Diamond Rings in the Mail repost

Diamond Rings in the Mail
courtesy photobucket.com
 

I love Jewelry!   It reminds me of My Father, God.

To me, a good necklace is like a fine tie.  And rings?  Oh yes!  Rings give me great pleasure. Come to think of it, bracelets are also a delight.

My thought is that surely God meant for the baubles, bangles, and all the “adornments” yielded by this earth, to be available for HIS kids.

My husband has gone out of his way to buy me a few cute pinky rings.  He knows how I enjoy all-things-glittery, but he also knows that I refuse to spend much on any of them.  He has followed suit, and his little gifties have always been a great deal!  I feel so loved.  He loves me, and God loves me through him.

For years, I never owned much in the way of either costume or nicer jewelry. I admired other people’s pieces, but never though much about it for myself.  Raising five children, and taking care of other people’s children, required my resources to be channeled in other directions!

Money was always stretched thin!  Wouldn’t you know it, it was during some of those hard times when I felt God’s nudge to pass along a certain ring, necklace or other keepsake  that I did have,  to someone who needed love or encouragement.  Honestly, I didn’t think much of it, I just did it.  

Recently I reconnected, on Facebook, with someone I hadn’t seen in years. When her birthday arrived, I shot her a quick message.

Later that day she replied with, “Remember the bracelet you gave me years ago?  I still have it and I always think of you and how much it blessed me back then when I was struggling. It still does!”

I didn’t even remember. 

I’m not patting myself on the back, but that’s pretty much how obedience to God should be.  Do the “doing” and continue in the normal way of Christ-like living.  Even now, I live in “The Flow.”  Things flow into my house and then flow back out to those for whom they are ultimately meant.  Every so often, I get presents from The Lord, given to me through others, and I know these are mine to keep!  

One day, rings and other jewelry began coming my way.  One of my dental office clients had a certain lab guy who dropped by unannounced. He mentioned that his mother had passed away and he sold most of her stuff, but had a few things left. He said if I liked any of it, it was mine. He opened a big pouch.  Jewelry!  Birthstone rings for me and all four of my daughters, a pearl broach set in gold and two vintage pearl necklaces went home with me that day.  Stunning pieces of jewelry left me stunned!  Mine? Really? It took a while to settle in.

We had been kind to this haggard soul who suffered a divorce and was left with a disabled son.  He joined us for thanksgiving dinner in our crowded home only a couple of months earlier.

Not long after, I had a dream where I saw myself passing along my tanzanite/gold ring to a Christian Chiropractor. She was in her mid-sixties but was no longer able to work because of an injury. When I brought it to church and slipped it on to her finger, I whispered to her that God had something special for her.

She squealed as she held up her hand! She began,

“Last night I was talking to God and He began putting a desire in my heart for a gold ring with a purple-blue stone!”

Then she went on to tell me that she never had a penchant for rings whatsoever, but felt that God was encouraging her about her future.  Go figure!  I guess HE was!  Did I miss my ring?  Not much.

And so it has been for me…..   Not just with jewelry, either.  Twenty years ago, my china went to a little gal who rarely ever cleaned her house, had three boys and a sloppy husband.  That is another story for sure, but the change that it effected in her life was monumental.  The next time I saw her, her house was clean, painted inside and the china displayed in the built-in cabinets of that old Victorian!  Small price.

In an unusual way, pieces of “my china” began showing up, and over time, I managed to accumulate a bigger set than ever before.  This set was ultimately passed along to a poor family at church.  There were really down-and-out.  (Mind you, my own husband was unemployed at the time) The wife was so blessed by the action that she got her faith in gear to believe for something to hold it.  They began believing God for a job and so on. Now they are home owners and blessed in so many other ways! 

And would you believe it? I have accumulated a whole set of the same pattern since.   I laugh every time I see it in my cupboard!  God has a great sense of humor. It always reminds me to take the limits off God.  If He can do it once, He can do it again – and better!!

On top of that, before my mother-in-law moved to heaven, she made sure to give us her Noritake China from the early 50’s.  Since I didn’t know her well, it was to my absolute amazement that she, also, personally handed me a huge (half the size of a quarter) dark green jade ring set in gold.  It had been something special to her. Just gorgeous. I guess it covers half my finger!  Funny, but my thoughts turn to My Provider every time I wear it!

This phenomenon hasn’t been limited to women only.  I’ve even given rings to men!  Some were directly for those men and for others, rings or necklaces arrived for their wives or daughters.  When they couldn’t afford a birthday present or anniversary gift, God provided!  Did I know about these events in advance? Not at all. I was as surprised as they were, especially at the timing!

