Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sheltering Words

Remember, every time you open your mouth, your mind walks out and parades up and down the words.  ~Edwin Stuart

Recently one of my friends and her family had the occasion to hear (endure) an amateur singing group.  After a particularly way-off-pitch song, her son turned to her and said, "That makes my ears bleed."  I laughed... then my next thought was, My ears bleed when I hear unkind, unjust and unnecessary words being spoken.   

When I read that we have 800,000 words in the English language I wondered how many of them I actually use.  They claim 300,000 are technical and scientific words only a small percentage of people use.  Still, 500,000 is a lot of words. 

What breaks my heart is that by stringing fewer than ten of those words together we can wound, discourage or criticize others.  Someone once said, "The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid."

I don't think everyone who wounds with their words are intentionally hurtful.  James reminds us, "It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that."  Have you ever heard, "I just say what I think... and you'll have to deal with it"?  I think God desires for us to watch our words. Ask yourself, Would these words hurt me if I were on the receiving end

In the gentlest way possible, I submit a question (The only way I feel I have a right to ask it of you is because I have asked it of myself in the past).  Are the words coming from your lips an indication of what is in your heart?  

Winston Churchill reminds us, "By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach."  It may be hard for you -- perhaps you'll need to break the habit of verbalizing every thought that pops into your mind, thus taking time to pause before opening mouth .  But this one thing I know, God has grace.  There is grace when you've been hurt and you'd like to hurt back.  There's grace -- abundant grace -- to keep the words kind, encouraging, genuine and generous -- or at times: silent!

Orbit's slogan seemed to fit the topic.
We know for sure is that there is joy in store for those who speak kind words. "Well spoken words bring satisfaction" (Proverbs 12:14).  I want to bless, encourage, to shelter with my words.  And I believe in you, dear readers; I believe your desire is the same.

In the last 24 hours, I have been blessed by a comment on my blog, a Facebook message, a phone text message and face-to-face comment from a special new friend.  These positive, encouraging words made me feel applauded.  They left joyprints all over my heart.  

We have a choice.  We can speak words of compassion, kindness, empathy and love.  We can applaud, rejoice and bless.  Our words can be life-giving.  Let's leave some joyprints this week -- whether spoken, written, or typed. Let's hang a prism of our words so those we bless will see "bits of dancing red and green, violet and orange, gold and blue...(everything) aflame with shimmering bits of color" (Pollyanna).

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Friday, June 10, 2011

More Shelter Sightings

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. ~George Washington Carver

In my wandering through the blogs of friends, both old and new, I find people all over the world who shelter.  They may not call it sheltering -- but I do.  Life can be hard.  The aging wonder if their social security checks will cover all their expenses , and parents try to keep all their obligations to their jobs while trying to raise kids with character.  Children worry about things we didn't even dream of  at their age -- gunmen shooting at random, bullying and the pressure to conform.  Teens feel like nobody cares and most of us can't see past the piercings and black trench coats. 

I've been asking the Lord lately to help me see each person as an individual.  Not an economic class, a race, behavior or physical appearance, but someone loved by God with hurts buried in their heart and a mask on their countenance. If I can bring beauty or joy to their lives for a few minutes, I would be thrilled.  

These are people who touch lives...

Monica from the The Homespun Heart is a beautiful, creative mother of three.  A very busy mother who homeschools, plans the sweetest parties and picnics, entertains creatively and decorates her home with joy.  

In the years I have read Monica's blog I have been challenged by the sweetness of her giving to others. Whether it's her time, her finances or the delightful hand crafted gifts, she gives out of the fullness of her heart.  

The post, "Waiting Gracefully," shows the gift of friendship, prayers and time.  The greatest gifts don't always cost money -- they are a giving of oneself.

* * * * *

Wendy from My Heart is Always Home is a stay-at-home mom to Megan.  Megan joined their family at nine months when they adopted her from China.  She's a cheerful, list-maker organized, garden grower Christian who cares deeply about the tragedies not only at home but in other countries, including earthquake victims in Haiti.  

Wendy shares her gardening abundance with elderly neighbors, drops off extra supplies at their favorite charity, and shares extra coupons with others.  In this post on hospitality, Wendy shares how to offer hospitality away from home. 

* * * * *

My last Shelterer is Amber from Making a Home.  She is a home-school mom to her three children.  In her words, she feels "incredibly blessed" to to be called to be a stay-at-home mom.  Amber journals her prayers and desires her blog to glorify God.

In sheltering, I believe it must begin at home.  God gave us our families and intends us to bless them with love, devotion and gentleness.  Amber wrote this great post on 50 Practical Ways to Affirm our Husbands and Make Them Feel Love and Respected.  

Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."  I hope this post will help you to understand that giving does not need to be expensive.  Each of these young mothers are busy.  Yet each of them takes time to share of themselves, and from the abundance God has given them.  

