Sunday, April 29, 2012

Transformation Process

The caterpillars arrived in our Pre-K 3 classroom.  It was so exciting!  The children had fun looking at them and hearing a story about "The Crawly Caterpillar".

Each day the kids had the opportunity to observe.  Heidi and I reminded them that we see with our eyes and not our hands.

They watched the caterpillars.  They began to form a chrysalis and the children learned all about this process.  It seemed like nothing was happening.  But all of the action was going on inside. 

The old parts of the caterpillar were undergoing a transformation called metamorphosis.  The children even learned that very long word.  Once all of the changing was completed, the butterfly was ready to emerge.  The kids were very excited about this part.


It was a very special day when we were ready to release the butterflies.  They would finally be free!


But not all of the butterflies were so eager to leave.  They had become accustomed to their cage.


After a little nudging, several of them exited.  Two of the butterflies stayed close to Olivia.  She was trying to stay very still so she wouldn't hurt their wings or scare them.


Heidi finally coaxed them away and into the garden they went.

The next time we passed the garden the butterflies were all gone. Every now and then the children will excitedly tell us they saw a butterfly.  It was such a good learning experience for them.

Spiritual Application

As a Christian, our spiritual transformation is very similar.  Accepting Jesus into our hearts brings about a total transformation of who we are; just like the butterfly.  Our old self that was bound by sin and had no peace with God is gone.  Our new self that is redeemed, forgiven and at peace with God emerges.  

We are free in Christ!

However, like some of the butterflies many of us remain in the cage. We don't fully realize who we are in Christ.  We don't grasp the privileges of being a child of the Most High.  We don't allow Him to transform us fully.  Yes, we are saved but we need to surrender our lives to Him.

We are free in Christ.

We have new life in Christ.

Transformation will continue as long as we are on this side of heaven.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit. Our part is to cooperate and surrender.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)


"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

I am linking up with Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays.



Blessings and love,

Saturday, April 28, 2012

TSMSS ~ I'm With You

I'm With You.  This is a beautiful song sung by Nichole Nordeman & Amy Grant.  It was playing in the background during the (in)RL session entitled "Choose Joy: Sara's story".

Sara was a blogger who died.  During her illness, she chose joy and reached out to community.  I'm sure it would be easy to isolate yourself given a life of suffering but Sara made the choice to reach out to others, even from the confines of her bedroom.  This is where she spent most of her time until her death.  And Sara is still impacting people with her love for others and her love for Jesus.

If you not signed up yet for the (in)RL online conference, it's not too late.  You can sign up here and it's only $10.



I'm linking up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders for Then Sings My Soul Saturday.





Blessings and love,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Word-filled Wednesday ~ Encouragement

This is a week of encouragement on Heart Choices.

Even the children in our Pre-K 3 class had the opportunity to help one another this week.  They were counting their fingers and tracing their hands.  They were able to trace one hand.  But they needed a friend to trace their other hand.  It was such fun to watch them work together and help and encourage one another.

We need each other.  There are times when we need a good dose of encouragement.

Can you think of someone you can encourage today?  

Don't just think it.  GO AND DO IT!

I'm linking up with Internet Cafe Devotions for Word-filled Wednesday.



Blessings and love,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do You Open Your Heart to Others?


Do you open your heart to others?  Or have you been hurt by others that you thought you could trust?

How easy it can be to hide our hearts.  It seems safer and yet ...so lonely.

We were not meant to live the Christian life alone.

So often we look at other's lives and think that they have it all together.
  • The perfect life
  • The perfect family
  • The perfect body
  • The perfect home
But let's get real.

We all have our stuff that others don't get to see.

Nobody's perfect!

As I watched this promotional video, it reminded me of how much I've come to love my friends, including many blogging sisters I've not even met in person ...YET.

May we encourage one another.



Blessings and love,

Monday, April 23, 2012

Encourage One Another

Encourage one another.  I'm all for that.  I've been on the receiving end at times.  And I've given encouragement to others at times.

The fact is ...we all need each other.

I received a surprise package in the mail last week from (in)courage.  Check out the goodies; a t-shirt and many lovely cards I can send to friends and family to ...encourage them.


If you've not heard, (in) real life is hosting an online conference April 27-28.  You get to attend and even stay in your pj's if you choose.  It's not too late to sign up here.  The cost is only $10.  You can check out the video trailer for yourself.



I am so looking forward to this event.

