Monday, December 24, 2012

The Good News...So Grand!!


So it seems I have taken an incredibly long sabbatical from the blog world, unintentionally.  Sometimes life just gets in the way and taking the time to sit and write takes backseat.

 Thank you to all who have continued to visit my blog and read my past posts.  I plan to begin blogging regularly in 2013!  Really!

The good news is that I have a beautiful new grandson!

Judah David Terry. I am learning the new role, privilege, and joy of being a Gigi(Grandma Gay).  What a wonderful Christmas gift he is to all of us!! I don't think I need or want anything else for Christmas...just to hold this precious bundle of joy in my arms!!


It makes me think of that very first Christmas so very long ago. The best good news...when God became man, in the form of a baby, totally dependent on His mother for all of His needs.

It is mind boggling to think of this...Jesus Christ is God and Jesus Christ is man...fully God, yet fully human, in fact, so fully human that He subjected Himself to be born of a virgin. The virgin Mary, the mother of our Savior also in need of a Savior, just as we all are in need of a Savior.  Born...traveling down the birth canal just like every other human child...and without the assistance of a doctor or the cleanliness of a hospital room.

The birth of the Messiah, the savior of the world occurred most likely in a cave in which livestock was kept. In those days the custom was to build homes near caves when it was possible to use as a stable.  He was wrapped in swaddling cloths and placed in a manger, a trough used to feed the livestock when they were unable to graze in the pastures surrounding the city. This birth was nothing unusual, except perhaps that they were forced to be in the cave instead of a family member's guest room, because of the census no one had room to spare.

This birth in a Bethlehem stable probably went unnoticed by many. But out on a hillside, all of Heaven made it known to lowly shepherds, of all people, that the Messiah was born. I could not tell the story any better than God Himself...this is one of my favorite passages in His Word...
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
                                                                                     Luke 2:8-19

That last verse gets me every time I read it. I used to think, I wonder what exactly was Mary 'pondering'?  Was it just an overwhelming wonder of all that had just occurred back from the time of first hearing from the angel that she was going to conceive and have a baby...and not just any baby but the Messiah!  For surely Mary knew from the words of the angel that this baby was to be the Savior she had learned about from the time she was a young child, the Messiah they were all awaiting. 

Or as she looked into those tiny little eyes as she held Him in her arms, did she think about what He would grow up to be?  His life purpose? His greatness? You know, those things all mother's wonder about as they hold that precious child in their arms for the first time.  Feeling that overwhelming love come over her...I cannot imagine the overwhelming love of the mother holding LOVE itself.

But I can almost, in just a shadow of  a way, imagine it as I hold my grandson in my arms...knowing that I love this child because of who he is...not for what he will be when he grows up.  Love so overwhelming...so grand!

I love that God gives us little glimpses of heaven on earth...those little glimpses of His love for us.  Because of those hints of His love for us we can almost comprehend the sacrifice He made in sending His one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins...His blood covering our sins so that we could have a relationship with Him and spend eternity in Heaven.

Overwhelming love...so GRAND!!!


So...now I have to ask...what will you be pondering in your heart on Christmas morning?

     

(Gigi)



For God so loved the world the He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16

Thursday, July 26, 2012

You had me at, 'Without Coupons'

It seems we are all looking for ways to slay the "no money at the end of the paycheck" dragon.  I, myself, have struggled off and on for years trying to find WORKABLE solutions to make the grocery budget fit within the household income. I always seem to fall just a tad short of the mark in doing great meal planning, price comparisons, pantry stocking...which makes no sense to me...I'm a list maker for crying out loud! You'd think these things would be easy for me!  How about you?

I am so excited to tell you that I have a blogger friend who has not only mastered the art of cooking on a shoe-string budget , she has written a book about it!! 


Kate was very gracious to send me an advance copy of her new  e-book to review. Her book, Cut It Out! How I Feed My Family of 10 for $500.00 a Month Without Coupons, is coming out July 30, 2012. 

Kate, I have to say...You had me at, "without coupons"!  Couponing has always been a bit of an on again-off-again affair for me...not a fan!  So when I saw the title, with those words, I was intrigued. I knew I had to read your book! 

