Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Now, why am I so excited? Is it because I get to buy, buy, buy everybody a bunch of last minute junk that gets thrown away the day after? Is it because I get to sit through the family gatherings of plastic smiles in the midst of struggle and heartache for the sake of "peace and joy"? Is it because I love to cook, bake, eat and serve food that warms the tummy and heart? Hmmm....
Nope. I love to curl up next to the fire, breath in the aroma of evergreen and cinnamon, and sing. Not Jingle Bells, not Oh, Christmas Tree, and certainly not Here Comes Santa Claus. But instead I repeat Away In A Manger, Oh, Holy Night, and Silent Night over and over again. Why?
Joy in my inner most being, at the hope that Father God in heaven gave us when Christ was born. The hope of eternity with Him, resting in His arms with His comfort and His peace flooding my heart with warmth.
I remember the dark places I wandered before I knew the Savior as my friend. I look out the window at the cold dark, I inhale the merciful breath of today, and I stop to say thank you for the light. Thank you for the gift of Christ, the Light of the world, the truth in the midst of dark lies. I remember where I've been, where I am, and where the Lord is taking me. And I am filled, brimming, with peace.
How can I not like Christmas? It's celebration and excitement as I anticipate the evening of Christmas Eve, when the kids can stay up late sipping hot cocoa with us by the tree, being warmed by the fire, singing, all together, the melodies of Christ's birth. Teaching them of the love of Father in heaven who has blessed us beyond our desires....teaching them of the gift of Christ.
Mmmmm...I love Christmas. I pray that in these next 65 days of preparation and anticipation you will find that place of joy and rest, peace and hope in reflecting on the beautifully bundled gift of baby Jesus. The baby who became the man who died so that we may live.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; to give his people the knowledge of salvation of the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Friday, September 19, 2008
On the note of words, I am coming to appreciate more and more the power of my own words that I acctually speak. I can type and rant and write and journal all I want, but until I actually utter the words so they are audible (and not just talking out loud to myself) do they really make an impact.
Now, I am not excusing any purpose in writing, or the influence it has on others....I am talking about the impact it has on me. Yes, not you...me. Even though life is not all about me (insert smart comment here) I still live here on this Earth, in this body, with this brain, including the damage, the dreams, the drama.
And words that I speak are making a difference in my life. Confession time: I have an anger issue, with which harsh words (and attitudes, facial expressions, gestures, etc.) come with. It seems that there is a way that I can say it's due to my upbringing, or my heritage, blood line, chemical make up....but I still need to learn how to handle myself. And so, I have learned that the slower I speak, the more time I take to speak, and the less I say....the more the words become beautiful.
Yes, beautiful. Graceful, peaceful, encouraging, loving, beyond my circumstance. The more I learn how to speak from the words the Lord provides in His word (yes, the bible), the more I learn that I am being changed from the inside out. My character is being stretched, my mind is being renewed, and my being is cared for by the master of beautiful words. Mmmmm, I love the truth of His mercy for us, peace given to us, and patience with us....and it urges me to grasp to the beautiful words of encouragement that He is sufficient in my weekness....and pass them on.
Know this, my beloved brothers (sisters): let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all fithiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
James 1: 19-21
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I wonder if you still like trains, or if you're too "big" for them. Do you like to build things? What is your favorite color? Do you like to eat broccoli? Who is your favorite friend to play with?
I know that the Lord has His hand on you, taking care of you and watching over you. I know that your Mom and Dad give you the love, tender care, and teaching moments you need. But I still miss you, and I still wonder, and I still pray...
I pray that someday I will meet you and you will think I'm silly and laugh at me. I pray that you will know me as the tummy mommy that loves you more than you can comprehend. I pray that you will grow up into a handsome young man that is challenged to work hard for the things that really matter, and that you will meet the Lord and call Him Abba, Father. I pray that your family is blessed beyond man's simple understanding of blessings, and that your lineage is touched by God's guidance, grace, hope and peace.
I pray for all of this because my arms are empty for you, while my heart overflows. Jack, may your life be great and good and touched by God.
