Sunday, June 28, 2009

Blog and Website move - my new address


We're getting ready to go! My blog and my webiste are moving to http://www.bethjones.net.

Kelly with FreshNets (http://freshnets.com) has done a GREAT job on the new Wordpress design. My blogs, website, and podcasts will all be at ONE website for your convenience!
I wanted to keep my blog's cute header graphic, and Kelly has been an answered prayer to this new website design! I LOVE my new site, and hope you will, too! I am SOOOO excited! God is so good!
We are still working on the website this week, so I appreciate your patience during the transition. Stay tuned for new upcoming blogs, articles, and podcasts to encourage your heart.

The Lord bless you!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The cardinal: a picture of Christ's redemption

Female cardinal

I am not a morning person, so one of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 27:14, "He who blesses his friend with a a loud voice, rising early in the morning, It will be counted a curse to him." (People who cheerily say "Good morning!" annoy me, lol.) Just let me spend a little time with God, get some caffeine, put on my face, check email, and I might be reasonably awake by 10 a.m.

This morning was different, though. I awoke at 5 a.m, and did not go back to sleep. I prayed a little while and sat in the twilight in our den, listening to my Ipod to Cindy Rushton's Ultimate Homeschool Expo.

Soon Ray woke up and came into the den. He's off work for the next few days, and it was nice for just the two of us to talk alone for awhile. After breakfast, I began washing the few dishes left from last night, and noticed outside the kitchen window a female cardinal on our back deck. I stopped to admire it and to thank God for this blessing.

The female is a neutral brown-beige color, with a little red in its plumage and on its beak. But the beautiful male counterpart is bright red, with a black face mask, and soft brushes of black on its wings and tail. It is my favorite bird, and each time I see one, I feel it is God giving me a special little gift and telling me that He loves me.

Male red cardinal

The cardinal has been christened the Christmas bird for its glorious color, and is a symbol of beauty and Christ's redemption.

Ephesians 1:3-7 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."

To redeem means "to pay off, to set free, rescue, or ransom." Christ has paid off the debt of our sins, rescued us from hell and death, and set us free by the power of His blood at the Cross, so we can live eternally with God the Father.

Now that's good news this morning!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marriage 911

Is your marriage in trouble? Call the "ambulance," Marriage 911!

Marriage is very much on my mind this week, probably because some major computer problems and our car being in the shop again for repairs have created a little bit of "intense domestic fellowship." :) This morning I listened to Malia Russell's mp3 download, Marriage 911. In this inspiring teaching, Malia transparently shares about her marriage struggles, and how God taught her how to apply the principles of His word to become a godly wife and how to improve her marriage, which is now very blessed.

You can also purchase her other products for very reasonable prices, with topics ranging from 30 day freezer gourmet cooking to home organization, here.

Malia is a fulfilled wife and homeschooling mom, an excellent writer, and a great speaker. Her website offers encouraging, Biblical articles that are a real pleasure to read. She also has free downloads, in addition to their store's products for sale. Be sure to also check out her blog, Homeschool Blogger.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Respecting our husbands

You can read a great book on marriage by Nina Roesner. It was written after listening to literally thousands of stories about struggles overcome and successes won through the Daughters of Sarah program. Based on the true lives of women whose marriages have been turned around by the Daughters of Sarah program, this book will give you real life, practical examples of ways to honor and respect your husband...which will result in a better, happier, more fulfilling marriage for you both!

Respect is what our husbands truly desire from us. Webster's Dictionary defines respect as "an act of giving particular attention; consideration; high or special regard; esteem; deference."

Ephesians 5:33b says, "And the wife shall respect her husband."

Why is it so hard sometimes to respect our husbands? It is explained in Genesis 3:16, "To the woman God said, "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception. In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."

The New Living Translation of this passage says, "And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you." Our sinful nature is the reason we have a hard time with respecting our husbands.

Do you relate? I do. I believe a lot of women today struggle with submission and respect of their husbands. Society reinforces disrespect of men with the disdainful attitude toward husbands and fathers that they are idiots, such as in The Simpsons cartoons.


http://www.thesimpsons.com/characters/.

