Friday, October 29, 2010

Poor, Silly Farmer


When I passed this on the way to work three weeks ago, my immediate thought was poor farmer, in a matter of days you will have an empty trailer and a bunch of smashed pumpkins.
The honor system? Who is going to pay based on the honor system?
Yes, poor, silly farmer. Indeed, losing all of your pumpkins will be a tough lesson to learn. However, it is good your misplaced trust only involves pumpkins and not something of true importance.
I guess that farmer will learn.
But wait…
Each day as I passed, the pumpkins remained. I looked and looked for slippery goo or smashed-up shells around the trailer, but I never saw any. Then one day, I saw a woman shoving bills in the money slot. The next day, I saw a father and daughter smiling happily around the pile. Later in the week, I saw a man opening his wallet as he stood in front of the trailer.
Really? As a former city girl, I sometimes struggle to understand the ways of people in western North Carolina, or the idea of having faith in those you don't know.
Maybe that farmer understands more about people than I do.
Maybe that farmer could teach this poor, silly girl something about honor, and GIVING strangers trust.
Giving trust to those around you is often difficult. Are you typically a trusting person, or does someone have to work to earn your trust?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me-A Guest Post at (in)courage!



If you have spent any amount of time wandering around the blogosphere, my guess is you have connected with one of the girls from the beach house. Within the community of (in)courage, women write, reflect, and share in this amazing 'lil thing we call life. Today I'm thrilled to join them as a guest.

So, what's my topic? Glad you asked.

My post today will focus on me, me, me, me, me (did you sing it?), and what I'm doing to make life about Him, Him, Him, Him, Him.

Please click on over and join me here.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Through the Mud to the Dreams

Have you ever searched for a dream?

Yes, you. The one who often hides behind flippant comments when the truths of your heart are screaming to be heard. Yes, you and I know each other well.

See, we understand that often dreams get buried. Buried by busyness. Buried by criticism. Buried by weariness, and sometimes buried by self-doubt.

But I’m learning that underneath the mud, dirt, and muck, my dreams are still there, and even though I can’t see them clearly, a little voice tells me to sift on.

Do you have goals and dreams that have become buried? Finishing that degree? Traveling? An idea that has swirled around in your head for years? A relationship you would like to see changed?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Just Start!

I'd love for you to watch this short video from juststart.org. So instead of spending three minutes reading one of my posts, consider spending three minutes viewing this-




Love to all.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Girl's View on Make A Child Smile

As some of you know, my daughter, Amelia, writes about our family's journey towards gracious giving (for a mere quarter, of course!). Here's what she had to say about the project we completed for Make A Child Smile. If you missed the post earlier this week, Make A Child Smile is an organization that features children with chronic or life threatening illnesses, and then asks strangers to send them letters of encouragement. Here's what my girl had to say-

From: Amelia

Guss what we did? WE MADE LETTERS !!!!!!!!!!!!! do you whant to know who we sent them to? Well if you go on your computr, it says make a child smile and you click on it and it shows you the kids. Their names are Emalee, Addison and Aiden. Emalee is spelled differnt it is susposed to be spelled like this, Emily. These kids are sick. Plus I made butturflys with pictures on them and I gave each person sillyband. Love Amelia

Thanks too, to Alexandra, founder of Make A Child Smile for dropping by and telling us about the Buick campaign, "40 Simple Ways To Improve Your World In Under 40 Minutes". Looking for more ideas for your family to get involved? Click on over!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Don't Clean Up The Crumbs

I struggle with being productive.

Must be productive. Must accomplish things during free moments. Must make the most of every second.

Why?

Maybe sometimes I’m afraid of what nonproductive looks like, afraid that when the busyness of life stops, where will I be?

This afternoon, I forced myself to forget about all of the doing that needs to be done, and I refused to be consumed by the checklist that often occupies my head.

I walked right over a pile of laundry, and instead of picking up the shoes at my front door, I stole one of my daughter’s moves, and used my foot to carefully swing and scoop them out of the way and into a corner.

After that, I grabbed some homemade guacamole (made yesterday when I was being productive), plopped myself down on our perfectly worn couch, and crunched on tortilla chips in silence. I didn’t even care that I got crumbs all over the place. Fine, maybe I cared a little about the crumbs, but I didn't clean them up.