Tummy Mommy Tiffany
P.S. Eight years ago, today, I gave birth to an 8 lbs 1 oz baby boy at 5:24 p.m. The next evening, around the same time, I had the honor of blessing a family who couldn't have children with their first, and only, son. I could not give the little boy the things he needed, and I chose to give him the chance to have what lacked in my life...father's arms to rest in.
I have a Daddy whom I have not lived with since I was around 2, and I have a beautiful relationship with him now. But growing up, I didn't have a father to stear me in the right direction every day. I know the consequences of taking that variable out of the equation...well, if you want to know more about it, maybe I'll write a book...
Just wanted to make a note to those who aren't familiar with the circumstance.
A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Speaking of relatives, for all of you that are in my family tree: hello! It's been too long since we last spoke, or hugged, or laughed together. And you need to know you are missed. I'm not sure if there will ever be a day in my life where I feel as though I have communicated sufficiently with those I love, family or not.
So what is the happy thought of today? Time. Wonderful time. Disastrous time. Too much can cause insanity, too little can do the same. Although, lately I have had the opportunity to take time and invest it. The turn around and yield on this investment has been dramatic....and for those of you who have any hesitation of making the same investment, don't hesitate!
Time spent with the people we love, and the people we know love us, has a way of supplying us with an immeasurable amount of sustainability. The Lord infiltrates the time and seems to fill in the blanks with jet puffed goodness, providing our lives with sweet mercy and warm gooey smiles. Memories plump with endorphins that are triggered and released when we recall the time we invested.
The relationships and moments I've been investing in have been multiplying the blessings in my life. Grace to make mistakes and still have a smile on my face, joy in experiencing an unexpected blessing, and peace with the encouragement to trust the Lord. Now if that's not something to be happy about, to smile about, and to help the days go by smoother, then I'm not sure what would.
I do know that for all of those that touch my life by one degree or another, I hope that any time spent around me causes you to smile and see joy in everyday...and if it doesn't, then slap me upside the head and tell me so! Those are the times that I need more often! The ones I love telling me like it is, and puttin' me straight back to where I'm looking up at the Lord rather than my own piddly little circumstance. Amen? Amen!
So, here's to a day brimming with blessings from the Lord, time spent with Him, with your loved ones, and to the precious moments that give us warm fuzzy giggles...and the time to take it all in!
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
How exactly does it all work? How is it that we are created to handle all that we do...and how is it that things work out so well when we don't handle them?
SEE WHAT I MEAN!!!
5:00 A.M. - Awakened by my four year old: "My bed's cold."
5:05 A.M. - Replace child to his own bed, warm him up with the mommy rub (where I quickly swish my hands back and forth on his arms to make him feel warmer...not sure if this actually works for warmth, or if it just warms the heart)...and decide to stay awake.
5:10 A.M. - Notice slivers of sunrise on my window...pull back curtain to inspect...
5:25 A.M. - Decide to plop onto the hood of my car, breath in the crunchy crisp air, and stare at the hushed yellows blazing into orange embers on the silvery blue sky...then I cried... Holy God in heaven batman! You are RAD!
5:30 A.M. - Start pot of coffee...why I didn't do this sooner escapes me...
5:35-7:00 A.M. - Bible time! Nehemiah is a rad book of the bible...there's a lot to learn in that there book...
7:15 A.M. - Kids awake and let the races begin!
7:30 A.M. - Little boy I babysit arrives...he's so cute...such a blessing to be able to make money AND have an 'easy' kid to watch...
And from there the day just got better! But back to the sunrise....
How these things turn out just sends me into a frenzy of overflowing joy...Our hands, our deeds, our intentions, our gifts...nothing...not a darn tootin' thing we can do to make anything that beautiful BETTER....
The simplest things (and these also happen to be the things that I have no part in making happen) are the 'bestest' to get my mind in a place of joy, tranquility, and overflowing...thanks where thanks is due: God.
