Category Archives: joy

so, what’s your story?

a hungry caterpillar...i began journaling in high school, ostensibly as a class assignment, however my love for words and the continuous flow of teen drama compelled me to continue writing beyond high school and through college. today, i journal in a specially selected notebook…the qualities of the chosen one include a spiral binding, heavy lined paper and a cool retro type cover illustration like the ones found here.

more recently, at least over the last couple of years, i have especially enjoyed blogging.  i feel like the blog format allows me some freedom to have a conversation…even if it is with myself…or to provide encouragement and a morsel of humor to a reader or two that happen to stumble upon”Out of the Mud.”

of course, the upside of blogging is that i can write about anything i want, on the other hand my posts tend to be sporadic and not particularly focused on any one subject area. it doesn’t take long for the astute observer to conclude i am hard pressed to remain focused on any one ‘thing’ for any significant amount of time. apparently, there is a term for people like me…a.d.d. or a.d.h.d….back in high school ‘airhead’ or ‘dingy blonde’ was fairly accurate… i suppose i could focus all my blog posts on a.d.d….complete with ‘how to’ and ’10 steps to…’ articles.

mostly, though, i write about my life as a ‘believer’ or ‘follower of Christ’ or the older, less hip term used to describe us Jesus Freaks: ‘born again Christian.’ terminology aside, i do have other interests, check my facebook info page…i have a plethora of interests, but seriously, i kind of get tired of reading/writing/talking about recipes, cool new kitchen kitche, decorating my house, all the accomplishments of my overachieving husband and kids, will ferrell’s latest movie and what not to wear.

i’m a thinker, i suppose, so i could examine and discuss the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, whether bailing out the banks is really a good idea, i could decry genocide in Rwanda, Sudan, or Congo…i could debate the ethics of late term abortion, discuss different treatments available for pre-, peri- and postmenopause, i could analyze the US Forest Service’s current policy on prescribed burns on Forest Service lands or hold a web forum  on parenting and disciplining our children…but–

each of these subjects would eventually lose my interest…unless the discussion, debate, forum or rant had the ‘aroma’ of Christ…then we’d need to brew more coffee and put another log on the fire. because, not only do i love to share my story…i love to hear yours…i think that is why social networks, blogs, etc intrigue me…

becomes a beautiful butterfly...as for me…what i truly love to share with those willing to read or listen is how one Person, the most historic figure ever to walk the earth drew me to Him and in a single moment i realized i am not a caterpillar, but a butterfly…

i love to share the moments i experience in my work as nurse…when i see the work of His hands in the birth of a new family. how it is only because of His spirit in me that i can look upon women and children with His eyes…people whom many would pass by on the street without giving them a second thought, those who live among us who are homeless, jobless, helpless, hopeless…and how this life we live, this very hard bumpy, crusty life is worth every bump and bruise…

in a world filled with contradiction, confusion and injustice, my friend Heather (@ especially heather) describes the One that gives me a hope and a future, One whose mercy is new every morning, Who gives me a joy from within that I cannot manufacture. it’s not about prosperity or the good life…it’s about a peace from within based upon grace at the Cross. it’s about the Greatest Story ever told.

Easter is only the beginning of the Story, will it be the beginning of your story? Everyone has one…will you tell your story to Him, to the One who gives hope and grace?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

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Filed under a new start, hope, i follow Jesus, joy

It’s 4:28 a.m. and…

…for some Blessed reason I am awake…not that I have been sleeping and am now awake…but that I am awake because I have not been sleeping.

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!

I stumbled on Confessions of a Pioneer Woman last week, bookmarked it to come back to when I had time because I knew I would need time to read it. I knew if I started reading I wouldn’t be able to stop…so when I started reading at 1am I foolishly promised myself I would “stop” after “just a couple entries.” Liar. I am a sucker for a good love story…but even more so when it is a real one. I like real. I like authenticity and I like practical. Being awake now and not having been asleep when I should have been is not exactly practical…but just one more entry…

I have discovered the Holy Grail of love stories in the blogosphere and because you are my friend, you one reader out there, I’m going to tell you about what I have discovered…Confessions of a Pioneer Woman’s story of how she met and fell in love with her Marlboro Man…Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story. It’s the epic saga of ‘city girl finds love in the Oklahoma prairie’:

As our eleventh anniversary approaches, I find myself reflecting on the circumstances that brought Marlboro Man and me together. So grab a Diet Dr. Pepper, hang on to your hat, and come along for the ride!

I started with the beginning sans Diet Dr. Pepper (eww), and read all the way to here. The best place to begin is with the archives, though. All the posts are in one spot and you can read ’til your heart’s content. Just so you know…she’s not done, it’s a work in progress and you’ll have to wait patiently for the next installment…and you don’t know when she’ll write…or how long it will be…but it’s worth the wait.

If you decide to jump in…a few words of caution:

  1. If you love good photography, especially of cattle, cowboys, kids, horses and prairie…make sure you have ample time to visit her site…you’ll be there a while.
  2. If you have a rich sense of humor, enjoy good writing and witty redheads…make sure you have ample time to visit, you’ll be there a while.
  3. If you are (even in the loosest sense) a ‘foodie’ you will find yourself compelled to visit P-dub’s other site The Pioneer Woman Cooks…make sure you have ample time to visit, you’ll be there a while.

Find, steal, beg or borrow the time…and enjoy. 

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Filed under be heard., joy, love

Works for Me Wednesday…Holiday Music on Pandora

Do you love music?

