Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Tyke's Stool from an Orange Crate: HOW-TO

From an orange crate to a stool for a little kiddo!


This post is a HOW-TO instructional on making a cute and comfy stool out of an orange crate. This is really an awesome way to add individuality to a stool for a child of your own, in your family, or someone you babysit. The stool can be customized for a boy or a girl and just about any fabric/color combination you could imagine. If you are not a reader of instructions, the video below will show you step by step instructions and progress of the stool. 



*** You do not need a staple gun as mentioned in video. The staples would not go into our board, but you could give it a try from the bottom, to reinforce the hot glue.

*** Measurements mentioned in video are as follows: 
 Board: 7 6/8
 Fabric: 18 1/2 x 19
__________________________________________

If you are an instructional and how-to reader, I will make this simple. Beginning with tools and materials needed, I will explain and show instructions below. I hope you are ready to make an awesome little stool!!



Materials Needed:


* An orange crate from oranges you purchase at the grocers
* Spray paint
* Fabric to match your painted bottom: Measuring 18 1/2 x 19
* A strip of ribbon for the trim: appx. 1.5 yards in length
* 1 Piece of foam cut to: about 1/2 inch larger on all sides as your foam board
* 1 Piece of foam board: 7 6/8
* 1 Piece of thin board for reinforcement: 7 6/8
* 4 one inch screws

Tools:

* Power drill with bit to match screws
* Glue gun with glue sticks
* Measuring stick or tape
* You actually don't need a staple gun - mentioned in video

Steps and Progression:

Gather all your materials

Cut your fabric to the listed measurement
Cut your wood reinforcement board by tracing the top of the crate, then cut.
Cut your foam board with a sharp edge knife, matching the reinforcement board.
Cut your foam a bit larger than the foam board and wood reinforcement boards.






* Begin by screwing four screws into the thin wooden board you cut, onto the top of the crate.
You will screw one in each corner, down through the leg.

* Now, spray paint your base using a couple of layers to coat.
* While the stool is drying, Cover the foam piece and foam board with your fabric and glue gun.

* Lay the fabric with the appropriate pattern facing up and face down on the table. Set the foam on the center of the back side of the fabric. Now place the foam board in the center of the foam top. You will have three layers - fabric, foam, foam board. Have your glue gun hot and extra glue sticks ready. Now start with the two larger sides - place a generous amount of glue on the back of the foam board and press the fabric back onto the glue. Do this on both sides. Now do the two ends - this will come together like a gift package. Fold in the sides, pull up, and glue to the ends.


* When the base is dry - you are ready to glue the fabric covered foam to the top of the base.

* Check to make sure the foam sits to the center and practice your placement of the foam onto the top of the stool/crate.

* This portion you cannot redo - so make sure you are quick to center the foam on top after you place the glue.

*Squeeze glue on each corner of the stool and in a line near the edge of every side. Quickly place the foam CENTERED on the stool reinforcement wood. Press hard and evenly. Flip the stool on its back and press the center and corners so that all glue adheres.

*You are close to finished. All that is left is the ribbon border. My ribbon is actually two pieces sewn together. If you choose to do two pieces, of course, have them sewn together before this step.

* You will see a small portion where the foam fits to the stool and we want to cover that with the ribbon. Place glue on the appropriate portion of the trim that will allow it to stick well and cover the border. The video is great to help understand this.

* Place glue on the trim about 2 inches at a time. Go all around the stool, placing the trim.

* Wow!  You are finished !

*I hope the little tyke you made this for - LOVES IT!









Wednesday, December 14, 2016

No BoUnDaRieS: Blooming May Require DrEaDs

A bit on the funny side this season. Honestly, this post has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, but it's likely you could use a quick break from lights, lists, and counting reindeer. I've been thinking lately about "standards" and "boundaries". . .  and I have concluded that I don't like them very much. It should be said that I firmly aGrEE with boundaries that are biblical. Those are the boundaries handed to humanity and myself, by God Himself, which should be recognized and revered! But aren't those given by God, the only ones valuable enough to base our lives upon?

I've been overwhelmed with breaking the box lately. Breaking out of the mOLd that I feel we have all grown too familiar with blissfully abiding in. The boundaries which we have slowly created as our own standard of living, created by our illusions that living has to fit a certain mold. Have you ever thought about how much of our lives are dictated by society and our own worldview which places "standards" within our minds? How many unrightful boundaries have constrained us because of the same influence?

