Saturday, November 21, 2009

Whay hasn't Amber been posting much lately?


Well, it's not because I'm busy. I know that's the favorite excuse of blog authors; "I'm so sorry, but I've been SO busy!!!!" I have been busy, but I can always find time to write if I want to. :) :)

No, the reason I haven't written is more complicated.

When I first started this blog my parents were a little unsure about the whole "blog" thing - they know me well enough to know that, while I'm very reserved in person, I most often forget caution while writing, and tell my entire life history and current emotional status to the page.

That's all very well and good when the page is my hidden journal. It's not so advisable, however, when the page happens to be a screen, and anyone around the world can read it.

But (obviously), my parents consented to my having a blog, so long as I exercised caution in writing on it.

That, my dear friends, is why I haven't been posting much lately. Because I couldn't write and exercise caution at the same time. My heart has been so full lately...for several months, which seems to be a lifetime. I feel as if to do a post about cooking, or sewing, or something light-hearted would not be real. It wouldn't be.

I've been terribly busy with such things - and other things, too - but that's not where my mind is dwelling most of the time. And, despite my blog title, I write here what's on my mind, not just what's coming out my fingers and hands.

What do you do when your heart is full and you're not sure where to spill it out? Do you keep it precariously balanced, hoping you won't spill a drop for fear it will ruin whatever it spills on? Do you lose all caution and spill it out to the first acquaintance who asks how you're doing? Do you seek your bosom friends - your closest dear ones?

What do you do if you can't find them? What do you do if you tell them and they don't understand? Or what do you do if they understand but can't do anything about your problems?

Talk to Jesus, of course.

I think that's why we go through rough times. You are close to your dear ones because you've gone through thick and thin with them. Mere acquaintances haven't cried with you. They haven't seen your faults and flops. And we get close to Jesus when we cry in His lap.

I read a verse this morning that I know was written for me. It's from Romans. I don't remember exactly where, and I'm typing this from memory, so forgive me if it's not word-perfect;

"...we rejoice in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope. And hope maketh us not ashamed, because the love of God is spread abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost which is given us."

I really am starting to understand what he means about "rejoicing in tribulation." Can I tell you a secret? There actually have been several times when I've seen trials coming and gotten excited because I thought, "Oh goody!! How is God going to change me through this one?" I couldn't wait to be more like Jesus when emerging from the other side of the valley. Yes, I actually was excited.

And you know what? I was embarrassed by my excitement. I knew very well what was expected of me - I was supposed to dread this trial! (Yes, they were actual trials, and I wasn't blind or naive; I knew they were going to be painful.) I was supposed to struggle and cry and be miserable! I didn't want to.....but I gave it my best effort, for the world's sake. It wouldn't be proper to be happy in such circumstances. If I clasped my hands and smiled, they would look at me as if I were crazy!

This morning's reading freed me. I suddenly realized that the Bible says it's okay to rejoice when you see trouble coming! I know - I should have known that before. I mean, I did know it....but I didn't really internalize it.

Now where was I going with this train of thought? Oh yes - trials.

Well, I guess I'm in the middle of one. Have been, for several months. Some days I feel like rejoicing...but it's as if, since I gave in to "mourning," like I was "supposed" to, it's hard to work back out of the pit. But in my heart that verse still rings true....I know without doubt that trials teach patience...and patience gives experience. ....And experience teaches me HOPE. ...And somewhere mixed up in that hope will be joy. :) :)

Isn't that lovely? How does God know so much about real life? Oh, what a silly question.

Forgive me for not posting oftener. I've had very "fruitful hands" lately; many maybe there will be an actual interesting post here in a few days. I'm not making any promises, but we'll see. :)

In the meantime, hello to all you dear friends, and may you have a blessed Lord's Day tomorrow!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hey, Lookie! Free Recipes!

I just stumbled across these two links:

~ Find a free download for a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Hotline Cookbook HERE.

~ Find free online access to Taste of Home's October/November 2009 Issue HERE.

Hope you enjoy. Isn't it fun to bake this time of year? It makes the kitchen so cozy, and the house smell so good.

It's cold and rainy here. It's very windy, too. In fact, we have several very large branches down in our yard. Nearly half a tree crushed our lawn swing. Last night I couldn't fall asleep until midnight; in part due to the wind whipping the rain against the walls of our house. But I am thankful for the rain - it's been dry the past few weeks. And, like I said, it does make the house cozy. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm really not sure why I'm posting this.

The only reason I can come up with is that it makes me laugh. And you know me; if it makes me laugh, I want to make other people laugh. :)

I just thought some of you might get a kick out of seeing what I look like when I'm writing. I really get "into it," ya know. In the picture below, I'm not working on a blog post (obviously - see the pen?) but I'm working on writing something, just the same. I was trying to come up with new lyrics to an old tune.

Now, usually, I'm not one to broadcast it when I look a little foolish. I'm afraid my pride level is still too high. But when it comes to writing, a lot of things go out the window for me. I abandon all ideas of caring what people think of me, and just do whatever it takes to get the ideas flowing - up to and including laying across a bed with my head hanging off the end while I brainstorm.

