LollipopandPearls Theme Song

"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Life is Precious!

“This is the day the LORD has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
~Ps. 118: 24

This morning I woke up, breathed in deeply, stretched my stiff body, said “Good Morning, Lord”, and began my day…preparing breakfast for my husband, my son and me, tidying up around the house for company later in the day; I turned on the “Today” show to catch up on the overnight news. And I realized…I’m alive! God has allowed me to live this day, and I am a blessed woman!

Yesterday afternoon my son-in-law was a hero. He valiantly tried, though in vain, to perform CPR on his co-worker. In the blink of an eye, Richard was gone! Breathing and working one minute, and literally in the blink of an eye, passed away, leaving his best friend/wife of some 30 years behind, in total shock! Life is fragile! Life is precious! Life is a gift! Life is fleeting! Life can be short! Neither Richard nor Julie had any way of knowing as he left for work yesterday morning that they would never see one another alive, this side of Heaven, again. Then it hit me…
How many moments in my lifetime could have been my last moment on earth; yet, the lord chose to spare my life! I take that so for granted…

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~2 Tim. 1:7

God does not want us living the moments of our life in fear of what could have been or what may be. If we live in fear, we know it is our soul’s enemy, the devil, causing that spirit of fear. However, we should never assume that we will have tomorrow, or next week, or another year. Someone once said, “Live every day as if it is your last!” I confess that I never get up in the morning determined to live that day as if it were my last one. I thrive on having tomorrow, the rest of the week, next month, another few years. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” ~Ps. 139:16

I began thinking about the number of hours I spend in the car, whether driving or riding, when the odds would be against me regarding an accident happening. BUT GOD (those are my 2 most favorite words in the Bible) has placed a hedge of protection around me time and time again ~ His provision for me. I have not been a very good steward of my physical body, the ‘temple of God”; yet, I am very healthy, with no major health issues. God’s protection and provision! I could have been born in a war-torn country, with constant threats on my life; BUT GOD allowed me to be born in America, the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. God’s gift!

“You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Selah” ~ Ps. 39:5

I pray that you will join me in thanking our Lord every day for life itself, and for the many blessings He has bestowed upon each of us.

Father, thank-you for life itself. Thank-you for the many blessings you have bestowed upon me, my family, my friends, my blogging friends…help me, Father, to never take for granted my very life itself. I give you all praise, honor and glory for who You are! In Jesus name….

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In pursuit...

I remember as a little girl playing “hide and go seek” with anyone who would take the time. I loved to hide in very inconspicuous places, and jump out yelling “BOO!” when my pursuer walked by! Pure and innocent fun!

In the 3rd grade I had my first “boy-friend”; his name was Webb and he sat on the front row right next to me. I will never forget the day he asked me if I would wear is ID bracelet – you know the silver ones that dangle a bit and have a person’s initials monogrammed on it? Yeah, so I really thought I was cool! I had an ID bracelet from a “heartthrob” who was pursuing me! I was all of 9-years old then! (that was back in the day when we did not feel we had to push children to hurry up and learn! We understood the value of “work is a child’s play” ~ Elkind) OK, OK, I’ll get off my soap box…at least for now. As an educator I can get high on my soap box about the fallacies in education today. SSSSOOOO….Webb was pursuing me!

All throughout high school my parents were adamant that I allow the boys to do the pursuing. I was not allowed to call boys, ask them out (except to my sorority formal once a year), or overtly flirt! That was considered “normal’ in those days ~ you know, kind of the way God set it up! What a novel idea! See, although environments have changed and circumstances differ in many ways, people are the same as they were in the beginning and they will be basically the same until Christ returns.

Admittedly, when I went to college, I did a little more of the pursuing of one particular guy; however, he pursued me even harder. Fast forward a few more years when my now sister-in-law, whom I was teaching school with, insisted that I meet her brother-in-law (who is now my husband). Once we met, the pursuit was on big time, and it worked! We’ve now been married 29-years!

You know who has been pursuing me harder than anyone else my whole life long? God the Father! He longs for relationship with me! He is intimately acquainted with me! Little ole me! Why in the world would He want a relationship with me ~ one who has fallen and failed too many times to count; one who has strayed far from the Father during some very rebellious times; one who seems to still be seeking man’s approval more than God’s approval….WHY would the Heavenly Father desire a personal, intimate, ongoing, deep love relationship with me? I can’t answer that! Yet, I am so very grateful that He never gives up on me, even when I’m tempted to give up on myself. After I botch it, He turns right around and pursues me even harder, desperately desiring to bring me back into right relationship with Him. He is a God of second chances, “do-overs” if you will.

