Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What do cat scars, salty dutch licorice, fairy dust, and tree ornaments have in common?

So what do cat scars, salty dutch licorice, fairy dust, and tree ornaments  have in common? You may think I'm nuts and wonder what hat I pulled this idea out of? But trust me, they all link together. Keep reading...

Cat Scars
Yoda is my cat. I love him to bits. He has been with this family since he was 3 weeks old (we fostered him as a kitten along with his brother and 4 sisters). I used to walk the kids to school with him tucked into my coat pocket. All the kids, from each of my girls classes, got to know Yoda. They thought he was a cool cat. That was five years ago.
He still is a cool cat. He just gets himself into trouble every so often (shhhhh...he's not so bright). He drinks out of the toilet (not even my dog does that), he steals food from the counter (not even my dog does that), he torments the dog (yes a 4 pound cat can reduce a 60 pound dog to a whimpering mess), he even torments the neighbours dog (he has been seen poking his paws into the mail slot of my neighbours front door with a 100 pound German Shepard whining on the other side). He has climbed up the Christmas tree, he still climbs up on the kitchen counter (even though I've sprayed him with water, put Tabasco sauce on the counter top and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and in a deep pack leader voice said, "NO", firmly), but it seems only the dog is a good listener. Yoda is not. He has attitude. When Yoda wants something, Yoda does it with out thought of the consequences. His choices have not always been good ones and this attitude of his has gotten him into a lot of trouble over the years and he has acquired a few scars, some physical... some mental.
Perhaps you have a few physical and mental scars yourself? I do.
Now, hold onto that thought while I get to the salty licorice.

Salty Dutch Licorice
I lead a children's program called Celebration Station, and this past week I spoke to the kids about choices. How do we make good choices rather than bad ones?
I brought a bag of dutch candies and licorice with me and some were sweet and other's were very salty. These zwaart and wit candies (see picture), were sweet on the outside and salty on the inside. Before I let them pick a candy I asked them, "How do you know to pick the one you like without taste testing it first?"
Here are their answers:
- You just try it and if it's yucky, spit it out
- You look at it and see if it looks good
- You ask questions to someone who has had some
 I added one other:
- Read the manual or in this case the recipe
On the first try, the kids picked the candies that looked good and one of them ended up with this zwaart and wit one.
"MMMM, I made a right choice!" they were so happy... at first... then they got to the middle.
"YUCK! I'm going to throw up," and they ran to the garbage can. 
I explained to them, that sometimes our choices may seem right in the beginning but we can still end up in a big yucky mess. That's why it's good to talk to someone you trust about the decisions you need to make in life, and it's good to read the manual or the recipe of life.

Fairy Dust
 My daughter decided to shake out the 'snow' (cotton batten we use for our Christmas village), not at the side of the house or in the back garden, but right at my front walk.
Last year we used snowflake powder to sprinkle our village to make it look as if it had new fallen snow. It sparkled and glimmered as the light reflected off the small flake like particles. It was beautiful, but it made a mess everywhere.
Now, it lay at my front door. Did I mention these flakes stick to the bottom of shoes and paws?
I swept up the mess two days ago, yet I'm still finding fairy dust sparkles as far as the upstairs bathroom. Where is it coming from? It's everywhere and so hard to get rid of. Just like dirt.
I wonder if it breeds?

Tree Ornaments
Every Christmas I take the time to sit and just look at my tree. It's not a perfect tree, it's tilted a little to the left (I blame the cat). Each ornament is different, home made, not one alike. Some ornaments have been flattened, a few punctured, squished, folded and have been broken and now wear the glue gun scars of wear and tear.
"That's the one I made in kindergarten."
"I made this one at girl guides."
"My mom crochet this angel."
No, my tree is not a perfect designer tree. I do not have stamped out ornaments made in China. Each ornament has a unique memory linked to it. And I love to just sit there and stare at my tree and reminisce.

Where it all comes together
We all have scars inside and out. It's a fact. Some of us try to hide them behind fake 'made in china' designer ornaments and pretend that everything is perfect. But, when we stick a band aid on the boo boo, the scars never have a chance to heal, they need air to dry out and time to heal. We need to sit and focus on each scar, not in resentment but look at what we have learned from the experience. God turns the hurt into blessings, when our focus detours in the opposite direction of resentment, our character grows up out of the hurts. No longer ugly scars but beautiful ornaments.
When we hold onto hurts, the darkness in our lives can spread to those we love. Just like dirt. When we let go and trust, Gods grace and light comes into us and reflects out so we can spread it around. Just like the fairy dust. Which would you rather spread around?
Some hurts come from the bad decision others have made, some have come from a fallen world. We have no control over these. We do, however,  have control over the decisions we make. Talk to those you trust. Understand that Christ knows all about wounds and wants to help heal yours, and if you find yourself confused in which direction to take, read the manual.

