Monday, October 31, 2011

My Heart

My heart is a very sensitive place. I love big when I love, and I hurt big when I hurt. Many people say that I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I don't think I agree with that. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, but my heart I keep locked up tightly.

My heart may come through in some of those emotions I show...and let's face it, I AM emotional. But I don't give my heart to many people or things. I am too aware of the fact that they may break my heart, so I keep most of it hidden away.

I thought I was OK with that. Until I heard this song:


(If you haven't heard the songs from The Story, then you need to check it out here. Amazing songs that bring to life the characters of the Bible that we all know and love so well.)

Back to my heart. I thought I was being smart by keeping it protected, but if "at the end of the day, I want to hear people say, My heart looks like your heart." then I can't keep it locked up.

Jesus did not keep His heart locked up. He gave His whole heart to us, for us, because of us. He laid His heart down and watched as His enemies trampled it, watched as His friends betrayed it, and suffered through His Father rejecting it.

I am not Christ-like when I put up a wall and keep people at a distance. I have a friend that tells me EVERY time I am facing a tough situation to always look like Jesus. It matters not what the other person or persons does or says to me or about me, I am only responsible for my own actions. And those actions need to reflect the character and heart of Jesus.

That is so hard sometimes. Especially when the hurt comes over and over again from the same person. Or when I am blatantly wronged or my family is wronged. But Jesus did not tell me to pick and choose who I show grace and mercy to--He told me to be His arms, His feet, His words here on earth. And I can't do that with walls up all around me.

It is no coincidence that God chose David (of whom this song is about) to be the man who sought most after His own heart. David had quite the life...living in the fields, tending to His sheep, knocking out giants, wooing kings with his music, becoming a king himself, committing adultery and murder and lying about it all. David did everything right, then everything wrong and yet God still uses his story to show us His love, grace mercy, justice and forgiveness. Sure there were consequences to David's actions, but there was also a fierce love by a just God who never stopped pursuing David's heart. That same God pursues our hearts even today.

It seems silly, in light of the knowledge that the Almighty God pursues us, to even contemplate building up walls around our hearts, minds or lives. Walls give hiding places to fear, anger, bitterness, lies, and any other action that would separate us from a holy God. Walls do not allow us to reach out easily to Jesus when we need help. Walls make the clarity of God's voice suddenly a jumbled mess of unclear noise. Walls are just what Satan wants us to put up around our hearts so he can drive in a wedge of doubt or confusion. Tearing down our walls is of paramount importance to Jesus being able to work. Even if the wall must come down one brick at a time, I urge you today to start the demolition process. The freedom on the other side is so worth the work even now.

I know, if I want my heart to look His, and I really, really want my heart to look like His, then I have to break down the walls and let Him be my protection and my strength. It is scary, I agree, but it is vitally important in order to move forward in my fellowship with an Almighty, all-loving God.

Need to borrow a sledge hammer?

post signature

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall

I love Fall. I love the drop in temperature (from hotter than should be allowed to being able to breathe normal when you walk out of the door), I love the change in colors all around, and I love being able to wear long pants without melting.

Fall makes me smile. My street has lots of old trees on it that can be very beautiful as the leaves change. One year, during the drought, the trees failed to change to any color other than brown and I was surprised how sad it made me.

I missed this.

God knew what the leaves would look like that year. He knows what every leaf is going to look like every year. Does that blow your mind? It does mine. But he does. He knows every tree, leaf, bird, animal, blade of grass, grain of sand and hair on your head.

He also knows what will happen to each thing, each minute of each day.

That baffles me.

I don't even know what I am going to wear tomorrow -- but He does...

One thing that scares me no matter what season it is, is the wind blowing...after the tree fell and hit the house, anytime the wind rustles through the trees (which, incidentally I used to find calming) I find myself gripped with fear.

The fall brings with it much less wind blowing than the spring and summer. For that, I am very grateful. I know that the God who knows the color of every leaf also knows if and when a tree will fall on my house. Unfortunately, that does not bring me comfort in the middle of the night when the wind blows.

