Friday, January 30, 2009

You Are So Beautiful

When the Father looks at you, He sees His beautiful child.
When our heart is broken through abuse, betrayal and abandonment, our mirror is like one from the carnival. What you see does not reflect God's reality.
Your Father loves you. He always has. He always will. There is nothing that you can do to change His mind.
Yes, you can run away. Yes, you can disappoint Him, but not surprise Him. He wants only the best for you.
I am adding a video that I would love for you to listen to. For I believe it is what He would sing to you if you would be still enough to listen.

Make Me Feel Beautiful

Every woman from her beginning recognition that she is female wants to feel beautiful. Unfortunately, the reflections we look at don't always reflect the glory God designed us to radiate.
As we draw nearer and nearer to our Creator, we become more and more beautiful.
Today my friend, Helena, had a whisper of lip gloss, but it was the peace that was exuding from victory over a hard fought battle that drew me to her beauty.
I sell Mary Kay unabashedly because it is how I forced myself to look in the mirror and see myself. I wanted to see what God saw when He saw me knit together in my mother's womb. I didn't want to use the mirrors of the past, mirrors of abuse and mirrors of failure. I want to hold up His mirror and my likeness to the fairest of them all.
I hope you will watch this video and listen to the lyrics.
May it bless you the way it did me.

"I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart,
and be amazed
I want to hear you say
Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

You make me beautiful
You make me stand in awe
You step inside my heart, and I am amazed
I love to hear You say
Who I am is quite enough
You make me worthy of love and beautiful."

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Yesterday Ray and I had a late breakfast. Afterward, he read John 15 to me and we discussed the word, "abide".
John 15:4 says, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."
In the Strong's abide in the Greek is meno.
1) to remain, abide

a) in reference to place

1) to sojourn, tarry

2) not to depart

a) to continue to be present

b) to be held, kept, continually

b) in reference to time

1) to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure

a) of persons, to survive, live

c) in reference to state or condition

1) to remain as one, not to become another or different

2) to wait for, await one

If you take each definition and substitute it for abide, it will really stir your spirit. For instance, in referring to our life as a Christian:

(Remain as one) in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it (remain as one) in the vine; no more can ye, except ye (remain as one) in me.
Or how about this?
(Continue to be present) in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it (Continue to be present) in the vine; no more can ye, except ye (Continue to be present) in me.
That will certainly convict any independent, rebellious spirit. It certainly eliminates double-mindedness. Ray likes to DO for the Father, while I listen and then run ahead of the Father as if to say, "I can take it from here."
Neither is what He is asking here. Abide in me; let me abide in you. Then and only then will you bear the fruit that I designed you to bear.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Time in a Bottle

With all the baby showers and planning, I had ample time to think back to my child-rearing days. I have six children and my "baby" is 30. So it has been a while.
Today Adrienne asked me if I could cook with Ian and Maran again this week. Of course, I said yes. It made me so happy that they asked if they could come again.
Still all of this and some things that are happening in the lives of my children and grandchildren brought back that song by Jim Croce, Time in a Bottle. I always thought it was love song written to his woman, but it was actually written by Jim to his son, Adrian,when he was a baby. It became a hit after Jim died in a tragic plane crash in 1973. His son, Adrian, became singer-songwriter, A.J.Croce.

"If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that Id like to do
Is to save every day
Till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with..."

"There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them."

We are all given the same hours in a day, but if I logged it carefully what would it really show? How much of it is about me? How much of my children's childhood was lost to me, because I was caught up in pursuit of dreams of a better life, an escape from victimization or poverty. How many were ungodly detours because I ran ahead of God?

A promise of restoration that I have often turned to is:
I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I [am] in the midst of Israel, and [that] I [am] the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. Joel 2:25-27

Would I do things differently if I were raising my children today? You betcha! Do I believe that God can weave something beautiful out of my messes, yes, as I am willing to repent and surrender them to Him.

Christmas with Margie, Tom, Christopher and Emily along with the Ians and Marans and Austins that He has placed in my life are ways that He deals wondrously with me today.

