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55 Little Things That 2012 Taught Me

Who knew that a speedy little year could teach big and little lessons along the way?   Actually, I did… and I learned a lot. Some lessons were new, some just reminders, some I’m glad I learned, some not so glad, some were so bad that I still can taste it (That’d be number 1 on the list), some were bittersweet and some just plain fun…55 things… That is more than one a week for all of you non-math people.  Here we go….

In 2012, I learned or was reminded that:

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1. If there is an expiration date on a food product and it is expired, particularly if it is over a year and a half after the date, it probably won’t taste good……even crackers…

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2. One person CAN touch unseen lives eternally which indirectly changes the world.

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3. Dog “shaming” works….. just sayin’

4.Projects that seem little can explode into something big.

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5. Drawing and painting on the Sketch Club app are great ways to relieve stress.

6. We are never guaranteed our next breath.

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7. Nature is powerful.

8. When nature is powerful often human need is incredibly great.

9. When human need is great, corporate compassion kicks in and other humans become active and help.

10. While other humans help, corporate compassion fades away and we tend to forget about those who needed the help… Even if they still need it.

11. Listening to God’s people at all times and holding the words in your heart can help during rough times

12. Everyone has a story.

13. Everyone experiences hurt.

14. The enemy is very real and active.

15. Having no car payments…. nice ….having to start the car by lifting the hood and plugging up the battery…. not so nice..

16. Sometimes, it is difficult not to become discouraged, especially when you try your hardest and still mess up. (Happens more than I like to admit….oops, I think I just admitted that).

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17. Nature is beautiful…. even in Kentucky.

18. Not everyone will reciprocate or maybe even acknowledge your kindness, generosity, care, concern, friendship or love….. it’s okay… just love ’em anyway.

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19. Facebook is great for connecting long time friends… particularly when one lives in Sweden.

20. Santa Claus can come on New Year’s Eve if he wants (Just stating the facts)

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21. Low carb food, like my low carb pancakes, can really taste good…..and that’s not even comparing it to out of date crackers.

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22. Being healthy is important… If laughter is great medicine… My family is funny and we laugh at ourselves and each other a lot….. Yep, we are really healthy. 

23. Words, even just a few, either good or bad, can have an affect on someone for a long time  …..maybe even for life…

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24. Finding wild baby animals makes you want to keep them, but they have more chance of survival if you leave them alone….Okay, we didn’t find the monkey but he was just too cute to not include. 

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25. Flying kites is completely underrated.  

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26. Enjoying time on the family farm is healthy for the family.

27. Smart phone are lifelines in many cases….  but they can really embarrass you too… i.e. auto-correct  (corrected words vanilla and Ha! are the first to come to mind), sending a text to the wrong person, accidentally hitting a button on your phone and realize that you called your co-worker at 1:00am, hitting another button and calling a former co-worker at 7:00am, who now lives in a different time zone,  which of course woke him up and then also calling your boss from your pocket without knowing it until he calls you back….. more than once… 

28. Grace exemplified is amazing to see, be a part of, experience, receive and feel. It is also amazing to see a loved ones life changed because of it.  

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29. Regardless of what a 10-year-old says, Butt Paste is not used to glue a baby down to prevent them getting into things.

30. Great people are a part of my church family.

31. Great people are a part of my family.

32. Great people are a part of my friendships.

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33. Kids really love art… and flying angry birds

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34. Destruction or neglect of buildings that once housed good childhood memories tends to make me melancholy. 

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35. Apparently those “Meddling Kids” live in my town..

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36. Summer Camp is fun… even for counselors and directorsbut a wasp sting at camp… particularly inside the nose, hurts like crazy…….Experience talking.

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37.  Surprising co-workers with their favorite something, going to support them away from work, laughing together, praying together and liking each other is not necessarily the norm, even in churches. I love and am proud of my co-workers…They may as well be family… Actually, they pretty much are. 

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38. Not all American Flags are made in America…

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39. Kentucky has some of the prettiest sunsets ever.

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40. Kentucky’s weather is erratic… One day freezing with gloves, heavy coats, etc,

……the next day getting a tan.

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41. Kentucky also can have extremely hot summers.

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42. If you live to celebrate a centennial birthday, you get a key to the city, a letter from the President, lots and lots of party goers, lots and lots of cards and the whole family to gather together and if you are as sharp as Aunt Emma, then you’ll be able to talk about it for years to come.

