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Name: Linda

Location: Texas

I am a wife, mom and grandma. I am doing what I've wanted to do all my life. I am a Christian and I love the Lord.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007
Thankful Thursday

While I was riding my bike on the country road that is part of our usual ride, I began to think about all the little miracles God has placed all around us. They bring such joy if I just take the time to notice them.

I am thankful for the beautiful blue of the summer sky and for the pristine white clouds that dance across its surface.

I am thankful for the songs of little birds that fill the air when I tune out everything else that is going on around me and really listen. I don't think our little feathered friends ever wake up in a bad mood. They always begin the day with a joyful tune.

I am thankful for butterflies. They make me think of loopy littl ballerinas - all decked out in their beautiful costumes and unable to fly in a straight line. They loop and zig and zag and somehow get to where they're going. They always make me smile.

There is a creek that runs along the road we travel. It is swollen from recent rains. I love to watch the water cascade over rocks and listen to the sound it makes as it travels swiftly to places I will never see.

The past couple of days we have met two black labs in the same spot in the road. They are just sort of hanging out - wet and streaked with mud. I think they come from the nearby ranch and have just finished their morning swim in the creek. They look at us and smile their doggy smiles. I do love dogs!

As I ride behind my husband (sometimes waaay behind) I thank the Lord that he is healthy and strong enough to ride - for this day.

Thank You Father - for filling my life with precious blessings straight from Your heart. You are so good and so kind.

To read more Thankful Thursday lists - and be very blessed - go to Sting My Heart and visit with Iris.

  posted at 12:16 PM

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Others' Words
I couldn't come up with anything "brilliant" to write about today, so I thought I would share some truly wise words with you:

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength"
Corrie Ten Boom

"Faith ends where worry begins, and worry ends where faith begins."
George Mueller

"The true follower of Christ will not ask,'If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me?' Rather he will say, 'This is the truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may.'"
A W Tozer

"God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves."
Dwight L. Moody

"The acid test of our love for God is obedience to His word."
Bob Jones, SR.

"Let us never forget that what we are is more important than what we do."
James Hudson Taylor

"Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?"
Corrie Ten Boom

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible!"
George Washington

"I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book."
Abraham Lincoln

  posted at 3:22 PM

Monday, August 27, 2007
More Lessons Learned While Biking
I am beginning to make some progress as a cyclist. It is a good thing to have a partner when you begin something like this. My husband has been such a great encouragement to me. Every time I manage to make it up a big climb he is waiting there  to tell me I’ve done a good job. It’s amazing how much words of encouragement can give you the energy to try just a little harder. He also gets me up and out on those mornings I would just as soon not even look at my bike. Two definitely are better than one.

We started by riding three miles and have now made it up to fourteen miles. I really didn’t think I could do it. The first morning we decided to make the jump from seven miles to fourteen my heart was actually pounding with dread when we started out. I pictured myself laying on the side of the road somewhere – collapsed in a heap of utter exhaustion. But that didn’t happen. I actually made it!! I never would have tried that by myself.

I have learned all sorts of lessons while riding my bike. Just today I was thinking about how much learning to ride – to use the gears and pace myself – is like growing in faith. I have found that if I anticipate a difficult part of the ride way before I reach it and begin to shift down to a much easier gear, I get myself into trouble. By shifting too soon I end up with my legs spinning furiously without engaging the chain. All my effort is totally wasted. Then when I get to the upgrade I have no momentum to help carry me up the difficult part. If, however, I wait to shift just before I hit the climb, my momentum carries me forward and the easier gear makes the climb simple.

That is so much like my life. When I look too far ahead into the future, anticipating trouble down the road, I begin the useless process of worry and fear. I begin “spinning my legs” furiously trying to make sure everything will turn out all right. I imagine the Lord saying, “Don’t worry daughter. Just keep trusting in me, and when the time comes I will give you all you need to make it through.” His grace is always sufficient, but it is sufficient day by day. When I do face difficulties, the steady “momentum” of time spent with Him in prayer and in the Word will carry me up the difficult part.

  posted at 4:13 PM

Saturday, August 25, 2007
The Living Word

The Living Word

Suppose the skeptics have it right
And there really is no God.
Suppose the Bible that we read
Is not His living word.

