and spirit...encouragement for your soul.

Hopefully this will be a place of resources and information for living a healthy lifestyle while feeding your soul. Recipes, links to helpful sites, words of encouragement and scripture....all to help you and your family make wise decisions for your life.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Women of Faith weekend: What a blessed experience!

This past weekend I had a wonderful experience with thousands of women at the Women of Faith event at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.  Our group had 49 fabulous women in attendance.  We laughed and cried, sang and danced together through a day and a half of inspiration, Bible truths, heart rending personal experiences and comic relief. 

We had a spectacular "slumber party" at the Courtyard at Lake Lucerne.  The gardens and grounds were beautiful and peaceful.  The staff couldn't have been more accommodating and we were able to enjoy the very interesting music from one of the afternoon weddings taking place on the grounds. 

Nothing could compare to the music of Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Mandisa and the worship team of the Women of Faith organization.  I had never heard Amy Grant in person before.  I had never heard of Mandisa.  (I'm probably the only person in America who hasn't!)  I had heard and seen Sandi Patty many times before but her voice gets better and better as she gracefully ages.  All of the music was amazing! 

All those in attendance were moved by the life story of Brenda Warner, laughed uncontrollably at Andy Andrews and Patsy Clairmont, were inspired by Marilyn Meberg's "Think, Believe, Do!" and Elisa Morgan's, "What if we all did what we could?"

"Ballet Magnificat" was the crowning glory of the weekend.  Through interpretive dance they told the "Good news of Jesus Christ!"

I'm not sure how it could have been any better!  I am so looking forward to attending again next year.  I was so inspired I signed up to co-lead a group of 75 next year! 

We already know some of the speakers for next year:  Max Lucado, Sheila Walsh, Priscilla Shirer, Third Day, Lysa TerKeurst, Christine Caine, Patsy Clairmont and many more to be announced! 

I can't wait to write my "Women of Faith" story!  I know this is only the beginning.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Blessing in Numbers, A Blessing of Fellowship!

Our Pastor's wife, Crystal, sent an email to everyone for whom she had email addresses regarding the "Women of Faith" event in October, near our home, in Orlando, Florida.  The response has been amazing!

I have heard about the "Women of Faith" events for many years but have never had the opportunity to attend.  I can hardly wait!  Some of my favorite speakers and singers and performers will be there:  Andy Andrews, Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Mandisa, Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, Brenda Warner, Ballet Magnificent.....

The line up is fabulous! 

When the email went out we thought 30 women would be a good "stretch" goal.  We are currently at 37 women and counting!  What a blessing for our church, our community and our relationships!  There is no telling what will happen when 40 women get together "in the spirit!"  I predict changed lives and a changed spiritual community! 

I recently read the very short, very powerful book by Andy Andrews, "The Butterfly Effect."  Though short, the book was extremely powerful!  Andy's message is that everything we do matters.  If you haven't read it I highly recommend it.  It's about a 15 to 20 minute read that can change lives. 

I am so much looking forward to the fellowship of my sisters in Christ!  I'm looking forward to the speakers and entertainers and mostly, I'm looking forward to being with thousands of like minded women! 

If you would like to join our group please let me know.  There are still tickets available and a few rooms left to share.  Just think of it as a "girls night out!"  I just can't wait! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Praise the Lord....if you are in the correct building and you mop the floor after the service!

Do you attend a church with multiple services in more than one location?  If so, are all the locations treated equally as a sanctuary where members worship God together?  Does your church welcome anyone who desires to worship God as a family in whatever manner suits their tastes? 

I have filled many leadership positions for my church and consider it an honor to Glorify God with my imperfect service.  If anyone bothered to ask me about my preferred form of worship it would be something akin to "black gospel" with great rhythm and subtle movement with reverence and grace.  I love the old southern gospels with an African American flare.  It's my favorite form of music of all time.

Please don't misinterpret me.  I love the old Baptist and Methodist Hymns and the new contemporary praise music!  I love, love Sandi Patti and Larnelle Harris and Amy Grant and Lynda Randle, Michael W. Smith and most of all the Gaither Vocal Band.  I love movie show tunes, opera, ragtime, big band and disco.  I could watch and listen to the Eagles for hours. 

My biggest regret in life is that God did not see fit to give me a great singing voice!  I love to sing God's Praises!  Unfortunately, I do not sing well but I do sing loudly!  Didn't God say, "Make a joyful noise!?"  That's what I do....I make a joyful noise and I move much as I am worshiping. 

