Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ahh the smell of fresh brewing coffee

Ahh the smell of fresh brewing coffee! The aroma has a way of beckoning me to the kitchen.

 As I sit here this morning sipping on my fresh brewed cup of java I began to compared coffee to my own faith. Each morning I grab a new K-cup or a fresh filter, depending on where I am at coffee time, and select a size or measure out the grounds.  I grab fresh water and a clean mug and begin the brewing process. Out pours a cup of deliciousness.  Let me back track on this for a moment.  Let's go back to the selection process.  The K-cup and the beans (grounds) are fresh every time I make my coffee. I don't save the K-cup from Monday and use it throughout the week. I don't save the grounds for the next time when I make a whole pot on the weekend.  I use fresh grounds or a new K-cup every time.  Shouldn't my faith be the same?  Shouldn't I have fresh brewed faith each morning?

Most mornings I wake up ready to encounter the blessings of the day.  My faith pretty strong.  And I know that God is in control.  As I pray and put on my armor for the day I ask God the fill me with His grace. One of the promises I hold fast to is that God's graces are new every morning. "The stead fast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness." ~ Lamentations 3:22-23.  HIS graces are NEW every morning.  Yep no recycled grounds here.  A fresh brewed cup of His Amazing grace.

However, there are many mornings, the cup that I hand him to pour His grace into isn't always fresh.  I often lack the faith that I am worthy of that fresh cup of daily grace. So, I hand Him my unclean cup with traces of my backwash from yesterday.   How can I, a sinner, be worthy to get served a fresh brewed cup of grace?  I am one of the biggest sinners I know.  My heart isn't always in the right place. And yet He take that dirty cup, graciously cleans it, and still chooses to pour me some fresh brewed grace. And with each cup I continue to question my faithfulness to Him.  Do I alter the taste of His grace by adding unhealthy ingredients to the cup?  Do I let that cup sit and get stale?  How much did I pour down the drain?  How can He have a "stead fast" love for me?  What did I do to deserve this?  When I ask for the check I think to myself, "I don't have enough cash in the bank, let alone my wallet, to pay for the unlimited supply that has already been poured and consumed." And, once again He pours me another cup.  And whispers, "It's on the house. Your tab has been paid." Great is His faithfulness.

My prayer for this day is that my eyes are open wide.  And that I am awake and alert.  I pray that I become more faithful to Him and that I stop adding unnecessary ingredients to His, already perfect, cup of Amazing grace. I pray that as the day turns into night that I am able to reflect on His steadfast love.  And that as my cup overflows with grace that I will delight in a fresh filled faith.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fill In the Blank

Normally on a Saturday morning my head and heart are eager to share a story or two.  But this particular morning I was feel a little empty headed. I woke up and decided to "get the show on the road" early.  I laid in bed for a little and prayed for my loves.  I did a little reading and then sprang to life.  I gathered the laundry, did a few loads,  fed the pets, and grabbed a cup of coffee.  And now here I sit.  I am one big blank. For me this is really abnormal.  But I decided to run with it anyway.

 How do I even begin to fill in the blank?  Well, for me, there was only one answer.  To do that "One Thing"  So, here we go.  Now that I got some of the "Martha" chores out of the way I will sit comfortably at my Savior's feet.  And bask in the beauty of His Amazing Grace.

 Sometimes my days are so full that I forget to take it all in.  And when evening falls I wonder how and where the day went.  I make an attempt to be thankful for all the blessing, remembered, forgotten or just not noticed throughout my day. God has given us so much and we are often too busy with the "stuff" that we don't even notice the gifts around us.  As I said my plan for this day is to "fill in the blank" and sit at His feet.  I want to feel the fresh filling of God's grace and I want to be open enough to see the blessings.

Earlier, as I was putting towels away in the powder-room, I looked up only to see a neglected treasure.  There on the wall was a tile that my friend, Colleen, had given me a few years ago for Christmas.  And for the first time in months I took a moment to read it.  "The ABC's of Faith" Ask and it will be given to you, Believe, Consider the lilies, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you ,Encourage, Forgive, Give to one from whom you will not receive, Hope, Instruct, Judge not, Knock and the door will be opened to you, Love your neighbor as yourself,  be Mindful, do not Neglect the gift that is within you, Owe no one, Practice kindness, be Quick to listen, Rejoice, Seek, Take heart, Understand, Value truth, Walk humbly, strive to eXcel, enter into joY, be Zealous for the good.  This is a prime example of taking gifts for granted.  I am in that powder-room every day at least once.  And I have gone months without reflecting on the precious statement.  Colleen probably had no clue when giving me that tile, that at 8:30am on the Saturday, May 23rd 2015, I would need to reflect on the "The ABC's of Faith".  What a beautiful way for God, to once again, show me grace.