Our dining table has been given away a couple of times while we did with whatever.  My parents who welcomed me into their home as a foster child, passed to us, their gorgeous, antique wood table.  I spent my teen years eating at that table! Mom has sent me some quite unexpected presents in the mail.  Yes. . . jewelry!  She listens to the Lord and has been instrumental in forwarding along money and other useful things as well. They always arrived just when I needed them!  You see, I learned from her how to live.

All in all, the real jewels of my life aren’t stones – they are people.  Precious, each one, because God gave them to me.  Some of them shine all on their own.  Others need a little help. Some stay around and others move on.

Whatever medium God provides to me, I use to connect with those who need a loving arm around their shoulders.  It might be that I intercede, write letters; send cards, e-mail, text, call, blog, use social media or any combination of contacts.  I use Facebook as a prayer list.  The sky is the limit!  Our army has many weapons and, therefore, no excuse.

Sure, when certain of our “things’ were given away, we merely did without for lengths of time – but overall, I hardly noticed.   
 
Oh, and did I mention – – I received Diamond rings in the mail?

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This post is shared at: Tell Me a Story
This post is also linked with Joan Davis at: Sharing His Beauty
 
 
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Road Hazards (repost)

The Holy Spirit Speaks
courtesy photobucket.com
  
I was traveling for work, out on the road

I stopped for a bite to eat

I was worn out and tired, about to explode

And had to get out of the heat.

 

Back to the car, I buckled up tight

And braced for the rest of the trip

I needed to go, before I ran out of light

Fatigue had me in its grip

 
That’s when I noticed, things were all wrong

I nearly started to panic

I was uptight and far from my calm

You could say I was frantic!

 

I looked and looked for something I’d lost

Right in front of my face!

The more I looked, the more I tossed

And started to run out of Grace!

 

Anxiety took over and worry was dear

Frenzied to find it was I

The more I thought, the less I was clear

And then I began to sigh,

 

“Why me?  Why me?  What have I done

To deserve a problem like this?”

Pity ran rampant, life was no fun,

I forgot every moment of bliss

 

Then quietly prodded, the sweet Holy Spirit

You haven’t even asked me”,

“I tried to speak , but you couldn’t hear it”

“I know where you put that key”!

 

I felt ashamed, I was all out of steam

I had blamed everybody in sight

I couldn’t believe, I was so mean

By now I’d run out of fight.

 

“God please forgive me, I’m sorry I failed,

To use my faith instead”

And as I prayed, my soul, unjailed

The shadows that brooded, fled!
I looked and looked for something I’d lost

You know, it wasn’t my key!

The more I fretted, the more I forgot

How Jesus has made me free!

This post is shared at: Tell Me a Story

This post is also linked with Joan Davis at: Sharing His Beauty

 

Wandering Minds

Thoughts
courtesy photobucket.com

Sometimes I let my mind go ‘awandering.   Thank God it’s not often.

When I do, though,  it tends to lumber down the avenue leading  to “Events of the Past.” It is there that I re-discover hopes-that-have-been-dashed, insufficiencies, failures and, oh yes, regrets!

Woulda-shoulda-couldas.  Frustration or sorrow!   I don’t really know why I bother!

Musings like that rarely produce positive feelings. I’m usually left with a gut-nagging melancholy accompanied by unexplained weariness.  It’s just not a good place to be.

The end of my thought-fest is usually marked by a monumental sigh. It’s that deep sigh of resignation.   Once again, I solemnly resign everything back to God.

After all, there is NOTHING I can do change or to affect yesterday’s outcomes

Of course, it isn’t as if God wasn’t enough to cover any lack, failure or shortcoming the first time around.  He most certainly was!  I just need to learn to leave it at that.

A parent can know God’s power full well, and yet be swept back by memory to hard times and past challenges.  Did I do right and well enough by my children? Was I able to instill enough Godliness into them while they were growing up? 

If only I had known then what I finally figured out.  No one ever does.

Jesus is LORD over all my yesterdays.  I DO know that, but thoughts can be sneaky and powerful.   I’m sure that’s why God warns us to guard our hearts.

One day I was on a short mind-excursion that involved my children –  especially one child in particular.  As I jerked myself out of an unhealthy meditation, I slipped into prayer.   Earlier God gave me a word, so I text my child a quick note, not knowing if they would even be open to the message.

Of course, as always, God is so faithful.   An e-mail fairly caught me off guard:

“Hey Mama!  In case I haven’t said it, I just wanted you to know that I am so, so appreciative and thankful of all your support, prayer or otherwise with the situation I have been going through.

I allowed myself to get caught up in a circumstance in which I fell in love with someone who really used me.   I wasn’t as smart as I thought. 

However, this time around I think I’m getting through it a lot more quickly.   I think praying for this person everyday has helped me too.

In a previous relationships, I never prayed.   My emotions got the best of me last time and led me down a path of bitterness and resentment…… for a very long time.

