Monday, February 28, 2011

when their eye is on you

"Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart."  Ephesians 6:6


Wanting to find meaning in the meaningless tasks of life...trying to make purposeful choices...desiring to have joy in the journey...making attitude adjustments...striving to serve out of love...





So why is it that my imperfections are so much more noticeable than what I occasionally get right? 
Why is it that just when I think I've made improvements, out of left field comes another notice that I'm still striking out more times than not? 
Why is it that when I'm experiencing the wind rising me up, someone wants to keep me grounded?

I want to say I don't understand, but unfortunately, I do.

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."  Ephesians 6:11-18

Lord, help me remember my only defense against the devil's schemes is You.  Time in Your Word and with You in prayer make all the difference when being attacked.  Help me be prepared for battle each day.  Forgive me when I've let my defenses down and am an easy target for flaming arrows.  And, remind me, (and I need it often) that pleasing others is only remotely possible if I, first, please You.  For in pleasing You, I find myself looking to the One whose opinion really matters.  In Jesus' name...Amen! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

3 in 30: February Closing Comments & March Goals


Most of my last week of February has been spent in Orlando enjoying the warm weather and marvelous sunshine!  I like having goals that can be achieved even on the road. :)
#1  In the sunshine state it was easy keeping the water intake up.  So glad I have worked on drinking more water this month.  Hopefully it's been on my mind enough this month that I will continue to think about it and make it something I begin to do by habit.
#2  I have corralled all the loose photos that I can find into albums and we're still enjoying moments of browsing through them time to time.  The freeing moment of this activity was when I decided to just get them into albums and not stress upon getting them in order.  Just having them in the albums (it took 4 full albums!) is great.  If I decide one day to organize them, great.  If not, great!
#3 Visit with at least one friend every week just because...I have really enjoyed meeting this goal each week!  Just today, I was able to have breakfast with a dear friend and her husband.  Each week this month has brought me in face to face contact with dear friends...nothing makes me feel more encouraged than being with friends!

Looking ahead to March, I do believe my three goals will be...
1) Get to bed no later than 11 pm every night. 
2) Make it to my ladies' Bible study every Monday.  I have a trend to make appointments without thinking ahead and it seems to always interfere with Bible study group.  I want this to change this time around.
3) Focus on part one of a mulit-part goal to become a better Proverbs 31 woman.  This week's verse to work on..."She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants." 

Between #1 and #3, I may be setting myself up for utter failure for the month, but Matthew 19:26 says, "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'"  It will only be by a miracle these will be met each week!

Disney's Magic Kingdom

A few months ago, I found out that we were going to Orlando for business and a little family getaway.  Hmmm...what's there to do in Orlando that's family friendly?   
Of course, Disney World!  After much research into which theme park to visit, we decided upon the Magic Kingdom.  We had one day and we made an entire day of it...out the door by 8, walking back in the door almost 14 hours later.  Craziness.
We had a great day walking and riding...mostly walking...around the park (should I be saying Kingdom?).  Either way, we had alot of fun.
I have never been to a Disney park before.  I've never really desired to go.  Honestly, my boys have never asked to go to one either.  Tim has called The Disney Store "Disney World" for years...he came up with that on his own and it was enough.  This opportunity to visit Disney World showed itself right for our moment, so we engaged upon it with a skip in our steps.  Watching my boys' faces throughout the day was my favorite thing to do in the Magic Kingdom.  During the opening ceremony tears came to my eyes as I saw
 the excitement on my boys' faces.  Then, as they experienced the rides and shows throughout the day, the smiles abounded.  Worn out and ready to leave, still, they were troopers as the eletrical parade began.         
There are alot of images that Disney wants you to see and believe in about the Magical Kingdom.  They do a good job at selling themselves long before you've ever entered the gate.  We weren't dissapointed in our choice.  The park is surprisingly clean and well kept in spite of the thousands of visitors there each day.  All of the employees we met were very friendly and helpful as well.  They manage the masses quite efficiently.
But one day was enough.  I was so happy to be off my feet, daydreaming of spending the next day lounging by the pool in the warm sunshine as I drifted to sleep that night.
And, that's exactly what I did all afternoon.  That, and watch the space shuttle Discovery take off for space.  I saw it live and in person from our hotel in Orlando.  It was so cool!
I can now say I've been to Disney World.        