You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. you give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before you.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
So, with that, this "thing" has been telling me to stop being such a strong woman. Not to stop doing my job, or to stop being a helper to my husband... but to stop being so strong willed. See, I'm a "type A". HA-HA! Perfectionist to the core... give me the facts and I can whip up a plan: complete with a spreadsheet, graphs, and audio for effect! That does NOT come in handy when the Lord says: follow your husband and let him lead. At least I don't see how it comes in handy at this point...
Now, for those of you that know my husband there need be no explanation...but let's just say that he's shy and quiet...NOT "type A"...not sure what you call it, but I'll call it: relaxed...my polar opposite! His relaxed nature is beautiful at those times when all he has to do is look at me and smile...and I melt with calmness during times of turmoil. But, by golly, let's get the ball rollin' when it comes to getting' something done! My darling is perfectly content to wait and let the Lord's timing meander by...but I like to MAKE it happen NOW!
Now, it's not in my brain to say "Why me? Why him? Why now?" But it is in my mind to say "What the heck!?!" How has this worked for so long! Going on 8 years! I'll tell ya how: I've been leading... and leading in the worst way ever! It's not my job to do this! I (we women) were not created for this! I've been pulling the rug out from under my husband for over seven years! Oh, Lord, thank you for your mercy!!
Hold on, those of you that are saying "What the heck?!? I'm a born leader, and I'M a woman!" I'm not talking about personality, I'm talking about how we do this thing called MARRIAGE. Fundamentally, biblical, we women are to follow our husbands. Not in the way that would be off the straight and narrow for us as Christians, but in the way that the husband is the authority of the home. I know that this statement brings up a heap of "stuff" for a lot of people...so I'm making this a multiple part entry...maybe two parts, maybe three... Needless to say, I'll attempt to keep it brief...
"Follow him...follow him...follow him!" Over and over and over...aaahhhh! With as much as I love my husband, and the Lord, this is hard! I know I'm not the only one out there, so I just want to lend some encouragement to those of you who are sharing this struggle with me: Pray...and follow...and pray some more...and continue to follow! Friends and sisters, we are called by the Lord to subject ourselves to our husband.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wive ought to be to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24. That's a hard pill to swallow if our husbands find it not in their nature to lead! So, we do the one thing we know how: pray...pray for guidance, safety, encouragement, conviction, and patience for our men...pray for the Lord's will to be made clear to the eyes and hearts of our husbands...and continue to clean the floors, wipe the noses, make the dinners, and be cute for the date nights...and pray some more! Seriously!
So this is where I stop trying to tell my husband what spreadsheet to open, or what scripture he needs to read today, or what job I think he needs to get. This is where I stop trying to figure out how it's all gonna work out, and what the heck we're going to do...
This is where I follow down the road of obedience, stopping when needed to make sure I'm looking up to see my husband right in front of me...following down the road to the things the Lord has for us. Which, I might add, are immensely greater and joyful than anything I could EVER conjure up! So, let today be a day of choosing to let go of the reins and let our men take over!
And stay linked...for my next task is to contemplate the burden the Lord has given to our men...which is super gnarly!
Monday, July 21, 2008
So, here I am, Monday afternoon, kids at the table eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches (fav!) with peaches... laundry waiting to be washed, dried, folded, AND put away... dinner is in the crock pot (check)... dishes are 1/2 way done (what does that mean?--there is still hand washin' to be done)... unfinished room rearranging is waiting patiently for me (nice how "it" waits so patiently, huh?)... the knitting project I started 4 months ago (which should have only taken me one) is soooo close to being done... and on and on and on.
So I pause in the midst of all this to and write... and breathe! By the way, I hope that all of you who scan my thoughts are appreciative of my dot...dot...dot...'s They are my favorite characters to utilize... if you haven't noticed!
So, let's all take a moment to breathe together....in....and....out....ahhhhh.
How beautiful it is when we pause to let go! Why do I even try to hang on? There is so much that is in my life that I attempt to hang on to... and all I need to do is breathe. So simple, I love it! So today I do not reflect nearly as deeply as I did on the Fourth... I honestly got a little carried away there for a bit! But I do leave with a scripture, as is necessity for us if we are to live the truth instead of our own corny renditions!