We need to respect and honor our husbands the way they deserve, according to God's word - not postmodern culture.

Respecting our husbands doesn't mean we become a doormat, having no voice or say. It doesn't mean being controlled, dominated, or abused. It is simply honoring their God-ordained position. Respect ministers to our husbands' souls. It encourages and strengthens them in their daily walk with God and in the workplace - often a very difficult place to be for a Christian man today.

When we respect our husbands, we are obeying God. He will bless and reward us for it. Our marriages will thrive when we honor our husbands.

The stories in Nina's book The Respect Dare will encourage you in your marriage. You can also sign up for Nina's great marriage tips here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tip of the Iceberg: You have gifts inside of you that God wants to use!

A delicious gift of fine chocolates
http://www.chocolate.com/products/ghirardelli-galore/.

Think about your husband bringing you home a surprise gift of delicious, fine chocolates. You untie the beautiful blue bow, and open it, finding creamy chocolate bars, chocolate truffles, chocolates with almonds, cream-filled chocolates, dark chocolates....all the chocolate you could want, ready for you to eat to your heart's content.

They smell wonderful, and make your mouth water. But you do not even say thank you. Instead, you take the gift, wrap it back up, and put it in the back of your bedroom closet, never letting them see daylight again....and they finally go bad! Would that be a very respectful way to treat your husband? No, he wants you to use the gift he's given you ~ and enjoy them, to delight in them. It gives him immense pleasure to see you unwrapping a chocolate bar and biting into it, savoring the taste...and enjoying the chocolate with you!

This is the way it is with our spiritual gifts. God has put spiritual gifts inside of us to further His kingdom and for His glory. Yes, your gifts are like fine chocolates, wonderful gifts for you to unwrap, for you, God, and others to enjoy. They are for the glory of Jesus, and will further God's kingdom on earth. We don't need to hide them, but to use them. What are the spiritual gifts, and where are they listed in the Bible? Maybe you are not familiar with the spiritual gifts, and don't know they function or how to operate in them. Maybe you've never used your gifts before, but would like to begin.

My new podcast, The Spiritual Gifts, answers these questions from the Bible and encourages you to use the great gifts God has put inside of you. God wants to use you in ways that you cannot even begin to imagine. Just as the tip of an iceberg only reveals the visible part of the ice, and what is underneath the surface of the water is an enormous iceberg, so it is with our spiritual gifts. We have not even yet begun to tap into our potential in Christ. God wants to draw these incredible gifts out of you and me, for His glorious purposes, to reach a lost and dying world.

You can listen to my podcast at MyPodcast.com, and subscribe with Itunes or your feed reader. http://bethjones.mypodcast.com/.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A fresh look - new website design

A fresh new look

I am so VERY excited, because this morning I hired a website designer to redesign my website, http://www.bethjones.net/cms. God has provided as He always does - He is so GOOD! Praise You, Lord Jesus!
My site will have a fresh, new look with a Wordpress design, using my Tablet Of My Heart blog's header/graphic! All of my blog's content will be imported into the new site. This way, both my website and my blog will be at ONE convenient site for my readers! I also am going to new website hosting, and am excited about that change.
I will keep you updated as much as possible, giving you the new address for the website. The transition should take about a week, but I wanted to let readers know ahead of time. Lately, I've been really busy with different projects and holding off on adding new content to my current website, knowing that soon I'd be moving to a new place. :)
Once everything is complete, I have plans to record more podcasts and Blog Talk Radio shows, and write blogs and lots of articles to offer you for your enjoyment. This week I also am editing a book I wrote on prayer, that will be available soon as an ebook for sale on the new site. Stay tuned!
"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands (wilderness)." ~ Isaiah 43: 19, The Message Bible

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stuck in the heat by a cornfield: it's all about God and the harvest

Today I was on my way back home from a Toastmasters' meeting http://www.toastmasters.org/, when our car decided to die at a stoplight at an exit. Immediately, I prayed and it restarted. I drove to the nearby Sonic for a large, cold Coke, and called Ray to let him know what was going on.

