Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Magnificent, Glorious, God's Doing, God's Design...

Taking a break from the Eldredges for a moment, I got this amazing article today from John Piper about Marriage. "Marriage is God's doing and it is God's design" Glorious! There is more to marraige, a greater purpose, than just what we see on the surface (but don't discount the "fringe" benefits that come with marriage either! That is part of it!) "Heaven come down to earth" as Pat Robertson said in the prophecy for 2007. Read this article and be so blessed. I pray the Holy Spirit will illuminate this truth to all of us and anoint us to walk in it for His Glory! Click on the title of this post and it will take you to the article.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Point of All Living

"I love watching a herd of horses grazing in an open pasture, or running free across the wide, sage-covered plateaus in Montana. I love hiking in the high country when the wildflowers are blooming—the purple lupine and the Indian paintbrush when it’s turning magenta. I love thunder clouds, massive ones. My family loves to sit outside on summer nights and watch the lightning, hear the thunder as a storm rolls in across Colorado. I love water, too—the ocean, streams, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, rain. I love jumping off high rocks into lakes with my boys. I love old barns, windmills, the West. I love vineyards. I love it when Stasi is loving something, love watching her delight. I love my boys. I love God.

Everything you love is what makes a life worth living. Take a moment, set down the book, and make a list of all the things you love. Don’t edit yourself; don’t worry about prioritizing or anything of that sort. Simply think of all the things you love. Whether it’s the people in your life or the things that bring you joy or the places that are dear to you or your God, you could not love them if you did not have a heart. Loving requires a heart alive and awake and free. A life filled with loving is a life most like the one that God lives, which is life as it was meant to be (Eph. 5:1–2).

Of all the things that are required of us in this life, which is the most important? What is the real point of our existence? Jesus was confronted with the question point-blank one day, and he boiled it all down to two things: loving God and loving others. Do this, he said, and you will find the purpose of your life. Everything else will fall into place. Somewhere down inside we know it’s true; we know love is the point. We know if we could truly love, and be loved, and never lose love, we would finally be happy. And is it even possible to love without your heart?"
(Waking the Dead , 47–48)

"...For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45 (NIV)
"Many waters can not quench love, neither can the floods drown it;..." Song of Solomon 8:7 (NKJV)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Don't Lose Heart.......My Thoughts

You know I love the Eldredges, God has used them, among others, to minister to me at this point in my life. I could post another excerpt from one of their books, but, I wanted to share about the heart, from my heart. Sitting here at my computer, listening to the shuffle of songs and messages that have played; "Atlantic" Keane, "Amazing Grace" Tree63, "Love is the Reversal" Starfield, "Head Home" Midlake, "I Love You" Massive, "The Favor Factor" TD Jakes, "I Hope You Dance" LeAnn Womack, "There is Nothing Like" United, "In This Camp" Midlake, "Lesson One" Lylas, "Concerning the UFO Sighting" Sufjan Stevens, "My Desire" Jeremy Camp, "Let It Flow" Jeff Deyo, "Somewhere Only We Know" Keane, "Seven Swans" Sufjan Stevens, "The Finish Line" Snow Patrol, "In The Name of Love" U2, "Track 13" Mute Math, to name a few. (Side note: listening to Sufjan Stevens is just a musical feast for the senses!) Anyway, back to the heart.

It is key, central, the focal point for our existence in every way, at the very center of who we are. What is the first thing God deals with when we are drawn to Him to be saved, to make Jesus Lord of our life? The Heart. What is the first thing that is touched when we see someone hurting and want to help......the Heart. What can soar and sing when we see the face of and hear the voice of the one we love...........the Heart. It is the foundation, if you will, of our existence and yet seems to be so overlooked. Do we dare explore the depths of it? Because if we do, we will find things there that have been buried, or hidden for far too long, and we will have to deal with it. But deal with it we must or else we will never get to the fullness of life that God wants us to walk in. If we dare to explore its depths, we will find ourselves getting "real" with God. Admitting to Him, and to ourselves, those long overlooked desires, longings, adventures and realness that we know is there, but do not quite know how to walk in; so we just leave it there......dormant, untapped. But guess what? It keeps knocking, and keeps knocking, and you hear the voice that says "Let me out. Don't lock me away, don't ignore me, I am suffocating in here! I know there is more out there than what I have in here. Let me out so we can allow God to take us to it, to go find it, to experience everything He has made us for! Let's walk in the destiny He has for us." The Sacred Romance is taking place. He is wooing us, He really is. I can vouch for that.

