Monday, August 25, 2014

What Is She Up To? Clue #4

This is the last week and the last clue to help you figure out what I'm up to.

I hope you have had fun with this little guessing game. I know I've had fun making up the clues and trying to keep this a secret from my husband.  Whew! I'll be glad when the cat's out of the bag!

Here it goes:

Clue #4

Every week, I sneak out the house
A surprise I'm hiding from Rick, my spouse.

I don't want to share until I can play
I'm "pickin' and grinnin'" - what more can I say?

Remember to post your one guess per week in the comment box below to be eligible for the prizes. The winners will be announced on my blog next Monday, September 1.

1st prize: $25 Starbucks Gift Card

2nd prize: A copy of The Waiting, by Cathy Lagrow (One of the books I read this summer)

3rd prize: A Living Real long-sleeve T-shirt (black only)

Happy Guessing!

My Pleasure,
Melanie










Thursday, August 21, 2014

As Is

While we spent a few days at the beach last week, a much needed vacation for our family, I finished another book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace- Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray.

The book is uniquely written with a weaving in and out of the author's personal story which draws you in to uncover your own spiritual whitespace. Each chapter ends with thought provoking questions, mingled with a tease for the next chapter.

As you join Gray on her journey through her healing from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), you find your own story unfolding as you push through the pages. She helps you discover what real soul rest is, guiding you into deep soul conversations with Jesus, as you bring your weary soul to Him...as is.


The phrase, as is, struck a chord deep inside me. I know Christians struggle.  I struggle. Many times I come boldly before the throne of Jesus Christ with a grateful heart, bringing praise and petitions into His presence. But there are also times when my soul is struggling for rest. Sometimes, I'm just a puddle of a mess lying at the feet of Jesus.

I've learned to come to Him...

As is.

As is is not always pretty.  Many times as is is messed up, hurt, frustrated, angry, sad, disappointed, anxious, depressed, etc. That's what is so beautiful about the way Gray approaches the spiritual whitespace in our lives. The whitespace is where Jesus meets with us, talks with us, and transfigures us.

Whitespace on a canvas is what makes art pop. It causes our eyes to focus on the image to be seen. If there's not enough whitespace, the image gets lost in the clutter. It's too busy, jumbled; too hard to focus.

Gray says, "Life is organic. It's not always plastic, shiny, and perfect. Life changes like the seasons... Rest comes from awakening our hearts to fully open up in our relationship with Jesus." (Finding Spiritual Whitespace, Pg. 212)

A Christian lives a life that is always changing with the Person of Jesus Christ who is always the same. When the two come together, the organic begins the transformation process; taking on the steady, unchanging, glorious image of Jesus Christ.

Our spiritual whitespace is where we intimately connect with the Person of Jesus Christ. If our lives are cluttered with stuff, distractions, and busyness, we haven't made room for the whitespace - the space where Jesus can really go to work through His Word and the Holy Spirit; the space where we have soul conversations with the Savior, the conversations that literally change our lives, renew our minds, and rest our souls.

This book has challenged me to look for and make more room for spiritual whitespace. As I take full advantage of the transforming process, my life will pop with what people need to focus on - Jesus!

The whitespace is where Jesus is whispering distinctly your name and mine to come...with our stuff, our clutter, our baggage, our burdens, our lives, and lay it ALL at His feet...

As is. 

"For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV)

My Pleasure,
Melanie

Monday, August 18, 2014

What Do You Think I'm Up To? Clue #3

It's time for Clue #3!

For the past 2 weeks, I've been giving clues to help you guess what I'm up to. I began something new a few weeks ago and wanted to share it with you in a unique and fun way.

Several have taken the challenge and put their ideas out there, but only one has come somewhat close.

Clue #3:

A neck, a head, 2 of its parts 
5 strings and tuners help with this art.

To see the other clues, read the previous 2 blogs. Also check out the prizes you could win!

Keep guessing! (One guess per week.)  Winners will be announced Monday, September 1, Labor Day!

My Pleasure,
Melanie



Monday, August 11, 2014

What I'm Up To...Another Clue!

Last Monday, I wanted to shake things up a bit and have a little blog fun. I shared with you that I have started something new, and the fun is to see if you can guess what I'm up to.

Several of you submitted guesses, and although they were excellent, no one has figured it out yet.

If you didn't see my blog, Clues and Prizes, you can surely catch up with the fun, see what others have guessed so far, and submit your guess! The prizes are listed as well. I'll announce the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners on Monday, September 1, 2014.

Clue # 1 was:

I sit to do this something new. Looking down helps me have a clear view.

