Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hodge Podging.....On A Wednesday Afternoon!

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of Joyce's post. Be sure to hop over and leave a comment for the blogger linking before you today, because comments make the blog world go round. Here we go-


1. Thursday (September 22) is the first official day of autumn in this part of the world...how will you welcome the season? I know some of you have been celebrating way too early, but it's official now so permission granted. House Beautiful recently listed ten ways to make your home smell like fall (you can read the list here) What's a scent you love this time of year and how will you add it to your home?
It does not feel fally today.  It is still in the mid to upper 90's range.  The mornings are lovely as they are in the mid-60's.  I love this time of the year.  I love the leaves, I love putting out my fall decorations, I love turtlenecks and boots....but....I am still wearing short sleeves and flip flops. 
As far as scents go I love candles year round, but especially this time of year. And I enjoy simmering cinnamon, cloves, apple, vanilla....all those warm, fall, homey smells.  But...not today!  I am holding out for October 1st.   

 2. Apple pie or pumpkin pie? Apple cake or pumpkin bread? Warm apple cider or a pumpkin spice latte?  I love apple anything pretty much.  I do enjoy pumpkin....but it is a seasonal thing.  Apple whatever I eat year round.  Apple cider is a must, but I do drink a pumpkin spice latte once during the season.

3. Do you occasionally suffer from what's sometimes referred to as an afternoon slump? What helps ward it off before it hits and/or tell us what helps you shake it off once it's here?
Yes, Sometimes I 'slump' mid-afternoon. If I'm busy and power on through it passes, but if I sit down forget it. Sometimes I give in to a brief power nap.  Other times I will have some cider, or a cup of coffee, and it will pass.
 
4. Ladies-how have your friendships with women inspired you or made you a better person? For the men here today- how have your friendships with men inspired you or made you a better person?  Their love, support, and encouragement have taught me to be more loving, supportive , try harder, and to be  an encourager.  I have some awesome friends who are amazing prayer warriors and I am learning from them by example.
5. Are you a people pleaser? If you said yes, do you think that's a good or bad thing? If you said no, do you wish you were more of a people pleaser?  I have been a doormat at times.  I am a Type B personality person in a world of Mega A's and I am satisfied as long as peace rules my day.  I want no waves in my life if I can help it.  Saying that....understand....I WILL make waves if the need arises.
 
6. The seasons are a-changin'...share a favorite song relating in some way to change (not necessarily seasonal change, it could be change of any kind).  I am going to borrow Joyce's because this is one of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite song birds.
Landslide by Stevie Nicks...'can I sail through the changing ocean tides, can I handle the seasons of my life...'
7. What do you wish would never change?   Change is inevitable.  If I had to say something....I wish my children had never grown up and I wish too that my health would remain the same. 
 
8.  Insert your own random thought here.  Please remember the Schwartz family in your prayers.  My dear friend lost his wife to cancer this morning.  Heaven gained another angel....but please pray for the ones left behind.  We are coming up on a season when many become depressed....so just be a little kinder to those around you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Aftermath Hodge Podge

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've decided to play and answered the questions add your link at the end of Joyce's post, then run say hi to your neighbor (the blogger before you). Here we go-


1. What's changed in your life, home, or community since your last birthday?
I am a year closer to retirement.  There was a tragic murder in the community that saddened us all.  There was a hostage situation in the county.  Frank finished Course of Study. I went to Michigan over the summer.  Still living in Rock Mills, Still teaching in Randolph County, Still preaching at Midway UMC.  I have to admit I am enjoying constant right now.
2. September is Classical Music Month. Do you like/listen to classical music? If so what's a favorite piece and/or who is a favorite composer?  I like some classical music and will sometimes play it when I'm doing housework. Pachelbel's Canon in D Major is my favorite.  I also listen to some of the livelier pieces so I will move faster.  LOL 
3. Besides The Bible, what's a book that has positively changed your life, relationships, career, or perspective? How so?  When I read the question, then read Joyce's answer I started thinking about my own answer I decided to use Joyce's response.  Several books came to my mind immediately, and I could easily come up with a list of ten. but, like Joyce I went with My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I too am re-reading it again this year and I also agree with Joyce that it is absolutely jam-packed full of life-changing wisdom.  
4. I read (here) these ten hobbies will make you smarter...play a musical instrument, read voraciously, meditate regularly, work out your brain (puzzles, sudoku, board games, etc), exercise often, learn a new language, write your feelings down (blog, journal, just write), travel to new places, cook different kinds of meals, participate in sports actively
Are any on this list your current hobbies? Which hobby on the list would you be most inclined to try?
I currently read voraciously, pray regularly, work out my brain, exercise, write, travel and cook. I love to travel...and I love to plan the trip. I love puzzles and word games.   I am not currently learning a new language, but I do teach one and play refresher games to keep me on top.   
5. What sports traditions does your family have?  Go Noles! (hubby)  War Eagle (me).
6. In a few words, weigh in on the current football/National Anthem brouhaha. Keep it family friendly please.  I am appalled, ashamed, disappointed, and think NOONE should watch or attend ANY event.  We stand and pledge the flag every morning at my school.  I cannot make my students pledge....but they are required to stand out of respect....and I have never had a problem with any of them.  The 9-11 protest broke my heart.  I back the blue....and the firefighters....who all ran INTO the building while others were running out. 
7. Where do you have loads of patience, and where do you most lack patience?
I do not have loads of patience for the most part. I am patient when it comes to  baking, grocery shopping, crafting (as long as it is going right), shoe shopping, writing and reading.   Obviously Joyce and I are related on the impatient things....since our answers are the same.  What I do not have patience for are people driving way too slow in the left lane, particularly if it's because they're texting, (also, p.s.a-the left lane is for passing...just throwing that out there in case you're one of the drivers who try my patience), chronic complainers, laziness on the job, and technology glitches. And obviously I have no patience for highly paid professional athletes who use the 'workplace' as a means of protest. 
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Dearest Everyone-
This is my journal entry beginning September 11, 2001. I wanted to share it with you, because I was in New York; because it was the heaviest thing I have ever experienced ~

