Sunday, March 25, 2012

#musesofamom: Texting the Old Fashioned Way

We certainly live in a highly elevated techno-savvy world, don't we?  Facebook, Twitter, email, texting and smart phone apps are available for all types of people who want to be included into a community of some sort.  With hectic schedules, either as a career mom or a stay at home mom, we have certainly come to rely on the speed and convenience of technology when it comes to communication with other friends, family and our spouses.  It has become easier to send an E-card for a birthday, to text a time for a lunch or play date, to use Evite for planning and sending invites for a get-together, to forward an email to remind a group of their next meeting, to share reading interests with friends on Goodreads and to shop, order and send someone a gift right from an online store.  

Because women are made for community and relationship, it is not problem for us to jump right on board this social media wagon.  I think that Facebook is fantastic for keeping up with friends and family, Twitter is a unique and effective networking and marketing tool, and texting is can be so quick and helpful (especially with your teenagers!).  I use them all and more. But how we need to remember that these are tools, and not replacements for TRUE friendships and community.

Just as we as women love relationship, we also want to be valued and appreciated, don't we?  Today, I want to encourage you to take the time periodically to encourage your friends in an old-fashioned way:  with a handwritten note or greeting card.  There is such a feeling of gratitude when you receive a birthday card or some sort of "thinking of you" card via snail mail.  It is a delight to know that someone else thought enough of you to find the card, write the note, address the envelope and buy the postage stamp -- just for you! "Old fashioned" is still more special than a Facebook greeting.

While today's technology has taken over and still will be the main mode of communication, don't forget to take time to affirm your relationships in a significant way.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.  

Proverbs 25:11


For more ideas on how you can make your own cards or include cardmaking into your women's group, club or ministry, visit my other blog for crafting:  Ink. Paper. Glue. And Coffee.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

#musesofamom: God in the Clouds


If there is enough rain early in the year in Texas, March and April are magical months for wildflowers.  As I write this, Texas Bluebonnets are springing up everywhere through the bright green grasses along highways and in fields everywhere in our Hill Country.

Along with the wildflowers blooming this past week, there have also been many clouds hanging out in our expansive Texas skies.  Numerous clouds and massive clouds, but these are not rain-filled clouds. No, just clouds journeying across the sky:  bright, white, puffy clouds and also grey, expansive, low lying clouds.

I was watching these cloudy skies while reading "The Beloved Disciple" by Beth Moore. While the entire book has been amazing, this passage she included from Oswald Chambers' book, "My Utmost for His Highest" stood out like a bright lit marquee today:

"In the Bible, clouds are always associated with God.  Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God.  Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith.  If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith.  'The clouds are the dust of His feet' (Nahum 1:3).  They are a sign that God is there . . . Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something.  His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child -- a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows . . . "

This kind of makes you look at clouds differently, doesn't it?  Not only have there been many clouds overhead this past week, but I have experienced many cloudy skies in my own life lately as well.  Knowing that these clouds are a sign that God is there, that He is teaching me something that will bring me closer to Him, makes me look at the cloudy days differently.  I often make my life more complicated than it is meant to be, but God can make it uncomplicated if we just follow what He teaches us.  It won't be easy at times, but when you spend time looking at the clouds, they can be most beautiful.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

#musesofamom: What is Your Life Story Going to Tell?

Matthew West is one of my favorite Christian artists.  His song, "The Story of Your Life" is the best one to hear when  I wonder:  "Is what I'm doing worth it?  Why am I going through this struggle again?  When will I see victory?  Will anyone notice my contribution to this world?"

It is said that God will not give us more than we can handle.  While that could be true, did you know that your struggles and victories aren't necessarily only about you?  Every crisis, every trouble, every win and every success is not only for us to learn, but also to help or teach someone else through it!  By sharing your story, you can help guide someone else through the same struggle, and you can rejoice with others who have had the same victories!  

In Matthew West's song, he writes this:

This is the joy
and it's the pain
and all the pages in between
your finest hour
your weakest moment
it's where you've been
it's where you are
it's where you're going.*

Everyone's story will have joy, pain and everything in between.  Unless we are willing to share what work God has done through us to get where we are, we are losing a God-given, wonderful opportunity to help others along the way.

When I was leading the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at my church, I never told my own story of how I began motherhood until the very last meeting of my third year of leadership, when I was "retiring."  No one had asked about my story, and I didn't share anything regarding my past, only my present.  In my heart, I knew that it would not be right to leave this wonderful group of ladies without sharing an important part of my story.  It was necessary for me to type the story I wanted to recount so that I had a reference in case I would begin to cry.    

Afterward, I received many thanks for sharing my story, but there is one comment that I will not forget. One young mom pulled me aside immediately and told me that her story was nearly the same as mine.  She shared with me what a struggle and heartbreak it had been for her too, and because I offered to share what happened to me, she had the peace knowing that she herself had made the right decisions.

Was it a little painful for me to share my story?  You bet.  Was it worth it?  Immensely.  My story is still continuing, but I plan to use the "God-given" opportunities to share with others who may need encouragement.

Remember -- you are the writer, director and producer of the story of Your Life.  Where do you want to be?  What do you want to do for others?

This is the story of your life
You decide
How the rest is gonna read
This is your chance between the lines
To define the legacy you leave
This is the story of your life
Go tell the story of your life
'Cause it's a story worth telling
It's worth telling


*"The Story of Your Life" - lyrics by Matthew West
Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Book Review: "Primal" by Mark Batterson

UPDATE (Aug 2015):  You can still find more resources in connection with this book at theprimalmovement.com  

"Where there is no vision, the people perish."  (Proverbs 25:2)

Mark Batterson calls us to a time of Reformation, "born out of the rediscovering of something ancient, something primal.  They (Reformations) are born out of primal truths rediscovered, reimagined, and radically reapplied to our lives." 

This was the first book I've read from Mark Batterson, but I was engrossed from the beginning when he asked the question:  "Does your heart break for the things that break the heart of God?"

Mark takes you, chapter by chapter, back to where Christianity is really from -- these words of Christ spoken two thousand years ago:  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."   He explains how Christianity is really primal compassion, wonder, curiosity and energy -- Christianity in it's true raw form -- not the complicated Christianity that exists today.  Your previous thinking may be challenged, because reading this book will expose the authentic way to find and know God once again, they way He is to be known!

You can purchase this book through Amazon.

Want more information?  View this video as Mark explains:


Affiliate links included in this post. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books (www.bloggingforbooks.com) book review program. I was not required to write a positive review; the opinions I have expressed are my own.  Affiliate links may be included in this post.