I found the book to be easy to read, and packed with very user friendly information! She begins by applying the concept, "measure twice, cut once."  I have heard this old proverb used in carpentry, but never applied to meal planning.  If you are not familiar with the phrase, it's literal meaning is that you should double-check your measurements for accuracy before cutting a piece of wood; otherwise it may be necessary to cut again, waisting time and material. In her book, Kate shows us how to apply this concept of careful planning and thorough preparation in order to feed our family within our budget, enabling us to be good stewards of the financial resources with which we have been blessed.

Kate spends $500 a month on groceries for her family of 10. She allocates an additional $50 a month for toiletries and paper products, but there are some months where that additional $50 is not available.  She'll teach you how to create a price book (includes a downloadable price book template), how to use your computer to help organize your meal planning and your shopping, and how to cut back on your grocery spending WITHOUT the hassle of cutting, sorting, and using coupons. 

You don't have a large family to feed?  No problem! Kate gives tips on how to make it work for even just one or two.  I think the appendix alone, with it's recipes and detailed instructions, is worth more than the price of the entire book. 

There is really quite a lot packed into this 34 page e-book! I highly recommend it!

Cut It Out! will be available for sale on July 30. The cost of the e-book is $3.99 but for the first 5 days of the launch(July 30-August 3) it will be available for half price-only $1.99!! 

Want to learn more?


Visit Kate's website at,  Teaching What is Good...a book giveaway.   You can also enter a chance to win a free copy of her book! She is giving away 5 copies! (giveaway has ended)

 Kate is a dear sister in Christ and she and I both share a passion for older women teaching younger women in the manner of  the Titus 2 model For Kate, this book is just one small manifestation of the outflow of that passion. 

How about you? What are you passionate about? What are you doing about it?  I'd love to hear what you are doing as you follow your passion and purpose!


 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.    ~Titus 2:3-5

Update on Kate's book...she's in her local paper's headline!  

Here's the link to the article:Mom knows how to pinch a penny...frugal shopping

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's So Magic About Mike?

Since I am still on sabbatical this week, instead of posting that 3rd article in my "worry" series, I thought I would share a few thoughts spurred on by seeing my daughter's blog post about the movie, Magic Mike. (Click here to read her post...Why I'm not watching Magic Mike).

I agree wholeheartedly with her assessment, and I, too, have wondered at seeing so many women talking about this movie as if it were the next, "Pride and Prejudice"...and no...there is absolutely no comparison to be made there.

I find it interesting that this seems to be a movie that women tout as 'one to watch with your girlfriends'...not your spouse, or boyfriend, or parents...you know other adults in your life. Just sayin'....

My intent in posting this commentary on Magic Mike is not to pass judgment on other women. In today's culture it is so easy to let things slide..."it's not really that bad" or "I'm a Christian so this won't affect me". It's easy to allow forms of entertainment into our lives that slowly erode the moral code that is so clearly written in God's word and on our hearts. We are told to guard our hearts and minds. Why? Well…because...it's easy to give into temptation and then try to justify our choices…it's easy to be carried away by our own desires...It's easy.

James 1:13-16 says, “…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.”   When we give into temptation over and over again, we are putting a knife into the heart of our own intimate relationship with God.  That relationship is just too precious for me to willingly and defiantly take that risk.

We all need to be encouraged to be discerning about what we allow to enter into our hearts. You see...the things we see and hear tend to go straight to our hearts and lodge there only to manifest itself in one way or another(perhaps our actions or attitudes) at some time in the future. I just want to challenge you (and myself as well), to hold up all forms of entertainment to the lens of scripture to be judged whether or not it is harmful to your relationships... to your spouse, your children, and your God. Let's take every thought captive, that holds itself against the knowledge of God, so that we that we may be obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

I am one proud momma to be blessed with a daughter who knows what it is to view the world through the lens of God's Word!! She is wise beyond her years.

So if you haven't seen Lyndsay's post yet...grab a cup of coffee, click on the link below, and enjoy!

Confessions of a Disciple...Why I'm not Watching Magic Mike

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8







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Little Writer Momma

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lessons on Sabbatical...Mac vs. PC

I am  on sabbatical this month and won't be blogging much.

