Thursday, June 12, 2014

What are you focusing on?

We started a new series for Wednesday night church last night titled, "Where are all the David's?"  Before we went into David our Pastor preached on Joshua 1: 1-11, with the main focus on Josh 1:9

 Have I not commanded you? 
Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, 
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The question that he posed to us during one of our discussion times was how God could command such a thing?  We are all a free people, a people with emotions and feelings.  

After he asked it the answer and image that came into my head was of a parent telling their child not to be afraid, because they are right there with them.  As a parent I have said that to my children numerous times.  "Hey, hello, I am right here. You don't need to worry."

The example that I thought of was of my oldest son. He has dyspraxia and stairs and heights are very frightening to him because of his perception of depth and where he is in space he just doesn't like them and has a hard time navigating them.  There have been many times where I tell him to stand right behind me, have him put his hands on my waist, and we walk it together.  I tell him that he just needs to look at me, nothing to be afraid of.  

He still has to be the one to walk the stairs and navigate through his fears, but he has a hold of me the entire time.  

I think that is pretty much what God is telling us, "Just grab on to Me.  Put your focus on Me and not what it is you are afraid of, I will walk you through it."

I still have to take those steps, put one foot in front of the other, but if I look at who I am following vs. my weakness or fear of what I am stepping into my journey will be a lot more stable and I will have a lot more strength to get through it.  

One may not feel strong and courageous, but one can still act strong and courageous, because they know where their focus lies.  

The pastor ended with telling us to start stepping into what God has for us.....just keep stepping.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Life is like a........cookie?

Cat in the Hat
I made some cookies for a baby shower this weekend.

The dough didn't seem quite the same as it normally does.  It stayed soft even after sitting in the fridge for a few hours.  I wasn't sure why, since I had followed the recipe exactly the same as I always do.

I rolled, cut, and baked them.  When the first batch came out I tried a cookie.  It tasted fine, so on I baked.

The next morning I awoke and went to the store to buy what I needed to frost them, mainly meringue powder.  I went through the check out aisle and realized halfway through ringing up my things I had forgotten the meringue.  DOH!  So, back I went to pick it up.

The Lorax
When I came home I began making the royal icing.  I am not sure what was going on, but I had to keep adding more and more water to get it the right consistency.  Finally it was just right, so I pulled the baked cookies out and began flooding them all with the white frosting.  Two hours later they were all frosted and placed in the oven and microwave to set.....away from little fingers.

Green Eggs and Ham
Four hours later it was time to decorate.  I had picked up food coloring markers at the store and decided I would draw on the decorations this time instead of piping them.  It would save time, my arm, a lot of mess, and it would look more like a storybook picture.

When I pulled the cookies out some of them had darkened around the edges ( you can really see it on the goat cookie).  Strange.  I showed my husband.  He and I both agreed that it looked like an aged book, a trade secret we laughed.

I began drawing the pictures on and all went well.  I only messed up a couple of them, but I had made extra cookies for that.  One truffula tree broke, but I was able to glue it back together with icing and move on.  30 something cookies later I decided I was done and very happy with the results.  I let the markers set to be sure they were good and dry and then I bagged them up.
One fish, two fish.....
One poor cookie broke as it went in (that picky yellow furred eater up above).  It would just have to stay broken.  I couldn't replace it and it still looked okay in the bag.  I carefully laid each cookie in a container by grouping and then put paper towels in to fill up the spaces between them, so they would not get jostled in transit.

I could breathe a sigh of relief. They were finished and I was happy with how they looked.

Then............I looked at them hours later.  The markers were bleeding.  My beautiful cookies now had red splotches on them.  There was no time to redo them and nothing I could do to fix them.  Frustrated doesn't begin to express how I felt (still feel) about that!

My husband grabbed a leftover cookie and said, "Well honey, they still taste good!"
stinkin' splotches!

And isn't that just like life.  You work hard, you overlook the unexpected and work through the unexplained, and you make it beautiful and then splotches happen.  Splotches!  But in the end, after all is said and done, life is still good and you can still see the beauty behind the splotches.

*This story is one of the very many reasons that I would never go into a cookie making business.  Too much stress!*

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

life lessons from a turtle

When we moved here last Spring my daughter found a baby turtle.  She really wanted to keep it, but we had just moved and I didn't want to add another living thing that needed tending to into the house.  I made her release it.

This Spring she was with a group of friends when they found a new freshly hatched turtle.  One of the other friends took it home, but also was told to release it.

My daughter told me about this and she began crying, because she desperately wanted a turtle.  As her tears fell I told her that her tears would evaporate and then they would eventually turn to rain and then the rain would fall on a turtle and that turtle would know she wanted it and it would walk into our yard and if that happened she could keep it.

She smiled, but being almost 12 she knew that wasn't going to happen, but at 12 one still has some spark of hope left in things that seem magical and wondrous.  So every time a tear would fall thinking of that turtle she didn't have she would take a finger, wipe under her eye and then wiggle her fingers up into the air....."evaporating tear" she would whisper under her breath.

One day she was off playing with friends and I was outside cleaning the van.  I had finished and was stepping out of the van when something in the grass had caught my eye.  The cutest tiniest little turtle was in our yard and it was walking right towards me.  I think I may have squealed.  I picked him up and did a little dance because "evaporating tears!"

Those evaporated tears found their way to heaven on a prayer and they rained down on a cute little turtle that walked right up to me.

Assuming that our turtle is a boy his name is Fletcher Madan.  We recently moved him into a turtles paradise complete with waterfall, warming rock, and floating plants to nibble on and hide in.

He has a heat lamp and a UV light.  He needs both.  He needs the heat lamp to keep him warm, but he needs the UV so that his shell will grow properly and be hard.  Turtles that don't get enough UV end up with a soft pitted shell.

The heat lamp gives him warmth and comfort, but it is the UV light that he stretches out towards.  The light that helps him to grow properly and makes him strong is the one that he lifts his head to and puts his focus on.

I think this turtle is teaching me some life lessons.