I discovered something about my husband the other day. Well, actually this characteristic is one he has spent almost half my life proving to me. . . that he supports my crazy attempts to break my own boundaries (within limits)! And yesterday's conversation proved that as a certainty. The conversation, brought me to this conclusion: I know I have a supportive husband when I express the reality that I am considering growing dReAdS and wearing bOOts for the rest of my life. . . and he's totally game.

Yes, he was all for it.
No hesitation.
No unfit boundaries.
No unruly standards.

Dreads and boots?! Go for it. He doesn't place me in a box. I guess because he knows me a bit too well. He lets me break the mOLd when necessary. And quite honestly, he has seen me break the mOLd a couple of times :) It keeps our lives interesting, I promise.

But not even Keith, my husband, sets my boundaries. So who alone should?

God.
That's it.

He aLoNe is worthy to place these upon my life and upon yours. Because God alone is JuSt and He alone is TruTh. Any boundary eXteRnaL of God and His Word is of our internal making, of the world itself, or of the Adversary. Those are worth nothing. Bluntly speaking, the world has never proven worthy of my worship and service. We are merely servants to the coMManDeR of our boundaries and standards and we choose whom we serve by whose standard we meet and boundaries we live by. (Read that again if needed!) We serve God by honoring His tRuth, or we compromise for less, and serve the world by honoring theirs.

The best way to do God justice with our lives is by living it according to His CaLL aLoNe, upon our life alone. We live and bLooM (if you will) according to that which allows us to grow! (As I was enlightened by the small voice of a great nephew once, that seeds need "rOOm to grow!".) So here is where grace fits. God's gRaCe gives us the room. Grace helps us find our boundaries through mistakes, mishaps, and misalignment. Grace gives us gentle nudges to the appropriate mOLd of boundaries and standards and gRaCe gives us the freedom, liberty, and safety to find our way out of those which confine. Then, Grace is our uLtiMaTe SubsTiTuTioN. Because there is one standard that we could never meet.

                   Perfection.

We are imperfect; tainted by flaws and mistakes. Therefore, a perfect One became our substitute. The standard of perfection we count not meet, was RePLaCeD with the Christ who does on our behalf. Now that's GrAcE at it's best.

       Grace.

It's what we trust when we dare to discover our ReAL boundaries.
It's what will guide us to our appropriate standard of tRuTh and nothing less.
It's what we bloom by. And no one ever bloomed in a box.

Let the truth in God's Word and the whisper of His voice alone, be your guide as you trust in His grace, to grow you toward His direction for YoU. What is it that you want to "gO fOr?!" but the world and your own boundaries have made you hesitate? What is it God would have you do? His answer is yours. The God who doesn't fit into AnY box, didn't design you to either.

God.
Grace.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
___________________________________________________________

Hashtag Rehashes:

#StandardShmandard
#HisCallAlone
#TrustinginHisGrace
#RoomToGrow

Friday, December 9, 2016

This is the Story of "The PriNcE of PeAcE"


I am usually a person of many words, but this time. . . I'm working at keeping it simple. Many people were able to view the parade float my family entered into the Black Mountain Parade this year! It was an amazing moment to see God's vision, His resources, and His work come to fruition. The stories that could be told from the entire process are many, and I hope to eventually write about those. But today's post is to simply explain the vision of the float, which we dedicated to . . .

             "The Prince of Peace."
The story begins with prophesy and is told throughout the float, with a LuMbErJaCk ribbon of red and black. The first ribbon is found in the prophetic words "Prince of Peace" on the manger. Prophesy is the promise of something that has not yet come. Have you ever received a promise, but had to wait in anticipation for the promise to be fulfilled? The Israelites lived in anticipation of the coming King from the first promise in early Genesis, until His entrance.   When they received word from a Prophet, promising something to come, they waited. They anticipated. They hoped as we do when we are given a promise.

