Thursday, October 29, 2009

One Cutely Decorated Pumpkin



Look what my youngest brought home from school yesterday? It's a princess pumpkin, of course!

I love it. I wish I could keep things like this forever. But the mold would probably eventually get to me. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Night By Candlelight


Last night our electricity went out. At first I thought it would be temporary but it became soon apparent that it would be out for a while due to a hefty storm that was blowing through our area.

I had gone out for awhile and when I returned, I found candles lit in our living room and kitchen and my youngest was already in her jammies.

We all had things we’d planned on doing. My husband was going to walk on the treadmill – but that takes electricity. My oldest was going to play her wii on the first night off she’d had from homework in awhile. That too, was obviously out.

So we ended up sitting on the sofas together with flashlights, candles, and blankets playing 20 questions and instead of “I’m going on a trip” – we played, “The electricity is out and I want….”

It was not the way I’d planned my evening to go. I have had so much to do lately – life has been full. But it was an unexpected “time out.” A forced one for all of us, I guess you could say. And it was forced time together.

You know what? It was fun. And it was memorable. I think we all ended up enjoying the adventure that was thrust upon us. Time spent together with no interruptions and no distractions.


I love how “no electricity” can do that to a family.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

There Is Always Time To Do God's Will



“There is always time to do God’s will.” What a profound statement. The minute I heard it, I knew it was true. I also knew that I could use it to help me funnel out the unnecessary activities in my life.

We all struggle to prioritize, right? And how many opportunities come your way and you think to yourself, “I just don’t have time for that?” But maybe it’s time for us to look at our lives and see just why it is that we don’t have time for certain things. Is it because we are doing things that God did not intend for us to do? In this world a busy life often translates to a successful life. At least that’s how it appears. But that is such a lie. Busyness only translates to exhaustion, stress, and feeling overstretched. And you certainly can’t take on new opportunities God sends your way if you are already stretched very thin! So it’s important to take a look every now and again and see just what it is that maybe you need to let go of. Look at what you have on your plate and really analyze it to see if that is something that God has asked you to do or something you have asked yourself to do. There is a big difference.

When analyzing what we’ve got going on in our lives, I do think it’s important to remember that sometimes things truly were something that God called us to at a certain point or juncture. But just as He has called us to them, He can also tell us it’s time to move on or that He wants someone else to step into that role at this point. Maybe we were there to pave or prepare the way for someone else, or maybe He has accomplished what He wanted to in our hearts and has something new in mind for us. Either way, we need to be open to the possibilities that sometimes God asks us to let go and embrace something new.

Another thing to consider when looking at why you may not have time to do something new God sends your way is the possibility that maybe you aren’t using your time wisely. Do you whittle it away on things that don’t matter eternally? I know sometimes I can get caught up in little computer games. Before you know it, an hour has gone by and you’ve done nothing fruitful. I have had to implement a new tactic in protecting myself from getting sucked into online games because it sucks away at my time and I just really can’t afford that. There is so much that I need to do, want to do – I just don’t want to waste my time in that manner. If I can “self-police” myself and do it once in awhile as a way to relax, well then, that’s different.

There are lots of things we waste our time on and it’s up to us to ask God to open our eyes and see what those are so that we don’t slip into those pitfalls continually. Time is one thing you can’t buy back. Once it’s gone – it’s gone. So it’s important that we make the most of it that we can!

Once you have looked at your life to see if you are taking on things that God didn’t intend for you to take on, or if you are wasting your time leaving no room for His purposes in your life – then it’s time to look at what comes your way and really analyze if that’s His will for you or not. I think if you pray about it, are excited about it, and feel a passion for whatever it is – then those might be good indicators that it’s something worth pursuing. Just remember that if it’s truly His will for you, He will provide the time for you to accomplish it and He will bring it into your life at JUST the right time for God’s timing is always perfect.

So start weeding things out of your life today that pull you away from what He wants for you. It’s probably long overdue and with each load that you unburden off of your shoulders, I guarantee you will feel peace and freedom as you walk closer to where it is that He wants you to be.