Love,Stevie Nicks
I needed to share the whole  journal writing of Stevie Nicks with you.  She wrote it in 2001...it hurts my heart.  I hope you will read it.



Thursday, September 8, 2016

Living Bold





I have been reading in Galatians lately and on Labor Day this verse seemed to grab me.  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up(Galatians 6:9 NIV).

I have been down in the dumps lately.  My friends are all retiring and I am still stuck in the 9 to 5 mode.  It has caused me to foeel like my ship has pulled up anchor and sailed off without me! I am struggling to respond to life when it has dealt me lemons and I cannot make them into lemonade.  Was this the life I signed on for?  Is this where I wanted to be when I was in high school?  college?  a young mother?  I am struggling to know where to turn when the powers that be toss my hopes and dreams overboard and tell me to go on home? My friends are all celebrating their 40+ anniversaries....and I would be too......but things didn't happen like that......things changed.....everything.  I know many of you may have met with brick walls....walls you could not scale....you know...where people have told you the following: 
You are not smart enough.; You don’t have enough money;  Your writing is not good enough says the millionth rejection letter I opened; You don’t have the right credentials; Your past is too sordid, 0r you really messed up a time or two in your life;   Your idea is not practical...or they say...it's just plain stupid.  I don't know about you.....but I have stood on the dock of my precisely prepared hopes and dreams and watched as all my friends got on the ship that I was dying board--without me. All I could do was put on a forced smile and wish them well, when what I wanted more than anything is to run on that ship and say, “You’ve made a mistake. This is my boat! It was meant for me too! Don’t leave me!”  This has happened to me many times in my life and I have learned from these experiences that there are a few things I can do when it does.  Many times I simply gave up and went home, or I ran from it. Once in awhile I would do whatever it took to get on board.  It was not always easy...but it was worth the fight. I have learned to let go of discouragement and take hold of this  God-given dream....you do know I am a pastor....right????  I have discovered in my life that God's dreams for me....are most often so much bigger than my own.  I don’t know what your ship is today. I don’t know what God has planned for you . . . but I do know it is something good.
It is so hard to press on in the shadow of discouragement.  I tell you it is hard work. Many times I have wanted to wimp out because giving up is so much easier. But it is those times when I find myself keeping on in the shadow of disappointment so that I can  experience the sweetness of success.  I have discovered I want to live BOLD.  I want to climb over the walls I come face to face with.  I want to find my dreams that I thought were lost, dust them off, move forward, and live bold.  How about you???

Sunday, September 4, 2016

I Have Decided To Follow Jesus....Or Have I?