One of the sweetest prophesies of the coming Christ is heard from the mouth of Isaiah (an Old Testament Prophet). Isaiah professed to the Israelites and to us, the promise of coming PeAcE.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government will be upon his shoulder;
and his name will be called 
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
The Everlasting Father, 
The Prince of Peace.  
{Isaiah 9:6}

Why so many names to describe a single baby? Because Christ would be many different substances to those in need. There is no mistake in the list of names, for I am certain EvErYoNe will find one distinct name that fits their hearts desire at most. What is your favorite descriptive name? My favorite is . . . The Prince of Peace. Maybe because I struggle with harboring a sense of peace. Your favorite is likely the substance you need most in your life. (We have a wise God who knows His children well.)

This promised Prince would come to finish the mission to bring you and I, peace. Through Isaiah, the promise was spoken, yet unfulfilled to those who hoped. The picture of the prophesy would look like an empty stable. An empty stable, waiting for the fulfillment of its purpose. The sTaBLe was the picture of pEaCe, yet to come. One could wonder how long the stable waited on its hope.


But one silent night, that changed. The stable for the Prince, became filled with bustle in preparation and celebration of His arrival. The fulfillment was taking place! Isaiah's words of promise become the world's reality as Christ entered with His first coming. Christ (on the float) was represented by the golden GiFt lined with LumBerJacK RiBBoN. This story is only beginning for this perfect PrInCe!


Beside the stable and gift, another ribbon is found at the top of a green Christmas TrEE. A tree is our signature visual of Christmas and it is the representation of nEw LiFe. However, this tree's most important attribute is not found in its beauty, but in what it would become.
                 
 It would become, the cross of Christ. 

This tree of vibrant, new life, would be lumbered and stripped of its branches. It would become the rustic cRoSS for Christ to bare. I think of the words of Rev. Billy Graham who reminds us. . . we can never separate the manger from the cross.* Have you ever wondered who cut the tree? This question ran through my mind as I worked on preparation of the float.

"Who lumbered and stripped the tree 
for the cross of Christ?" 
It was me.
It was you.

You and I are the LuMbeRjaCks who cut the perfect green tree, stripped it barren of its branches, and shaved it to its rustic purpose for SaCriFiCe. I'm fairly certain this is the point I will loose some readers. There is no doubt this portion of the story puzzles, angers, and bewilders people. We find ourselves asking, "why death?".

So the Prince could be victorious 
over yours. 

Because reality is, the purchase of anything must cost something and the purchase of our peace, cost God His most prized possession. . . His Son. It cost Christ, His life.

The payment to purchase your pEaCe
                         was the Prince himself.

The perfect new life that began His mission in a rickety stable, would go where none other had gone. All the way to Calvary. To give you new life, He had to bare your imperfection, and defeat your death. The perfect Jesus Christ took upon himself, the cross draped with LuMbeRjaCk ribbon. The cross you and I fashioned.  But the best part is a portion of the story we cannot neglect. . . His ReSSuReCTiOn.

dEaTh LoSt the battle!

Christ defeated not only His own death, but that of everyone who believes on Him. Now that's gOOd news! It is said that without the resurrection, we still remain without hOpE  (1 Corinthians 15: 17-19). His death reconciled us to God... and His resurrection iNsUrEd our EtErNiTy with God (Romans 5:10).

I want you to know that yOuR PeAcE became a possibility, only through a precious newborn Prince in a rickety sTaBLe . . . who bore a lumbered tree, your rugged cRoSS, and was ReSSuRecTeD to bring you new life. The Prince came that you may have peace and He bore anything that could get in the way.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions he was bruised for our iniquities, 
the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." 
{ Isaiah 53: 5 }


He alone pRoVeD aBLe to provide the PeAcE between you and God, the peace of mind that comes from knowing and having faith in God, and the peace of earth and in eternity. * (Scofield, 1945). 

The One who entered earth as The Prince of Peace will return for eternity as the King of kings. Have you honored the Prince of peace as your King of kings? If you believe on Christ, Jesus who completed this work for you and if you would like to accept Him as your personal Prince of Peace, the decision is made within the heart. Below is a simple hearts prayer to help confess your decision :

Lord, I believe that Jesus is the Christ.
He was born as your Son, lived a perfect life, and bore my cross.
I believe He was resurrected and lives eternally with you, so that I can also.
Forgive me of all my unrighteousness (sins) and begin to reside in my life and heart.
Thank you for all you have done and all you will do in my life.
I commit my life to you.


