Thursday, May 31, 2007

Virtuous Wife: Proverbs 31

"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." Proverbs 31: 10-12

Ladies, today is our day. The chapter of the virtuous woman. I've been anticipating it all month. You don't have to be a wife or mother to learn from this chapter, just a woman! Oh how much better the world could be if all women strove to be this sort of woman. What kind of woman is she?

She's crafty & skilled.
"She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands." vs. 13

I am no Martha Stewart when it comes to things like sewing. It took my hubby a lot of begging to get me to sew his pocket back up after months of it hanging loose because I just don't have that skill but I am always so impressed by women who can sew their own stuff. I enjoy crafts - things like scrapbooking, painting & decorating. I like doing stuff with my hands too.

She goes beyond what is easy
"She brings her food from afar." vs 14

I think this refers to a woman that can go out of her way to make things special. In the supermarket world we live in, most of us just want to go into one store, get all we need and go home. But sometimes, its necessary to make the extra effort. Sometimes if you know there is somethign special that you can make or bring home for someone by going to a different store, or even making special orders, I think that this is the same virtue.

She is a provider.
"She also rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household." vs 15

Do you get up early & make breakfast for your family on weekends? Do you always make a little extra just in case someone else might stop by? Do you make your husband or children's lunch? Do you ever take a meal or snack to someone who might need it? Then you too have the virtue of being a provider.

She is wise with her purchases & can turn them for profit
"She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard." vs.16

This verse always surprises me because I think of it from a cultural time where women weren't maybe free to make these sort of decisions because the men took care of stuff like that. I like that this shows a woman with a good business sense, a woman who's virtue may lie in business & buying & selling because there are so many women in business today. She not only considers the business side of things but she also manages the labour and makes a profit! You Go Business Girls!

She is not a weak woman. She is not a meek woman.
"She girds herself with strength & strengthens her arms." vs.17

We are called to have our own strength & not to rely on the man for all things that require a little muscle. Whenever I'm out kayaking, I can feel each and every muscle in my arms & shoulders & can feel better that I'm getting some strength in a place that is usually very flimsy & weak for myself. I may need this strength for something one day. For you, you may need it to lift a child, or perhaps you have a job that requires lifting or carrying, or one day your arms may be needed to lift the fallen or care for a husband that is sick. Yes, we women need strength in our arms

She has compassion for the needy
"She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy." vs 20

I think this verse even goes beyond meaning that she donates to charities because it refers to her hands twice. I think a compassionate woman will not only have compassion for the less fortunate, but she'll be in there with them, comforting them or being of service.

There is more to say about this mighty woman of virtue so I encourage you to read on & discover her other attributes of virtue. Like I mentioned before I started, when reading Proverbs when I was younger, I always dreaded the 31st because it was a reminder of all the things I was striving to be (and yet not always succeeding) But I do not dread the chapter 31 anymore because I think she is a shining example of how all us women should strive to be. It should not be a reprimanding chapter, but more a reminder of which way we should be headed!

Blessings to all my women friends that we may strive to be this Virtuous Woman. Blessings to all my male friends that you may be blessed with some of these attributes in your mother, your sister, your spouse, your daughter or a friend!

Thanks so much friends for sticking with me for 31 Days of Proverbs. I have grown through it immensely!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gathered the wind in His fists: Proverbs 30

"Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name and what is His Son's name, if you know?" Proverbs 30:4

I urge you to read this whole chapter today. There is some amazing imagery & wisdom in it from the wise man Agur...

Every word of God is pure... every word!

Give me neither poverty nor riches... contentment to be in the middle.

There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes... I can guess which generation that is.

There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer... they work in teams & have the strength of giants, a fine example of how we should live in harmony & without laziness
There are three things which are majestic in pace...a lion, which is mighty among beasts and does not turn away from any... their only fear is us humans.

I can't believe my month of Proverbs has nearly come to an end. I have so enjoyed working my way through it. I could probably do it for several months back to back & find a new truth from each chapter each day!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Unattended Children: Proverbs 29

"The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother."
"Correct your son, and he will give you rest;, yes, he will give delight to your soul."
Proverbs 29: 15 & 17

This sign cracks me up! I'm sure we can all think of a dozen places of business or places we go that we'd love to see this hanging.

Not having any children of my own, unruly ones seem to irritate me more. Oh, I know that any child can have a temper tantrum or an attitude no matter how dilligent or attentive the parents are but I see an awful lot of SPOILED children in this day & age. Children who's parents don't believe in discipline or aren't available enough to bestow it on the child so they become more & more unruly. Its sort of a viscious circle because its getting harder & harder to have the financial ability to be a stay-at-home parent. So the last thing these working parents want to do when they haven't seen their child all day is discipline him or her. My hat goes off to the working parents! Its got to be hard!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Abound With Blessings: Proverbs 28

"A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished." Proverbs 28:20

I've been thinking a lot about blessings lately. It seems like God is heaping them on our heads these days & we're just soaking them all in. I think God gives blessings to us even when it doesn't seem like we deserve them as well. But its when we receive those blessings with a thankful heart that they become so rewarding.

In our weak & broken down faith, God has been giving & giving to my husband & I these past couple years. We are finally coming to a point where the weakness & brokenness in our faith is subsiding. And we are seeing God's graciousness in all the blessings He has showered us with. We live rather simple & content lives. We love the outdoors. We love to play. We love moments together as a couple. And He has granted us gifts of the things we love over & over again. Like the gift of calming waters on Saturday so I could go play in my kayak in the Great Outdoors and found my place to have quiet time with the Lord while I was there. So many blessings like this. He gives & gives.

