Saturday, June 24, 2006

What Makes You Smile

Almost every night I lie down with my daughter until she is almost asleep. Some nights I rush through our ritual and other nights I savor the time. Tonight was one of those nights where I savored every moment. As I listened to her even breathing I thought of how she makes me smile. Her soft, sweet skin, the smell of her hair, her "determined" personality, her outlandish imagination, all of those things made me smile. Not a fake smile, but the smile that comes from deep within. Then I started thinking of all the things we take for granted that truly make us smile. A good book and hot coffee on a cold evening, smile. Listening to the waves and the music of the ocean, smile. A child's first step, smile. Knowing God answered a prayer you've been praying, smile.

When we find beauty in each moment and appreciate God's blessings in life we can smile. We don't have to look for them, because most of the time He just drops those things that make us smile right in our laps. It is the little things that cause us the greatest amount of happiness. If we will all stop looking for those earth shattering events to bring us joy, we will find that it is right before our very eyes.

So, I ask you what makes you smile?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Demolition Derby vs. White Linen




Well, the big Father's Day weekend has passed. I tried to come up with something appropriate for Father's Day and still tie in my weekend of excitement. So, I'll give it a shot!

As a pastor's wife, I get the privilege of attending many, many different kinds of functions. These functions require a wide range of personality and etiquette. My most recent function was a demolition derby. Ryan, a member of our church, is a participant in these derbies every year. He is a one of a kind guy to say the least. He invited us to watch as he smashed his car into other cars on a mud track. As he was driving to the track we could see he had spray painted our name on his car right below the three crosses. I have to admit, I have never had my name spray painted on anything, especially a car which is about to see its demise! As the first "heat" came through and the loud smashing began, I sat in awe. It was really exciting! Then, by the time Ryan and Ronnie, another member of our church, drove through we were all pumped! My children were thrilled and I had a GREAT time!

To tie this into Father' Day...... My daddy taught me when I was growing up to be able to dine with Kings and Queens and still be the best friend to anyone that I come in contact with. He drilled in me the importance of never thinking myself better than someone else. In I Corinthians 9:22 Paul stated that, "I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some." That was another scripture my daddy used to quote. Those lessons I was taught as a child have been some of the greatest assets to me in the ministry. His gift to me of having a love for "all" people was enacted on this Father's Day weekend. Thanks Daddy, you helped this pastor's wife learn that everybody is important.

Yes, every so often I get to attend a white linen affair, with more cutlery than I care to count. The proper etiquette during these events is essential. However, the making of a well rounded individual can't be based solely on those types of social occasions. Every once in a while I need a demolition derby to remind me that life is more than white linen table cloths!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Future Tiger???




Simeon just finished his week in the Junior Golf program at Highland Lake. He really had a blast learning some of the ins and outs of golf. Every morning he was up and standing over me ready to go, even if lessons didn't start until 8:30 a.m. Then, to add to his new love - he and his daddy went to the driving range together on Wednesday. He was floating on cloud 9. Even as I sit typing this, he is in the yard practicing his strokes.

I admit I am truly sports illiterate. I try to catch on, but to no avail. I even listen sometimes when sports radio is playing but, it just doesn't make sense to me. But, Simeon has got it all down. He knows the greatest players and has a love for sports.

We always tell him he can do anything he sets his mind to. He could one day be as great a player as Tiger Woods. Who knows?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Butterfly Princess




Birthdays are special in our family and I like to make them as memorable as possible for my children.

For Anna's fifth birthday party, she wanted everything decorated with butterflies. Thankfully she switched to something other than Ninja Turtles, which was her previous choice. She and I searched diligently until we found the "perfect" decorations for her party.

We planned to have her party at the park with all of her friends. Then Saturday morning finally arrived and it was pouring down rain. I knew that plans would have to be changed. For Anna the rain was not upsetting, she didn't care where we were having her party as long as we had it. Luckily, we were able to set everything up at the church gym. Anna was "butterfly princess" for the day and had a great time.

She was beautiful and animated as usual. I told her that every year I knew that Jesus had to be making her more beautiful than the year before. Just like a butterfly she is perfectly and delicately made. It seems like yesterday that I was anticipating her arrival. Time is short so for now I want to enjoy every moment I have been given with her. Because I know one day, she will fly away and make birthday memories with her family.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Humility

"The virtue of humility may be defined as: A quality by which a person considering his own defects has a lowly opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and others for God's sake."

Could it be that I needed to learn humility? I never considered myself to be "proud." But then, what God sees is something totally different. Maybe He felt I needed to be brought down a notch or two.

Coming to Indiana was a major change in more than one way. Getting used to the climate was a small part. I have grown to love the climate, especially during the spring and summer! But, my spiritual climate is what I feel God wanted me to change the most. In Garland, I had many jobs and wore many hats. I was available in any area God wanted to use me. The areas of ministry that I worked in were not easy and required much prayer and determination. But, those areas received many accolades from man and maybe, just maybe, my flesh enjoyed being praised. I never thought for a moment that I could have become proud during my time there. But, now that I look at where I am, my eyes have been opened. I no longer have a specific area that I serve in, instead I just kind of fill in the gaps as needed. Here, I am trying to prove that I am capable of leading and yet have not completely succeeded. There, everyone saw that I was capable. I have missed the accolades, I was becoming proud.

My opinion of myself then and my opinion of myself now are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum. Did I think too highly of myself or my abilities? Did I need a lesson or two in humility? We often say we want to be humble servants but do we really mean it? I thought I did. And, yet here I am and I have yet to find my "place." But, in this search for a "place" I am looking for the lesson to be learned. I have considered my defects, as in the quote above, and I am continually reminded of them.

It is the last part of the quote, "and willingly submits himself to God and others for God's sake," that is my test. By my admission of defects, and knowing that my opinion is not that high and lofty one anymore, I must willingly submit to His service for His people. God brought me here to be a servant and a servant is not high and lofty. A servant thinks not highly of himself, but is willing to serve others at all costs. We must be careful that in serving Him, we don't rely too heavily on accolades from man. Those accolades come and go and when they go we must be ready for the test. Though this lesson in humility may be hard, I am willing to submit to it just to be in His will serving His children!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Life is Precious...



About six months ago Sis. Wanda was diagnosed with cancer. She underwent surgery and has since gone through several chemotherapy treatments. The amazing thing about Sis. Wanda is that she has kept such a positive attitude the entire time. In the hospital right before her surgery she smiled saying, "I know God will take care of me, because I need to take care of Larry." Amazing!

Again she amazed me when she first started losing her hair. I saw in her Wal-mart buying a hat so she could come to church. At Wal-mart she greeted me with a smile and was proudly showing off her hat. The conviction I felt was enormous knowing that any problem I had at the time was so small compared to the trial she was beginning to endure.

Both Sis. Wanda and her precious husband Larry have so much life! He is 79 and is going through this sickness with his wife but you wouldn't know it. He often runs the isles in church and loves to joke around with everyone.

These two awesome saints of God have taught me to smile through adversity, and to trust completely in the Creator. But most importantly because He has chosen to place them in my life He has used them to remind me that Life is Precious when we live it to the fullest!