My hope is that you know or come to kNoW the PrInCe 
this Christmas season. If you have any questions, prayer requests, 
or would like to hear more from 
Blooming by Grace, send an email to bloomingbygrace@yahoo.com

Blessings and JoY to you during this Christmas season!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

** Notes **

* Information citation: Holy Bible, 1945, Edited by C.I. Scofield, D.D., New York Oxford Universtiy Press, commentary notes on "peace", 1009.

* I cannot dismiss the inspirational words of Billy Graham who said in short "we cannot separate the manger from the cross." So very true that we should not often see a Christmas manger or tree, without seeing the cross of Christ.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The PriNcE of PeAcE

The Baby born as The Prince of Peace
would prove to be the
King of kings


What's the sToRy?
 Hang tight - it's coming this week! 
If we can pray for you or to sign up to receive a quick email when new posts become available : email bloomingbygrace@yahoo.com

Thursday, October 27, 2016

. . .the FeAr and the DrEaD

Oh the stories our tiny family could profess, from time spent in the woods. Each of us love being in the woodlands and forest and we spend many days together there. This particular fall day, we were walking in the Virginian woods, with a certain mission. We were looking for hopeful sign that deer were in this part of the forest, and preparing a place for my husband (Keith) and son (Keebryn) to hunt that night. As we tromped around, I noticed my son do something that struck me. I turned to see Keebryn in a bow hunter's posture, yet without a bow. His right arm was bent beside his ear, and his left outstretched as far as could be. His eyes were set on his target ahead, which I'm almost certain was a large buck. One has to understand that when a boy imagines anything in hunting, it isn't small. It was likely, not a doe. It was not even a spike. What Keebryn had in his mind's eye, was a buck with the rack that reached the sky. And then came the piercing release. The image in his mind, was being rehearsed for what he truly aspired for. To kill a deer. I watched him do this and my heart smiles to think of it. At the very moment, six words struck my mind like thunder.

". . . and the fear 
and the dread."

Words that, in recent days God had brought to my discovery in Scripture. The phrase was first heard in the ears of Noah, from God himself. I'm guessing Noah's revelation experience was twice as awesome to hear, as was mine.

I'll set Noah's scene quickly:
    God puts Noah in ark.
    Earth floods.
    Ark floats.
    Utter destruction occurs.
    Earth absorbs.
    Ark rests.
    Noah and all in the ark live.
    All exit the ark.

Short enough I hope! The gist is that Noah has just departed the ark after the flood and built a burnt-offering, (Genesis 8:20) when God does something interesting. When one reads God's response, it can leave a soul almost heartbroken. Creator Himself, makes a silent lament over the destruction and He says in his heart:

" . . . I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; . . . neither will I again strike any more every living thing as I have done" (Genesis 8: 21 KJV, modified). 

The destruction of all living on earth, struck the heart of its Creator. God just had a moment of compassion for all things He created, and had struck with a deadly blow "for man's sake." But what occurs next, is a bit puzzling. He turns to Noah and his sons to BLeSS and GiVe them something. A GiFt you might say. Although God loves all His creation (animals, plants, humans), He had just sacrificed all through destruction, for those made in His image - humans. A simple prelude to His greatest sacrifice still to come. Then and now, humans are at the deepest heart of God and He gives good things to those He loves. God is about to open His hand, and give a gift that will bless all generations.

Humans were already given dominion over all things on earth in Genesis 1:28. We were also given our vEgeTaRiAn rights. Personally, I'm thrilled the story didn't end there! But this is to change following the flood. Here, (Genesis 9) God begins His commission to Noah in the same verbiage as that given earlier, however His words take a different turn.

He says ". . . Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth
And the fear of you and the dread of you will be upon every beast 
of the earth, and on every fowl of the air, on all that moves on the earth, 
and on all the fishes of the sea; into your hand they are delivered
Every moving thing that lives will be meat for youeven as the green 
herb I have given you all things." 
(Genesis 9: 1-3 KJV modified)

So it sounded clearly in my mind as Keebryn pre-played the taking of a deer. . .
"the FeAr of you and the DrEaD of you". To FeAr is to have a heightened sense of caution. To dReAd is to know that one is in the shadow of something with more power. Here's the powerful point : at this moment in Scripture, God sPoKe fear and dread into the nature of animals. Animals would have the instinct to be cautious of the hunter, for now they had become the hUnTeD. Along with God's words to place fear and dread into creatures, he placed desire in the predator, to conquer that which had become prey! He placed the HeArT for HuNtiNg in the hunter. Joy to strike with the bow, what God refused to strike (on mass scale) with His hand. The closing of this verse was the imputation of a "great permission": which made HuNtiNg a PoSSiBiLiTy.