I do!! Can’t sing much, can’t play much, but I do listen much. I especially love holiday music playing in my home while I busy myself with crafts, cooking and kids! As much as I love holiday music, how many versions of “O Holy Night” can there be? And how many ways can “What Child is This” be arranged and performed…tastefully? And my poor Amy Grant holiday CDs are so scratched from being drug from the van to the house to the playroom…do I really want to buy another copy (my 3rd) only to listen to it for about 13 more days? Hmm…how to solve the dilemma?

Dilemma solved…Pandora radio from the Music Genome Project is a free internet radio site I discovered last summer:

Pandora is a music discovery service designed to help you enjoy music you already know, and to help you discover new music you’ll love. It’s powered by the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken, the Music Genome Project: a crazy project started back in early 2000 to capture the complex musical DNA of songs using a large team of highly-trained musicians. Just tell us one of your favorite songs or artists and we’ll launch a streaming station to explore that part of the musical universe. The name Pandora means “all gifted” in Greek. In ancient Greek mythology, Pandora received many gifts from the gods, including the gift of music, from Apollo. She was also, as we all know, insatiably curious. Unlike those gods of old, however, we celebrate that virtue and have made it our mission to reward the musically curious among us with a never-ending experience of music discovery. It’s also important to note that at the bottom of Pandora’s box was Hope…

I have had the pleasure of listening to many of my favorite musical genres…folk, country, contemporary Christian, ’80s, classical, alternative, jazz. Registration is free, I don’t receive tons of annoying emails or spam and if you hear a song you absolutely have to own Pandora has links to itunes and amazon. Register (for free) and begin creating your own radio station. No commercials, family friendly and only the music you like! You guide Pandora with thumbs up or down to the next song! The FAQ link here can answer any questions you might have regarding registration, music licensing, software or hardware requirements, etc.

And Pandora’s latest and greatest addition…holiday music!! I don’t have to purchase anything, yet I am able to enjoy my favorite holiday music from Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Josh Groban, Manheim Steamroller, John Tesh and other favorites while discovering new artists…commercial free. I am hooked!

Rocks in My Dryer hosts Works for Me Wednesday…this is my first time participating, although I have lurked for a long time. Follow the link to see other creative ideas from Works for Me Wednesday bloggers. You will soon see why this blog carnival continues to grow and grow and grow…

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Filed under joy, seasons

The Truth About Me…part 2

The first time I learned The Truth About Me was the fall of 1993 and I was a single mom and a student at Colorado State University. I had made friends with Allison, who other than her annoying habit of bringing every conversation back Jesus, was on all accounts “normal”. Our personalities seemed to click and we often sat for hours chatting while our children played together. Over the course of time, however a significant contrast between us became apparent. She had something I did not and I could see the difference lived out in her life and family…and on her face. Allison radiated Christ. Something happens when an unbeliever (me) spends time with someone who has the living God dwelling inside them (Allison). Either you are drawn the presence of the Holy Spirit in that person or the Presence is so uncomfortable for you that you find ways to avoid them or even end the relationship. I was drawn into His Presence.

Unbeknownst to me, God had been preparing my heart and He began to reveal Himself through my conversations with Allison. I had begun an inward journey and was searching for answers to the Big Questions. I was able to understand a lot about God but I had a hard time understanding on a deeper level I was separated from God. I knew I wasn’t perfect, a quick survey of my present circumstances revealed that quite well, but understanding my “goodness” wasn’t even close to being good enough for God…was disturbing.

My search led me to scripture and I was met by a holy God. Since I did not grow up “in the Church” reading the “great stories” of the Bible were fresh and new for me. Yet, I wanted to know why Knowing God made Alison so different from me knowing about God.

God met me in my little apartment in the evening hours as I read His Word. I remember the very moment when I realized I would one day give an account of myself to God…it was if time stopped. Every moment, every decision, every s.i.n. would be laid before me and I would be held accountable. I’m no mathematician, but on a deeper level I finally understood [my sin] > [all the good stuff I will ever do]. I was broken. I was afraid. I cried. I could feel my heart aching because I could see there was no way I was going to be able to fix the situation I was in.

It was Romans 14:11, 12 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will confess to God.'” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God
that brought me to my knees. I was absolutely powerless to remedy my situation. There existed a chasm between a holy God and me I was powerless to cross. There existed no action I could do to change this Truth and there was not one person on the planet that could help me. And in that moment I sensed I was alone with God.

I continued to read, flipping pages from Old Testament to New Testament…hoping to find something in the pages of scripture that would soothe the very real ache I held in my body. I quickly scanned Psalms and Proverbs. Nothing. I looked in Revelation…it was if it was written in Spanish. I read a little in Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah. It was fear that gripped me…the chasm could not be navigated by my good deeds, self-improvement techniques or promises to straighten up. I feared I was too late…and I feared God was too holy and I was too sinful.

With breathless hope I turned to the first chapter of Matthew and began to skim the pages. And then I read “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I read it again. And again. And once again. I knew a moment of decision had come and I agreed with God about The Truth About Me. It was settled the chasm was closed and I ran to Him for the rest He promised. The ache was no longer there, it had been replaced by a sense of peace I had never before known. I was experiencing the unmerited grace of forgiveness from a holy God. I rested there, on the floor of my apartment for hours, in complete silence and awe.


 

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Filed under faith, i follow Jesus, joy, the journey