 I know... I am in the middle of a series on worry and some of you are checking back to see if the third article in the series has been posted. I will be posting it, but most likely not until sometime next week.

So...worry has been postponed! ;-)

I am out of town without my own laptop and am having to use my husband's Mac to work from...arrrgghh!

I know...I know...all of you mac users are saying, "so what's the problem with that?"  The problem is that 'I'm a PC'... getting accustomed to this keyboard and several other differences are really difficult, especially when I know I will just go back to my PC when I get home.  Not to mention the fact that I like to use my own photos for my articles now and ALL of the photos I need are on my laptop at home.  My laptop is at home because the screen has been damaged and it is now 'toggled' to another screen, rendering it useless as a laptop but great as a desktop.

I  have a looming deadline on two book projects and long to get back to my PC at home. And yes! I do miss my kids and my puppy!

In the meantime, I am left to work with what I have and am thankful (she said, tongue in cheek).

Before this month I had been musing that my next laptop would be a Mac.  However, I am now seriously rethinking that, as I bungle around on my husband's Mac.

  So now begs the question...are you a Mac or a PC and why? I would love to hear your thoughts on the Mac verses PC war!







Update: 
 I made the switch to a mac. It took a little getting used to at first, just the way to copy paste, in the beginning was maddening. However, the photo drag and drop thing was AWESOME.  Now…not sure I would revert back to a PC.  I love my mac! (2014)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Worry...is it choking the life out of you?" Part Two...Sleepless nights no more.

Do you spend nights on end...sleepless nights…worrying?  I think that most of us at one point or another experience the burden of seemingly unending anxiety, apprehension, worry, and sleepless nights.

We tend to lose sleep over things such as the following:
  • Our finances...not enough money at the end of the paycheck. "...okay, all the bills are paid but now there is no money for groceries! What are we going to eat?"
  • Our health...my husband's blood pressure; my son's disability and trying to prevent another migraine because, for him, any migraine could lead to another stroke or worse; my daughter's pregnancy and constant nausea now with gall bladder troubles thrown into the mix; my own neck and back woes.
  • Family troubles...our children's future; extended family woes such as aging and health concerns, and more.
  • Job...will I ever be able to bring in any income with my writing; will the next paycheck come on time; God has moved us many times through the years...how long will we be in our present ministry?
  • ___________Fill in the blank...ad nauseum...we could just about make any issue we face in life an issue to worry over couldn't we?
Why do we worry so?  I blame the FALL...you know...back in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve took that first bite off the forbidden fruit.  I basically blame all of our woes, all of mankind's woes on the Fall.  That's where mankind tried to put self before God.  Where he didn't just take God at His word but thought he knew better and took things into his own hands.   We continue to do that today don't we?  We think by worrying that we can add something to our lives.  We think that if we worry  we are doing something about the problem.

If you look at a list of synonyms, which contains the word 'worry', this is what you get:
 tease, harry, hector, badger, disquiet. Worry, annoy, harass all mean to disturb or              interfere with someone's comfort or peace of mind.
...and there it is...
Worry disturbs our peace of mind, interferes with our comfort,  and precipitates endless nights of little to no sleep.  It eats away at us but it does not actually accomplish anything!

In part one of this series on worry I shared with you many ways in which God showed up and supplied for my many needs. One would think after just a few such miraculous shows of provision that I would just leave worry behind. But as I moved into the next stage of my life...young and married with kids ...I began to worry again. In fact I worried so much that I would take at least two to three hours each night as I lay my head on my pillow to quiet my anxious thoughts enough to finally nod off to sleep. This went on for years. It's a wonder I did not develop an ulcer as my mother had throughout her years of worrying over our family.

Then one day it happened... I don't remember the exact day or hour...I just realized that God was enough. He loved me, knew my needs, and promised in His word that if I put 'first things' first...to seek first the kingdom, then I wouldn't have to be overwhelmed by the pressures of life. So I made a decision to trust God and not worry and from that day forward I was able to lay my concerns at the feet of Jesus in my prayers and lay my head down at night...and simply sleep.