You will find the rest of my poem here at the Laced With Grace blog. I would love to have you meet me there.

  posted at 8:39 AM

Friday, August 24, 2007
Scarlett O'Hara Here
If this post has a familiar ring to it that would be because in the little over a year I’ve been blogging I’ve written the same post at least two other times. It is a tribute to my Scarlet O’Hara mentality (“I’ll think about that tomorrow.”) that I find myself writing it once again. The expression “one step forward, two steps back” very aptly describes my Christian walk.

My intention was to write this before I did anything else on the computer this morning. However I decided to check my bloglines first (and therein lies the problem) and couldn’t resist reading a few posts. When I read Cyndi’s entitled “Pleasant Boundaries”, I knew it was an answer to the prayer I’ve been praying for several weeks now – “Lord, please help me to order my days according to Your plan – and not mine.” I have been completely undisciplined with my time spending far too many hours on the computer. It has to change – it just has to.

I have cut down the amount of writing I’ve done – putting up only three or four posts a week. However, that really isn’t the time-consuming part of all this. It is the time I spend reading and commenting on other posts. Everyone has very kindly said over and over again that they are not offended if we don’t read and comment on every post, but for some reason I feel as though I just have to. I’m so concerned about hurting or disappointing someone if I don’t comment for a few days. It seems that whenever I do miss a few days something urgent happens and I’m days late praying for them or encouraging them.

It occurs to me as I write this that there is more than a little pride involved in all of this. I’m sure the blogging community would roll happily along if I were to disappear altogether. And there is always that ugly monster names “Approval” that rears his ugly head. The need to be liked and well thought of is something I simply need to get over! In the process of winning the approval of others, I’m short-changing the people who are truly important in my life. I have even allowed it to interfere with my Quiet Time – putting it off for so long it is either rushed or not done at all.

So here is the plan. I’m not even going to allow myself to turn on the computer until my Quiet Time is over. When I do, I am going to limit my time. I have piano lessons that are becoming increasingly difficult and require much more practice time. I want very much to learn to play well. Wednesdays are my day for Bible Study, church volunteer work and choir practice. I want to just allow myself more quiet time to do some thinking and writing. I want to give the Lord time to speak to my heart and direct my steps.

That will mean I won’t be able to visit everyone every day. It actually hurts my heart to write that, but I know this is the right thing for me to do. I don’t want to give up blogging. I believe the Lord put it in my life in the first place. I just let it get out of hand. I have never been very good at balance. I tend to get carried away with things – and then finally crash and burn. I’m giving this back to the Lord.

Please hold me accountable. If you see me back to the same old routine, feel free to call me on it. If there is an urgent need and I’ve missed it, please email me and let me know.
So…..there you have it – again. This time I simply have to do it right. I am tired of feeling guilty and burdened every time I pray. I know the Lord has been speaking to me, and I’ve just been going on my merry way. Please forgive me Father and help me, by Your grace, to live each day according to Your plan.

Thanks for listening to me again. I feel very much the way I do when I declare to my husband, “I’m going to start dieting this week!” He is very sweet not to remind me I’ve said that a hundred times before - and I still haven't lost that seven pounds!!

  posted at 12:36 PM

Thursday, August 23, 2007
Thankful Thursday

I truly look forward to Thankful Thursday. It is so uplifting to read the words poured out from thankful hearts. Thank you Iris for providing this special place where we can share thanksgiving and praise.

Today I'm thankful that God is always God. His character never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Even if I'm having a bit of a moody day (I'm just saying...), He is totally unaffected by my attitude. He waits for me with the same love and acceptance He always offers to get over whatever is bothering me and come and visit with Him. I am far too prone to let my moods affect my relationship with the Lord. I am so thankful He isn't. Please forgive me Father for the way I have acted today. Instead of turning from you I should be running into Your open arms. Forgive my selfishness and self-pity.

I am thankful for answered prayer. We had a safe and delightful vacation. The Lord even held back the rain so we could enjoy the music and testimonies at the Gospel Sing. It was the very thing I had prayed for - a time of rest and refreshment.

I am thankful that choir has started back up again. It is such a joy to sing praises with so many other people. We are so blessed to be a part of this ministry.

I am thankful for the young women I have met in this amazing blogging community. I am so encouraged as I read about your lives. Family is so important to each and every one of us. Our children and grandchildren are precious gifts. Chris had posted a prayer on her blog for her children, and our children and grandchildren, as they return to school. It is a beautiful prayer. I encourage you to join her in praying for our children.