Time can't be put in a bottle. So handle the time that you do have with care.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Doing More Than Is Necessary

About 15 years ago we got an early morning call before we left for the airport to go to Africa. It was about 4:30 a.m. The caller asked us which flight we were taking and when we were leaving. He said he needed to see us before we left.
We went on to the airport and before we boarded he showed up with three small children under the age of six. He said the Lord had awakened him and told him to bring us some money. It wasn't a huge amount, maybe $50. The thing that impressed me is he got up, dressed three children, drove an hour to the airport with those children so his wife could go on to work, to be obedient to God.
In all honestly I would have asked God if I could just drop it into the mail.
When we had our intake interview, we were asked how much money we had with us. It was less than $100. We were then told fine, we won't have to pay you this month. Our combined salary was $300 and we were not allowed to take any outside contributions.
I believe God knew what we were walking into and He provided for us through someone's obedience.
I have a friend, Sharon, who has repeatedly come alongside me when I am doing something that is hard for me. Two examples immediately come to mind, Once when I opened a small shop in a shopping center, after working all day, she came to apint alongside of me. She out painted me two to one, because she is a lot healthier. She never grumbled, she encouraged. I felt like when she opened that paint can, an alabaster jar of blessings had been opened.
Another time when we were getting my Mom's house ready for her as a surprise, Sharon was there once again with her paint brush. She has repeatedly supported me in my ventures from gathering a trailer load of vines for me to weave to gathering treasures for my consignment shop.
That particular venture failed and when it did, I felt I had let Sharon down as well. She didn't put that on me, but I wanted so badly to be the Diane she saw and believed in for me.
That was seven years ago. I have moved away. My great venture now is a very low-key Mary Kay business. I do facials one on one, loving on women and edifying them the way Sharon did me.
Recently Ray and I decided we would go to Ireland this summer. Believe me it isn't in our budget. However, airfares are one half what they were two years ago. Ray's job changes July 1st and we aren't sure if he will have the flexibility he now has. So we want to go to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary early.
It was a scary decision to make, but we have wanted to go for 30 years. So like the examples set before us, we are going to have to do, a little more than is necessary to get there.
Making phone calls for Mary Kay scares me. So what. The only way to face a fear is to go through it. So that's what I am going to do.
We are committed to doing more than is necessary to fulfill this dream.
I have let others rob me of my dreams before. Now I know it is my responsibility to keep them alive.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Many Hands Make Light Work

Saturday I had almost 25 women at the house making favors for our church's baby showers. So far we have eight scheduled before fall. We are a very pregnant church.
In three hours we finished favors for four of the showers and had a ball doing it.
Whether it is the first baby or the fifth, we celebrate the life given to us by the Father.
The shower is a celebration of that coming life, not a place to get the loot. In fact, folks are told if they can't bring a gift, that's fine. Come for fellowship and support for the family. The women helpers were from 13 to age 74. There was no generation gap here.
Each shower is different and tailored to the new baby or Mom. Saturday we made lion and lamb note holders, diapers out of baby scrapbook paper, pillow boxes, cartoon-lined goody bags and other decorations.
As always there was chocolate for fuel.
If you come to my house, which is an old 1930's Arts and Crafts style, you are greeted as family. Most know where the tea pot and coffee are. You just help yourself. More often than not Mary Cornelius is my social director. She has such an way of making people feel comfortable.
I have a long cabinet in my wide hallway with craft supplies, so there is always something on hand should we change the design midstream or the concept just does look the way we envisioned.
Many hands make light work, but it makes the heart light as well.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Ray and I were married 30 years ago when we were both in our 30s. It was a tumultuous beginning as we each had children, some with special needs. There were those that said our marriage wouldn't last a year. There were even times when we would have agreed.
The worse it got, the more we sought God the best we could. In the first seven years especially, there were financial catastrophes, major illnesses and other stresses, but each time God met us. It was during this time that I really relied on a song by Ethel Waters called His Eye is on the Sparrow. I played it, I sang it and I even opened a little shop called The Little Sparrow. It was time in my life when I knew that I knew that though we were hard pressed, we were in His hands. He met us each time right on time.
I can look back now and see how He protected us even we made wrong choices. Because it was so long ago, I can also see how he has made something beautiful out of all.
Our fondest memories are when we lived in a tiny rundown farm house in the midst of a large dairy farm. When we moved to a larger farmhouse a year or so later it was patched with license tags. What joy was wrought on that farm and we could tell you stories for hours of how God met us, cared for us and fed us.
You are worth so much more than that tiny bird.
His eye really is on you today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Grandchildren by Proxy