God, gives full reign to all humanity with these words :
" . . . InTo YoUr HaNd they are DeLiVeReD. . ."
" . . . Every moving thing that lives WiLl be MeAt for you;"

What gift did God give to Noah, his sons, and all humans to come? The permission to HuNt! Handing all living into the HaNd of the hunter was accompanied by a drive, thrill, and joy in taking that which was given as a gift. Now that's a good Creator who knows how to give a GooD GiFt! The Great Commission would come later through Christ, but this could be called The Great Permission! Yes, funny, but ask any man in camo and He would surely agree.

In a sense, I can imagine God turning to Noah and placing a bow and arrow in his hand.  The ultimate hand of God had come to rest, and He does the unthinkable. He sets the hunter's hand, with his bow. God withheld the power from His own, and gave the power to hands of stewards. What He promised to never destroy on mass scale again, He gives to man to subdue. After a moment of remorse, why would He hand the striking to humans? Could it be, because the Ultimate Hand, was GiFtiNg the hunter with the ThRiLL of the HuNt? God initiated the thrill of subduing creatures that God alone created and God alone could give. That's a powerful GiFt!

Need proof that God's great permission was ultimately a GiFt. I think I may have some evidence. In the woods that day, Keebryn was iMagiNinG out of desire within his heart. . . to have dominion over a buck (a big buck, I'm certain). DeSiRe BiG or gO HoMe, right?! God honored his desire. The first night and day proved unfruitful. But then came Saturday evening. Keebryn and his father walked into the woods with hearts set to take that which God had made to fear and to dread. To subdue a living creature from their same Creator. Their hearts were set, as God intended ages earlier. Keebryn's hope became a certainty when he claimed his first deer with a crossbow, moments before dark. His, is a story for him to tell. And if you ask, you will be blessed with a gift he is ready and willing to share. But his story, crossed lines with God's story that night. I have to share one portion.

Keebryn's takedown of a six-pointer buck, turned into full elation. He releases his weapon, stands to his feet and rejoices to the utmost of his being. His entire being professed, with his every movement and outcry, an inner joy that could not be contained. ThriLL poured from this little hunter. . . the thrill that he had powerfully subdued and conquered that which he had been given permission to conquer! It's as if he was made to do this. A big high five from dad, and a whole bunch of rejoicing for as long as his body and soul could pour. But something was sandwiched between his out pours of conquer and elation.

            Tears.

This little hunter, was moved from utter display of thrill, to tears. Almost unexplainable. But when we reason what had just happened, it makes sweet sense. Keebryn desired and he FuLLy received. He had claimed the ultimate fulfillment of the GiFt of the great permission. Keebryn's tears proclaimed a heart with overwhelming desire (placed by his Creator), had become fully consummated by his Creator! Given a heart to desire and seek, then rewarded the thrill. . . to SuBdUe and take as meat, God's own creatures! Not sure anyone could deny . . . tHaT's a GiFt.


The ultimate hand of power honored this hunter's desire and He honors those He places in your heart.

You [God] open your hand and satisfy 
the desire of  every living thing. 
{ Psalms 145: 16  KJV modified}

Let's just say, God opened His hand that night and satisfied the desire of a little hunter with hope. The Hand that withdrew from destruction, was the One who graced  a gift. The Hand that gifted the thrill to hunt, is the One who fulfills the desire. Our Creator gives good GifTs. He graces us with pure desires. ThEn, He opens His hand.

