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Archive for the ‘My Heart’ Category

The Papa Tree

The Ginkgo tree was the perfect choice. Known for it’s medicinal properties for memory enhancement, this has become the memory tree . . . .

The Papa tree.

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Gone is the year of firsts. This hard year now lays behind us as we all come together, those who loved him best, and most, to celebrate his earth birthday and his brand new spiritual birthday. Hot dogs, bought by Papa just days before he left us, with the intent that we would come together for a cookout, birthday cake, children playing and family laughter was just exactly what he wanted.

27-img_157128-img_157229-img_1577Part of the celebration was the planting of the Papa tree, and the placing of the cross.

Tucked in the corner of the backyard at Papa’s house sits the reminder, and each grand baby took a turn pounding in the stake that would hold the wooden cross.

And he would have loved this, for these were what he treasured most!

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In loving memory of Papa

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Revelation 32:4

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Hidden

The Lord does not let anything slide, everything is purposed, carefully planned out and part of His grand design. Woven together for His purpose and His will. I have seen it in my own life and also in the lives of my loved ones. His perfect word tells us so.

Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
    you have done wonderful things,
    things planned long ago.

Isaiah 25:1

So I wonder . . . How in the world can our Nation survive such a time? How can we regain control and become “One Nation Under God” once again? Has our Lord had enough? Is He ready to judge America? Or does He have other plans in mind?

Could the Lord have purposely hidden the USA deep in the middle of His beloved Jerusalem? Tucked smack dab in the center of it?

JerUSAlem.

 

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Undignified

It was said of David, by God Himself, that he was a man after God’s own heart. (1 Sam. 13:14, Acts 13:22). What a wonderful thing to be said of someone from the very mouth of the Father. David clearly lived out Galatians 5:10, desiring to please God alone, for David was not afraid to be undignified in his worship of the King of Kings. David appeared foolish in the eyes of his own wife, Michal, but he didn’t care what she or anyone else thought about him. David’s heart was to be pleasing in the eyes of his Lord, and that is the very heart of the matter.

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I take my position on the step to watch my three year old granddaughter dance. She is clad in her brand new pink tutu. Her hair is pulled back into a tiny bun on the back of her head, tucked in tight with pins and hair net.

She is dancing just for me, putting on a show for her mammy. Every twirl, every leap and every dip is done on my behalf, to delight and bedazzle me.

I watch her intently, waiting for my cues. A quick glance in my direction tells me that it’s time to clap, clap, clap. A sudden pause is my signal to praise her. A high leg lift, and I break out in loud cheers and bravos. Magnific, magnific I yell out!

She tries to mimic everything that her much older sister does during her dance, and she is unsteady and shaky as she holds her position for my applause to come to an end.

And she most certainly makes my heart smile, I am thrilled to the core by her heart to please me.

And my mind turns toward the Throne of God, and in the curtain drawn quiet of my home.

All alone, just us two, my Father and I.

I dance.

I am unsteady and awkward, often slipping and shaking as I twirl around and around for Him. I am so ungraceful in my meager attempt to please Him, but I refuse to stop. For in these moments, I can feel His heart smiling at me and I know He is pleased.

And so I dance.

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But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’    Acts 13:22

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Come Up Hither

~But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16~

They fell softly and lovingly upon my ears. Just three little words, and I heard them so clearly and I knew exactly Who was doing the talking.

My eyes widened and my heart quickened. Oh goody! A new assignment? A new calling?

Just three little words. . .

“Come up hither.”

With much joy in my heart and an eagerness in my voice, I answered directly, without hesitation.

“OK Lord!”

His next words to me was a question and the answer did not come so easily this time, and just as quickly as the joy entered into my heart, it fled away. The smile on my face fell and my mind raced for an answer, but there was no need to search, for I knew exactly what He wanted from me. For His probing words searched out my heart and tested my mind, (Jer. 17:10), and now He was calling me to the mat.

I teach a lot about idols; what they are and how to recognize them in our lives, but this caught me completely off guard. I mean, I teach this to other people, how could I miss it in my own life. And honestly in my own self awareness and constant striving, I thought I was doing pretty good. In my mind, memorizing scripture and spending hours in prayer gave the appearance that I was doing ok spiritually. But He had something else in mind for me.

