Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What I Am Thankful For This Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving as usual I am pondering what I am thankful for and even though my family is scattered here and there and I will miss spending this holiday with them, I still have much to be thankful for. 

So here is my list

  • My loving Heavenly Father who loved me so much that He sent Jesus to die for my Sin in my place so He could have an eternal relationship with me. 
  • Jesus my Savior Who loves me and wants only the Father's best for my life.
  • I am thankful for my family: 
    • My Mom and Dad who love me and who are not only my parents but  have become my friends. I love that they were the ones to disciple me and challenge me to always strive to grow in my faith and never be satisfied with only what people taught me but to search the Scriptures, study and grow in my relationship with God and Jesus. They continue this to this day. 
    • For my big brother who has always been not just my big brother that I pestered and shadowed when we were young but my friend, my encourager, singing buddy, and one who also pushes me to grow deeper in my Faith.  
    • For Grandparents and cousins and the heritage of hard work, Faith in God, and service to Him. 
  • My friends through the years:
    • Old and New Friends: Patty Mac, Joe, Suz, Elaine, Jamie, and countless others that are  miraculously in my life in spite of distances between us. I am thankful for the goofy moments we have shared together....adding machine tape letters, dance escorts  (thank you Joe :-) ) and late night chats, Pizza runs, ballgames, pranks, advice, shoulders to cry on, singing games and singing buddies, hiking and sliding down icy roads, shared meals and shared secrets etc. But most of all shared Faith and love for the Savior. 
  •  For my job that allows me to work with the most awesome kiddoes and families.
  • For the roof over my head and food on my table.
  • For relatively good health.

And the list could go on and on and on....I am blessed beyond measure and thankful for all the Father has bestowed upon me and blessed me with.

So what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Getting to Know YOU

Okay did this blog title make you start humming this song?  I had a school counselor who LOVED singing this with classes as she talked about moving from grade to grade and getting to know new friends and a new teacher. Yeah I admit I was always embarrassed for her. She didn't' sing very well. And I can still hear the groans coming from some of my buddies in the back of the class.  Well I won't sing it for you but I thought it was a perfect description for this post.
See I have been spending time delving into who I am and what makes me tick. And my Giftedness Center counselor is definitely getting to know me. You would think I would already know ALL about myself at this stage in the game. But as we travel through this life I think we begin adapting our behavior to please others, be accepted or get the job done. And I thought my Sabbatical would be a great time to evaluate if I was doing everything with my life that He would want me for me.
So as I have stated in earlier posts I have been working with Bev at the Giftedness center. This place sounds SO lovely doesn't it? Almost like its a wonderland where they hand you wonderful things: cookies and chocolate, new shoes, clothes, but sadly its not quite that.  And yet they ARE handing me wonderful things all about me. Its quite interesting to walk through the process they are working on with me.
After I met in my first session with Bev and she recorded my stories I waited about two weeks while my session was transcirbed and then plotted according to the SIMA profile. What in THE world is SIMA you may ask??  SIMA® stands for the System for Identifying Motivated Abilities, our proven, proprietary assessment process that is profoundly powerful at identifying an individual's unique pattern of motivated behavior.
After Bev got my results back we had our second meeting to walk through the results. Now I have done numerous similar studies and there are ALWAYS things that just don't ring true as I read through my report. Or there is always something the proctor can't explain to me. But as we read through the summary together I kept thinking WOW this is spot on. Everything they are stating is SO me. So we went through the summary which took 3 1/2 hours. Did I mention it was the summary?? Yep so you can imagine how much information you are given.

To continue, its powerfully stimulating as you read through all the results when you are through.
And it gets better, I also have homework. While my sabbatical is over this part of it isn't. I still have at least three more sessions with my adviser/counselor. I actually have homework that is due next week. All of which requires study and introspection. So while I like studying and gaining information. I have a feeling this might be a tad "painful" as I work through it.
So I will keep trekking on through this process the LORD is walking me through. Its not been dull that's for sure. But as I study about myself and how He created me I am amazed how very much I haven't been doing or living up to that I did as a child and teenager. Guess this means I got stuff to talk through with Bev. Well I guess I better get back to my reading.
By the way I am going to leave you with a question Bev left me with at the end of my second session. I think it might give you a peek into how my assessment session went. But how would you answer her?

