Monday, January 15, 2018

Getting The New Year Started...

I finally washed and changed my chalk board for the new year.  A fresh start feels good. It's a little cliche to believe in new year's resolutions but I kind of like it. Revisiting goals and ways of living and brainstorming on better ways is good for me.  I usually lament taking down the Christmas decorations and still do (a little) but also felt some relief to clean up and restore normalcy.  

This past week we had some dear friends over that I have missed and have tried to connect with for a long time. We all go to the same church crazily enough but when you go to a big church you have to work extra hard to keep connection. My house was a mess. I live by this motto below and ask for a little forgiveness. We don't live nasty, no way, but if a door is closed you might not want to look behind that unless you want to see the real me. :) 

But, seriously, if we have to have everything perfect before we have someone over and share our hospitality we might never do it. We all feel the same I think. Just do it. Fellowship is good for the soul and there is something heart warming about sharing a meal in our homes. 
In looking at the past week in our One Year Bible these scriptures really touched me:

For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Prov. 2:6

(He gives when we ask. He tells us to ask for wisdom and He will give it. Supernatural wisdom? Yes. Please.)
Today this scripture was also about wisdom:
Proverbs 3:16-18

Another that really got my imagination going:
I say to you that many will come from the east and from the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Gen. 24:50

That's us you guys! Can you imagine? Maybe that might be one of my problems. Maybe I don't imagine enough what our final destination will be like.  Can you imagine gathering at a feast with the men and women that we have read about in the Bible? Praise our good God that we have that to anticipate! What a great thing to dream about and to look forward to and to help us examine our daily lives here on earth.  I am looking forward to a reserved spot at that table.

I will leave you with this last inspiring verse:

You are the light of the world!! Let your light shine before men so that they can see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven!  Matt. 5:14-15

Did you catch that we are to have good deeds? I firmly believe that being in the Word leads to the excitement of doing good deeds toward others. When I am not reading and growing in knowledge of God I am all about myself. Why would I feel motivated to be about loving people much?  When I am grounded in the Word and reading daily I am reminded that this world is about Jesus and not about me. He says to love and that for sure ties into thinking of good deeds to shower upon people.

Have a great week! Let's dig in, stay in the Word and become more for grounded for Him and for the Kingdom!

Blessings! Amy

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

His Word On My Heart

Good morning. Happy January! Once again, here we are taking assessment of how the past year has gone and hopefully making positive changes in daily schedules, as well as in our commitments. We are trying to think about not giving all "yes" answers, but asking God to show us the most important "yes" plans for our lives.  Saying "no" is okay. We are praying for focus and to do a few things well for the Kingdom and for our immediate and church family, instead of many things in a half-hearted way because we are too scattered to care. 

Anyone else feel that way sometimes? of my hearts desires is to encourage people to schedule in daily Bible reading. I feel strongly about it because there were so many years that I walked on my own thinking I knew enough. Up until my 50th year I am ashamed to say I had not read the bible through in its entirety. How sad is that? This hope and concept that I profess and base my life on, yet I had not even listened to the voice of my God in every word of His book.  

This practice has changed life for better in every way.  Last year I made up a couple of spiral notebooks with space for daily journaling and prayers and to write down scripture that moved me or made me think from the daily Bible readings. It is very simple but yet has been a valuable tool in helping to stay anchored in the Word.  Sid and I used these spirals along with our One Year Bible for the past year. It has been a blessing to read separately but then talk about what was impressed upon us. We are amazed that each year as we read through we see how alive the Word is. There is always something new that grabs us or a scripture that draws us into deeper meaning.  God's Word, and the fact that it is supernaturally alive, is just an amazing fact and blessing. 

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Seriously. I think that is what is so moving to me.  The aliveness of it. It discerns my heart as I read it? The Spirit of God living through the Word and living in us. Blows my mind and makes me want to dig in deeper to understand more and apply to life. 

Last Christmas my Mom and Dad gave all of our family the One Year Bible.  Their hope was that we would all be reading the same life-giving words each day together. It has been a great blessing. Not perfect, believe me, but good.  Days have been missed and some days reading seems like it might be simply checking off a list that you did it.  However, as we ask God to show us what to learn we become addicted to being with Him in the Word.  It's like that first good cup of coffee in the morning. As I commit to making this a priority when first waking up, in anticipation of what He is going to reveal today, His Word helps guide my thoughts and actions.  That is comforting and exciting.