I am thankful for the special people God places in our lives. It was so good to reconnect with friends we haven't seen for weeks at choir practice last night. It is good medicine for the soul I think.

  posted at 12:29 PM

Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Praying For You
As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I spent last Wednesday through Saturday soaking up the blessings that come from hearing the message of the gospel through song. Those who sing and write the songs are amazingly gifted and have chosen to use that gift in service to the Lord. We are privileged to be the recipients of those gifts. Our spirits are lifted; we are encouraged and often the Holy Spirit uses the words that we hear to minister to the needs of our hearts.

I love the upbeat songs – the ones that set your feet to tapping – but it seemed to me that the overriding message was of a very serious nature this time. Put succinctly – we are all going to face difficult times in our lives, and the only way to get through them is to trust in the Lord. That message resonated in my spirit because it is so real. It is easy to sing songs and write words about how happy and joyful life is, it is quite another to write about the hard times. The truth is if we aren’t in the middle of a difficult time we eventually will be. The rest of the truth is we have a God who will always be there for us. He will either deliver us from the trial or He will give us the grace and strength to go through it. I read this morning in Ps. 52:8 “…I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.”

I feel burdened for those of us who are going through those difficult times right now. We are separated by great distances in most cases and cannot do the practical things to help one another – sit and pray together, prepare a meal, baby-sit the children – those sorts of things. However, we are able to do something more powerful than we can even imagine. We can pray for one another.

Mark Bishop sang a song he wrote that blessed and encouraged me. I’d like to share the lyrics with you:

Can I Pray For You?

“I’ve been your friend for a while.
I know you’re hiding behind that smile.
And you’re keeping inside tears that should have been cried.
You’ve been brave through the trial.
You’ve been as strong as a stone,
Against the stormy winds that have blown.
But you have friends who care, more than willing to share.
Don’t face those trials alone.

Can I pray for you?
Can I mention your name to the Lord?
When I seek His face,
Can I plead your case?
That’s what praying is for.
I’ll help you carry your cross,
And find the way when you’re lost.
If we’ll let Jesus be true,
I’ll know that He’ll see you through.
Can I pray for you?

I know that there’ll come a day,
When I’ll have trials and need you to pray.
Just like you’ve done before, you’ll mention me to the Lord.
That’s why I’m here to say,
‘Let me be there for you.
We’ll divide all your problems by two.
And very soon there’ll be three, you and Jesus and me.
That’s what friends are supposed to do.’

If we’ll let Jesus be true,
I know that He’ll see you through.
Can I pray for you?”

For those of you in need of prayer today, I’m praying for you.

  posted at 11:25 AM

Monday, August 20, 2007
The Washer and Dryer are Hummin'
We arrived home about nine o'clock last night. It is good to be home, but we had a really wonderful time. It was four nights of some of the best Southern Gospel music in the country. If any of you are fans you'll recognize names like The Issacs, Jeff and Sherri Easter, The Dixie Echoes, Gold City, Mark Bishop, Karen Peck and New River, Jason Crabbe, The Perrys and The McKameys - just to name some. It really feels like just a little bit of heaven - listening to the uplifting words of the amazing music, sharing the time with hundreds of other Christians, and everyone involved wanting nothing more than to lift the name of Jesus. We loved it!!!

I am now, however, back to the real world. We did the grocery shopping this morning (I unpacked last night because I just can't rest easy unless I at least get that done) and now the first load is in the dryer and the second load of laundry is in the washer - ironing to follow (probably tomorrow). It is already late afternoon. Where does the time go?

Which brings me to something I have been praying about and thinking about for a few weeks now. I want to write about it soon. I hesitate to do it because I've written about it before only to "backslide" right back to my old habits. However, I think if I tell you about it - you can then hold me accountable. I'd like that. It has to do with spending my time wisely. I haven't been doing that. The Lord has been convicting me about it. I have to do something. We'll talk later....

