Tigers in possession of the ball and in scoring position.

In the fourth quarter, our quarterback moved the team into the Warriors red zone and was able to make a 3 yard pass for a score. The kicker missed the kick, leaving the score at 13-7 with 10 minutes left in the game. Very exciting stuff. The crowd is getting noisy. Gordon continued to move the ball, trying to take the game but were intercepted with 5:41 on the clock. I'm beginning to get into nervous mode...my team is up but can they score and if not, can they continue to hold Gordon? All this time, the crowd is going nuts being egged on by the players on the field, the players on the side line, the cheerleaders and the three guys with paint. It is getting crazy fun!

Adairsville missed their opportunity and weren't able to score but their punt put Gordon on their own 19 yard line with 3.5 minutes to go. Things are looking better but not for long. The Warriors were able to move the ball 81 yards to the inside of Adairsville's 10 yard line. There was less than one minute remaining and the Warriors were in scoring position. Okay, I admit it. I was a little disheartened. It was really not looking too good for us.

Not quite biting my nails but with them in the general area of my mouth, I nervously watched as the Warrior's quarterback found a receiver at the edge of the end zone and made the pass, the receiver dragged his feet while catching the ball and scored tying the game at 13-13. The kicker made the point and we were down 14-13 with 42 seconds in the game. Things weren't so noisy anymore. We were all in a state of quiet disbelief! My husband half-heartedly said, "it's not over 'til the fat lady sings, but she's humming pretty loud right now." Never one to give up, I am thinking they could do this but at the same time realizing that probably won't happen. I mean 42 seconds! Get real. I figured our guys were as disheartened as the crowd and I didn't expect much effort to be put forth to try to score.

Fortunately, the Warriors put the ball back into their own territory on the kick-off. Our quarterback looked for a receiver and found no one, so he ran for a 32 yard gain and went out of bounds to stop the clock. Okay, this crowd is absolutely deafening. I am screaming at the top of my lungs. Feet are stomping, hope is renewed. My husband's yelling, "kick it." They don't. Our quarterback makes another run and gets to the Warriors 3 yard line but the clock is still running because he didn't get out of bounds. There are three seconds on the clock as our quarterback gets his guys lined up, spikes the ball to stop the clock, leaving 8/10ths of a second on the clock. Okay remember how the game would be tied right now, if the kicker had made that extra point back in the second quarter? Now there's all this pressure on this young kid, who it turns out, is the grandson of two of our favorite people in our life group at church. I am holding my breath. He kicks it. It is good! The Tigers win, the kid who could have been the goat is now a hero and the crowd storms the field. I am in a state of shock. This has been one of the best football games I've ever seen and to think I almost missed it!

Unfortunately, the Tigers will play away games for the next two weeks but I'm hoping that three Fridays from now my husband will say, "wanna go to the game tonight?" If he forgets about it, that's okay because I won't and I'll be the one asking.

Small town, Friday night, some bright lights and a football field - what a great place to be!

Note: My husband just yelled for me to come watch the end of a football game. If you want a replay of what I just described, check your sports station for the last two minutes of today's game between Chicago and Atlanta. Wow!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Virtuous Wife

Proverbs 31: 10-31 describes a virtuous wife by the standards of King Lemuel based on what his mother taught him.

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil,
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “ Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

I have heard some say that Sarah Palin, as a Christian woman, should not be working and should be staying at home with her children. Those who said this weren't even believers. Yes, a woman must manage her household but that does not mean that her husband and others cannot be a part of her management plan! Many would have us believe that the women of the Bible are little more than domestic servants. This passage tells us the virtuous wife is a very busy and influential woman. She is an excellent wife and mother but she is also a manufacturer, farmer, importer, realtor, seamstress, merchant, and manager.

She makes sure that what she does is profitable. She works late into the night and arises early in the morning. She is strong and industrious but has the time to be concerned about the poor and less fortunate. She is self-assured and does not fear for the future.