My scripture today can be found in Luke 14:25-35
Several years ago in Kentucky a man walked into a Dairy Queen, placed his order and then paid for it with a $200 bill. The cashier gave him $198 in change and he drove away. Some time later in the day I guess the manager noticed that something didn’t seem right about this $200 bill, maybe because it had a picture of then-president George Bush on one side or maybe it was the picture of the Whitehouse on the back with an oil well in front and funny signs in the lawn. Police were able to track down the man and he was arrested for theft by deception.  As you probably know, real U.S. currency has a number of features designed to make it harder to counterfeit. If you have a ten or twenty dollar bill you are welcome to take it out and look at it. If you hold it up to the light you will see that there’s a strip embedded in the paper that has the denomination of the bill printed on it. That strip also glows under UV light. There are several features that you need a magnifier to see as well. All of these things are included to distinguish the real bills from the fakes and also to make it harder to counterfeit. The reason is that when you have that $20 bill you need to be sure that it’s real; that it’s really worth $20 .   The same is true for most successful products. The idea is that when you see that logo or name, you know you’re getting the real thing, the genuine product. So these same companies spend lots of money every year to keep others from duplicating their product or their identity. Today, however, one of the big problems is copycat products being produced in Asia that are trying to imitate the genuine product. Authorities have found clones of a popular brand of down jacket for sale on the internet. When the jackets were tested, it was discovered that they were not filled with down at all but with all sorts of other things, like chicken feathers (and other parts) swept up from the floor of a poultry factory. This can pose a real health risk by carrying bacteria and disease.   In the same way that we can be fooled by counterfeit products or money, we are also in danger of counterfeit religion as well. To be more specific, we are in danger of having a counterfeit faith, of believing in a fake Christianity. We are in danger of worshiping a plastic Jesus.   So what do we mean by “plastic Jesus?” What exactly is a counterfeit faith? Where does this fake Christianity come from and how do we recognize it? More importantly, how do we make sure we don’t fall for it? Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters— yes, even his own life— he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ’This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.  I don’t know about you….but I believe that this passage deserves a second read or even a third. If I had to name this passage I would call it….‘when the warm fuzzies end’…or the rubber hits the road. When we become Christians, or when we claim the faith we grew up with as our own it often begins with ‘warm fuzzies’. We discover the tremendous love of God, an awareness of what Jesus did for us and a great sense of hope. Hopefully this knowledge will bring us joy throughout our whole life. However there comes a point when (as with all relationships) we realize that a relationship with God is a two way street. God gifts to us forgiveness and eternal life but a true disciple of Christ must make a response. God asks of us a willingness to change; a willingness to submit our selfish desires to something higher. Jesus modelled this to us. His response to God was obedience and sacrifice. Thankfully our response doesn’t come with the pre-requisite of a Roman crucifixion but it does ask us to willingly crucify our own selfish desires. What is most precious to us? For most of us it our families, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers. It is no coincidence that Jesus uses these most precious relationships as an allegory for discipleship. We should be so devoted to God that in comparison our devotion to our families is like hatred of them. This should cause all of us the question our current devotion to God. How much of my time is devoted to prayer and worship? How much of my time and money is dedicated to Gods service? How much of my talents and skills are used in Gods service?  We live in an age of consumerism; and this is painfully true amongst Christians. We judge our churches by how well they feed us, or how good the worship is, or whether I feel accepted. We pray fervently to God when we want something but spend very little time in relationship prayer. We consume God and his church like a commodity. But this was and is not Gods design for his people. Instead we are called to count the cost of our decision to follow Christ. Being a follower of Jesus will sometimes cost us our precious days off, our sleep ins, our flash money, it will demand integrity in our relationships, faithfulness in our marriage, forgiveness toward those who hurt us whether they are sorry or not. To be a disciple of Christ will sometimes ask you to go to uncomfortable places, do uncomfortable things and possibly to hold firm to beliefs which are in conflict with the prevailing society. Being a Christian will make you accountable for the poor, the lonely, the oppressed, the sick, and the imprisoned. Sometimes being a Christian will not feel good nor will it be easy. Sometimes the warm fuzzies are replaced by weeping, suffering and rejection.  Are you feeling a little uncomfortable yet? You should be, I was so uncomfortable as I wrote this sermon.  I was able to attend a run through of the Celebrate Recovery at First Church Wedowee that kicks off on the 8th.  As I listened to their purpose and their calling I was touched to my core.  Then I was asked to participate as an attender….it felt odd being there as someone who was a recoverer….yet….we all are recoverers….of something. Back to the task of my sermon….there is a silver lining to be found in our scripture and here it is:  You see we are not alone in this endeavour and Jesus, who calls us to this rigorous job knows we will fall short of it. HE KNOWS!  So we as Christians must strive toward this goal of true discipleship because this honors God. However we must not feel condemned when we fall short of it because the grace of God is willing to forgive those who seek him. Count the cost of being a follower of Christ; if you are only in it for the warm fuzzies than it is not God you serve but yourself. My suggestion is….give…then give some more, change then change some more, love then love some more.  Will it be easy….probably not….but it will be worth it!  I promise you that.  I have decided to follow Jesus.....what about you?