I have found the more that I have explored the depths of my heart, the more intimate I have become with God, the more "real" I become with Him, the greater the desire has become. The desire to be a part of one great adventure after another, to be right in the middle of what God is calling me to do, right along side the one He is calling me to accomplish it with. Destiny being fulfilled. God is calling us to believe Him for the impossible, to believe Him for more than where we are, for more than what we know. To believe Him for supernatural miracles that so many need. He NEEDS us to go to the next level in HIM. He NEEDS us to complete His work, to walk in all that He has called us to do, and in doing so, we will experience great adventure after great adventure, with Him as our guide. Now that's life! That's living! He has caused a Revolution in my life over the past year, one that has changed me from the inside out! (love that song by United). I am not the same person I used to be.....Praise God! Life is a process and our Heart walk is a process.

I am not an expert, I can only share what the Lord has shared with me to hopefully encourage and be a blessing....so, I Choose Life, I Choose Love, I Choose to Trust Him, I Choose Blessings, I Choose the Joy of the Lord which is my strength, I Choose to Believe Him for the Impossible, I Choose to be a vessel that He can work through, I Choose to be a Blessing. I Choose to Get Real with Him, I Choose to allow Him to change me in every way He wants and needs to. I Choose to give my Heart to Him.....He knows how to take care of it and He knows who to give it to.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Shopping for a Wedding Dress :-o

Yes, it's true....my good friend RyLee who is marrying my good friend Clay in April, asked me to go wedding dress shopping with her on Saturday. It was a good time. I took lots and lots of pics......BUT......Clay's not supposed to see the dress before the wedding.......sooooooo.......I can't post them! Sorry Clay! But I did get a great shot of the little shop we were in, very vintage. Me, Charcy and RyLee and one with the Shop owner. RyLee found a beautiful dress, out of the 3 she tried on, each one got better and when she tried the third one on.........we all knew that was it! "The One". We shopped till we dropped, found the bridesmaid dresses and it was a very productive and fun day! When we left the shop, we ran into my good friend Tyler McGee outside in the parking lot filming some skaters.

God is a Warrior and...........

On the day Adam and Eve fell from grace, they ran off and hid in the bushes. And God came looking for them. He called to Adam, “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9). Thus began the long and painful story of God’s pursuit of mankind. Though we betrayed him and fell into the hands of the Evil One, God did not abandon us. Even a quick read of the Old Testament would be enough to convince you that rescue is God’s plan. First with Noah, then with Abraham, and then with the nation Israel, you see God looking for a people who will turn to him from the heart, be his intimate allies once more.

The dramatic archetype is the Exodus, where God goes to war against the Egyptian taskmasters to set his captive people free.

Four hundred years they have languished in a life of despair. Suddenly—blood. Hail. Locusts. Darkness. Death. Plague after plague descends on Egypt like the blows of some unrelenting ax. Pharaoh releases his grip, but only for a moment. The fleeing slaves are pinned against the Red Sea when Egypt makes a last charge, hurtling down on them in chariots. God drowns those soldiers in the sea, every last one of them. Standing in shock and joy on the opposite shore, the Hebrews proclaim, “The LORD is a warrior” (Ex. 15:3). God is a warrior. He has come to rescue us. (Epic 61-62)

I am reminded of a song "I need you Jesus, to come to my rescue; where else could I go. There's no other name by which we are saved, capture me with grace....." We have sung this at church occasionally and it comes to life in this excerpt from Epic. God has been showing me about what it really means to "turn to Him from the heart", not just going through the motions, not just giving lip service, but, "to be His intimate ally." He has taken me to 2 Chronicles 20 over and over. He is truly a Warrior, He truly does fight for us, and we truly have His attributes. The Guys are created Warriors-in the image of their Father, to fight for and rescue us-his beauty. He has made the Girls Warrior Princesses at those times that it is needed......don't believe it? Let someone or something come against our man, and we will be on them or on it, standing with our sword, to fight-in a heartbeat, with no questions asked! God desires for us to be in intimate fellowship with Him, best friends with Him, allies with Him and so He has given this example of how it should be between The Warrior and The Beauty-Husband and Wife-Male and Female, as well.......to be continued---Tammy

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dinner with Friends

Had dinner with some friends tonight. We had been trying to get together since Softball season ended........and finally made it! Jason and Maci Ashworth hosted and made the wonderful Mexican dinner. Their house is great! Their dog Bella loves all the attention. Doug and Melissa Herron were there with the kids, Jeremiah, Faith and Titus. The little man was not lacking for any attention. I loved making him laugh.....his giggle was infectious. I am looking forward to the day that I have some babies of my own to play with and make them giggle. A childs laugh is one of the greatest and most innocent things I know. So precious. Ryan and Andrea rounded out the evening. They love the kids and they are going to be great parents too! It was a good evening.

