Monday, August 31, 2015

Women with Wildfire Faith Tribute; Happy Birthday Billie Taylor

I've been meaning to feature on this blog women I have known or perhaps women you have known that are inspirational. These may not be famous women but one thing they will all have in common is wildfire faith as described in the book "Unquenchable" by Carol Kent. I'm calling it my Women with Wildfire Faith Tribute and the first one I am featuring is Billie Taylor, my original first Bible Study mentor; it is her 90th birthday!   
 "What is wildfire faith? A wildfire, by definition, differs from other fires by virtue of its uncontrollable nature, massive size, the speed at which it spreads, its tendency to rapidly change direction, and its ability to leap over roads, rivers and firebreaks. The intense heat and convection winds it produces can actually change weather conditions or even produce its own weather system, including violent tornadoes that send embers flying well ahead of the main fire front. These factors make wildfires notoriously difficult to extinguish.
    Imagine having a faith with those same qualities---a faith so powerful, so massive, that it spreads uncontrollably and leaps over boundaries that try to contain or extinguish it. Such faith has the power not only to rise about the circumstances but also to change the "weather conditions" of our lives. Wildfire faith replicates itself, throwing sparks and embers far beyond its own boundaries, creating additional fires of faith that then spread in new directions.
    Wildfire faith springs from God's Word and burns itself into your own story. It reveals the true power of the fire God has placed in you, fans the flames of your faith, stirs your passion, and emboldens you to spark new fires that will spread and forever change the landscape of this world.
    Such a faith does far more than simply hold on when life tries to extinguish it. It leaps in new directions, finds new fuel to keep burning, turns up the heat of a cold and deadened heart---and is unstoppable!"
(Carol Kent from Unquenchable)
Billie, this is the kind of faith that you have always portrayed to me and to so many others. This is your legacy that you, a small Southern woman rose up from the pain of life and gave life to others in the midst of that pain. That you pressed on, pushed on and said "Lord, keep me when I don't want to be kept." You said that to me and countless others and now look around you, He did it! He kept you, held you, blessed you and loved you! And we love you, too. One day I'll post how God brought us together when He sent Billie to a Christian Women's Club to minister to me, a young woman dying inside with pain, about forty years ago. That's a story in itself! Thank You Jesus for putting us together
Happy 90th birthday Billie Taylor!
I hope to feature a Women with Wildfire Faith tribute at least once a month. I have a few in my heart already picked out and I am open to suggestions from y'all.

Friday, August 21, 2015

When the Lord gives you a good day!

I love when sometimes it seems that I get it right. Most of the time I don't feel that way and it gets to me, very often. Every day I pray that the Holy Spirit will be more present within me than the day before and yet at the end of the day, I wonder, did He really do that? Was I truly guided by Him in my every day life? Some days it seems like there is constant rush and no leading.
The other morning though, in my quiet time, I was asking the Lord something to do for Isaiah's last week before he goes to middle school, that would make a happy day for him. He has just went to Aquatica with his sister Ashley and that was the main thing he had wanted to do over the summer. He'd already been blessed with a Tennessee vacation and a cool vacation with his parents to several Florida springs as well to Devil's Den, which I hear is pretty beautiful and awesome. I had thought about some Orlando activities, such as Medieval Times or Arabian Nights or the Titanic but he'd been there before.
Then the thought: Ron Jon's Surf Shop came to me. Now that seemed a bit crazy as it is just a store in Cocoa Beach but it is deemed the largest surf shop in the world, I believe. The main activity he did this summer was get a surfboard and learn to surf, first by Uncle Keith and then at surf camp this month. It seemed like the Lord said, "He started the summer surfing and now end it in the same way." I still wrestled a bit with was it the Lord I was hearing and didn't tell him ahead of time as I wanted it to be a surprise.
Another thing he like is to sleep in so Thursday he got to sleep in and then I told him we were doing a day trip out of town.
"Pick where you want to go to lunch, Isaiah and then we'll head to Cocoa beach to Ron Jon's. Oh, and put your surfboard in the van in case we try the waves out there." You'd thought I'd told him we were going to another state, he was so excited. We had a great lunch at Pollo Tropical and I tried a bowl that rivals KFC's. Mashed potatoes, pulled pork, corn, onions and peppers, gravy and guacamole on top. Wow! Isaiah had his favorite half chicken platter with black beans and rice.
Then on the way to Cocoa and that is when I thought I really didn't hear right as we drove through some heavy rains. Lo and behold, as we headed east on 528 the clouds disappeared and we drove into a sunny day. I told Isaiah the Lord gave him a God-pocket of sunshine. Ron Jon's was all that we thought it might be and another God-moment was when I let him try on a wetsuit. They were all over $70 and I didn't really plan on getting him one until his birthday, but when he tried on a size 12 the lady came over and told us she had one in the rental store across the street for $25. If it fit him and we wanted it, she'd talk to the manager and see if he'd go lower on the price. Praise the good Lord we walked out of there with a wetsuit for $20.
By then Isaiah was dying to surf, so we headed over to the beach and he gave it a try. I have to say I like our beaches better; they have very few beach parks, it seemed and the parking is pretty expensive. But the lady (our angel) from Ron Jon's said for us to use their free parking. It's a real perk to live in the Daytona area and be able to drive on the beach as opposed to us walking over with that surfboard.

