Destination: Sanctification

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Location: Heart of Texas, United States

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Question for a Minister

Is Thanksgiving a religious or civil holiday?

Things to be thankful for . . .

In America, it is how we recognize it. It started as a celebration of the first harvest of crops by the Pilgrims in 1621. In 1863, President Lincoln set a date. In 1941, Congress passed a resolution that set the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day to thank God for His provision.

386 years ago, two men sat as opposite ends of a long table loaded with food: Chief Massasoit at one end and Captain Miles Standish at the other end. The horrible winter of 1620-21 had passed with many deaths. With the help of the Indians, crops were planted and harvested, and the Pilgrims survived. They recognized that they needed each other and showed appreciation to God for what He had done for them. These three days were a special time of friendship for the people of two very different groups. They set an example for us to follow.

Thanksgiving Season...turkey, ham and get-togethers, football, and a whole lot of things. It is a time of celebration and thanks to God for what we have as well as some difficult times we're going through.

There are some things that I am thankful for:
For the taxes I pay on purchases - it means I have some money.
For the utility bill - it means I have electricity.
For the pile of laundry - it means I have some clothes.
For the dirty dishes - it means I have had something to eat.
For the person that sings off key at church - it means I can hear.
For the alarm that goes off - it means I am alive!
I am most thankful for my family and friends, my church, my
Country and most of all for my God that made it all possible. . .
good or not so good.

Religious or civil? To some it is neither, to some it is a day off, to some it is getting ready for Friday shopping, to some it may be a very lonely day, but to is both. It is a religious day to honor my gracious Lord and a civil holiday to remember what others have done to give me freedom to celebrate it the way I want to. Share this Thanksgiving Day with some friends or family and enjoy it!
John Fleming/Retired Baptist Pastor

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Letter From Our Pastor

I wanted to share the following letter with ya'll:

November 21, 2007

Dear Watermark Family:

Two words sum up my feelings and motivations in writing you this week.


One word is inspired by a particular aspect of my leadership…the other word expresses my thoughts as they turn to you. If you aren’t immediately sure which word is which, you are well on your way to solving the riddle of which word was chosen for me.

I am saddened to realize how long it has been since I have written my friends in the Watermark faith community to encourage you and personally remind you how much I am motivated by your love for God and others. There is no excuse for the gap…it’s just pitiful.

Meanwhile, I get to constantly see the Spirit of God at work in so many of you. I see you serving the needy; mourning with those who mourn; comforting the hurting and meeting their physical, spiritual and emotional needs. I see you discipling others, confessing sin, sharing your story of grace and yielding to the Spirit. I see you greeting others, listening to each other, caring for children, loving students, forsaking sin and embracing God’s Word. I read your insights on the "Journey", and I watch you use your gifts to further the Kingdom and make provision for the ‘next 100’ who will meet the Savior and grow in intimacy with Him here. I see you renew people’s confidence in ‘church.’ I watch the Spirit glorify the Son through your repentance, your obedience and your passion for eternal things.

I am grateful to the Lord for you. Press on. Excel still more. Do not grow weary. Hate evil. Love good. Establish justice at the gate. Walk humbly with your God. As you do, you will never be pitiful, and all who observe you will see your good works and glorify your Father, the King, who is in Heaven….and He too will be grateful.

Thank you Lord for my friends at Watermark. Thank you for the things your grace and Spirit are doing mightily in and through them. Make me a better Pastor for your people. Allow my words to encourage them and spur them on to love and good deeds. Keep us all encouraging each other day after day, as long as it is called today lest any of us become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Increase your way among us. Grow our appetite for all that is good, all that is of Jesus. Thank you Lord for your grace in Christ and for the goodness of His body of which I am a part.

Philippians 1:3-6,


It is awesome to be lead by a fellow believer who struggles with filling in all the gaps just as I do. It is awesome to be able to see stuff for what it is and encourage each other on towards growth. Awesome.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cup O' Comfort

My favs: Hot Chocolate, Chai Tea, Coffee (in its many various forms) and Hot Tea.