Since we just have one car right now, my knight in shining armor had to ask a friend at our weekly Send Out Cards meeting, https://www.sendoutcards.com/cgi-bin/trncustomer.pl?more_info::, for a ride to come rescue me.

At Sonic, I restarted the car, and got down the highway a few more miles, when it quit again ~ and this time, it would not restart. Stuck in the 85+ degree heat, on the side of the road across from a corn field, I had to wait for my husband an hour to get there because we live out in the boondocks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boondock.
It was during this time of waiting in the climbing heat that I asked God, "Lord, what do you want me to learn from this?"
Stuck by a cornfield in the heat
God was silent. As I sat there, a minor wreck happened on the highway near me. Oh good, a diversion. I watched as a firetruck and other emergency vehicles came to the scene, and traffic backed up to a crawl. People passed by me in their cars, staring, never asking me if I needed help.
One police woman who worked in the area came up beside me in her unmarked car, and asked if I was involved in the accident. I told her no, but I was waiting on my husband to come get me because my car had broken down. She said, "Okay, hon," and pulled over on the side of the road a few feet ahead of me. Nothing like a little compassion and going out of your way for someone, is there?
She got out of her car, put on her gun belt with exaggerated importance, and immediately began questioning the people involved in the scene. She didn't even offer to let me sit in her nice, air-conditioned car as I was waiting! I looked at my arm on the steering wheel, and saw little beads of sweat forming on my skin. Glancing in the rear-view mirror, I saw that my face was red, too. Visions of me passing out from dehydration, and concerned emergency workers putting me on a stretcher, came to mind. The people who had passed me by in their cars without offering help would be sorry then!
So thankful for my cold drink, I chomped ice and watched the way one police officer directed traffic in his orange vest, and I called Ray to let him know that traffic coming toward me was slow because of an accident. "I'll be there in 15 minutes," were his famous, last words.
By the time Ray arrived 30 minutes later, I had read some of my Toastmasters' book first chapter, checked my voice mail and text messages on my cell phone, had taken pictures of the accident scene in sheer boredom, cleaned out my purse, and was now studying cloud shapes...getting closer to fainting every minute. The emergency vehicles and tow truck were gone. The female officer indifferent to me overheating was still talking with the people involved in the wreck, making her case.
I got into the back of our friend Herb's car, and sighed in relief - ahhh, cold a-c! The tow truck driver whom Ray called arrived promptly, and hauled off the car to the nearest garage. We stopped at the store for water, and soon I was at home, hydrated again and resting, watching the hilarious movie Oscar http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102603/ with Ray and our daughter Leah.
Tonight as I was listening to A Woman Inspired 2009 conference on internet marketing http://www.awomaninspiredconference.org/get-revived-09/, one of the speakers encouraged women to use their blogs to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Remembering my day by the cornfield in the heat, the scripture John 12:23-25 (NKJV) came to mind. The Greeks had heard of Jesus and came to his disciple Philip to ask to speak with him.
Jesus replied, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and He who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone...if it dies, it produces much grain.
Yes, this was what God wanted me to learn today, I thought. Dying to self - which is never easy. Producing much grain for God. Jesus increasing in me, and I decreasing. Being concerned with the furtherance of His kingdom here on earth and the harvest of souls. It's all about Him - Jesus, Lord and King.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not Green Eggs and Ham; Do What You Love To Do!



I LOVE Melissa's blog at The Inspired Room. Recently, she wrote a beautiful, encouraging blog about daring to dream again, called Daring To Rediscover What You Love. http://theinspiredroom.net/2009/06/15/daring-to-rediscover-what-you-love/.

Charlotte and Daniel in the tv series, Lost

Just as in the tv series Lost, when the blinding flash of light makes everyone cover their ears and eyes when time speeds backward or forward, as I read Melissa's blog, my mind swiftly took me back to childhood, doing what I loved: writing in my room.

Child writing

A writer's room

As a child pouring her heart into her journal, I really didn't have dreams of fame or wealth from writing. I simply loved to write. And there was great joy in it. No silly pressure to have more comments or readers, to get articles published by big magazines and books by well-known publishing houses in order to be a real writer, or to convince Technorati to allow me to claim my blog, and them not reject it continually as spam (I'm STILL trying to figure that one out!).