It must be a family trait.  On a recent visit to my brother Joe's I noticed he was quite animated in the choir.  Everyone else was very properly still but Joe was bouncing and swaying to the music!  I always try to sit in the back of the room so I'm not quite so obvious.  I just can't help moving and swaying to the music. 

That brings me back to my first you attend a church where the congregation honors all forms of worship.  Do you worship in the "correct" building or is there an acceptable sanctuary and a separate and inferior building where members who worship in a "traditional" manner are right and everyone else is simply tolerated?  I am very, very happy to be part of a church where everyone and every form of worship is welcome?

Occasionally, we are all gathered together in one place to sing, pray, read the Bible and Praise the Lord together.  I love those occasions!  I love my "hugging" congregation and I love the Lord God Almighty!  Thank you all my life long friends who invited me to join you at this "Church on Fire to serve generations with Christ's Passionate Love! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Women of Faith Event in Orlando - October 12 & 13

I have been hearing about "Women of Faith" from friends and family for many years.  I have heard only rave reviews for the organization, the speakers, the musicians, the entire experience!  I have always been a little envious of those who have had the opportunity to enjoy this potentially life changing event.  Now "Women of Faith" will be in Orlando in October and I do not intend to miss it!

I received an email with a personal invitation to attend and perhaps you did too.  We are planning to attend as a group and there will be a link to register with our group soon.  There is a group discount so be sure to wait for the link before registering. 

Here are a few of the featured speakers and musicians: 

Mandisa - She's come a long way from singing in her bathroom with a curling iron "microphone"! The former American Idol finalist survived childhood abuse and an eating addiction to become one of the most promising new talents in the Christian music industry. She's been nominated for a Dove Award and TWO Grammy Awards (so far!)—and we expect more to follow. These days she sings with a carefree confidence about feeling more alive than ever. Through good times and bad, Mandisa has learned that God "can bring us out of whatever we're going through and even use it for good, and for His glory." She lives in Tennessee

Sandi Patty - You're probably familiar with Sandi's magnificent voice. You may know she's a Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee with 39 Dove Awards, five Grammy Awards, and an armload of platinum and gold albums. But did you know she spent much of the last year performing with symphony orchestras across the country—when she wasn't at Women of Faith events, of course—including a concert at Carnegie Hall? Or that she's such a die-hard Indianapolis Colts fan she refuses to sing the National Anthem at their games? ("They lost every time I sang," Sandi mourns. "I love them too much to risk it again.") Sandi, her husband, Don, and their younger children (they have a total of eight) live in Oklahoma.

Andy Andrews - Andy is an internationally known speaker and novelist whose works have sold millions of copies worldwide. Andy lived a relatively normal life until the age of nineteen, when both his parents died—and he found himself literally homeless, sleeping under a pier or in some one's garage. Then he asked the question that would ultimately affect millions of people. "Is life just a lottery ticket, or are there choices one can make to direct his future?" Andy has spoken at the request of four different U.S. Presidents and works with people from all walks of life, including the military. He lives in Alabama, with his wife, Polly, and their two sons.

Patsy Clairmont - Every year women go home to regale their friends and family with the latest "Patsy story" and we expect this weekend will be no different. Patsy has a poet's gift for making words dance as she shares her adventures and God's overwhelming love. Who'd have thought the teenage runaway who spent later years housebound with agoraphobia would grow into the gifted communicator and best-selling author you see and read today? (Certainly not Patsy herself!) A proud mama of two boys and "nana" to two more, Patsy and husband Les live in Tennessee

Amy Grant - No description necessary!

Marilyn Meberg - At first glance, you might think Marilyn was a serious, wise, well-educated counselor. (And you'd be right!) But she's also prone to break into giggles at the slightest provocation and tell stories you'll still be laughing over years from now. With the weight of not one, but two Masters' degrees behind her, Marilyn tackles the most difficult subjects with aplomb. Her biblically-based brand of common sense and good humor is cherished by women across the continent. Marilyn claims California as home but has been on what she calls an "extended visit" to Texas since 2005.

Elisa Morgan, Brenda Warner and more to come!

I can hardly wait for October.  The event begins on Friday evening at the Amway Center at 7:00 until 10:00.  Then on Saturday morning we begin again at 9:00 until 5:00.  There is a prepaid lunch available for $10.00.  (The menu is posted on the website.) 

We are hoping to have at least 30 women join us for this fantastic event so spread the word!  I'll post again as soon as our group is set up and we have our group link.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Count Your Blessings, Name Them One By One!

