Friday, December 31, 2010

Only One Life

We only have one life. I have wasted many years doing my own thing with a "no one's going to tell me what to do" attitude. I am where I am today because of the decisions I made yesterday, many yesterday.
I stand at the threshold of absolute surrender. I am so ready. My way hasn't worked. My thoughts of me, my plans, are not as high as my Father's thoughts and plans. This isn't a trial run. This is a commitment to be the me He saw me to be before the foundations of the earth.
I am so excited about day and the days ahead of me. This will be the trip of a lifetime.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

No Thing Can Separate Me from the Father's Love

No Thing Can Separate Me from the Father's Love, but I can choose not to receive it. It's there for the taking, but I can choose rebellion instead. I can choose fear instead of faith. Only my choices bring separation; not my circumstances, but my response to those circumstances.
It is all about being willing to lose control. In this journey I have to surrender my appetite to a Father that knows best instead of an enemy that wants death and destruction.
With the holiday, visiting and then company, I have chosen to begin the "training phase" of this journey on January 4th when my house and life return to a familiar routine. Until then I am practicing. What does that mean? Well, tomorrow night there is a dinner at church and I will eat moderately, not the more defined parameters of the training phase. But already my body is pitching fits. Today I went to lunch with friends. A large platter of chips and dips was placed on the table. I had ordered salmon and steamed veggies. The chips still warm from the kitchn were calling my name. I resisted.
Made it all the way to the finish line when Nick said, "Anyone want my cherries?"
"I do," I heard myself say.
While two maraschino cherries will not add pounds, when you have a sugar addiction, it is best to stay away altogether in the detox stage.
So today was a practice run. Didn't breakthrough, but I didn't beat myself up either.
I can do this. Baby steps. I cannot do this on my own but nothing is impossible with God and He isn't going anywhere. It is time to run to Him for help rather than from Him because I've blown it. It is time for absolute surrender.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Bewitchment

Some people lie to themselves and say, "Well. I know I have a problem with food, but at least I am not an alcoholic or drug addict."
Wake up! An addiction is an addiction is an addiction. There is no grading system. I can be totally sugared out by 10 am and walk into church and people think I have it together. However, there is little difference between the drunkenness of a six pack of Reese's peanut butter cups and having that extra beer. Simple carbs convert to a low grade alcohol when you overindulge.
I was already reading the book, Feeding your Appetites, when I received the following message in my inbox: "If you don't know how to deal with the stresses of life that can bring hopelessness and despair, you can develop an addiction by continually attempting to soothe or comfort yourself rather than resolve the source of pain. If you cannot stop a behavior by simply choosing to lay it down, you may have an addiction. It doesn't matter what it is. It might be pornography; it might be drugs; it might be food; it might be gossip or television. It might be an ungodly relationship. Many people are in relationship with someone, not because they are best friends, but because they have a need. Almost anything you can think of can be an addiction. The enemy's kingdom uses many mechanisms and knows how to control you with your needs. Addictions are common to every nation, every race, every culture and every economic status.
The foundational root of all addictions is spiritual bewitchment.
Matthew 22:37-39 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.
Addictions are rooted in the need to be loved. You stand complete in the gospel by accepting God's love and receiving the love you need for yourself. Accept who you are in the new birth once and for all. Love God, love yourself, and love others. Be complete in that love and you will never need to find love in any of the wrong places. But because your enemy knows that if he can get you into a place where you do not feel like you are loved by God, or that you do not love or like yourself, and you are not sure about your neighbor, then he can get you to start looking outside for a "fix."
When you don't love yourself or when you don't accept who you are, the first thing that happens in your body chemistry is a dip in your serotonin levels. When you have a serotonin deficiency, you do not feel right physically or spiritually. The enemy knows there is no way you can increase your serotonin level unless you take a drug because you are in chemical imbalance. The pharmacist knows you can take a drug that is a serotonin enhancer to make you feel good. Then you become addicted to the drug which serves to create a chemically altered state of consciousness or false peace. Your enemy caused the problem without your realization or consent. He will begin to engineer thoughts to ensure you will take steps to enter into the various areas of counterfeit fulfillment. If you take your peace with God, yourself and others, the hypothalamus will recognize your fulfillment and signal the brainstem to release and increase serotonin values. This causes your spirit and your body to come into balance again so you feel more complete. Addictions are found in people that are separated from love. When someone is struggling with any type of addiction, that person has been spiritually bewitched away from the simplicity of the gospel, which is love."
These mini-teachings come free from subscribe to them. The timing could not be more perfect. It was time to get real.
I had a boyfriend once who said, "You were perfect before your mother spoke to you."
What he meant is our parents program us with the stuff they were programmed with. If they weren't nurtured, they probably didn't know how to love and nurture you properly either. So the cycle continues.
We were born with a desire to be loved. Yet if I earthly father did not or could not love us, it is difficult to believe that Father God can or will. So we look for love in all the wrong places.
Some of the addictions that we are going to look at in the coming year are:
Dependent Relationships
Knowledge Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:7
Self including self-pity and self-idolatry
This is an an all-inclusive list. However, in my life's journey, I have discovered that where there is one addiction, there is another. Deal with one and the other(s) will manifest. This is simply because you are not dealing with the root of the problem.
Step one recognize that there is a problem and that you cannot do this by yourself. You are God's creation. Only the Creator has life's manual.
I could blame the abuse, the pain, the betrayals or I can accept responsibility for where I am right now and repent for taking the the less painful route.
His mercies are new every morning. So today I choose to repent and begin anew