Saturday, February 19, 2011

L.E.N.S. photo challenge: micro

My all time favorite photo using the macro feature on my camera! 
Grab your camera and post one of your favorite macro shots for the challenge at Home Is Where You Start From.
I featured this photo on my blog post, Living Water, last year.

Friday, February 18, 2011

3 in 30: Encouraging Words in February


"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God..." 1 John 3:1

I've been thinking about this month's goals...last month's goals...and next month's goals.  It can all be overwhelming if I let it, because along with the 3 goals of each month, I have so many other goals for each day I want to do, too.
One day this week, I read 1 John 3 and just simply rested in it.  I wrapped myself in the unconditional love God has for me as His daughter.  It is something I cannot work towards.  He is love and He loves me.  I feel refreshed in this fact.
As for my goals...water intake is still going well.  an impromtu visit to IN (where my family lives) this week helped me get my "visit with a friend" goal met.  And, by later today my loose photos will all be in albums.
Thanks to all who stop by and leave encouraging words on my blog!  Hope you have a great end-of-the-month week next week.

accidental bokeh

I was so excited today when I discovered the first daffodil bloom! 


Then, tonight, when I downloaded the pictures to my computer I discovered the ever illusive effect I've only ever dreamed of catching in one of my photos...bokeh!





Not eye catching, Wow!, bokeh...but bokeh nonetheless. 
This is exciting for a wannabe photographer like me!
It's the little things in life that make me smile, indeed.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Love That Gives Life

                             For God so loVed the world
                                that he gAve
                                    His onLy begotten son
                            that whosoEver believeth 
                                             iN him
                              should noT 
                                         perIsh
                 but have everlastiNg
                                          lifE
                                      John 3:16

Saturday, February 12, 2011

L.E.N.S photo challenge: February

Nothing says "February" like Conversation Hearts...




Join in on the challenge at Home Is Where You Start From and show us what February looks like to you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

3 in 30: Week 2 Check Up

There's something about this week that makes me feel as if nothing was accomplished...but, I just read over my goals as I wrote them at the end of January, and realize that I did make short strides in all three areas.
Water intake has continued over what I drank prior to February 1st...more photos have been found and stacked for entry into another photo album (when I go and purchase one or two more)...and, even though life has rearranged my schedule some this week, I am visiting with a friend tomorrow.
Hope everyone has had a good week!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

pennywise

Last month, when many were naming their year, "The year of...", I, at first, couldn't come up with any one thing that stuck out to me.  I then wrote a post about a new kind of year.  God was opening doors to something new.  Indeed it has been already full of new things for me and I am so enjoying them all. 
Since then, God has further blessed my spirit in many ways and has invited me into an especially sweet reunion with Him during Bible study and worship. 
However, things aren't as they used to be...they have changed.  Change occurs whether we want it to or not.  Although some changes are more difficult than others, it's through these times that God reveals Himself faithful, mighty, and constant.  He never changes (Malachi 3:6; Revelation 4:8).  He is as great in the tough times as He is in the bountiful times.  I love this about my God! 
I am welcoming the changes taking place.  It's refreshing to see things coming together as only God could arrange.  I also find it quite humorous that the change in our pockets reminds us what to do during the rearranging times of our lives...I quote from the penny, "In God We Trust".  He is trustworthy through the changes taking place and I desire to be found even more pennywise as this year progresses.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

L.E.N.S. photo challenge: PE edition

What does PE look like at our house? 
Well, on a nice day, it's riding bikes, playing basketball or football and doing other "boy things" outside. 
On rainy days, depending on the season, it's either puddle jumping in the rivers running through our backyard or playing Wii.  We went swimming at the Y ealier this week, too, since it was cold and rainy out. 
Our latest PE activity, though, is our new backyard zipline...I love Alex's expression as he started out on his turn down the line.
 Daddy and Grandpa built their zipline and it couldn't be better...except for it to be rated for Mama, too. :)  Maybe an upgrade can be in our future. :) 


   Join in on the PE fun at the L.E.N.S. photo challenge @ Home Is Where You Start From.