A tranquil heart is life to the body, but passion is rottenness to the bones. Proverbs 14:30
Oh I love the truth of the scriptures! I pray that your day is blessed!
Friday, July 4, 2008
Really, it's fun to watch.... which is what I do because the loud noise makes me wanna pee my pants! My husband is the one that enjoys this ritual, and boy is it fun to see him smile and giggle at the booming twinkles! I don't know if there is anything else that makes him stop and stare like that.... except me of course! No, I sit inside with the kids, looking out the second story window saying things like "Ooooh, that's my favorite.... I like the sparkles.... kids, are we having fun yet!?!"
While I'm not one for the explosive nature of this holiday, I still enjoy going to the same house year in and year out.... we even drove half way across the country for a July holiday! As we are preparing to join our family for todays festivities, I have been pondering the thought of explosions. Not just being a spectator to celebratory displays, but being the recipient of an off the cuff display of human malice. How many of us have been spectators like me (hiding behind a protective separation) when we're around those kind of explosions?
Somehow it seems, with me at least, that the "fireworks" burn brighter and the boom is louder with those we love. Something is triggered, the fuse is set, and the next moment we're left screaming and ooooohing. But this screaming and ooooohing is more of an "oh crap, what do I do now!?!" or "oh my, that's not pretty!" How many of us sit and stare in gasping wonder at someone that blows things out of proportion, or someone who holds everything inside until the fateful day of outburst. How many of us think: "What are they thinking?" "Lord help them, they need Jesus!" "Get me out of here!"
Well, I'll tell you what, not only have I been one to observe blasts such as these, but I have been known to have a couple myself.... oh, the irony hurts! Oh, mama, let me tell ya! I'm so good at looking at things through a microscope I should have been a scientist! There must be something in my brain that says "That's just the start...you should really look at that one up close...it's a doozey!" The blood boils, the eyes squint, the shakes set in, and then "I'm gonna hurt someone!" Mmm-hmm. There it is in black and white: my sin.
Now granted someone might look at my explosions and say "Well you handled that! Tell 'em like it is!" We all have the desire to be justified, to know that what we have to say is valid, and that someone really hears us. The problem with that is that it's self seeking. I explode because I feel like someone stepped on my toes or tried to hurt me (or didn't try, but did anyways). See, that's all about ME....
Here's the flip side: But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. (Colossians 3:8) Scream and ooooooh. Gasp in wonder at that.... and revel in truth. While I face the consequences of my explosions, cleaning up the messes I make with those I love, I hold dearly to the truth that His mercy is new every morning, and by His strength I can put to practice this next statement Paul makes to the Colossians: So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (Colossians 3:12-13)
Life is not a holiday, although we do enjoy the fun, food, family, and friends.... life is lived in the moments we take to stop and look... stop and listen... stop and learn. Look at how others are affected by you, listen to those who cry out to you, learn from those who go before you. That is what makes the moments in our lives memorable. Not the holidays, not the bigger, badder blasts, not the good food, and not the pretty pictures we put in scrapbooks.
In no way do I want anyone who reads this blog to think that I have it all figured out! Far be it for me to open my big mouth in an attempt at imparting wisdom! What I do know is the truth that God has provided in scripture, as well as being able to write stuff down that makes people laugh.... and think. I also know that writing is a way of sharing my heart with those I normally couldn't.... letting go of my fear of rejection (Amen!).... and letting the Lord do His work through my willingness to write. I pray that He works in your life despite what I say!!
So, during this holiday, as you reflect on being a free American, I challenge you to reflect on being free from an explosive nature. Do people have to duck and cover when you're around, or do you show compassion, humility, and patience? Can others tell you something that they know is hard to hear, or do they walk on egg shells for fear of a blast of anger? What ever position you find yourself in, His grace is sufficient, His mercy is new every morning, and here, finally, is the final thought: Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:6