Monday, April 27, 2009

In The Meantime...

Delay is not denial. While you are waiting on God to see you through and put you where he promised you would be, do remember to make the most of where you are. Here are a few ways to show a little the meantime.

1. Have an attitude of service - Blessing others can provide unspeakable joy.

2. Say thank you - He doesn't make a way because we've been so good. It's by his grace.

3. Take it all in - Stop and smell the flowers by paying close attention to the small miracles of God.

4. Proclaim his goodness - He deserves our praises just because he's Lord. Never miss a moment to pass the message along to a neighbor.

5. Be diligent - Idle hands can lead to a missed opportunity. Stay on task and work hard toward your goal.

Waiting isn't always easy, but there are real benefits to serving God as we prepare for his blessings. Please believe! For he will make good on his promise. Happiness can be yours today and tomorrow.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Today (now yesterday since I posted this late) would have been our mother’s 53rd birthday had she survived her battle against breast cancer. She is the one who taught me to protect my sister at all costs. I will never forget that day at the playground. We were visiting relatives and were sent to play at the park that was adjacent to the house. A few of the neighborhood girls did not like the fact that we were outsiders playing in ‘their park’. They begin to bully us, demanding that we leave. My sister, normally the quiet one, continued to play until one of the girls approached her closely as if she wanted to start a fist fight. Well, knowing my sister the way I did, I did NOT want her to unleash that fierce tiger within. She was always so quiet and never fought unless backed into a corner. Once she was in that corner, she always came out victorious every single time. I disliked seeing her pushed to that point because I felt it was something she did not want to have to do. I always felt my sister was a sensitive being, always trying to be peaceful and avoiding discord. I jumped from the jungle gym and ran to get our mother, telling her that some girls were at the park bullying us and now Polly was about to fight one of them. My mother looked at me in bewilderment, grabbed me by my arm, looked me straight in the eyes and said ‘You don’t ever leave your sister!’ She gave me one push toward the door and I understood exactly what it meant. I was to report back to that playground immediately and stand beside my sister for whatever was to come. And that is exactly what I did! We never had any issues at that park again and that was the day I decided that I was the one who would protect my sister from anyone who tried to push her around.

My mother was a strong, outspoken woman. She did not tolerate much from people and she taught us to be the same way…to demand respect, walk with pride and love and protect each other no matter what. Those very simple lessons have stuck with me throughout childhood and now into adulthood. I am sure she would be so proud of the love and respect Polly and I have for one another. I envision her prancing around heaven, looking down on us and saying ‘those are my babies’. I am certain she is gushing with pride when she see’s how my sister is instilling the same positive values in her children.

When people tell me I am like my mother I smile. Like mother, like daughter in so many ways. Yes…indeed!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Family Fun

It seems I never realize how much I love spring until I'm longing for short sleeve shirts, pretty flowers and warm air blowing across my face. Spring weather also makes me more apt to plan family outings. So when this weekend's temperatures finally soared, I couldn't wait to get outside and soak it up.

Our children are small and one of their favorite pasttimes is park hopping. We go to all the good ones we can fit in over a weekend. My husband will join us even if he has to meet us later. The kids love this and so do I because I know it'll end in pizza or carryout on the way home :p. We're an outside bunch so it doesn't take much sunshine for us to log some quality time. We've been known to all wash the car together or just play in the front/backyard for an hour. No matter what we do, it's made better by spending time with each other.

One of my fondest memories from last year was shopping for a ceiling fan together. Although Home Depot or Lowe's outings are generally resevered for date night (don't laugh!) this time we took the kids. It was funny because we split the kids between us and pushed separate shopping carts as we looked around the store. We kept running into each other and swapping children while we daydreamed about longshot home improvements. It must have been 100° that day and so we ended with a trip to Baskin Robbins. Yum! Yum!

I'm also a big fan of outside festivals and we try to find a few to attend when it's warm. One of my favorites was this weekend: The 19th Annual Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival. Okay, so we've only been once, but it was a big hit. They have a huge area for children with painting, music and activities. The food is great (especially the smoothies) and walking around to view the flowers is free. Can't beat that!

Hurray for spring and yay for family time! What does your family do for fun?

Monday, April 13, 2009 Review

If you have read our children's picture book, Sisters Are From Heaven, please visit Amazon and provide a customer review!

Have Faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. - Hewbrews 11:1.

That's one of my favorite bible verses because it speaks to my heart and reminds me to trust God. I put it to the test on the Saturday before Easter at the flea market. It was pouring down outside and didn't look like anything was going to be sold that day. I even considered whether to sit it out and call Meek to save her a trip across town. The hall itself only contained two other vendors and it looked desolate beyond the first few tables. Instead of spring, winter seemed to be back and was threatening to stay.

No matter, I thought. I'll go forward because we need to get to focused on face-to-face selling. Besides, God doesn't take you to a place to abandon you. I didn't know what would happen, but I had faith that it would be all right. So I set up and got prepared for work. My partner arrived within the hour and before long we were chatting it up with whom ever paused at our table. One of our friends came by and even blessed us by making a purchase. Soon after, we started to see a steady stream of people dropping in and a few more came to our table to buy books. Some bought cookies too! It was Easter weekend so I just couldn't help baking and decorationg a few sweets for our table. It paid off.

After the event, we gave high praises to God as we enjoyed some hot Chick-fil-a. Only he could have taken a day like that and made it a success. However, he needed us to show up. So the showing up, was equivalent to showing faith in this situation. When has your faith been tested and then rewarded? How did you feel?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Looking for a Bargain?