On Sunday, our pastor delivered a powerful message that seemed a bit pivotal for both of us. The part that is standing out most is the acronym for NOW. No Opportunities Wasted. With all the blessings we have, God has given us plenty of opportunities to do stuff for Him. To share our blessings. To share His love. To spend time. To help out. To give. To receive. To get to know. To smile. To comfort. How many opportunities come & go without us moving toward them? We can be capable of the faith to receive those blessings. So if we are so blessed by God, what can we do for Him? Opportunities are in front of you, in front of me, all the time. I'm abounding in blessings, how about you? NOW I want to find a way to bless others.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

What a Day May Bring Forth: Proverbs 27

"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." Proverbs 27:1

All I wanted yesterday morning was to wake up to clear blue skies & no wind...perfect recipe for morning kayaking. Every day last week, I drove to work before 7:00am pouting as I looked down at the glassy calm lake. So I fully expected it for Saturday morning. But instead, I woke up to hazy & breezey. And I was sooooo disappointed. *sulk sulk sulk* I came back in & pouted at the computer thinking I had been so ripped off for the weekend & 'woe is me'.

While I sat there having my own little pity party of how things were so unfair, hubby poked his head in an hour later to see if I had noticed that it was sunny & the wind was gone! Whoops! So focused on myself that I didn't notice the change in weather.

So I loaded up my boat & zipped down to the lake (2 minutes away) and happily paddled away in the sun & calm peaceful waters for a good hour. However, it was about half way through my joyful paddle that I leaned back to relax and suddenly realized how silly I had been & what a beautiful perfect gift God had given me that morning, even in my selfish misery. It was like He said 'here ya go! Go enjoy it & quit your whining. I've changed the weather just for you!" So I took a moment to thank Him for the gift He gave me & I was amazed how well He knows our needs & gives us stuff even when we are being ungrateful. And that just when we think we know how the day is going to turn out, He can turn it around just like that!

After I had enough of paddling, I went back home and just as I got unloaded, the weather turned back to cloudy & windy. Isn't our God an amazing God!

Dog by the ears: Proverbs 26

"He who passes by & meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears." Proverbs 26:17

Not much to add to this verse. Usually 'mind your own business' comes to mind. Not that we shouldn't help or intervene when necessary, but this is reminding us that we don't need to get in the middle of 'other people's business' because the outcome is usually not good.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Without Rain: Proverbs 25

"Whoever falsely boasts of giving is like clouds and wind without rain." Proverbs 25:14

Anyone who lives in a dry or desert climate can relate to this verse. The summers here in southern BC are VERY dry. We can go two months without a drop of rain & that makes for bad forest fire situations. Whenever clouds appear in the sky, everyone gets excited or hopeful that maybe JUST MAYBE there will be some moisture coming from them. But usually, they get blown on by and nothing materializes from them!

Last year was especially dry. I finally gave up on my baskets of flowers. I couldn't keep up with the sweltering heat. This year, I hope they are in slightly more shady locations so all my gardening work is worth something. We got a LOT of snow this winter so there was hopes of some of that moisture staying in the ground but its been a really dry spring so this summer is shaping up to be a scorcher. Oh how we'll be longing for rain-bearing clouds then.

This verse also strikes me rather personally. Not just for financial giving but for prayer as well. I often talk about praying for this or that, caring for this or that, but sometimes the moment passes beyond me just 'talking about it' and I don't pause to pray or carry out what I intended to do for help or well-being. I don't want to be the false giver, no matter what it is I talk about giving - prayer, support, money or time. I hope I can be more diligent in carrying out those things instead of being the cloud without rain.

Voice of the Martyrs: Proverbs 24

"For a righteous man my fall seven times and rise again." Proverbs 24:16
Praise God for the righteous who are able to find their strength in Him to get up so many times!

Prayers for May 22, 2007From The Voice of the Martyrs

LAOS Seven Families Expelled From Their Homes - VOM SourcesOn May 15, government authorities expelled seven of 10 Christian families from their village in Laos, and transported them to another village 12 hours away. According to The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts, the authorities told the families, "If you want to continue believing in Jesus' religion, you need to leave this village and go live in a village where there are Christians." The husbands were forced into vehicles while the wives were working in the rice paddies and this has resulted in chaos. The families are separated and are having difficulties adjusting at the new village because their tools, utensils and belongings are at the old village. Pray God gives the families grace and protection as they deal with these hardships. Psalm 91:14-16

INDIA Attack on Priest and Nun, Services Disrupted, Christians Beaten - VOM Sources

JHARKHAND - On May 14, Reverend George Minj and Sister Teresa Kindo, were attacked in a village near Ranchi as they returned to their parish in the evening after leading prayers in a nearby village. The priest sustained a blood clot in the head and is being kept under observation. Pray for the priest's speedy recovery and for protection as they continue their ministry in the area.