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More of Him, Less of Me (literally)

During 2010 I lost 40 pounds. My goal for 2011 is to double that.
I am not ready to share my weight with the world yet, but seven and a half pounds a month is doable at my present weight.
I have had some serious health challenges the past couple of months and have decided it is time to leave the Isle of Denial and take up residency at Hoped For Cottage.
A couple of months ago I was asked to teach the class on Fear during the For My Life course available at Be in Health (see for more info).
When I moved here over nine years ago, if you told me that I had fear, I would have laughed at you. My whole identity was wrapped up in being a survivor and an overcomer of 25 years of abuse. I would go from one abusive situation to another.
Now I can see clearly that I had a generous portion of the more than 4,000 fears identified my psychologists. They changed from fear of failure to fear of man. Guilt piggy-backed each one of them.
Rather than confront and deal with those fears, I chose to find comfort in food. I am now addicted to carbohydrates. Yes, it is an addiction. Addictions cannot be overcome by sheer will power. A person may be successful for a season, but until I came to a place of repentance for willful disobedience, I was not ready to surrender. Even now I am practicing surrender.
My set date is January 4th.
So I am getting things in place much like one would prepare for a journey. Indeed this will be a life-changing journey.
I will be using the tools that I have learned at Be in Health, a couple of books like Feeding Your Appetites by Stephen Arterburn, some accountability partners and record keeping.
If you have any addiction, you are an excellent liar. Lying to yourself is much easier than admitting the truth. Lying buys time, but speeds up destruction. That is why accountability is important.
My commitment to you, my reader/follower, is to quit lying and to share the good, the bad and the ugly of this journey. A life of excessive indulgence is a life full of wilful disobedience which is sin. Sin separates me from God. The answer then is for there to be More of Him and His way and less of me and my disobedience until you can no longer distinguish my image from His.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fruitcake Bashing

Several years ago there was serious fruitcake bashing. Anyone who ate it was considered a freak. This led to fruitcake jokes like:A fruitcake walks into a bar, throws himself on the counter, the fruitcake breaks in to pieces. "What are you, nuts?", said the bartender. "Yes, and jellies and fruits" - the fruitcake replied before the bartender yelled,"Look, get out of here, you reek of rum!" "I'll be back next year, and every year", shouted the fruitcake.
People have said that the only good use for a fruitcake was a doorstop. but I LOVE fruitcake.
Perhaps it is because it conjures up memories of Christmas past. Both my grandmother and mother made fruitcakes. They lined the many loaf pans with heavy brown paper- often grocery bags. It took several days to prep and bake and wrap.
They were a treasured gift among extended family memories. I even remember my mom hiding it. It was no ordinary fruitcake. There was none of the bitter citron. Instead there were cherries, pineapple and lots of pecans. In fact, it was so chocked full of goodies there was little actual cake- just enough to hold it all together.
My granny never baked one, but she would take a store bought one and soak it in brandy for a week. Something my teetotaller mom would never do.
Mom doesn't make fruitcake any more.
But there is a suitable substitute in a Claxton fruitcake.
Thank goodness for the website because unless you live in their region, you are probably not going to find it on your shelves. It is moist and rich. You can only eat a little at the time. I love it ice cold from the fridge so it slices thin.
If you get fruitcake for Christmas and you hate it, send it my way. If it isn't the right one, I will doctor it up like Granny did.
Now if I could just get Sally to send me some of her buttermilk fudge, my Christmas would be complete.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Faithful God

I had no shoppers and therefore, no sales yesterday, but I am not discouraged. To affirm my faith, I received this devotional in my Inbox this morning. God may not do things the way we plan, but His ways are higher than mine and I will praise Him because He's my daddy and He loves this daughter.

I was teaching the class on Fear the other day and we use the scripture in Job that says, "

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. Job 13:15

The word "maintain" in the Hebrew means adjust and reprove. So in essence the verse says to me though there are some things that have to die in my life (like overeating when in fear), I am going to trust Him with my life and make the necessary corrections. He has been so faithful to me. It is time for me to be just as faithful.

Thank you for your love, support and prayers.


This is the devotional from Os Hillman.

"So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, 'Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!'" (Job 2:7-9).

I walked into the room and my friend burst out crying. "I'm so discouraged! I don't know what else to do. Will I ever get better!?" After three years of fighting a medical condition the doctor just told her no progress had been made in the last six months of treatments. Alternative treatment was needed that might have more severe side effects.

