Saturday, September 14, 2013

Adaptation and Creation

Imagine the earth suddenly void of the oceans. They are so vast, our world is called "the BLUE planet." Even in all our scientific advancements, we still haven't reached anywhere near closure to what there is to discover about the oceans and all therein. Of course humanity would have to adapt to such a loss. We would need to find a new way to not merely survive, but to thrive. 

Those who allowed the sorrow of the loss of their oceanic traditions, habits, nutrition, & more to cause them to become bitter & angry, to constantly taut how much better life was when we had the beautiful salty water, with its incredible contributions to our lives, the more they would hinder EVERYONE'S ability to move forward. If children only hear how much better it "used" to be with the ocean, they may never see value in seeking what good their may be in the mountains, or in the deserts. 

In truth, even the mountains ecological system would suffer from the loss of the oceans. But somehow, someway we could find a new way to be healthy, & excel, & grow. Survival is coded into our DNA. Adaptation is just what we do. HOW we adapt is what we want to control & guide. "Controlled adaptation" is actually CREATION.

Even though God put it in our instinct to create the best we can out of mess & confusion, it's also possible for us to choose to NOT make things new. Our adaptation of choice can be to settle in the sorrow of loss, & never leave there. Others will move into the struggle to create. & they will reap the glorious benefits of "it is good!" Just as God, our Father & Creator did in the beginning.

He created. But it was without form. It was void and dark. So he began the process of creating NEW things to fix the old.

I'm not really thinking about oceanography, or ecology. I'm actually thinking about the loss of relationships & love.

The vastness & strength of love is bigger than is comprehensible. Like our oceans. The pain of its loss is as well. As it should be. While it's APPROPRIATE to appreciate the devastation of great loss. It's just not appropriate to not recover, adapt to the difference, & create new.

I don't know if God felt any sense of failure over his original creation not being "right." But I do know that he went into the process of "one step at a time." And with EVERY step of creation he said, "It is good."

So don't expect your process to be a "shazzam." Evidently, "shzazam" moments aren't the smartest. (Because, God of course is very smart about these things.) So, take a step. And rather than focus on what's NOT fixed, focus on what change you DID make. Then proclaim, "It is good!"

Rebuild relationships. Create new friendships. Never stop giving or receiving love. After all, GOD IS LOVE. He loves being shared. He is not limited by failures or fumbles. Rise up! Adapt! Create! Make new! Let God guide the process and you will thrive!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What Goes In; Parents' Inspiration

Some may say I do things to the extreme. I'd like to describe my methods as "thorough."

Ok. I'm fully aware of the reality in my tendencies. In the spirit of that knowledge let me explain that as a young mom, I took Deuteronomy 6:7, absolutely literally. It was my to do list from day one of my children's arrival on this planet.
"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

I'm a singer and writer, so music was my gateway to accomplish this. While feeding and rocking my babies, I wrote and sang song after song about the oneness of God. As a Christian it is very important to me that if ANYONE is going to understand who Christ is, my own children should first and foremost. So I wrote, rocked, and sang lullabies, "All in Him... The fullness of the godhead is all in him."
I figured the world  already had in it a LOT of nonsensical lullabies ("When the bough breaks the cradle will fall?!" Really?!) My kids would learn those classics as well. But I wanted an understanding of God, an appreciation for WHO Christ is, interwoven in their earliest thoughts.
I also wrote and sang playtime songs like, "When I wake up in the morning and I get out of bed... la-la-la! Our God is one!" 

We happened to be in Europe for my son, Madison's, second birthday. We had played music and worshiped with some really exciting and motivated people in Serbia, Hungary, and before we came home we went to Rome and toured the Vatican.

My son gets hyper-activity very honestly. Energy is funneled into that child's DNA from every possible branch of the family. He's deaf in his right ear, and wears an aid on his left ear. Consequently, "loud" is also a part of his presence. He's loud and he requires everybody around him to be loud. He has bright blue eyes, laughs easily and (of course) loudly. He's not afraid to try almost anything. (Which keeps me in a constant state of intercession!) So THIS bundle of pent-up energy was being carted through the Vatican.