Come shop for great deals and interesting finds at the Sterling Flea Market! The Sterling Ruritan Club hosts the event every 2nd Saturday of the month from April through September. Polly&Meek will have a table there tomorrow, April 11. We'll have plenty books, calendars, and Easter/Spring decorated cookies. The sale is from 8am to 12pm, 183 Ruritan Rd., Sterling, VA 20164. Come join us!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Lesson On Forgiveness

She knelt down and looked into her daughter's eyes and said 'We are going to have to forgive each other. I forgive you for not being as good as you could have been while we were in church and you are going to have to forgive me for pulling you aside and making you sit down beside me. We have to forgive each other, that is just what the preacher said today in his sermon'. With that they hugged and made up and I saw my youngest neice's attitude begin to shift from embarassed and hurt, to happier.

Learning to is one of the themes in our children's picture book, Sisters Are From Heaven. Its short and sweet and depicts two sisters hugging and making up and reads 'and if she hurts our feelings, then we'd learn to forgive her'. It is a such a positive reinforcement that is instilled in us as children and we carry forward into our adult lives. Forgiveness is not always easy and even after my sister and her daughter hugged and made up, the little one was not instantly happy. It took a little additional coaxing and gentle persuasion to get her to completely come back around. She went from embarassed and hurt, to stubbornly forgiving, to forgetting it all and loving every second of her day.
Forgiveness is in everyone of us. Sometimes it's buried deep down beneath the hurt and pain, but it is still there. Do not be afraid to spread a bit of it around. You will brighten your and someone else's day!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Discovering Your Gift

God has given to each of us, gifts. Ephesians chapter 4 speaks to this and the fullness of God. When I first came across this passage in the bible I didn't know what my true calling was, but I believed that God would reveal it and bless me to work within it. After all, working for someone else isn't as thrilling as working for self, and working for self isn't as fulfilling as working for God.

The quest to find my gift began with a questionaire given at church one Sunday. It was designed to narrow down the areas where one might be gifted and to display optional career paths. My anwers indicated areas like leadership, service and teaching, if I remember correctly. I didn't trust the results for a second and I was disappointed because I sensed there was something missing; something the survey didn't say. So I prayed. I literally prayed day and night and felt like Jacob wrestling with the angel. I am not not going to let you go until you bless me! I wanted God to show me what my gift was so that I could be happy. I was miserable dealing with the situation at my current job, even though it paid the bills and then some. Instead, I wanted to feel a joy overflowing when doing the thing(s)that God had equipped me to do. I longed to show the world that the master had spoken on my behalf. "This is her gift", I imagined people saying. So I could not fail. I was already growing tired of being tested by those who felt they had power to validate me... or not.

More Research

I jotted down all the things I liked to do, whether good at them or not, and with no regard to frequency of task. My list conatained things like sewing, finances, and drawing. I wrote about what I thought I was good at and allowed myself to explore subjects I thought I hated like cooking and exercise. I kept expounding on likes and dislikes of various tasks until I was left with a few areas of interest. I even learned that I actally enjoyed some things I had thought I didn't.

But that's not how I found my gift. Self-assessment was a big key, but it was God who put the yearning in me, thus only God could reveal it. The kicker was that he had not been trying to keep it a secret, as I suspected. It was I. I was the one repressing the gift so that I might gain fortune through an easier, smarter route. The thought never crossed my mind about how happy I'd be working to my true calling. I couldn't fathom the joy I'd feel while glorifying my saviour, and at the same time knowing he would totally provide for me.

Finding It

Fast forward several years and I can now say that my gift is writing. It seems so obvious now, but arriving at this point took some time. So maybe your passion is your gift or maybe you don't have a clue about what you're able to do. Then, there is no other way. Ask the Lord to show you and support you. He will provide clarity and with it a certain peace. Absorb it, then work energitically and with all your heart. Move with purpose for he hath done great things. Identifying your gift is just the beginning. The best is yet to come!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Slumping Economy? Need More Money? Start Your Own Business!

We hear it on every TV station these days...'We are in a recession and it will take some time to turn the economy around.' What are we to do with sky-rocketing prices? How are we supposed to meet the needs for ourselves and our families? I say, start your own business!

Yes, you read correctly. Take your hobby and turn it into a full-filling and lucrative business.

What is it that you enjoy doing? Selling items on ebay or Craigslist, photography, baking, sewing, housekeeping or organizing? Put those passions to use and make some extra dough on the side.

One of my co-workers just started a handbag business. She is a newlywed and new mom and took her love for handbags to a new level. She says the response has been great and she has plans to introduce her Spring collection in the coming weeks. Who knew something so simple could be so lucrative? I too love handbags, but I do not always like to go out and shop for them. Now, I have the convenience of just looking through her inventory on my lunch break and buying the bags I want. I think it is simple and fantastic!

The list does not stop with just this particular co-woker. I work with a very talented group of individuals. Although we all have day jobs, the majority of us still have a passion or hobby that we have decided to turn into a small business. From web design, logo creations, selling avon and pampered chef, to landscaping businesses, we do it all! We love and enjoy it and it gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment that most 9 to 5 jobs simply cannot provide. And starting your own business is not as hard as one might think. I held off on taking my hobby to the next level because I thought taking the time to make the business official would take too long and be too expensive. Boy was I wrong! Depending on what you want to do, you can be in business tomorrow.

The government keeps telling us to stimulate the economy in order to stop the downward spiral, but in this time of layoffs and cutbacks, we've got to take matters into our own hands and use our God given talents to make the world a more positive place. What started out as a serious hobby for me, has blossomed into a full fledged small business. My passion is photography and book writing. What is yours?