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He Stayed
Apr 15, 2017   07:17 PM
by Administrator

Looking back to the time of my divorce and the time after when I was a single momma in this house, I feel like I was afraid of the dark. I feel like those nights were long and I lost sleep and heard noises and felt afraid and alone. Daytime never seemed to be an issue but I remember tossing and turning and constantly checking on B throughout the night. My heart would race in the darkness and I remember times of feeling paralyzed in fear under my covers. I remember having my grandmother smudge my house and pray over every room to keep the bad spirits out. Long nights....fear that I dimissed at the time because morning always came. The sun would always rise and I would go about my life in the light. Sometimes when my husband is gone I can creep back to those days and feel just a tad bit of the anxiety but for the most part, being afraid of the dark is gone. Light prevails.....

Honesty time: I love Easter more than Christmas. I love that there is no stress over gifts and that there are not 100 parties to attend (let’s be honest I don’t go anyway but that is irrelevant). I love that Easter is warm and breezy and all things new. I love that my entire yard is just beginning to burst into bloom, just on the verge of the peony blooms busting wide open. There is such a feeling of renewal and freshness and new beginnings around Easter. New life is happening all around us. I love brand new haircuts on toddler baby boys at Easter and bopping blonde girls donning special dresses. Easter is my favorite holiday which is what I say about every holiday during that particular holiday. I am a lover of all things. The thought of sweet baby Jesus being born is so special and sweet to me but as Maundy Thursday happened yesterday, I began to feel so weepy and emotional and overwhelmed with gratitude for that cross he chose to bear. Can you believe he loved those guys enough to wash their feet? I shake my head. I want to be a servant like him. I really do. As we go through this weekend I cannot help but feel completely consumed by His love.

Someone died for our sins. For my silver Choctaw tongue and my impatience and my over indulgence and my jealousy and my judging and a thousand other things, someone died for those sins. Someone loves us enough to forgive us and bring us out of the darkness. 

 “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”-1 Thessalonians 5:5.

Before Jesus we were all just wandering around in the dark, a tunnel with no light at the end. We were dust. We are dust, but because of his sacrifice, because of those nails driven into his hands and feet, we are children of the light. We do not belong to the night, we belong to the day. I believe Jesus had a choice. I believe he could have ran. He could have turned the other way and not fulfilled his destiny. He could have forsaken us. I believe when he prayed for the cup to be taken from him, he was terrified and perhaps having second thoughts. “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Yet he stayed and cast his own will aside for the will of God so we would not be forsaken. When I think about Jesus in a more human nature, when I think about him being afraid or in pain or sad or alone, it is almost more than I can bear. He was such a nice guy. He was such a giver and a teacher and he just wanted to love everyone. I am sad he had to die. I wish I could have known him. I wish I could have had dinner with him. So that we would not be forsaken. So that we would have a life in the light and not in the darkness. So that we could live again. So that we could be free.

Isaiah 42:16 God says, “I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”

 You are a child of the light, a child of the day. You have been chosen by God himself to walk into His marvelous light.

Friend loved by God, remember this Easter weekend that you are a peony bloom just about to burst open. Remember that all of your sins were placed on that cross and that you are forgiven. Remember that you are CHOSEN, that you are a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD. God loves you so much. He isn’t up there judging you or scolding you or being angry at you. He is loving you. HE CHOSE YOU TO BE HIS.  He paid the price. He gave his only son. The tomb was empty. Whatever your fear in the darkness may be, whatever struggle you may have, whatever aches in your heart, choose to walk in the light because someone loved you enough (the one and only wonderful you) to choose death for you. Hold your head up high and be His possession, be His prize. Jesus did not run. He stayed. He stayed for you and for me. You are worth it. Every bit of afraid and alone and sad Jesus felt was worth it because of how marvelous you are. Because of how good your heart is and how bright your light shines and because this world is so much better with you in it. This Easter above all else, be reminded of how much you are adored and that no amount of night will keep the sun from rising. Breathe in and out and feel that warm air on your skin and show yourself some love. You are a child of God, a saved one in Christ and your rough places will be turned into level ground. For you Jesus stayed, for you he took the cup, for you he walked into the darkness so that your light may shine. Because he lives. 

