Thursday, October 21, 2010

Praise You in This Storm



video

Last Tuesday, I resigned from a job I absolutely loved, stressed over, prayed about and truly poured my heart and soul into the work that I did. 


I am experiencing mourning, anger, resentment...but as I try to stay above the fray, as I try to make sense of what happened, as I try to walk with Christ, I feel I am in the midst of a storm--God has another incredible plan for me.


Praise You in This Storm
by Casting Crowns

Chorus:
And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

 
A dear friend recently said that I need to greet the unknown with joy and faith. She is so right!



Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1

Now I am looking for the beautiful rainbow that follows the storm!
I hope it shows up soon!  
God is good all of the time!




I Lasso a beautiful rainbow!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Retro can be so Cool!

I think most of America is experiencing beautiful fall weather!  I know we are in Dallas, Texas!  Sunday in Dallas was truly a "top-down" day!  Yesterday as Joe and I were cruising around in my husband's Ensign Mobile-- a.k.a. 1970 Cougar convertible, Joe reached in his box of music...pulled out Led Zeppelin-- 8 TRACK TAPE! 




I am pretty sure my husband and I were the only people in the Metroplex listening to an 8 TRACK TAPE of Stairway to Heaven yesterday--and truly loving it...ah, the simple pleasures in life!


I Lasso the time I spend with my sweet husband in the Cougar!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Greatest Mark We Can Make!






Every person under the stars can make a difference!  The greatest difference we can make is showing who God is.  

"Here's what it comes down to:  God is love, so by default, if our purpose on this planet is to show who God is, we are born to love.  That's how we make our mark.  We make our mark when we,
..walk the floor all night with a crying baby,

..resist snubbing someone we feel deserves it, 

..reveal our own insecurities to a friend who thinks we're always strong, 

..give gratitude to people who've helped us, 

..or go out of our way to encourage a disheartened friend."  
 
 ~ From Dr. Leslie Parrott, 
Author of the book You Matter More Than You Think



The greatest mark I can make is showing who God is through my actions...showing love and grace especially  in the midst of a storm.


I Lasso showing love & grace!






Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Season for a Reason

I am blessed to believe in an amazing God!  

Every now and then I get knocked off my feet by the twists and turns of life.  I know it is my responsibility to react in the spirit of Christ.  It's not always easy.   But I trust in my BIG God -- that I will grow stronger in my faith as a result of it.  

 

 In the meantime I will take comfort in the words Christopher Robin said to Winnie the Pooh: 


“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, ...and smarter than you think."

Amen! 

         I Lasso Winnie the Pooh wisdom!!




Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Joyful Life with Dogs!

The day I met this sweet puppy Ellie shortly after she opened her eyes!


In a little over a week my Australian Shepherd puppy Ellie will turn one!  I have had great joy anticipating her arrival, she came just in time for Christmas! I have delighted in her puppyhood, most of the time!



Ellie in action at 8 weeks old
Moses, Ellie, Jake at 9 weeks old!

Through this past year I have realized how much Ellie has been an escape for me.  Whether I come through the doors of my home ignoring the sweet wet tongue that greets me...or if I cross the threshold of my home in a good mood, bad mood--she is always so happy to see me!  This is also true for our old soul Aussie, Pirate and Adam's dog, Ducati!

Today Ellie and two of her siblings and another pup will be celebrating  their birthdays together!

I have an Aussie calendar that has wonderful quotes about being a dog lover.  There is one particular quote that was posted on the month of July--and actually one of Ellie's siblings' owner has it as her signature--the author of the quote is unknown...but I love it and want to share it with all of the dog lovers!

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
You are his life, his love, his leader.
He will be yours faithful and true to the last beat of his heart.
You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion!
Ellie's registered name is Chase Lassos the Moon--Chase is the name of the wonderful kennel she came from, she was part of the New Moon Litter...so I put moon in her registered name.  One of my very favorite movies is It's a Wonderful Life...
I Lasso wishing a BIG Happy Birthday to the New Moon Litter!



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Generosity

Hello "People of the Page"  (Anne Rice uses this expression on her Facebook wall), I think it's clever!

I have looked at the word "generosity"  in many different ways...people being generous with their time in helping someone, an individual giving money to a worthy cause...but in the last month, the word "generosity" has taken on a new meaning for me.

I have worked for a nonprofit for just shy of 4 years.  The nonprofit is a Christian social service agency.  Since the downturn of the economy in the fall of 2008, we have not only faced soft donations--we have also seen the demand for our services--(rent, utilities, food) has risen exponentially.

My job at this ministry is to promote awareness and to fund-raise.  Because my job requires me to be out in the community, I don't often have the opportunity to interact with the people we serve.  However, I have been blessed with many God moments.  Moments when I know that God has His hand on the angels we serve, and on those who serve them. The past three weeks have been especially challenging emotionally for me.  As I was coming and going from our office building to and from appointments, I encountered several sweet people--we call angels, who came to us for help.  


 My first encounter was a woman in her mid-sixties, casually dressed, well groomed, but had tears in her eyes.  She was trying to get into our food pantry.  As I passed by I stopped to ask if I could help her.  She said she had no food, it was the weekend, and she was very hungry.  I told her that our pantry was closed, but took her into our building before we closed for the weekend and made sure she received emergency food for the weekend, and an appointment to see a caseworker so we could find out the other ways she may need to be helped.  


When I saw her, I saw my mom.  I looked into her eyes and wondered how she got to this place of desperation.  I have learned through my years here that everyone has a story.