“Where do you spend your time in worldly pleasures and comforts?” He asked me.

My eyes slowly turned to my soft, comfortable chair, where I would crash every evening from exhaustion, not having the energy to take one more step. It served to comfort and sooth me while I watched movies every single night, unwinding and just wanting to relax and think about nothing. I don’t watch anything bad, just habitual, and it had become my idol, my go-to, my worldly pleasures and comforts. It was what I was turning to instead of Him and I couldn’t believe that I had fallen prey to it without my even knowing.

I immediately went into defense mode as I stammered out my answer.

Struggling with constant sinus infections and fatigue gave me comfy chair entitlement and I stood ready to defend.

“B-b-but Lord! You know that I don’t feel good and You know that I am exhausted!” I whined.

He answered, “You never asked Me.”

And He said no more.

He had approached me and made me an offer, it was now up to me. I knew what He was asking of me, but I had to make the choice to do it. I didn’t have to do it, He wasn’t demanding it from me. It had to be my choice.

Graham Cooke says, “If you say yes to Jesus, you’ll have to say no to something else.”

And my heart wanted HIM more than anything else, so I said yes.

He was waiting for me.

My saying yes took my relationship with Jesus to a whole new level. I had to open myself up, make myself available and position myself to receive everything that He desired to give me, and He desired to fill me up with Himself!

And it changed everything!

So the next day, and every day after, when my physical body felt frazzled and worn, I would call out to Him and in His faithfulness, He would strengthen and energize my body and I began to spend the time that I usually would sit in front of the television with Him.

This time has blessed me beyond words and He has filled me so completely, and I, like the Psalmist can say, “He has set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; (Psalm 40:2-3)

The sad thing is, that it has now become so apparent to me how many opportunities that I had missed and I grieve over that loss. How many people could I have been praying for instead of watching movies. How many hours could I have been spending with my Lord, how many lives could I have invested in?

I thought of the movie Schindler’s List. One of the most powerful moments in the story was when he realized that he could of done more. The war was over and he and the Jewish people that he had saved were finally free. As he started to walk away he suddenly realized that he still had more bargaining chips. His ring, his car and whatever he had left could of bought him just one more, just one more. . . .

I still enjoy my soft, comfy chair, but it serves me differently now and I love it even more. Much of my quiet time is spent there, I listen to sermons or praise music while I knit or sew, anything that will bring me into His presence.

I am not saying that I will not ever watch movies, I am saying however that I will not ever watch movies habitually.

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This statue plaque is on one of the buildings in Budapest Hungary

The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills. Habakkuk 3:19

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. Titus 2:11-12

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“Kory and I had this thing we would say to each other almost on a daily basis. “Are we winning, Mama?” Kory would ask.

“Yes, Kory, we are on the winning team,” I would always reply.” (excerpt from Ponderings of a Mother’s Heart)

Of all my years of subbing in the PE classes, one of my all time favorite games was called ‘Mission impossible’. The object of the game was “team work”. We would divide the class into two teams, one at each end of the gymnasium and each team had to work their way across to the other side of the gym. The problem was that the whole team had to make it across for that team to win, this was not a one man game.

Each team was given a scooter, 2-3 carpet squares and a jump rope. At the center of the gym was a huge black mat, with two smaller mats centered between that and the finish line. There also was a beach towel on each side, close the the outer boundaries. They could not touch the gym floor at all, or they would be sent back to the beginning. They could use the carpet squares, scooter and beach towel to walk around, but the black mats had to stay put.

I always enjoyed watching the strategies that each team would come up with, and seeing the team players, verses the self-seeking players. Those who only worried about getting themselves to the other side lost the game for the whole team. Usually the winners would depend on the stronger, athletic people to get them across. They would use two carpet squares and carry people to the center mat on their back, while others would drag someone on the scooter using the rope. It is always best to get the beach towel straight away, then several students could walk together on it using short, scuffling steps.

We would often remind them that they had to work together as a team to win this game, and when a team would lose because of some that were not team players, we would ask them this question. “Why do you think you lost the game?” And they would respond, “Because we didn’t work together as a team.” (they always knew) But the very next game they would do the same thing again, and we would talk about it every time. Eventually they would get it and they would finally taste victory.