I will try to catch up as best I can. I have missed each and every one of you. That's what makes it so hard for me to be sensible about my blogging time. It's good to be home.

  posted at 2:13 PM

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Gone on Vacation

I had hoped to write a little something before we left on vacation, but the hours are slipping away rather quickly. I haven't even had much time to visit, but I'll be back next week. We'll get caught up then. I'll be thinking of you and praying for you. Don't do anything wonderfully exciting while I'm gone. Wait until I get back.

  posted at 3:11 PM

Sunday, August 12, 2007
His Chosen

My Monday post is on choices. You'll find it here. I would love to have you join me.

  posted at 10:04 PM

On the Lighter Side
It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in South Texas. We went to church last night so we’re relaxing this morning. Our daughter is coming here in a little while, and then we are going to meet my Mom and Dad for lunch. Tomorrow is Mom’s 84th birthday, and we are celebrating.

I’ve been thinking deep thoughts (okay semi-deep thoughts) all week so I thought I would do something fun today. Here for your blogging pleasure are some little known facts:

1. Apples not caffeine are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

2. You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.

3. Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty years of age or older.

4. There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on all the beaches in the world.

5. The Atlantic Ocean is saltier than the Pacific Ocean.

6. The most common name in the world is Mohammed.

7. In ten minutes a hurricane releases more energy than all the world’s nuclear weapons combined.

8. Elephants can’t jump. Every other mammal can.

9. Research indicates that mosquitoes are attracted to people who have recently eaten bananas. Only female mosquitoes bite.

10. Men can read smaller print than women; women can hear better than men.

11. On fifteen April 1912 the SS Titanic sunk on her maiden voyage and over 1,500 people died. Fourteen years earlier a novel was published by Morgan Robertson which seemed to foretell the disaster. The book described a ship the same size as the Titanic which crashes into an iceberg on its maiden voyage on a misty April night. The name of Robertson’s fictional ship was the Titan.

12. A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

13. A dragon fly has a life span of 24 hours.

14. More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a phone call.

15. Five Jell-0 flavors that flopped: celery, coffee, cola, apple and chocolate.

16. Venus is the only planet that rotates clock-wise.

17. The first cd pressed in the U.S. was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.”.

18. The average American has two credit cards.

19. The glue on postage stamps in Israel is certified Kosher.

20. A “Jiffy” is actually a unit of time 1/100th of a second.

There you have it. Just think how scintillating your conversation will be when you throw in a few of these gems!!

Have a blessed Sunday,
  posted at 10:17 AM

Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Thankful Thursday

“O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
I Chron. 16:34

The first thing I want to give thanks for is the Encourager of the Month Award that Iris awarded me. It means so much to me for someone like Iris to give me this award. She is the one who encourages me and lifts my spirits and helps me all the time. I am so grateful.

I am thankful that God answers prayer and that sometimes the answer comes so clearly and so quickly. There are some prayers I have been praying for years, knowing that He has heard my heart and will answer in His way and in His time. There are others where the answer comes with such immediacy it takes my breath away. I picture Him smiling at my surprise. He is a Father who delights in giving good things to His children.

I am thankful for the uniqueness of God’s creation. I cannot fathom how each of us has, for instance, a voice that is distinguishable from the millions and millions of other voices out there. How is it that with only a few features to work with, God can create all those different faces? There are so many of us and no two exactly alike. Our personalities are as varied as the snowflakes that fall in winter. He is truly an amazing God.

I am thankful for the things that we have in common. It builds up my faith to read about what the Lord is doing in each of your lives and know that I have experienced the same things; to read about the truths you are discovering in His word and nod my head in agreement. We don’t all walk through the same circumstances, but we all walk through them with the same faith in the same God – and we all find Him faithful. What a glorious experience!

I am thankful that I have only to live this one day – that all of my tomorrows are in God’s hands. When I am burdened, He graciously extends His hands and lifts the weight from my shoulders. When I am afraid, He whispers words of encouragement and hope and tells me to trust in Him. When I sin, He forgives. When I fall down, He picks me up. He walks with me through the day and tells me that there will be new mercies for tomorrow. He is always just a whisper away.

When I think of who I am and who He is, my heart overflows with gratitude that He would be mindful of me. “How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them they would outnumber the sand. When I am awake, I am still with Thee.” Ps 139: 17,18

There are more Thankful Thursday posts at Iris’ blog.

  posted at 9:45 PM

Clouds and the Rock

We are back home from our bike ride. It is a very windy day. The sky is filled with cumulus clouds - big white fluffy clouds that sometimes hide the sun. I love those clouds. They mesmerize me. I look at them and see all sorts of different images.