KARNATAKA - On May 13, more than 20 Hindu extremists attacked a worship service in the town of Kushalnagar. The extremists destroyed Bibles, and beat several believers. They told the pastors to stop converting people to Christianity. Pray for protection for Christians in India. Ask God to heal the believers that were beaten. Acts 4:29-30

EGYPT Christians Attacked - VOM SourcesOn May 11, a mob of Muslims attacked Christians in Bahma village south of Cairo after hearing rumors that a church was to be built in the village without government permission. Muslims left their Friday prayers and attacked the homes and shops of Christians, setting the buildings on fire. At least 10 Coptic Christians were injured in the attack. People from both faiths took up sticks and hatchets and began hurling bricks and firebombs at each other. At least 27 houses and shops were damaged by fire. At last report, 59 Muslims have been arrested on charges of arson and spreading sectarian strife. Pray these Christians will be encouraged to worship together, despite opposition. Pray they will demonstrate love to their neighbors. 1 Corinthians 13

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Over-worked: Proverbs 23

Photo from Stock.xchng

"Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understand, cease!" Proverbs 23:4

Its nice to have nice things...but at what expense? Some people work more than 60 hours a week in this day & age, just to keep up with the mortgage payments, the auto payments, the tuition payments & the lifestayle they think they want to have. I can't imagine the pressure that some people deal with when they try to financially juggle all these things. I know that we all have to deal with them to an extent. I have quit my job but I will have to find another job very soon in order for us to keep afloat. We live in a small modest house but even modesty can clean out your pocketbook pretty fast.

But when do you realize when its too much? When is it just for riches & appearances? And when you have it, are you so busy trying to pay for it that you can't afford the time to actually use it?

And what about health? Are you exhausted? Are you ill but you just don't have the time to take off & get better, or see a doctor, or catch up on your much needed sleep? Maybe its time for a lifestyle change. "Because of your own understanding, cease!"

Rich & Poor: Proverbs 22

"The rich & the poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all." Proverbs 22:2

I think I was most struck by the vast differences between rich & poor in Los Angeles California. Way back when I was in Bible School we did a "missions trip" down to Mexico but we spent a few days in LA doing some missions work right in the thick of things in the inner city. This part stands out in my memories far more than the work we did in Mexico because in LA we were right in the middle with the people.

I can remember sharing my breakfast with a woman who gave me the skinny of her life story, how it came to be where she was at, and then she carried on her day. Every where around us was small cardboard houses leaned up against stone walls, shopping carts full of belongings and people who were really 'down & out' on life. It didn't feel like we walked an entire block to take some stairs above the city and look down on this from sparkling high rises feeling like 'lifestyles of the rich and famous'. We went from cardboard & dirt to palaces in less than a minute. I couldn't grasp how all this wealth could be so oblvious or uncaring to what they saw beneathe their windows every single day. It dumbfounded me.

When I went to Africa, I knew that I was going to see an entire nation that was poor but when I was there, I was surprised to see happy & friendly people. There wasn't such an obvious contrast of side-by-side rich & poor, that when everyone around you is in the same boat, it seemed they just sort of embrace it for what it is & continue on with joy. Oh, I'm sure they still have some amazing struggles, but there was still joy & warmth in their faces.

I don't know why God allows some of His children to suffer with poverty & others to sip from golden cups but I'm sure there is a lesson in there for both ends of the spectrum. The impoverished to learn how to trust & be content & the fortunate to learn that all that He has given can be taken away if they 'shut their ears to the poor'. It is a good reminder for me when I can sit here feeling 'contently blessed' and wondering what I can do to help. There is always someone less fortunate that can use our help with the love of God shining through us!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Contentious Woman: Proverbs 21

"It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman... It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman." Proverbs 21: 9 & 19

Nag! Nag! Nag! Oh how us women can nag sometimes! No wonder men want to head for the hills! It can go both ways, but its usually the woman who tends to be called a nag.

Webster defines 'contentious' as "exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes." I bet we all know some contentious people. They always seem to try & pick a fight, start an argument for no reason. Its like they aren't quite happy when there isn't something to be annoyed with or angry at. These people should be our shining examples of what NOT to be! Being around a contentious person can be so exhausting. Imagine how it can be for our spouses when WE are the nagging ones.

It can become very easy to talk to the ones we love the most with the least respect. You find a level of comfort in the way you treat your spouse & it becomes normal to just carry on with it. Soon the joking comments can become more serious. Instead of being the one who should be building up the most praise & confidence in the one we love, we can become the ones that are tearing them down & criticizing their every move. And often, we don't know that we are doing it.

Pay attention to the way you speak to your loved ones this week. If you find you can treat perfect strangers with more respect or kinder words than your spouse or your children, its time to re-evaluate your words. We don't want our loved ones hiding in a corner of the house or fleeing to the wilderness because they can't stand hearing the words we say. "Speak words of love."

Wine Valley: Proverbs 20

"Wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." Proverbs 20:1

To drink or not to drink? The proverbial debate of Christians of all denominations. Some have no problems with it, some forbid it, others are intolerant & some take part in secret.

One way or another it is a personal choice & if it goes with or against your personal convictions that is not for someone else to judge.

I live in Desert Wine Country. I love it here. There are wineries on every hill. The growing conditions in this valley are ideal for award winning wines. Before I moved here I had never tasted a wine I enjoyed so I just decided I didn't like it. But I found a world beyond dry Chardonnay existed and have since found many wines that I enjoy. I went through a time in my past where I was totally against drinking for myself and I judged those who did. This put up walls between myself & those who I could potentially be a positive example to. It was the wrong approach.

Though I often enjoy a glass of wine these days, I still understand the negative effects that drunkenness can bring on. Alcoholism is a serious addiction that affects not just the alcoholic but their family & friends. I don't believe this verse of proverbs means that one shouldn't drink but its implying that a wise person will not allow the drink to cause intoxication. I know there are many arguments for or against this & I'm not looking to start a debate, I just wanted to say that from experience, I know we arent to judge based on choices other people make because that can do more damage than good.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Compassion: Proverbs 19

"He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given." ~Proverbs 19:17

Who are we that we can 'lend' anything to God? This verse has always struck me as amazing. Its almost like if we have compassion for those less fortunate we are doing God a favour. But I think its more we are being used by God for this compassion & that God's way of thanking us is blessing us for showing compassion on those who need it.