Obviously not all at the same time of course! It depends on the time of year, mood, circumstance, and/or company. I began drinking coffee when I was in high school. Senior year. I had a long, early drive and I drank it purely for the caffeine effect - other than that I didn't care much for the stuff. I had a cup on the way to school every morning along with my tortilla for breakfast. I had hot chocolate only at Christmas time growing up. I was not all that impressed with Swiss Miss.

I remember a long time ago hanging out at my Aunt Susie's house and watching her make a cup of hot tea. Mug + water + milk + tea bag and into the microwave. After retrieving the hot steaming mug, she bobbed the tea bag up and down and then daintily discarded it. Imagine my face: nose wrinkled up and scrunched with a puckered frown of disgust and disapproval. Blithely, she scooped up the sugar with her spoon and stirred it into the tea with that familiar tink, tink sound. Know what she said to my sour little face: "Don't knock it until you have tried it Sweetie!" So she made me drink it. I have been hooked ever since! It soon became our tradition. It was table talk time over tea between the two of us for years. Thus, it is a cup o' comfort to me. It is something that I have cultivated with my kids through the years. We have had lots of fun having friends over for tea. And I do it right - scones, jam, and all! Sweet, Sweet.

I remember this one time that Nate was sick. I was holding him on the couch when he was lulled into a Tylenol induced sleep sitting on my lap, his head on my shoulder. Sweet Tori (very motherly I need to add) asked if I would like to have a cup of tea while he slept. Not being in the position to make it myself, I acquiesced to her kind invitation. She had never made a cup of tea all on her own before. I was amazed at her confidence and pride in her self appointed task. I will never forget the pleasure on her face as she proudly handed her weary mother a splendid cup of tea. As you can see, I find it a supreme expression of love.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Funny Friday

Warning: Do not eat or drink while watching the following clip. <:0)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Speaking of "Cheesy" Check This Out!

Blushing About Cheese Grits?

I know a dear friend who loves to make grits. Not just grits, mind you, but cheese grits. (I've always referred to grits as Popcorn Soup. That is after all what it is essentially! )There is something so warm and comforting in a hot bowl of grits. A comfort food that soothes the soul and gives comfort to a weary heart. I love to share...I would love to share a bowl of soothing goodness with someone who is in need of comfort and love. Isn't that what preparing food should be all about? An expression of love, hope, peace,, no.... I mean harmony! It should bring laughter, cheer, memories, traditions, and security among people who love each other. That is why is is called culture. It takes time, intention, and energy. It creates an environment for friends and family to share life together. It can even spark romance!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Oh, the bliss of it! I can remember many years back being on vacation and stopping into a Starbucks adjacent to a book store. We were on a road trip and I had inadvertently forgotten the book I was to bring to read for the trip. I was encouraged to find a magazine to read along the way. How absurd - "I don't read magazines." I thought magazines were for teens or Hollywood wanna-bes that had a second grade reading level and a high tolerance for commercialism. When I realized that was my only option, my eyes scanned the aisle lined with such an assortment of magazines someone could easily fall into sensory overload, my gaze landed on one of the most beautiful bunch of flowers on the front of a certain magazine:
Victoria Magazine! After that I was hooked. It became my tradition to treat myself to a Victoria mag every now and then but especially on vacations. Then came the time after moving into our first new house a few years ago that I decided that I should be like a real housewife and subscribe to a magazine. I really looked forward each month to receiving the new issue. It would be sacrilegious to throw one away - I have them all neatly collected and filed. It is a good thing too, because after about a year of blissfully receiving said mag in the mail it abruptly was replaced with Better Homes and Gardens. I had a cursory note detailing the demise of Victoria magazine, how it wasn't as suitable in the present market as it was twenty years ago and stated BHG would be a fine replacement. Well, good grief I had paid for four years worth for Victoria and ended up with (gag) BHG. I tried to make the best of it but ended up at garage sales and libraries buying up old copies of Victoria and treasured every one. It was great to have a stack to devour if I was in bed sick, or taking a leisurely bubble bath (that in itself is luxury) or lend them out to friends.

