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Archive for December, 2008

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.  And behold the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind and earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.  I Kings 19:11-12

Have you ever heard the still small voice?  Sometimes I think we pray for things and we expect God to show us the answer in a BIG way.  We pray for and sometimes we don’t get the answer we want, or we get the answer we wanted, but things didn’t unfold the way WE thought they should  so we sit there and say “OK  God, I think you’re showing me that I should go in this direction, but if that’s not what you want, show me.”  Even though God has already shown us what He wants us to do.    I think that sometimes we expect a bolt of lightning or an earthquake as a confirmation of what God wants, and sometimes He does show us things that way, but we have to learn to hear, listen to, and obey that still small voice.  That’s how God speaks to us. 

I’m trying to get better at listening to it, I really am.  When I was praying about being self employed, I talked to God about it for OVER A YEAR.  It went something like this……

Me:  “God, I would really like to be self employed.  You know that I need more time with Grace, You know that I need to lower my stress level,  You know that I need more piano students to do it, God, please show me if this is Your will.”

God:  I just sent you 2 more piano students.  Can’t you see this is the direction I’m leading you in?

Me:  Thank you LORD for the 2 piano students you just sent me.  Please show me if teaching piano full time is your will for me.

God:  Beth, I keep sending you more piano students, how much more clear can I make myself?

Me:  God, I REALLY want to quit my job.  I just can’t do this anymore.  Please show me your will.

God:  Beth, it’s time for you to quit your job and just trust in Me, I will take care of you.  I’ve called you to be a mom, and I want to you fill that role, I will take care of the rest.

Me: But God, what about my bills?  I can’t just quit my job, let go of a steady paycheck and hope that it will all work out…….God SHOW ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO.

God:  Beth, you prayed specifically for 3 new students this month, and I gave you 3 new students this month……can I make myself any clearer?  I will supply your needs.  Just obey.

I remember when I finally listened and OBEYED that voice.  God gave me so much peace about finances and where my future students would come from.  Now, 6 months later, I’m kicking myself for not listening to Him sooner.

How many times have you heard the still small voice, obeyed and been amazed as you see the hand of God work?  One time, God told me 3 times one morning to call a friend of mine who I hadn’t talked to in awhile.  When I finally picked up the phone and called her, she was almost in tears, she was having a very rough day and need to talk to someone.  God knew that and He used me (even though I didn’t obey until the 3rd time I was told.) to be a blessing to her.

One time, I was driving and the still small voice told me to change lanes.  I kept driving and again came the thought, “change lanes”  I changed lanes and not even 10 seconds later, the car that was where I would have been was rear ended. 

There are many times that the still small voice speaks to us.  It says “smile at that lady as you walk past her.”  It says “call Mary and see how her day is going.”   It says “Pray for John.”  It says “Take the longer way to work today.”  It says “be nice to her even though she’s rough around the edges.”  It says “let the lady behind you get in line to check out first.”  Most importantly, it says “trust me, and obey.”

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In 1872, Frances Havergal wrote a New Year’s poem and printed it on greeting cards to send to her friends.  She was just 36 years old.  This was just 5 years before she died.  The poem was later set to the tune of  “The Church’s One Foundation.”

Another Year is Dawning

Another year is dawning, dear Father let it be,
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face.
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast,
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love.
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be,
On earth or else in heaven, another year for Thee.

 

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I know that Christmas has passed, but I wanted to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. I hope your holiday was very blessed.  Our Christmas was a lot of fun.  Grace is such a good gift opener.  I wish I could be as good of a gift opener as she is.  She opens each present and makes a HUGE deal over it before moving on to the next one saying, “Oh, THANK YOU Grandma!” and running over to give Grandma huge hugs and kisses.  I tend to be a little bit more reserved in this area.  It’s not that I don’t say “thank you”  or make a comment about how much I like it, I just don’t get as dramatic as she does……..anyway…….

I know that holidays can be a tough time of year for single parents.  Not only can staying within a reasonable budget be a challenge, but things don’t always go as planned, you get sick, you split holidays, or you spend the holiday alone. 

I was reminded by a good friend of mine, who also is a single mom, that even though we’d like to have more money to spend on our kids, we’d like to celebrate a certain way, or we’d like it if we weren’t alone for Christmas, Christmas is not at all about us . (gulp) It’s all about celebrating Jesus’ birthday. (She’s good at putting things in perspective for me, even if it hurts for me to hear it.)

The day after Christmas, Grace and I went to check out some of the sales and have lunch together.  We also cleaned her room and donated books and toys that she doesn’t need anymore to a thrift store.

I’m contemplating my goals for the New Year, as soon as I finalize them, I’ll post them here so you can see what I’ll be working on this year.  In the mean time, I’m busy organizing almost every closet and drawer in our house.