Giving by Shirley Hughes
I know a Shirley Hughes who not only
gives extravagantly, but taught her
daughter to shelter, too.
Giving does not have to cost a cent.  You can give hugs, attention, smiles.   I promise that if you give to others you will find a contentment deep in your heart.  A generous man will himself be blessed (Proverbs 22:9).

Mother's Teresa  gave love extravagantly.  She said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one."  I challenge you to find just one person to shelter this week.  Make it a gift with little or no expense.  Use Monica, Wendy or Amber's ideas or come up with one of your own.  Give consciously by asking the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Someone is hurting, overwhelmed or experiencing health issues. Shelter. Shelter the unemployed, your depressed friend and the tech who takes your blood at the lab. Shelter your husband, those kids who call you mother and your great aunt who lives alone. Reach out those leafy arms, bend your branches protectively, and give joy as the wind rustles your leaves.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

SONburn Sheltering

For one man who can introduce another to Jesus Christ by the way he lives and by the atmosphere of his life, there are a thousand who can only talk jargon about him. ~Oswald Chambers 

Have you ever had a bad sunburn?  When RB was in grad school at Pensacola, Florida, they told the students that the white sands could produce extreme sunburns.  Along with the caution they also made it clear that if someone didn't take proper precautions and got burnt they shouldn't expect the health team there to assist in any way.

Well, on one of our trips to a secluded gulf beach RB did get burnt.  Yes, he used sunscreen.  No, the health team didn't help, even though he had symptoms of sun poisoning.

This past weekend my daughter and her family were visiting family in Chicago.  The kids had a fun day in the pool.  Landon stayed in the longest and, even though multiple layers of sunscreen were applied, ended up with burnt shoulders and arms.  When he was here on Tuesday I kept putting lotion on it for him.

Lathering on the lotion I thought about the Son of God and how when we spend time with Jesus we can get "burnt" by Him.  Being burnt by the sun is something to avoid.  However, burn by the Son is to be desired.

Since I get headaches from outdoor heat, I try to avoid the sun.  In the quiet of my home, I love spending time with Jesus.  It is then I worship with praise, with pouring out my heart cares and by claiming the promises of God.  I hope that when I've spent time with Jesus others will see the SONburn from being with Him.

We all need the Vitamin D the sun gives us.  Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium resulting in healthy bones.  The Son gives us Vitamin W(ord) that helps us absorb the truth of God's love resulting in a healthy heart.

Just as someone who puts on sunscreen, sunglasses and sun hat, we must put on the armor of God (Ephesians 13-17).  It's our protection against Satan.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Sun rays cause skin aging, wrinkling and contribute to cancer. They cause sun burns, cataracts and affect the immune system.  Rays from the Son cause the eyes to shine brighter, the smile to be wider and contribute to joy of heart.  The Son rays grow faith, peace and love.

One of the cautions used to avoid sunburn is to stay out of the sun during peak hours (10:00-3:00).  Those midday hours when the sun is hottest cause the most painful burns.  In anticipating a Son-burn, time is of no essence.  God is ready for us to meet with Him at any hour of the day. 

It's recommended that those who love the sunkissed skin try a fake tan. Others may not know if you have a sprayed on tan, but they will know if you are a fake Christian. God's Word tells us, "It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds" (Luke 6:45).

If your sunburn is serious, you should see a doctor.  But your Son-burn is caused by the Great Physician and the burn will give you more of a desire to see Him on a regular basis.  

The Great Physician now is near,
The sympathizing Jesus;
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer,
Oh, hear the voice of Jesus!

His name dispels my guilt and fear,
No other name but Jesus;
Oh, how my soul delights to hear
The precious name of Jesus!

Sweetest note in seraph song;
Sweetest name on mortal tongue;
Sweetest carol ever sung:
Jesus, blessed Jesus!

Oh how I want to be Son-burnt.  I want others to see and desire the Son of God.  But it's up to me -- up to how compelled I am to spend time in the Son.  I want my heart attitude to be one that loves Jesus; one that draws others to the Son. It is then that I perform my greatest sheltering.

* * * * *

Dollar Store Fun in the Sun 

It's so easy to make up a quick "Fun in the Sun" gift for a child.  Dollar Tree makes it easy.  Grab a basket, add a few fun outdoor toys and a box of freezer pops and you have made a child very happy.  

I'm sure you've noticed that my basket has three of everything...wonder who I made it for?  $12.00 buys everything you see.  But only $6.00 if you make it for one child.  

I looked for a balloon with a sun on it, but Dollar Tree didn't have one.  I'm sure you could find one somewhere, and wouldn't it look great to have it tied to the handles?

1.  Silly String
2.  Large magnifying glass with tweezers.  
     Bugs can be kept in the large hollow handle.
3.  Bubble Wands
4.  Sidewalk Chalk
5.  Freezer Pops

And just because I can't help myself...

Sun Bread
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Soli Deo Gloria