Seems to me that many of us spend a lot of time pursuing the “American Dream” (whatever that is); pursuing our education (which is not a bad thing); pursuing relationships (again, not a bad thing); pursuing opportunities to be some-body or to do something big; pursuing better looks, a better figure, more and better materialism…none of those things are necessarily wrong. What can be wrong is how those pursuits fit into our relationship with our Creator, our God, our Lord, our PURSUER! It basically boils down to priorities, doesn’t it? When we are in right relationship with the Heavenly Father, all the other things will fall into place as HE sees fit and according to His will. That may mean we won’t have the “most’ or the “best”, monetarily or materialistically speaking…our plans may not be His plans and our ways may not be His ways. Weigh them on the scales: His ways vs. my ways! Which do you think are the best? HIS ways e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. t.i.m.e. Read what Isaiah says in Chapter 55: (NIV)

Isaiah 55---Invitation to the Thirsty
1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor."
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD's renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed.

I pray that this day, and in the days to come, you will join me in pursuing the lover of our souls, Jesus Christ, in whom we live, and move and have our being! His plans for each of us are perfect and for our well being! (Jer. 29:11)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mourning into Dancing

"He will turn our mourning into dancing!" (Jer. 31:13) This weekend I had the privilege of attending a women's retreat. The attendees were primarily women from one of our church's 2 campuses. We played, we prayed, we laughed, we cried (oh, how we cried, in a fashion that only women will do with other women!), we heard amazing testimonies...demons were slayed ~thank-you, Jesus!!!!!~ breakthroughs were granted, masks were taken off and nailed to the cross of Christ; captives were set free; healing began in the lives of several women, including yours truly.

However, at the same time, we learned that our precious, beautiful friend and sister-in-Christ who started the children's ministry program at our church, lost her 2nd child to miscarriage. Also, Pastor Steve Berger and his beautiful wife and family, lost their 19-year old son, Josiah, in a tragic car accident on his 19th birthday. Unbeknownst to his family, Josiah recently signed an organ donor card. He now walks on streets of gold with his Master, while his physical body literally saved 5 lives from earthly death. Also, the transplant team reported that 77 (the number of our Master) people would either be saved from death or their lives would be dramatically transformed because of Josiah's death. Please take time to click here for the worship at Pastor Bergers church yesterday. If you don't want to listen for the entire hour to the praise and worship music, please fast forward to 54:36 and listen to what Steve and his wife spoke over their congregation about their champion, Josiah. You will be blessed beyond imagination, and you will be reminded of God's goodness, His faithfulness,and His love no matter the outward circumstances surrounding our lives.

My emotions are raw; my head is splitting; my heart literally physically hurts; and emotionally I am spent. Yet, I hope in the Lord, I rest in the Lord! I pray for the Berger family and the congregation at Grace Chapel; and I pray for the women who have begun their new journey in life called "freedom in Christ". I pray that what God has begun to do in my life will continue until completion, and that I will continue discovering the pieces of the puzzle of certain facets of my life, how they all fit together, and how God can use my mess to truly become His message.

I covet your prayers, and would love to know your prayer requests, so i can pray for you, as well.

Choose to be blessed today, and find a way to bless someone else.

Enjoy the photos below of our retreat and of some of my "pearls". Also, enjoy the poem written by my beautiful friend, Melissa Irwin, who shared her testimony this weekend and subsequently penned the words as a tribute to those of us on the retreat. Also, please visit her blog and let her know you were sent by me.

I love you,

If I Had a Dime for Every Rhyme
....I'd have a little deposit in my piggy bank today.
(disclaimer....i'm not a poet)....but this is dedicated to all the women at the retreat this past weekend! (by Melissa Irwin)

SWEET ESTROGEN (or whatever)

women of mont on the hill, I digest you like a little pill and receive you in my heart

because the more i see of you in me, the women we are meant to be are not so far apart

i hurt that in this world of sin, the babylon we're living in,

our suffering exists cuz some men are HOT, but some men are not,

just more like painful cysts i cherish every piece of you that broke and fell

despairedfor every painful truth you told, when tears and snot were shared

in a room that ached to comfort you and lift you to His sky

from circled chairs to streets of gold, held in the arms of Christ

then the rooms were filled with howls and love and sweet umbrella chat

(those belly jingles too)

i take away the scoop on poop, and herbs for this or that

but mostly that my heart was blessed to meet each one of you

so don't forget that God made you and YA'LL's a royal noun

just like you are, you are a queen, preparing for your crown

may love walk with you every day and night and in your sleep

until we meet again for chocolate and estrogen retreat

(Note: one of our speakers and fellow church members is an herbalist, etc., who spoke to us on the relationship between our physical bodies and our emotional and spiritual beings--thus, the "scoop on poop" talk!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

"I'm back! Temporarily!"

I'm back!

No, you're not!

Yes, I am!


Say's who?


No I did not!


Ok, win!

Sorry, that was just a conversation in my head! You know, with that other woman that lives up there ~ the one who knows it all and won't be told any differently? Yeah, that one!

OK, so that wore me out typing it! I cannot imagine what you are thinking about it all right now! All that to say this: I haven't blogged in a while due to a horrible migraine; ready to blog now but getting ready to register Benjamin for school and head out for a weekend women's retreat, where we get no cell phone or internet reception, it's in the boonies, pretty walking trails, nice pool, chillaxin' all over the place, worshipping the Lord, learning about women's health issues...and that's a run-on-sentence if I ever saw one. Try to be back on Monday! Have a blessed, safe, fun weekend, and enjoy my wordless (I know you are thinking, "Thank goodness, she said wordless!") photos...random, but photos nonetheless.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh, my aching......