Tomorrow my church, Tavares First United Methodist, celebrates our annual "Grassroots Sunday." 

This is a time of reflection and looking forward, celebrating victories and hashing over what we may have done better, enjoying fellowship, patriotic songs, praise songs and great food. 

We informally join in one service, one Body of Christ, one in Spirit,  in our activities center to thank God for the many, many blessings we have enjoyed this past year.  We also use this time to map out what we would like to accomplish in the coming year. 

My part in the program is to enumerate our blessings for the congregation.  When I began to list the good things we have enjoyed this past year I was totally amazed at how fast and how many blessings i could recall.  I know I haven't thought of, or are even aware of, all the blessings God has bestowed on us.  All I can do is start with what I know and hope the congregations can "shout out" what I have over looked. 

We are going to follow our service with a "dinner on the grounds."  Randy Stiles will be grilling burgers and hot dogs (provided by the church and a very generous donor) and our very gifted congregation will bring side dishes.  There will be all the usual condiments:  tomatoes, lettuce, onions, relish, mustard and ketchup.  The tables are set, the praise band is ready, the preacher is inspired and watermelons are chillin'.  I can't imagine anything better! 

I hope what we do tomorrow will Honor God and make our congregation happy!  I am so looking forward to the day!

If you do not have a church home, or even if you do, we would love to have you join us tomorrow!  We are a "hugging" church so be prepared to be loved! 

I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord. 

Psalm 122:1

Monday, May 7, 2012

James is still needling me! One Day at a Time!

I loved the Beth Moore study of the Book of James.  I have posted it about it before.  I also hated the study of the Book of James because it's convicting!  It's not easy looking inward and finding you are not where you ought to your own opinion.  I'm sure I'm right where God intends me to be but I, being human, think God needs my help with this one.

Now my Tuesday morning prayer group is studying James.  So I have another opportunity to beat myself up over my failings.  My tongue is still wagging, but not as bad as before.  My ability to keep straight what I have to do and stay focused is better but still needs improvement.  Leading by example is my greatest challenge currently.

Many of our group have been out of town so we have taken a little break for about four weeks.  We shall resume our meetings this week and begin with the first chapter of James.  Thankfully it isn't my turn to lead but my Bible seems to weigh about 2500 pounds.  I know I'll do better and be better once I start reading again.  I am reminded of the chorus one of my favorites:

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

I love that song and may have to make it my motto! 

It's a beautiful thing to awaken to another promising day to honor God by at least trying! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Straight Shootin' James

My last post was some time ago.  I'm not proud I have not kept up with my commitment to post once per week but I'm not going to beat myself up. Instead I'm going to begin again with a new attitude. 

I'm currently in the middle of a Beth Moore Bible Study entitled, "James, Mercy Triumphs."  I was very excited to sign up to participate in the study as I love any Beth Moore Bible studies.  I hadn't read James.  OMG....I couldn't believe the book of James was the source of all those Bible quotes that were so familiar to me. 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."  James 1:2 

Are you like me?  You must "vent" by telling everyone how you have been wronged and it just isn't fair!

"My dear brothers, "take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger."  James 1:19

Good grief!  James obviously never drove a car on Florida highways during the winter! 

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds."  James 2:14

How many times have I complained about having to spend so much time setting up, cleaning up, planning and executing events at church?  That privelege should have been "pure joy."

Adding up all these verses goes back to my last few (distant) posts.  Controlling our tongues and subsequently our attitudes, is imperative.  Self control is a Godly concept and we humans are, for the most part, miserable failures. 

I attend a weekly prayer group where we often discuss our "lack of faith."  I don't identify with that, as faith is my spiritual gift, but I understand it is a challenge for many and I try not to judge.  I have great faith and very few doubts. 

My tongue is my thorn in the side.  Even when I'm speaking of the challenge of keeping control of my mouth I find myself giving examples by complaining about folks with whom I disagree. 

I'm on my knees often these days asking for forgiveness of my weaknesses and pleading for help and guidance with my mouth in the future. 

Kneeling is also not a bad thing.  The more I study, pray and ask forgiveness, the more I mature as a Christian.  I have a long way to go but I am determined to grow everyday in Christ.  The study of the book of James is a huge asset for those wishing to mature. 

Who will join me in practicing self control?  I have joined Weight Watchers Online, I have committed to exercise and drink more water and I am trusting God to guide me in my Christian walk.  That tongue is still a problem but I'm confident my God can help me with that too!