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Delighting in my God, I desire to dwell in His pleasure and to help others experience true delight.

"Delight Yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.  
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;..." Ps 37:4-7a

Friday, May 31, 2013

Imagining the Abundant Joy of Eternity

Five Minute Friday:  Imagine

1.  Write for 5 minutes flat - no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2.  Link back to Five Minute Friday
3.  Visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them with your comments.  The one unbreakable rule.

I haven’t written a Five Minute Friday for awhile.  I haven’t blogged for a few weeks either, come to think of it.  I’ve barely gotten online to leave a comment here or there, but at least I have done that over the last few weeks a time or two.  It has been nagging at me to sit down and write something more than a journal entry, a homeschool test, or something work related.  

"Ah, it’s Friday, I’ll check in and at least write for 5 minutes,"  I think.  So I checked in to find the word “Imagine” was the prompt for the day.  Then I was immediately summoned to perform mom driving duties.  The word "Imagine" hummed in my head as I drove.

Upon return:  Five minutes begin.  


I couldn’t help but immediately think of one of my favorite songs, “I Can Only Imagine.”  

Image source

Every time I hear it, my heart turns to praise.  I can’t help but meditate on the concept of being in the eternal presence of God.  The sense of abundance, not of lots of stuff as in the physical, but of abundant filling of the Spirit, with a satiation that leads to sense of satisfaction and sanctification that is palpable.  I can breathe it, feel it, bask in it:  the abundance of joy that overwhelms me as I imagine.  The song often moves me to tears of joy, and I love to just sing along, and then think about it when it is done.

I drove along and thought about the song.  I thought about the words and the concept on my way back after dropping the kids.  Then I turned the radio on.  I confess I usually listen to talk radio in the afternoon.  There was a commercial on; so I switched the channel to the Christian radio station.  Just as I turned it on, “I Can Only Imagine” began to play.  I couldn’t help but well up with tears of joy at the realization that my God was speaking directly to me.  

Five minutes up:  Stop.

I also can’t help but think about Team Hoyt every time I hear the song since when I first heard it, it was in conjunction with a music video about this amazing father and son duo.  Their story is quite incredible.  Son, Rick Hoyt was born with cerebral palsy which left him paralyzed with minimal mobility.  Medical personnel held out little hope, but the Hoyts, Dick and Judy, would not give up on their son.  As he grew, they grew too ministering to him as loving parents might.  Along the way, they discovered that young Rick Hoyt got a tremendous sense of freedom from being out with his dad in racing events, Father Hoyt pushing his son in some kind of chair or bike, or carrying him along in some way.

After the initial 5 mile benefit run in 1977, the Hoyts went on to participate in more and more races including marathons and triathlons.  In 1989 the Hoyt Foundation was started to raise awareness of the challenges of people with disabilities as it, “aspires to build the individual character, self-confidence, and self-esteem of America’s disabled young people through inclusion in all facets of daily life...”   One of the ironic and quite poignant vignettes of their larger story came when Dick Hoyt had a heart attack after years of racing with his son.  The doctor’s told him he wouldn’t have survived had he not been in such tremendous physical condition.  Here the Dad had been thinking he was helping his son all these years, and it turns out the son saved his dad’s life.

There is lots more of the inspiring story, and the music video is worth watching again and again.  I hope you’ll take the time to visit Team Hoyt.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Son's Wedding - A Mother's Transition

It has been a whirlwind weekend for our family.  We headed off last Thursday to join my son and prepare for his wedding on Saturday, on my birthday.  

Family came from all parts and we had a wonderful family reunion after the rehearsal on Friday.  

Then came the big event on Saturday.  It was beautiful and lots of tears were shed by Mom, (that's me).  

My Children were all in the wedding, the groom in the middle.

Of course they were happy tears, sort of.  I didn't think this would be as difficult as it is.   After all, isn't this what we get them ready for - to go off on their own, live their own lives, start their own families?