I had someone say to me a few days ago that they were just weary of just studying the Bible and not putting it into practice in real life. Agree. I believe that there is much better chance of living it out if you are dwelling in His words though. Through the way I react in stressful or challenging situations, I have realized my life is either God's way or my selfish way. Usually when it is my worldly, selfish way I have not been dwelling with Him daily and getting a refreshed mind and heart.

It's simple, and at the same time hard. But also worth scheduling it in my day. In fact, it may be so worthwhile that it determines the trajectory of my life. At first, it can feel like I am checking off a To Do list. But just lean in and listen, wait and see how He explodes your heart and mind with the movement of the Spirit in His words of life when you commit to being in daily fellowship with Him.

If you are interested in reading with us this year and want to use this simple spiral you can pick one up here: His Word On My Heart (There is one for Men and one for Women) It is not dated so you can start any day. Just start on a Monday.

We will be sharing thoughts each Monday about the scriptures from the past week. Give it some thought, consider joining us and come along.

I will leave you with these sweet words from my Mama. GranJan.

Blessings! Amy

Sunday, August 13, 2017

7 Ways Older Folks Get It Right...

What can we gain in wisdom from people older than us?

We all seem to realize as we age that our parents (who we once thought didn't understand anything) are really and truly full of wisdom.

This morning our preacher (Dustin Bartee) blessed us with thoughts about 7 ways older folks teach us to live better. (This blog post for today is about point number one.) His words in bold.

1. Look up. There is so much competition for our faces and our attention.  We ignore beauty and people by having our faces constantly in our technology. We struggle with having our phones in our face and ears at all times.  (Guilty as charged.)

I wonder sometimes if we will end up with a society of people that don't even know how to hold a decent conversation, much less get along because of the isolation that our cell phones and iPad bring to our lives. I am most concerned that our children will feel that something on Mom and Dad's phone is more important than they are. These same children will then become just as addicted as Mom and Dad because they copy what they see.

I pray that our children will see our faces in our bibles more than in our phones, and that they will know we seek God's face above all else. We not only need to look up (from our phones) but look up steadily at Jesus. (Again, I am guilty.)

1 Chronicles 16:11- 
Look to the Lord and His strength; seek HIS face always. 

Psalm 27:8- 
My heart says of You, "Seek His face!" Your face, Lord, I will seek.

As my husband and I were having a meal out one evening last week we noticed how many people sat at tables together but were not present because they were engrossed in their phones. Amazing. We took out pen and paper right there and made a list of when it is not acceptable (for us) to be on our phones. Here is what we came up with. (Please know that I am aware that there are times in all of the situations below that we need to have our phones handy for communicating with people. I pray we just don't let them have a stronghold on our minds and lives.)

*During meals at home and out to eat. (We have a friend that tells people up front that they pay for the meal if they get their phones out while eating. I like that.)

*When I am in bed before I go to sleep. 

*At church. (Yes, I know that people use their phones for reading the bible. That is great! I understand, but it makes it so easy to do other things besides reading the scripture, at least for me. If we are tempted to shop on Amazon during worship or text someone maybe bringing our physical bible to church would be a good idea. It's easy, and we can take notes in it too.  People have done it for years and years, really.)

*When I have company in my home.

*While watching t.v. or a movie with someone else. (Really, there is no need to multitask between phone and a movie. Just slow down.)

*During business meetings. 

*When with our children. (Don't turn them into a person that never looks up.)

*While driving a car. Duh. 

*Bottom line...WHENEVER I am with another person my phone should be put away. Period. The people that are in front of me are more important than seeing what everyone else is doing through my phone. 

Dustin reminded us of the groups of older gentlemen that we occasionally see in McDonald's or in a small town cafe. They sit with warm cups of coffee ignoring the television blaring and the busyness of people around them. They look into the eyes of the men around them connecting with their hearts and minds. They have old fashioned conversation and they know each other. 

They look up. 
May we do the same. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Negativity Stinks...

This super little easy to read book has been out since 2007. I am wondering why I have not seen it before but am very thankful to have gotten my hands on it and my mind pondering its principles. I think it was written for people in the workplace or folks in leadership roles specifically, but hey, aren't we all meant to be leaders? 

This book gives 10 rules to fuel your life, your work or your team with positive energy. When I first read that it sort of smacked of "new age" with the word energy in the subtitle. Not the case though. It is about how being a positive, energetic person can energize the people around you. I was hoping that eventually it would speak of Jesus but it never went there. If you add the reason (Jesus) for true joy and energy and positivity then you really have something to shout about! 

I love this goal planning page in the book. I firmly believe that we have to set high and lofty goals. We need goals that inspire and excite us to move forward.  If we envision positive and energizing goals for life, our work, our team, our relationships and most importantly our families, we will be on the road to improving all aspects of our life. My brother used to say "If you set low goals you will always hit them so set HIGH goals." Think big! Think of goals that you can only reach with God's help!

