Friday, May 25, 2012

Furlough Friday

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV) 

 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Today?  It is a furlough day for the district I work with, a day of sacrifice for the whole.  Negotiations continue for the calendar days next school year. More sacrifice is needed, the budget is short. Teachers hold pink slips, counselors and nurses are losing their jobs,  and student's choices to further their educational development in a broad spectrum which should include the arts, technology and tactical skills are sadly dwindling. Five furlough days this year, ten--twelve next year? When will our sacrifice make a difference?  

God took a furlough day.  He walked up a lonely hill,  laid down his body on a rugged cross, and hung and bled out until his chest could lift no more. Furlough Friday, a sacrifice for all mankind.  On Glorious Easter Sunday, a new budget was approved, and He arose from the dead, to receive those who believed. His sacrifice makes a difference in the red ink of sin in our hearts.  His furlough day unites those who partake in remembering, a communion of hearts in union. 

Each day we walk with our Superintendent of Sanctification, our Principal of Promise, and  He rewards us with increasing grace and power in our paychecks of blessings.  We all have an important part in our own district of influence.  Whether are servant hands bring food to the hungry at noontime, or we help keep the campus of our lives clean with mercy brooms, mow the grass and trim the branches with blades of truth, or we answer the calls to pray, counsel the youth towards correct pathways of righteousness, or administer and oversee His children in love and purpose, God rewards us in our sacrifice.  In I Timothy 5:17 it states: Those who teach hold a special responsibility. 

 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

James 3:1 reminds us that teachers again, are special: 

Not many of you should become teachersmy fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 

I love my job. I work with wonderful people, I get to exercise my gifts and God rewards me in other ways in addition to my paycheck. I will gladly take this furlough day and hope it saves a job.  I am glad that Christ's furlough day, saved my life.  

Lord, today I pray for my school district, for teachers and custodians, for maintenance people and counselors, for nurses and aides.  I pray for our students, our curriculum, our principals and district personnel. I pray for Godly wisdom, and a school board who seeks direction from humble prayer. I am grateful for the people I have met in my job who encourage me daily and I pray I can continue to make a difference on campus.  Amen. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Listen Up!

Matthew 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him listen. 

I went to a writer's conference in Michigan four years ago and met a great gal named Karlene who exemplified service, shuttling many back and forth from airport to hotel.  This week, Karlene visited California with a similar purpose, a writer's conference. 

Karlene at Disneyland, Bling Ears On! 
God whispered an idea in my ear, coinciding with another friend's encouragement; -- let's add Disneyland to her itinerary.  I listened, made a divine-earthly connection for her to experience the Park.  My Disneyland Fireman friend also listened and responded. Thank you Greg. 

In my 5,  getting close to 6 decades in California, Disneyland is a few Tigger hops down the freeway and  I've visited many times.  Always something new excites me, exhilarating  thrills abound and  I marvel at the detail and decor.  This time, enjoying it through the eyes and EARS of a "First-timer,"  we went to City Hall on Main Street, and got her THE badge!  

This might be common knowledge to some, but I learned on this trip about the "Hidden Mickey's" and for this blogger, sometime photographer,  who has all the time and money in the world...haha, to document a search for the Hidden Mickey's sounds like a lot of fun.  Looking for those iconic three circles,  I'm sure somebody out there is doing this. Think I'll add it to my bucket list. 

When God whispers to you, tells you to step out and try, serve, go this way instead of that way, close a door, open this one, are your EARS hidden?  Do you heed His call or are you constantly just standing in the line, never reaching the purposed "ride."  From experience, I can tell you that's not a good idea.  You just might end up on a wrong roller coaster, up and down, swirling in the dark without knowing your next direction.  Fine for an amusement park, but your real life?  

Put your listening ears on, read His Word, say your prayers and every time God promises something new to excite your spirit,  something new to thrill your soul. Oh how marvelous his Grand Design!  

Father, this world is loud and sometimes our own thoughts rise above your Words. Forgive me.  Help me Lord to always be a good listener, my ears on and open to hear your voice of love, your call of service, your song of encouragement. Amen.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

To Be Greatly Praised

Proverbs 31: 30-31. "Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise."

Define a beautiful woman?   Media and Hollywood film display on a 24-7 loop, anytime, any place, their gold standard. 

Marilyn, Elizabeth Taylor, Angelie Jolie...

Practical but with style and great taste ---that was my mom. Probably a size 5 or 7 petite, she shopped frugally. Nordstroms semi-annual sale, TJ Maxx, Macy's one-day sale--and she did it often! 

She never missed the "Clinique" give-aways.  Her vanity drawers were full of the aqua colored beauty secrets. 

And her shoes!  Should I continue?  

My mom was cute and looked good for her advancing age.  I hope to do so well. 

Her true spiritual journey came later in her life and so did a second chance at love, a love she never expected after so many years had passed since our father died, leaving her a widow at 49. God brought two people together as friends at a time in their lives when past sorrow grooves and laugh lines combined on faces of hope. 

Define a beautiful woman? 

My mother watched the cancer creature creep again.  She became his hospice home, his death watch, his prayer to heaven. 

 I watched, in awe of her strength, the passionate beauty that God brought to the surface in the midst of her fear and pain. I understood so much by then about mothers and children, about children and mothers. Strength does come from family ties and God holds the shoestrings. 

I will go visit her headstone this weekend and bring her some lavender roses. 

And I will give her praise.  

My mother Joyce with grand daughter Katie and Mike ♥
Lord, continue to give me the strength and passion to love and be loved in and through many memories. Thank you for my mother and what she brought to my life.  Amen.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cupcake Accords

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! (NLV). 

A birthday happened for me this week.  Tradition tells us that a sweet treat, A CAKE , is the appropriate and acceptable indulgence. YUM! Popular now is the creativity found in a cupcake.  No longer simple, a cable show called "Cupcake Wars", rates among the top watched food shows.  A cupcake boutique called "Sprinkles" boasts customers waiting in lines that wind outside the building, down the sidewalk.  And some of the names and flavors?  

Coconut: Madagascar bourbon vanilla cake with coconut cream cheese frosting 

Choco Loco: Belgian dark chocolate cake with bittersweet chocolate and Mexican cinnamon frosting 

Peanut Butter Chocolate: Chocolate-chip studded peanut butter cake with fudgy milk-chocolate cream cheese frosting.  

Red Velvet: Southern style light chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. 

Pictured below, two specimens of decadence; one I received from my friend Barb today.  My writer's group brought mini red velvet to class Wed. and mini chocolate on chocolate with chocolate drizzle tempted and taunted us at a lunch gathering today at school.

I'm waiting until after dinner like a good girl. 

 As a Believer, we are a lot like a cupcake.  

God mixes us up with special ingredients, giving us each a unique flavor and texture. Then we are poured into this world. Our time is numbered while God brings us to perfection. Some of us are set apart with a special filling, a test or trial that makes us layered with a testimony of what's at our core. 

When the firsts steps of our recipe are complete, we willingly move with obedience, ready for God to lavish His frosting of grace infused with knowledge and wisdom that swirls all around and points up to His goodness. Sprinkled with his blessings, we hope our recipe points towards the Baker Supreme, A Heavenly Father who wants to fill us with sweetness every day.  Cupcake Wars?  No, Cupcake Accords...A peace in our hearts we can't wait to share.  

Lord, I am thankful for the sweet treats I received from thoughtful friends this week. Even more so, I am thankful for the sweet surprises you give me in my daily walk. Help me to sprinkle your loving kindness on all the "cupcake" people I come along side in my life.  Amen