I have committed myself to learning what I went through with ________and am approaching this situation in a totally different manner.  I like what Joyce Meyer said….God allows us to go through situations to prepare us for others.  Paraphrased, of course.


Anyways, I just wanted you to know that. I love you a lot and I am glad to have such a powerful intercessor like you as a mom.”

Almost speechless and truly humbled, I threw my hands up in the air and worshipped.

This relationship that my child had chosen to pursue was with a person who had no interest in God.  My prayer for God to intervene had been answered!  God intervened and removed the person completely out of my child’s life. 

Sure there was some struggle and angst, but I had trained up my children in the way that they should go.  It WAS working.

There have been many hiccups along the way, but the training in Righteousness was deeply seated deep into all my kids.  Hallelujah for that!     I had taught them to seek God and to be able to hear God for themselves.

I am confident that The Holy Spirit is working with them.

From now on, my responsibility will be to set my thoughts where they should be, on things above, and to exercise obedience.  I CAN trust God with all the outcomes.

Nancy

This post is shared at: Tell Me a Story

 

“Let’s Get Growing” repost

image courtesy free clip art
 
“Let’s Get Growing” in Our Hobbit Hole

I always wished I lived on a farm!  While some of my German ancestors WERE farmers, many were writers and inventors.  I guess, on a small scale, I do a little of each of these things.

Owning a large piece of land where I can plant, as well as raise a few animals is still in my gut.  I live in the Central Valley, California where urban meets rural,and the longer I am here, the more that desire deepens. 

Over the years, I have tried my hand at backyard farming and have done moderately well.  At least we ate everything we grew and had some left over to share!

Currently, “blessed” with all the animals that could not move with my children and grandchildren when they moved,  I feel like I’m part of the way there.   Six cats, two rabbits and now a pet chicken, serve as my “farm animals!”  Even-so, I still want  some goats!

Mint, rosemary, strawberries, blueberries,  a few other herbs, squash and tomatoes neatly grow in my  border plots and raised beds.  The sides and middle of my backyard yard are tagged by immature trees: lemon tree, one avocado tree, and one apple tree. While not at all a monumental undertaking by any standard, all these are significant to me and a couple of my neighbors.  Pesticide-free, I might add.

Years ago, when my first child was a baby, my husband and I inhabited a basement apartment with a low ceiling, a few windows, a front and a back door.  I called it my hobbit hole.  Rather dark and cool inside, the apartment seemed gloomy compared to beams of sunlight which splashed early morning light on the small walkway in front.

The house above us was rented out to another couple, but my parents allowed us to stay several months, rent-free.  There was no lawn or yard,  per-se. But I saw potential in the small, square patch of dirt that bordered the side entrance. I rolled up my sleeves and dug in!

I thought I had a ton of space …that is, until I didn’t.  Heaped with toys and a blanket in large laundry basket, my small son in tow, I tackled the dirt.  We moved from place to place together, while I began my hobbit-hole garden.

Rocks abounded everywhere!  Perhaps a beautifully designed rock-garden might have been a better choice for me at the time.  The large rocks were re-purposed as deco-borders, but the rest were good for nothing!  They got tossed, along with all the nagging weeds that kept freely cropping up.

With my decision to plant a few seeds, I found that I really got more than I bargained for!

Sunlight.  Well, I simply hadn’t considered how many hours of sunlight from which my plants would actually receive benefit.  Then there was the quality of soil. Soil prep was a big deal!  Drainage?    Who knew?   I thought all water went straight down.

What to plant and when, was eye-opening. Such naiveté, but I had to learn about timing and types of crops.  If I wanted mine to flourish, I had to get some knowledge – fast! 

I hadn’t considered planning.  You mean I couldn’t just haphazardly flop my plants down, here and there in the soil, I actually needed a plan?

I ran smack-dab into my lack of knowledge … and planning. Some plants do not fair well planted next to each other. I learned the hard way that strawberries and squash cannot grow side by side.  They require different soil types.  The result was great squash and beautiful bright green berry leaves, but NO strawberries.  Other plants got out of control and had to be restrained  and trained with cages.

…and fertilizing?  What was that?  Different fertilizer for different plants? Oh, my head!

Tomato worms, snails and slugs on my lettuce, moths in the grass, yellow jacket nests in the eves of the house, other pests I had never seen……I was fighting a small war.

One thing I hadn’t really counted on was the wind.  It whipped up a small storm, conveying debris and weed seeds, while sucking the moisture from my fledgling plants,   That hurt !  Replacing things was expensive until I saw how to devised ways to protect my future food.

Later, I added some chickens to the mix and was quite pleased to find the bug population diminish.