Here is a random thought with a twist on Dr. Seuss' book, Green Eggs and Ham:

I do not like blogs that are spam,
I won't subscribe to them, whether they're on kids or home-made jam,
I will not read them anywhere!
No, I will not make comments on them, or link-share.
I do not like blogs that are spam.

Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
I would not read them here or there.
I would not read them anywhere.
I would not read blogs that are spam.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
I do not like blogs that are spam.

There is always hope that Technorati will change its mind about my blog, just as the unnamed character in Dr. Seuss' book changed his mind about green eggs and ham, and REALLY LIKED THEM! But even if Technorati does not ever let me claim my blog, I will keep writing! :)


Sudden, whiney, hungry thought: But I really don't want my blog to be green eggs and ham! I want my blog to be delicious CHOCOLATE!

(Unwrapping chocolate bar with almonds, that I hid in my purse earlier this evening, away from the family's reach.)

Anyway, Melissa encourages us in her sixth point, "Live life on purpose — dare to incorporate the things you love into your life."

Ask yourself, what do I love? What do I really enjoy doing? Then do it!

Write because you simply love to write.
Write what's in your heart.
Write because it's fun.
Forget what they said. It doesn't matter! YOU just write! Who are you are trying to impress, anyway?

(You're probably thinking, like I am: "Well, to tell you the truth, I want to impress people that will pay me LOTS of money for my writing!")

Ok, ok. We all would like to be ridiculously rich and successful. Success will come in time, with hard work and unwavering dedication. Just listen now to a tip from from Natalie Goldberg, author of Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life:

“We have to accept ourselves in order to write. Now none of us does that fully: few of us do it even halfway. Don’t wait for one hundred percent acceptance of yourself before you write, or even eight percent acceptance. Just write. The process of writing is an activity that teaches us about acceptance,” said Goldberg.

As Melissa blogged at The Inspired Room, deliberately choose to live the life you wanted as a child. You weren't trying to figure it all out back then. You wrote for pleasure. You just dreamed, and believed, and loved to write. And if God be for you, who can be against you?

"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." ~ Barbara Kingsolver

What Is Your Power Source?

Trees in town were damaged from Missouri thunderstorms last night

Last night I was checking Twitter, when a severe thunderstorm hit our area in Missouri. The electrical power went out about 10 p.m., and was not restored until about 1 p.m. today.

I knew something was up when the trees outside the kitchen window were bending over to touch their toes, and I saw jagged streaks of lightning nearly hit the houses across the street, followed by a loud BOOM. My online connection cut off. Darn! Thunderstorms are so inconvenient! (I didn't even get to count to one thousand two before I heard the thunder.).

It was at this point that I quickly walked down the dark hallway, and woke up my husband Ray, snoring peacefully in bed.

"Ray, there's a bad storm outside! The power is out!" (Did I expect him to go outside and fix it himself?) Groaning, after a few minutes, Ray dragged out of bed and looked outside the den window at the furious rain, lightning, and wind. He called the dispatcher at the hospital where he works, to find out if there were any serious weather conditions. Serious? She informed him there was a tornado watch, in small towns 20 miles both ways. And he thought I was just overreacting, praying and huddled under the green blanket on the couch!

I invited him to sit with me, asking him if he knew why they call it a loveseat - it's made for two. Since the power was out, and he could not watch a movie on tv or get on the internet, he was bored just sitting there in the dark. I then suggested that we dedicate the loveseat. Nothing like severe weather conditions to spice up your marriage! He decided that was a great idea. :) Next time you have tornado-like conditions where you live, just have sex!

But I digress. Today there are a lot of tree limbs down and a few power poles fell. A big branch broke off a tree in our 95-year-old neighbor Leetha's backyard, and fell on her roof. Fortunately, there was no damage. Leetha was not as concerned with her roof, as she was with the city workers not restoring her power quickly enough. "You'd think they could get the electricity back on sooner than this!" she complained to Ray, who nodded in empathy.

Leetha amuses us. She still drives her car and gardens at her age, and sometimes when she is working out in the yard, she tells us she is getting too old for this. Ya think? Well, when I am 95 years old, I want to be petite, healthy, and energetic like Leetha.