It's true...sounds  a bit Pollyannaish I know, but I can promise you that it is possible to stop losing sleep from worrying.

 I would love it if you could come back and read my next post. I've realized this worry issue is so universal that it can't just be handled in only two posts. I shared a very real and personal list at the beginning of this post. A list of things that I could let get between myself and my trust in God's provision...things that could begin again the endless nights of worry if I let them.   I would like to share with you how you can replace the word 'worry' with the word 'trust'...but that will have to wait for the next part in this series. ;-)

So how are you doing?  What thoughts run through your head in those wee hours of the night just before you drift off to sleep?








Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Friday, June 15, 2012

Worry...is it choking the life out of you?

My life verse is Matthew 6:33.  "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."   I just keep coming back to this promise in scripture time and time again.

And just what are  "all these things"  this verse talks about?  To find that out we need to go back and read the verse in context of the chapter in which it is written. The chapter begins by telling us not to worry about our life, the simple necessities...food, clothing, and shelter. These are  real needs in our lives not just desires and wants. And yet, we are told simply...do not worry.  After all, look at the birds of the air and the lilies of the field...God takes care of them...how much more will he take care of you, His beloved child?!

When we learn to not worry over how God will provide for us and just trust that he will, it becomes so much easier to pursue living an obedient life that will glorify God.

So...don't worry!  Now...please believe that I do not say this lightly!  God has graciously shown me that I can rely on His promise that He cares about my needs.  I have seen it play out in my life time and time again.  I also know that this is a hard thing...this not worrying. Because, even though God has shown Himself good on His promises, there have been times, even seasons in my life, where I did not live out my belief on those promises. I have learned the hard way, not what worry can do for me, but what it can do to me.

 
Did you know that the word worry derives its meaning from an Anglo Saxon word which means...to choke?  I think that is such an accurate description of the word.  In fox hunting the word worry is used to mean "the action of the hounds in tearing to pieces the carcass of a fox". Worrying tears us apart and chokes the life out of us...the very life that we were worried about in the first place.  A bit ironic, don't you think?

Let me share some examples of how this verse has had such an impact on my life and how it has played out...

As a young college student, with a limited music/voice scholarship and no other financial resources, I needed to figure out how I was going to make up the rest of the money that I would need to attend college.  My parents in no way were able to help me out because of their own limited funds.  I did, under the advice of an older and supposedly wise person, apply for and receive a student loan. I attended Berry College for two years. I then transferred to a Christian College in Michigan...many miles away from my home state of Georgia.  I began to realize this was indeed God's will for my life  because after attending the Christian College for three years and graduating with a bachelors degree I found that the only money I owed for my education was from  Berry College.  Now I'm not saying I was not supposed to go to Berry...perhaps I was just to trust that God would provide....just as He did for my last three years of college. 

There were many times in those years I just trusted God for my needs (food and clothing) and He did provide.  Here is a small sampling of the many ways He provided:
  • when a mysterious bag of food, and much needed toiletries appeared in my dorm room...I had not told anyone of my needs!
  • a woman, whom I did not even know, heard me sing as I was traveling with one of the professors (he preached and I would provide the special music), wrote out a check to the college  and handed it to my professor instructing him to put it towards my school account.
  • many times grants and scholarships were provided when I didn't even know where they came from
  • a check for twenty dollars would arrive in the mail at the time I was in true need...this happened many times. 

One would think that after having experienced God's provision over and over through those  years that I would have learned what a faithful and trustworthy God we have, but no!  The next season of my life proved to be just as challenging. . 

I'm wondering...how are you on this journey with worry?  Is it tearing you to pieces, are you losing sleep?


I hope you stay with me as I continue to share this worry journey in my next post.  Those sleepless nights don't have to be a recurring event in your life!  
Click here to read Part two: Worry…Part Two






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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Strong Enough?

"God has not placed you where you are now in this journey because you are a 'strong enough’ woman.



NO, He has you here because in the journey 

you will become strong.


You have only to trust that

 His grace is sufficient." 

~ Gay Idle



Sometimes a simple thought speaks volumes. This particular thought (see above quote) came to me this morning. 