My daughter is 18 months older than Madio. Morgan was born "old." She knows stuff, understands stuff, teaches stuff that I didn't even know existed. She was QUITE into the Vatican! Her three and a half year old self was pointing at art, she would stand and gaze at various pieces for extended periods of time. (The CLOTHED pieces, I must say for my evil, joking friends!) She was typically "Morgan" there. Happy to be experiencing the height of sophisticated art.

Madio, on the other hand, thought he was going to DIE!

Because of all the various levels and staircases, we weren't allowed to use a stroller. And Madio could not be left for ten seconds without an adult hand in contact with his person. So he was carried. We were not allowed to take snacks or bottles for the kids either. After a couple hours of this Vatican tour, he was ITCHING to get down to play.  Every adult in our group was equally itching to PUT HIM DOWN!

His first opportunity was in this beautiful, ancient courtyard that seemed to be in the dead-center of the whole of that palatial structure. And that's where pure, epic awesomeness occurred.

That baby's feet barely touched the ground, when his pointer finger went up in the air, and my man-child waddled all over the Vatican courtyard singing, "la-la-la! Our God is ONE!"

I don't know if anyone else in history has ever had the opportunity to walk into the seat of the Trinitarian doctrine and proclaim, "Our God is ONE," but my baby did!

He's a teen now, and he doesn't remember the event at all. But as usual, the scripture worked. I purposefully taught it diligently from morning, throughout the day, and at bedtime. What goes in, comes out. And it sparkled out, all over the Vatican!

Plain Path For Kids, & Plain Path For Kids, Vol. 2, can be downloaded on iTunes!

Denee also makes Bible memory songs!

You can find links to download Denée's music at her website:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Leave the Unmarked Grave

Jeremiah 26:20-23 has utterly rocked my world this week. I've done a lot of really cool, amazing, wonderful things. & not because I'm "amazing," but because I most definitely seek out amazing projects to be a part of. In fact, I'm far from amazing. I'm aware of my weaknesses, shortcomings, & sins more keenly than even my harshest critics & judges are. But it's been quite the shock & setback to me that I've put myself on the line for a "project" I thought would be most greatly appreciated, & the reaction around me was quite the opposite. At first, this was easy enough to handle because I was able to convince myself that I must have been very wrong in my evaluation of the project, and rather than the project being worth my passion (because, I'm one of "those" who can't do anything normal. Lol Ive always gotta go to the extreme.) it was a failure of sound judgment on my part & I was able to believe I had involved myself in a project that was in fact not what I thought. Being dead wrong was hard to accept. But I did it.

Where I was thrown for a loop was when out of nowhere, all the crowds who were too busy, or too nonchalant, or too lazy, or lacked insight, or WHATEVER their reasons were for not standing with me in this cause, were suddenly hailing the project as "worthy" just as I had. Only, the problem was that I had been "killed" for it and lay forgotten in an unmarked grave, unable to be a part of the glory of it. The glory I had foreseen! The glory I had discerned! The glory I had invested my time, money, love, and passion into.

This is why Jeremiah 26 shook me. And thank God it did! It shook me from my mourning. Urijah (Uriah in other translations) was a mighty prophet, fearless. He echoed the prophecy of Jeremiah. He spoke truth. He was anointed of God. He was doing the right thing! But instead of a parade for standing with Jeremiah, instead of honor, his life was attacked and he was ultimately killed and thrown into an unmarked grave.

In our "praise culture" where our children grow up hearing parents rave about every tiny accomplishment, where our employers attend seminars where they're instructed in the art of a "praise sandwich," (praise, correct, praise.) Where we're taught "love" is "approval." When you are dealt Uriah's hand, it can nearly kill you. & a "living death" is worse than a physical death. When a person feels dead inside they'd prefer to actually BE dead!