Great men of God with healing ministries had prayed for her. A string of doctors had failed to yield any position results. When hope is deferred, the psalmist says, the heart becomes sick. During these seasons, we can only do one thing. We must hang onto whatever faith we have to get through each day and entrust our lives to Him. "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior" (Hab 3:17-18).

When faith doesn't see results it challenges what we believe. We must pray as Job prayed: "Teach me what I cannot see" (Job 34:32). God says there is a purpose in everything we go through. Later that day another friend who once had the same issues, but was now better, had a word of encouragement. "God is going to reveal things to you through this season of adversity that you would never receive had you not gone through this. This is part of your calling even though Satan is the instrument. God is always bigger than Satan's afflictions."

Our greatest tests come when we cannot see positive results from our faith and obedience. In such cases we must die to our expectations and entrust them to our Lord.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Time to Live Fully

There are more dreams buried in the cemetery than there are people.
Recently I started teaching the Fear class in For My Life at Be in Health. There are over 4,000 fears identified by psychologists.
When I came here nine years ago, I didn't think I had any fears. After surviving and I thought overcoming 25 years of varying kinds of abuse, I thought I was an overcomer, bless God and nobody was going to mess with me. You want a piece of me?
I was one tough cookie! But it was all fabricated! Inside I was scared of what others thought of me (fear of man), scared I would do things perfectly (fear of failure), fear of rejection, fear of things falling apart, fear of poverty, etc. The list was exhaustive and frankly, exhausted me!
After layers of more serious stuff were peeled off slowly (again because of fear of change, then that principality of fear was no longer masked as stress, anxiety and drivenness, and I could see it for what it really was. It had to go!
Then last month I was asked to teach it. As I studied it, I could see how I had been duped by the enemy and had come into agreement with his plan for my life instead of God's (to be continued)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Let Us Never Forget the Reason for the Season

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. This week alone I have to teach four classes,lead a Mary Kay meeting, audit a class, have a two day Mary Kay Open House and prepare the house for four guests who are coming in this weekend and staying a week.
Then I begin to recover myself and remember Philemon 1:6 which says, "That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
In the chaos of life, I need to communicate at all levels- speech, actions, attitude- that my faith will increase by acknowledging that every good thing that comes from within me is only because I am His.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken Soup that Warms the Soul

I woke up the other morning feeling like someone had a foot on my chest. All that congestion was gathered together to make it difficult to breathe.
I laid in bed for quite awhile since I didn't fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning, but there were things to do. We are leaving for Florida in the morning.
I plodded through my To Do list.
Then lunch time came. I found a can of Campbell's Chicken Soup and in 15 minutes, my body had a wake up call! Yay!
There is something about chicken soup that warms the soul.
Lord, make me good chicken soup for someone's life today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Living a Life of Thanksgiving

There is the eagerness to get there and the hard part of leaving so soon. Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. This year my daughter, Margie, is cooking the dinner and she has invited Lori and her family over.
Since I have so many children in so many places, it is rare for us all to be together at one time. Sometimes I think that is best for I so love the one on one time with each child. You don't get that opportunity when you have all of them plus their children and grandchildren.
I am a rich woman to be able to go to so many places and receive love.
This year the visit will be shortened because we have to return for a memorial service for a friend who died in a car accident. Although I would never wish a long illness on anyone, when someone dies unexpectedly in an accident, it takes me longer to get my head around it. I know it is real, but my mind doesn't want to accept it.
So when I am in FL for just two days I will have an abundance of gratitude that I do have a life. It's not perfect, but I have life and love. I have so very much to be grateful for.
I have a husband that loves me unconditionally. He loves me when I am completely unlovable. For this I am grateful.
All of my children are not where I would hope for them to be, but each is healthy and alive. For this I am grateful.
I literally have friends all over the world from Ireland to Africa to Israel to China and from coast to coast in the United States. For this I am grateful.
Happiness is indeed a choice and when you make that choice, you will find so much to be grateful for.
A doctor once told me I would never live to be 60. I am 65. For this I am grateful.
I am blessed to attend a church that is as much a family to me as my own flesh and blood. For this I am grateful.
I love Thanksgiving and it is my heart's desire to live each day in gratitude for the bounty I have been blessed with. May I always remember to give more than I take.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I haven't Got Time for the Pain

I go to a pretty free church where on Friday nights we sing and dance to Spirit in the Sky (Norman Greenbaum version) and other songs that we have redeemed much like they did over 100 years ago when revival swept Europe. The bar songs were adapted to the hymns we sing in church today. Martin Luther and John & Charles Wesley (of the Methodist Church) rewrote popular music from the taverns to accompany some of their hymns as did William Booth, founder of Salvation Army.
Anyway when I sat down at my computer this morning, I thought of the song by Carly Simon "I Haven't Got Time for the Pain." So I pulled it up from YouTube and it was definitely a good fit for the freedom the Lord gives us.
I really don't have time for the pain. I have a life to live for Him!
So if you are willing to be stretched, watch this video and think about your life before Jesus came in and you allowed Him to make a difference. When you release the pain, there is so much room for His love. A great exchange!