Here's Clue #2:

I'm relearning something from far in my past. 
The second time around I'm not learning as fast.
I held the old in a particular way,
Holding it new is no different today.

Remember to post your guess on my blog in the comment box. You can make one guess per week. To become a member on my blog site, click on Join this Site and follow the instructions.  I can't wait to see what you come up with this week. Keep guessing and have fun!

My Pleasure,
Melanie




Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Clues and Prizes

Most people are capable of learning something new. Trying new things keeps our minds sharp and more focused. A fresh beginning brings excitement and anticipation. Learning new things also keeps us from becoming stagnant and bored.

My "who I want to be when I grow up" friend, Patsy Clairmont, through her stirring book, Twirl, has encouraged our book club this summer to try new things. Patsy challenges us to step out of our comfort zone and to take a risk.

"But what if I fail?," my mind screams in my ear.  Failure doesn't need to be feared. Failing at something new is to be expected. Just stay the course; try again. No one would have ever accomplished anything if they hadn't tried. Did the doughnut have a hole in it the first go round? I doubt it.

We learn through failure. We try. We fail. We try again. Sometimes we need to stick with it, and other times we need to make changes, or move on to something else altogether. Learning to do anything well takes time, hard work and patience.

Today, I took the plunge! I embraced Patsy's challenge and began something new! Was I scared?
A little, but I had FUN!

Oh... no. I'm not going to tell you what my new thing is yet.  Here's how it will work:

Each week, beginning today, I'll give you a clue.  If you want to guess what I'm up to, you'll have to leave a comment on my blog. You can know when I post quicker if you become a follower of my blogpost. As a follower, you will receive an email in your Inbox telling you that I have posted a blog. Instructions on how to become a follower are on the right side of this blog page. Click on the words Join this Site.

I will be posting clues, one per week, for rest of August. You may guess after each clue if you like, but only one guess per week, please.

The first 3 people to guess correctly what my something new is will receive a prize.  I will announce the winners on September 1, 2014.

1st prize: a $25 Starbuck's gift card (One of my simple pleasures is coffee. I LOVE IT!)

2nd prize: a copy of The Waiting, by Cathy LaGrow (This was the book which left a great impression on me this summer.)

3rd prize: a $10 gift card for a dozen doughnuts (Just because.)

Here we go....

Week One, Clue #1:   

I sit to do this something new.  Looking down helps me with my view. 

Let the guessing begin!

My Pleasure,
Melanie










Saturday, August 2, 2014

Who Do You Have In Mind?

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You. 
(Isaiah 26:3 NKJV)

I've expressed many times before that our quiet time with the Lord doesn't just consist of a ten-minute devotional time where we read a few verses from the Bible, or a page from a devotional book, say a quick prayer and then off we go. It's really about Who we have in mind. 

Certainly some intentional time carved out of our daily for Bible study, prayer, and meditation is very necessary for us to breathe in a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit, but that shouldn't be the only time we think about the Lord. Time with the Lord is an all day affair.

Jesus Christ has always been my best friend for as long as I can remember. I was taught, and understood early on, that God was a very personal God. He walks with me and talks with me, just like the hymn, In the Garden, says.  I can still hear my dad singing those words as he went about his day. 

But sometimes we allow life to get in the way of His walking and talking with us. Our minds become cluttered with the stress of the day, so anxiety and fear tend to crowd out our thoughts of Christ, which provides peace that passes all understanding. 

As a child I spent time with Him all throughout the day. No worries. No stress. My mom said, as she described my preschool days on the swing set, "She would pump her legs as hard as she could, fly as high as her swing would take her, all the while singing at the top of her lungs...


Oh, how I love Jesus, Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus because He first loved me. 

I believe God smiled as He heard my loud, little girl voice floating up to His ears telling Him how much I loved  Him through song. 

I still believe He smiles when, as an adult, Christ is on my mind all day long.  My time with Him is precious. No matter what, I try and focus on Him. He's the center of my being, my doing, my living. 

A mind full of Christ leads to thoughts full of His wonder, His love, His mercy, His majesty, His creation, His blessings, His Word, His grace, His power, His forgiveness, His holiness, His sovereignty, His guidance, His glory...

His peace.  

Just like the bumper sticker states, "Know Jesus. Know Peace. No Jesus. No Peace."

Spend time with Jesus today. Get to know Him. Talk with Him, not just to Him. 

And listen for His voice.

What a peaceful way to spend the day! 

My Pleasure,
Melanie

(In the Garden, words and music by C. Austin Miles)
(There Is A Name I Love to Hear, words by Frederick Whitfield; music, Anonymous)