One of the things that I miss the most by living here is my grandchildren. The closest are three and a half hours away. In fact, one of those granddaughters has blessed me with two precious great-grandchildren.
I love baking and doing crafts with elementary aged children who still see life with wonder and awe. So today I brought two precious ones home with me. They were so excited to come with me to make cookies and marshmallow snowmen.
We made M&M cookies from a mix my daughter, Carrin, sent me at Christmas. Maran really likes the cookie dough.
However, the most fun came from making igloos out of sugar cubes and then snowmen out of marshmallows. I had made the snowmen at Christmas with my grandchildren, Christopher and Emily, and they loved them. So I was sure that Ian and Maran would as well. In both cases, some of the chocolate never made it to the snowmen. But isn't that the fun of it?
The igloos were imploding, but Ray came home in time to act as the official igloo contractor. Not bad for a boy from New York City.
I was really impressed when Ian began bagging the cookies to take home. He equally divided the cookies and didn't try to take the biggest or the bestest. In fact, he told me he liked the darker cookies. Go figure. When he was through, I gave him half of our half. After all, his family is twice the size of ours.
I really believe the secret to staying young is to play. I had a ball today playing. Nothing was serious and there were no deadlines.
We made a mess and it was okay. The simplest antics brought lots of giggles. Where did we lose that? I guess that answer doesn't really matter.
What does matter is that when you give your heart and time to a child, you can regain hope and joy. Each day is a gift. Multiply that gift by making someone giggle. It will be good for both of you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

For over two weeks, I have been struggling to create my annual goals which are high enough to stretch me, yet not so high I will give up and quit. If I quit anything, I beat myself up. I can do that no longer for what you think becomes part of who you are and I am not choosing defeat any longer.

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death. Prov. 16:25

If I choose to hook up with something that is not God's will for my life, I can bring death upon myself. That may sound harsh, but how many people do you know who live their lives in driven-ness and performance and they are lonely, empty and hollow inside? I am not going to live like that. Been there, done that. Age can make you wiser. You never know how bound you are until you get free.

Because this freedom is new to me, I don't know how to live without the goals and the plans. But there is a paradigm shift coming in my spirit man. This morning I released those goals and plans to Father God and my prayer is give me this day my daily bread.

Yes, I can make appointments. Yes, I can dream. However, I can no longer afford to etch goals and plans in stone for it would confine me to what I see. My Father sees much further and deeper. He knows what tomorrow holds and it is my heart's cry to do what I see Him doing, to hear Him say, "This is the way; walk in it."

Corrie Tem Boom once said, "Hold everything loosely, because it hurts when God pries your fingers open."

I place this day in my open hand.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fingerpainting with God

What would happen if the fruit of the Spirit was represented by pots of finger paint?
Would love be red, joy a sunny yellow and peace a soft blue? Would longsuffering be purple and gentleness a soft pink? What would you choose for goodness, faith, meekness and temperance?

We are to come as a little child. How would we paint the picture of our life each day?
Imagine using your fingers to scoop a generous amount of paint onto the paper. Then smearing the globs of paint around with your fingers to create your painting.
Which colors would you choose?
This isn't a time to be timid. The best finger paintings have lots of bright colors and bold strokes . Use your fingers to create swirls or pictures. You can even use the side of your hand or your whole hand. How much pressure will you use when you put down a glob of love?
If you get impatient and overblend the colors, they will become murky. You may even tear the very thing you were trying to create.
I wonder what God sees when He looks down and sees us applying these colors to our every day life? Are there some colors that we never use?
While creating the painting of the day, if we don't move quickly with these fruit, the paint can dry before we finish. But a splash of the water of the Word gets things moving again.
Perhaps the most important thing we can learn about finger painting is that it has to dry flat.
If you hang your masterpiece for the whole world to see before God has dried it, the colors will run and the picture will be ruined.
Finger painting is fun. It is not passive, but active and bold. You create an original with your life daily. It is an opportunity to brighten your world.
Now go paint a beautiful day for His glory.

Keeping on His Path

I am blessed that I have known Jesus since a little girl. I grew up in church. I grew up memorizing lots of scripture.
When I turned from God and found myself in a pit, that scripture bubbled up and placed His light, His hope before me. I wish I could say that I immediately turned around and embraced truth, but no, I wallowed in the pig pen for a season disillusioned by the very church and Christians that I thought would love me unconditionally.
That is the lie from the pit. It focuses on what others could have, should have done, instead of what the Father has done and wants to do.
Now when I minister to others, I ask them to focus on His answers, not their disappointments. People will always let you down, because they are just that- people. They may not even do it intentionally. Only God can truly judge their heart.
Now as I put one foot in front of another in my own journey, I am challenged to keep my eyes on my Father. At any point, I can focus on what seems like a mass of colored threads running this way and that or I can keep my eyes on Him knowing that I am just seeing the underside of a beautiful tapestry that He is weaving out of my life as I surrender each thread.
It is only by yielding my every "thread," even my whys and any remaining independence, giving Him complete control of even my questions of how, when and why not, can He weave it to the picture He sees.
I am a miracle. More than once I have been told I would not live. I am His creation, a trophy of His grace.
Life is a journey. Many observe our walk. What story does it tell?
For we walk by faith, not by sight... 2 Cor. 5:7

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Are You Going to Finish Strong?