I am learning that sometimes the journey I am on  looks like the winter picture of my garden (or of my discontent)...

...but God already sees the outcome of His will for my life...the culmination of the path I am traversing, even perhaps, the reason for the journey.  Springtime is a beautiful reminder of this to me!
How are you doing on the journey? 
 Please...share in the comment section for this post. I would love to hear how God is making His Word and will made known to you through your own journey!



Monday, April 16, 2012

Open the Eyes of my heart, Lord ~my prayer in the midst of my writer's block...

So...it's been awhile since I have written a blog post.  Sorry for the neglect...well...actually it started with a major writer's block. One that I am afraid was begun in fear.


Fear of a writing project I have been asked to be a part of...nothing really huge, mind you, just a chapter in a book. We, I and several other women, are writing to encourage  Mom's who may be in the midst of raising a special needs child. I have some personal experience in this area. You see, my  son has a very rare migraine condition called Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraines (SHM).

  SHM is a condition that has caused my son, Brad, to suffer two traumatic brain events...a stroke at the age of thirteen (February 1999) and again at the age of twenty two (July 2007), his migraine led to non-stop seizures which put him in danger of permanent brain damage if they could not stop the seizures. So they basically put him into a medicinally induced coma. Brad was in the Neurocritical Care Unit of Johns Hopkins University Hospital for 16 days!

Both events, in '99 and '07, resulted in multiple hospital transfers, multiple days in ICU's/ Neurocritical Care Units, and inpatient rehabilitation hospitals. Those days were followed by  many months of physical, speech, and occupational  out- patient therapies. Immediately after each of these events Brad was unable to do anything...talk, walk, speak, read, write, simple math, recognition of coins, basic care skills, basic social skills, ALL had to be relearned.  I jokingly tell people that I have raised our one son three times.  In reality it's not a joke but a big part of the story of my son's life...and mine, as well as every member of our family. 

In many of my blog posts, to this point, I have shared life lessons that God has taught me from simple things...such as the antics of my puppy or the beauty of nature or just lessons from life in general.  But I haven't written about our experiences with our son, Brad, who, by the way, is doing quite well now...despite the fact that we are still working through some of his cognitive impairment from his last event. To be honest I know that God has much for me to share about what He has taught me through our son's ordeals. It is just so hard sometimes to put into words on a page. Somehow it goes deep to the core of my being and tears begin to flow. 

God IS so very good and has walked with us every step of the way.  I believe that He has now given me the direction that my writing should take...sharing the blessings through the trials.

 God has a plan and a purpose for my son's life...for my life.  The plans that formulated in my heart as a young, married, soon to be mother so many years ago have taken a dramatic turn.  I would have thought by now my son would have graduated from college, be established in the profession of his (and Gods) choice, and married with one or two children of his own.  His own dream since he was 9 years old was to be a Minister, married, and have children by the time he had reached his present age.   Many times I have prayed,  "LORD, why...why have you not given him his heart's desire...surely they line up with your will?!" Just when I think none of it makes any sense God gives me glimpses of His purpose, His glory on the mountain tops, He shows me light on this valley floor. And I am once again comforted and filled with the peace that passes understanding...HIS peace.

Am I saying that God actually chose to inflict my son with this awful condition? No. We live in a fallen world that displays the result of sin. Ever since the fall in the Garden of Eden, things have been going downhill. Everything has been affected by that choice made so long ago.  What I am saying is that God, for whatever reason, has allowed this to come to pass and He has and is going to bring about His glory and His good for Brad and our family. His word promises that " in all things God works for the good of those who love Him , who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28. I trust that God is working this out.  My son loves the Lord and has been called! I just have to let go and let God work out His plan.  I have to follow His footprints, His path, for our lives.  

How does this letting go look in your own life?  You don't have to go through something so traumatic as what I have just shared in order to see the path God has for you! 

"Sometimes we have to let go of our dreams in order for His dreams to come to fruition. Are we so busy planning out how our lives should go, our dreams, our purpose, that we miss His purpose for our life? I submit that you won't be fulfilled until you relinquish those dreams to the God who created you for His purpose!" ~ Gay Idle

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance." Ephesians 1:18