Sometimes I see funny animal shapes - huge monsters or funny bears. Other times I see people - larger than life characters with crazy hairdos and huge noses. On a day like today, when the wind is blowing hard, the images change rapidly. If you look away for just a minute the funny lady is gone and has morphed into something altogether different.

Cumulus clouds - beautiful, ever-changing and completely insubstantial. What looks to be a cuddly ball of soft cotton would slip through my fingers if I were able to reach out and touch it. Rather like the things of this world that we often try to grab hold of to give us a sense of security and well-being. A good financial plan, material possessions, power, fame, sometimes even the people in our lives prove to be mere "vapor" when we face difficult circumstances. All the wealth and power in the world cannot keep sickness and death from entering our lives. The people that we think we can absolutely depend on may suddenly change when we are in difficult circumstances.

There is, however, something solid, upon which we can depend. A Rock that is a firm foundation under our feet. It is strong and true and unchanging - no matter what situation we find ourselves in. That Rock is the person of Jesus Christ. He will never fail us. His word is true. His character is unchanging.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever." Heb. 13:8

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Ps. 18:2
  posted at 10:47 AM

Saturday, August 04, 2007
Immeasurable Worth

I was reminded of an amazing truth as I read my little devotional yesterday. It is something I need to be reminded of occasionally because I am the sort of person who seems to get easily caught up in a "works mentality". I tend to measure my worth by what I have done.

I was always the little girl who wanted approval - to be thought of as a good girl. It mattered very much to my little girl heart that everyone like me. I still retain much of that little girl inside this grownup body. I want so much for everyone to approve of me - and the One topping that list is the Lord. I want to please Him with all my heart. That desire often leads me down the path of good works - attempting to do all I can to insure that I am loved and accepted.

Then yesterday I read these words: "What a comfort to know His acceptance of us does not depend on our performance! Always remember that our great worth and value comes from the price Jesus paid for our lives.
'But (you were purchased) with the precious blood of Christ, the
Messiah, like that of a (sacrificial) lamb without blemish or spot'
I Peter 1:19 (AMP)
The worth of an object is measured by the price paid. What does that statement tell us about our worth?" (Darien Cooper)

My heart breathed a refreshing sigh of relief. There is nothing I can do to make myself more valuable in His eyes. When God looks at me, He sees His perfect Son. I am clothed in His righteousness - without blemish or spot. What I do, I do with a grateful heart because I love Him so very much - not to earn His approval.

I needed to be reminded of that. And He very gently and tenderly did.

  posted at 12:11 PM

Thursday, August 02, 2007
Happy Birthday to My Blog!

On this day one year ago I waited breathlessly to see if I could actually publish a post on a blog. My heart was pounding when I clicked on "publish". I sighed with relief when it actually worked. It has been an unexpectedly wonderful adventure ever since.

I have a whole new vocabulary (I didn't even know what a blog was a couple of years ago). Words like post, link, template and comment have taken on new meaning. I have attempted to do things on my computer I wouldn't have dared try before.

The best part is the community of women I have become a part of - the discovery that blogging isn't a thing - it's people. I am no different that anyone else. I am totally amazed at the connection we have made with one another. It goes far beyond just exchanging little notes during the day. We become a part of one another's lives. I knew I was emotionally invested in your lives when even my husband (who wants nothing to do with a computer) began praying for you and asking how things were going. I guess it must have something to do with how often I mention you in my conversations with him and other family members.

My life has been enriched by blogging because the foundational thing that binds us together is our love for the Lord. I have learned so much from you; I have been encouraged and lifted up and prayed for. It just boggles my mind to think that I can touch the life of someone who lives thousands of miles away and feel as though she was right next door.

When I began, before I began, I asked the Lord to use this new thing called blogging to somehow glorify Him. That has been the wish of my heart since the day I started. I pray that in the laughter and tears and day to day things we share His name would be lifted up. I think He is blessed when we bring laughter to someone else, when we share our struggles, when we share the things we've learned to make keeping the home a ministry to our families, when we pray for one another, when we listen to that still small voice and send something special to someone just to say we're thinking of them and when we share what the Lord has put on our hearts.

Thank you - all my precious sisters of the heart - for making this year very special. A year ago I couldn't imagine I would be blogging. Now I can't imagine how I could ever stop.

  posted at 11:13 AM