I use the word compassion because I urge you to consider lending to the Lord and check out sites like Compassion Ministries at either or This is the organization we sponsor our boy from Tanzania, Vicktor. How precious are the children who need our help.

I will be on a teeny bit of a blog hiatus for a couple days as I am going away with a friend for the long weekend here in Canada. I will catch up a couple days of Proverbs as soon as I can upon my return.

Strong Tower: Proverbs 18

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe." ~ Proverbs 18:10

Do we call out the Lords name enough in our moments of need? Just His name alone can sustain us. Its an amazing fact to comprehend! God knows our thoughts, our innermost hurts or confusions. Sometimes, we have no words & He hears that time too.

The name of the Lord is powerful! Trust that He will be your strong tower today!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Strife Stopped: Proverbs 17

"The beginning of strife is like the releasing of water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts." Proverbs 17:14

When tension & stress builds up inside you, its almost like pressure to release something. I have been finding 'outlets' these past few weeks of burning off the energy to release the stress from the day. A good hard hike up a hill, a long walk with a friend, or a kayak on a glassy lake. These have all helped me release the tensions building up inside.

This week was tenser than ever for the first few days that it was hard to even be at work. But today, there was this sort of calm & the atmosphere wasn't so static. I knew today was the day to talk to my boss. I wasn't tense, I wasn't angry & I wasn't stressed, so I was taking advantage of my current situation to have a talk with him when I knew these emotions wouldn't get in the way. I didn't want a quarrel, I didn't want to 'release' my emotions in the heat of a moment so I figured it had to be done when all was well.

Details aside, the meeting went very well & fortunately my boss is also a bit of a friend & was very understanding of my need for a change & my need to seek some sort of happiness in a job that I was no longer finding there! 3 weeks notice is what I have given them. Its done! And the relief I feel in this decision, the fact that my boss made it so easy for me to talk to him about it and that he agreed with my choice (albeit reluctant to have me go) makes me feel like I've made the right decision.

I don't know what is next but I am open now for God's leading to that something new! Barb, mom, Janine & the rest of you who were praying specifically for me today, I thank you so much for I felt comfort in your prayers! As nervous as I was for the meeting, I was not doubting in the choice! So it has been made! Now I'm at the foot of a brand new mountain...and I'm eager to see where the path leads and what's on the other side!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Direct My Steps: Proverbs 16

"A man's heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9

"Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established" Proverbs 16:3

"Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." Proverbs 16:19

I'm trying to see what's over that next hill in my life right now. I'm straining my neck, willing it to show itself for me before I actually have to climb the hill. Its not yet clear & I can't quite see over it yet.

I need to make a decision and I'm waiting for the Lord's nudging. I'm quite certain that I'm probably going to quit my job, but I'm not sure when, or how to go about it. I'm waiting...waiting for God to show me the time & place. I don't want to walk out in a huff of anger (its been close) because I still have to live in the same small town. Nor do I want to leave them 'high & dry'. And quite frankly, I just don't know what's next.

I need a change. A total change but it still has to have some boundaries to fit in with our lifestyle & needs. But my question is, do I trust God's urging that I just quit & He will provide, or is He urging me to wait & quit when I know I'm moving on to something else?

These are the questions I am weighing in my mind and this chapter of Proverbs seems jam-packed with confirmation that the Lord will show me what to do next but that I have to fully give it up to Him...not just talk about giving it up to Him.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

7 Things About Me Meme: Proverbs 15

Yep, that's me, but no, that's not my kitchen.
Who would really choose counters THAT YELLOW!
Hubby's rental place before we got married a couple years ago!

"A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!" Proverbs 15:23

How good it is indeed to have this wonderful technology called the world wide web where we can connect with people in a way that just a few years ago was unimaginable. How good it is that we can meet new friends on-line, encouraging friends that know how to lift eachother up & bring joy to one another. I am so thankful for you, my blogging & on-line friends, and my real life friends & family that come to read my blog. Your own blogs bring out every emotion in me. Joy & laughter, sadness & worry, encouragement & blessings, admonishment & reminders. It seems I read your blogs & find all the things I need to read at that moment in due season- I'm sure that's a God thing! HOW GOOD IT IS! Blessings on you all!

So, I will tag some of you! I was tagged about a week or so ago by kpjara at Can You Hear Me Now to come up with 7 Things About Me! You can check out her random facts here.

Here are the rules: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. You need to choose 7 people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged and to read your blog!

It seems like everyone has already done this meme at one time or another so I'm just going to tag a few of you. See below if you made my list :)

Becky's Random Facts

#1 - I'm a dreamer. I get caught up in an idea and run with it in my head until I determine that its no longer a good idea, not a feasible idea or its just not going to happen for a long time. For example, hubby & I went to a photo slide show a few months ago to see some of South America. I have always wanted to see Peru so it captivated me. But the clincher was, hubby said that he would like to see it to. So I took that idea & jumped in with both feet. I checked out tours, flight prices, vehicle options, photo locations, etc. I was all into it! But it faded, as many of them do. Still a place I want to go, but I found other things to take up my brain :) Some of my dreams turn into passions, like photography. Once I got into it, I did everything I could to get 'learned up' on it. I got books out of the library, I bought books, I read on the internet, I practice practice practiced! And now I love it. I still don't yet know if it will take me anywhere other than passion but I'm willing to give it some more 'space' in my life than just dreaming!

#2 Please say you're with me on this one & I'm not the only one... I hate the word verification in Blogger for posting comments. It always makes me feel like a moron trying to type those funky squiggly letters. Is that an 'o' and an 'l' or is it a 'd'? LOL I consistantly seem to type them wrong.