The "Heart" of the Matter....Who We Really Are

We all share the same dilemma—we long for life and we’re not sure where to find it. We wonder if we ever do find it, can we make it last? The longing for life within us seems incongruent with the life we find around us. What is available seems at times close to what we want, but never quite a fit. Our days come to us as a riddle, and the answers aren’t handed out with our birth certificates. We must journey to find the life we prize. And the guide we have been given is the desire set deep within, the desire we often overlook or mistake for something else or even choose to ignore.

The greatest human tragedy is simply to give up the search. There is nothing of greater importance than the life of our deep heart. To lose heart is to lose everything. And if we are to bring our hearts along in our life’s journey, we simply must not, we cannot, abandon this desire. Gerald May writes in The Awakened Heart,

There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies. We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake . . . Our true identity, our reason for being, is to be found in this desire.

The clue as to who we really are and why we are here comes to us through our heart’s desire. (The Journey of Desire, 2)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Great Stories.....Born Into An Epic

Notice that all the great stories pretty much follow the same story line. Things were once good, then something awful happened, and now a great battle must be fought or a journey taken. At just the right moment (which feels like the last possible moment), a hero comes and sets things right, and life is found again.

It’s true of every fairy tale, every myth, every Western, every epic—just about every story you can think of, one way or another. Braveheart, Titanic, the Star Wars series, Gladiator, The Lord of the Rings trilogy. They pretty much all follow the same story line. Have you ever wondered why?

Every story, great and small, shares the same essential structure because every story we tell borrows its power from a Larger Story, a Story woven into the fabric of our being—what pioneer psychologist Carl Jung tried to explain as archetype, or what his more recent popularizer Joseph Campbell called myth.

All of these stories borrow from the Story. From Reality. We hear echoes of it through our lives. Some secret written on our hearts. A great battle to fight, and someone to fight for us. An adventure, something that requires everything we have, something to be shared with those we love and need.

There is a Story that we just can’t seem to escape. There is a Story written on the human heart.

A Story. An Epic. Something hidden in the ancient past. Something dangerous now unfolding. Something waiting in the future for us to discover. Some crucial role for us to play.

Christianity, in its true form, tells us that there is an Author and that he is good, the essence of all that is good and beautiful and true, for he is the source of all these things. It tells us that he has set our hearts’ longings within us, for he has made us to live in an Epic. It warns that the truth is always in danger of being twisted and corrupted and stolen from us because there is a Villain in the Story who hates our hearts and wants to destroy us. It calls us up into a Story that is truer and deeper than any other, and assures us that there we will find the meaning of our lives.

What if all the great stories that have ever moved you, brought you joy or tears—what if they are telling you something about the true Story into which you were born, the Epic into which you have been cast?

We won’t begin to understand our lives, or what this so-called gospel is that Christianity speaks of, until we understand the Story in which we have found ourselves. For when you were born, you were born into an Epic that has already been under way for quite some time. It is a Story of beauty and intimacy and adventure, a Story of danger and loss and heroism and betrayal.(Epic, 12-15)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Buckeyes vs The Gators

People watching on Monday night for the bowl game was so funny. You have the Parry's, being from Ohio, and staunch Buckeye fans, versus Sonya, John, Jason, Andrew, Scott and Susan who were Gator fans! Some people take their football seriously. It was funny to watch the celebrating, the jabs, the craziness of it all. The food was great! And everyone had a good time. I don't keep up with college football, so it was people watching for me. Dixie got wings from Calhouns, I made some Salsa and Chili, and Stephanie made some great iced brownies and John and Jason brought the ice cream to go with them. Scott and Susan brought the spinach artichoke dip. Did I happen to mention that the food was great!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Our Heart Can Be Pure

According to the Scriptures, the heart can be troubled, wounded, pierced, grieved, even broken. How well we all know that. Thankfully, it can also be cheerful, glad, merry, joyful, rejoicing. The heart can be whole or divided—as in that phrase we often use, “Well, part of me wants to, but the other part of me doesn’t.” It can be wise or foolish. It can be steadfast, true, upright, stout, valiant. (All of these descriptions can be found by perusing the listings for the word heart in any concordance.) It can also be frightened, faint, cowardly, melt like wax. The heart can be wandering, forgetful, dull, stubborn, proud, hardened. Wicked and perverse. I think we know that as well.

