The warmth of the woodstove and my parent’s love are a beautiful combination, especially on a January eve. Memories of sitting around the kitchen table always bring a smile to my face. Whether it be at my parent’s or Gram’s house, many problems were solved, events planned, and news shared. Last night was no different.
We brought chocolate crackle cookies to my parents last night in celebration of their 41st wedding anniversary. Once everyone had confectionary sugar and chocolate on their face and clothing everyone “assumed their position”. The men golfing, Mary on the computer or playing with the dog, and Mom and I left to enjoy some table talk.
As I updated Mom on my accomplishments of the day (Have I told you how much I LOVE a snow day!? An opportunity to wear my author/speaker hat for an entire day! Sweet!) I shared my blog series idea and excel planning sheet with her but before I could continue she was out of her seat in route to the other room.
“Mom, is everything okay?”
“Yes, I found something the other day that might help you with this series.”
"A poem I wrote in 1966. I wrote it in high school and reused it again for college, it talks about time.”
She returned with a tote full of interesting papers and from the depths of the bin she pulled out her poem, Time is… I asked her permission to use it, borrowed Dad’s camera and snapped a few photos. I have always known my mother to be creative and artsy yet her inner writer caught me off guard.
“I love it! Can I use it?”
She laughed and said, “I wouldn’t have shown you if I didn’t want you to use it.”
We both laughed then.
It has become a running joke, “Be careful or you’ll end up on Lisa’s blog.”
Mom’s original masterpiece is above. The one below includes reminders from God’s Word of the truth that flowed from my Mom’s heart as she concluded her last year of high school. A wise woman indeed.
Too slow for those who wait,
“This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” Habakkuk 2:3
Too swift for those who fear,
“But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. 6 So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.” Jonah 1:5b – 6
Too long for those who grieve,
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the LORD laid on him
the sins of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6
Too short for those who rejoice,
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the LORD.
Search for the LORD and for his strength;
continually seek him. 1 Chronicles 16:9-11
BUT for those who love,
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:9
Time is not.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. John 6:47
Thank you Mom for letting me share your poem and for all the TIME both you and Dad always have for us! We love you both!
There is a time for everything,
And a season for every activity
Under the heavens…
Often times when we hear the word “tithes” we think of money yet the concept of returning a portion of the Lord’s provision back to Him can’t be boxed in. An area many struggle with and one to which we owe God some return is our TIME.
How are you at managing your time? Is there a constant rush in your step or a gentle shuffle? Is each day planned out from the moment you wake up until you close your eyes again? Do you allow for life’s unexpected additions? More importantly, do you know WHO blessed you with the time you have each day?
My Gram was the first remind us, “You have the same amount of time as everyone else, and it is what you do with it.” Regardless of our career, health, or lack of thereof – God has blessed each person with the same 1,440 minutes or twenty-four hours in a day and the same 168 hours in a week. If God is responsible for this gift of time then the least we can do is tithe time back to Him. This works out to a little over two hours in our day. Two hours and twenty-four minutes devoted, designated, and set aside for your Heavenly Father.
On average I am awake an average of seventeen hours a day so isn’t it okay to only tithe my waking hours? Personally, I say no. God blesses me with breath while I sleep so these minutes are just as precious since without them, I wouldn’t be alive. Did I hear you say, “How can I possibly squeeze one more singular minute into my day? Get a grip Lisa, I don’t even have time to sit down more less give time back to the God responsible for the air in my lungs, food in my cupboards, and fuel in my gas tank!” Was that an “Ouch!” I just heard? I hope so.
It is easy to let life and its schedules overcome us. My challenge to you as we start the week is to carve time out of your busy life for God, Himself. He formed you and knew you, before even your mother. I understand we each have family, work, and personal obligations to fulfill BUT none of these would be possible without God’s love and provision in our lives. The least we can do is purpose some time out of thanks and gratitude.
Where will you find two hours and twenty-four minutes today to tithe some time back to your Heavenly Father? Have you ever wondered “Where did the time go today?”
1) List the people, places, and things occupying your time.
2) Once you have them listed, rank them. Where did God place on your list?
3) Determine ways to incorporate a tithe to God in your schedule. For some this will be a block of time as their day begins or ends. Others might sprinkle it throughout the day. It is your 2.24 hours to give back to God. I encourage you to start in The Word and then let your creative gifting lead you in unique and glorifying ways.
Had you thought to tithe your time before today? Using your unique God-given gifts, how can you give some time back to God while also sharing Him with others? How will you spend your 2.24 hours today?
The middle school musical has come to a close and so has the weekend. The sun is shining with beautiful lake effect snow decorating the sky. Although we missed Sunday school due to our slow moving this morning, the worship service and pastor’s message were refreshing. Once home Mags and I made lunch and then went to work.