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Grace and I made gingerbread men tonight.  We’re decorating them tomorrow and leaving them out for Santa tomorrow night.  She is getting to be such a great helper in the kitchen.  She puts things in the trash and sink for me, pours ingredients in after I measure them and stirs the dry ingredients.  Of course, I’m sure she only helps out in the kitchen to get a sample of the dough……

Here’s our recipe for you.  We also made my butter cream frosting to decorate them with and colored it red and green.

Gingerbread Men:

2c Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg yolk

Mix together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices in a mixing bowl.

In another bowl mix sugar, shortening, and molasses until fluffy.  Beat in egg yolk and add dry ingredients.

Roll out dough to 1/4″ thick and cut into gingerbread men.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Have fun decorating them!

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On Tuesday night, I was so excited to have everything on my to do list done and get to bed early.  I climbed into bed and closed my eyes, and God put my good friend Patty on my mind. 

Patty has been going through some trials this last week.  She’s a teacher and one or her student’s parents is really trying to make life miserable for Patty.

I prayed for Patty as I laid in bed and I couldn’t get her off of my mind, so I turned the light back on and wrote Patty a note to give to her the next day.

I ended up not going to bed early after all, but it was worth it.  I needed to let Patty know what a good friend and encouragement she is to me, and I needed to be an encouragement to her in the middle of her rough and tough week.

Here are some things that I thought of that are easy ways to be an encouragement to other people.

  • Pray for them
  • Write them a note
  • Take them to lunch or buy them a coffee
  • Smile
  • Say positive things to them and about other people
  • Bring them a small gift or baked goods
  • Shovel their walk (for those of you who live in a winter wonderland)
  • Lend them a good book you just read
  • Volunteer to watch their kids so they can Christmas shop
  • Get together to bake or wrap presents
  • Give them a sincere compliment

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Have you ever met someone who is always negative? No matter what, it’s not going to work for them, it’s not good enough for them, or they just don’t like it.  These are the kind of people that if you gave them $1,000,000, they’d complain that it’s green and wrinkled…….

One time when I was about 8 years old, I asked my mom why people get crabby when they get old.  She told me that people don’t get crabby when they get old.  She said that old people who are crabby now were crabby when they were young too. ( She also told me that I should say elderly not old.) 

Her words have stuck with me to this day, and the message that went with it……..everyone has choices to make no matter what their circumstances are, you can choose to be nice to people, you can choose to be a happy person, you can choose to have a positive outlook even when things don’t go your way or bad things happen.

One time, I worked with a guy (we’ll just call him “Joe”)  Joe was the CRABBIEST, GROWLIEST, GRUMPIEST (if those are all real words) person I had ever met.  He was so negative and mean to everyone underneath him in the company.  To his peers and people above him in management he was nice (for obvious reasons such as he wanted to keep his job.)  When I started working there, everyone told me, “Watch out for Joe, he’s so grumpy to everyone.”  Joe was always nice to me as I was on the same level of management he was.   One day when I was coming out of the break room, I observed Joe being rude to an employee.  I followed him to his office and told him that what he said to the employee wasn’t nice at all and that he could find a better way to talk to employees without being rude to them. 

 He went on to tell me about how this employee had messed up, etc, etc.  I told him, “Joe, it doesn’t matter what they did wrong…. you don’t have to be a growly bear to everyone……you can be nice to people if you want to.”

Joe just looked at me like no one had ever told him that before…….and do you know what?  From that point on, Joe’s attitude was so different that the employees and other managers started making comments about how pleasant he was and Joe even got a promotion a few months later and continued to be nice to people. 

I don’t really think that what I said to Joe were magic words and I don’t know what thoughts my words sparked in his mind, but I know that Joe made a choice that day to stop being negative and not only did he choose to be positive, but he also chose to start being nice to people.  Joe was so much fun to work with after that and several employees later told me that after Joe’s attitude changed, he was one of their favorite managers to work with.

I know that we all go through things.  But really, everyone goes through things, not just you and me.  I’ve always held the position that what I’m going through right now is what God has for me at this point in my life.  Some times, we go through trials, and as a dear friend of mine said one time….”Trials come into our lives to teach us things, and if we don’t learn our lesson the first time we go through the trial, we’ll go through the trial again and again until we learn that lesson.” 

No matter what the trial or situation you’re going through is, God is with you…..you may not always feel like He is, but He is there for you, sometimes He walks with you, and sometimes, He’s carrying you.

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I’ve been asking Grace what she wants for Christmas every week for the last few weeks, just to make sure that’s what she REALLY wants.  (I don’t like buying toys that don’t get played with.)  Amazingly, her list has stayed the same since the first time I asked her.

Here it is:

A Scooter
A Helmet and knee pads
A “detective thing” (magnifying glass)
A Bicycle (she thinks she’s 8 or something…..)

These are the BIG things she really wants…I think she wants them for a couple of reasons, #1, Little Bill was wearing a helmet and knee pads on an episode last week when he was learning to skate.  #2, these are all things that she sees the “big girls” playing with, so I think she has the idea that if she gets them for Christmas, she’ll automatically be a big girl…….she’s already growing up too fast for me, and in her mind she’s just like the big girls.

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