This past week has been a very tiring one for me.  Greg and I are still moving into our very small condo.  It's been challenging to choose what to take and what to get rid of.  After 27 years of marriage, there's lots of stuff.  As I unpack many of the boxes, I realize I didn't even miss the stuff.  So our dumpster is getting full for the second time.  We're going to need another one before we're done.

I am so glad I get to work with Heidi.  We are such a good team in our Pre-K 3 class.  We encourage one another.  There are days when she needs it and there are days when I need it.  How thankful I am to have come to know her these past two school years.

#431 An upcoming online conference on encouragement
#432 Friends who encourage me
#433 A special friend who needs lots of encouragement as she goes through a challenging time
#434 A husband who has been working on all the details of our new nest to make it special for me
#435 A new baby to be born SOON to my niece Kristin and her hubby Kevin
#436 Getting rid of excessive clutter and simplifying
#437 Birds singing every morning
#438 Good health
#439 Getting lots of exercise with this move
#440 A wonderful sermon this morning on James 4
#441 China Mist iced tea
#442 The children in our school; I love them
#443 Getting to drive through the mountains of Paradise Valley, Arizona each morning
#444 Hearing the sound of my dad's voice each weekend on the phone

I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy Experience for Multitudes on Mondays.



Blessings and love,

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

God Answers Prayer

What happens when you pray and the answer isn't what you hoped for?

I prayed to have a child of my own for years.

But God ...

He had a different plan than the one I expected.

Instead of my own child, I now have many children to teach, encourage and love.

So, trust the Lord and ask Him to replace your desires with His desires.


"Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby. 

   Fill the air with song, you who've never experienced childbirth!
You're ending up with far more children 
   than all those childbearing women. God says so!"
Isaiah 54:1  The Message


I'm linking up for Word-filled Wednesday at Internet Cafe Devotions.



Blessings and love,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love



Today I am hosting "In Other Words Tuesday".  This is the quote I chose for us to write about:

“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” (Galatians 5:22)
Love is a fruit growing within us from a supernatural source.
It’s not your love, yet it is,
since the Spirit works in you both to will and to do loving things that are on his mind.
You never hear of an apple tree struggling to produce its fruit.
As long as sap flows within the tree, apples will form and blossom.
And so it is with the Holy Spirit and love.
He is our life and bears the fruit – not us. That’s why he was sent to live in us.”
Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit
by Jim Cymbala

Photo Credit: Iris Nelson
I love to love.  Even as a teenager, I loved love and wanted more of it.  My mom told me I was in love with love.  But life has a way of hurting us as we open our hearts to others.  I too have been hurt by love.

But God ...

God is love.

He loved us so much He sent Jesus to die for our sins.

I received that free gift of love for myself.

His Holy Spirit lives in me.

As I allow Him to have His way in me, I can't help but love others ...including the unloving.

But when I wander and go my own way, it's hard to truly love.

I get irritated and impatient with others.

I believe the key is to abide in Him.

 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 NIV


I watch the orange trees outside.

  • They are planted in soil.
  • They receive water.
  • They receive sun.
  • They receive fertilizer.
The result:
  • Amazing fruit
  • Sweet to the taste
I abide in Him when I:

  • Have my daily quiet time
  • Spend time in His Word
  • Pray
  • Meditate on the Word
  • Quiet myself so I can listen 

Then as I go about my day, I'm already filled with His Spirit.  His love can overflow from me to others.  I listen to that still small voice.  I don't miss those Divine appointments in my busyness.  I don't do this perfectly by any means as I'm a work in progress.  But by His grace ...I want to abide.

How about you?  Is it evident to others that you are abiding in Him? Do others see the fruit of love in your life?  Are you trying to do good things for God but not abiding?

Blessings and love,

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Blessings

Spring is here so I'm counting my every day spring blessings today. This beautiful yellow rose is one I photographed on the front patio of our condo.

In our Pre-K 3 class we are already up to the letter "W".  There aren't many letters left in the alphabet so that means our school year is coming to an end.  

The children have learned so much this year.  I love to see them reading to each other using their sight words they've been learning.

I love that the children learn much but have time for play too.  It actually teaches them social skills.

Many of them are now able to go all the way across on the monkey bars.  They get so excited!


Of course, they get tired.  Nap time is so good for them and ...for their teachers.


This is another rose from our front patio garden.  I do believe we have a choice each day.  I choose to make it a wonderful day and notice the every day blessings in my life.