Really it isn't that I am not happy for the bride and groom.  I am.  They love each other and they bring out the best in each other.  What is difficult are these transitions.  It is like you are leaving behind one life and beginning another.  Transitions are difficult.  You know an era has passed.  That's a hard thing on a personal level for me.  Even happy transitions are hard things for some of us.

And so, though I should be rejoicing, and I am, I am also struggling with the emotional tumult of transition.  I feel bad for my family because I am sure I am a bit salty right now.  But salt brings flavor and salt preserves; so perhaps I'm adding something good with my internal wrestling match as it flavors their lives.

I am spending extra time with the Lord lamenting the emotions that accompany transition.  I am not complaining.  There isn't anything to complain about.  Look at this beautiful couple!  It is a wonderful thing, marriage.  

I am confessing, confessing that I want to be as joyful as I know I should be, but I am not there yet.  I am thanking, thanking God for the beautiful bride He has given my son, and the wonderful family He has blessed us with.  I am praising, praising God for who He is and how He works all these things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  I am just resting, dwelling in His presence so that my lament will turn to praise and thanksgiving and contentment and joy.   

Buck and Anna Dunn, married May 11, 2013 

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

 Thank you to those who have passed along awards to my blog.  I appreciate you and will get to the responses eventually.  And thanks for coming by and celebrating this joyous time with me too. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Reflecting On the A to Z Challenge

A to Z Challenge:  Reflections:  

A to Z Reflections

The A to Z Challenge really started for me back a few month in preparation for April. I began tracking the A to Z challenge website and gaining tips and tricks for how to prepare, as well as how to get and give the most in the challenge.  And I did learn oodles from that daily check in.  I practiced daily what I was learning, like visiting blogs of those on the list and prewriting some of the A to Z entries.  Both of these were huge helps.  In fact, if I participate next year, and right now I think I will, I’ll start even earlier and try to not only get most prewritten but also pre-posted, which I did not do until we got very close to the kick-off.  

Starting off in April wasn’t too tough.  I was able to get a week’s worth of pre-posts ready to go, and so the daily 5 new blog visits and revisiting those who became blogging friends or those blogs that really intrigued me or those that were kind enough to stop by my blog was not initially too difficult.  However, as I began to fall behind on the rest of life, running to catch up, and as I didn’t have a week in advance ready anymore, if even a day, and as the revisits mounted up, well the CHALLENGE of the event began to challenge me.  

I imagine I am not much different than others in this regard.  At that point I not only had to catch up some days with life outside of the blogosphere, I started to feel like I had to catch up with life in blogland as well, because I am fanatical about keeping my commitments, and I made a commitment to visit as well as write my own entry.  So by golly, I was going to do it!

In spite of the stress in the second half, what a joy it has been connecting with the  like-minded, coming to understand the not-so-like-minded, visiting places and people from around the world, being inspired by the young, the old, and the simply inspiring, and so much more that many of us would never have been exposed to.  It has been a truly growing experience.  Not only writing everyday in this way, but also connecting in a way that is, well, out of this world in more ways than one, I have found myself very deeply contemplative on some points and prayerful for new people.  The fun, the inspiration, the challenge, have all been a healthy stretch.  

I am very grateful that God laid it on Arlee’s heart to get this off the ground those few years back.  It is incredible how many people’s lives around the world A to Z has touched and how it has connected so many of us in such a good way.  Recently I was listening to a speaker who was addressing the current state of our information age that we know so many things that in reality are trivial and unnecessary to our daily lives, and yet we don’t know what is happening in our neighbors lives.  True and sad.  Yet this challenge brought lives together in an explosion of discovery.  Perhaps some of it was trivial and unnecessary, but I have to say I do feel like it did add to the quality of my life, my personal development, and my relationships across the spectrum of this world and the cyber-world.  Thank you Arlee and thank you to all of you who have connected with me through this A-Z adventure.  

A to Z Challenge Reflections

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Who Am I?

