Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I'm out of school for the next 4 days and am just getting ready to head up to my parents' for Thanksgiving. One of the many things I'm thankful for at this time of year is family and friends. I hope everyone has a a very "thankful" thanksgiving, and may you enjoy this special time with those you love!
As for me, I'm looking forward to spending time baking with my mom over the next few days.... I just bought everything for a pumpkin, pecan and cherry pies, and also sweet potato casserole.... YUM!! Tomorrow it'll just be my parents, Nate and Andrea and me for Thanksgiving dinner. Holly and Dan will be coming in Friday, and Brandon is coming in Saturday. We'll have a big family dinner Saturday afternoon when everyone is here! Friday we're going to go downtown Indy for the lighting of the Christmas "tree" (i.e. Monument... see pic below!)... that's always alot of fun!!
Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment to express my thankfulness for you..my friends and family. You are a blessing to me!!
I'll write more later....
Sunday, November 05, 2006
How do we keep a right perspective then?? Two thoughts come to my mind:
1) Stop the comparing, and replace it with an accurate (God-centered) view of ourselves. Beauty is good. God created us, and said it was "good". He wants us to take care of ourselves. It's important to me to exercise, eat healthy ...I want to continue those habits (or get better at them in some cases :). I even want to try to look my best...when I know Brandon is coming to see me, I've found I just naturally want to look nice....I can't help it! I think God is honored by those attitudes, but he hates when we compare ourselves to others!!
The king is enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
2) What we look like on the inside is more important than what we look like on the outside.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
I Peter 3:3-4
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.
4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
When I draw near to God and fix my eyes on Him, I naturally become more radiant.... it's true ... the look of contentment and peace in my heart that shines through when I'm walking with Him will always be more beautiful than my outward appearance. Unfortunately the opposite is true too.. when I'm focused on myself, what's in my heart will come out and it may not be pretty. Thankfully God refines me and continues to make me more like him. I remember a wedding of a friend of my sister's I went to about two years ago... the pastor talked about how a husband naturally "beautifies" his wife (makes her more and more beautiful) by loving and understanding her. He talked about how this is a picture of Christ and the church. His love for us (and our understanding of that love) makes us more beautiful.
Friday, October 27, 2006
One of the reasons I haven't written much on here is that this past month has been FULL to the brim ... there's been alot going on both in my personal life (and the lives of family and friends) and at school. There is much to be thankful for amidst the activities and busyness ..... God is gracious and loving in His provision, I know that full well!
yes... God is good, and I want to share some of the ways he's been good in my life personally.
10 Things I'm Thankful for from October:
1) My mom went in for knee replacement surgery on Mon, Oct. 9. The surgery went well, and though I'm sure she was in alot of pain and feeling quite out of it for awhile, her thankful, quiet spirit was really a testimony of God's grace to me. I was able to take a day off work and spend the day after her surgery with her and dad in the hospital... Nate and Andrea came up that evening too, so it turned out to be a nice family time. She said that her recovery has been a "forced rest".... my dad has done a great job of taking care of her as she continues to recover fully.
2) Beautiful Fall colors.... I can never get enough, and I'm always in awe every year! (I took the photo above in TN!)
3) Abner... my cat. Despite the fact that he repeatedly wakes me up in the middle of the night by licking my face with his sandpaper tongue (I can't stand this!!), he's been a wonderful addition to my life over the past two months. Here's a picture.
4) Getting to spend time with Brandon two weekends in a row (that almost never happens!). He came down to be with me for my friends Keri and Craig's wedding on Oct 7.... and I went up there the following weekend. I had the privelege of joining him for "capture the flag" with his youth, watching him play hockey for the first time, and even sharing a fun evening of "Wizard of Oz" and dessert with another family from his church. I'm thankful for the special memories from these two weekends, and the chance to share those times together.
5) My Bible study (and the three girls in it!). We're currently studying Psalms 119, using the workbook "A Lamp Unto My Feet", by Steve Gallagher..... wow is this study challenging me, and forcing me out of the lukewarm devotion I confess I sometimes have toward God's Word.
6) My birthday was Oct 16th.... I'm now 29. I went into school that morning (it fell on a Monday), and one of my 4th grade boys greeted me with, "It's your birthday Miss Davis! You're supposed to be in bed!!!" :) Anyway, I'm thankful for another year and looking forward to what God has in store for the coming year. Nate and Andrea had my parents, cousins and me over for a delicious dinner of chili, corn bread, and cake and ice cream. It was very nice to celebrate with all of them.
7) My students... as many of you know, God has really given me a heart that loves getting to know people from other countries.... I'm daily reminded what a gift my job is. How many people can say they LOVE what they get to do every day?? sure, it gets busy and sometimes I feel overwhelmed, but my students really inspire me, and I'm thankful for each of them. This year I have students from Mexico, S. Korea, China, Japan, Russia, India, Egypt, Peru, and probably more that I can't think of. My desire is to teach them to the best of my ability. Sometimes when I've slacked off on my planning or am feeling lazy, I'm pricked by the notion that God has entrusted these precious children to me for this time and I shouldn't take it lightly!!
8) Fall Break... my friend Joy and I got to go down to Gatlinburg, TN from Oct 19-22. It came at just the right time when we were both feeling tired and like we couldn't keep up with things at school (she's a teacher too)... I think God knows when we need to rest and I'm thankful He lovingly provides those times of renewal when we need it most! We got to visit the shops around Gatlinburg, do some hiking in the Smokey Mountains, rest and just enjoy ourselves among other things.