#3 My nose honks like an old man when I blow it. Really! And if you were around me, you would be plagued by hearing it a lot. Its allergy season & still cold season. And because the office I work in is so unhealthy - no ventilation, small, dusty, blah - my nose always seems to be runny. I don't have a quiet girly way about it. Its a full on moose call. Mom says her dad had a honky nose. I have no shame in it, just the way it is.

#4 I love fantasy stuff. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of my faves. We watch it over & over again. And give me a Harry Potter movie anyday. I also really have loved the Eragon books so far. Anything that can race my imagination with interesting characters. When I was a kid, I loved to pretend I was an elf or a fairy. I had make-believe play ideas galore. Usually dad was a troll or a giant, never an evil one, just someone to hide from. He always played along pretending not to see me & my brother while we 'spied'.

#5 I looooove lambs & sheep. Stuffed ones, figurines, pictures, graphics and real life ones. I have soo many lambie things. I almost got a tatoo of a lamb a few summers ago. I finally parted with some of my lambie things at my recent garage sale because I simply have too much. And when people know you love or collect a certain thing, you always get more. And I love each one I get. But as I get new ones, I have to get rid of some of the old. Away went the lamb purse, and the motorized one that baaa'd. I can't part with the gangly lamb candle, my precious Lan whom I've had for 30 years or my lamb piggy bank that sits on the night-table with big bulging eyeballs. I have lamb keychains, lamb magnets, Christmas ornaments, mugs galore & even a lamb on my scarf (thanks Gran) I have lamb lapel pin, lamb water bottle cover, lamb stickers and a lamb on a pen. Oh yes, I do love them!

#6 I'm getting a big kick out of our two budgies right now. Thumper (the girl) and Rafiki (the boy) are trying to mate. At least Thumper wants to mate but we don't think Rafiki can figure it out. Its hilarious. Thumper gets in 'position' but Rafiki can't 'satisfy'. And they always seem to try it at dinner time, their cage is in the dining room. I nearly died laughing lastnight. Rafiki finally managed to get 'both legs up' but all he was doing was standing on her back, like cheerleader-pyramid style, not doing anything but standing there. Oh my it was funny. We put a nesting box in the cage seeing as this whole 'mating season' has been lasting quite a while. I don't think it will end with babies unless Rafiki gets a clue. I love having budgies. Though they are sometimes noisy & always messy, they are a joy & a presence in our home! They each have distinct personalities. A fun pet to have!

#7 I want to do more. More for God, for humanity. I am so overly-abundantly blessed & content that I am feeling the gnawing need to give back. I'm not sure how yet. Some small things to start, maybe right here in our own town, or in our own church...but even more than that eventually. I have a feeling that Africa will be a big part of it but I don't know yet. Hubby is on board too. We want to do something. We want to do more!

OK, that's my list. I want to hear 7 things from a couple more of you because I enjoy your blogs & would like to know some more about you:

Shona Tiger at House of Stone
Amrita at Yesu Garden

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pity-Party: Proverbs 14

"The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy" ~Proverbs 14:10

Nobody really wants to hear somebody else complain. And yet when we have some sort of ailment, some sort of infirmity or something we find unfair, why is that we need to proclaim it to everyone & anyone who will listen.

In church on Sunday, the message revolved around the man who lay cripple at the pool of Bethesda for 38 years waiting to step into its healing water. The pastor discussed how when we have an ailment or problem, whether physical mental or spiritual that it can consume us & define who we are, so much that it may be harder to not have this infirmity, this bitterness because, what would we be without it?

I really had to take a look inside myself during this message and so this verse really stood out at me today. I do harbour bitterness in my heart, and I like to revisit it, have a pity-party with it now & then. And it feels good to share it with others to get that "i feel sorry for you" reaction. I like the angry feelings that I can stir up with it & allow myself some sorrow. What am I holding on to it for? Why do I continue to revisit it? And why can't I let it go? I have to want to let it go first. That's something that will require some looking deeper inside myself & some faith to let go.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hope & Life: Proverbs 13

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." ~Proverbs 13:12

A quick note, because today was a day to just be with my husband. Both of our mothers are out of town and we were unable to be with them. So we chose today to spend together, to reconnect & smile!

God knew the desires of our hearts when He chose a spouse for us in eachother. It was what we had hoped for, for a long time. It felt that the hope went unrecognized, and the hope faded as the hearts began to doubt. But then, we found eachother, and the smile we found in each other was that 'tree of life' that we needed and we have been blessed.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Anxiety & Friends: Proverbs 12

"Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray." ~Proverbs 12:25-26

I can imagine that almost all of us have suffered with anxiety in our lives at least once. (If you haven't you are very blessed) Anxiety can be caused by a number of things and can be different for one person than another. It can last just a few moments, or for others, a lifetime. And it can turn into depression.

I have suffered with some bouts of depression in my past & there were times where I just didn't feel like I was going to be able to get away from it. Sometimes, I even enjoyed it, because it can feel good to feel sorry for yourself. I would revel in my own private pity-party full of all my 'woe is me's thinking nobody could understand how I felt.

But I had some very special people in my life that kept me from sinking further into it. People I leaned on & those that uplifted me when I needed it the most. They were true friends to me and helped me through the ugly feelings where I began to reach for the light on the other side.