This "blank" has given me the opportunity to focus a little more on the important treasures and less focused on the "stuff".  It has been a busy, crazy, action packed "Martha" kind of week. And as a result I am finding myself feeling so thankful for the blank.  I hope that, as this blessed day continues, God will gently remind me that His grace is sufficient and His gifts are abundant.  I pray that I will learn to treasure the quiet aka "blank" moments. I want to have a "Mary" kind of day and bask in His Amazing Grace.  I am sure that I will take many moments of this day, and days to come, for granted.  It's a habit. Perhaps I will drink an abundance of water throughout this day.  It will serve as two reminders.  My cup overflows (Psalm 23:5) and I will get to read, "The ABC's of Faith" as I frequent the powder-room.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Have A Static Free Day.

Image result for If you seek me with all your heart you will find me

What a long week.  I thought Friday was never going to arrive.  But it most certainly did.  I woke up yesterday morning at 3am. I noticed that there were a few messages on my phone. The day before was, what would been, my super hero's birthday (a.k.a Dad).  And my beautiful niece Regis was expecting her first child on the west coast. So, there were quite a few messages. And I felt compelled to read each sweet correspondence.  There were some precious moments and pictures that were shared of all of us with my Dad.  A few text messages with updates on baby boy's arrival. But there was one message in particular that blessed me beyond measure.  One of the apples of my eye sent me the most precious accolade.  And this is how my Friday, May 15th 2015, began.

I went about my normal weekday routine and by 6:40am I was out the door and headed to the office.  Got in the car and tuned into my favorite radio station, fastened my seat belt and away I went.  I got to the first traffic light and one of my new favorite songs began to play ("I'll keep on" by NF) I love when God blesses me this way.  As I turned the corner there was a little interference.  Another radio station seemed to be fighting for my attention.  This happens frequently when I get to this light.  However, it only last a block or two.  Not this time.  I drove all the way to work with the two stations sparring for my attention.  I desperately tried to cling on to every word I could.  The chorus I had memorized.  But the verses I still desired to learn. 

I  pulled up to the office.  And despite the distraction I was still happy with what I did hear.  The whole situation made me reflect on my relationship with God.  There are obstacles that are bidding for my attention. You know. Stuff like Hallmark Channel, Facebook, texting, or playing a silly game on the phone. The mindless stuff.  Some days the static is light and I still have a song in my heart.  Other days the static is a nuisance,  I can still feel His presence but I am not fully focused. I may not keep to the plan.  But ultimately I take a moment to sit at His feet.  I find myself treating God more like an acquaintance and less like my beloved. And then there are the days that the static goes beyond nuisance status.  And I find myself tuning into another station completely. More often than I care to admit my station choice doesn't help my focus. Yes, it may come in loud and clear.  However, it has a tendency to sway me in a direction that makes it difficult for me to hear God.

Life is so full of distractions.  This morning was no different.  My Saturday morning are relaxed and slow paced.  I woke up and had some "at His feet" time.  Checked my phone to see updates and pictures of the newest member to the Mallon clan. He is beautiful!!!  Praised God for His abundant blessings.  And prayed for some time.  And then distraction swung by for a visit.  I made a promise and I broke it.  I had a static moment.

A few months ago  I promised myself that I would read through the Bible before picking up another book.  Well, I subscribe to a "free book of the week" club. And each week or so I download another book.  My list of reading material is growing.  Last week's book has been beckoning me to browse it's contents.  So, from 6:30am until 8am this morning, I read, "Alive: A Cold Case for The Resurrection" I was a really good read.  I don't feel guilty in the least.  I may have tuned into a new station but I did tune back into my regularly scheduled program.  I still could hear the sweet whisper of my beloved.

I pray that you all have a static free day!  And through all the distractions you are able to take a moment or two to sit at His feet and listen to the sweet song that He places on your heart.   

Sunday, May 10, 2015

There's no crying in baseball.....

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Today was Mother's Day.  I am sure many of you are being celebrated and celebrating this very special day.  I started the day off by going to church with my husband and a very sweet friend.  Then I slid into home base for a uniform change. I headed to Willow Grove and pick up the beautiful woman who gave birth to me. She raised me to be the coach I am today.  We headed to the Phillie's baseball game and celebrate being mom's together.

As I sat there, next to my mom, I thought about how being a mom is much like being a baseball coach.  You train each child and eventually release them to play the game of life.  But, as the coach you are still there to guide them and instruct them.  Some of your players seem to be naturals and things just always fall into place.  While others need a little extra T.L.C.

I didn't get to select my team players.  God, the owner, did the selection process.  He then presented me, the coach a.k.a. Mom, with my line-up.  Each child has there position, or role, to play.  Both offensively and defensively.  And there moments when my team looks like a world series bound team.  And there have also been moments I am coaching the bad news bears.  Regardless how the team is doing I am still so proud to be the coach.

My team consists of four girls, one boy, a dog and a cat.  And there is another coach.  I call him husband.  He really is my right hand man.  Most of the time I review the daily game plan with him.  Sometimes, things change and I have to make a game day decision.  If he isn't around I know that he trusts my decision and vice-versa.