There is something about severe weather and natural disasters that just draws people together. Suddenly, neighbors you don't even speak to, or merely have a waving relationship with as you pull out of the driveway, begin to shed their vampire cloaks and come out into the daylight (just kidding).

You ask if they're okay, and they chat with you about their generator. Yes, you're thinking of buying one now, too. Together you survey the damage to your trees, and begin pulling big limbs to the curb for the trash pick-up service. Ray and our neighbor discussed the power line that had fallen across our shed, and the odds of the shed catching on fire with an energized line, if the power suddenly came back on. I freaked out when Ray tells me this, but then he decided it's the line for the tv cable. (I made him still call the city about it!)

Our shed in the backyard with the fallen power line.

Around the corner, our friends Rae and Theresa have huge, 100-year old, beautiful oak trees in their front yard. Last night the wind broke off a large part of one, causing it to fall across the street. Luckily, it didn't fall on their century-old, Victorian, bright yellow house.

Theresa loves her trees, but just shrugged when I told her I was sorry about it. They are going to chop it up and use it for winter firewood. I guess that now eliminates her as an official, "green" tree-hugger. She said her kids were staring out the window at 4 a.m., watching the city workers pull the tree off the street, back into the river of their yard. Like me, her kids were taking pictures of the broken tree today. Do you think we need a life, or what?

Broken oak tree in our friends' yard

Broken limbs from friends' big oak tree

Huge, ancient oak tree in friends' yard - will be chopped up for winter firewood now!

Other trees were uprooted and damaged in town

Your roots are showing, lol!

Impatiently waiting for the electricity to come back on this morning (because I was so hot with no air conditioning), I wondered how I will ever make it when we go on our missions trip to Africa. Well, our car has air, so I got into the car to get cooled off, and drove around town to take pictures of the damage. I passed by a church, whose sign outside read, "Live by the Spirit." I decided that would be my blog message for today.

What is your power source? Are you facing the daily challenges of your life, using your own strength, or relying on the Lord? We need God to help us to accomplish the things He desires us to do. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing!

The book of Acts begins with Jesus showing himself to his disciples after his death and resurrection, during the 40 days before his ascension to heaven. He spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and gave them a specific instruction:

"And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me, for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:1-8, NKJV)

Just as we did not have any electricity when the power was off, we as Christians don't have any power without the Holy Spirit. He is the one who equips and enables us to share the good news with others - whether with our neighbors, our co-workers, our relatives or friends, or even going across the world on a mission trip to share the gospel.

As we wait on God in prayer and diligently study His word, He will fill us with His love and will give us direction. The anointing of His Holy Spirit will teach us all things, and will give us the new strength and empowerment we need for today to advance His kingdom. God will be there with us through any troubling storms of life. He is our shelter from on high. Like the disciples, as we wait on Him, obeying His instructions, He will give us what He has promised us, His very presence.

Are you plugged into your power source, Jesus?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Setting a day aside each week for the Sabbath

Proverbs 1:7

Our daughter Heather, her husband Kyle, and their two daughters have been visiting a new church lately to see if it may be the right fit for them. Today at Heather's invitation, I went to visit it, too, and really enjoyed it. Friendly door greeters, contemporary worship by a live band, a great kids' church, and practical, Biblical teaching by the pastor on getting out of debt, in order to bless and help others, were just a few of the things this church had to offer.

Some people get together on Sundays to honor the Sabbath, and others on Saturday or another day of the week. No matter what day you and your family set aside to worship God, take time each week to honor God, to rest, and to be rejuvenated. We were not designed by God to go 24/7, 365 days a year. Our bodies require both spiritual and physical rest. Even God rested on the seventh day after He created the earth and all in it! And how much more so do we need it!

Very often, as Joyce Meyer says, we get our who (who we are) mixed up with our do. We are caught in that trap of the tyranny of the urgent....doing all we can every day - going, going, going, like the energizer bunny. Then we wonder why we feel so tired and can't seem to get anything done. Sometimes we just need to be.