The Insecure Writer's Support Group
It has been such a busy month trying to keep up with the A to Z Challenge.  Now I have whirling around in my head that I want to make the next hurdle and post on the reflections link.  And will I make it?

I am not a novelist, but I love to write.  I primarily like to share things that I have learned or that I believe the Lord is teaching me that someone else might benefit from.  I am a counselor, a home school teacher, a mom, a wife, not necessarily in that order.  I have been a newsletter editor, a speech editor, a program editor, among my various editorial experience.  But who am I to think I can even be part of an "Insecure Writer's Support Group?"

It has been a real high being part of the A to Z challenge and rubbing words with all of you real writers.  Who am I?  I write my thoughts down in a blog.  I write devotionals for our home school newsletter.  I write in my journal.  I think about writing more extensively, but barely have time to keep up with the pittance I am already executing.  A to Z was a real CHALLENGE for me to fit in while keeping up with all the rest of my responsibilities.  I am no writer.  Am I?

Who am I?  I am not any one of any notoriety and probably never will be.  I am a pretty joyful, Christian wife and mom.  I am happy to be serving my family, the church, and the community in the capacity that I do.  But is the Lord really calling me to write?  Do I have something to say that needs to be heard?  Who am I?  

So while I came away from the A-Z Challenge really excited for all that I learned and everyone I met and what I was able to accomplish, I also came away with that sense of "what am I doing here?"  Who am I?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I have to zip through this one.  I have the zeal, but not the zest to to go out with a zany zinger.  I am not in the zone.  I am zoning out.  Right now all I need are some zzzzzz’s.  The A to Z Challenge has zapped me.  I am zooming on to completion, but I don’t have much to say.  

It’s been fun!  

I will spend the rest of my A to Z effort visiting other A to Z participants which, alas, I have not been able to do for a few days though for most of it I was a faithful follower and very regular meeter and greeter of new friends in the challenge.  Now I am just zonked or I will be soon.  I have zero to offer except...

Many thanks to Arlee Bird and his fellow hosts who made this challenge possible.  It was definitely a challenge from A to Z and worth every letter!

A to Z Challenge

Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Y is for YES And...

“Yes and” is an improvisation technique used to build on what your fellow actors or players, as they are called in improv, have created.  In improvisation the one rule that isn’t supposed to be broken is agreement.  “Yes and” is used in exercises and games to help practice the concept of agreement and create a story.

Yes in improvisation keeps the story moving forward while no shuts it down.  If you have been through any improvisation workshops or classes, the effect of each is one of the first things demonstrated to the beginning player.  It isn’t easy at first because it seems our natural inclination is to expect, look for, and create conflict.  It was very interesting to watch my beginning students try to employ the yes and initially and watch their progression over several classes as they begin to understand this concept.

“Yes and” requires that I listen to what my partner says and that I respond to it.  In improv, the aim is to treat fellow players like geniuses and to accept and justify everything the other says to create something together.  It’s a group game, so you have to work together.  If you think ahead or decide to grandstand to make yourself look good, you only end up tearing the whole thing apart and making everyone look bad, including yourself.  You have to be engaged with what is going on in the moment in order to respond.  So “yes and” only works if you are listening and interacting in relationship to others.

Oh that we all had more “Yes and” in our day to day life.  How about if we listened more deeply to one another so we could respond in the moment rather than running on to our next thought?  What if we worked at making each other look good, rather than looking out for number one?  What if we were more concerned with building something together than collecting up enough stuff for ourselves?  

Isn’t it amazing how much application to life Improvisation Workshops for kids offer?  “Yes and....”

A to Z Challenge

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z Challenge: X ....


X crosses out what’s wrong, on the cross where for our sins He paid.  
X on its side 
is plus (+);  Unified
with Christ, I am made unafraid. 

X marks the spot, where my sins He did blot, 
sent from the Father above, 
X is for treasure I have found beyond measure
because of my Savior’s love. 

What else will I find behind the X?                  
There is usually a little before,
Like an ‘e’ or an ‘a,’ or X stands by itself,
to give receiver something more.