Pesi Dinnerstein’s book inspired and motivated me to get rid of the clutter, or at least reorganize it. Furniture has been switched from one room to the other, boxes and drawers dumped and cleaned, and garbage bags of clutter taken to the trash bin.
As I attempt to organize my speaking and writing tidbits I am overwhelmed. On a day like today I find myself wishing for that extra room, an office; a place to leave my organized piles of thoughts, revisions, and outlines until my next writing block. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m more than appreciative for our humble home and love it. Thankfully organization is one of my strong suits and everything has a place. With most of these items tucked away and the last few spread around the living room I decide to retreat and write.
My mind is flooded with thoughts, Scriptures, and ideas. Possibilities to include in my first book, Where’s Heidi? The Search Begins and then a quick transition to my upcoming speaking engagements trigger a clever hook or just the right verse. With sticky notes and a notebook always nearby, the thoughts are captured and filed in the appropriate folder and bin.
My Sunday will conclude with dinner at my parents yet with some modification. Mary isn’t feeling well and went to bed after lunch, praying she is only tired yet her forehead is warming up as she sleeps. With Ed home from work, we are going to eat in shifts at my parent’s house so Mary can continue to rest. No more cleaning or organizing ~ it is time to rest and relax.
A new series starting tomorrow – be sure to check it out!
Do you have a junk drawer or cluttered table top? If you answered “Yes” then I guarantee this book is for you. Pesi Dinnerstein writes an honest account to describe her inability to do laundry on a weekly basis and get rid of one of the six tables she has in storage, and this is only the beginning.
“Yet, for all their virtues, tables have created an ongoing challenge in my life. My dining room table in particular, presented a daily temptation not to be lightly dismissed. Every day, that long sleek expanse of emptiness would spread itself irresistibly before me – and, like Mother Nature herself, I was seized with an uncontrollable urge to fill the vacuum.” (Page 54)
Pesi is a college professor and avid writer. She wonders if all the clutter is the creative force behind her writing after the first and last time she de-cluttered. She finally cleans the entire house but is then overcome by writer’s block. The clutter returns with a vengeance.
Is it my personal challenges with clutter, my love of writing or my appreciation for the quirks each individual writer possesses that made this book so enjoyable? Or is it the combination of all three wrapped within the same book? I don’t know the answer to these questions but I can honestly tell you this was a hysterically funny book.
As Pesi details the extent of her clutter to include her home, office, and car I found myself smiling but when she describes her Volvo, “…overflowing as it typically was, with piles of portable clutter en route to their next destination…” (Page 18) I nearly wet my pants in laughter. Instantly I could visualize my van, full of “…clutter en route…” oh my gosh. This is the story of my life. In order to keep my house clutter free I make sure anything in need of a new home goes to the car. Maybe this is how Pesi started? I might be in trouble.
What sparked her sudden recognition and determination to remove the clutter? An annoying colleague of the past and a toddler poking fun at her while sitting at a stop light are the motivators. This was only magnified by her 50th birthday the following day. This realization sparks such momentum through the involvement of her “Holy Sisters”; her husband Yankel spends most of the book in the background or hiding in his basement office with the exception of the “exercise equipment” fiasco.
Pesi finally devotes an entire day to remove the clutter from one corner of the basement. She starts with the exercise equipment since there is NO emotional attachment or desire to keep any of it. By the time Yankel returns home she has hauled all the unwanted equipment, boxes, and anything else to the front corridor and porch. Pesi is feeling accomplished and about to do the victory dance when Yankel starts to rummage through the boxes.
First he keeps his ice skates and then sees another item that can’t possibly go. By the time her beloved husband is finished “looking” through the boxes, everything is returned to back down stairs. Although in neater piles, the clutter was reorganized. You heard me girls, he undid all she had accomplished. I was yelling at him so much my husband came in to make sure I was okay.
In addition to life lessons on ways to remove your clutter or use it to ignite a writing frenzy, Pesi’s ultimate search, is for God. God is interchanged with “Master Creator Himself” or “Higher Power”. Her desire to “find” God is so great she and Yankel travel to Israel. While there she meets and Kabbalahan spiritual advisor, Tova. Tova is the one to finally provide Pesi with a satisfactory reason for her clutter. “Well,” Tova said, hesitating for a moment, “I would have to say that the underlying problem, as I see it, is the absence of God in your thoughts.” (Page 289)
Pesi and I may not share our faith yet our love of clutter is there. Pesi shares ways to clear your clutter in a real and “too” honest way. I felt guilty laughing at her piles and obsession with the clutter yet it is written in a way that provokes such response. I highly recommend Pesi Dinnerstein’s A Cluttered Life: My Search For God, Serenity And My Missing Keys. If you want to laugh, yell, and cry over a cup of coffee with Pesi’s “Holy Sisters” as they discuss her bizarre clutter and the process to remove it then this is the book for you.