Some time last year I looked online to see if there was a group of ladies like me waiting with bated breath to see if Victoria would ever come back. I wanted to see if there were like minded women who gathered on line to share in a "Victorian" blissful way. It just so happened that I was starting a small business when I came upon the Bliss Guild which was originally associated with the mag. It took a few essays and answering a bunch of questions before being accepted, but then I was in! It is a wonderful community of inspiring, courageous and successful entrepreneurial women that gave me great advice on my blissful adventure of sewing.

I was so pleased to find once again in my mail box the newest copy of Victoria Bliss Magazine. I was so happy I jumped up and down like an over excited little girl. Deep sigh - aahh, like an old familiar friend come to visit and hopefully here to stay. Another something that does indeed make my heart go pitter-pat. I do love so much having surprises to look forward to. I'm sure I could have conveyed all of this in about three sentences, but I really enjoyed expressing my thoughts in more detail.

"When the Saints"

Before you do anything else, if you do nothing else - click on this link and listen to this tremendous song by Sara Groves "When the Saints". Now, download the lyrics and read while you listen.
We spent our weekend learning so much about the civil war at the Old City Park this past Saturday, Veteran's Day weekend. Veteran's Day is unlike Memorial Day in that it is to honor all the people willing to lay down their lives in order to ensure the safety and quality of another. I only learned the designation and difference this past weekend. Yes, we hold those who did lose their lives due to such an effort in high esteem, but we need to be thankful for those who chose to put themselves on the line and honor their willingness and then celebrate their lives. Whether or not one agrees with war, that kind of sacrifice is worthy of respect.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

That's My King!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Learning to Tell Myself the Truth

So far this book has been worth every penny. I found this at my local Christian book store just last week. It is a six week workbook that should help my outlook on life dramatically. If I had a friend that needed guidance and advice, I would with out a doubt recommend going through this workbook before any major life changing decisions were made. This book is mainly focused on "Self-Talk" which is essentially the background "music" or "noise" in our minds. Aunt Susie used to call them the tapes that played in my head, that I heard the voices of the past and needed to replace them with the truth of God's words instead. Now I have a great tool to do exactly that. It has come to my attention that I have been such a people pleaser that the personality that God has given me is lost in the translation of me trying to be a peace maker. According to Todd Wagner I have not been a peace maker but rather a peace faker. Well, Sugars, that definitely is not honoring God in my life. So I have a lot of work ahead of me - but - thank the Lord just more beautiful evidence of His sanctifying work in my life. Progress is already being made in this transition of not just thinking "positive" but thinking the Truth. Really, really renewing my mind according to God's word (not my mother's).
Here is a little excerpt:
"As a Christian, you are not in this alone. A relationship with Jesus Christ supplies daily power for making needed changes. God works with you powerfully, but you make the changes. How? By replacing inadequate, inaccurate, mistaken beliefs, and the sinful and maladaptive thoughts and behaviour they cause, with truth and the Christlike behaviour it generates. By living your Christian faith and making the most of the enormous power of truth, you can reach new levels of freedom from spiritual numbness, emotional anguish, and behavioural paralysis. This workbook provides the tools, you provide the willingness, and God provides the power to change."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Too Funny

Yesterday after school, I took the kids with me to run a few errands. We needed supplies of various sundries and accoutrements for sewing crafts (shhh, Christmas is around the corner, you know) and a gathering of goodies. The first stop was to secure the needed items for smores, naturally I thought Big Lots would have it all - alas they did not. We did not turn away empty handed - oh, no sugars - I was still able to feel like an accomplished shopper after our time spent there.