But there’s nothing more X can give us
Than the payment received on that cross.
For those who in Him place their trust,
Have gained eternity in place of their dross.

And now that X is finished,
‘O’ comes into play.
For the empty tomb stands open,
Where once His body lay.

X’s and O’s bring kisses and hugs,
signs of love for one held dear.
How much more the cross and the empty tomb,
offer love to the one who draws near.

A to Z Challenge

Friday, April 26, 2013

A to Z Challenge: What is God's Will

Image Source:  http://thecrackeddoor.com/

And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8 (NASB)

I am taking a course with Ligonier Ministries called “Dust to Glory.”  R. C. Sproul in this course gave some insight into this verse that I found very helpful and helped me meditate on this verse more effectively, and I think it is worth sharing from some of my notes.

The things of God require a rigorous use of our minds.  And what does the Lord require of you, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.  This is the simplicity of the commands of God.  

In this verse, “to do justice” or justly is associated with righteousness.  In ancient Israel justice is always defined in terms of righteousness.  What Micah is telling us here is that we ought to understand the first thing God requires of us is to do the right thing. And God defines for us throughout Scripture what the right thing is.  

Love mercy is the second thing.  According to Dr. Sproul, the term here can be a bit more confusing.  The Hebrew word used here is "Hesed,"  which is translated many different ways in English.  The most common translation is steadfast love.  The most accurate translation according to Dr. Sproul is to love loyally.  Hesed is the term used in the Scriptures again and again to describe God's love, His covenant love, His faithful, loyal, love to His people, which begets His mercy to His beloved.  Our relationships in this world are to be marked by loyalty, by a kind of love that covers a multitude of sins, by the kind of love that shows mercy.  In a sense the whole of 1 Corinthians 13 reflects this kind of love, Hesed.  This is the kind of love, faithful, kind, perserverant, steadfast that reflects the character of God.

The third thing in Micah is to 'walk humbly with your God.'  Dr. Sproul says that this verse is summed up in the term Coram Deo, a Latin phrase meaning before the face of God.

“To live Coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God.” Dr. Sproul. 

We as Christians are to live acutely aware that our lives are lived out in the presence of God.  We are to do all things in subjection to His sovereignly and His authority.  Micah is saying just this. 

Sometimes God’s will isn’t always so clear to us, but the more closely we practice the truth of Micah 6:8, the easier it is to discern what the will of God is.

A to Z Challenge

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A to Z Challenge: V is for View

It occurs to me that all of us have a view from inside from which we look out, which no one else can see.  As I reach out to you, you see a certain part of me as you look out from the inside of you.  Both of us have different views from which we look.  What you see may be what you get but it is far from what you may perceive to be there.  No one but you and God can get inside of you.

I foolishly operate in the world assuming others come at it knowing and understanding the same things I do though perhaps choosing to think differently.  The fact is there is no one, not one person in the whole wide world that has the same view from inside that I have or that you have.  Even if we had the same experiences, the same home, the same everything, our interaction with those things would have impacted the view from inside differently, like the way we see an elephant in the center of the room differently depending on the perspective of where we stand.  We all have our own view from inside.

 That said, that view of and from inside is affected by a belief system, a worldview which influences our view from inside and our interaction with the world.  Most of us don’t live congruent lives with our belief systems.  We might say we are Christians, but we do things that are inconsistent with how God calls us to live.  We may say we are atheists, evolutionists, Muslims, Hindus, Pagans, nothing at all, but whatever we claim, we live in such a way that borrows from other worldviews to some degree, and we respond to the world in disharmony with our stated beliefs without even thinking about it most of the time.  

Why is that?  If we truly believe what we say we believe, why are our lives and our worldviews not consistent?  For some it may just be a matter of it isn’t important.  It doesn’t matter.  Yet shouldn’t it?  Can we live at peace with ourselves or with others, can we know ourselves, can we grow, thrive, think about the big questions, if we are incongruous with our belief system, with what we hold as truth?  More questions abound.