I really, really, really love writing. It's a heart thing, for me. ...And I guess my whole body gets into the act:

Sorry about the fuzziness.

I can't help but chuckle. Maybe you don't think it's funny. That's okay - I really don't care. :) I just felt like shouting "I LOVE WRITING!" and this photo was the first idea that popped into my mind.

It kinda feels good to have at least one area in my life where I don't care what people think about me. Most of the time I'm so trapped by other folks' expectations. Do you ever feel that way?

Its a hard thing. There's a balance somewhere, between caring and not caring. Of course we want to be sensitive to others, and respect them and their opinions. And of course we want to feel liked and loved and admired. And of course we don't want to cling stubbornly to our own views and opinions if they are wrong. ...But we don't want to be wishy-washy either, swayed by every person who crosses our path.

It is a comforting thing to know the Bible holds the secret to finding a balance. Sometimes that comforting thought is the only thing that keeps me sane when I'm trying to find my own balance. Because I care what people think. A lot. ...But I care MOST about what Christ thinks.

And that helps.

A lot.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My status on Facebook this afternoon was this:

Read the comments below if you have time and want to know what I do when I have a morning to spend doing frustrating things. (sarcasm should be duly noted) :) :)

#1: Got in the car. Got on the road. Noticed I was low on gas, and already past the gas station.

#2: Transmission stalled out in the middle of route __. I prayed desperately as I drifted along, my speedometer slowly going downward. Praise God - the transmission coughed and came back!

#3: Got to store. Had 6 items on shopping list. Found zero.

#4: Went to post office. Spent $26.95 to ship a $3.00 package.

#5: Headed for next stop...and got lost. Still low on gas.

#6: Finally found next stop. Once I was there, it was a great morning. Thank God for giving humans the ability to have a sense of humor! (Granted, it was afternoon before this ability surfaced in yours truly, but still!) Also, thank God we can sing praise even when everything is going wrong. :)

...So how was YOUR morning???

Ah, yes - sometimes I wish I could just "unplug" from the rest of the world forever, but I must admit that one reason I like being "plugged in" is that I can turn a frustrating, awful experience into a bit of a humorous story and, more importantly, a way to praise the Lord.

It was kinda strange, this morning. I was driving along the highway, realizing that I'd turned the wrong direction, yet unable to turn around until I got to the next exit, 1/2 a mile down the road. I was low on gas, short on time, and very short on patience and joy. I just sat there with tears leaking out of my eyes, wishing I could just restart the morning...or fast forward it and get it behind me.

And God brought to mind the story of Paul and Silas in prison, and how they sang in the midst of difficulties. I knew He wanted me to sing. I opened my mouth, searching for something to sing...and out came the first thing I could think of;

"I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
I will sing! I will sing!
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord!
With my mouth will I make known
Thy faithfulness. Thy faithfulness.
With my mouth will I make known
Thy faithfulness to all generations!
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
I will sing! I will sing!
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord!"

Down the highway I went, still crying a little, but singing - almost fiercely, every time I came to the phrase, "I will sing!"

And you know what? Now I can smile about my morning. :) :) :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Confession's good for the soul"

That's one of my dad's sayings. Confession isn't fun, really, but I'd have to agree with Daddy - it's good for you.

Good for me, to be more specific.

I guess my post about being a pack-rat was a good thing. But it started more than I thought it would.

For example, after writing about how much I want to be free of the "love of stuff," I started wondering "how badly do I really want to be like that, anyway?" Was I willing to take drastic measures to be sure I wasn't clinging to "stuff" too tightly?

It was on my mind all yesterday evening. I was a little worried about having too many "things," but I was also worried about my attitude towards those things. ...At least, that's what I to be wanted to be most worried about. Do you know what I mean? I wanted to be most concerned with my heart attitude. I think I was. ...But it's so hard to know your own heart, ya know?

Hmm. Anyway... this afternoon I headed to the basement and dug out every last bit of clothes I own that are in storage, and I also lugged all the contents of my closet down there, so everything would be in one place. Then I proceeded to sort.

Not without praying first, though. I begged God to make me not care about what I had. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted, but I knew I wanted to be free.

Then I sorted.

I won't bore you with all the details, but it was a time of self-examination for me, and I'm not quite happy with what I saw. There was that moment when I dropped that sweater into the "give away" box...the sweater with much sentimental value...the sweater I wore only a handful of times, if that. It wasn't easy to drop it in there.

There was also the moment I remembered one of my younger sisters was in need of winter clothing. There was the moment she pulled that sweater out of the box and it fitted her perfectly.

And there was the moment I put the boxes back....each of them only half-full.

And there was the time I spent talking with my Mom, receiving much wisdom on the topic of beauty - both inner and outer, and how they connect.

Guess what? I'm going shopping tomorrow morning, Lord willing. Clothes shopping. I found out that I actually could use a few items! And I think they'll actually fit in my closet now.

And you know what else? I happened to be reading my Bible just shortly before I got on the computer. Guess what chapter I "happened" to fall upon?

Luke 12.

Read it, if you've possibly can. You might enjoy God's sense of humor, that He should direct me there today, of all days. :)