(Aside: I usually abhor blogs that try to turn every day events that are at best mediocre into some scripted and edited first edition best seller blog. Probably why I haven't blogged much.
But, what the heck - that's life. No reason I should haven't a chance to blog with the best of them.)
Okay, so Nate loves his new $3 black sweat pants, Tori found some Cold Duck Sparkling Cider (it looks like pretty fancy stuff) to celebrate Thanksgiving with for the kids, and I walked out with a big pouch of .... Original Big League Chew! So there the kids and I were huddled outside the shopping mall strip, I was eager to share my wealth of bubble gum with them. Now that Nate's teeth have finally grown in it is time for him to learn to blow a bubble. So I tell them this is a very special moment. I love the sound of the pouch tearing. And you have to tear carefully so you can roll it up just right to save the left overs for later without it drying out. I open the pouch and tell the kids to smell the rich aroma of bubble gum. . . "this is the smell of my childhood." Intoxicating - and silly.
So our next stop is the fabric store and we are all smacking our big wads of gum like a bunch of hicks. 80 cents worth of fun is really priceless. After searching and gathering the items on my list I go to stand in line. Tori and I continue to admire what we see around us as we wait for our turn to check out. Then comes this woman with a thick New York accent talking and laughing with someone on her phone. I find the accent alone totally intriguing, but her laughter was really rather contagious - here Tori and I stand giving each other knowing looks (in a good way) and smile. A few moments later Tori was off to visit with a friend and my turn was up. I shuffle forward and plop my assortment on the counter. In the mean time I have had no other choice but to eaves drop on the conversation behind me. A loud announcement is made over the intercom, apparently the New York Lady's friend inquires about where she is and she says, " I'm at Hancock's. pause. No, I'm not in handcuffs. I said I am at Hancock's! Why would I be talking to you if I was in handcuffs?" I found this extremely hilarious and could not help myself from laughing out loud! She laughed, I laughed - she had to hang up she was laughing so hard. I told her I was going to blog about it and she laughed even harder.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Getting Things Done

Oh, yes it will be a busy weekend.


Friday night - scour the neighborhood for twigs and sticks to burn in the back yard chiminea where by we will sit in the twilight roasting marshmallows and making smores. We will use our imaginations and pretend we are by a river, camping somewhere beautiful.

Saturday - We will be at Old City Park participating in the scouting event "Civil War on the Home Front". Yes, we will be brown bagging and totally enjoying the sights and sounds of the bygone era. The most exciting part will be an actually battle re-enactment. We just rented Wishbone's edition of The Red Badge of Courage from the library last Friday. I'm not sure Nate will get to sleep tonight with all the sugar and excitement!

Sunday - Family Party and Parade. Pizza party and "tykes and bikes" parade to the park afterward. It is a great time of year to enjoy playing outside with our cousins.

Distant Thoughts

Standing still. Looking around. Remembering. Getting lost in thoughts and memories - then waking back up to reality and having it take your breath away. It is like dreaming. There are times that I dream at night of dear ones I have loved. It feels like just one of our usual visits, it gives me a satisfying, yummy feeling inside, then I wake up. . . Back to reality and feeling a bit lonely. I tend to stop and stare out my window these days, lulled by the brilliance and warmth of the autumn sun in my hair and on my face. Close my eyes and remember when. Remember when I would run home after school, completely change as if it were new day because it is game day. Football. Friday Nights. In high school, it was all about seeing and being seen. I can still feel the excitement and anticipation. Bright lights, cool breeze, brassy instruments, cameras flashing and the sound of helmets clashing! Love it! Miss it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Stress Doesn't Equal Success

So, evidently I have been doing this all wrong. I thought I was just doing the "get it done" mom thing when in fact I am just creating a sour environment to live in.

For as long as I can remember, stress has been my main motivation in life with a heaping helping of fear to go along with it. Can I get an amen? Okay, so I get things done, but it isn't right to sour stomachs in the process. So here, thank the Lord, is more evidence of His sanctifying grace showing up in my daily life. Okay, here comes the story.