Enjoy this super little book. I sure did. 

I will leave you with these thoughts from class this morning. We talked about what it means to deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Jesus.  DAILY was the word that stuck out to me. 

If we focus on Jesus and feed on His word daily we will probably have the mindset to try to be His hands and feet on this earth.  We will choose to try to lose our selfishness and focus on following Him and trying to love like He does.  People won't be able to resist our "Energy Bus" attitude if we choose to live this way. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Just Say No...

It's time to just shop my closet.

I have realized in the past month how I just blindly buy clothing without thinking. (You know that "Oh, that is SO cute and on sale" thought that runs through my head even though I just dropped by Target to get toilet paper thing.)

So, I am banning myself from buying any clothing for one year. Yes, that is drastic but for a random pretty undisciplined person like me drastic measures are needed.  The first month was hard because I was so used to just grabbing something that I liked be it a shirt or capris or cute dress.  If I wanted it I bought it and there in lies lots of trouble. When I start adding up what all that compulsive buying costs it becomes startling. Maybe even more startling is my lack of discipline and focus on myself.

With the money spent in a year on frivolous clothes shopping I probably could finance a romantic trip somewhere with my husband. We could be sipping coffee and making goo goo eyes at each other with all the cash that I have spent on well, things that don't matter. (I know we have to have clothing and it matters but good grief, how much do we need? Again, yelling at myself.)  Better yet, I could be helping people that need our assistance financially if I am more careful about how I spend.

Let's just say this is an examining time.  I am just at two months into this experiment and I have found that it is quite freeing mentally for me.  I am also finding that I really like the challenge of shopping in my closet. There is stuff in there that I forgot I had and remember that I really like. It is also a motivator to get moving and loose a few pounds and get back into that size that I really feel comfortable at. Again, seeing that discipline in my life is greatly needed.

As Bob Goff says, "Fail trying, don't fail watching." I am going to put some "umph" into my try.

Up for the challenge? Come along for this experiment as we pray for direction and think about how we spend money. Now that I have put this out there and have spoken it out loud I am thankful for this accountability with you. Let's do it!

  I say NO to shopping for fun and momentary, fleeting satisfaction. 

Father, I know this might seem like a silly thing to do but I truly want to be responsible about what You have provided for us. I pray for an awareness of the needs of others and for an awakening to what I truly need and how I spend money.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Birds and Cows...

Happy Sunday afternoon! 
I hope you have been able to enjoy a nap in the cool air conditioning or by a pool somewhere. I pray for people that don't have the comfort of air conditioning on a day like this. Whew. Central Texas in the summer. Hot. Hot. Hot. 

A few quotes from our preacher this morning. He was speaking about laziness or being a sluggard.

Good things don't just happen. 
They require effort and hard work. Prov. 15:19

The remedy for laziness is diligence. Prov. 12:24

Work with your hands, win respect, support yourself. 
1 Thess. 3:10-13

We have recently moved to a different house (boy was that a lot of work) and it has taken weeks for any birds to find our well, my bird feeders. (My husband is not at all attached to birds like I am.) Finally a few weeks ago I lured them in with some cranberry flavored seed. 
Our granddaughter loves seeing them. They are really beautiful. 
 A week or so ago I realized that a wren had built a nest in our front door wreath. I have no idea how she can stand the door being opened and closed so much but so far she is hanging in there. 
 Yesterday we saw these little beauties.

This guy is nuts. For about 2 weeks he has sat on this branch and then flown directly into our big picture window in the back yard. Over and over and over. Weird. Doesn't he look crazy? 
Maybe he has knocked some sense into that pretty red head of his. 

On a quick trip to my papa's ranch a week or so ago we drove around and saw so many precious new little calves. I love this picture.

So, here's looking at you! Talk to you soon. :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

1st Session Camp Blue Haven

The beauty of the water and mountains is breathtaking and lovely. The smell of the pine trees, water and the grass brings back memories of many many sweet summers. 
The peace of the Tecolote river and the view of the wooden cross by the opening and closing campfire amphitheater make my heart beat slower and steady and bless my mind to focus. This place is a tranquil spot that brings peace and renewal.
As lovely as the surroundings are if the people are not there it really is not what it is meant to be. It is just a quiet, beautiful place. Throw the people in and there is a energy and beauty that one cannot describe. I think the buzz and excitement come from everyone being so very focused on helping campers and ourselves see God more clearly and giving the encouragement to walk with Him night and day for every day after we leave this place.