I'm very thankful for friends! I have some friends right now that are such a blessing to my life! I have old friends & new friends, church friends & unchurched friends. It is definitely harder to be the 'shining light' in a group of unrighteous people. You think that you can 'rub off' on them by being the good example but more often than not, the opposite is true. When there is one rotten apple, all the good apples can't restore it to be un-rotten. So goes sometimes with people. You want to be positive but when you are surrounded by negative, negative feelings can begin to grow in you too. However, this does not cause me to give up these friendships either. For I want to see these unrighteous become the righteous one day too. So I try a little harder to guard myself when I'm with them in hopes that they see beyond my imperfect heart & see the heart of God within me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

No Counsel: Proverbs 11

"Where there is no counsel, the people fall" ~Proverbs 11:14

We need to be praying for wisdom for those in authority. Those in charge of our countries, our towns & the places we work! Especially when we feel like they might be doing a bad job...then they need our prayers even more. If it feels like the prayer might sting your tongue to whisper, then first, pray for a softening of your own heart. I know I would need to pray for this before I can find a place in my heart to pray for some of those in charge.

But I look at what's going around me, when those in charge are failing. War, pain, unhappiness, sickness. Even in the workplace. Start small if you have to, but remember to pray for those in charge. Soften our hearts today Lord!

The Voice of the Martyrs Update

Prayers for May 8, 2007 From The Voice of the Martyrs

INDIA Christians Attacked and Imprisoned; Pastor Beaten - VOM Sources
On April 22, Pastor Jayasheelan and eight other believers were beaten by more than 90 people at a prayer meeting in Rajankunte Village. After surrounding the house, the mob shouted slogans and threatened to burn it down if the Christians did not meet them outside. After Pastor Jayasheelan and the others came out of the house, they were beaten and kicked while the police looked on. The pastor was struck on his head, back and hip. The other believers were also injured. They were later jailed in the Central Jail and released after two days. The believers befriended the other prisoners while they were in jail and shared the gospel. Some of the 20 prisoners received Christ.

On April 29, Pastor Walter Masih was attacked by Hindu extremists while returning home after Sunday worship. Two young men asked the pastor if he could tell them about Jesus and while the pastor was sharing with them, a group of more than 15 young men started beating Pastor Walter with sticks. This happened in front of Pastor Walter's 7-year-old daughter. While he was being beaten, Pastor Walter prayed loudly for the extremists and this further infuriated them. Pray God protects these believers and Christians in India. Ask Him to heal the wounded and for His comfort to overwhelm them and their families. Psalm 32:7, Psalm 30:2
PHILIPPINES Seven Christian Workers Beheaded - VOM Sources
The bodies of seven Christian workers were recovered in Parang town where they were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf Muslim extremists. VOM sources report that the Christian workers' bodies were found in the jungles of Jolo by soldiers, days after they were seized while heading to a government road project. Pray for comfort for these families and ask God to use the testimony of the slain believers to bring non-believers into the knowledge of Him. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bite Your Tongue: Proverbs 10

"In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise." ~Proverbs 10:19

OK, so I'm not having the greatest week at work. That's no secret right now. I'm very frustrated & its getting more & more obvious that a change is needed! My biggest concern right now is 'restraining my lips". In my frustrations, I feel a very NEGATIVE attitude coming over me the moment I walk in the door and I feel it melt away the moment I walk out. But its those 8+ hours in between that I have to practice restraint because everything I want to say is just lingering in my thoughts on the tip of my tongue!

So, I'm working on restraint this week...I'm not always successful but the end is in sight...its called Friday afternoon, and its only a day away!

I saw this funny 'office sign' and had a good laugh!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Instruction to a wise man: Proverbs 9

"Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." Proverbs 9:8-9

My husband & I have been experiencing some interesting things with our friends in the last little while. We've actually had small opportunities to talk about God & church with them. And it seems to be opening doors. They *might* even join us at church one of these Sundays. There are 6 of us that hang out together now & then on weekends cuz all the guys dirtbike, plus one of the wives has a bike & us 2 other wives have quads. So we have some good outdoorsy fun with them.

Last Sunday, two of them showed up on Sunday morning, before church. The boys got right into ripping apart one of the bikes that they were going to go ride that afternoon but I had said I was going to go to church anyways. And the other wife seemed highly intrigued and asked me rapid-fire questions about it. She is a very spiritual person and very very wise. So she is very open. I think God will open more opportunities for us. The guys as well. Lawrence mentioned that they spent the whole morning, while taking apart dirtbikes, just talking on a real level.

If we had opened this sort of conversation, before these two were ready & open to talk about it, we would gain no ground with them. They would be the scoffer and may have had no heart to listen. But , wisdom found them with the need & desire to talk about it and is opening the opportunities for us. The window is open a crack now, little by little, , we can share with them.

A helping hand. On Sunday afternoon I was out hiking with another girlfriend, giving her some very simple close-up photography tips. But the wind was not our friend that day. We found these fields of balsam root flowers and were trying for the macro shots but they wouldn't stay put. So she grabbed the stem in order to still it for me and low & behold, the tips of my toes made the shot too. It was a fun afternoon hike!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Before there was earth: Proverbs 8

"I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth. ... Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth." Proverbs 8:23, 25

Do you ever wonder what kept God busy before he created the earth? It may seem like a silly question, especially because we, as mortals, have a hard time comprehending eternity. But God was there, full of this wisdom that Proverbs speaks of, long before He ever formed the earth.

Earth's time span is probably just a blip in the spectrum of eternity. Every aspect was forethought, and everything that is to come is pre-planned. So the concept of "always was and always will be" is a little hard for my brain to comprehend.

I love the imagery in this book of Proverbs, as it describes that wisdom has been with God throughout eternity. "When He prepared the heavens, I was there" "when He established the clouds above" "Then I was beside Him" "For whoever finds me finds life."