The older that you get, the more failure that you experience. Do the math. However while doing that math, count your blessings as well.

How many goals did you set for 2008 that you abandoned by February because it was too hard or took too much time or maybe you just lost interest. If I lose interest, I question my level of commitment.

I sell Mary Kay. I love it. I have set many goals and failed. However, I have had success as well.
In 2008 I was Queen of Sales for my Unit which meant my sales were the highest of over 200 consultants.

I got in Mary Kay for a very different reason than most. I wanted to teach myself how to love myself. You see, I hated myself and most everything about me. However, I knew I wasn't a hypocrite. So I figured if I sold Mary Kay, I would have to use it faithfully which would mean I would have to take care of myself.

For almost a month, I would look in the mirror and plead, "God, show me what you see when you look at me for I don't see anything that I like."

It was painful for me to look in the mirror and to use the products properly I had to do it TWICE a day. Slowly, I began to get a glimpse of the Diane that God created before the foundations of the world. My smile returned. I began to love me which is the beginning of really loving others.

Last fall I derailed trying to be someone other myself. My bosses had tragedy after tragedy in a very short time frame. So I tried to do their job their way while they were out for a couple of months. No one asked me to do this. I just thought that was what was expected. It was a false expectation.

Remember this: God will never call you to be someone other than yourself. I tried and crashed and burned. Of course, I returned to the habit of hating myself for failing. This opened the door for failing more. My health took the brunt of this.

Slowly, once I recognized the problem, I began to give myself space to love myself. When I had to cover for someone, I did the best that I could. I no longer tried to do the best that they could.

For the past two months, I have made a conscious effort to be good to myself, not selfish, but making time to do what is best for me in order to heal. For a short time, I worked half days. That's all I had in me. I gained more strength and God met our needs.

I received the following video from my Mary Kay Director, Kathy Lee, today. She is Queen of Encouragement. I hope it will encourage you as it did me. Please take a moment right now to watch it.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil. 4:13

See you at the finish line.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Doing What's Best

Too often we care more about not causing waves, keeping the peace, and making everyone happy, than we do about doing what is best for us. If we need to rest and choose to do that, we may be called selfish. If we don't visit our friend, we may be deemed as uncaring.

I have found when my plate is too full with just the everyday tasks and even simple pleasures, my strength fails and I tire easily. I have to be careful to choose my priorities carefully.
This is hard for me, because frankly sometimes I pay too much attention to what others might think than what the Holy Spirit may be nudging me to do. Truth is probably the person I am concerned about judging me hasn't given it a thought.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

So what are the commandments? Too often we look back to the Ten Commandments, but let's look at what Jesus said.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40

While it is certainly important to remember to the love the Lord, it is important to also remember that we cannot really love anyone else until we learn to love ourselves. When we operate in fear of loss or abandonment, we make choices that are unloving to ourselves in order to please someone else. What is our heart in this matter?

Solomon says that bring every work into judgment to see if it is good or evil. If we did because we felt we had to and we had resentment, that is not a good work no matter how it looks to others.

While raising children, I might say, "Attitude check," when there was grumbling, complaining or just plain rebellion.

Now I need to do that often with myself. Attitude check. Am I serving in love or is there grumbling, complaining or just plain rebellion? I am only called to fear (reverence, honor, respect) God and keep His commandments. If I do only what He has called me to do with joy,
my life will be lived in order and in peace.

Everything else is just wood, hay and stubble.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Something Beautiful, Something Good

This blog has stirred dormant creative juices. I feel like I can breathe again.
So moving right along I am resurrecting my love for beautiful things. At Christmas we had friends over and I loved ironing the damask tablecloths and napkins. There is something rewarding about taking a limp damask napkin and starching, ironing, creasing and folding it. It is almost a work of art.
For months I have been gathering broken and discarded jewelry. I love multi-media pieces. Mom gave me a broken crystal necklace I received from my aunt when I graduated from high school in 1963. I want to make special pieces for my twins' 36th birthday. The numbers are reversed 63 and 36. I didn't quite have enough to do what I wanted.
However, two weeks ago my friend, Mary Pat, gave me some of her mom's jewelry. There were two necklaces that complimented mine perfectly.
I went to Hobby Lobby in Valdosta yesterday to get the findings. I can't wait to get started. It will be exhilarating to create something beautiful out something that was tossed aside.
Isn't that why it is exhilarating when the Lord touches us and takes us from what the world cast aside to something beautiful?
"Something beautiful, something good.
All my confusion He understood.
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife.
But He made something beautiful of my life."