Yesterday, on facebook, one of my friends, Shawn, posted this verse:

"He decided how hard the winds should blow
and how much rain should fall." Job 28:25

I read it but did not think much about it until I read what one commenter wrote: "What I love about this verse is the "how hard" and the "how much". We know he sends the wind and rain, but how often do we consider that he weighs the "how hard" and the "how much." He knows our frames. And he sends JUST the right amount to conform us into His image." (Jennifer Bedley Hoos)

He does know how much we can take but better yet, He knows how much we need to take in order to look more like Him when we come through it all on the other side. He knows just how much wind will be necessary to draw me closer to Him.

He knows how much ____________ it will take to cause me to fall on my knees and praise His name and then call out to Him for help.

I think what I fail to remember in the midst of my fear is how much He loves me. He pursues me daily--He loves me enough to pursue me daily. He loves me enough to use the wind and rain to draw me to His side and land me on my knees before Him.

So as the leaves change, and I stand in awe of how He is in the details, I will fall to my knees and praise Him because He knows how much I need to encounter before I completely rely on Him.

So, this fall, will you fall on your face before an all-knowing, all-loving God?

I promise it is a view that cannot be matched by anything you have ever experienced before.





post signature

Friday, October 28, 2011

InstaFriday#13

It is Friday and I am linking up with Life Rearranged for InstaFriday! It is a glimpse into your week with grainy phone pictures!!!

Before we get started, let me give a BIG OLE shout out to my oldest sister Leigh Ann on her birthday!!! Happy Birthday Lonnie...I had a blast with you this past weekend! I love you and wish I could be with you to celebrate today!!! Drip in your Silpada and think of me! :)


Like I said, Leigh Ann came to visit this past weekend. She brought her five year old daughter, Jenny, so they could help Caroline celebrate at her sixth birthday party! Her middle son, Josh, who is 12, sent me a homemade apple pie that HE MADE!!! It was delicious...SO delicious!

Look at that! Pure beauty! And he is ONLY 12!!!

This is Caroline and Jenny in their matching pjs. Thanks, Grandma!

And then off to the party...this is one of Caroline's friends, Mary who was more than ready for a pony party!

The kids learned how to groom horses.

The hayride was a HUGE hit!

Then we were off to a block party at church. There were inflatables, face painting, games and music. There were even races for kids. Will decided to participate.



He is the second red shirt from the left...he came in third. :) The kids had a blast but after a pony party, I was exhausted and didn't last long.

We had family pictures taken last week...whew. It was a struggle...Mark had a bad attitude, Will was done before we ever started and Caroline knew how to work the camera. HA!

Bad quality picture not from the photographer. I took this picture with my cell phone from the pictures on the computer. :)

Those hands on her hips...she had them there the WHOLE time!!! She was a riot to watch. My photographer is actually going to use one of her pictures in a magazine ad. How cool is that?

Link up with us with your phone pics. It is such fun!

life rearranged


post signature

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Life

Life.

Sometimes life is good.

Sometimes life gets in the way.

Sometimes life is cut too short.

Today life is hard.

As many of you know, I am a third grade teacher in an elementary school. My job brings me into contact with almost of all of the kids in our school so much so that we feel like one big family.

And two little boys in our family are losing their dad very soon.

He has always been a very involved dad, very concerned with his children's education and very encouraging. He got sick last year and had to have a liver transplant. He went through the surgery ok and he was back home and back at school at the start of this school year.

Then something went wrong...we are really not sure what happened. He went back to the hospital, seemed that his body was rejecting the liver. But then it wasn't. Yet he was still sick and there was no explanation. He was in and out surgery. They found something, thought they fixed it and then he was sick again. Round and round...until this week. They thought there was an intestinal blockage and so one more surgery. Then they discovered he was septic. And time was against them.

We were all praying for a miracle.