Since we are the only one who can enter our own land of inside, we are the only ones who can clean it up.  Others outside can give us tips, can tell us what worked for them, but ultimately they can only direct.  They cannot come inside.  There is One Who can join us in our land to know us fully and better than we know ourselves.  There is One Who can help us solve problems we can’t solve ourselves, Who can enter in and clean up with a sweeping wind that clears away the debris.  There is only One Who can enter with omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence to have a desirable, purifying, enhancing impact on our land inside to help us improve the view.  

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NASB)

I am glad I have let Him in to walk with me and be the King of my land.  With Him here, it is becoming a better place to be all the time.  I am learning how to live more congruently with who I am.  I believe what I believe because I believe it is truth.  It isn’t blind faith, but it IS faith, faith that is supported by concrete evidence, faith that is consistent, and faith that is congruent with the character of God.  Even if my life may not be totally aligned with who I want to be or should be, God doesn’t have that issue.  He is congruous even if I don’t always understand Him.  How can I, finite being that I am, fully understand God in His fullness?  I am not omni anything!  But I can walk with Him Who is the light, for He lives!  He clears up the view from inside, and I hope into inside as well.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  John 8:12 (NASB) 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14 

A to Z Challenge

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Challenge: 'U' is for Unite

Image Source
U is for unite as it does when it comes between f and n for fun between friends in the here and now.

When we uNiteI put your needs before mine which is why ‘U’ ‘n’ ‘I’ ‘t’ogethere’ndure.       

As we unIte, we don’t lessen our individuality, we maximize who we are.  We deny our demands, in order to invest ourselves in and for something bigger than ourselves.  Individually we commit to becoming our best so that together we make a terrific team.  More than friends having fun or needs being met, you and I together endure because united we are more.

UniTe is for come together time, because together we are more than  'U' 'n' 'I'.  

To unitE does not untie us from ourselves that we are no more.  We enhance each other where the sum of our parts enriches the parts to make us more than who we started out to be as you and me alone.

Unite needy individuals together to produce enhanced, enriched individuals who united together and for each endure and are more.

And [Jesus] answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”  Matthew 19:4-6 (NASB) 


A to Z Challenge

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Say Thank You

Image Source

Back at ‘G’ I chose the word gratitude.  It is worth repeating the sentiment again here as thankfulness or thanksgiving.  Maintaining an attitude of thankfulness, looking for ways to say thank you, to let those in our lives know that we appreciate them, can lift us up like little else.  Here are some ideas to say thank you to some of those in your life.

  •   When you wake up, thank God that you did and for the day ahead.

  •   Put a thank you note in your husband’s or child’s computer case, or notebook or lunch letting them know something you appreciate about them.

  • Look for someone who you meet at the grocery store, in the bank, at the gym, who needs a lift and find something that they do that you can thank them for.  

  • Notice that special someone who always goes the extra mile, and thank them as you let them know you notice and appreciate them.

  • Send a note to someone who has influenced you to thank them for the particular impact they have had.

  • Look for a service member or policeman, and thank them for their service and sacrifice.

  • Recognize those who are smiling throughout your day by thanking them for their smile. 

  • Text a friend or a child or a sibling to thank them for something they have said or done that you appreciate.

  • Thank a blogger for something particular they have written that has blessed you.

  •   At the end of the day, thank your family members for the little things you don’t usually notice.

  • Thank God for another day of life, and if you did all this thanking, no doubt it was a day you appreciate a bit more than usual.

Life throws some tough turns our way.  Even in the midst of tremendous tribulation, thankfully counting blessings can provide strength and salve so deeply needed.  Thankfulness is a treasure we can all possess, and it is a multiplying treasure as we spread it around. 

In Everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  
                                       1 Thessalonians 5:18

A to Z Challenge

Thank you, Arlee Bird, again, for this terrific A to Z Challenge.

Titus 2 Tuesday
Growing Home