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43. Even if your child’s school has a bad reputation for being in a rough area, looks like a prison, has a history of poor test scores, has 90% or more free and reduced lunch and all in modular units while renovating….. and the polar opposite of that school is in 1/10 of a mile out of your school district……. if God wants your child to be there for the year then He will do great things with that year… and He has….

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44. There is no place like October Court Day… not sure if that is good or bad.  

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45. It’s fun to reduce, reuse, recycle and upcycle.

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 46. I do NOT like politics, political commercials or political party talk… ever… but  especially not during election year.  I research on a my own and yes, I voted.

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47. It becomes overwhelming when I think about children and how many of them, the same ages as my daughters, that are being lured, captured,s old into the Human Trafficking industry… It is a huge worldwide problem and there are ways to help just as we did by purchasing pumpkins where proceeds go to help girls at risk right here in our own state.

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48. Traditions change, people change, plans change, scenery changes…nothing lasts forever, not even Hostess but Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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49. One can make just about anything with duck tape and trash.

50.  Speaking of our society, sometimes I’m concerned that we are a frog in a kettle…

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51. I am proud of and love very much my husband and my sweet girls.

52. Watching loved ones hurt, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually is such a helpless feeling.

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53.  Bacon is the new Salsa… or maybe the new Chocolate… it’s everywhere.

54. Working with children brings home GREAT stories and lots of laughter and a melted heart when a little one learns your name and says it… Love my job.

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55.  Though He may seem distant, quiet or even not there at all,  though we may question, doubt and even turn away, though we may not like ourselves, may not feel worthy or may not feel we could be loved by God, though through hatred, addictions, a lifestyle, love of things more than God, or any other thing that would create a gap between us and the one who created us, whether we fight it, make our way crawling or run recklessly … God says that when we seek him, we will find him, that is, when we seek him with all of our hearts.  That’s a promise.

Interested to see what 2013 has in store…. Well, as long as it doesn’t involve crackers…..

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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Fun, Life Stories

 

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Mirror, Mirror on my Desk…

Some days, like today, I really wish I were a morning person…. I would love to wake up and be on top of my game…. cooking a nice healthy breakfast for the family rather than warming a breakfast cookie (yes, that is a real breakfast product) in the microwave and rushing to get in the car…. or getting up prior to the rest of the family and having some quiet time with God rather than dropping my daughter off at school then going to the office early and taking that time then. No wait,  that one works out really well… Okay, how about this one… I would love to be able to get up and clean my house spotless before everyone woke up.  (Ha!  That one will never happen!) or even just get up without having to rush to get ready in the morning.

Regardless of what I would like to be, I am a perpetual night owl and think sunrises may be beautiful but I’d rather wait and see the movie of one than see it first hand. So, after many different strategies, I came up with a great plan… Because I’m sluggish in the morning and have trouble getting ready quickly, I would have a dual getting ready system.  At my office, I would have a duplicate of my hair styling things and an extra makeup bag in case I couldn’t get ready in time at home.  It was a great plan but was lacking in one thing, a mirror.  I decided to get a mirror that I could prop on my desk and after a great search, purchased one from the Dollar Tree.

I was thankful for that mirror because after some time, I began to get frustrated with my hair straightener when I noticed, by looking in that mirror, that it wasn’t straightening like it should.  Two straighteners later, I began to question my solution.  That’s when I looked closely at my helpful little mirror…. On the right side of it I noticed a slight wave in the glass… it just so happened to be in that same spot that I could never straighten… It wasn’t the straightener nor my hair… It was a tiny little carnival mirror that showed my hair as something it wasn’t… The good news: It wasn’t bumpy hair… it was straight hair all along.  The bad news: I wasted a lot of time trying to correct it when everyone else could see that it was straight already.

I was thinking this morning about grace…. God extending a hand to me to help me when I really don’t deserve it…. not just extending a hand but stooping down like a father to a child and picking me up and loving me when I don’t deserve it…For me it has always been a hard to thing to not only comprehend but to accept.

Sometimes or maybe even most of the time, it is difficult to allow and accept the gift of God’s grace for yourself.  When you look in the mirror you see the old self… the one with the bumpy hair… the exact one that evil wants you to focus on… the one that the enemy seeks to remind you to look at… the one that you deem so imperfect that it is not worthy of such a gift. But God’s grace sees the mirror and knows it is warped/bumpy/wavy and is causing the illusion and He knows it is not who you really are… He sees you as the perfection he created you to be… He sees what is real and not tainted.