Yesterday, we had not heard much new news. We did know that the next 24-48 hours were critical. Then, I was sitting at my desk in the afternoon and I heard the all call out on the playground for one of the boys who was being checked out. My heart sank. I just knew in my heart that all was not good.

I went to find someone who would know...and I heard that they were taking the boys to the hospital (they have not been up to this point) because their dad has only hours to live.

I cannot even believe it. I taught one of the boys last year. They are a precious family. And now they have to say goodbye to their father.

Times like this always make me ask "Why Lord?" I know better than to ask that question. I know God owes me no explanation but I am so confused. And I know He knows the answers.

Then He gently reminds me that my home is not here. My heart will always question because this world does not make sense to it. So I cling to the One I know has the answers and I pray for a sweet, sweet family who has to send their loved one on to stand in the presence of my great God. I know he will be out of pain and I know that he will be whole again, but wow how do you explain that to a 9 year old, 6 year old, 4 year old and 8 month old?

Please join me in praying for this family.

post signature

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

Ok fellow readers...it is Wednesday. That means it is time to link up with Lindsey for some What I Wore Wednesday fun!

Ok, so I was not so great at taking pictures this weekend...not because I didn't want to but I think I just forgot! :) Love me anyway? Thanks!

This was taken at the end of the day and I looked worse than death. So I hid my face with the camera. :)
Shirt: Belk
Pants: LOFT
Shoes: Belk

Today was Red Day for Red Ribbon Week...I had no red so I had to accessorize with red.
Shirt: Belk
Pants: NY & Co
Shoes: Red Toms
Scarf: Old Navy

Tank: LOFT
Shirt: J.Jill
Jeans: Buckle
Boots: Ariat
Hat: Funky Vintage Lovely
Pin on hat: The Pleated Poppy
(closer look below)


pleated poppy

post signature

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How's your Fellowship?

We had a GREAT sermon on Sunday about relationship vs. fellowship.

We have fellowship time at church, meaning we hang out with each other, typically with people we have a relationship with, talking and eating (always eating...I thought when I looked up fellowship in the dictionary I would see a covered dish beside it). To me, you fellowship, you build relationships.

I was wrong though.

A relationship is a connection between people. For example, church members have a relationship because they go to the same church. Their relationship is based on where they worship. Family members have a relationship...whether they want to admit or not...

But a relationship does not mean there is fellowship.

Fellowship is a friendly relationship; companionship. I love how in this definition, relationship is used. Because you can't have fellowship without relationship. Take the groups mentioned above. Church members. Think about the people in your church. Do you have a friendly relationship with ALL the church members? Probably not. You have a relationship with them, but not fellowship. Then there are those that you are close to--you would say they are your companions (OK...not really, because who uses the word companion? But you get my point.) It is the same in families. I have a relationship with all the members of my family, but the distant members I do not have fellowship with.

I am not saying any of this to make anyone feel bad. Personally, I do not think that you can have fellowship with everyone you have a relationship with.

There is one person though that you need to make sure you have fellowship with each and every day.

Jesus.

Before you can have fellowship with Jesus, you have to have a relationship with Him. If you don't , and you would like to know how to do that, please don't hesitate to contact me.

If you have that relationship then my question to you, just as my pastor's question was to us on Sunday, is: Are you closer today(fellowship) to God than you were on the day you came into relationship with Him?

This question made me think. I am not really good at maintaining fellowship with people. I am not proud of that fact, but I do realize that about myself. I take the time to get to know people, to spend time with them, to open myself up to them...and then, before I even realize I have done it, I break that fellowship. I think I have figured out that they get too close, know too much--something like that and it scares me. So, before they can hurt me, I withdraw.

As I was pondering that on Sunday, God gently said to me, "Isn't that what you do with me, Paige? You let me in and when things get sensitive and sometimes hard, you push me back and turn away from me. You don't continue in our fellowship, but why? There is no reason to try to hide from me, because you cannot go anywhere where I can't see you or know your thoughts, your actions or your heart. Keep the fellowship with me, Paige. It is much sweeter that way."