9) A washer and dryer!.... well, this may have been in September actually but I am so thankful. After years of paying to wash my clothes, I now own my own washer and dryer. I'd been saving money for this and finally went to pick them out. They aren't fancy or anything but they work well, and it is just the best thing to be able to walk across my apartment (rather then get in my car to drive to my apt clubhouse) to stick clothes in the wash!! Who knew this could seem like such a luxury??!!
10) Last but definitely not least!!.... the wedding of my friends Keri and Craig on October 7th. God was glorified and it was a beautiful day. I was thankful to be able to take part as a bridesmaid. I'm thankful for the way that Christ is evident in their relationship, and for the utter joy I saw in their eyes on that day!!
Plus one more..... Holly and Dan are coming for a visit this weekend, and they're staying with me tonight (arriving in about 2 hours!)... it will be great to see them! but on that note, I need to go clean my bathroom, wash some dishes and make sure I have bedding ready for them!!!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
J.o.e. = “Joy over eternity”…Eternity spent with a loving God is not only a reality once we leave this world, but it is a reality now as well. “…the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8
A morning devotion...from one sister to another...
36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him (Jesus) to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37 And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner (immoral woman); and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.
This story is so beautiful... Many of us, gals, probably appreciate the sweet smell of perfume and how it causes to feel as though we are like a beautiful flower... Sometimes just wearing it makes whatever we are feeling like on the inside (perception of ourselves, pains of insecurity, etc.) overshadowed by what other's can perceive on the outside...things not hidden.
We shroud ourselves with our hairstyles, make-up, fashion trends, our jobs, our generosity,...all of the things that we long to have other's see = an outward identity. All of those things are gifts (clothing, generosity, etc) but they are not meant to be what gives us wholeness, purpose, peace...
The woman who came to Jesus knew He was eating with the Pharisees... She came to Him as she was... She didn't go and try to find a better job 1st, etc... But she went to Him with a prized possession: Her vial of very expensive alabaster perfume. She came face to face with the face of God... a face so pure... a face so loving... that she might have felt unworthy and naked (seeing even more vivdly the deperate needs within to be freed from herself and the oppressive judgement of others).
She wept... Her tears may have symbolized the relization of impurity meeting purity (Jesus)... Then tears of JOY... seeing how this Purity accepted her and loved her for who she was. No one had loved her with this kind of love... She took her perfume and washed His feet with her tears and her perfume...
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner." .....
The Pharisee reaction could be a picture of humanity...and human reasoning is so many ways...
He saw a woman whose "performance" in this world was not meeting what he felt was worthy of having God's love and favor. His perception of God was "off"/inaccurate; therefore, the Pharisee responded to her in a way that wasn't characteristic of how God would respond to her. If the Pharisee knew God as He was/is/will always be...he would have shown her love, too... This is a lesson for ALL of us...
47 "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." 48 Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven." 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?" 50 And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
What is our "perfume?"
I am not sure why she brought her perfume...but she MIGHT HAVE felt as if that was all she could give to Him that she felt was of worth...
Jesus was moved by her tears...and her heart...
When we approach God with our fears, our dreams, our questions...it is as if we are pouring perfume upon His feet... We are offering what is of deepest worth to Him...Our faith.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Two tributes to 9/11 and those whose lives were lost on that day:
Monday, August 28, 2006
Here are some photos I love of the sunsets over the lake, some other pictures taken while out on the lake, and a picture of Brandon and I:
This comes from a book by Jonathan Edwards:
"Love to God disposes men to see his hand in everything; to own him as the governor of the world, and the director of providence; and to acknowledge his disposal in everything that takes place. And the fact, that the hand of God is a great deal more concerned in all that happens to us than the treatment of men is, should lead us, in a great measure, not to think of things as from men, but to have respect to them chiefly as from God—as ordered by his love and wisdom ...." (Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, pp. 79-80)
Friday, July 21, 2006
California is beautiful with the rugged mountains, the beaches, the sunsets, and even the deserts I think of as God's creative handiwork. I was born and raised in S. Cal so I suppose it will always hold a special place in my heart... what can I say? This pic was taken in La Jolla (suburb of San Diego), and there is actually a seal hanging-out on the ledge of one of the rocks!
The best part of our trip was being reunited with our grandpa, uncle, aunt and cousins on my dad's side. They graciously welcomed us into their already-busy home when we first arrived, and we had so much fun.
During the first Saturday there, we also took some time to remember my grandma, visiting her grave with grandpa. She passed away in February of 2002, and is now with the Lord. She was always a godly example of a loving wife, mother and grandmother to me. She and grandpa were married for almost 60 years. I praise God for the way He's used both of their lives.
The rest of the week was spent at our time-share near San Diego, and taking day trips to La Jolla, Coronado Island, the Wild Animal Park. If you've never been to San Diego, I highly recommend it ... it has both perfect weather and beautiful scenery!!
Other highlights of our trip included:
A whirlwind tour (we're talking all in one day!!) of ALL our old-stomping-grounds.... our old homes, church, schools, friends' house, favorite old eating places (right Holly??), and the list goes on.
Rook..... and LOTS of it!!! (This our family's all-time favorite card game, complete with "special" rules that govern how we play ... as Andrea and Dan quickly found out, you have to learn this game if you're gonna survive in our family, right?).
And the gift of TIME (time to relax by the pool, read, catch up) and FAMILY.
Returning to CA, is still in many ways to me, like "returning home". Afterall, I was born and raised there. I've had many "homes" in my life though: California, Ohio, Dominican Republic, and for the last 5 years, Indiana, but it was nice to return to what will always be my childhood home.