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

A Heart Like His
Mar 21, 2017   07:04 AM
by Administrator

 

“To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:1

This morning as I was looking for a scripture in my Bible, I saw this passage highlighted with the date November 8, 2013 written next to it. I sat for several minutes and tried to remember what was going on in my life during that time. I believe our Bible study group was examining David who wrote this song and we were learning about the books of Samuel. I was dating Ashley. I was trying desperately to get super healthy; working out, running, zero alcohol, raw foods, planks, etc. I was sort of scratching and clawing my way towards God and towards a better life. I was standing on the edge just about to take a full leap towards Him but I was in need of that final push to really just turn it all over, to really dive in head first and trust that God’s got this, no one else. I remember thinking about David during those days. Our study, “Seeking a Heart Like His”, talked all about David and his wild sinful ways and his dramatic journey. I remember thinking how in the heck did this guy get to be King? THIS King didn’t seem so great to me. What a sinner! Knockin’ up Bathsheba and killin’ Uriah and sportin’ at least 8 wives and who picked this guy to slay Goliath? He was sort of a wreck. Just sayin’.

 

Let’s rewind long before November 8, 2013...I was done. Doneskis with relationships. Completely and utterly DONE and committed to being Calvert plus one and that one being Betty B for the rest of my live long life. That door was closed and I absolutely in no way, shape or form wanted to ever get married again and I sure wasn’t EVER, and I mean EVER, having more children. And then, (we all know how this goes down) and then I just kept sort of begging God to take over. I kept reminding myself over and over, HE is in control. I figured out HE is my stronghold and I just kept seeking refuge in Him and asking Him GOD, what is your plan for me? GOD what do you want me to do? GOD I am yours. YOU are in charge God. And then, I saw the most random long lost number on my caller ID from someone I had dated in like 1998…. News flash I am a huge introvert and I never answer the phone, ever. But for whatever reason, I answered that random day and when I saw him in the parking lot at a local restaurant for the first time in I don’t know how long, every single thing I had been telling God? Well, it was time to mean it. It was time to take that leap and I sure got that nudge I needed and I fell right off that ledge…..I fell and I flew.

 

November 8, 2013…..studying David, loving my guy, having ZERO clue what was in store for us, he needing a final push as well. One of the many things about Ashley was that he had a heart like mine. He had a heart that was ready to move from its past and make some changes and give some things up and BE MORE. We had hearts like David, totally knotted up in sin with a laundry list of poor choices and yet, still somewhere in those hearts a yearning to do good. We had been burned and burned others and our hearts were ready to do it right. Both of us scratching and clawing and searching for God’s plan for us together. Both ready to leap and both needing a Rock to bang our silly heads against.

 

On November 8 2013, I just wasn’t quite there yet. I just wasn’t 100% on board. I needed a shove…and boy did I ever get one.  

 

On November 8, 2014 my father walked me down a hay covered aisle in my backyard. It was the most beautiful fall day I have ever witnessed and the light through the trees made everything warm and glowy. Our daughters waited for me with him and our family sat quietly ready to cover us with bird seed love. I wore moccasins I hand beaded myself and he a brown suit and simple tie. On November 8 2014, one year after highlighting and dating David’s song to the Lord, I married my absolute best half. I married someone who every single day makes me want to be a better person. Who every single day makes me take a long hard look in the mirror and say, girl you are so blessed. You better live it right because YOU ARE BLESSED INDEED. I married someone who made me want to get my poop in a group for cryin' out loud, someone who does all of the hard things. As I type this our son sits next to me with messy morning hair smelling like oatmeal and keeps asking where his daddy is. "Ashley where awwwwwwwwwwww yoooooooooooou?" On November 8 2014, all of those things I had been telling God came true. We stepped up. We made changes. We left things and never went back. It was time to right some wrongs. It was time to live out HIS plan for us.