How blessed we all were to be away from the crazy world for a week. May that time spent help us to see that we can stand strong in this chaotic world and show love and compassion and Jesus to others. We loved these campers:

 Shouldn't every church have this focus and goal?
 Hermits Peak behind three of our favorites-
This old barn holds so many memories and if you listen close you can hear the whispers of worship songs and words of God embedded into its frame and in the air. 

 When you mix together good old fashioned fun with God lessons and talk it seems that there is a purity of thought and life. There is joy in the Lord. Thankful.
Our big push this summer was to encourage and help our campers to BE IN THE WORD daily.  To see that it is alive and that God is alive and real and that He lives in us when we take Him on in baptism and lay our lives down. We can't ignore the Spirit of God living in us. What a waste if we do.
Oh how we love this place. 
God forsakes me never.
God bless Blue Haven forever.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fort Davis, Texas

Spring time just would not seem right to us without a trip to Fort Davis, Texas. The air is cool, in fact it is normally the coolest place temperature wise in Texas especially in the summer time.  The history and feel of the place is far more cool than the temps.  Below is the Fort Davis National Historic Site. You can hike about 3 miles on a nice trail from the fort over the The Davis Mountains State Park. Gorgeous views along the way. 
 History in a Pecan Shell

The county, town and fort were all named after Jefferson Davis, although the county had originally been Presidio County. Fort Davis was named prior to Davis' term as President of the Confederate States. As U.S. Secretary of War - Davis signed the order establishing the facility and was thus honored.

Originally the site of the fort was an Indian camp. A stage stop was set up in 1850 for the mail route between San Antonio and El Paso with a man named Diedrick Dutchover in charge. The Fort was formed in 1854 to billet the troops needed to patrol and protect the area from Apaches.

During the Civil War, the Confederate Army left Diedrick in charge of the fort, but he and his party were attacked by Apaches.and forced to abandon the place. In 1867, The Ninth U.S. Cavalry reoccupied the fort and the town experienced new growth as an important West Texascrossroads.

Ft. Davis had only 500 people in 1894, but the population remained between 700-1,200 for decades. Various plans to develop Ft. Davis as a tourist destination have failed over the years - not because they were bad ideas - but because of the deaths of the would-be developers. One such plan was instrumental in getting approval of Ft. Davis as a National Historic Site in 1961.

  • Fort Davis National Historic Site: Est. in 1854 - deactivated in 1891. This was the main Fort that garrisoned troops that patrolled the border from El Paso to San Antonio. The post was abandoned during the Civil War and re-occupied by troops of the 9th Cavalry. Museum. Open 9 to 5 daily except for major holidays. 
  • Davis Mountains State Park: 6 miles west of Ft. Davis on Park Road 3 off Hwy 118. 1,800 acres.
  • Overland Trail Museum : Former home of Nick Mersfelter, Barber, Justice of the Peace and versatile musician. Many historical relics of early life in the area
  • Chihuahuan Desert Visitor Center: A must-see for the visiting naturalist. On Hwy 118, 3.5 miles south of Ft. Davis. 915-364-2499. 
  • The McDonald Observatory: Nearby, on top of Mount Locke (Altitude 6,800 ft.) - 16 miles NW of Fort Davis. Managed and owned by the University of Texas. At the bottom of the mountain. Visitor's Center open daily 9 to 5. 1-877-984-7827.
    "There is one telescope here that’s owned by 5 universities, but not the whole complex. Everything here is managed and owned by the Univ. of Texas. Also, if anyone wants more information about the new Visitors Center here, they can check our website at or call our toll free information line at 1-877-984-7827. Enjoyed your site! Thanks." - Mark Cash, Public Affairs Specialist, U.T. McDonald Observatory, September 28, 2002 
  • Book Hotel Here > Alpine Hotels

    The Chamber of Commerce: 432-426-3015

  • Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains State Park-

     View from the top of the trail down into Davis Mountains State Park:

     Old Fashioned Soda Shop on the main street in Fort Davis.

    The Hotel Limpia. A walk back in time. Lovely.

     Limpia Cafe:
     On our way home we stopped at the invitation of my big brother to hear Aaron Watson sing. 
    What a treat and what a nice guy.
     Even more importantly it was my sweet sister in law's birthday. She never ages. Seriously. Neither do her friends. 

     Had to make a stop on the way home at the best place to eat in Fredricksburg. 
    Old German Bakery and Restaurant. Yum.

     When you start dreaming of a peaceful, remote and lovely place to spend a long weekend or week think Fort Davis and take me back with you.