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I am ?*#$! years old and I have not had headaches since 3rd grade! NOT ME! Yep, me! Nearly every single day of my life I have had some type of headache: tension (NOT ME!), sinus, migraine...yep! yep! yep! Not to mention 2 bulging disks in my neck! No, no! Not me!

So, this past weekend, guess where I spent several hours? The hospital ER? Not me! Yep, you, Lolli! For 2 stinkin' days I had tried and tried to get rid of this thorn in my flesh through sleep, heat, cold, OTC meds, prescription Rx, stretching...all for naught! Finally the Mr. comes home and asks if there's anything he can do to help! "Yeah", I said! "Cut my head off! It would at least feel better!" Then HE said, "NOT ME!" (funny how things get turned around, isn't it!) After a bit more misery, I succumbed to a trip to the ER for IV meds.

I register; they triage me for more registration, then put me in a room; then another registration person comes in to ask the same dadgum questions for the 3rd time! I'm thinking hearing aids might be in order around there! Finally a nurse comes in (the light was off in my room) and says, "You have a headache?" I SO wanted to say, "No I love hanging around in the dark! Here's your sign!" But would I have done that? NOT ME! Well, on second thought......just sayin'......

A few hours later and with the edge knocked off the pain, to home we returned, praying all the while the extreme pain would never return. And for the next 2 days I slept some more! Quite frankly, all this sleeping has made me tired! Even writing this all out and reading it has worn me out and given me a hea.....NO! Never mind! JK!

Be blessed today!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dominican Republic 09 from Neely Catignani on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Charming, Interesting, & Fun Things About Me!

My beautiful, lovely blog chum, Lynnette, is always coming up with yet another good idea! How did she get so smart? ;-) Today she wants us ~ you and me ~ to come up with 10 "charming, interesting, fun things" about ME! I know I can do this...even though I know it's not ALL about me! It feels a bit awkward to think about "charming" things about me; the fun and interesting I can probably do. So, here goes! I hope you will link up, as well, so we can all get to know one another a little better through blog land! So, while you head on over to my porch, I'll jumping over to Lynnette's and will BRB! Here's a view from my porch in the winter (have no fear! Today it's going to be 90 degrees and humid as all get out! Yet the view is still secluded and love-r-ly

1. I love to either sleep late in the mornings (until about 10) or lay back down after everyone leaves for school/work and go back to sleep until 10 or so; and I don't stay up late! Just need my sleep!

2. I LOVE the winter, cold weather (easier to get warm when cold, than get cool when hot!) I long for the days of my youth in middle Tennessee when we had several good, stay-out-of-school, snowmen building, sledding, lazy days of good and deep snow! Could it be "global warming"? NOT!

3. I am a shoe-a-holic and watch-a-holic! My mom says I have a "one size fits all" foot, which basically is true, though I'm not nearly as bad the older I get as I used to be. I'm all about COMFORT now!

4. I am an artsy-farsty (sorry, but it's true) gal! I watercolor paint, scrapbook, and do any kind of craft I find interesting at the time, including working now on an "altered book". And, of course, blogging....I don't do any of them well, and dabble in lots of stuff. Still trying to find out what I want to be "when I grow up", which is going to be never!
5. I love to read, but mostly read inspirational, Bible-study type of books, followed by Christian fiction (like anything by Francine Rivers since she became a believer--Redeeming Love is one of my all time favorites.

6. I absolutely love being a grandmother ("Lolli"). As someone wise once said, "If I had known grandchildren would be so much fun, I would have had them first!" Yet, I would take nothing for my own children!
7. I have been married 29-years to the same man, which is an interesting statistic this day and time!

8. My husband built a log cabin from the ground up by himself! E.v.e.r.y s.i.n.g.l.e. b.i.t. o.f. i.t.! (Plumbing, electrical...ALL of it!) It was a little cabin in the woods, with a claw foot porcelain tub, wrought iron winding staircase to the loft bedroom upstairs, a multi-tierd garden out front, very poor, if any, T.V. reception...this city girl in the country was quite humorous; yet I would love now to go back to that simplicity!

9. I have a 1979 VW Super Beetle-Bug Convertible, that needs a little work, but I will be driving it soon....and it even has an 8-track tape player. Guess what! I still have many 8-tracks to play in it from when I was growing up! Hey, hey, hey! I know what you're thinking! "Wow! She's old!" Like antiques, I just get better and more valuable with age!" Now, how do you like that for humility?

10. I want to write a book, but not sure how to get started! One day, I want to write a praise and worship song, and learn to play it on a guitar!

Now, I have no brain power left! I've sat on Lynnette's porch and shared this with her, so I must return to my own (without the snow) and see who comes to "set a spell with me!"

Be blessed today and everyday! It's a choice, you know! And be sure to jump on over here to link up and learn all about others!

Here are but a few of my blessings:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

May I always remember...wordless!

...and never forget...the beautiful people of the Dominican Republic and Haiti!