Happy Spring!

#419 A beautiful rose garden in front of our new condo
#420 Watching the children in our class as they grow before our eyes
#421 Seeing the children read to one another
#422 Realizing we all need balance; work and rest
#423 Enjoying children who come from different cultures
#424 Spring weather in Phoenix
#425 Waking up during the night on Friday to the sound of rain
#426 Not having to take care of a yard
#427 A condo that is easy to clean
#428 Having the best pizza from Red Devil Pizza
#429 Enjoying my furniture in the condo
#430 Discovering familiar photos and art pieces as we unpack our boxes

I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy Experience for Multitudes on Mondays.



Blessings and love,

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hosting In Other Words Tuesday

I'll be hosting "In Other Words Tuesday" this week.

The quote I've chosen for us to write about is:

“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” (Galatians 5:22) Love is a fruit growing within us from a supernatural source. It’s not your love, yet it is, since the Spirit works in you both to will and to do loving things that are on his mind. You never hear of an apple tree struggling to produce its fruit. As long as sap flows within the tree, apples will form and blossom. And so it is with the Holy Spirit and love. He is our life and bears the fruit – not us. That’s why he was sent to live in us.”
From Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit by Jim Cymbala 

I encourage you to join in.  Simply write a blog post including this quote and your take on it.  Then link back on Tuesday with the direct URL to your message.  I look forward to reading your posts or your comments.

Blessings and love,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Where Do You Go For Wisdom?

Where do you go for wisdom?  Who do you seek out for advice?

May the first place you go is to ...God's Word.

I'm joining in Word-filled Wednesday at Internet Cafe Devotions.



Blessings and love,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Amazing Grace

It's time to continue counting my every day blessings.  As I gaze at this photo of little Story listening so intently, I can't help but smile. The children in our school are such an amazing blessing.

LOVE

Story and Christian are three years old.  They are in one of the other Pre-K 3 classes but we all spend much time together.  These two precious children tell everyone they are best friends.


Our classes take PE together so I was able to get a few cute shots with my camera.

If only life were this simple.  If only we would learn to ...love one another.


John 13:34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.


Most children are not scarred by life at this age.  It's refreshing to see friendship blossom.

CHANGE

For the past few years, I've struggled with change.  Moving when I didn't want to move.  Trying to adjust to difficult circumstances.  And now ...another move.

But what I realized last evening was that I was content.  Greg and I sat in our small living room and talked about how far we've come. We were able to count the many blessings.  Our marriage relationship is stronger than it ever was when we had 'everything'.

We're doing all of the work ourselves since it's costly to hire people to do things.  In the past, we would think nothing of just calling a vendor to help.  But there's something special about putting your own sweat and making it a labor of love.  Greg and I are working together as a team.

HOME TEAM

There are several beautiful rose bushes outside our entry.

Celebrating Easter was special.  It's the reason I can smile and have hope in this life.  Jesus is not dead in the grave.  He's alive!  His Spirit is living in my heart and how thankful I am.




#401 Beautiful sunshine and warm days
#402 The smiles of children
#403 Seeing children love one another
#404 Learning to embrace change
#405 A closer relationship with my husband
#406 Learning to trust God more and more each day
#407 Looking back and realizing how faithful God was through it all
#408 The sight of beautiful colorful roses outside my door
#409 A shorter and more pleasant drive to work
#410 Hearing John Shillington sing "He's Alive" in our Easter church service
#411 God's amazing grace
#412 Hearing my family in Florida's voices on the phone
#413 Awaiting my niece Kristin and her husband Kevin's firstborn within weeks
#414 Nice neighbors
#415 Work I enjoy
#416 A great price for health insurance through my work
#417 Greg's mom is finally back in her own home after three hospitalizations
#418 A wonderful visit with Gloria this afternoon

I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy Experience for Multitudes on Mondays.



Blessings and love,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Where is Your Home?


I am a nester.  No matter where I live, I always strive to have a place that reflects who I am.  I use fabrics, furniture, paintings, photographs and mementos to make it special.

I often tell my husband that our nest is a safe place where we can let down and be comfortable.  We go out into this world but we can always return home to a place of love.

Lately, my home has been changing.   To continue reading, go to Laced with Grace.

Laced With Grace

Blessings and love,

Am I a kid or what?

Am I a kid or what?

I love this place...Carmel, CA

I love this place...Carmel, CA