Its easy to become disoriented & confused when you do something very godly, very powerfully, very "right," but your repayment is death & an attempt to blot out your memory. That was Uriah's outcome. it didnt make Uriah's behavior wrong. Even though evil TRIED to blot out his memory, we are still remembering him, valuing him, & speaking his name over two thousand years later.

So here's the lesson I've learned, and I hope it's helpful to you as well;
Don't become bitter if you find yourself in Uriah's shoes. Don't let the good that you did be consumed by the decay of death. Don't let your future good be unable to grow because you insist on mourning at a grave that's now full of rot. If you're still breathing there's something else for you to do. Don't limit your ability to be a part of more acts, of greater heights bc your stuck mourning at your unmarked grave. At that grave, lay some flowers of thanksgiving that you were a part of a good deed, then MOVE ON!

"Forgetting those things which are behind" isn't only about forgetting sinful, or embarrassing things. We must also forget about how great we did, how amazing we felt, how privileged we were to be a part of such a noble thing. If we get stuck even on good things, we're very much "stuck!" & being stuck in the past is never good. Living NOW, here, today is what's of utmost importance!

So, yeah. You did good. And yeah. It wasn't appreciated. And yep. You may feel dead because of the emotional upheaval of the whole experience. But its the deed that's dead. YOU AREN'T! So go do something else that is great and awesome!!

Bad things sometimes happen to good people. But dont let your good thing make you a bad person. You might even shed some more tears along the way. my sister died almost forty years ago, and periodically my parents will shed a few tears. But its a FEW tears. They've learned how to not allow the pain to consume & rule them. And thats your goal. You're human. Periodically you may get chocked up over the death of your deed. But you must work to get to a place where it doesn't  consume your living. My parents did not replace my sister, Gina. But they found new life in birthing and raising my brother and second sister. So be thankful you were honored to do something so great, but then leave that grave & all its pain behind and focus on the new.

In Jesus' name!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Chocolate Soup Benefits

I'm a Whimmer, in other words, I do things on a whim. Sometimes I can explain why, other times I can't & I just enjoy it! Today I had a whim to make "Chocolate Soup." I've never heard of it. Never seen it. When I decided to make it I wasn't sure wat it's consistency would be, so it didn't start as "chocolate soup." It started as,

I've lost over 90 pounds in the last 5 years. One of the lifestyle habits I picked up was to NOT have junk food in my house. I eat junk food anytime I want it. But it's an inconvenience to do so. This has made me creative, to say the least, when I'm craving certain things.

I've only had two "bowls" of my Chocolate Soup, & I didn't calculate measures. If I end up doing so, I'll definitely add those measurements here. [AT THE END OF THIS BLOG POST] But it was so YUMMY to me, & I knew (because, of course, I concocted every ingredient) it's actually quite healthy. So I did a little googling to see how good my good soup really was! Below are the ingredients along with links to articles about each ingredient's benefits.

My "bowl" was a small KFC, side item plastic, reusable container. The final product didn't quite fill the bowl.

I started w/a base of freshly brewed, warm Green/cranberry tea.

Benefits of green tea:

Cocoa Powder benefits: 

I added coconut oil in an attempt to thicken it a little. It did SLIGHTLY, and bc of its benefits I may leave it in. But once I figure out nutritional value of all of this, I may keep it out. 

Benefits of coconut oil: 

Benefits of white, refined sugar: NONE!! Lol

Chocolate soup
84 calories
1/2 cup of green and cranberry tea
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 Tablespoon of fat free French vanilla cream
Drizzle the top with honey
Stir, sip, enjoy! (It's rather like a "grown up" tasting hot cocoa. I eat it with a spoon BECAUSE I CAN!) lol 

Stir in each ingredient individually into the hot tea. TADA! 