The following week I ran into a young couple who didn't seem to know where they were going.  I asked how I could help direct them on our campus...the wife said that the family was facing eviction.  I led them into the building and told them the protocol for receiving services.  I left the couple in the lobby of our ministry, in the hands of our awesome staff who would shepherd them through the (at times) daunting process of paperwork and documentation needed in order to receive services.

Later in the week I received a call from a business associate, who told me there was a young woman in need of help and asked that I call her and try to get her in to see a caseworker.  

When I called this young woman, through an exhausted, tearful sob she explained to me that she was 21 years old.  Her mother died many years ago, and that her father had just died.  She is now the guardian of her 16 year old sister, who has a baby and a toddler.  There was no money, no life insurance left to them following her father's death.  Taking a deep breath, I asked for her name, address and phone number.  I told her I would be in prayer for her and that someone from our ministry would be back in touch with her.   I hung up the phone and prayed.  Having children who are in their early 20's, I couldn't begin to imagine the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, responsibility, not to mention grief this young girl was experiencing.  A caseworker called her immediately and reached out to her for not only financial, but (more importantly) spiritual help--because that's our ministry...we look at the person holistically.


The angel I met this week truly cut to the very core of my heart.  

I was on my way out to a lunch meeting.  As I was descending the stairs, we met.  The administrative offices are on the second floor of our building so I assumed she was in the wrong part of the building. I stopped and asked her if she had been helped.  She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "I have no where to go...my mom dropped me off and said I am on my own because I'm 18...I just don't know what I'm going to do!"  In crass terms that another social service agency frequently uses to describe an adult "child:" who has been "dumped" they call "a throw away".  My heart sank as I put my arm around her and took her to our front office to be helped.  


I lift up in prayer these and all of the families that come to us in need asking for God to bring comfort, hope, peace to those in great need.  And I ask Him to guide us in our ministry to the poor.  


What I have come to realize is that generosity is not giving something you have...BUT rather giving someone something she needs.


No matter where your heart is in terms of giving, if you can, please give generously.  Nonprofits are struggling--nonprofits are filling a vital need in society.  Nonprofits are trying to make a difference.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world!"


I Lasso making a difference in the world!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

There's No Place Like Home!

I have lived in the south for nearly 30 years.  Three years in Pensacola, Florida and then 26 years in Dallas.  Dallas is home.  Dallas is where I met the love of my life.  Dallas is the place I gave birth to our three children.  Dallas is the location of many memories Joe and I have created for our children and each other.


But after spending the weekend in  my hometown of Sewickley, Pennsylvania I found my heart to be so joyful.  Stepping back into a town that I experienced as a child, was like slipping on my favorite pair of well worn, broken in shoes--extremely comfortable, like my own skin.  

I spent the weekend with a friend from Dallas, who also grew up in Pittsburgh.  While I am ten years her senior, we seemed to have very similar experiences growing up in Pittsburgh.  And attending the same college, Clarion University.  It was Autumn Leaf Festival in Clarion, and Clarion U's homecoming!  The leaves are turning to the beautiful hue of the fall...the rolling hills and the sweet fall weather made for a fabulous time at my alma mater.






I had the good fortune to stay with a long time, dear, dear elementary school friend who truly put the "H" in hospitality!  A friendship that has stood the test of time!






Best of all, I had the distinct pleasure of reconnecting with my cousins, whom I have not seen in ten years.  They welcomed me with so much warmth.  I traveled to Pittsburgh to join my cousins in a 5K walk for the Alzheimer's Association.  My mother and their mother (sisters) both had Alzheimer's and have since passed away.  In honor of our moms we raised money and walked through the Pittsburgh Zoo.  I am so happy that I made the trip, just to reunite with these great people--who happen to be Pittsburghers! 




Going from activity to activity this weekend, the sound of Pittsburgheze was such a welcome friend...
  • Red up a room (when you are cleaning up a room)
  • Gumbands (for rubber bands)
  • Sweeper (instead of vacuum)
When it came to eating...
  • Do you want a chipped ham sandwich
  • A Primanti Brothers Burger (with french fries and cole slaw all in one sandwich)
  • Pop (for soda or Coke)
There were phrases my parents, who were also born and raised in Pittsburgh, did not really allow us to use--but none the less is part of the very fabric of our Pittsburgh culture:
  • Yinz Guys (for you guys)...I personally never said this...but you hear it all of the time! :)
  • Jeet Jet?  No did Jou?  (Did you eat yet?  No did you?)
  • Also, Pittsburghers typically drop the verb to be:  My car needs washed.  Instead of My car needs to be washed.
The best part of being home was the warmth of the people in Pittsburgh!  

 
Sitting in Heinz Stadium--in great seats, surrounded by season ticket holders...everyone around Melanie and me took us under their wing to share the traditions and protocol of being a true, die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan...


FIRST RULE:
  • Everyone made sure we met everyone that was around us...front, back, beside us
  • I heard men yell at anyone who forgot to take their hat off at the beginning of The Star Spangled Banner
  • Never ever, ever drop your Terrible Towel on the ground
  • Silence when Steelers have the ball
  • High fives and fist bump following a great Steelers play
  • "Ah, come on..." when there was a bad call from the referee (or a touchdown from the other team)
These sounds, expressions and acts of kindness took me back in time!  Brought happiness to my soul!  Made me realize just how incredibly blessed I have been to grow up in a warm town with good people.

So I Lasso the 'Burgh in me with joy!