 

"But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;let them ever sing for joy,and spread your protection over them,that those who love your name may exult in you.For you bless the righteous, O Lord;you cover him with favor as with a shield." Psalm 5:11

 Like David, Ashley and I started out in sin, lots of it, and we still sin errrrrrrrrrrrrrry day but like David we were both looking for something bigger to take a stronghold in our lives. We wanted to be better than OK and even better than good. We wanted to be great. We wanted a second chance. We wanted to slay some giants.

On November 8, 2014 exactly one year from noting David’s song I, with babies’ breath in my hair, walked down the aisle to the best thing that ever happened to me. The most selfless, hard-working, quiet spirited, loyal man I have ever known. I walked down that aisle because that is the God we serve. Because our God forgives, renews, fulfills, makes whole, completes, and covers His people. Because our God is a God of one more time. Because God knew we both needed each other and that we would honor Him. He knew two can defend themselves but THREE ARE NOT EASILY BROKEN.

 “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Without a doubt, 1000% David would have never received his royal position, he would have never found that smooth stone that knocked that ugly old guy out, he would have never written the songs of rejoicing that he did and he would have never been given that chance to do things right without the Grace of God. Yall I was so lost. I was so ALONE. I was so putting on a good front but inside I was so wretched and empty. You have an empty place inside of you that cannot be filled up with anything but the HOLY SPIRIT. No man, no car, no job, no house, no vacation, no glass of wine, no trip to Rome, no nothing can fill that place up but God Himself. Once David figured this out, once I figured this out….that the emptiness inside of you is there for a reason, an emptiness meant to be filled with JESUS…..my life began to transform. Life is still hard. You are not called to live an easy life, you are called to live a purposeful life. It is still hard sometimes and I still have loads of sin but if you will find a smooth stone, draw back your sling and let Him fill you up, you will conquer.

 

God has a plan for you. God has a plan for you. God already knew that day when I noted David´s song that I would meet Ashley again, that I would walk down the aisle exactly one year later, that HAP would be born, that we would want more children, that we would grow old together, that we would be bound together by that third cord. He knew David would slay that big old mean giant and be the greatest king of all time other than the Son of David, Jesus. God knew David would screw up and he knew he would have to give him a second chance because He is a God of second chances. He knew the Great King David would need a day like


November 8th, 2014.

The Archer
Feb 10, 2017   10:02 AM
by Administrator

 

A Christian leader recently did a survey in his audience and estimated over 80% of the students (adults) raised their hands when asked if they feel guilty or live their lives in guilt. I am dismayed by the words ‘I feel guilty’. I feel bad because I took the day off. I feel guilty because I wasn’t at his assembly. I feel like crap because I missed her game. I feel sooooo bad because we didn’t have anything for supper. I feel terrible because I didn’t buy fall pictures (how many seasons of pictures can there be?). I feel awful because I didn’t go have lunch with her today. At least once a day from someone, especially myself, guilt is in play. I read a great article yesterday regarding the 9 things children need from their parents and I was going to write about it but instead I am going to write about this:

 

STOP.FEELING.GUILTY.

 

"Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is His flesh, ... let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." (Heb. 10:19,20,22)

 