Friday, February 4, 2011

3 in 30: February Goals

Well, well, well...I feel like I'm constantly going to the well for more water.  And, frankly, I don't like water.  Not without lemon...and sometimes not even with it. :)  But, I probably did drink more water this week and, therefore, I am well on my way to accomplishing this goal for February.  As for getting to the Y this week in addition to drinking my water...let's just say I made it there once.  Had a sick boy most of the week and we didn't get out much at all.  Very thankful he's on the mend!  There's still time, though, to get there a couple more times...  
I'm almost completely finished stuffing photos that I've gathered from my hotspots into photo albums, too.  Had to go and purchase two more albums this week to have room for them.  I love the time the boys and I have spent reminiscing over our past adventures.  Makes me want to print out the pics from my computer and get them into albums, too...maybe I'll just order some more photo books.  Sounds cheaper...I have thousands of digital photos.
As for my third goal of visiting a friend "just because", I traveled to MI and spent some time with my best friend and her family.  Met my "niece" for the first time, too.  My boys call her "Auntie Deb" and hers (will) call me "Aunt Janet".  Loved seeing them all and getting to play in the snow for a little while.  Glad to come home to my daffodil sprouts, though.  Called another friend this week, too, which I haven't gotten together with for awhile...hoping to meet up with her next week. :)
I'm enjoying the accountability that I am feeling with this 3 in 30 group...makes me want to have a good report at the end of each week, so I try really hard at making some progress along the way.  Thank you, all! 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday's Walk...down the aisle!

Nine years ago today I walked down the aisle to say "I do".  How time does fly!  When we were engaged, I had a chance to write in to my local paper about our engagement in a special sweethearts edition.  The following is a short version of our story that I submitted.  It was chosen to be printed, too, which was pretty exciting.

This is our story...Memorial Day weekend 2001 I was planning a birthday vacation with my best friend, Christa to celebrate our birthdays which are a day apart at the end of May.  The previous year we flew down and met up at Sarasota, FL.  On her flight, she met and was squeezed inbetween a handsome stranger, Victor, and the window.  Well, we all became acquainted that weekend and had dinner and made plans to keep in contact.  When it came time to plan for our birthdays in 2001, Christa and I were invited to spend the weekend in Atlanta with Victor and his friend who had a house near the city.  That friend was Scott.  Christa and I flew in on separate flights about 30 minutes apart and well, it took some time finding each other in the Atlanta airport.  They paged me and I went to meet up with them in the baggage claim area. Standing there a bit overwhelmed, excited, and ready to be found was little ol' me from Indiana in a huge airport with people passing me by left and right.  All of a sudden I look up and see this tall, blonde, blue eyed stranger coming my way with a smile.  He walks right up to me and offers his hand and asks if I am Janet.  A bit surprised at this, having been expecting Christa to find me, I shift luggage and return a hand to him, looking around him to see if I can spot Christa anywhere near us.  Long story short, the four of us have a wonderful weekend sporting around Atlanta going to Six Flags, a Braves game, cookouts, and a birthday dinner at Logan's Roadhouse.  The four of us had a wonderful time together, but Scott and I had hit it off right away and were just having a great time.  By Monday afternoon, Scott had more than fallen for me.  I, however, was involved in another serious relationship at the time.  Engaged, to be exact.  Talk about being confused.  I had waited 28 years for a man in my life and now at 29 I had two...what's a girl to do?  Well, she's to go with her heart and Scott had captured mine in a matter of days.  We officially started dating in late June and after a few weeks of long-distance dating we knew we were meant to be together for life.  He proposed on August 14th and I lovingly accepted.  In looking at the calendar for a date I found that February 2nd fell on a Saturday and we just couldn't resist the 02/02/02 date and just for kicks planned it for 2 in the afternoon as well.

Whenever I am asked if I believe in love at first sight, my answer is and always will be, "You bet I do!"   

*Author's note: There's a whole other story behind my first engagement that could be, but doesn't need to be, told here.  Nothing happened that weekend in GA that would have endangered that relationship had I chosen to stay in it.  I made the hard choice to break off the engagement once I returned home based on alot of thought and prayer over alot of things, not just because a handsome stranger found me in an airport. :)