Sunday Sheep Ponderings – October 23,2016

Pondering today on “IN Him” and “Him IN us”. 
The scriptures say that “IN HIM,

we live, 

and move, 

and have our being”. 
The scriptures also tell us that Jesus revealed a great mystery to us. That mystery is that “Christ is IN US”. 
Hmmm…so we are IN HIM and He is IN US. We may say these things flippantly but do we really comprehend them?
One day last year, I was pondering on this very thing and I saw a picture in my mind’s eye. I’ll try to explain it with words so, if you can, draw what I describe so you can SEE it too. 
I saw a large circle that was named “God”. Inside that circle was EVERYTHING that has ever been created. Within the large circle was a small circle named “time”. Now the walls of “time” were not solid walls but clear walls. Some of creation was within the walls of “time” but most was not. 
This is what I heard or understood from the picture. YOU were IN HIM from the beginning. You have NEVER been apart or outside of God. It is IMPOSSIBLE! At some point in eternity, you were placed into a realm called “time” BUT He is also in the realm of time with you! He holds “time” within Himself. As you journey through this life, or this season of eternity that you are held within “time”, you are still IN HIM but He is also IN time and IN you! 
I still don’t fully comprehend what I saw but this is my revelation as of today. YOU came from Him. YOU have ALWAYS been IN HIM. YOU were chosen to inhabit time at this point in eternity. Time may seem to limit you but it actually has a purpose. He is IN YOU for this journey called “life” or “time” and you are ALWAYS IN HIM. The walls of time are not solid and impenetrable, they are clear and full of opportunity to see His purpose and will within “time”. The light of His countenance is always breaking through the walls and barriers of humanness. He is not only IN all of creation that surrounds you but He is IN YOU as you experience this season of “life” or this season of your “journey”. You can NOT exist outside of Him! You can NOT exist without His life IN you. You can “feel” separated because you think the wall is solid. You can “feel” like He is not with you because you don’t understand that He NEVER leaves you, He is IN you. But the GOOD NEWS my friend is that “feelings” are temporary and TRUTH is eternal, “feelings” are subject to change and TRUTH never changes. 
I hope this was not too confusing and that my words were adequate to describe the beautiful vision of His love that I saw. I hope that you take comfort and great joy from knowing that YOU ARE IN HIM AND HE US IN YOU! And that NOTHING can change that TRUTH. Take off the dark glasses and SEE through the clear walls of “time”! SEE that He IS love and feel the warmth of that love shining through the walls of time and on you! 
And when this season of eternity called “time” is concluded for you, you simply continue to be IN HIM for all eternity. You came from Him, you are In Him, you are forever His. YOU are His treasure of greatest value! 
Happy Sunday my friends! 

Sunday Sheep Ponderings – October 9,2016

Pondering today on “Life BEFORE death”. In the denomination I was raised in, most of the focus was on getting people “saved” from a place called “hell”. Most messages from the pulpit focused on “life AFTER death”. I have done much pondering on all of that but today I’m pondering on life in the here and now. 
“Life” was what Jesus was all about! Life in the now was His priority! Jesus said things like, “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly”.  
So are you experiencing life abundantly? Or are you barely getting by? 
I remember a season of my life that was crazy! I had 5 kids, ages 7 and under, my hubby traveled most of the time, our finances were stretched as thin as they could get, and I was a perfectionist. The perfect storm. I was very active in our church, led a Bible study, was part of a scripture memory group and strictly listened to Christian music and read Christian books. You would think with all that “Christian” stuff I was feeding on, that my life would have been abundant, peaceful, joyful and compassionate but it was far from it. My life was a constant treadmill of striving. Striving to balance all the demands of home while striving to be a good “Christian”. Truth be told, I was dying inside. 
Fast forward to today. I still have 5 kids and they are much older and less physically demanding. But for anyone who has older children, you know the challenges can be much harder and with much greater consequences. We still have financial strain with several kids in college and private school. But instead of slowly dying inside, I am FULLY ALIVE, filled with peace, joy, love for myself and everyone around me. 
How did I get to this abundant life? 
I finally let go of striving. I let go of trying to “be” a good Christian. I let go of judging myself and everyone around me. I let go of a god that others had created in their image. I let go of seeing scripture through denominational and religious lenses. (Anyone singing “let it go” in their head yet?)
I let God speak to my heart directly. I listened as He poured out UNCONDITIONAL LOVE on me. I melted into His arms of ACCEPTANCE. I let HIM teach me. I listened, pondered and I came alive! I woke up and realized a bunch of the religious crap I had been clinging to was suffocating me. I let God love me. His love has overtaken death and brought life…just like He said. 
So my hope for you, my friends, is that “you may have LIFE and have it abundantly!” If the god you are clinging to is not bringing abundant life, maybe, just maybe, you need to let go of that god. Happy Sunday! 