Yes, I still don’t have a farm, but I utilize what I have.  I plant my small plots of ground with more care. Since I prefer to make it organic, the pest war continues.  Our “pet” chicken wandered into our yard on Valentines Day.  No one in the neighborhood claimed her so she’s been with us ever since.  Her job as pest-eradicator is fairly successful.

If I waited until I had a farm, I may never have learned some valuable life’s lessons.

Plant the plot God gave you.  Learn all you can about how to make it work, grow, and prosper. You won’t have it forever.

Don’t give up.  Abate the “weeds and pests” of life with the Word of God.  You can count on it to work!  It will help you protect and guard against crop failure.

There will be discouragement. Some things you try won’t work.  Others will flourish.  Don’t insist on planting what YOU want and expecting God for a miracle. Ask HIM what to plant. He will bless what he ordains.

Nothing is overnight. There are seasons for everything.  Watch how you plant and where you plant.  Restrain the undesirable. Be content and thankful.

The other man’s grass, garden, or farm isn’t greener or better – just different expressions of God’s assignments.   Instead of fretting about what you wish you had, keep what you DO have with excellence. You may be in line to be trusted with more. 

Above all, share.  Share a lot!  Share often.  Spread around the goodness. It WILL abound and return to you. 

Seed – time – harvest.  It’s all in God’s plan and in His hand.  Always check in with the master farmer.  He knows every trick in the book for growing a good Life in the here-and-now!

Whether you have a hobbit-hole or a mansion, do what you hand finds to do – and do it with all your might!  Leave the outcome to God.
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This post is shared at Hazel’s: Tell Me a Story

I Want it all NOW

I Want it NOW
courtesy photobucket.com
The “I’ s” Have it!  (Or I Want it, and I Want it all NOW!)

Her voice squealed with excited chatter.
“Holy moly!   My boyfriend just got a check from his insurance company for $4947.98, but it’s only going to cost $3300 to fix his car.
This means I can get my iPad and a gold designer cover for it.”

A couple of days later, the follow-up to that story was that since she couldn’t decide which cover to get, she got both gold and red covers.  In the getting, there was also a new iPhone and special designer covers for it too!!

Between the iPad, the smart phone, and $128 a pop for those designer covers, the car repair reimbursement was exhausted.  I wondered if her boyfriend might not wished he could have applied the excess toward tools, or some electronics HE wanted.   After all, it was HIS car.

As the conversation went, the girlfriend thought it was funny and mentioned that she didn’t care what HE wanted.  If HE wanted to keep HER, this was how it was going to be !!  Imagine that – – –

A few days later…” I can’t believe it; my boyfriend misplaced both of my $128 designer iPad covers!  Can’t find them anywhere. I’m off to the store to buy another one!

I secretly wondered if he may have hidden them on purpose! 

“I . . . I . . . I . .  Me. . .  Me . .  Me!”

Avarice, arrogance and greedy expectation – that’s what I call it.
Her parents spent her childhood trying to placate her, and now it appears they have crippled her for life.

This woman still has no job because she refused to start at the bottom in a local office.  Without considering the employer’s needs, she expressed her expectations and then fussed because they told her they needed her to work one Saturday a month.

Almost thirty and still at home, this Diva looks and acts like she’s a millionaire.
Why her parents don’t toss her out the door, I’ll never know. For both parents and boyfriend, she is expensive to upkeep.  She spends money faster than they can make it.
Inflated sense of worth is a trick straight from the pit of hell. 

Of course, “having it all” cannot wait either.  Images of desire are everywhere, but emotional intelligence, delayed gratification and adaptability are sadly lacking.

How will we cope when times get harder?

Entitlement is not limited to the young. “Get mine and get out, “is prevalent in all ages, comically evidenced by the bumper-sticker, “I’m spending my children’s inheritance.” 

Recently,  I was praying with someone who has been a Christian a long time. What I heard was whining.  That’s right, whining!

 “God, where’s mine?  It isn’t fair.”

I wanted to give her C.S. Lewis’ book, The Problem of Pain.

We are definitely creatures in need of alteration. 

If I were God and had to deal with a bunch of whiny, sassy, ungrateful, selfish, shortcut-taking children, I would see to it that they got spanked!

Well, I’m not God and it’s probably a good thing.  I’d have to spank myself a time or two!

I am thankful that God is a faithful and loving Father who knows what we need at all times.  He is to be praised for His mercy and grace.  I am thankful that He hasn’t given me everything I thought I wanted or needed.  In hindsight, some of those things would NOT have been very beneficial in terms of where my life was headed.

Making adjustments is a constant way of life for me.  Consider natural tendencies, my focus is to make sure that it is “not I, but Christ who lives in me”.

Everything else will follow.

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This post is shared at: Tell Me a Story

This post is also linked with Joan Davis at: Sharing His Beauty