We were running late for school yesterday morning. It was actually cold, okay 40 something is declared cold in Texas! So the little boy comes down the stairs with his sister's knitted cap with the silver sparkly pom pom on top, a scarf, and his two mittens on (sans a coat). I look down at his feet with no shoes or socks and we should be on the road 5 minutes ago! "Son, I am glad you knew where all your warm things were, but socks and shoes are the most important right now. Please go get them on quickly." (Usual response - "What are you thinking? There is no blizzard out there! You've wasted time with non essentials. I am walking out the door in two minutes, with or without your shoes. Now hurry!") Back in the kitchen finishing up the lunches, I call up in a sweet mommy voice yet again for the one minute warning. Tori, bless her heart, looks at me with astonishment and says, "Mom, you are so calm this morining. I have never seen you so calm when we are really late." Now, 1.) I love how honest kids can be and 2.) Doing things God's way does make a noticeable difference. I took that opportunity to explain to Tori how God was working in my life to really trust Him and not live in stress and fear. Worrying, yelling, threatening life and limb really doesn't get us to school any faster - it just causes a sour taste in every one's mouth and teaches kids to dread just about everything.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all.

Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction. It's the child he loves that God corrects; a father's delight is behind all this.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Charcoal - Sometimes It Is Easier to See in Black and White

Once a very long time ago, a friend of mine that I studied with frequently was the last of a huge military family. He was number eleven and despite having so many siblings, he was the only child in the home. His mother was a precious woman of many talents. I don't know the full story, but her marriage ended and she was destined to raise her last son alone. I thought she was a beautiful lady and enjoyed her hospitality during our hours of study, but I enjoyed staring a her art work the most. She had it hanging on the walls of the stair way. There is a contest called "On Your Own Time" that exhibits the art work of professionals in various competing corporations. Her art work had won her quite a few ribbons and honors in that competition and others I can't recall. She worked mainly with charcoal, thus my introduction to this fascinating medium.

At any rate, at some point she challenged me to give it a try. Her charcoal artwork focused mainly on faces. Old, rugged cowboys. Old, grumpy grandpas. She had a little green post card in her hand of an old, wrinkly man with a turban from Greece. She was going to draw him next but wanted me to have a go at it. I was dumb founded by her confidence in me. My artistic training amounts to one year of it in the 8Th grade. So she gave me the post card and a list of supplies to get at the craft store. I went and made black and white copies of the post card blown up in varying degrees as well as darkest to lightest. Who knows how many hours I spent on my "Greek Man"! I have a permanent crick in my neck from talking on the phone with friends in the evenings while working on my Greek man. I worked on it in the evenings all summer. I am right handed so I worked left to right. I just copied what I saw - I thoroughly enjoyed every exhilarating, frustrating, and satisfying moment of that endeavour. In doing so, I was able to gain confidence in my abilities artistically and go on to other projects in my life. I don't have much to show, because I generally give what I do away or it gets torn down once VBS is over. Oh well. I was asked to do a portrait in charcoal as a birthday gift for a woman who was celebrating 95 years! She was an honest to goodness flapper in the roaring twenties. I was honored and delighted. I labored long and hard on that project. I was given one picture of this woman when she was in her twenties. It was once black and white, but then someone had "colorized" it. When presented with the portrait, the woman was so gracious and sweet about it and I was feeling rather proud. After a time, the sweet woman said that it was a wonderful portrait, but it looked more like her sister than her. Inquisitive, I asked why that was. She said because her sister was the brunette, she was platinum blond! Aaaaaaaahhhh!

Yes, this is leading somewhere and I do have a point to all this rabble. I have been rather restless these last couple of months. I think some of it is due to the fact that I have had no creative outlet. I haven't been sewing, I haven't been cooking or baking, I haven't done any knitting or embroidery. I tried to make a rocket stove but that flopped. So, the other night I went to the craft store to get some tissue paper for gifts, etc. For years I greedily eyeballed the aisles with easels, sketch books, paint brushes, etc. and for years I have walked on by knowing full well that a mother has no business making such a mess. Well, sugars, not the other night. As part of my birthday present, I was encouraged to find all the supplies I needed to restart my artistic endeavours with charcoal! I picked out a great table top easel, my beloved orange charcoal pencils and other necessary sundries. The pictures above I think are worth a try just to get warmed up. I started last night on the butterfly. After all that fun, I realized I had forgotten to get the tissue paper. Oh well, guess I'll have to go back to the craft store. WOO-HOO!! :0)