-------------------------------------------    
HaShTaG ReHaShEs
-------------------------------------------
#ThE-GrEaT-PerMiSSiOn
#HeArT-For-HuNtiNg
#DeSiRe-BiG-oR-gO-HoMe
#WhAt'S-YoUr-DeSiRe
#He-OpEnS-HiS-HaNd

Have-Ta Ask: 
* What gifts from the Creator, are hiding behind what looks like destruction in your life? In the aftermath of mass destruction of earth, God gave a gift! If He can have a heartbreaking moment after destroying His creation, then give to those in whom He destroyed it for. . .  He can take AnyThiNg and make it a GiFt.     Anything.
    - hEarTbReaK into HeALiNg.
              - DeStrUcTioN into PeRfEcTiOn.
    -  LoSS into BLeSSiNg.
              - DeSiRe into FrUiTiOn
Keep the strength to pursue God and His blessings and hold on tight. . . He may be almost ready to grant your GiFt, straight out of His hand.

* What desire do you have, that God intends to honor?  Don's let it go because it doesn't look hopeful. He knows your heart and if your desires are pure, He has placed it in your heart. Make sure your desires are of Him and for Him. Then ask, seek, and receive.

Praisin' God Today:
* God, thank you for creating all things and for the "great permission" to be a steward of living creatures. We praise you for being the One with power, to honor our desires. Thank you for giving good gifts to us and generations to come.

Askin' God Today:
* God, clarify and purify our desires. Give us strength to seek them, so that You can honor them, because desires are to be sought and found. Sometimes seeking requires patience.
Help us be good stewards of that which has been entrusted to us.

Soakin' Up Scripture: 

{ Colossians 1:16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

{ Psalms 145:16 modified }
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Monday, October 10, 2016

FaLL HaRvEsT

Harvest is a blessing for sure. I read in Scripture today that harvest is actually a PrOmiSe! I did not know that after the curse of the flood, God promised not only that He would not destroy earth and all living things again, but He proclaimed that as long as earth existed, there would be ". . .seedtime and harvest. . .".

Genesis 8: 22 states "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, 
and summer and winter, and day and night 
will not cease." 

This makes me view harvest in a different light. Harvest should be a celebration because when harvest comes, we know God keeps His promises! This is my harvest scene this year. This scene was the first I've completed for fall in a while. Two years ago all I had was a set of mums in a basket with a bow. But this year, I had more time on my hands! I'm not much for scarecrows in a fall scene and I wanted this to be old fashioned and cheap. The first item I gathered was the corn stalks. I helped my father in law chop and stack them. Then I worked on the mini wheel barrel. This old barrel was one my step son and son had both played with. The handles were in need of replacement so my husband cut old stakes for me. Then I spent some sweat in drilling the holes and fitting it to the barrel. Well worth it I do believe! Those two areas were the two that required the most physical labor. 

What Ya Need :

-1 Stack of corn stalks
-2 Mums
-1 wheel Bartell or old tin bucket
-1 old wooden stump
-1 bag small pumpkins
-1 medium pumpkin
- An old window pane
- A hanging decoration
- A flower swag
- 1 small bale of decorators hay

What Ya Do: 

- Gather your corn stalks into a stack and wrap with string or burlap.
- Place the old wooden stump in front of the corn stack.
- Use string or hot glue to secure the flower swag on top of the window pane.
- Make a hanger on the old window pane and hang your decoration.
- Set the old window pane on the wooden stump.
- Plant one mum in a container and place in front of the window, just under the hanging decoration.
- Plant the other mum in old barrel or old tin bucket.
- Cover the dirt with hay and place mini pumpkins.
- Place and secure the barrel / tin bucket beside the old wooden stump.
- Place the medium pumpkin to the right, front of the stump.

Celebrate HarVeSt,  because it reminds us that God keeps His WoRd!




Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ThiS is My SoNg

It is quite funny to recall that Sunday morning service. A couple years ago as I was singing during worship, I watched a man in the pew before me, do something peculiar. He and his wife were singing along, as I was, when it became evident he wished they were a couple more pews ahead. He reached up toward to his hearing aid and turned the knob. My guess is, he was turning it down. He was tuning me down. On this day, my singing was a bit too much for the elderly man and his wife. I smiled about it then and laugh about it now. It's true, I can sometimes get loud. I get it honest - being raised on a softball field with the loudest mother on the bleachers.

What if, instead of laughing, I decided to never sing in worship again? That would be me, sEEkiNg to PLeAsE someone less than God. I would be worshiping, suppressed by the reality that not everyone (probably not most) desires to hear me sing at the crest of my lungs. But what of God? How would He respond if I laid aside my loud worship to Him, because it wasn't pleasing to OthErS? That would be service and worship to something less than the only God deserving of it. 