Master Bath Mini-Makeover




When we purchased this new construction foreclosure back in 2010, we knew the bones and location of this home where “perfect”! The hard part, was that everything in the home was new but not our style. For the past six years, we have been transforming this home into “our” home. The floors, walls, cabinets, counter tops, doors were ALL brown. We have been methodically moving through the house turning it into a light and bright farmhouse style cottage.   Continue reading

Sunday Sheep Ponderings – September 25,2016

I know it’s a little late in the day for #Sundaysheepponderings, and I had decided just to wait until some other time to post this. Then I saw a friend had posted on the very same thing I have been pondering about all day and I decided to go ahead and share it in case somebody needed to hear it.
I’ve been pondering on the term “fire” in the Scriptures. In the Bible Belt, where I grew up, “fire” in the Bible has a very negative connotation. That, along with an inadequate translation of the word into English, is the reason why so many people consider “fire” in the Scriptures to be a scarey thing.
But what if we shifted our thinking? What if we looked at the word “fire” from a different point of view? What if we saw the word “fire” in the Scriptures through the lenses of love rather than the lenses wrath? 
What if I told you that the words for “fire” that are used in scriptures to make people fear (burning in a physical place called “hell”), were actually words that mean to purify (puros) or to prune plants in order to produce fruit (kolasis). Here in the south, some people burn their grass so that the grass comes back lusher, fuller and healthier. The grass is restored and made better than it was before. Another example Is when we boil contaminated water with fire in order to remove the impurities. The purified water is clean, healthy and as it was originally created. There are many, many examples of situations in which “fire” is used to bring forth something as it was created to be.
Now, if we read the Scriptures with the mindset that God is angry and needed to take his wrath out on humanity, then we will misinterpret the word “fire” to be destructive, torturous and deadly. But, if your understanding of God is a loving father, who created you in his image and likeness, loves you with an unconditional and perfect love, then you will see “fire” as a tool of love, to purify, clean and RESTORE.
So there is something for you to ponder on today. Do you see the “fire” of God as a retributive and punishing? Or do you see the “fire” of God as refining and RESTORING?
Just like the word “saved” (to restore and make whole and healthy) that we talked about last week, maybe, just maybe you’ve been taught or misinterpreted the meaning of Scripture. If you believe that God is love, then you can be thankful and not fearful of his “fire”. 
“Such love has NO FEAR, because perfect love expels ALL fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not FULLY experienced his PERFECT love.” (1 John 4:18)
Now, that is GOOD news! Happy Pondering! 

Sunday Sheep Ponderings – September 18,2016

It was a late night at the ER for us. My son dislocated his shoulder during football. He will recover fine but a little tired today. I’m sharing a pondering of a Facebook friend/teacher because it mirrors the pondering I have been doing for the last couple of years and he came to the same understanding that I have. Enjoy!

I really don’t like the word “saved” given all the western religious baggage attached to this word!
1. In the west we say that we are “saved” from hell!!! You see what I mean?
2. Then the assumptions begin to flow … who created hell? God! So in reality we are saved from what God is gonna do to us .. 
3. So Jesus ends up coming to earth to save us from what God is gonna do!
The truth is this:
4, The Greek word translated save actually means to restore and to make whole. It is directly connected to the Greek word for HEALING and health!
Now this is something totally different!
Now we are talking not about escaping some eternal conscious torment created by God …. but about God restoring us and making us whole!
When you read the New Testament you can legitimately replace the word “save” with “restore or made whole” …. and it becomes a new book!
It is in this sense that “all get saved”! Father sent Jesus to earth to restore and make everyone whole! (Via Santo Calarco)
Now isn’t that GOOD NEWS?! Doesn’t that bring you LIFE and HOPE?! Doesn’t that sound a lot more like LOVE than some of the things you have been taught and believed?! 

Happy Sunday friends! 

Love well!

Sunday Sheep Ponderings – September 11,2016

This has been a monumental week in our family with the birth of our first grandchild, Anna Kate. I can’t even begin to express with mere words, the depth of love that has swept over my heart. As I stared into the most beautiful little face on the planet, I began to ponder…
But before we ponder, let’s have a little history lesson. Basically, around 380ad there were these two guys, Pelagius and Augustine. These two had different ideas on the condition of a human soul when it is born. They basically fought about it for a while and finally the church in Rome decided to side with Augustine and adopt his ideas. Consequentially, most of our western churches have also adopted his views. 
Augustine believed in the depravity of man, a fancy way of saying that we are all born sinners, even at our first breath. So we are born without God and we try to make our way to a condition of God coming to live in us. 
Palagius believed that humans are born in the image and likeness of God and that God is already within us, the breath in our lungs, the life in our blood. Our experiences, teachings and cultures move us away from that knowledge and we begin to adopt other, inferior beliefs about ourselves. 
Ok, hope I haven’t lost you yet😬. Here comes the pondering…
What do YOU believe? Why do you believe it? What kind of Father do you believe He is? There are scriptures that seem, on the surface, to support both. Both can not be true. 
I grew up believing as Augustine did. Therefore, I was always striving spiritually to achieve more of God in my life. I believed there was a gap between God and humanity and I was always trying to make the gap smaller by believing the right thing or doing the right thing.
But not any more.
Now, I believe as Palagius did. He believed that “the newborn, freshly come forth from God, contains the original, unsullied goodness of creation and humanity’s essential blessedness”. 
As I look in the tender, peaceful, gentle, perfect face of my sweet Anna Kate, I see one thing…the image and likeness of her creator. I see a precious child who does not need to do anything or believe anything to be loved and adored. I see a soul that has never been told that she is anything but accepted. I see a masterpiece, created by the perfect artist, each feature and gift tenderly painted with a brush dipped in pure love. And I pray that no one ever tells her that she is anything less than this.
In the end, Palagius was labeled a heretic and Augustine a church Saint. 
I’m not here to persuade you, convert you or convince you. I’m just here to ask you to ponder for yourself. Just because certain foods are sold at your grocery store, doesn’t mean you have to buy them. Think for yourself. Trust the spirit of God to be your teacher. GOD IS LOVE. 
Happy Sunday friends! Love well! Oh, and did I mention…I’M A GRAMMY!
(Quote source and great book, “Listening to the Heartbeat of God by J. Philip Newell)