This has been forefront in my mind these past several years, and I have been pondering our earthly walk with our Lord. I see so many self-seeking team members, each one looking out for his own interests. People who want their own way, who want their name known and their voice heard. God’s own people jockey for position, manipulating situations, demanding their own way and forcing their way to the front of the line, often times using the bully method. We are so afraid that someone may get something that belongs to us, or lose something that is rightfully ours.

Now, I confess that I am “chief among these”, which is exactly why the Lord has shown this to me, again and again. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want their own way, someone patting them on the back and saying, good job or great idea?

I believe that satan does the most damage from inside the body of Christ because of this reason. He doesn’t have to work very hard either, he just plants the seed, and sits back and lets our flesh come out fighting.

But what happens is this; we end up fighting against each other instead of working together as a team. Aren’t we all on the same team? Aren’t we all working for the same cause? Aren’t we all working for team Jesus?

Isn’t it time for us to “get rid of all evil behavior? To be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech?” (1 Peter 2:1) Let us now work together as a team, carrying each other on our backs, dragging each other along, supplying any means possible to get our team members to safety, and rescuing those of us that feel lost or abandoned. Let us do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above ourselves. (Philippians 2:3) It is time for God’s people to decrease, because that is the only way that He might increase. Even if it means that we get no credit, no applause, or no pat on the back, just knowing that we have honored our Father in heaven should be reward enough.

And in the end, when we make it to the other side, we will all come out winners!

Hungary church Salvation bracelets

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor (perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding) and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice (all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence). Eph. 4:31 (AMP)

 

 

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The paddle slipped into the water, quiet and still, and I moved further out into the lake. The water slowly rolled down the pole and dropped noiselessly onto my arm, running soft and cool against my skin. The horizon was spread out before me, and the hills and trees stretched high to meet the expanse of the sky. It stood majestic over me, covering me with beautiful blues, and soft billowy clouds. Gentle breezes lovingly stroked my face and I closed my eyes and lifted my face that I might feel the full measure of it. I felt as if I was going to burst from the sheer beauty and glory of it, for I knew that I was in the presence of my Lord.

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I stopped paddling and let the kayak drift were it willed. I sat still before Him, basking in His love as He poured it out over me. There was freedom there, being surrounded just by Him, no distractions anywhere, just Him, and He filled up every sensation that this human body is capable of.

Every place my eyes fell, I saw Him there, and I knew in my heart He wanted me to see Himself. I felt completely covered and I dared not move from this place. I was happy here, beyond content, and I wept under the weight of His joy.

There was a peace that overtook me and I leaned into it, pressing deep. The peace surrounded me on every side; the sky, the water and in the hills before me that enveloped me and I was completely hedged in. The warmth of the sun fell upon me penetrating my skin from the inside out. It felt comforting and safe. The only sounds I could hear was the lapping of the water as it tenderly brushed against the kayak, and my own voice as it responded to Him with songs of praise.

I thought about the peace that surpasses our understanding (Phil 4:7). It is true, I can not wrap my heart around anything that could surpass the peace that I felt in that moment, how can it be?

 

I stayed there with my Lord for as long as I could, then, with a heavy heart and with much reluctance, I put the paddle back into the water and turned the kayak toward the shore.

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Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

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One Of A Kind Design

*All photos are original designs by The King’s Daughters

I can’t even remember the exact starting point but I do know that it was 50 plus years ago. My earliest memory of it was around the age of 5. I just had this thing and it drove me. I loved to sew.

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in a family of 7 required us to stretch our means and forced me to think in more of a creative direction. With not a lot of finances or space available for anything that was not absolute necessities I learned early on to look at ordinary things with a different viewpoint.

We never had a fabric stash, our sewing room was an old tin that held a few basic sewing essentials; A few old spools of thread, needles tucked tightly in a battered pin cushion and a few bits and pieces of elastic. If we had a little extra money to buy fabric we used it up, there wasn’t any waste.

I would sew anything that I could get my hands on. With just a needle and a spool of thread, I would repair clothing, under garments and turn old, worn out socks into beautiful ball gowns for my Barbie dolls. Even after all these years I still love the feeling of doing it the ‘old fashion way’, by hand, stitch by stitch.