All those crazy nights when I cried myself to sleep
Now melodrama never makes me weep anymore
'cause I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you

You showed me how, how to leave myself behind
How to turn down the noise in my mind
Now I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you

I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain

Sufferin' was the only thing made me feel I was alive
Thought that's just how much it cost to survive in this world
'Til you showed me how, how to fill my heart with love
How to open up and drink in all that white light
Pourin' down from the heaven

Haven't got time for the pain (no pain)
I haven't got room for the pain (no pain)
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Healing Rain

I awoke to rain this morning, not a thunderstorm, but just a nice steady rainfall.
I love the sound. It makes you want to grab a cup of coffee and sit in front of the fire.
When growing up, we lived three houses away from the St. Johns River. When an afternoon rain came, many times I would walk down to the river. There I would sit under a majestic oak tree that was so dense that it provided shelter from most of the rain. I would watch the rain fall on the river. It was my secret place that seem to cleanse my soul from the conflict within my home.
In the rain everything was clean and fresh. The smell after the rain was intoxicating.
Since I was raised in Florida, I saw many hurricanes. Only a few were devastating, but for the most part they seem to bring an intense winnowing away of the filth of life. Dead, lifeless branches were pruned by the storm. When it was over, even in the chaos, there was a cleanness in the air.
Now in my senior years, I look back and see that there were indeed many storms. Some I was sure at the time that I could not weather. But I did and the things that really were not necessary in my life that I was not willing to release, the storm pruned. My soul was cleaner after each storm. Sometimes there was a time of healing and restoration that had to take place, but when I yielded to that, I was stronger.
What needs to be washed out of your life today? What has been pruned so severely that you ache?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jingle and Mingle

As Ray builds the village and I create baskets, anticipation of our Jingle and Mingle mounts.
This is a special time when I invite family, friends and customers to an open house and we catch up with one another and do some shopping from my Mary Kay studio. I love company. Just that sitting down time and sharing with one another makes one realize how very rich we are in the things money cannot buy. I have customers who have become special friends and I am always eager to catch up with them. Invariably, I will hear answers to some of the prayers we prayed together whether for a job for a daughter or healing for a mother, it is always a time to rejoice.
Then there's the cookies. I love to have many kinds of cookies and just as many kinds of tea. Did you know tea tastes better in a cute cup.
I do hope you will join us this year. We are having on Saturday and Sunday, December 4-5 from 2-5 pm. Do drop in and mingle. I'll provide the jingle. Here's a preview of a few of things I have been working on.

Building the Village

We had gone to Hobby Lobby earlier in the week to buy styrofoam for the platform of the village and it was going to cost over a hundred dollars. So Ray bought a hot wire cutter instead and then checked at Lowe's and Home Depot for a better price and found none. So we went dumpster diving for packing styrofoam yesterday. Three dumpsters later we were in business.
Ray took the hot wire cutter and pieced it together like a puzzle. Now the fun begins as we build our Christmas village. We have begun placing the 30 plus houses and buildings. We move them from one side to another. Mother called to say she was sending us a town hall. So we decided to create a town square like we have here.
Up went the shops to go to the Square.
Life isn't that simple. We don't always get to choose our neighbors or where our house is located. We can't pick it up and move to greener pastures without great expense.
So while we are where we are, we should live life to the fullest.
How may times do we have to be told to bloom where we are planted.
That neighbor next door isn't there by accident. At the very least, she needs your smile, but I bet she could use an encouraging word and a hug.
Perhaps you are there to pray for them.
We are told to love our neighbor as ourself. So perhaps the crux of the problem is that we really don't love ourselves.
Can I just be gentle with myself and just BE the best ME I can BE? After all, I am just a girl.
I found this song on YouTube. It reminded of Irish pub music and the singer reminds me of Lori Ann. Hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

Though I am working from home and trying to recover myself, emotions sometimes play havoc with the best intentions.
A dear friend was killed in a car wreck last Monday. The first day I was just numb, my processing mode. Then I was able to cry. Then I began to grieve. I tormented myself with the undone deeds and the unspoken words.
Just the week before she had said, "Diane, your heart will be just fine. I've got a pacemaker and fully expect another 20 years for both of us."
She didn't live even 20 more days, much less years.
Of course, when I had lunch with her Sunday, I had no idea that would be the last time I would see her.
Where does the time go?
Are we so busy doing that we forget to BE. We are human beings, not human doings.
In John 5:19, Jesus,says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."
In other words, He saw what His Father was doing and He joined Him.
If we would follow that simple formula, look to the Father and do it as He would, there would be no stress, drivenness nor performance.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Breakfast Bread

Traditionally Publix Breakfast Bread was reserved for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then it found its way into vacations.
Now whenever we drive up to Fayetteville, we stop at Publix to get a couple of loaves so that there is a spare in the freezer. When you get older, every day is a gift and a reason to celebrate.
Their breakfast bread is chocked full of walnuts, cranberries, apricots, apples and a smidge of pumpkin. Two slices with butter and coffee make a perfect breakfast. Because of all the fruit and nuts, you really don't want anything else.
Maybe it is the hour plus drive that makes it so dear, but for a girl raised on Publix, it has the taste of home and love.
It is the simplest of memories that are the most enduring.
I can remember that on Thanksgiving Day the family decorated Grandma's house inside and out. She was too old to do the outdoor decorations, but loved them dearly. So this was a gift she could enjoy for weeks. No two years were alike. There were always additions and deletions.
Let me encourage you to include some simple traditions in the upcoming holidays. Don't make it so difficult that no one wants to do it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