About the Author:
Pesi Dinnerstein (a.k.a. Paulette Plonchak) has written selections for the best-selling series Small Miracles, by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal, and has contributed to several textbooks and an anthology of short stories.
Dinnerstein recently retired as a full-time faculty member of the City University of New York, where she taught language skills for close to thirty years. She has been an aspiring author and self-acknowledged clutterer for many years, and has spent the better part of her life trying to get organized and out from under. Despite heroic efforts, she has not yet succeeded; but she continues to push onward, and hopes that her journey will inspire others to keep trying as well.
For more information visit:
www.aclutteredlife.com or www.sealpress.com
To Purchase a list of places to purchases Pesi's book:
Insightful, unsettling, and wildly funny, A Cluttered Life: Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys (Seal Press) is the story of Pesi Dinnerstein’s quest to create a simple and orderly life—only to discover that simplicity is not so simple and what constitutes clutter is not always perfectly clear. When a chance encounter with an old acquaintance reveals the extent to which disorder has crept into every corner of her existence, Pesi determines to free herself, once and for all, of the excess baggage she carries with her. Along the way—with the help of devoted friends, a twelve-step recovery program, and a bit of Kabbalistic wisdom—her battle with chaos is transformed into an unexpected journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening.
I any compensation from the Seal Press or Pesi Dinnerstein for this review, only a PDF version of the book for review puposes.
Mexico Middle School to perform "Flapper"
Mexico Academy and Central Middle School will presents the musical 'Flapper' on Jan. 26-28, at 7 p.m.,with a special senior citizen night on Thursday, Jan. 26, for which there is no charge for seniors.
"Co-directed by Mexico Middle School Teacher Laura Washburn and Tara Wiseman, the musical promises sensational songs, humor, and all-around hearty entertainment all performed by the following middle school students: ...Mary Buske..."
And yes this is the very same author of "Monday with Mags" highlighting yet another creative skill.
Break a leg Mags!
A short and sweet blog today so I can spend the afternoon and evening with my daughter and the cast. Did you ever think I could do pin curls and make-up? Oh my!
I hope you can make it.
See you there!
For more informaiton:
REMEMBER to read tomorrow's blog
for my first book review!
I am participating in Pesi Dinnerstein's blog tour.
In life we will face trials of various sizes and importance. They range from “What will I do after graduation?” to “What will I do if my sister is never found?” Both come with an array of emotions and solutions. The first decade following Heidi’s kidnapping was long and full of anger, frustration, resentment, and depression. I chose to let the heat get to me and I nearly burned up.
I struggled and did the best I could. I learned how to put on a happy face and thought I was enjoying life until the God used a child to let me know what was missing, Jesus. I chose to live my life in the world’s fiery furnace of tragedy and despair but Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were bound and thrown into King Nebuchadnezzar’s blazing furnace for living the life God called them to.
King Nebuchadnezzar’s response, “…the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.”
We have a choice, we can face life’s trials and tribulations on our own and be burned up in the fire, along with those that put us there or we can trust God.
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”…”
When we trust Him, we are NEVER alone!
“He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.”
Life still brings me trials. These trials make me stronger. It is only through my relationship with Jesus that I have the strength, wisdom, and desire to endure. Psalm 23 says we go “through” the valley, as long as we travel through the valley with Him – we will make it to the other side. We might smell of smoke yet we will survive and it is what we do next that makes the difference.
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
As I praise, trust, serve, and worship God through my writing and speaking…I pray to have the strength and faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Trials are survivable with Jesus.
Today’s Scriptures are excerpts (in italics) are from Daniel 3, NIV.
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. Theses have come so that your faith --
of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire -- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV
A wonderful evening last night with my writer co-parts. Oh my ~ the laughter, writing, critique, support, prayers, sharing, and so much more. If you are a writer, I pray you belong to a writer’s group. It is such a blessing to my writing and my heart.
To meet everyone, visit Elaine W. Miller’s blog post for today. She not only blogged about our wonderful evening together, but also shared some of the snap shots of the evening. In addition, it highlights the various blogs and writing/speaking success within our group. I’m glad I can share my sisters, friends, and writer’s group with you – through Elaine. Thanks Elaine!
If you are looking for another great blog (or two or three) to follow:
Diane Estrella – Diane’s reviews are stellar, to say the least.
Paula Davis – Paula’s devotional style of blogs is sure to life your spirits.
Elaine W. Miller – Elaine’s third book will be released this spring, We All Married Idiots!
Amy Quonce – Amy’s blog ranges from her recent anthology to encourage those blessed to know someone with special needs in addition to her recent book projects.
Melissa and Jody haven’t started blogging yet but don’t let this fool you. Melissa’s poetry touches the heart and makes you think. Jody’s creative writing is wonderful and I pray her most recent submission catches the publishers eye, classrooms across the country will be blessed.
I came home motivated, inspired, and with a mental list of writing projects to get to work on. In addition to their critique and suggestions on the piece I brought, they provided sore cheeks from laughter. A successful evening, to say the least.
I’ll close with the verse Diane shared. This was such a blessing last night and through the day today. It was the first thing I shared with Ed when I walked through the door.
"Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things He does."
Psalm 96:3 (NLT)
Do you ever wish that your family would disappear?
Don’t!! I know that telling people what to do is rude and plain old mean but please listen because EVERYONE needs to hear this. Family is something with value. Could you imagine if you’re family dies in a car accident today? What would you do? Think…
Today is my Pop’s birthday. Pop is my grandfather, Happy Birthday Pop. I appreciate every day with him. A few years ago my other grandfather died. I was devastated, shocked, and confused. Then I realized you don’t know how much you’ll miss someone until they’re gone. So my lesson to you here is…VALUE YOUR FAMILY.
You never know what can happen and you don’t want to live with regrets. Next time you see your family, let them know how much you love them.
For week’s video challenge, visit the link below:
Feel free to leave a message below.
See you in two weeks!
"Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring."
Spiritually recharged! A weekend in the Word, in worship with my brothers and sisters-in-Christ, and hours of fellowship have renewed my spirit and sparked my inner writer. As pastor delivered a powerful message new ideas, revised works, and the floor plan for an upcoming speaking engagement started to unfold. At one point I wasn’t going between my two notebooks and keeping up with the Bible Zumba very well. Ed chuckled and shook his head at me yet the ideas were flowing and I didn’t want to lose them. So with chicken scratch scribbles on the sides of my notes, sticky notes stuck to the front of my Bible and my note pages, and more spinning within my brain…I thanked God for His faithfulness.
After church and our annual congregational meeting we visited with my parents for a bit before retreating to home. I finished Pesi Dinnerstein’s book and have been working on my review to be posted on Friday’s blog. A full week of school, writer’s group, and my daughter’s play opens, and most excitedly “Monday with Mags” debuts tomorrow!!!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Before I delve into today’s message I want to thank everyone for their posts, notes, and prayers of encouragement in response to yesterday’s blog. You are such treasures, thank you! Twelve hours of sleep provided the necessary rest my mind and body needed yet my spirit still lacked its pick-me-up. Awake before the alarm and ready for some quiet time, I started the coffee and grabbed my Bible.
Ed was at Men’s Breakfast, Mary sound asleep, and coffee in hand I snuggled into my glider to replenish and restore my weary spirit. I am working through the Bible in a year so today’s reading in Proverbs and Matthew proved to be just what the Great Physician ordered, with nutritional supplements in 1 Corinthians, Hebrews, Philippians, and Psalms. I was reminded we are called to accept both good and the not-so-good. Not that life is terrible, please don’t misunderstand. We are so blessed yet feelings of defeat and doubt started to cloud my mind and eventually worked their way into my heart.
Today I choose to recognize my mulligan, a do over. In golf if you make a bad shot or hit out of the play area you can take a penalty and utilize a “mulligan”, aka, “do over”. The stressors and weight of the past month and yesterday might exist yet this weight does not have to lie upon my shoulders.
Take my yoke upon you and
learn from me, for I am gentle and humble
in heart, and you will find rest for
your souls. For my yoke is easy
and my burden is light.”
This morning I closed my eyes and gave it all to Jesus, “Lord, I need a mulligan!” as the tears released along with the burden then I heard, “Four!”Another golf term to warn others to “Look out!”, because a ball is coming at them. This time I don’t need to pay the penalty, it has already been paid.
Jesus Christ is our mulligan. He took the punishment for our sins through his crucifixion and death on the cross, rising again three days later. Jesus was, is, and always will be my mulligan. I simply need to remember to look UP when life seems to run me down and surround me water holes.
Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is coming. I don’t know what it will bring but I know Who brings it. I don’t know the direction of the wind as we walk through this course yet I know Who directs the wind and sees the strokes I’m making in life.
Regardless of where life has you today I encourage you to fall on your knees and thank God for the breath in your lungs, the love in your heart, and the Blessed Mulligan available to each of us today through a relationship with Christ.
When you humbly come before the throne with repentance and a desire in live for Him, He will answer. Four! Look out…you never know how God will work through your acceptance of His pre-paid mulligan.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Mulligans aren’t a new concept, ask Thomas (John 20:27) and Peter (John 21:17) the next time you open your Bible. As you join your church family for worship, prayer, and God’s message to you this Sunday I encourage you to thank God for the mulligan you already have or confess the sins of your life to Him and ask Jesus into your life and heart – there is a mulligan in heaven waiting for you
Have you ever listened to the alarm go off, hit the snooze and prayed for another hour of sleep? I know I have and today was one of those days. At 4:45 a.m. the alarm woke me so after letting the dogs out and getting the coffee ready I snuggled back onto the couch after seeing all the beautiful white snow covering everything outside. I wonder…will we have a delay?
I laid there “thinking” about what needed to be done:
*What chapters will I read today in my Bible? My goal is to try and catch up on my “Read the Bible in a Year” plan (I know, not a good sign if I am already behind, lol)
*I need to start the laundry and do the dishes.
*What should I bring with me to work on during lunch today?
*It’s payday…what bills need to be paid?
*I don’t hear Mary’s alarm going off, I better wake her.
Then it happened, the school delays started. At first not too close and then the majority of our neighboring districts delayed. I reset my alarm and went back to sleep until 6 a.m. Once our local B.O.C.E.S. delayed I figured it was only a matter of time. BUT this was not the case. Ugh…I went from making my mental list of all I could accomplish during the one or two hour delay to the frazzled and rushed Mom who let the house sleep in.
Ed not only made it to work on time, he shoveled a walkway and a path for Mary to get on the bus before leaving. Mary functions well in a moment’s notice on school mornings so she was good BUT then there is me. I get up at least three hours before I need to be at school. I like to ease into my day with a cup of coffee and my Bible. This did not happen. Between the rushed feelings this morning and my lack of Bible reading and prayer time – the morning was off to a rough start.
Thanks and apologies to my friends at school who listened as I unloaded my morning on them. Within moments, I was laughing and they talked me down. I didn’t need to hang on to this stress alone. There was no need for me to dangle with no safety net. With friends praying for me instantly, others figuring out a way to solve a problem I was having, and God who wrapped His arms around me as I snuck away to let the tears flow.
Once home from school the laundry, dirty dishes, and tumbleweed dust bunnies were still waiting for me – along with the grocery list and Mother Hubbard’s bare cupboards. So before picking up my daughter from school I picked up the bulk of the groceries and paid a bill. She helped me bring in the groceries when we got home before joining her Dad, Uncle, and friend for a basketball game.
“Lisa, do you want to go to the game?”
“Are you kidding, I have too much to do. And this doesn’t even include any of my writing, speaking or reading projects on the calendar.”
“Okay, then we’re off.”
So hours later, the house is quiet and welcoming. My heart is still uneasy…maybe I should have rested in the Word instead of cleaning the house? Duh…this is an easy question, now. Thank goodness tomorrow is a new day.
I was a poor example for Christ today through my vents, unloading, and lack of respect and restraint to speak kind words. I recognize the emotions and moodiness, ones I thought were made new when I accepted Christ. I AM a new creation yet I am human. The reason I share this with you today is as an encouragement. I honestly wanted to snuggle under the covers and call it a day but thankfully I didn't. Instead I prayed while I cleaned and apologies were exchanged. A reminder I NEED JESUS and some sleep, feeling better already.
Food for thought and/or discussion:
1) Have you ever found yourself in the “martyr/woe is me/I have to do it all” mindset? Have you vented and transitioned from a loving person to a moody and ill-driven female for the betterment of the home? How did you feel once alone?
2) Is there a verse to two of Scripture you find helpful when this mood hits? I encourage you to share them on today’s blog to help your sisters and brothers-in-Christ when our days like this seem to take us over. God’s Word is living and active, sharper than any double edge sword – let us use it to spur one another on.
"Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil. "
In addition to my personal writing I spend time reading the works of others and learning from them. There are also websites and blogs I find helpful. One of these is Women on Writing. This week as I read one of the blogs I felt led to respond in a very new and exciting way. I submitted my blog as a potential host for Pesi Dinnerstein’s blog tour. Although her tour was filled when I applied, the organizer offered me the opportunity to write a book review. Sweet!!!
Mark your calendar for next Friday, January 27th to read my review of Pesi Dinnerstein’s book, A Cluttered Life: Searching for God, Serenity and My Missing Keys. I only started the book Thursday evening and I continue to look forward to the next page. Pesi’s humor and dead-on precision to detail the clutter in my house (and my car, lol) entices my interest.
Pesi’s blog tour kicked off this past Tuesday and I’m excited to participate with my book review. I hope you will return next Friday to read my thoughts and complete recommendation.
To learn more about the blog tour:
To learn more about Pesi herself:
With joy you will drink deeply
from the fountain of salvation!
The winter winds of Upstate New York were howling last night. On multiple occasions I was positive the Big Bad Wolf was outside “huffing and puffing” and would surely blow my house down. The walls and windows shook my daughter out of her bedroom into ours as something banged harshly into the back wall of the house. Two nervous dogs, one frightened teen, and one exhausted adults slept through the remainder of the storm. This light sleeper listened to the wind howl and thought of how the weather outside was similar to my life before Christ.
The first decade following my sister’s disappearance raged from a misty rain to the hurricane winds experienced last night. Woven in between the gusts was laughter, friendship, temporary hope, and even joy. At work or outside the security of my four walls I appeared happy, yet moody most of the time. Behind closed doors I was fearful, angry, and depressed. Only a few people knew about the two different personas I wore – I was split.
The poplar tree in today’s blog photograph started as two trees but merged together and became one. During last night’s high winds the two were split in half. One landed over atop the guardian angel and into the roadway whiles the other rest in the creek. In spite of the frigid temperatures and bad weather, the water continues to flow. Instead of calm, refreshing water to keep it afloat, the poplar bounces in the ripples of water flowing with tenacity to move keep the additional precipitation moving towards a larger, more equipped body of water.
I was that poplar. The “Happy Lisa” and the “Depressed Lisa” merged together due to the grief and loss experienced through my sister’s kidnapping. In 2004 God used a child to tell me, “Mrs. Buske, you need Jesus.” Today there are still two of me – “Joyful Lisa” and “Hopeful Lisa”. Notice the transitions – joyful…only found in my relationship with Jesus, happiness fades but Jesus is eternal; hopeful…I know my loss has molded me into the person I am today and instead of running from it or hiding it, I choose to use it share hope with others.
Life is about choices…I choose to seek God, the larger and more equipped body of water. He is capable of healing all our pains, fears, and losses. I pray you trust Him.
John 7:37 - 41
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
Others said, “He is the Messiah.”
With ten hours of sleep, the dishes and laundry finished, and the sun shining -- my daughter and I decided to venture out. With our jackets tossed on the backseat in case we’re in an accident and cellular phones in our pockets we made our usual trek to Liverpool. Or so my terrific teen thought.
As I drove past the Route 31 exit I hear, “Mom, you missed the exit.” I smile and continue to drive. How is that the teen who is writing her next great novel while singing to K-Love can notice I “missed” my exit? After a couple more inquiries I can’t take it anymore and neither can she. “I can tell by your mischievous smile you are up to something.” Hmm…when did she get so smart?
The big surprise, we went to the 5 Below store. My friend Amy introduced me to this store in November but I hadn’t shared the fun with my daughter yet. Oh my gosh, we had so much fun. Who knew how far one teen can stretch a $10 bill. We visited Dots too since it was next store and priced dresses for the 8th grade memory dance. Yikes, high school next year!
Anyway, my initial goal for Monday was to write my blogs for the entire week BUT instead I spent the day with my teen daughter. It was joyful, full of great conversation, and it concluded with dinner cooked by my dad. It doesn’t get much better.
My daughter is an aspiring author in the making. She has more journals in her room than I did as a kid. I love it. As I drove, she wrote. Then she shared and I offered some feedback and back into the writer’s solitude she went…until the next random question of life. Once home we started our “school night” rituals. Ed watched the SU game and we assumed the writer’s position.
Mags is determined to write a blog yet the “cautious, statistic reading, and sister-of-the-missing mother” will not allow it, for obvious reasons. As she and I discussed the reasons both pro and con I had an idea. Mags will now be a guest blogger here. The 2nd and 4th Monday of each month Mags will write to the teens.
“Monday with Mags”
debuts January 23, 2012.
Mark your calendars…tell your teens…the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month is for them. Written for teens, by a teen.
In case you are wondering about the writing caliber of this young lady, here is a snip-it.
Everyday you walk your walk.
And talk your talk .
Life is a repeating way.
But sometimes you slip off the track, and theres no way back.
And you don't know what to say.
Should you tell an adult? Yeah , thats the best way.
Adults will Protect you.
If you are ever in trouble go to your teachers, parents , or a trusted adult.
For when you fall of the track, they'll put you Back.
Written by Mary "Mags" Buske
Until you see positive change.
Answer this question, Do you
Love your neighbor as you love yourself?
Invest prayer, time, and energy
To continue Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream
Young or old…God calls us to love as He first loved us
Happy Martin Luther King Day!
Written by Lisa M. Buske
Pastor asked the congregation to define the word, “obstacle”. With a few seconds of think time, answers started to be spoken. My brain swirled into the creative mode as I played with words in my head to develop my definition. “Obstacle” in my own words would mean “something that gets in your way” but then as I went to raise my hand I had another thought.
The word obstacle tends to have a negative feel and sound yet some of the “obstacles” God placed in my life were my saving grace. My modified definition is, “an obstacle is something or someone placed in my path to change my current direction and/or mindset.” While some of the obstacles might seem negative at first, I have learned if God didn’t place a specific someone or something in my path…I would be a different person today.
With our definitions verbalized, Pastor shared Webster’s definition: “something that impedes progress or achievement.” With our paraphrases and Webster’s definitions molded into one we could all visualize Pastor posed a question to us, “What obstacles do you have in your life?” Hmm…this required more thought than the definition, not because I couldn’t think of one but because I had a list growing in my head and wasn’t sure what direction he wanted us to be thinking.
As I skimmed the list in my head from top to bottom and the side notes scribbled on the side I realized many of my obstacles have a common attribute – fear. Many view me as a “toes hanging over the edge, ready for the next challenge” type of a person. This is true in many aspects of my life yet when it comes to safety, life, and my walk with Jesus – I take these seriously and “think” a lot, sometimes too much. I voiced this aloud with my church family.
As I listened to others share, I realized I had another commonality – an unwillingness to walk through the door God has opened. An unwillingness usually due to fear and the not knowing. I like to plan, schedule, and organize. To step out in faith risks losing control of these things and opens the doors for unforeseen obstacles.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”
Pastor’s next question drove the point in and left my mind to race, “What obstacles do you have in your life that keep you from being more like Jesus?” As I thought again, this time I zoned in on the obstacles that might be more enjoyable in life yet are the very ones preventing a closer walk with the very God who gave His One and Only Son to suffer and die for my sins, and yours!
Will I allow the obstacles in my life to keep me from the intimate and powerful relationship with Jesus for the sake of being human and living in the modern world? I pray not!
The next time someone asks, “What do you do?” I pray to answer “to serve and love God with all I say, do, write, speak, and receive.” As my writing and speaking career move forward there are gentle tugs on my heart strings…it’s time to look at the schedule and decide what obstacles will keep me from serving and which will keep me on course. Only through the communication of prayer will I know.
What obstacles do you have in your life today? Which of these obstacles keep you on course? Which steer you away from the loving, healing, and powerful relationship open to you with Jesus Christ? I encourage you to share in a post below.
This will help you to admit the obstacle while letting others know how they can pray for you. Have a great week everyone!
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
Who is going to harm you
if you are eager to do good?
But even if you should suffer
for what is right, you are blessed.
“Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
1 Peter 3:13-14
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (NLT)
If someone would have told me eighteen years ago I would accept Jesus as my Savior, recover from my sister’s kidnapping, and then share about it with others…I would have laughed. Oh my goodness. Only God knew the long and winding road I would take before I fell on my knees before Him.
The first draft of “Where’s Heidi?” was birthed in 2006 and resembled emotional vomit in the form of a manuscript yet has developed into a priceless gift. A gift God blessed me with to help the healing process, for myself and my family. In addition, as if this weren’t enough – I have shared my manuscript, heart, and story through my blog, public appearances, and in everyday Godstops. There was a time I balanced on egg shells at the mere mention of my sister’s name, her case, or worse yet, the way I felt.
Today I look forward to sharing my story in God’s strength and time. This past December Believers’ Chapel North invited me to share my testimony and Heidi with area women. It was an amazing and God orchestrated event from our initial meeting to plan. My church, Community Alliance at New Haven, led the worship and introduced me to the public for the first time as “Lisa M Buske, Speaker”. Since this evening I have three upcoming events scheduled at various churches. For upcoming events - visit my "Speaking" page on this website.
My career as speaker is in its infancy stage yet I aimed my goals high.
1) Speak at least once a month (a recommendation from a wonderful and caring agent I met at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference this past August)
2) Speak to a variety of audiences and settings
Although I don’t have an event scheduled for January, I do have one scheduled for February, March, and April. While I plan to share Heidi, my testimony and the hope found in my relationship with Jesus at each church – the audience and presentation will be different. I’m thankful to serve such an amazing God.
As I pray and prepare for each, would you join me in prayer?
Pray for me: Pray I stand behind the cross and let His message be in the forefront; for the words, Scripture and message God has for the audience to be revealed as I pray and prepare for my upcoming events.
Pray for open ears and hearts of those in attendance, for all to hear of God’s love and provision available in their lives too.
Pray for the publication of “Where’s Heidi?” will glorify God and grow His kingdom. Pray for the publisher God has for this book. Pray for future speaking engagements to be scheduled.
Thank you! You are each a blessing in my life.
I hit the snooze until 6 a.m. this morning in hopes of a snow-delay. I checked the morning news, nothing. Disappointed and exhausted I shuffle to my daughter’s room to turn on her light and wake her up. Similar emotions are muffled from under her covers. Five more minutes and she is up and starting the morning routine. Once dressed and in the midst of packing her lunch the news scrolls our school is on a one-hour delay! WooHoo! Delight and some frustration are shared.
In less than fifteen minutes my daughter opens the door to let the dogs out and is greeted with darting snowflakes and what felt like freezing rain. Confused she yells to me, “Mom, why are we going school?” I look towards the door and can’t believe my eyes. The dogs can’t wait to get outside and play in the snow and my daughter, asks one more question – “Mom, where is your camera?” All I could do was smile. A future photographer, blogger, and writer in training for sure.
Daylight only confuses us more. We transitioned from green and brown to nothing but white for as far as we could see in less than half an hour. Eventually the scroll read, “Mexico – CLOSED”. With this I announce, “If you need me today, I’m in my writer’s cottage.” My vacationing husband and snow-day daughter both chuckle and say, “See you later.” And so the day started.
I opened the curtains and blinds so I could watch the snow fall while I worked. It was so beautiful. I enjoyed a couple hours in prayer and the Word, time not often available on Monday – Friday mornings. I set up my office table (aka – bed) with my organized piles, checked my “to-do-lists”, and went to work. Even with the coffee refills and snow-watching breaks, I accomplished a lot today.
I opened the curtains and blinds so I could watch the snow fall while I worked. It was so beautiful. I enjoyed a couple hours in prayer and the Word, time not often available on Monday – Friday mornings. I set up my office table (aka – bed) with my organized piles, checked my “to-do-lists”, and went to work. Even with the coffee refills and snow-watching breaks, I accomplished a lot today. I even finished reading “The Help” too!
My husband prepared breakfast, my daughter blessed us with a creative lunch, and ventured from the cottage to prepare supper. The office table is half-full now, with only a few things to “put away”. Notes, Scripture, and research materials for my upcoming speaking engagements is organized and ready for a few solid days as writer and speaker. I love my job as a teacher’s assistant yet as I pray, prepare, and write for Him my heart flutters and there is such peace. I could be a full-time author and speaker for Him and love it. For now though, it is my part-time blessing and hope.
I pray for the words and message God has for the audiences to read and listen to my message. It is in His hands, not mine. Thank goodness.
This past Monday the Ride for Missing Children for the Mohawk Valley highlighted my beautiful sister and the story of her kidnapping nearly eighteen years ago. We had planned to be there yet something came up and we were unable to make it. God is so amazing. Although we weren’t there to thank the volunteers, riders, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s team personally – the idea and blessing to know they remembered Heidi touches my heart so deeply. As the 18th anniversary of her disappearance approaches this April 3, 2012 I am encouraged by the love, support, compassion, and HOPE God provides me with each and every day.
Thank you Frank, for once again sharing my beloved sister with The Ride and all involved. A mission is no better than its leader. God has blessed the Ride for Missing Children in the Mohawk Valley and all of New York State. The men, women, and children spearheading the mission to “Keep our children safer, one child at a time” are an inspiration.
On behalf of myself and the entire family – Thank you! Thanks to everyone and anyone who prayed, prays, or will pray for Heidi and our family. God is working miracles, healing, and HOPE through each of you.
Find out how God has worked in my life as “author” and “speaker” in tomorrow’s blog. Eph. 3:20 – 21 in all caps and bold!!
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."
He had danced with her so many times before yet none compared to this moment. The slowness of the dance began to increase to a quicker beat – but it wasn’t the music he heard. It was his heartbeat once again, the nerves had increased. It was time. The moment he had been waiting for had finally arrived. It wasn’t her lips quivering this time but his. She noticed he was nervous so she stood upon her tip-toes. She kissed his neck, then his cheek…breathing on his neck. She moved ever so gently and reassuringly so their eyes could meet. His heart was racing; she grabbed his arms and wrapped them around her. She lassoed his neck, pulling him into a kiss. He had only dreamed of this night. God had been good to him…He was blessed with a wife that knew his needs before he did himself.
The morning sun was rising. He arose early, picking her fresh flowers from the garden outside. Placing them on the pillow above her head, he remembers their dancing as he watched his beautiful bride sleep; with the new morning sun rising on the white walls behind her. She was sleeping, with a smile on her face and sunlight reflecting the flawlessness of her skin. Once again he was overwhelmed. He fell to his knees on the balcony, sharing tears of joy and thankfulness with his Lord and Savior. The breeze from the lake chilled his face yet at the same time, it was as if God was wiping those tears away. The best wedding gift they received was the purity they had shared with each other. They had remained pure in each others eyes but most importantly – they had remained pure in God’s eyes. He was overwhelmed with this gift…the gift they gave to each other and God. God had gifted them with his one and only son…so waiting was the least they could do.
Have you enjoyed the past three day's blogs?
I would love your feedback and comments.
Is this a story I should look to develop, recycle and stick to inspirational non-fiction, or leave it alone as the story it was written to be?
This was written in response to a question from the "Falling in Love with Jesus" Bible Study our women's group did in January of 2008.
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323