I saw a big porpoise that I thought was a shark jumping a lot out in the deep and then a small shark in very shallow water. Isaiah was convinced it was a huge shark that was targeting him, but it was near the end of our time there and the shark was heading out to sea. He has a "big" shark story that he is sticking with although I'll still tell my point of view of it. We got out as soon as I saw it and thank the Lord it was at the end of the day so all in all, our day trip was good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Posting my book review of a new children's book by Lee Ann Mancini

"What a Bragger!" written by Lee Ann Mancini, and illustrated by Dan Sharp, is a five star children's book and part of the Adventures of the Sea Kids Series. I think everyone has known a child who brags in their life, and your young child will identify with the feelings that the fish characters have towards the bragger.

As so often happens we find out that the one who is bragging is not the one who has the most but the one who needs the most. I love how the story played out when the other fish became more compassionate toward the bragger, Melissa.

The artistry both in words and illustrations was beautiful and it surely lends a lesson to children. There is always a challenge at the end of Lee Ann's books, it seems and I find myself enjoying looking for the sign of the fish within the pages.

Bragging, tears, learning to share and joy make this a wonderful book to have on hand for your small children and grandchildren. I’m becoming a sure fan of this series and I think this book makes a great gift.

 I received a Review Copy from the publisher through BookCrash. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday blessings

A little this and that today as we thank Him for all He's done. Thanking Jesus for a great night last night when after church Shiloh and Brian came over and cooked us a deluxe steak dinner. With busy schedules, it's rare that we all get to sit down together.
Yes, I still dream of the day when all my children and grandchildren will be at my table, but I'm learning to enjoy what I have, when I have it for now. A day at a time. Uncle Rudy popped in with some notes for a story I'm writing about his love and care for Aunt Mary as she battled Alzheimer's. I think it may be one of the most poignant stories yet and am praying that it will get in Chicken Soup for the Soul. If not, it is something that I always wanted to put into words as I honor a man among us who took such wonderful care of his wife.
Last night at FWC they blessed the teachers with wonderful supplies for going back to school and the kids with filled backpacks. What a giving church, truly a beacon in our city. We add prayers today for Pastor Ray Dubois who has had some voice issues and is taking a rest for his vocal chords. With a gift for teaching as he has, I know that is hard to be on the sidelines. May the Lord send complete healing soon. It is always a wonderful privilege to hear Pastor Cathy Mazza  and last week Pastor John Mazza minister beautifully and so soul-felt, though.
Side note and something to make you smile, I did a little experiment at Isaiah's surf camp this week, where I decided I would do instead of WWJD what would Pastor Cathy do? She is such salt and light and says an encouraging word to everyone. So I made sure I greeted the teachers with an extra big smile, talked to the grandmother who brought her grandchildren to class, finding out some info about her family and spent some in-depth time with a widow raising three children alone, with all that entails. I left surf camp feeling better than when I came. Key verse from Proverbs 31:26 that describes Pastor Cathy, " She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." May her tribe increase!

Isaiah is getting blessed with an extra vacation with his parents and Aubrey as they explore Salt Springs this weekend and Devil's Den to snorkel tomorrow. He goes to try out middle school for his preview day on Thursday. Good times!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A word from long ago by Bill Britton

This morning as I woke, this parable came to me from many years back, written by Bill Britton. I believe it is for someone today, someone who is struggling against what they believe are the restraints of the Lord put upon them. Someone who doesn't believe that beauty can come from them or their life. Someone who the Lord loves desperately and who needs that peace that comes from complete surrender.This is deep and lengthy and is not for the fainthearted.

It is one of those things that must come with trust and not understanding as in Proverbs 3:5:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.

It's Friday and we are grateful and thinking about prayers that have been answered and those that it seems have not, or not in the way we'd hoped. The song for today is Keep Singing; please listen to the words as a prayer to the Lord:
"Keep Singing"
Another rainy day
I can't recall having sunshine on my face
All I feel is pain
All I wanna do is walk out of this place
But when I am stuck and I can't move
When I don't know what I should do
When I wonder if I'll ever make it through

I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
You're the one who's keeping my heart beating
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
That's the only way that I'll find healing

Can I climb up in Your lap?
I don't wanna leave
Jesus, sing over me
I gotta keep singing

Can I climb up in Your lap?
I don't wanna leave
Jesus, sing over me
I gotta keep singing

Oh, You're everything I need
And I gotta keep singing