That Cozy Time of the Year

When it is cold outside, I can always find fun things to do inside.
For many years, I made crafts to sell to make extra money especially for Christmas. Some years things were so tight, that I used what I could find outside free for the taking to create special things. From tiny pine cones brought home by my truck driving husband who gathered them in North Carolina to the sweet gum balls from the tree in the front yard. In the fall the kids and I would gather kudzu and make everything from trees to wreaths.
I had an excellent teacher and friend in Sally Swift. She is about 10 years my senior and a gifted artist. We would spend evenings together creating. She patiently coached me through new techniques.
Since moving to Georgia, I have missed that time spent together more often that not with a hot cup of tea.
Sally continues her passion today. You can see her work at:

When Mom still lived in Jacksonville, I got to see Sally more often and frequently I would leave with a shopping bag of snippets and treasures she had saved for me to use on future projects. I always felt I came home with a bit of Sally with me.
The other day I was rearranging a cabinet in the Mary Kay room and came across a jar of buttons from Sally. I couldn't help but smile.
Today I thank God for special friends. Lord, bless them for all they have poured out in the lives of others and then some.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Weather Roller Coaster

Last week we ran the air conditioning. Tonight the temperature will drop to 33 degrees. Each day is a surprise.
I personally love fall with pecan falling from the trees and gathered for baking. I love the crunch of leaves as I walk through the yard. I love a good roaring fire and sipping hot cocoa.
Perhaps it is the cocooning that is necessary to keep ourselves warm that makes us a cozier, nicer person. The pace slows a bit, more so in the North than the South.
When we are still, the things within us that need to be perfected have a chance to percolate within our soul. There are things that the busyness of life impedes. When we slow down, they waft through our spirit and that longing for dreams forgotten stirs.
We are body, soul and spirit. Unfortunately, we do not give each part of our being the full attention it needs to blossom. The weeding is deferred until it chokes out hopes. It is in the slower pace that we take notice of such things.
A crackling fire can ignite our spirit and a warm cup of tea, our soul.
Eanjoy each day fully as if it were your last. It is a gift.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

There is always more

Wherever you are in your journey, there is always more.
You can do more, be more and even rest in what has been done more.
If you love the Lord, you can receive more of His love and pass it on more often.
The more that destroys you is striving for more.
It is the striving, feeling like you are not good enough unless you do a little more, that amps up your hypothalamus and peace is no where to find.
Could you just enjoy the moment? Listen to the sounds around you and focus on one. Right now the football game is going in the living, a truck drives by outside, but from my bedroom I hear worship songs. That is what I will choose to hook up to. You see when we try to relate to everything, do everything an cover all of the bases, we find ours selves frazzled.
Find your place in the world, by listening as much as you run. Listen to your Father. His plans for you are for good and not evil. Jer 29:11

Monday, November 1, 2010

It Takes Man to Build a Village

For years my mom built a Department 56 village. Before she sold her house, I believe it grew to about 4 foot by 10 ft. She placed in front of her picture window and people often came in the evening to watch it. It had many moving parts.
When she sold her house, the village was disbursed primarily to grandchildren. Still Ray has continued to build his village with his "inheritance" and has already added on.
We live in an old Craftsman style bungalow. So the village finds its home in the wide hallway. Ray is already plotting and planning. It takes about a week to get everything in place.
As in life, it is the details that make a difference. From the walkways to the cemetery next to the church we recreate life as it was in the time of Charles Dickens.
Sad that life doesn't allow us such artistic expression to move things around to become aesthetically pleasing. Or does it?
Food for thought.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Holiday Portfolio

I am so excited to share my new Holiday Portfolio. Let me help you with your personal shopping with gifts she is sure to remember. Call me at 706-646-5638 or 770-365-8621
or go to my website: and in the comments sec of your order reference this portfolio so I will know how to wrap it. Gift wrapping and shipping is free until December 12th.

Giving Out of Love

I can remember once when I was a single mom with three small children, I receive assistance from All Saints Daycare where my twins attended. When I walked into the office to receive the food, I saw a sign that said, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.'
The quotation played in my head for days. It has been over 25 years, but I know that was one of the turning points in my life where I began to walk out of victimization. A day care center that loved my girls even more than I was emotionally able to at the time. They showed me to how to give love I did not have by modelling the love of God before me in ordinary, daily ways. All Saints was a safe place for my girls and a good childhood memory.
I was single, working and going to school. I am so grateful for the love they poured into my girls who are both awesome mamas today. They made difference in our family.