Throughout the years my sewing skills have developed through the gracious gifting of my Lord, repetitive practice and through the therapeutic love of it. It seemed to me that at every turn of events in my life, my Lord would stretch my ability and gift me with a new avenue through sewing. I have tested and conquered most areas of sewing that there is, but there has been this one thing that has seemed to follow me wherever I am in life. It has become one of my greatest challenges and greatest pleasure. It is designing and making little girl clothes.

I started designing clothes for my daughter when she was a little girl, and now that has rolled over to my granddaughters. There is just something wonderful about seeing fabric and having the creative part of your mind totally take over. I see fabric and in my mind it comes to life and I can see what it can become with just some snipping, pinning into place and some swift sewing.

 

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Years ago , for or a short period of time we had the fashion station on our cable TV and my daughter and I would spent as much time as possible watching it. It constantly featured fashion shows, one after the other. All of the top fashion designers and their one of a kind designs would walk the runway and we were mesmerized by it. We would sketch and record our favorites as they inspired and motivated us into action. I understood just a little of what went on in the workmanship of these garments.

The one of a kind designs came at a costly price, some of the dresses ran into the thousands of dollars, and still more into the hundreds of thousands. Each piece was made with the finest quality of cloth in the world, using very costly supplies with painstakingly craftsmanship. Attention to every detail was sewn into each stitch, causing an array of grand, spectacular garments. These extravagant dresses are worn only by the rich and famous. Movie stars parade in front of the camera on Oscars night, and for some, seeing the women display the stunning dresses as they walk the red carpet was the pinnacle of the evening.

But no matter how beautiful the dress may be, how plain and simple, or how complex, it was the label that gave it it’s greatest worth. The name that was stamped onto the back of the garment was what the buyer desired above all.

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We live in a world that dictates to us every single second of every single day; what we should look like, what kind of clothes we should be wearing, what we should be doing, what we should be driving and where we should live. We beat ourselves up day after day and complain about the way we look and our lack of whatever we feel we should have. We can never measure up, we can never be good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough or strong enough, and let’s just face it, we will never be a beautiful one of a kind design.

Or can we?

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Do you not know that you truly are ‘one of a kind’ made by the Designer of the universe. From the very womb of your own mother the Grand Designer formed you with His own beautiful hands, exactly into what He desired you to be. There is only one YOU and it is He who determines what color your eyes will be, what color your hair will be, if you have freckles or a birth mark. His perfect design decides whether or not you will be short or tall, small framed or large, big feet or little feet, every little detail about your physically being is all up to Him.

When we become His, heart and soul, He puts His stamp on us and we become beautiful and blameless, bearing the mark of the Most High upon our hearts. We become a priceless, ‘one of a kind’ design in Christ!

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Ps. 139 tells us what every girl longs to hear. “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are your works and that my soul know full well.”

We often times fix our gaze on the wonderful parts of this beloved Psalm,the part that tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and rightly so. But can we just back up a little bit here? Let’s take a closer look at this passage, and look at the one word that tells us what our response should be to our Lord for forming us in such a spectacular , special way. The word is praise. Do we praise God for how we are formed? Do we praise Him for how He made us, how we look? How He designed our eyes, hair, nose, mouth and body? The Psalmist said that God’s works are marvelous! Look this little gem of a word up and be amazed!

It means causing great wonder; extraordinary; extremely good or pleasing; splendid. The synonyms for this word are: amazing, astounding, astonishing, awesome, breathtaking, sensational, remarkable, spectacular, stupendous, stunning, excellent, splendid, wonderful, magnificent, superb, glorious . . . . .

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Beautiful friend, that’s YOU!

Are you hearing this? This is how God made you. So why would we habitually complain and grumble against God? Every single thing that God created got His seal of approval, after each created thing “God said that it was good.”

We are not believing God when He said that “it was good” when He created us in our mother’s womb, “fearfully and wonderfully”.

Stop right now dearly beloved! Retrain your thought pattern, exchange the lies that the world has told you about yourself, exchange those lies that the enemy whispers in your ear day after day. Replace that lie with the truth of God, that you are truly made in the image of Him, and you truly are marvelous! And loved! And His! A one of a kind design!

And praise Him!

The King’s Daughters

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For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.                                                                                                   Psalm 139:13-14

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