There are thousands of articles out there right now, all of which, tell you how to parent better, how to say no less, how to limit technology, how to reaffirm with your words and a million other things all directed at our heartstrings and all super successful at making us feel guilty. I am not saying these directives aren’t significant and often very true. BUT STOP WITH THE GUILT. After reading said article I came home and sort of had all of these tips in the back of my head as we went through our evening. All of these things that I am clearly lacking to start with. Listen parents, keep it simple: do your best. That is all. Quit with the laundry list of things you need to do better and just do your best. Quit enrolling your children in 17 guilt driven activities and sit down at the dinner table. It is so uncomplicated, I think. We feel the need to overcompensate for whatever reason and feel so much social pressure for our children to be the best of the best that we are missing out. I posed the question at a small group meeting last month. What is this all about? The scheduling and taxi driving and child shuffling? What are we really doing it for? And my answer is this: we want our children to be better than us. We want them to have more, be more and do more than we did and we want them to be happier than we are. At the end of the day, aren’t we protecting them from becoming who we are or are not? I was not the most popular. I was not the best athlete. I made bad decisions and on and on…So in turn I am trying to protect my children from experiencing the heartache and suffering and poor decision making I went through in my younger years. I am trying desperately to change the course of her path from mine when in essence, THE PATH IS GOD’S. What would make my 9 year old most happy is to go climb a tree, kick a ball or ride her bike. What makes ME most happy is for her to win the 50M butterfly amongst 10 year olds so I KNOW I am doing it right, for her to  place first in UIL so I KNOW I am doing it right. Well guess what? I am doing it right. You are doing it right. You are doing it better than right and the more you let go of what drives YOU the better off they will be. Whatever you are overcompensating for (in my case divorce and the fear of them turning into me) STOP. They see you. They know how much you love them and getting them to two practices in one day does not change that. You are doing your children and God a huge disservice with all this running around in overdrive. Go back to God. Go back to bike riding. Go back to the dinner table.

 

“You can’t do everything. Your children can’t experience everything. To them, every opportunity looks good. It’s your job to keep your children grounded and prevent them from drowning in activities. Don’t allow your family to worship the idol of over-commitment. Learn to say no. Over-commitment is one of the great idols of American Christianity. We worship this idol because it tells us we’re important and our children are gifted. And, unfortunately, we sacrifice our children on this altar. We enjoy the satisfaction from our children being the best. This gives us importance. But it creates teenagers stretched thin, obsessed with outward achievements, and overcome with anxiety.Your children might not say this, but they need you to say no.”-Frank Powell

 

At 9 years old Betty believes she will be an Olympic swimmer. She believes it and therefore so do I, but that is not up to her or me. It is up to Him. I totally support youth sports and I love her basketball team more than life itself but the fate of our children is not really in our hands. We must guide them and love them and above all give them to God. I love this poem by Kahlil Gibran. “Your children are not your children.” They belong to God. “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are set forth.” HE is the archer. “For even as HE loves the arrow that flies so HE loves the bow that is stable.” HE loves you as much as your children and so doing your best, putting your faith in Him, is ENOUGH.

 

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children

as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,

and He bends you with His might

that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

so He loves also the bow that is stable.

 

As we were driving home from a practice the other day I looked over at my long lashed beauty and I thought do I really know her? Do I really listen to her? What is her favorite flavor of milk shake? What book is she reading? What does she want to be when she grows up? What does she pray for at night? With the barrage of things we expect from ourselves as parents, the little tiny parts of their hearts get overlooked. In so many realms, I believe, it is time to get back to the basics. Time to simplify and let go and do LESS. Let Jesus take the reins and just do our best. It is time to make sure we are the keepers of their hearts.

 

In the midst of typing this I went and layed down after work (we are all fighting the crud here and feeling pretty worn out) and thought about feeling guilty since everyone needed to be fed before a game in another town. In the dark, I heard the clibber clobber of little feet coming down the hall. He cracked open the door and whispered, MOM. I waited to see what he would do. He came in, crawled on the bed, whispered MOM a little louder this time, patted my face and gave me a big ole slobbery kiss. Off the bed and back out the door he went. Man, are we ever doing it right……

Let these moments guide you. Kindness and generosity and humility should be your compass, the moments when sweetness shines through and love is displayed should be your affirmation. Not awards, medals, swim times or ribbons. Compassion, gentleness, joy and empathy. That’s when you know your bow is stable, that your arrow is flying straight and the Archer has the prize in His sight.

The One You Feed
Jan 25, 2017   12:33 PM
by Administrator

 

I have been searching for the right words…... really throughout the entire Presidential campaign but especially since Trump’s win, the inauguration and the protests. It is most simply put: I am, to the depth of my core, GRATEFUL.