 "Do you not feel that God created you to live in fullness of life? (see John 10:10)  If you do what do you think that looks like? Do you think He just meant that to point to when you go to be with Him in  Heaven or do you think He wants that for you now? If you think He wants that for you now, why aren't you living that way?!"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quiet House Adventures: Day 2

My second day I woke up grabbed some juice, my Bible, and journal and headed for the patio area overlooking the canyon. it was a bit cloudy but it was still awesome to see the canyon and feel the wind. But before I could start a little friend came nervously walking up to see if I remembered to put out any "treats" for them. So I got up and went to put out some corn for them. It was then back to the patio.

But how fun to be "interrupted" by a deer who, much like a puppy, trusted me to feed him. How awesome is God's surprises and creation. I immediately thought of the Hymn all creatures of our God and King!

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!


O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!


Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.


Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

It's appropriate that St Francis of Assisi penned the words above.... he lived in wonder of all God's creation and I was smack dab in the middle of so much majestic beauty.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Quiet House Adventures...Meditating on Psalm 103

Okay I guess I need to show you what the house looked like and how it contributed to the awesomeness of staying in "silence" for the time I did.

Front of the House
Love this scripture that is above the front door.
So I walked in and was not disappointed...

Great Room

So I walked in and William gave me the grand tour. 

View of bedroom from great room
stairs or really ladder to the loft from the bedroom

Kitchen/ Breakfast room/ Reading Nook
Close up of Reading Nook
Reading Nook was awesome at night. You just turned on the outside flood lights and you could continue to watch the deer and animals outside..It was also awesome sitting there my second night during one very wild Thunderstorm :-) 

Here is the view from the loft. You get to see the great room and on the other side, the hillside complete with a fabulous rock Cross. 

Up in the loft you had cushions all around and it was also a great place to read as well as just sit and pray.

Awesome prayer bench with view of outside
Fireplace wasn't usable unfortunately, fire ban, but how cool that it had a sky light at its top. It made great sound effects from the rain. 

The floors were cut stone. Great colors and textures.

It was getting late when I arrived so had to go ahead and unpack my food and fix my dinner. Then I had a great time of worship...yes I cheated and took my music and tiny speakers so I could "listen" to someone other than me sing :-) 

First Song/ Album I cranked up was
First Soundtrack
I truly wanted to be authentic in my retreat as I started... um yeah it didn't last beyond 15 minutes. So I cranked out one of my oldie faves from college years. I love this album...
it has such great scripture songs.

Then I sat down with my journal and my Bible and started working on listening.
The scripture that I sat with that night was: Psalm 103
you can read it here...if you don't have your Bible handy.

I loved sitting with this. There is so much in the Psalms anyway to be affirmed by what God says to us but also just to use it to praise Him was also great.

Much more to share...but I will end for now...

By the way, what is your favorite Psalm and why?

Friday, October 14, 2011

First Day Of Quiet House Retreat

It all started Here and let me just say I was a bit worried about my car getting through all this water…now it looks okay on the car in front of me…but this is a river bed and there are dips and hollow areas…and the water gets DEEPER.. and I don’t have a 4 wheel drive ..its a Honda Accord for pity's sake! Um not exactly built for offroading. But the camp director assured me that it was going to be okay that it wasn’t too deep and he was behind me in his 4 wheel drive off road big 'ol truck just in case my engine stalled..seriously. So the adventure began…(insert smile here)

No rewind…the adventure began when I entered the camp and there was a sign that read make sure care is in low gear, steep incline ahead. Okay I thought , bring it on! After all I am used to the NC mtns and riding off roads up there. So let just say it was a WAHOO moment as I shifted down to 1st gear to slow things down. This was fun….now back to the above part of the story.