Let me gEt to the GriT. 
This post isn't really about my literal singing in church. It's about me siNgiNg my real sOnG. Here's what I mean. I heard a song recently, which I had heard dozens of times. This time was different. I caught a line of the tune I had never recognized before. Here is what the artist sang ". . . singing my heart is one of my dreams."* It was overwhelming - so much so that I text my husband in excitement. Those words left me realizing; what was in my heart, was a different kind of sOnG.  The artist's words brought to life, what I had been claiming for years."I just want to get all that's in my heart... OuT! The lyrics struck me into the realization that WoRdS are the song that I pour my heart into. WriTiNg is my sOnG.

I desire to wRiTe my HeArT. I've known this for a while, but never wanted to admit it to much of anyone. Afraid I guess, of many things internally, but also afraid of the critics and the skeptics. Catch the hypocrisy? I do. The reality of NoT writing because of disapproval, is the same as writing (or singing)  FoR approval.

So here is just a glimpse of the journey I've so far endured toward pouring out my heart. It's been at times, a struggle. Even warfare if you would believe. But has also filled my heart with peace and blessings. 
                      Successes and defeats.
              Blessing and not-so much blessings.
                                  Encouragements and discouragements. 
                           Approval and disapproval. 
The adventure toward my desire of wRiTiNg my HeArT has provoked glimpses of heaven, and the wrath of a portion of hell. But here is me, still. I just CaN't gEt aWaY FrOm iT. Bound, if you will, to the portion God allotted to me. Pleasing to critics or not-so much, it's my duty. Christ used the word "duty" to remind His servants of something I've just begun to realize was mine to claim . . . 

"when you have done all those things which are commanded you, say, 
'We are unprofitable servants; 
we have done that which was our duty to do'" 
(Luke 17:10).

That which is our duty. 
This which is mine. 
We are to worship and serve God, not according to the pleasure of others but according to His pleasure! Seeking the aPPrOvaL of CriTiCs is simply seeking against God. Against our duty.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once stated 
"Many people die with their music still in them. . ." 
He was also wise enough to realize why this is the reality of some. . . 
"too often it is because they are getting ready to live. . ."

Ever been stuck in "getting ready to live"? If you are like me, you have for tOO long. There's no better time than NoW to move beyond "I'm going to". So let's bring this home to you. I gotta ask, "wHaT is YoUr sOnG?" What is that thing you do, which you know for certain God created as your dUtY? What is it that you are sometimes skepticized and criticized for, but compelled to do anyway? 

In other words, "WhAt's StiLL iN YoU?" 
          Whatever it is, pour it out. 
                    Don't miss yOuR sOnG. 

If we aren't stewards of God's time, we will miss the chance to sing. And if we aren't careful, we will miss enjoying someone else's song because we were too busy being critics. I am too old to waste God's time, so I find the words of Solomon ringing true in my days.

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; 
for there is no work, or device, or knowledge, or wisdom, 
in the grave, where you go. 
(Ecclesiasties 9:10 modified) 

This journey is one toward the grave and I still have something to siNg before I get there!
       So, this is mE,
              siNgiNg My sOnG.
               
        Are you singing yours?

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# HaShTag ReHaSheS #

#WriTinG-my-HeArT
#CaN't-gEt-aWaY-fRoM-iT
#approval-OF-critics
#WhAt'S-sTiLL-iN-YoU

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 * Reflective Rehashes * 

Have-Ta Ask: If you haven't already asked yourself - "What is yOuR song?".

Praisin' God Today: God, thank you for fashioning me toward a particular dUtY! Thank you that you equipped me to complete something for your Kingdom and that I can enjoy the process of serving you through singing my own song! You are my Creator and Sustainer - thank you for the opportunity to serve and worship you.

Askin' God Today: God, give me the knowledge to know my song and the cOuRaGe to sin it. Help me to remember that through my duty, I glorify you and that is where I am validated. Give me strength to do as you have created me and to work hard for you.

Soakin' Up Scripture: Psalm 103:15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and the place where it was shall know it no more. (KJV modified).

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* Brandon Heath's song: "Wait and See"  * Scripture is KJV, modified.