Much to our surprise, according to Jesus, a heart can also be pure, as in, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matt. 5:8). And even noble, as in his story about the sower: “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8:15). The Bible sees the heart as the source of all creativity, courage, and conviction. It is the source of our faith, our hope, and of course, our love. It is the “wellspring of life” within us (Prov. 4:23), the very essence of our existence, the center of our being, the fount of our life.

There is no escaping the centrality of the heart. God knows that; it’s why he made it the central theme of the Bible, just as he placed the physical heart in the center of the human body. The heart is central; to find our lives, we must make it central again. (Waking the Dead, 40-41)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Life.....it is a story........

We Have Lost Our Story

"And here’s where we run into a problem.

For most of us, life feels like a movie we’ve arrived at forty-five minutes late.

Something important seems to be going on . . . maybe. I mean, good things do happen, sometimes beautiful things. You meet someone, fall in love. You find that work that is yours alone to fulfill. But tragic things happen too. You fall out of love, or perhaps the other person falls out of love with you. Work begins to feel like a punishment. Everything starts to feel like an endless routine.

If there is meaning to this life, then why do our days seem so random? What is this drama we’ve been dropped into the middle of? If there is a God, what sort of story is he telling here? At some point we begin to wonder if Macbeth wasn’t right after all: Is life a tale “told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”?

No wonder we keep losing heart.

We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, often a confusing mixture of both, and we haven’t a clue how to make sense of it all. It’s like we’re holding in our hands some pages torn out of a book. These pages are the days of our lives. Fragments of a story. They seem important, or at least we long to know they are, but what does it all mean? If only we could find the book that contains the rest of the story.

Chesterton had it right when he said, “With every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand.” (Epic, 7-9)"

There Is a Larger Story

"Walk into any large mall, museum, amusement park, university, or hospital, and you will typically meet at once a very large map with the famous red star and the encouraging words You are here. These maps are offered to visitors as ways to orient themselves to their situation, get some perspective on things. This is the Big Picture. This is where you are in that picture. Hopefully you now know where to go. You have your bearings.

Oh, that we had something like this for our lives.

“This is the Story in which you have found yourself. Here is how it got started. Here is where it went wrong. Here is what will happen next. Now this—this is the role you’ve been given. If you want to fulfill your destiny, this is what you must do. These are your cues. And here is how things are going to turn out in the end.”

We can discover the Story. Maybe not with perfect clarity, maybe not in the detail that you would like, but in greater clarity than most of us now have, and that would be worth the price of admission. I mean, to have some clarity would be gold right now. Wouldn’t it? (Epic, 10-11)"

John Eldredge - Epic

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year Everyone!

We had some friends over at our place last night and a good time was had by all. Great food! I made my Savory Sandwich Ring........mmmmmmmm.......savory. And I made the Touchdown Taco Dip! Yummmmm......yes Jason, I had 2 count them TWO homemade items and you had how many? Let's see..........Zero?!!!! Anyway, Jason did bring some good desserts, the cake was great with the buttercream frosting.........the Guava Bars..........not so much. Wes put together a good black bean/chili dip and brought one of my favorites.......black cherry soda! We had some snickerdoodles and brownies too, you know all that good for you stuff! We played Taboo, which can be pretty funny all by itself, but when it evolved into ShockBoo, it got hysterical. I was laughing so hard and I had tears rolling down my face. Jennifer had this machine with the two pads on it that you place on your muscles and then you can set the shock charges as low or as high as you need to relax the muscles. Well, this turned into our new "buzzer" for Taboo. Almost everyone (not me) held this in their hands when it was their turn to give clues and the opposite team was in charge of the shocks! Well, as you can imagine, turning it all the way up to 10 was a floor show all by itself! Wes' arms shot straight out in front of him and he could not bend them. If you had the pads in the palm of your hands, you could not open your hands once you were being shocked. Jennifer let out a blood curdling scream and almost killed Wes! Andy and Sean were crazy funny when they got shocked. Taboo will never be the same again. We watched Lady in the Water, and were scaring each other at tense moments. We prayed and toasted in the New Year with our Sparkling Apple Cider. A good time was had by all.

Thank you all for being a part of my life in 2006. I pray that this year is the greatest and best year of your lives so far. I pray that your dreams and hearts desires are manifested this year. May God Bless you exceeding, abundantly above all that you can ask or think, this year, and may He use all of us in a greater way, to touch more lives for Him for His Glory! I love all of you.................