Teas: 0 cal, 0 carbs, 0 g of fat
Sugar: 48 cal, 12 carbs, 0 g of fat
Coco powder: 20 cal, three carbs, .5 g of fat
Fat-free French vanilla cream: 16 cal, three carbs, 0 g of fat

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Night of HOPE

As I was preparing for bed, my mind was swirling around my experiences during my own dreaded nights of tears and sorrow. Pain brought about by events and behaviors out of my control. I've also dealt with the mourning of regret due to houses I brought down on MY OWN head. There are nights of much tears, the heavens feel shut up to you, the ground seems to hunger for you. These times of growth and rebirth are trying to one's sanity.

But I was also thinking of others' sorrows...

I was thinking of the meal I had just delivered to a teen who had lost his entire family TWICE. I don't know the story of his birth family, but his foster family had been killed in an auto accident.

I was thinking of my parents' loss of my baby sister. Clearly, my loss as well. Indeed, the whole world's loss. But as I was two years old when she died, I don't remember the mourning. But my parents will still cry, even after nearly forty years.

I've been reading the book of Jeremiah, and his persecution has been so "current" and painful to read. I don't mean to imply I am enduring persecution. I mean that such a noble, honest man of God faced persecution breaks my heart.

I was just feeling the reality that sorrow is prevelant.

So, I felt like the least I could do was to make sure that each hour a scripture was posted about "hope."

Truly, hope is of utmost importance for those in dire emotional straits. It's vital that people look for something, anything, to hope in. Hope that you won't cry. Hope that you get a better car. Hope that you find a better job. Hope that you grow your circle of friends. Hope that you learn to communicate better. Hope that you gain more wisdom. Hope that you behave better.

Hope is not a wish. Hope is not denial. Hope is absolute BELIEF that there is something better. Hope is of God, therefore bringing oneself into his presence is necessary to go from "wishing upon a star," to "hoping in The Lord." Hoping in The Lord will require some work on your part. But his grace is sufficient to fill in the gaps and make up for our weaknesses.

When you get a hope, then you begin to believe in scriptures such as, "you have not because you ask not."- Jesus. 
And, "If you ask anything in my name, I will do it."-Jesus
When you ask, that very act of prayer is "faith!"

Faith is the SUBSTANCE of that thing you hope for! 

Then your faith-behavior consistently repeats the steps: 
Regardless of what your eyes see, envision that hope for a brighter day. God put that seed in your spirit, so don't fear it. Enter into a place of prayer, and while His Spirit is engaging with you,  ASK IN HIS NAME!
Wash, rinse, repeat.
In other words, do it again and again!

That, my friend, is the simple formula used by mighty men and women of God from Genesis to this very day. 

So, cry if the pain is there tonight. But don't ONLY cry. Engage with God through prayer. And find HOPE!  

Psalms 16:7 (NET)
I will praise the LORD who guides me; yes, during the night I reflect and learn.

Psalms 16:8 (KJV)
I have set the LORD always before me: because [he is] at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Psalms 16:9 (KJV)
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

Psalms 31:24 (KJV)
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Psalms 31:24 (NET)
Be strong and confident, all you who wait on the LORD!

Psalms 130:4 (NET)
But you are willing to forgive, so that you might be honored.

Psalms 130:5 (KJV)
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

Psalms 147:11 (KJV)
The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Psalms 147:11 (NET)
The LORD takes delight in his faithful followers, and in those who wait for his loyal love.

Lamentations 3:21 (NET)
But this I call to mind; therefore I have hope:  (Khet)

Lamentations 3:22 (NET)
The LORD's loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions never end.

Psalms 42:5 (NET)
Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention.

Psalms 42:6 (NET)
I am depressed, so I will pray to you while I am trapped here in the region of the upper Jordan, from Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Hosea 2:15 (KJV)
And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

Joel 3:16 (KJV)
The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD [will be] the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Romans 4:18 (KJV)
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

Romans 5:2 (KJV)
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:5 (KJV)
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

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