I don’t know what is going on in your life today or how you see yourself when you look in the mirror… maybe you see the past crime, the addiction you are still battling with, the string of terrible decisions, the lack of trust, the lack of faith, the broken heart, the anger…. all things that you’ve given to God but you still see them when you look at yourself… But God wants us to see the person in the mirror that He sees.. the one who has no bumpy hair!  God wants us to be on the the top of our game…to recognize the bump in the mirror,  to be focused on Him and not our funky mirror illusions, to show His grace to not only others but experience it for ourselves…. all because he want us to be alert and cautious and not fall into the enemy’s trap. 

Satan, like a lion, preys on the weak, sick or young… He will prey on those that are focusing on the warped mirror and trying to get the “hair straightened” instead of walking away from it.  The enemy wants us to be defeated and will use the mirror as a weapon to frustrate, discourage and distract so he can attack.

I know this…. I’ve looked in the bumpy mirror all too often myself.  Time to get a new one.  🙂

1 Peter 5:8

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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A Masterpiece

“Aslan”

I read this morning about being God’s masterpiece…. That is a huge thing to consider.  I’ll admit that probably more days than not, I don’t feel or look much like a masterpiece.   When I think of a masterpiece I think of something great like the Sistine Chapel or “The Cotton Exchange in New Orleans” by Degas. (Okay, I totally looked that one up), but maybe you understand where I’m coming from.  I have in my mind that masterpiece is defined as something great but completed… done…. no additions, no subtractions…. just perfecto.  No more touch ups by Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel ceiling because it was perfect. Then others see it and ooh and aah about it’s greatness and it becomes something distinguished, something of value, something that others love or at least pretend to love because it is a “masterpiece”.    Now, that’s how I picture a masterpiece.

When I read that, not feeling much like a masterpiece, I began thinking about what that meant. If I’m God’s masterpiece, what does that say about me really?  Am I complete? I hope not.  Am I distinguished? Not really.  Do I need additions or subtractions in my life? Yep! (and my family and co-workers say a big “Amen”) Well then, if I am going by my definition then there is no way I am a masterpiece.  So, feeling a little uneasy, I looked up the definition and I was surprised to find out that masterpiece is not defined by what others think nor about it being complete or perfect… Though many of the sources varied in a small way, most defined the word masterpiece as an outstanding work of art.  So that raised another question…. outstanding to whom? Who decides if it is a masterpiece or a piece of junk?  Hmmm, more to ponder…..

“In Memory Of Andy”

I have toyed with art for years and recently found that my Ipad is a great canvas. I have an app that is helpful for the mental block that storms in when I ask myself, “Okay, what should I draw?” It gives daily challenges and competitions that spark that idea machine to turn it’s wheels….   So, because of those little idea boosters, I have created some artwork that I would have probably never drawn otherwise…. like a caricature of a celebrity, someone “caught” or a 4th of July firework….. Though there is one thing that I’ve noticed in all of the challenges and competitions.  I won’t or don’t enter my art into a either one if I am not satisfied with it.  I have to feel that it is good enough…. my best….. my own personal masterpiece of sorts.

However, as are most, I am my worst critic.  Once I’ve submitted my art, I find a dozen or hundreds or even more changes that I could have made to improve it…. It is my masterpiece but yet, I’m not truly finished with it and because of my eyes, as the creator of it, I probably never will be finished with it.  There will always be something to change.  And though I don’t know the story of Michelangelo’s painting, I wonder if he stood back while others “oohed” and “aahed” about his work and thought, “I should have added a bit more color to the clouds.”   Possibly, however, would he have said, “Okay, I’m done”, if he wasn’t pleased or satisfied or even proud of his work… his creation? I’m thinking a strong no possibility…

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So, I drew a lion that was featured by the app creator and I also created a baby dragon that I really liked but didn’t receive the accolades that the lion did.  Both, to me, the artist, are each ones that I really like yet they are totally different. I can’t compare them because they are just not the same.  Though one took hours and hours to complete and the other took less than an hour, they both can use some touch ups here and there….  but I was satisfied with them both and still am.

So, if through Christ, I am God’s masterpiece, as the artist, he doesn’t have to keep me the way I am.  He can always make changes (or create in me desire to change) to help perfect me and still be totally pleased with who he has created….

I definitely needed that reminder today….. maybe you need it too….  You are his masterpiece…. his handiwork…. each of us different, each of us valued to the Artist…. and the Artist doesn’t care nor place our value by what others think….

What a great thing to soak in….

Ephesians 2:10

New Living Translation (NLT)

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

The artwork in this post is all original and created on my Ipad.  🙂

“Baby Dragon”

Feather Challenge

“Caught!”

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Devotions, Faith

 

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