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own." Disraeli

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The House is Quiet

Although I no longer have small children at home, my husband is a "crash, boom, thud" kind of guy. Quiet isn't even in his vocabulary. The middle child of 11 of an Irish Catholic family in the Bronx, he knows what it means to live life out loud.
So the guys went to a Men's Breakfast this morning and I have four hours of no noise. It has been blissful.
I can't say I have been too productive, but I have thorough enjoyed my time out. I have been exploring that that Adrienne turned me on to. What fun! That led me to another site and on and on I have played without guilt. (Have you read Joyce Meyer's Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes book? lol)
I want to encourage you to make some "me" time at least weekly to feel your soul with a few of your favorite things. Never be too busy to enjoy life. It goes by way too quickly.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Mosaic of Our Lives

My friend, Johnda, has come to town for a visit. I love it when she comes because we speak the same language at so many levels. She is straightforward and even blunt at times, but she has a heart of gold and when she laughs her eyes twinkle.
It doesn't matter what project I am in the middle of, I have learned that when she is in town, I need to grab her, because she will be gone all too quickly.
This is a principle I should probably apply to all of my friendships for no one is guaranteed tomorrow. The older I get, the faster the sand runs through the hour glass of life.
If you have a friend like Johnda, you are rich.
Have to share this video. The first pix is of a palm tree. Johnda bought a picture of palm trees today to hang over her fireplace in her Georgia home. She always brings a bit of California with her.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rescuing Others

Sometimes friends and family get in a mess and we see their pain and we want to rescue them.
For some this becomes their lifestyle. It gives them a sense of being needed and may even make them feel important. However, more often than not we are meddling in God's work.
I heard this once and don't remember where: If you fix the fix that god fixed to fix them then God will have to fix another fix.
We are where we are today because of the decisions we made yesterday.
If I have an adult child that I am constantly bailing out, she does not have to learn to be responsible.
I remember once in my 30s as a single mom, I went to my dad to pay my light bill. He told me that was the last time. I said okay.
A couple of months later I was in the same predicament and I went back to him. He said, "What did I tell you the last time?"
"But Dad, " I protested, "What about the kids?"
He said, "You should have thought about that before you put your money elsewhere."
My lights were cut off that night. The kids and I sat on the balcony and I made a game of it. The next day an agency helped me, but I never have had my lights cut off since.
My dad quit rescuing me and I was forced to grow up.
Yes, they helped me from time to time with Christmas and things but I needed to be a responsible adult about day to day expenses.
Now I have adult children and I have to make those decisions. I see how hard it was for my dad.
I see the joy when I give an unexpected gift when I know my daughter is doing the best she can with what she has. AND SHE DID NOT ASK.
Always expecting others to get you out of your messes is a sign of self-pity and perhaps a spirit of victimization that makes you feel others owe you.
Today at work someone posted the following on the Bulletin Board and I just had to share it:

His Word says in Ps.34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked unto him, and were lightened; and their faces were not ashamed. 6This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
In the Dakes Bible on the side bar "looked" in vs 5 is
l. Look within is to be miserable
2.Look around is to be distracted.
3.Look expectantly to God brings blessing.
Then in the side bar "out" in vs 6 -To get men out of troubles is God's work and gives scripture references of v.6, 17, 19; 25:17;40:2, 54:7, 81:10; 107:6,13,19,28.
Are you interfering with someone's life? You may be keeping them from total dependence on God.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pushing Through

Last night I was all about quitting. I had had it.
Now I did not want to quit my Mary Kay business, I just wanted to quit the Director Qualification part. As I began mentally to make a list of those who had let me down including family members who were supposed to love me, I became unwittingly swathed in self-pity.
Self-pity is a slippery slope.
Helen Keller once said, "Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world."
The uncanny part is the way it slips up on you. Innocently, you review the situation and begin to make a laundry list of complaints. You think you are just sizing up the situation, but actually you are cementing the problem in place.
"Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world." (Millicent Fenwick) "Round and 'round you go living life on a roulette wheel rather than taking charge of it.
If I want to quit getting what I am getting, I have to change what I am doing. I have to even change my attitude towards what I am doing.
About 2 a.m. I awoke and my head was clear and I recognized that I had been duped by self-pity again. I took responsibility for my part of the shortcomings of my goals. After all, I have no control over anyone except myself.
I turned away from that path of destruction and began making a new plan.
I am ever so grateful that His mercies are new every morning. Today I choose to make it a great day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

God Uses a Crock Pot, Not a Microwave

I have been cooking for over 50 years. (Yes, I started early.) When crock pots came on the scene, the lids were not tight-fitting. The axiom was if you lift the lid, add another hour to the cooking time because all of the heat would escape.
It is the same with our lives. God wants to help us deal with the things that separate from us from others, even Him.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,
but grievous: nevertheless
afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness
 unto them which are exercised thereby. Heb. 12:11
I want to get in His Presence microwave-style, push one minute and wait to hear the ding and be done.
I want the peaceable fruit of righteousness, but not the chastening. So I take the lid off, poke, prod, even remove myself from His pot, but I am not done.
He may drop an idea in my heart Too often I run with it before He has trained, formed and opened the door, I hit the shut door head on and wonder, "Where are you, God?"
He is waiting at the beginning.
Now I have to go back, add another hour or so, and learn to abide in Him. If a day is like a thousand years, what is a real hour?