So after a knuckle whitening ¼ mile drive I made it. And then we reached the lodge and I got to load all my stuff into the directors truck for the rest of the trek up the trail. After apologizing for all my stuff, which by the way Dad he said it was fine and he had seriously seen a ton more that I was fine. See F I N E …not too much. (smiling at my Dad)

Alright I made it to the house…all I had to say was WOW! I am loving this! It was even more than I had imagined. So I got unpacked and settled in. Then I went outside to feed the deer and fill the bird feeders. The director said as soon as I put out the deer corn they would come and boy was he right, just like little dogs.

So after this start to the day, I got myself situated and started to settle in for the night.

Looking forward to the night and day ahead....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Anticipating Silence

Okay I have already written about my quiet retreat and it starts tomorrow afternoon. While I would like to think silence isn't "deafening" to me I am thinking I might just be proven wrong this weekend. But the whole point of this retreat is to truly live out the Psalm 46:10. In particular the "Be Still" part and to know Him.
Have you ever thought about all the noise we have around us ..constantly? I have to admit I have to have some white noise to sleep by...crazy I know but I have tested the no noise at my grandmothers before..she lived in the traffic or other city noises around. And it was "deafening". I always had to go and grab a floor fan and turn it on, yes even in the dead of winter, so I could sleep.
My prayer is that while the silence might be "deafening" to me I pray that His voice will be equally as loud.
Here's a challenge...try the "no media" thing some day when you can. Turn off the TV, computer, cellphone, etc. I would love to hear what you learned from the experience.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Adventure Begins . Sabbatical Day 2 1/2

Looking back...
Its been a wild 48 hours. As a reminder part of my sabbatical is being spent in sessions with Bev at the Giftedness Center. These sessions center around looking at my life "map" along with my giftedness profile. The goal of these sessions is to do a "where am I" in my life right now analysis along with looking at how am I living out my gifts that God has given me in my life now. The outcome of the sessions all together is to have a life map, a plan that details what things I need to shore up and improve upon to live out my life fully as God designed and gifted me to be.

So with that said I started Thursday off thinking it would be just a “normal” day even with my first meeting with Bev at the Giftedness Center that afternoon. However when I left their building at 3:30 I was feeling overwhelmed. There were so many things to process which of course is the whole point of doing this “exercise” with them.

One of the frighteningly cool things about this first session was what Bev said right off the bat. She stated that she wasn’t going to be speaking into anything that didn’t already exist in my life. That she would be holding up a mirror of who God already created me to be; that He had designed me to be from the beginning, celebrating my life and achievements, joys. That nothing we would talk about through my gifts profile and life mapping sessions were truly going to be a surprise. More than anything they would be great reminders of where I have already walked and who God designed me to be.

She likened a lot of what we will be doing to the Jewish tradition of life being likened to your rowing in a boat with your back to the future and only seeing where you have been. And what the Jews celebrate in looking back are the milestones of their life. The places God carried them, showed them Himself in varied ways, etc. I also loved that Bev said that from this example I wasn’t going to have to row alone as I work through this process that she and God were going to be rowing alongside me. That was a relief and a comfort.

But part of the danger of this looking back for me is wondering where did that hesitantly adventurous little girl, teenager, young woman go? That was one of the things I walked away asking myself on Thursday after sharing my stories. It is amazing to see that at this point in my life I have been “programmed” through life’s disappointments and frustrations to accept and live in the “status quo” not seeking God’s best for myself and not living in His fullness for me.

I still have a lot of things to work through in this process of looking at my life through the lens of life goals etc. But I am excited about all of the things God will be affirming and loving me through as He and I walk through this experience.

But what about you? What are your milestones from your life where you can trace God’s protection, provision, and care for you? Do you celebrate those anniversaries with Him? Have you ever looked at your giftedness profile, personality and spiritual gifting as well? It is interesting to do and to also look at how God was manifesting those things in your childhood. If you haven't ever done it I challenge you to do it today.

here is a link to a free Spiritual Gifts Inventory:

this is a simple personality profile test: