Monday, September 29, 2008

Perfectly Authentic...Yeah Right!

I have the privilege to be participating in my very first on-line Bible study. Though it began last week today is my first post and I will post every Tuesday throughout the study. This study is being hosted by Leila at Write From the Heart. The book was written by Lisa Whittle.

The first chapter entitled 'The Truth Hurts' deals with authenticity. One definition of authentic is 'not an imitation'. I like that. We are not to be an imitation. We are created individually in the image of God NOT in the image of The Jones, Suzie Cutzie, Betty Beauty or Sandy Saint.

Have I failed in this area of trying to portray someone who I was not created to be? Yes, unfortunately and yes it does hurt to look in the mirror and be confronted with such lies. Has it happened more than once in my nearly 50 year life, again a resounding yes! It seems in my life imitation occurs when I am feeling insecure about who I really am. I don't know why I just feel that way at times. The saddest part about imitating someone else is that I am then turning my back on my creator and who He intended me to be. That is where the hurt comes in. I close my eyes as I type this and attempt to look into the eyes of God and feel His heart.

Amazingly enough in the midst of typing this post, I just received a phone call from the credit card fraud department of Chase Bank. It seems someone attempted to 'imitate' my son and use his card number for internet purchases today. My skin began to crawl, my face turned red, I felt anger well up within me. How dare anyone do such a thing to my son? Hmmm! Do you think God was trying to tell ME something? I wonder how He feels whenever I attempt to assume the identity of someone else? Ouch! Yes, 'The Truth Hurts".

The second chapter is entitled 'Ms Perfection'. I don't really need to write much about this chapter since several of my more recent posts have dealt with this very problem. You see, I am a recovering perfectionist. I believe I will be recovering for the rest of my days. I have formed bad habits that must be broken. Lisa's section on the perfect package was great. The do it all, be it all perfect little package, only thing is one day God ripped open the outside and all the contents came pouring out.

In my younger days I felt that if everything looked perfect on the outside then nobody would know how much I was hurting on the inside. I was abused as a child in many ugly ways but I wanted people to think I had a perfect life. So, I wore the best clothes, kept my hair and nails looking great and made sure my physical body was svelte and toned. As I became a wife and mom I made sure everyone 'saw' the perfect little family. Everything Lisa spoke about in this chapter fit me like a glove. I looked the part of the perfect wife, mom, and Christian or so I thought.

Trying to be someone I was not meant to be and attempting to be perfect led to a life of stress, depression and at one point, many years ago as a very young mom, an attempt to take my own life which ended in a 30 day hospital stay. I hated my 'perfect little family life' but untimately I hated myself. And, yes, I was a Jesus loving, God fearing, 'Church' serving Christian at the time. That is when I finally began to look at the inside contents of the beautifully wrapped package I had created. It is when I began to allow God to painstakingly unveil, piece by piece, the brokenness of the soul within.

During the past 17+ years since the unwrapping of my life, I have learned so much about who God is and who He created me to be. Piece by broken piece God is putting my heart back together again ~ HIS WAY! Forgivenness, trust, compassion, mercy, grace, and love are just a few of His characteristice in which He has been developing in me. Dear friends, I am not there yet. Daily I am reminded of my desire for a sense of 'belonging' and it is in those moments that God speaks to my heart. He whispers to keep the package unwrapped. In doing this I allow Him to continue to work and I allow the world to enjoy the contents of the package He created.

Lisa, thank you for wrting this book and sharing it with the world. I am excited at the prospect of having God reveal more about what lies behind these eyes.

Leila, thank you for hosting this on-line study. I am so thankful that I was led to your site and this opportunity.

If you have not purchased you copy of this 'eye opening' book, please go order it at your nearest Christian book store or visit Lisa's website. You will not be disappointed.

Considering It All Joy,


Friday, September 26, 2008


What happened? Is this what was planned? Where did the time go? Is there any more to life? These and others are the questions I have found myself thinking and asking in the days leading up to my 50th birthday. It's not the way I intended to spend the time before the BIG day.

I intended to take a trip to the Grand Canyon: But busy schedules have put it on the back burner.

I intended to learn to play golf (I have lived in AZ for 14 years): But my fear of being made fun of has stopped me from trying.

I intended to loose more weight and be my healthiest by 50: But I have responded to the call from pizza and ice cream too many times.

I intended to write a book: But I never seem to be able to sit long enough to put words to paper.

I intended to have my naval pierced: Don't even ask!

I intended to ... well, you get the point!

Instead I have been spending time in reflective moments.

I reflect on life as I spend countless hours viewing mindless television.

I reflect on life as I spend countless hours reading other peoples blogs about how wonderful their lives are.

I reflect on life as I spend time view pictures of vacations other people have taken knowing I have not had a real vacation in more than 19 years. I REALLY need a vacation!!!

I reflect on a 27 year marriage with joy and sadness as I watch my husbands' illness eat away at his body.

I reflect on the joys and trials of raising a very special child and wonder if he will ever live independently and what will happen when I have gone to meet Jesus face to face.

I reflect on the errors I have made and how they have affected the BIG picture of my life.

I reflect and wonder about change and seasons and despair and hope.

I reflect on a life of nearly 50 years and wonder if this is all there is. Can God still use this vessel for His Glory? Or, is it too late and I've wasted my life?

I reflect and wonder if my creator is pleased with this life or disappointed that I too am a procrastinator and have allowed fear to stop me from the intendeds in my life.

And then I reflect on God's Word:

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" Isaiah 43: 18-19

A new thing? Is God doing a new thing in me? Yes!

My husband and son and I have become members of a new and wonderful church this year.

I have accepted the Director of Women's Ministries position at our church this past month.

I have been accepted to do a book review in October - Watch for details! I will be reviewing a new book, Churched by Matthew Turner, and offering a copy on my blog between October 13-17.

I have been invited to be a guest writer on Slurping Life on November 21.

This blog has brought so many wonderful new friends into my life and I am grateful for each one of you who have stopped by and read a post. I especially love reading your comments and visiting your blogs in an attempt to get to know you.

I don't have any idea of what the future holds for my life. What I do know is that I Serve and Love a mighty and powerful God who never changes but is always bringing change in me.

If you actually stuck with this lengthy post: please leave a comment so I can get to know you. My desire to blog is not just about writing stuff but about meeting people from all over the world and hearing your stories of facing life while considering it all joy.

I am so blessed!

Considering It All Joy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

30 Days Until 50!!!!


I have only 30 days left until I turn "50"!

Pray for me ~

I have sososo much I want to accomplish

in the next 30 days.

Considering It All Joy!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lessons In Life!

In the very early stages of our marriage my husband and I quickly learned that conceiving and holding a pregnancy was probably not in the plan for our lives. After two years of the infertility saga we 'let go' and decided to listen to the voice of our Father and adopt. Within a couple of months we received our first foster child (a beautiful 2 year old) who became our first son. Two years later we received our second son (a special 4 month old). God chose for us two wonderful boys who had very difficult beginnings in life.

Today, Matthew our youngest, receives habilitation (therapy sessions teaching him life skills). Fortunately, because he is over 18 years, I have the priviledge of being his habilitation worker. I actually get paid to 'be his mom' in a way. For 60 hours each month I teach him how to live in this world. We just set new goals for the next year. Managing his money and checkbook, running a kitchen and doing the grocery shopping.
Because of his Radial Ulnar Synostosis (a deformaty of his arms) he has never learned to use a knife. This is quite the challenge when attempting to do any cooking. For the past few weeks we have been working on this area. We eat alot of fresh vegetables around our home so cutting is a mandatory part of our preparation of dinner. 'We did it'! We tackled the knife and we won!!!

Here are a few pictures of his first real meal. It tasted just as yummy as it looked too!!

As I reflect on the lessons I have been apart of teaching him I am reminded that my Father through the Holy Spirit is my habilitation worker. He teaches me the skills I need to bring glory to Him through this life He has blessed me with.

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you". John 14:26

Though these words were spoken by Jesus more than 2000 years ago, I believe they hold true today. We have a counselor, a teacher, who lives within us today, teaching us lessons of life!

He may not be teaching us how to use a knife but how not to cut with our words. He may not be teaching us to prepare vegetables to eat but how to eat from His Word. He may not be teaching us how to set a table but how to bring others to the table He is preparing for us in Heaven.

The Holy Spirit within me teaches me daily the value of life and to look at things with eternal perspective. Yes, today I am grateful that Matthew can use a knife but I am more grateful that he has the opportunity to hear the voice of God and be stirred to learn more lessons in life than I could ever teach him.

Considering It All Joy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Perfection Reflection

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Do you see a person trying to be more like God or do you see someone allowing God to be reflected through your life?

For most of my early years as a Chrisitan I was the first person. I learned early on to love Jesus but I wasn't offered the opportunity to see Jesus working in someone's life. Our family did not attend church and I don't recall having any friends who did either. During my 6th and 7th grade years I attended a Christian school where I made it my goal to 'be like the other kids'. The problem was ~ I wasn't like them. I did not understand the true meaning of relationship with Christ therefore my attempts were futile and fleshly.

Our family moved and I was back in public schools where, though I still loved Jesus, I spent most of my time trying to be perfect, pleasing people AND to some degree God. All I really understood was that I didn't want God mad at me so I tried to be like Him by doing everything 'right'. I worked very hard to stay out of trouble and keep the waters still. Avoid confrontation at all cost was my motto which led to doing whatever it took to be as perfect as possible.

As the years have flown by I have spent many hours reading God's Word and seeking true relationship with Him. One scripture that has stood out to me is the following:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them". Genesis 1:27

God created me in His IMAGE. He did not create me to be like Him. He created me to reflect who He IS!

What a freeing concept! God does not expect me to be perfect nor to be like Him. My job and goal in life is to ALLOW HIM to be reflected through my life. In all I do, all I say, the way I act, the way in which I treat my family and friends, how I respond to strangers and circumstances in my life, in every aspect of my daily journey I am to just reflect His image.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control". Galatians 5:22-23a

Do I allow God to love people through me, to find joy in all things, to have a peaceful home, to be patient, to be kind even to strangers, to show goodness, to be faithful to my family, friends and responsibilities, to allow gentleness to be evident in me and to practice self-control? These are charateristics I cannot display through my flesh. These can only be truly evident in my life as I allow God to be reflected through me.

The mirrors reflection today is not perfect because I still allow flesh to take over at times, but it is becoming more clear everyday.

What about you? When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Considering It All Joy,

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pain...It's Good For Us?

Pain, according to World Book Dictionary means: a feeling of being hurt, mental suffering, grief, sorrow, punishment, and penalty.

In recent months it seems pain has been my constant companion. Physically, mentally and spiritually I have experienced pain to some degree. Why would I state that this could be good for me?

Pain is usually a symptom that something is wrong. I am not a believer of the often taught doctrine that says: If you are sick it is because you are in sin, or if you have financial difficulties it is because you are in sin, etc.

I do believe that there are times when we are reaping the harvest of our behavior therefore we may end up sick because we have treated our bodies poorly or we may face financial crisis because we have made poor financial choices or that we may suffer spiritually because we chose to ignore God’s voice and run like Jonah did. But I also stand on God’s word that clearly teaches us that some illness and pain in our lives is merely caused so that the work of God may be displayed in our lives. Read John 9:1-3

During the times that pain seems so prevalent in my life I find myself seeking answers more than ever before. If the pain is physical I purpose to find out why it is there and if there is some cause for it. A broken bone, an infection, a pulled muscle are a few things that may cause physical pain. Treating the pain is not going to heal the bone, infection or muscle. You need to treat the actual cause.

The same holds true for mental or spiritual pain or suffering. I can seek treatment for depression, anxiety, fear, addiction or many other symptoms but I will never be completely whole until I can find out what is causing the symptom.

As I have studied and sought the Lord over the past months and even years I have come to realize that most of the mental and spiritual symptoms I face are caused because of a breach in my relationship with my Lord. When I face times of loneliness, anxiety, depression or fear it is usually because I have failed to keep my relationship strong with my creator. I have allowed outside influences to sever my ties with Him. I have chosen to focus more on circumstances rather than to focus on God.

Psalm 42:5 “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

For a time the writer of the above Psalm focused on self but came to the realization that turning the focus to his Savior and God changed everything. When symptoms well up within me I have a sure answer to the problem. Turn my spirit, my soul (mind, will and emotions) back to the Lord and find rest and refreshing. I am grateful that God has placed a built in warning system within me. He’s given me times of pain, suffering, sorrow, grief and even punishment to bring me back so my focus is on Him.

And, in those times when my eyes are on Him and my relationship with Him is strong yet the pain comes flooding into my soul, I still can stand strong and trust that even through this His Work Will Be Displayed!!

Have you faced pain in your life lately? Put your hope in God, and continue to praise Him while he works it out.

Considering It All Joy,

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It Wouldn't Be Saturday...

It wouldn't be Saturday if I didn't share a few pictures of Kori!
Here she is with her daddy!

We don't often get pictures of Papa because he usually doesn't feel well, but tonight we got one!

Here she is doing one of her favorite things ~ Playing the piano and singing!

She does this every night. She must put all of her babies to bed.
Tonight there were only 3 ~ there are usually 9!

This is the Mustang her daddy bought her when she was only two.
Now she can actually drive it herself!

We are so blessed to be able to spend so much time with our granddaughter.
I am always so grateful!
Considering It All Joy,

Thursday, September 11, 2008


The phone rang a 6:30 am. It was my son calling from Texas. "Mom, do you know what's going on?" The rest of the day and into the week became a blur of television and ministry in the church.

As I sit here today, seven years later, it still seems like yesterday. The day our world changed forever. My heart still aches as images cross my mind and horrified faces of those known and unknown flash before my eyes.

Today...I remember...those lost...those injured...those longing for the company of loved ones gone...those fighting the battle for freedom...the grieving...the hurting...the angry...the tired...

No matter how this date affected you in 2001, it is a date that will affect our world forever. Nothing will ever be the same.

I am thankful to a God...who never changes! He still loves the broken hearted...heals the strength to the tired...brings peace where there seems to be none...AND forgives the sinner.

Today...I remember!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thanks and a handful of updates!

Thank you so much for your sweet and encouraging comments left over the past couple of days. I am always so thankful that the Lord has given me such great blog friends.

A few updates:

1) I do not have Valley Fever which is a good thing. If you live in the southwest you know what Valley Fever is and there is no cure. Many of the syptoms my body has been exhibiting over the past 6 weeks or so were concerning but test results are in. Thank you Lord.

2) My blood pressure has stabilized without medication. Though it is still a bit high it is much better than it was over the weekend.

3) It seems that I have a Eustation Tube Dysfunction. Just a silly little ear tube swelling and so many yucky symptoms. I am pleased to say that with only 2 days of medication, I actually feel almost human again.

How did I get this annoying ETD? Well, check it out here! As I approach my 50th birthday (45 days from now) I have been reminding myself that age is really about attitude and I have challenged myself to be more spontaneous with life and have a little fun. One of the things I did was 'cannon-balls' and I got swimmers ear. Oh my goodness! It seems by body thinks it's going to be 50 while my mind still wants to be 25. I choose 25!

Tonight I end with a Psalm I love.

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100

Father, tonight I thank You for the ability to praise You in the midst of life. I am thankful that I am able to see my circumtances and know that You are doing a good work. I thank you that I am one of your little sheep and you take such good care of me. When my heart aches, You are here to hold it. When the storms of life attempt to wash me away, You are my refuge. Tonight I find rest in how You have touched my body and given me strength. And, how You have touched my heart and given me joy. Thank You for my bloggy friends who have encouraged me. One of these days the dam I have built around the lake of tears within me will burst and You will be here to catch everyone of them. You are so precious to me. Thank You for the life You have blessed me with.
Considering It All Joy,

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Almost Cried Today!

Several years ago during the first phases of my husband's illness, I subconsciously decided that I would not cry. I was determined to be strong and carry on with my life emotionally unphased. Each day I would get up and 'do' life with all it's twists, turns and new additions of hospital visits, medications, dialysis, and whatever else needed to be taken care of. I continued to work, minister, teach and maintain a beautiful family.

One afternoon several months into the diagnoses I was at my monthly leadership development meeting. Our group had formed very strong bonds as we had shared life with each other during the previous months. Each month we would read a book of the Bible and a Christian book, come back together and share what God had spoken to us during the month. Then we would receive training from our Pastor's wife on effective ministry in the church. It was at this particular meeting that I made a conscience decision not to cry again.

During the meeting I began to share some of the struggles I was facing as a wife, mom and minister along with trying to be a support to my ailing husband. "I CRIED"! I was lambasted! (FYI: Verbally Attacked). I was told that I had no right to share my feelings in that meeting and that it was inappropriate for me to cry. Over the next several days I was told that I needed to seek professional help and that I was mentally unstable. I vowed to myself that I would never cry again and I really haven't. It has been 5 years. (The above statements are not meant to put anyone down. Those words are just a matter of fact which led to where I am today.)

Our family was led to leave that particular church 1 1/2 years ago and I have learned SO much since then. Yes, I have actually sought professional counsel from a wonderful PsyD and yes, I probably was a little mentally unstable due to holding all of my emotions in for 6 months. Facing a potentially terminal illness can take a toil on family life as well as ones emotional stability.

This past weekend I went to urgent care because I had been experiencing some dizziness, nausea and when I checked my blood pressure it was 165/100 ~ Yikees ~ way too high for me. I won't bore you with all the details but as I sat contemplating the possibility of being hospitalized my eyes began to fill with tears. So you think I could let them fall ~ NO! Today, in the doctors office, again contemplating hospitalization the tears wanted to fill my eyes. I almost cried, but not quite.

Why am I writing all of this? I really don't know! My bloggy family has been so kind to me and I suppose I just needed to vent today. Though God has done amazing things in our little family and has worked mighty miracles I still find it difficult to let those little tears roll down my face.

Some days I want so badly to be completely whole but then I keep looking back at the scripture in James and it reminds me again that our daily trials are to bring us to that place of maturity and completeness. So, today, though I wanted to cry, I must instead find joy in trial and trust my precious God to show me HIS way.

Considering It All JOY,

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Saturday Fun!

I just love spending Saturday afternoons with my granddaughter. Since it is still very much summer in Arizona, we just had to go swimming. Here are a few photos of our little ham.

Hope you are having a great weekend.

Blessings, Cindy

Thursday, September 4, 2008

But for the GRACE of God!

Who am I to judge? But for the grace of God there go I also.

In recent days our country has gone wild judging whether Sarah Palin should have accepted the honor of running for Vice-President of the United States.

These are comments I have heard: She's a wife and mother, that should come first. She is not being submissive to her husband because she wants to be a leader. Her daughter is unmarried and pregnant, she must not be a good enough leader in her own family, how can she help lead a country. She has a Down's Syndrome child, she needs to be home with him. How can she balance motherhood and leadership? She's not fulfilling God's most high calling of being a mom. This list goes on and on.

My purpose in writing this post is not to make a political statement, though I am very impressed with Sarah Palin and the choice John McCain made in selecting her as a running mate. It is just evidence of how we judge what other's should or should not do. Who am I to judge what someone believes God is speaking to their heart?

I have been asking myself this very question frequently in recent months as I travel my own journey toward allowing God to fully develop His character in me. It has been my 'right' to judge others based upon my opinion of how things should be. Right? Wrong! I do not have a right to judge anyone.

"There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you - who are you to judge your neighbor?" James 4:12

I absolutely love the book of James. It is probably my favorite when it comes to learning how to live a Godly life. It has taught me so much about living a life of love, trust, endurance, relationship and faith.

What does judging have to do with Grace? For me, it is only when I realize God's amazing grace given to me that I can learn not to judge. God reached His loving, gracious hand down to this lowly, sinful, helpless child of His and while extending His hand He also extended His Grace.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

I have taken great pride in being a perfectionist which has led me to a life of being judgmental. Ouch! That hurts. I thought perfectionism was a great trait. I have found it is only another word for judgmental. Ouch again. What is God doing? Cleansing the heart of his daughter.

It is God's grace that has saved me from the eternity I truly deserve. It is not by all the seemingly 'perfect' things I have done. It is a gift from a Father who loves his little girl. I cannot boast in my accomplishments because they mean nothing. But I can boast in a God who loves not only me but all of the children in this world.

Therefore, how can I judge what someone else chooses to do with their life? Whether it is Sarah Palin accepting her nomination, a child getting a tattoo, an employer choosing to fire someone, a friend going back to work when her baby is only 4 weeks old, a Christian wanted a naval piercing, a neighbor getting drunk everyday, a spouse using hurtful words, an unplanned pregnancy, someone choosing to leave their marriage for another, or a thousand other examples of things I may have an opinion about, I still have no right to judge.

Believe me, if asked, I will give my opinion, but it is the other person who will one day stand before their maker and answer for their choices, as will I. We all have made and will continue to make choices in our lives that others will think are wrong. We are all born of a sinful heritage attempting to make it in a sinfilled world. It is only by God's grace that we have been given an opportunity to have a joyous eternity in His presence. Everyday I make it my goal to listen to God's voice and make the best decisions based on what I believe He is speaking to me. I believe that ultimately my 'greatest high calling' is being an obedient, loving daughter of the Highest King.

Allowing God's grace to penetrate my heart is bringing freedom to love people in my life who are just as imperfect as I am. I leave you today with one final scripture.

"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's Grace". Acts 20:24

I pray in my writings, my words, my work and mostly my relationships that others can see God's grace extended not only to me but through me.

May it a grace-filled day!
Blessings, Cindy

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


While I am working on my next post I thought I would share a family photo taken on Labor Day. We had the pleasure of hosting 16 of our family members for a Labor day BBQ and swim party. We don't often get to spend time together so this was very special. Mom was even able to come for the day.

This photo was taken AFTER we all went swimming so we may seem a little
wild haired but we had fun. I sure love my family and the support they have been through some very difficult days.

To those family members who live out of state ~ WE LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU!!!