John 15: 1-5 says:
1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away:
 and every branch that beareth fruit,
he purgeth it,
that it may bring forth more fruit.
3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4Abide 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.
 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches:
 He that abideth in me, and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me ye can do nothing.
I can work at Be in Health, be a Star consultant in my Mary Kay business .or be a very good wife, mother or grandma, whatever I chose, but if I am not abiding in Him, there will be no peaceable fruit of righteousness.
If I am still, I will hear His voice, His leading.
 If I am overwhelmed, I am not abiding.
I will be stressed, not blessed.
Today I choose to crawl back in His crock pot (His everlasting arms) and abide in Him until He says I am done.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Having a Mary Kay Party is Good forYour Health

Some people think my Mary Kay business is frivolous girl time. Turns out it is good for your health. I got this email today. I do not know the author. Went to the Stanford site to try to validate it to no avail. However, I know from my "day job" that the precepts are true.
"Girlfriend Time – Who knew it was so important!
A thought to share
...a friend just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection--the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality "girlfriend time" helps us to create more seratonin--a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings?--rarely. Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged--not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking! So every time you hang out to shmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very very lucky. Sooooo let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health."
So let's get together SOON!

Monday, May 31, 2010

I probably got in Mary Kay for a reason different than most. I hated looking in the mirror. Well, actually I hated myself. So I figured if I sold Mary Kay I had enough integrity to use the product.
The first two weeks were awful. I would stand in front of the mirror and pray, “God, show me what you see when you see me, because I don’t see any good thing.”
Sometimes I would cry. Over time it got easier and easier. Then I began do one on one facials. I saw other women cry because they didn’t like themselves either. In my heart God's pink mission field was born.
Still I struggled because I didn’t fit the Barbie doll image of what I thought a real Mary Kay consultant should look like. It was torment. I wanted to do it for a myriad of reasons, but I was tormented. Then recently the Lord showed me how I had come into agreement with what the enemy said about me instead of what He said about me. I repented.
Father God says, I am fearfully and wonderfully made and one of His marvellous works. (Ps 139:14) When I say I am not, I am calling Him a liar. Ouch!
So I began again and He showed me the bumble bee. Now some say the bumble bee should not be able to fly, because like me, his body is just too large. But the bumble bee took what he had and allowed the pressures to create a vortex to give him the thrust to fly, hover and work. His weaknesses became his strengths. So I began to copy him and build a team.
Just like the bee goes from flower to flower, I go woman to woman sometimes just to love on them, sometimes asking them to join me and then teaching them to fly, too.
This summer I will become a Director and my flight pattern will increase. I have stopped frenetically recruiting just anyone, but asked the Father to show me the flowers He wants picked. Some may look weak and spindly; some may be strong and showy, but I want the Father to put together His bouquet so we can bring the fragrance of the Father’s love to His daughters.
Last year Mary Kay Foundation gave three million dollars to shelters for abused women. They do this by introducing three special lipsticks. One dollar from each of these lipsticks goes to battered and abused women. Over 30 years ago, I was a victim of domestic violence. I will be 65 this July. My goal is to sell 65 of these lipsticks by then. Is there any reason why you couldn’t buy at least one? They make a special gift, too, as they are in a beautiful tube with “Thank You” written in 14 languages.
Mary Kay has no territories. If you know someone, perhaps even you, who would like to have additional income or who can see this as a pink mission field as do and want to join me, please call or email me today. I would love to teach women to fly.
Bee-utifully Yours
Diane Dunn

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Clock is Ticking.

I will be 65 in July and one of the birthday presents that I want to give myself is to be a Mary Kay Director. Not only for the freedom in my work schedule, additional income,but because it gives me an opportunity to touch women's lives, often one by one, to tell them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and one of God's marvelous works.
Twenty-five years of my life I experienced different kinds of abuse. Abuse becomes self-perpetuating. You are a victim, live as a victim and attract more abuse. The one thing you are trying to avoid, you draw to yourself by your demeanor, your self-image and your incredible need to be loved. Grasping at straws, you choose the first love offered to you and it is poison to your spirit. The cycle repeats.
I no longer live in abuse. I began to see myself as Father God saw me and asked Him to help me become that woman.
Nevertheless, I sometimes play "old tapes" of words spoken over me, acts that violated me and lies that deceived me. This is the fastest trek to depression that I know.
Over time I have learned to catch myself before I g down that slippery slope. I do this by encouraging myself. I may sing, get a pedicure or just squirrel away with a good book. We have to get into the habit of holding every thought captive. Every thought.
My life should be a celebration of the victories, not a scrapbook of past failures. Every moment counts.
It is pure joy to be a vessel of His love. Every moment is the right one to love.
God is love. God is the giver of life. Declare your love. You may never know how important it may to someone else. Just do it.

The Easter Song

This is a reminder that Jesus is alive.
There is a real Jesus and He loves you.