And He is right. Unfortunately, I always think I can figure my way out of something better on my own. Or, maybe I don't like what He has told me to do so I turn away.

But my soul longs for that fellowship--that companionship. Why? Because He is the only one who can fill the void in my soul. He knows exactly what I need, when I need it and how best to provide it for me. My soul is at rest when I walk closely with Him. And my steps are shaky without His guidance.

It's a no-brainer, really.

So, how is your fellowship with the One who loves you the most? Today, take the step to make it deeper and stronger than it was yesterday.

Blessings to you all,

post signature

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Update: Birthday Party!

We had Caroline's birthday party this weekend. She had a pony party! She had the time of her life. I don't know if I have mentioned before how much birthday parties stress me out, but they do! This one was done by friends of mine that have horses and they went WAY above and beyond to make it awesome.

My sister, Leigh Ann, and her daughter Jenny drove up to surprise Caroline at her party. That was the best part for me...and I am pretty sure it was for Caroline...she woke up this morning missing her cousin big time!!!


Jenny, Caroline and Mary waiting for the fun to begin.

They got to feed apples to the horses.

They learned how to groom horses...well, Jenny learned and did it while the others stood back and watched...isn't that how it always is...one person usually does all the work.

More work from Jenny. I think her dad should buy her a pony for her birthday!

Then the kids got pony rides around the ring.

And they tried to wait patiently!

I even got in on the action...just holding the rope...but Leigh Ann was determined to try her hardest to get me on a horse. She lost.

They even rode with friends...

This is Gracen. I taught her in 2nd and 3rd grade. She was showing the girls what a lot of hard work and practice looks like.

Then the girls got to go on a hayride. It was a dangerous hayride...lots of ducking under branches so as to not lose an eye...but tons of laughter!!!!

Sitting back enjoying herself, taking it all in.


A good time was had by all!!!! And I survived!!! Yeah...no more parties until Mark's 40th in May!!! Shhhhh...don't tell him!

post signature

Friday, October 21, 2011

InstaFriday#12

It is Friday and I am linking up with Life Rearranged for InstaFriday! It is a glimpse into your week with grainy phone pictures!!!

The first exciting thing that happened this past week was that I got an iphone 4s. Now, I know lots of people got an iphone last week but this was my very first iphone. I told my sister I finally feel like a member of the popular crowd! :)

We had our fall carnival at school on Friday. Will and his buddy Alex had an amazing time...can you tell?
Caroline got to ride a horse...she said she was practicing for her birthday party...she should be ready since she practiced a lot that night!!!
Then Saturday, I took her out for a Mommy and Me day. We had a blast shopping away!!!
She really wanted to do the jumpy thing...and she loved it but refused to flip...bummer!
I was coming home from the grocery store the other day, and got a call on my cell phone. It said "Mark" so imagine my surprise when it was Will. He said, "Uhhhmmm mom...daddy is stuck on the roof." Ok...son, I am coming. Of course I couldn't resist taking some pictures once I got home.
He said all he needed was a fiddle and he could be the fiddler on the roof... LOL
Mark showing Sven "the roof"...haha....I am grateful for Sven...he is Mark's roof hero and my iphone hero...everybody needs a Sven...
Caroline celebrating her birthday at school (on pajama day).
Then that night she chose Chili's for her birthday dinner and The Sweet Spot for her dessert. Love her!!!
Tuesday it was 84 degrees...hot and muggy. Wednesday, it was 48! Yes, you saw that right. 48. Hello...what happened to fall?
And last, but certainly not least, today is the birthday of our sweet pastor and great friend, Charlie!!! We love him and so I made him something sweet. Chachi, we hope today is the best birthday ever!!!!!!!!!
Yall link up and join in on the phone picture Friday...it is lots of fun!!!

post signature

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lost Sheep

Did you know a baby sheep can recognize its mother’s bleating sound in a flock of sheep? This is probably because a sheep’s eyesight is so poor that its hearing is super charged. Did you know if a sheep is laying on its back it cannot right itself. It needs a helping hand. How about this one…did you know sheep prefer running water when they drink?