 In my community, as wee as it may be, we are too busy serving to take a moment’s pause to think about what we deserve. We were over the election long ago and would have basically felt the same if someone else would have taken office. Scouts honor.

 “But we urge you brothers to excel more and more and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you.”-1 Thessalonians 4:11

 I am so grateful to live in a place where the needs of others come before our own agendas. We have been rallying around our village and finding ways to bless those less fortunate than us. No time to even fathom taking a Saturday off to march in cute hats. Here, it is about lending a helping hand, providing a warm meal, giving back and keeping your promises.  There are fences to mend and fires to put out and seeds to be planted. It is about reaching deeper to fulfill your purpose. And I believe the majority of our wonderful country feels the same. Most of us want to move forward, do our best and leave this sense of entitlement and hatred behind. We want to go on worshipping and sowing and praying and reaping and just LET. IT. GO. because there is so much more to life than what could have been. Don’t get me wrong, we have our disagreements in our town and we are not always on the same page all of the time. But in general, we all want the same thing and that is to unite for the good of our neighbors, to put our differences aside and come together for one Common Purpose. I, in spite of all the things I have been through in this life, have never had much to protest about. I am so grateful for my warm bed and healthy children and hardworking husband and abundant freedom. I am so proud of my community for free hot dog lunches and homemade cookies with handwritten notes. I am not the most educated person and I do not pretend to have a vast amount of knowledge regarding politics but I do know that how you handle all of this is a choice. It is a place in your heart where you decide to be kind instead of mean, supportive instead of complaining, quiet instead of shouting out, flying your flag high and SERVING. A place in your heart where you do something for someone else instead of demanding your own way. Selflessness is not really a huge price to pay.

 There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

 It is time to put down our weapons and band together. It is time to love our nation, our president, our brothers and those most different than us. It is time to heal and mend and embrace. It is time for peace. It is time to get busy livin’, button up, give back and make all that is good start with YOU. IT STARTS AND ENDS WITH YOU. It is time to quit deserving and start serving. Above all, it is time to be GRATEFUL.

“One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

 

Which one will you feed?

 

 

Charles Squirrel & Matilda Robin
Jan 06, 2017   12:33 PM
by Administrator

 

When I was 9 years old, I wrote a ‘book’ titled Charles Squirrel (my brother) & Matilda Robin (my sister) complete with illustrations by Gina (my mother) and with her help (God Bless her for raising me) we mailed it to several publishing companies. My 9 year old self absolutely, without a doubt, believed that book would be published and on the Bestseller List by the time I was 9.5. So when the rejection letters began to pour in I was distraught for about five seconds until I moved on to the next project i.e. Save the Earth Club, meeting with City Council regarding a recycling program and posting only elephants should wear ivory signs in our small town. I am basically the same person today and I never stopped writing. I wrote all through school. I have blogged for over a decade and I have a special gift. I have many special gifts and one of them is sharing God’s message through writing. Can you believe it took a NO from Random House and 27 years for me to utter those words? Even as I type it, I feel a twinge in my stomach that I am being arrogant.

 You have a special gift. Perhaps you are like me who spent years in denial. “God would never pick ME. I am just an ordinary Joe who could not possibly be equipped to work for God’s kingdom. I am not talented enough. I am not good enough. I am too damaged. I am too much of a sinner.´ Etc. Etc Etc. Lies, all untrue. Perhaps you are also like me and have had a hard time finding what your spiritual gift is. Spiritual gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Teaching, preaching serving, cooking, sewing, counting, mothering, fathering, drawing, painting, playing, decorating, baking, listening, singing, smiling...Every single one of us has a special gift from God. Somewhere deep in the secret places of your heart, you know. You know this thing that makes you tingle, this thing that you feel passionate about, this flame. If you are like me, you just need to fan the flame. 

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to HIm.-2 Chronicles 16:9.