 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Doing The Hokey Pokey With Jesus





 
 



In the sermon today we are going to hear Jesus say some harsh words about how following Jesus and loving Jesus is not easy and that you may have to give up everything you have to follow Jesus. Say, “Just like the song the “Hokey Pokey” that we just sang, Jesus tells us that the only way to follow him is to put our whole selves in. What does it mean to follow Jesus? When we are at school do we follow Jesus? Yes. When we are at soccer, baseball, football practice or dance class do we follow Jesus? What if following Jesus, which means loving everyone, even those that other people ignore, means that we get made fun of for being nice to kids that other kids are not nice to? What if following Jesus means that you share the ball in soccer practice or don’t need to be the one who makes the goal? What if following Jesus means giving away part of your allowance to buy food for someone or clothes for someone? Those can all be tough things but Jesus wants our whole selves to follow him not just on Sundays or at church but Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and everywhere! Is that easy or hard? Well the good news is that Jesus promises to be with us on all of those days and at every time of our day! We will mess up and not get it right but we get to try again every single day and God says that is ok and God loves us! And that is “what’s it’s all about!”

Remember guys….God love is what you offer us every day and that’s what our lives are all about.

 

 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September Thoughts


I was reading an online devotional for seniors the other day and found ran across this one I felt I had to share with you this month.  I hope it touches you like it did me.  It begins with a scripture that sets the scene for us.  “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” - Luke 9:23-24.”  One of my favorite musicals is Cotton Patch Gospel.  I was fortunate enough to see it performed live in Gainesville, GA many years ago.  I was so very touched.  There is a story about “Clarence Jordan, the author of the Cotton Patch New Testament translation.  It seems that he was getting a red-carpet tour of a brand-new church. With pride, the pastor pointed out the beautiful pews, the luxurious decorations, and the beautiful, handcrafted pulpit in the front.  The two walked outside as darkness was falling, and the pastor pointed up at a huge cross atop the structure, illuminated by several bright spotlights. “That cross alone cost us ten thousand dollars,” the pastor boasted proudly.  “It looks like you got cheated,” said Jordan. “Times were when Christians could get those for free.”   When we look at the cross what do we see?   “It’s crucial we remember what that symbol is really all about. During the time of Jesus, the cross was the ultimate sign of shame—a torture and execution device for the lowliest of criminals.  When Jesus said that a follower of His should “take up their cross daily and follow me,” He wasn’t talking about a glorious life. He meant that a disciple would encounter hardship, persecution, and even death for His sake. He did promise, however, that it would all be worth it. You know that in the parts of the world where we enjoy religious freedom, why do we think it’s easy to forget what the cross really means?  Don’t let the spiritual freedoms you enjoy today cause you to forget the price of following Christ. Be willing to do whatever it takes to stay faithful. And even if the Lord allows you to suffer for the sake of Christ, remember it will all be worth it!  Think about how different our lives might look if we truly commit ourselves to following Christ no matter the consequences?  I have a Prayer Challenge I want to give you for September.  I want you all to pray that God would give you a commitment to follow Christ not because it’s easy, but because it’s worth any suffering you encounter.
Karen

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Farewell Hodge Podge

Okay, here we go...read Joyce's questions, answer on your own blog like I did, , then hop back over here at your convenience, by clicking right here....and then add your link to the party.
1.  Are there any men or women in blue on your family tree? Frank is a reerve Deputy for Randolph County.  I have a cousin who was a city police officer....but no more that I know of.

2. Are you someone who suffers from the Sunday night blues? What helps you get over it?  Sometimes Sunday night blues do get a hold of me, especially if I had a busy weekend with no down time.. Usually I begin to dwell on something good that is going to happen during the week ahead, or read my Bible, or a book I need to read, I write....or....and don't laugh.  I watch Guys Grocery Games....I know...not too profound.  But he makes me laugh.
3. I read the color blue is an appetite suppressant since there are very few naturally blue foods out there. How do you feel about blue cheese? Love it or blech? If you're a fan, what's something you like that's made with blue cheese?  I do no like blue cheese at all.  I don't like the smell or the taste.  It is nasty and if it were the only cheese around....I would never eat cheese.
4. We can't head in to the Labor Day weekend without a related question, can we? Complete this thought: work best when I have some music soothing my soul and putting me in the zone. 

5. 'Everything yields to diligence .' Antiphanes Your thoughts? (on this particular quote or on diligence in general). 
I believe that diligence is the constant...pressing forward....and yes...it is almost like a snowball effect....you begin....are diligent....and the world gets out of your way.  That is the best I have before drinking a cup of coffee.
6.
The National Park Service turned 100 years old on August 25th. Have you been to many of America's National Parks? If so share with us a favorite or two. Which National Park would you most like to visit before the next birthday rolls around?   I love all the ones I have been to, because I love historical places.  I would love to go back to Yellowstone and actually stay at the Yellowstone Lodge....and spend more than just a day.
 
I will be back in the Smokey Mountains again this year.  I love Cades Cove....of all the ones The Grand Canyon was probably my favorite of all. 

7.  Bid farewell to August in seven words or less.  School begins, fall's near, summer's gone!
8.  Can you believe that stores are already putting out their Christmas stuff?  I love Hobby Lobby....but they are decked out to the hilt! How do you feel about this????  Can each holiday not have it's moment in the sun????