Blogger Buzz: Blogger integrates with Amazon Associates

Blogger Buzz: Blogger integrates with Amazon Associates

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What an Awesome Father We Have!

Please watch this video and then come back to the blog.

Are you thinking "Wow! What an awesome Father!"?
Your Heavenly Father has loved you that way since before you were born. When you couldn't go another step, He carried you. You may not have always felt it, but it isn't about feelings, it is about faith.
Can you come to that place of absolute surrender and allow Him to carry you?
His plans for you are for good and not evil.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jer. 29:11
His expected end is bigger than you could ever imagine.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Birth of a Wonderful Man

Over 30 years ago, I married a wonderful man. I called him my Sugar Bear. He was a bear of a guy but was so very sweet and kind to me.
I was a divorced woman in my 30s with three children under 12.
He had two children under five. We probably came together for the wrong reasons. I needed a daddy for my children and he needed a mom for his children and we enjoyed each other's company. That is not quite enough for a good marriage, but Ray was tenacious. When I as a wounded woman would push him away, because I knew that he was going to leave me or abuse me like everyone before him had, he never insisted that I respond differently. He just loved me right where I was. Often that place was a miry pit of self-pity that I refused to leave.
I remember once about the end of the first year of our marriage when we went to Marriage Encounter. The priest told me, Diane, there is no reason in the world why this marriage should work except that Ray is not going to give up on you. He is giving you the same kind of love that your heavenly Father has been trying to give you. It is time for you to receive it.
Something broke that night.
Walls from years of protecting myself came tumbling down. I wish I could tell you that immediately we lived happily ever after, but that is not so. I laugh now and say that the first year of our marriage, he re-wrote The Taming of the Shrew. My programmed self-hatred, made it a bumpy road, but the good news is we stayed on the road.
By trade he is a professional driver and in our marriage he has been a professional driver driving us through life's mountains and valleys from Florida to Texas to Africa and Georgia with an awesome second honeymoon in Ireland.
Today is Ray's birthday and I praise God he was born! I am a blessed woman to have him in my life. Happy Birthday, Baby.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Who Do We Give Our Heart To?

Our worship honors and magnifies God, but it also builds us up and strengthens us. The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Neh. 8:10) No matter what is facing me if I receive His joy simply by worshiping Him I will be strengthened. To stay strengthened I must also have His Word in me alive as rhema.

We become like unto those we admire and worship. When we worship God we tend to value what God values and gradually take on the characteristics and qualities of God.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor 3:17-18
When we worship God we receive His forgiveness, tenderness, mercy, righteousness, holiness, gentleness and love. As we let go of the things that bind us, these traits become gifts we can give to others. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2

It is journey. Christ in me, the hope of glory. How can He be in me unless I ask? As Philippians 2:5 says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ." How do we take on the mind of Christ?

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2 We renew our mind as we study and meditate on God’s Word and worship Him.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Help Me, God

Because of the years of abuse I experienced over 25 years, the Lord seems to bring the wounded across my path. Often I am unprepared to help in my own strength. If I look at the situation in the natural, I am done.
One young woman we got involved with had addictions as well as an abusive relationship. We ran the full gamut over a period of time from inviting her into our home to her running away from us and then back to us with her abuser close at her heels.
When you feel that you fail someone, it makes you reticent to get involved with another's life.
However, if I remember that I offered love, she was unable to receive it at that time, and there are others still needing it.
If we focus on those we fail, we will never reach out.
Some many need God's love and He uses ordinary people to give it. They don't need my love. I am just a girl and I will fail them and disappoint them.
They need the Father's love. Am I willing to be totally devoid of expectations and just be a vessel?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day Every Day

Valentine's Day can be a lonely day for many. I try to spread the love, those little hearts with sayings and chocolates to those whose paths I cross.
However, what a sweeter place this would be if we took the time to love every day.
Love takes time- time to care, time to listen, time to get involved, time to hug and hold.
As I get older I am at the past the middle of my time line and time is very precious. Yet that makes the gift of time even more special.
When you give time, you tell that person that they are valuable. You give them hope.
I am well aware of the time I waste. I work full-time and am developing my Mary Kay business. Nevertheless, I find time to watch television. What if I made a phone call instead or send a note of encouragement? How many of the 10,080 minutes that I am alloted each week, do they get?
How I spend my time is a reflection of my priorities. Do I spend it on people or things?
Spend some time encouraging and loving others today.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Most Problems Are Caused Because Our Receptors Are Broken or Turned Off

As a little child I learned that For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Although I certainly knew I was a part of that world, it has only been the past year that I have understood how unconditional that love and that no matter how much of His love I have received, there is more.
Why is it that we don't receive all the love He has for us so that we can pour it out on others. I cannot love in my own strength. I can't. However, if I receive the Father's love for myself out of sheer gratitude it pours forth.
Wrong doctrine tells us not to love ourselves. The Word says we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our mind and love our neighbor as ourself. We can only love our neighbor deeply if we first love the Father, then ourselves.
How grateful I am for His love.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.