He is looking for you. His eyes run to and fro, just waiting for the time when you decide to turn your loyal heart over to Him so that you may be blessed indeed. Looking and waiting so that He can raise you up and put you to work and use you for the good. What I truly believe is if you will, to the depth of your core, turn your heart over to God, your gifts will become so apparent to you, you will wonder how you ever missed them. I have always loved God. But for a very long time I loved God on MY terms. You know the whole, ¨He wants me to be happy. He wants what MY heart wants. Jesus drank wine. I am entitled, deserve, etc. to feel MY way?” I loved a God who served me, a God who would bless me for good behavior and forgive me even when I knowingly sinned. A God who looked past all of my flaws and accepted me for me when I wasn´t really even trying to love Him, only myself. As imperfect as I still am, I have changed my mentality in so many ways. I have began to ask God how can I serve you. How can I further your kingdom? Make me a servant for you, God. I have quit making a lot of excuses and given up some bad habits. I have slowly turned my heart over to His hands and the transformation has been completely and utterly apparent. Listen, I have a long way to go but as I give more, as I dive in more, as I let go more God is showing me my place and purpose in this world and it is inevitably without a doubt to serve. Slowly and surely the doubtful, insecure, lost, thin skin is molting off and new brave, solid, tough skin is being formed. I have, throughout this process, continued to ask myself why me? If you know my past you are most likely wondering the same. I am an ordinary sinner with a treacherous history and the ONLY way I have an opportunity to share my gifts is by the Grace of God.

Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time-pray that our God will make you fit for what heś called you to be, pray that heĺl fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus he will honor you, Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely-2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Can you believe that? Can you believe that really all you have to do is give God your heart? Turn over that damaged, cracked, sinful, used up, broken heart and HE WILL HONOR YOU. He will HONOR you. It is amazing in my eyes. What has happened in my life is nothing short of a miracle and nothing short of God filling my good ideas and acts of faith.

I have no idea what my plan is, what my future holds. Will I publish a book? Not likely. Will I write beyond my blog? Maybe. Maybe not. I yearn to live quietly, to mind my own business and devote myself to my family and to my God. I do not know how the two can mesh. But it is not up to me. I will continue to pray that I will be used as HE sees fit, not the other way. The plan He seeks for us must come first in our hearts. The possibility that even one single person might be uplifted by my gift is enough for me and I assure you God has made me keenly aware of that possibility. What I am suggesting is that perhaps my gift is never going to get the nod from Random House but it can always glorify God and that, my friends, is ALL it is all about.

 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.-2 Timothy 1:6-7

 As we ring in a new year, BYE 2016 is all I have to say, make a little room in your heart. Fan a little flame. Add a little power not fear. Let a little something go and replace it with Him. Give Him a chance to show you what can transpire when He is number one. Seek to serve HIM so that he can, in turn, HONOR you. It is in you and through the laying of His hands, your gifts will emerge and you will be blessed. As I have typed this blog, I have thought of at least 100 people and all of their special gifts. Kindness. Generosity. An open heart. Humility. Self-control. My daughter´s teachers and coaches and their spouses. What gifts they have. Our pastor. Our civil servants. The sweet ladies behind the fountain at our local drug store. My husband. Oh the special gifts that guy has. That story will come soon. My sweet neighbor across the street brings us soup and treats, and most importantly tortillas from our little tortilla factory, at least once a week. She has many, many special gifts but sharing is up there with cooking. A bowl of soup dropped on my porch helps give Henry an early bite, helps pack Bettyś lunch, helps when I do not want to cook at all, helps me have lunch during work the next day. To her it is a small act. To me, it changes my week. You do not have to be published or have a million dollars or get 1,000 likes on Facebook. You do not have to be famous or attractive or educated. Sharing your gifts in your small circle is equally important.

I was moved to tears several times over the past month when I heard James Taylorś version of In the Bleak Midwinter:

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what can I give Him: I can give my heart.

I am no Danielle Steele or Michael Phelps or Ivanka Trump. I screw something up every day and I really need to work on some of my not so special gifts. I am just plain ole Grace Davis Pshigoda.

What can I possibly give Him? I can give my heart.