Why all the sheep questions? Well…

Jesus likens His children to sheep. He is our Shepherd and we are His flock. He is our leader and we are His followers. Sheep are good followers. And so are we, right?

Well, we are supposed to be anyway.

We don’t always walk the path our Shepherd has pointed us down, do we? Life gets in the way. Emotions get us all turned around and suddenly we find ourselves completely lost. We look around and everything familiar is missing. We are completely alone. Or so we think.

SGT Gilad Shalit, a soldier in the Israeli Army probably felt very alone as he was held in jail, for five long years, after being captured by Gaza militants in a border raid.
He was captured and held prisoner for no other reason than those who held him hated who he was and where he came from. I am sure many times he was scared, lonely and probably felt very much alone.

Much like a lost sheep would when separated from its flock.

You may have read about this story in the news lately. SGT Shalit has just been released from his captivity. His country, the country of Israel, made a trade in order to get him back. It is this trade that blew my mind.

The nation of Israel traded one thousand twenty seven prisoners for SGT Shalit. Did you see that? 1027 people for one.

Kind of like when Jesus leaves the 99 to go and find the one who is lost.

In the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus is explaining to the tax collectors, Pharisees and scribes how important each soul is to God. The Pharisees and scribes were complaining that Jesus was spending time in the company of “sinners” and that kind of behavior was simply not tolerated back in the day. Jesus turned those men and said, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15: 1-7)

What is Jesus saying to these men? He is reminding them that the goal in life for all of us who believe in Jesus as Lord is to find those lost souls and carry them home (to Jesus’ feet) and then rejoice with them when they become children of God. These “holy” men were thinking hanging out with the sinners was wrong. And yet Jesus was saying that those repented sinners were more of a cause for celebration in heaven than the holy men of God in the temple. Why?

Well, I think because we (and the Pharisees) tend to give more lip service to the things of God instead of heart service. We talk a great talk but we don’t walk out the Great Commission like we should. God has commanded us to go and bring the lost to Him…like a shepherd searching for the one lost sheep who can’t find its way home.

Israel makes a promise to their soldiers and their families. You protect us and no matter what, we bring you home. So, while to me and maybe to you and the rest of the world, trading 1027 prisoners for one may seem lopsided and ridiculous, Israel does it anyway. Why? Because it is more important to them to bring home the lost one, than to stand and proclaim how great they are because most of their soldiers made it home.

I do not think it is a coincidence that it is Israel, God’s chosen people, who live out the Parable of the Lost Sheep so well. We should take note…the one who strays (or is captured by the world) is more important to find than hanging out with even the most Godly of people every day.

It is what Jesus did for us. He left His THRONE in heaven to come to earth and bleed and die on a cross for YOU. And if it was only for you, He would have still done it. He left the holy to find the lost.

Are you giving God lip service, or are you searching for the one who may need you to bring them to the foot of the cross? Let’s go find those lost sheep!



post signature

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

Ok fellow readers...it is Wednesday. That means it is time to link up with Lindsey for some What I Wore Wednesday fun! Just some good times and good inspiration from all of the other participants.



Apple picking outfit :)
Shirt: Old Navy
Shorts: Kohls

Tshirt: Ann Taylor
Jacket: Ann Taylor
Pants: LOFT

Shirt: LOFT
Jacket: LOFT
Skirt: Coldwater Creek

Tee: Costco (haha)
Skirt: Kohls
Shoes: Ariat

This is legit...it was pajama day!!!
PJ pants: Belk
Jacket: LOFT
Shoes: Clarks


MY FAVORITE DAY!!! HAT DAY!!
L/S Shirt: GAP
Long tee: NY&Co
Pants: Ann Taylor
Boots: Steve Madden


Hat: Ann Taylor
Jewels: Silpada



pleated poppy

post signature