Her strength and dignity come from her reverence for God! A footnote in my Bible says, "In our society, where physical appearance counts for so much, it may surprise us to realize that her appearance is never mentioned. Her attractiveness comes entirely from her character."
The woman described in this passage is obviously in a position of high social standing and has many extraordinary gifts. It is likely that this is not one woman being described but the composite of an ideal woman. None of us will have all the attributes of this ideal woman but the skills and strengths that we do have will be strengthened and enhanced by our devotion to God so that we can each be the woman that He made us to be.

I find it sad that people have made vicious attacks on Sarah for her faith, her choices to do the right thing and they assume that she is ignorant because she is from a small town in a remote area of our country. God raised her up for this moment in history and whether she makes it to D.C. or not, she will have made an impact on godly women everywhere by the choices she has made and her willingness to fight the system for what is right and her belief that this country belongs to its people and not the greedy and self-serving "good ol' boys" and girls, in Washington.

In my book, Sarah Palin fits the profile of a virtuous wife!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ballet Painter Boutique

I love dancing! I think it is one of the most wonderful things we can do as humans. The rhythmic movement to music that allows us to physically express our joy, passion, emotion and even love! Psalm 150:4 tells us to “Praise Him with the timbrel and dance.” David danced before the Lord with all his might (2Samuel 6:14) and Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that “there is a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

My favorite form of dance has always been ballet. There is incredible depth to the art form that is ballet. It has the capability to eloquently communicate a complex story by using movements and steps that appear to be so simple, yet are so difficult to master that it takes years of training and dedication that most are not willing to endure.

Loving dance the way that I do, it is not surprising that it would be the subject of a Treasury that I put together on Etsy recently entitled Dancing in the Light. The treasury included items that celebrated or demonstrated various expressions of dance. While putting it together, I discovered a beautiful painting by Tricia Walsh entitled Tying Her Ribbons at Midnight. This painting captures the gracefulness of the young dancer as she bends to tie her ribbons in the glow of light from an unseen source. The artist uses the light to add an element of mystery to her subject and to capture the dichotomy that is ballet by demonstrating the physically demanding stretch of the dancer’s right leg and foot as she bends with elegance and ease to tie the ribbon of her pointe shoe.

I am struck by this artist’s ability to capture in her paintings, the sheer joy and love of the dance and I am excited about the opportunity to share her work with others who perhaps have not yet discovered her Ballet Painter Boutique. Her shop provides a combination of original paintings, prints and ACEOs that will accommodate almost any budget and also includes some of her beautiful wildlife paintings.

Here is a little about Tricia in her own words:

“I love painting all forms of life. I began drawing and painting twenty five years ago ... I stood at an easel with paper and charcoal, in awe at the beauty of the model before me, and suddenly plugged in to a whole new source of energy. The beauty of the human form was and still is infinitely mysterious. Later I moved to London and began to focus on portraiture. Eleven years ago, I was blessed with a daughter. This young lady has become a focused ballet dancer. This allows me to spend many happy hours at her ballet studio, drawing and painting what I observe there.”

Pointe Shoes Aren’t for Wimps: “Years of study, exercise, and ankle strengthening were required before taking my daughter to buy her first pair of pointe shoes. The first time I saw her rise up confidently on her toes was unforgettable for me. The lines and extension of her body reminded me of a tall willowy tree. And the illusion of weightlessness . . . . as an artist I was hooked.
Over the years I have acquired huge respect for the discipline, and the athletic ability behind what you can see on stage or on the dance floor. The strength required is often hugely underestimated. Dancers cannot show their sweat or pain as football players do. A dancer must conceal any sign of pain or exertion and make it look effortless.”

I think you will find that Tricia’s work captures the essence of the world of ballet and I hope you will visit her shop and spread the word about this very talented Etsian!

Additional work and information about this artist can be found at Squidoo.com