If you truly want to do God’s Will – ask Him for guidance and He will provide the way.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Agenda of Washington

I’ve been watching an old movie with Jimmy Stewart. It’s called “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” Have you heard of it? It’s a great movie.

It’s a great movie for several reasons. One, it showcases how sometimes the honest, genuine guy gets silenced by the big, powerful, corrupt one and how the “agenda” is twisted for selfish gain. Two, it shows how the corporate, powerful BIG GUY can silence the truth being told by anyone, and again – twist it for its own gain.

In this movie, the truth is twisted in newspapers and radio. In fact, I guess it’s not really twisted but it out and out lies about what is going on in Washington. Its main goal is to smear Mr. Smith because he’s trying to expose corruption and they are afraid of him.

Sounds familiar to me.

Have you ever truly thought about what you read in the newspapers, hear on the radio, or watch on the television? Do you question what you are told or do you blindly believe it? Have you ever considered the fact that your reaction is exactly what is hoped for because it was orchestrated in the first place?

Sometimes the BIG BOYS like to count on the fact that we don’t have brains – that we can’t think for ourselves. But we can. The problem is, we often just choose not to.

We are a country that should be about freedom of speech – not squelching of it. Our right to have “tea parties,” our right to complain to our senators and congressman is justified because we are the very people they are supposed to be serving. Problem is, sometimes they get caught up in the social climate of politics and they end up serving the “in” thought because they don’t want to be unpopular with their comrades. They don’t always serve US.

I urge you to watch “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” I urge you to analyze what you listen to and read about what is going on in your country. If someone is always talking, talking, talking, maybe consider the fact that they just might like the sound of their own voice a little too much.

I believe that a good leader is a good listener. Do you feel heard? Do you feel understood? Or do you feel part of a machine that is just being cranked out to achieve some preconceived end result?

Diversity is good. It’s good to hear different voices and different thoughts on things. It causes us to question what we believe and why. People should have original thoughts – not carbon copies of each other.

You have a brain. I have a brain. We aren’t faceless, nameless, helpless people. We CAN do something. We can be heard. Let’s start using our voices. Let’s start using our heads. And let’s not be “force-fed” agenda anymore.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Friendships With Open Arms


I was reading an article recently about how friendships change once you become a mom. The gal mentioned how she noticed that her friendships changed sometimes due to family dynamics changing – a child graduating from high school, a new baby entering the picture, etc. The thing that caught my attention the most was when she said that she looked at friendships like leaving her arms open – there is always room for new ones to enter and old ones to leave.

That really, really impacted my heart.

I’ve been struggling with friendships as a mom, myself. Not that I don’t have any friends but just learning (as this writer did) that friendships change. There are different seasons and friends come and go.


I think I was trying to hold my arms closed instead of keeping them open. You know, once a new friend entered the picture I wanted to lock her in as a forever friend! And I’m realizing that in doing that, I mourned and grieved more deeply when that goal wasn’t attained. Instead, I should’ve been looking at the blessings of the constant flow of new friends that God was always bringing into the picture.

This visualization has totally changed my mind frame when it comes to friends as an adult woman and mom. I now can freely let dear friends depart for whatever reasons… knowing that it isn’t me personally but that it’s simply the dynamic and life of a parent. Our priorities are our families and our children. With that comes a lot of changes as they grow and mature. It only stands to reason that changes would happen with our friendships too.

If you struggle with friendships – don’t lose heart. I have a feeling that God does bring women into your life for those seasons and stages just when you need them most. And even if some of your friends have to walk out of your open arms again….never fear… for new ones are ready to enter and there will be untold blessings that they bring with them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A More Beautiful You

As a mom of girls - this song and this video really touch my heart. Somehow, we need to communicate to our daughters that the world's standard for beauty is not God's standard.