Having four girls on the team, and being a woman myself, there tends to be a lot of emotions. We can be sitting in the dugout and doing a round of high five's one minute.  And then the next minute someone is running off to the locker room slamming locker doors or crying in the shower.  Have you ever seen movie, "A League of Their Own", with Tom Hanks? There is a scene where one of the players starts to cry.  And a very non sympathetic coach blurts out, "There's no crying in baseball!".  We are women and we leak. We cry tears of hurt, sadness, confusion, concern, joy and sometimes we have no clue why we are crying. We just cry. And to be honest I often hear myself saying,  "this is not the time nor the place...." It stinks when you slide into third base only to be called out.  Or when you get pulled from the game and get a time out because you aren't performing the way you've been trained to play.  As a coach I just want my team to be at their very best.  Often, I know that my girls just need me to wipe their tears and hug them. No game plan.  No coaching.  Just some sweet embrace and quite prayer.  One day, God willing, each of my daughters will have a team of their own.  As their mom (biological or inherited) I need to prepare them for playoff's.  I pray that they each know that I am their number one fan.   I truly want to see them be world champs.

The boy and the other coach (husband) both play a huge part on the team as well  They don't have the same roller coaster of emotions.  Many times they are pretty level headed and keep their focus.  However, when they lose they really don't like that.  They may not leak like the women on the team.  But they do show emotion.  And, as the coach (mom) I need to get to the heart of their frustrations.  They are both so patient and loving.  The boy waits for the signals.  He is usually pretty good at reading them.  But sometimes his pitches can be a little wild, sluggish or just plain out of the box.  And when he loses focus he occasionally hits another player with the pitch.  That's when the husband steps in.  You see, he has a way of redirecting the boys focus.  He understands the boy in a way I couldn't possible understand him.

I have seen God's faithfulness at work in each of my players.  And I am blessed.  I have the best team in all the land.  My children know my heart for them.  And every morning and evening I lift each one of them in prayer.  God has a plan for each of their lives.  I am thankful that He selected me to "coach", guide, nurture and love each one of them.

Today and every day is a wonderful and very happy Mother's day!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

My life is not my own.......

I have this overwhelming sense of, "My life is not my own".  And to be honest I am okay with that.  But, I will admit that I didn't always feel okay with my life not being "my own".

At one point in my faith journey I felt that my husband, children, family and friends didn't appreciate the things that I would do for them.  I would spend hours cooking the perfect meal.  Sometimes I would clean the kids rooms (only because I felt overwhelmed).  And spent countless hours picking up the mess my loves would leave behind.. I would drop anything and everything just to make life easier for anyone.  And in the process I forgot to take time for the one thing that was needed (Luke 10:38-42) and the pity party erupted.  I would have these stomp your feet, slam a few cabinets and doors, and scream at the top of your lungs, spoiled brat moments.  And once the tantrum was over I would continue doing what I do best.  And that is doing.  Oh the Martha in me.

I realized that something needed to change.  Me.  I needed to STOP doing, doing, doing.  And take a step back and sit for a while.  I needed a time out.  I no longer had a servants heart.  I was doing out of habit.  And as a result I began to deplete my joy account. I was making too many withdraws and not enough deposits.

Over the past few months I have been taking inventory and trying to balance my "check book". I wake up every morning pray and read for a little.  Have a cup coffee. Go to work and hang out with a fabulous group of women. Leave the office.  Run some errands or head over to hang out with my "angel" and "sweet, sweet baby" a.k.a granddaughters.  Head back home to eat dinner. Run upstairs and put my P.J's on (my favorite time of the day).  And then do a mad dash to the sofa, sip on some wine and channel surf with my husband and whatever child is home to join us. Finally I head up to bed and watch a little more tube and finish the day with a little reading and prayer  I love almost every minute of each day.  But, I am exhausted!  There are some things I would love to do differently.  Most of them are a little selfish.  I would love to spend multiple hours of my day reading and blogging. There are some days I want to just bypass work (Monday and Friday) and just go to the park and hike for 8 hours.  And possibly bring the angel and sweet, sweet baby along to blow "grandma" bubbles.  Instead of running upstairs after dinner to put my P.J's on I could go for a walk or throw on the bathing suit and sip on my wine in the hot tub. What a wonderful opportunity to have some great conversation with my family. At the end of a crazy day it would bring me great joy to be able to pray with my loved ones.  Oh the desires of this woman's heart.

I could sit all day and focus on the things that deplete my account.  But instead I feel the need to do the better thing and make a deposit by counting my blessings. I thank God for giving me a desire to be a doer.  And praise Him for my beloved husband that adores me.  He, just like me, is a doer.  So, it makes it easy for me to adjust my direction, even when it doesn't fully fit my plan, to fit his crazy schedule. And then there are my children and grandbabies.  I would give them the world if I could. But instead I pray that they seek the riches that heaven has to offer.  And, as for the rest of my family and friends, I know that I may not give as much as I should and/or could.  However, when we are together I am blessed.  I am pretty certain that each and every one of my loves knows that, without a doubt, I would move mountains to see them happy and fulfilled.  These days I am realizing that it is when I am with each of them that I begin to fill my joy account.  And because of these blessings my life is quite full and overflowing with love, joy and happiness.

Again, if I had my way, everyday might have a much different outcome.  It's a good thing that my life is not my own.  I am a better person because of it.  I am honored to share this life with all of you.

"Martha, Martha you are worried and upset about many thing, but few thing are needed-or indeed only one"