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Crafty Harlot - Proverbs 7

The "Red Light District" in Amsterdam

"And there was a woman met him, with the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. She was loud and rebellious, her feet would not stay at home." Proverbs 7: 10-11

I had a bit of a difficult time pondering this chapter today. Often I would open it & close it again, not sure how I could talk about a chapter that felt a little too personal.

I think the 'harlot' can refer to temptations of many sorts, temptations that can easily ensnare & entice. A temptation that may be desirable to look at, or appear better than what you have.

But literally, our marriages are not as strong as they were for the last 2000 years. I can say this from experience because I was already once divorced at a young age. Divorced from a marriage I believed to have strong Christian roots. But the 'crafty harlot' found her way into my marriage in more ways than one and brought it to ruin. Temptations, distractions, lack of communication, lack of godly wisdom. And I see other marriages around me suffering the same fate. Oh, maybe not from affairs or adultery directly, but other temptations and lack of interest in the things we already have.

I have a new understanding for marriage and hopefully a new wisdom to preserve & protect my marriage. And I can now pray for the other marriages that are out there. Those that are broken, those that are still struggling to make it work, those that are happy, and those that are finding a new covenant in a second marriage. I pray for wisdom, for my own, and for yours!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

When You Roam: Proverbs 6

When you roam, they will lead you; when you sleep, they will keep you; and when you awake, they will speak with you. ~Proverbs 6:22

In the above verse, "they" refers to "your father's command" and "the law of your mother". I was very blessed to grow up in a loving family with amazing parents. (And yes, mom reads my blog) Our household was far from strict but we had rules & instructions & lessons from our parents which molded us & stretched us as we grew.

I think parenting in this day & age is getting more and more difficult. Its hard to 'shelter' a child from the evil this world is exploding with and yet, completely sheltering them is not the answer either. How can a child be prepared to face the world if they know nothing of it. The fine balance between knowing right from wrong and completely avoiding all wrong is a thin line.

Eventually, we all have to face the world at one point or another. When we finally get our chance to "roam", we will need a solid foundation from which we can discern right & wrong. If you have been so blessed to learn this discernment from your mother & father, you will, as the verse says, be lead by this wisdom where ever you go. It will be your nature to know it, when you sleep and when you wake and where you roam!

Yesterday I did some roaming myself. In the morning I got to try out my new kayak. It was fantastic. I loved it. Wanted to go out again this morning before church but my shoulders were a bit sore from yesterday. I also went out driving for photo opportunities because it was such a beautiful day and headed back to Spotted Lake. One of my fave photo spots!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Wife of Your Youth: Proverbs 5

"Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth." Proverbs 5:18

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Path of the Just: Proverbs 4

But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. ~Proverbs 4:18

I find this verse paints such a beautiful picture in my mind. We've had a few rainy days (including an AMAZING hail storm) here which has been welcome & refreshing in this dry little desert valley. But there is nothing to bring up my spirits like a bright sunny day. Was feeling a little down in the dumps these past few days here at work, but maybe part of it had to do with the rainy weather we were having. This afternoon, the sun is shining, its FRIDAY and I'm looking forward to the weekend of sunshine. Yes, bright sun definitely makes me happy. I suppose I have chosen a great place to live if that's what I need.

So I think of this verse "the path of the just". How is it like the shining sun? Well, in my case, I can say if we are to follow the path of the just, we should be spreading joy like sunshine. And the closer we get to the Lord's return, which, if you follow my blog, you'll know that I believe it to be soon, the closer it comes, the BRIGHTER we should be shining. Sharing the gospel (I admit, I'm not very good at it) but spreading joy that Christianity is a joyful thing, not a strict rule-dominated boring legalistic thing. Joy! Happiness! Like the sun! Getting only brighter and not dimmer.

Its a good reminder to me especially this week of being melancholy. I find myself very frustrated with my job so there is no sunshine emitting from me! Suddenly, I'm getting a good dose of spiritual Vitamin D when the sun comes back out & I find my attitude has improved. Time to get back on the path!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Proverbs 3: Part 2

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. ~ Proverbs 3: 5-6

Proverbs 3 is jam-packed with great things that I could blog about so I couldn't let the day go by without pulling a few more verses from it. Verse 5&6 are the verses that most people might pick out of this chapter & they are very important verses to remember!

For me personally, trusting God with ALL my heart means letting go of all things that I try to take control of, and that's hard. I have grown up in the "ME" generation where we were taught to trust in ourselves, believe in ourselves and trust very little in others. Perhaps another reason I struggle with the 'love one another' commandments. People will & do let us down...but GOD does not! We just have to get to the place where we can trust Him with all our hearts.

There's so much more in Proverbs 3 that I could share so instead I invite you to share with me the verses that jump out at you in this chapter and why!

Sweet Sleep: Proverbs 3: Part 1

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. ~Proverbs 3:24

On an early morning safari in Kenya, at Lake Nakuru National Park, we spent over an hour observing this beautiful herd of white rhinos. They were magnificent. The three of us in our safari vehicle were in awe...and snapping away photos like crazy! The longer we stayed in our one spot, the more relaxed the rhinos became in our presence & we were able to observe many of their different behaviours. We finally realized just how relaxed they were when one decided to lie down & rest. They were not afraid that we would harm them.

Likewise, the lions in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. After a long night of hunting & a long morning of feasting they must sleep. Lions have few creatures to fear, except perhaps humans but maybe in their case exhaustion wins out over fear. Our (secure) safari jeep was within 10 feet of this napping beauty and she barely gave us a second glance. Probably thinking "Just go away already so I can sleep."