Saturday, October 17, 2009

Emphasis On Moms Bloggers

If you're a subscriber of Emphasis On Moms and a blogger, I'm starting to compile a mom blogger list to be placed up on the website. Send me your blogger name and URL to madetomom@yahoo.com to be put on the list!
Thanks!
~ Dionna

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Putting God on a Shelf

God doesn’t belong in a box.

I was thinking about the state of Christianity today. Sometimes I can get pretty disillusioned as I watch fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord because I don’t feel like we are prioritizing our faith or our walk with God. I feel like for a lot of us, we are very concerned with our social status and image, and we are very infiltrated into trends and mainstream habits. It’s not a bad thing to like trends and certain mainstream fare – but what concerns me is that it seems like we have put “image” in front of faith.

I think a lot of us claim to be Christians. We throw it out there so easily – oh, “I’m a Christian!” But what do we do with that phrase? Are we walking out the life and faith of a Christian when we are out socializing with our friends? Do we take it to heart when we go to the movies or plan a vacation? When we go about our daily lives and rear our children – are we rearing them in the faith and admonition of the Lord?…. or are we just simply “raising” them?

It’s so easy to place God up on a shelf and then reach for Him when we need Him. We want Him to be there for us when someone special to us is ill, or we’re dealing with an especially tough time in our marriages. We expect God to do a lot of the work for us but in reality, we ignore Him and do what we want to every day.

I don’t believe that’s what being a Christian is about. To me, it’s about saturating myself in His commands. It’s about consciously taking Him with me everywhere I go so that His voice whispers to my heart when I make choices and as I speak to others around me.

It doesn’t take a lot of faith to simply reach for God when we want Him or need Him. It DOES take a lot of faith to ask Him to give us courage to abstain from things around our friends or to hold our tongue when it would be so easy to unleash it. It DOES take a lot of faith to stand out and feel alone at times – simply for standing for God’s commands.

Where is God’s place in your life? Is He tucked away up on a shelf somewhere only to be beckoned when it’s convenient? Or is He front and center where you can speak to Him, consult with Him, cry with Him, and praise Him every day?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Keeping Soft

We live in a cold, cold world. By that I mean that people seem to have developed a tough exterior to things that would normally trigger compassion, kindness, gentleness, and empathy. I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve been hurt so much or if it’s because we feel that’s the only way we will survive – but I do know that it seems like it’s tough for many of us to remain tender-hearted.

I believe when God walked the earth – He was tender-hearted. He felt compassion when the crowds pressed in to see Him, He felt tenderness and love when there was grieving and He even seemed to find a way to understand that lost people only know how to act lost – and so He was gentle yet firm with them.

One thing seems obvious to me – God never grew a hardened heart. No matter how many times He had to explain something or how many times He saw people make the same mistakes – He continued to show compassion towards them.

Of course – He was perfect.

Knowing God was perfect and we are not; to me, doesn’t give us an excuse to grow a hard or cold heart. I know for some of us we are in positions where it is so easy to build a wall around ourselves because we feel that taking a tough stand is the only way we will be able to emotionally survive. But I ask you this – where is your faith? Surely, my great God can give you the strength you need to remain soft and loving in your current role and position – can He not?

As believers, I think it is crucial that we try to remain soft and tender-hearted. I think that is one character trait that will help us stand out from the rest of the world. “For they will know us by our love.”

Whether you are a Pastor, a Sunday School teacher, a missionary, a counselor, bus driver, prison guard, nurse, or carpenter – it is up to you to find ways to reach the lost and minister to them where you are. Sometimes, the only way to do that is to reach deep inside and ask God to give you understanding, and compassion for someone else.

People need to feel loved and cared for – today, more than ever. Are you the one who will show them that gentleness and kindness they seek? Yes, they may take advantage of it but then that is between them and God. It is only up to us to do right by someone else and show love.

Let’s try to find extra ways in which we can show a soft heart to the world. Look at how you respond and act and see if there aren’t times where you know you are gruffer and show a harsher tongue than maybe you ought…. And ask God to replace those hardened moments with softer responses. If you believe and really want to make an impact, I know He can and will.

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