Love You!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Slow Down!

"What if we all slowed down just a bit? What if we all spent a little less time watching the lives of others and living our own." Kelli from Mini Vans are Hot

I was at a Fox hunt in Deroche a couple of weekends ago and I noticed this great sign put up along the dirt farm road connecting the barn with the main house.
"Old Dog, Young Dog, Several Stupid Dogs, Please Drive Slowly."
I loved the saying and I found myself thinking a lot about it all weekend, not because it was an intellectual saying with deep meaning, but because it made me laugh.
It also made me think about all the old dogs, young dogs and stupid dogs I meet in my day to day life. My life sometimes gets so hectic and fast that I zoom right past them, and at times run them over and hurt them with my unkind words or irritations. They couldn't help being in the way. They were on my path for a purpose, and I ran them over in my haste.
When we drive too quickly through life, we don't see the old, young or challenging individuals God places along our path. He brings all people into our lives for a purpose and reason. It is to learn something amazing, but if we drive too quickly, we miss the point.

Tonight at LTI class, I heard an audio presentation from Howard Hendricks, he was speaking on the art of managing your time and there was one thing he said that stood out, "Jesus was never in a hurry." He calls us to be like Him. Then why is this generation always in such a hurry?
"I don't have time." Has become the usual response. Why?
He goes on to say that, "we need to have clear cut objectives, otherwise we have only motion with no meaning" and that, "God has created each one of us for a purpose and he gives you enough time to do it. If you feel you have no time then maybe you're not doing what He asked you to do". Oopps!

When I drive too fast through life, please slow me down.
I don't want to hurt anymore of your amazing creations because of my hurried attitude.
I don't want to miss out on anymore lessons, because I don't have time.
I don't want to miss out on connecting with someone wonderful.
Slow me down dear Lord.
Let me see what you wish me to see.
May I do what you called me to do.
Let me love who you place along my path.
In Jesus name. Amen


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Where two or more are gathered

One of the "Deeds" ladies shared this with our group the other week. We were talking about the importance of praying together in a group setting.
I know for me, the hardest thing was to say out loud what I needed God to hear. I'm a very quiet person and to pray out loud was the hardest thing for me to learn. I didn't think maybe someone else needed to hear what I had to say. It was easier to keep it to myself.
Yet Jesus says, "Where two or more are gathered in My name, there I am in their midst."
He knew that sometimes we need to share with others (we trust) the things going on deep within our souls. The dark things that hold us back from becoming what God calls us to be. To speak them out loud, instead of keeping them inside where it festers and grows.
He knew it was important to bless and worship Him, to be grateful for life and to tell those in our midst that they are important to us.
He also knew it was important to learn and grow together as brothers and sisters in a family. Lift one and other up and equip eachother and remind eachother not 'who' we are but 'whose' we are.

Every Thursday morning as I drink coffee and cook or read or fill a need with a deed, and every Thursday night as I learn at LTI; I am reminded of how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends and I know when we gather, He is there.

I would love to hear your stories of fellowship and how God is in your midst. "Deeds for Needs" is not just about my stories, but our stories and if you feel the need to share one of yours please email me at anoesdelacourt@yahoo.com.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Never, Never Quit!

I'm too tired.
It's too hard.
You don't know what it's like.
I can't.
I just can't do this anymore.

I don't know about you, but I have said these words. I suppose most of us have at one time or another. Yes, life is tough. Yes, things don't always go the way we plan, but I like what Calvin has to say.

"I stand FIRM in my belief of what's right! I refuse to compromise my principles!" Says Calvin about not wanting to take a bath. The next image shows his mom entering the room and Calvin turned to make a dash for it as if to say, "No bath for me!" The last image in the comic strip is of Calvin in a bath full of bubbles stating, "I don't need to compromise my principles, because they don't have the slightest bearing on what happens to me anyway." 

I chuckled when I saw this, and I wanted to scan the image from Bill Watterson's book "Attack of the deranged mutant killer monster snow goons." but I had scanner problems. I could have given up. Lord only knows I spent at least 1/2 hour trying to figure it out. I didn't give up - I wrote it out for you in story form. I wanted to show this image, for this blog, because I know that, no matter what we may think sometimes we are forced into an action we may not like (in Calvin's case a bath) but, we can still stand firm in our belief of what is right, whatever the circumstances; and this little comic strip said it all in a few words and images.

Life is difficult at times. You need to do things you don't want to sometimes, but instead of giving up, stand up straight and stand up firm. Even if you have to make a 'GRRRRR' face like Calvin and Hobbes here, but just keep going and never, never give up!

"You, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit." Psalm 86:15 (MSG)

AHA! Eureka! I took a picture of it in Photo Booth...
One slight problem... it's backwards... Oooppps... Back to the drawing board.