And as the minutes ticked on, I thought about GIVING, and I thought about GRACE, and I wondered why it is so difficult to apply both to ourselves.

Photo by Jonah McClure


Monday, October 11, 2010

Love From The Kitchen Table



Photobucket

Looking for a way to start a discussion on compassion with your family and send a hurting child a little love from your kitchen table? Read on!

The Make A Child Smile Organization was established in 1998 to help support children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses and their families. Basically, Make A Child Smile features the pictures of several children and a short biography of each. Then, through MACS, people are asked to send cards and letters of encouragement directly to the child.

Want to see some of the little ones flooded with mail? Click here.

How fun, right?

In a world filled with ecards and texts, I know I get hopping excited when a real card finds its way to my mailbox, and my guess is these kids do too.

So if you are looking for a fun, and easy project for your kids (and you!), bookmark Make A Child Smile, and get creating!

Do you know of any other organizations that allow you to help others from your own home? I'd love to create a list.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vantage Point {When Your Life Is Too Easy}


Meet Laura Parker, guest blogger, cyber friend, and ridiculously talented writer. Currently, Laura and her family are living overseas in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where her husband is directing a Christian Orphanage for girls, who are targets for the sex trade industry.

This guest post stems from an idea Laura had. What if two people living very different lives on opposite ends of the world, wrote on the same topic? Posted below is Laura’s message on our topic When Your Life Is Too Easy. After you finish reading, I would love for you to click over to Laura’s, and read what I had to say about my life being too easy. Here's Laura-

I wasn't sure what to tell her, and honestly, I think I botched it.

In essence, she wanted her life to be harder. She recognized that sometimes God is known best in the struggle, and by her calculations her 19 years had seen too much cush and not enough trial. She'd heard friends share gritty pasts or dramatic rescues, and she wanted a story like that. A story with more conflict, more suffering. A story with less silver-platter.

And I sat across from her in the tropical heat outside a coffeeshop in Thailand, and I told her that I got it. I told her my story at her age was much like hers-- bumps in the road, sure, but not much more than that in the way of really walking through the painful. I told her that I remembered wanting a better, more dramatic story, too. I remembered hearing about how character is developed and faith grown in the fire, and I remembered wondering why I hadn't tasted much of the heat. Comfortable, middle-class America. Christian family. Good girl. Generally successful. Grades and sports and teams. Married young. Happy and healthy. And I remember wondering often if maybe I didn't have what it takes to endure a "real trial" and if maybe that's why God wasn't giving me one. And my young friend confessed to wondering the same thing.

And we sipped our iced coffees {that simply don't touch Starbucks back home}, and I told her what I have told myself--that God hasn't made a mistake in your story, that there's still a lot of life left, and that suffering is guaranteed to show up, eventually.

But, then, just this week, as I was reading from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest, I found a paragraph that answers both of our "life-has-been-too-good-s0-far" questions. He compares suffering in life to the crushing of the grape to produce wine. And he talks about the fruit that comes from intense suffering--not the "darn-I-can't-find-a-parking-space-kind," but the "I'm-about-to-die-and-I-am-beyond-desperate-kind." And then he reminds us that

God always chooses the when and the how of the crushing.

Chambers goes on to say, "If you are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you anyway, the wine produced would have been remarkably bitter. "

In other words, sometimes the when of the trial is one of the most critical pieces.

And if I had that mentorship moment back, if I could push re-wind and give another answer to my young, fellow-easy-road sister, I would say,

God is preparing your grapes, friend. He is preparing you now, for the crushing, the suffering of then. Trust and grow and reject apathy and wake up and pursue and love-radical. Because there will come a time when God's divine fingers will squeeze.

And the fruit that is produced in the suffering is being prepared right now in a life thriving in the sunshine on the vine.

Yup. That's what I'd say if I had it to say over again.


By Laura Parker

twitter: LauraParkersays

web: http://www.lauraleighparker.com

ministry: http://www.destinedtraveler.com (mentorship minsitry)


Thanks for reading, and don't forget to bounce over and check out my post!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Matthew 25 With A Twist




Not a thought of my own, just Scripture rewritten by Richard E. Stearns:

For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved.

Your thoughts?



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