I used to be afraid to be alone at night. Every noise, creak or thought haunted me. Sometimes I would put a chair in front of the bedroom door & make sure my shoes were right beside my bed in case I needed to run. (where to, I don't know?) Finally, I started to write up verses from the Bible about being safe in my sleep. I taped them directly beside the bed so I could see them at all times when I was lying in bed. They were a great comfort to me! And they have managed to stay in my head year after year. Oh maybe not the exact verse but the theme is always there. God is there, while we sleep, we have nothing to fear. So just relax and go to sleep!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Hidden Treasures: Proverbs 2

If you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures. ~Proverbs 2:4

At one point or another in our lives, I think we've all been on a Treasure Hunt of some sort. Usually the prize you are hunting for is going to be worth all the trouble you go through to find it.

We read books & watch movies of finding great pirates treasuries. I love movies like Pirates of the Carribean, The Mummy and The Goonies where you can see heaping piles of gold, silver and sparkling gems like rubies, emeralds & diamonds.

I also think of Easter, where children get to hunt for their own little treasures, like chocolates, colored eggs or surprises. There is always a determination in the hunt. Most will not give up after looking in one spot & not finding their prize.

So should it be when we seek wisdom. We must seek it with a hunger & determination, like it is the most precious treasure we could ever find, not giving up until we have it!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Beginning of Knowledge: Proverbs 1

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom & instruction. ~Proverbs 1:7

Don't be the fool!

There are certain things in life where, to get ahead, you just can't.. or SHOULD NOT cut corners!

For example, I've got my new kayak but I'm certainly not about to head out on any long-range kayaking trip in the near future. I have to start at the start. Put myself in shallow water on a calm day with somene who can teach me the ropes of kayaking. I have to learn how to paddle properly, learn how to roll over or to straighten myself if I tip, or, if I can't correct it, learn how to do a 'wet exit' without panicking. And those are all just the basics! I can't expect to just hop inside & be an instant expert!

Another example, one may purchase a fancy or expensive looking camera. They carry it around with them, holding it out in front of them, and buy other expensive gear to go with it. To all outward appearances, they LOOK like a professional photographer. But they don't know how to turn it on.

So it goes with knowledge & wisdom. Without God, the fear of God, the respect, love & honor of God, its all for naught! You may dress the part, have all the gear to APPEAR wise & knowledgeable, but if you don't START with God, you've missed the very first step. And then, you're the fool!

The Voice of the Martyrs: May 1

I've decided to post the weekly updates I get from Voice of the Martyrs here on my blog. I hope I'm not breaking any copyrights by posting this but I think our 'brethren in chains' can use all the attention & prayers they can get! You can link directly to the VOM website by clicking the banner below.

"There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all." I Corinthians 12:5-7

Prayers for May 1, 2007From The Voice of the Martyrs

NIGERIA Christians Fear New Muslim President Will Erode Religious Liberty - Compass Direct NewsChristians worry persecution in mostly Islamic northern Nigeria will increase following the election of Musa Yar' Adua, a Muslim, as president. Church leaders are concerned Yar' Adua will aggravate existing problems for Christians in the region. "The election of Yar' Adua will aggravate the problems of Christians in northern Nigeria. Our fear is that under a Muslim president, religious liberty will be eroded," Rev. Polit told Compass. "As governor of Katsina state in northern Nigeria, Yar'Aduna imposed Shariah (Islamic) law and presided over a system of deliberate denial of land for building churches, as well as government agencies that arbitrarily closed some churches," Compass reported. Pray God encourages Christians to continue standing for him in the midst of persecution and uncertainty. Psalm 32:7, Psalms 91:14

CHINA Chinese and American Christian Leaders in Xinjiang - China Aid AssociationOn April 19, 2007, more than 30 house-church leaders and four American Christians were arrested in Xinjiang province. China Aid Association (CAA) reports the four Americans are still in an undisclosed hotel for questioning and the PSB confiscated their luggage. Eight Chinese pastors received criminal detention papers for 30 days detention and were accused of being "suspects involved in evil cult activities." Eye witnesses told CAA that at least two of the arrested were seen with bleeding noses and bruises on their faces because of torture during interrogations. Pray for the pastors in prison and for their families. Ask God to protect them as they face pending charges. II Timothy 4: 16-18

TURKEY UPDATE - Turkish church requests prayer after three Christians martyred in Malatya - VOM SourcesThe Protestant Church in Smyrna is requesting Christians to pray for the families of the three believers killed on April 18, 2007, in Malatya, Turkey. According to a press release, the church urged Christians to pray that someday the perpetrators of the gruesome murders would receive Christ and for God to use the testimonies of the martyred brothers to draw others in the knowledge of Him. II Corinthians 1:3-7

INDIA Christians Arrested and Beaten - VOM Sources
ORISSA - On April 17, four pastors were arrested by local police in the Cuttack district after Hindu extremists saw them distributing Christian literature and accused them of forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity. The pastors were released on bail the following day.

TAMIL NADU - On April 22, two pastors were beaten and jailed after more than 20 members of a Hindu extremist group disrupted a prayer meeting. The extremists surrounded the house where the Christians were meeting and verbally abused the pastors. When the police arrived the pastors were ordered to accompany them to the police station. On the way, the extremists attacked again, beating the pastors and four believers who accompanied them. The extremists accused the pastors of forced conversions and are being held in the central prison. Pray for God to speedily heal those who were injured and that Christians in India will trust Him in the midst of great persecution. Psalm 103:1-3, Psalm 5: 11-12