Taking a day to study God's word, to worship Him, to celebrate, to relax and have fun with our family and friends, and even to take a siesta after lunch will refill us and energize us for the week ahead. God commanded us to honor the Sabbath and to keep it holy in the 10 commandments. God didn't just forget about the Old Testament and the commandments when the New Testament came along. He still means what He said! There is a reason for everything God tells us - it's for our own good! Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."
So let's be wise, honoring God and observing a day of rest each week...for Him, for us, and for those around us. :)

Here are a few helpful articles on setting time aside to enter Sabbath rest, including some very interesting articles from the Jewish perspective on the purpose of the Sabbath:
http://www.churchsolutionsmag.com/articles/honoring-the-sabbath-its-not-a-suggestion.html

http://www.religionfacts.com/judaism/holidays/shabbat.htm

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/shabbat.html

http://www.orgcoach.net/newsletter/april2001.html

Friday, June 12, 2009

Life Lessons From Being a Flight Attendant

Me about to work a flight

About two years ago, my husband Ray and I went through a really tough time financially when he lost his full-time job. Although highly qualified in many professional fields and well-educated, he was unable to get a job for an entire year! After the first few months of much prayer and no doors opening for him, we decided that I would seek part-time work to help. No doors opened for me, either, but I did see an ad in the paper for a flight attendant position.

I was not planning to work full-time, but the idea of travel appealed greatly to me. My husband encouraged me to apply. My interview did not last long (interviewers are trained to screen quickly for good candidates), and I thought that I did not get the job. To my shock, I was hired immediately as a flight attendant for a company that supplied small jets for a larger airline. I had a garage sale to raise money for my food and needs during the three weeks of flight attendant training in another state, and family and friends also blessed me greatly with money to help me start this new adventure. Ray would stay home and take care of our daughter, while still looking for a new job, and I would fly home when I could...and they'd fly to see me, too. We planned to eventually sell our house and move to my base city to be together again.

I worked six months as a flight attendant, being stationed in Florida, and absolutely LOVED it. But I resigned at Christmas, because I just could not stand being away from my family so long (I was only able to fly home to see my family about four times the entire six months, and my family was unable to move to Florida at that time). Here are some life lessons I gleaned from my time there that might be helpful to you:

  • You can do it! I did not think I'd be hired, because I had no airline experience. I had to memorize airport codes and much other information to get to the second phase of hiring at the training school in another state, and was tested on them. You either passed it or failed. If you failed, they flew you back home. I did not think I'd ever be able to memorize the codes, and pass. I also did not think I'd ever be able to memorize my announcements to the passengers, but eventually I did with enough study and practice. With God nothing is impossible!
  • Conquer your fears head-on. I was so scared I'd never be able to pass my final training test, working on the actual plane with a supervisor. Here I had to show the supervisor, in front of real, live passengers, that I knew how to do everything that I'd learned in training. My husband Ray also said that making the announcements to the passengers was excellent public speaking training. As I spoke into the phone up front to welcome the passengers on board and to give instructions, they would all look up front and stare at me, lol. Talk about nerve-wracking. But it was great training, and my fear subsided as I got used to it...and even began really enjoying it. Whatever you are wanting to do, with God's help you can do it!
  • Be instant in and out of season (2 Timothy 4: 2). Once I arrived at my base in Florida, I quickly learned that it was best to always be prepared for a possible flight. We had to be immediately accessible by cell phone in case another flight attendant was sick, and Crew Tracking needed a replacement, or CT had assigned us another trip. Each night I would make sure my uniform was clean, pressed, and hung up, I had panty hose with no snags or holes (flight attendants go through hose like crazy), I had my Bible, a good book, and toiletries packed, and at least snack items, if not a packed lunch. (I think I became somewhat OCD during that time, making sure this was all done!). Then when Crew Tracking called me and told me I had a trip (lasting anywhere from one to four days), I was prepared and not freaking out, trying to get everything together at the last minute (like some flight attendants I knew did!). As Christians, we need to always be prepared and ready to tell others about why we believe in Christ (1 Peter 3: 15), and share with them the good news.
  • Learn, and keep learning. Knowledge empowers us. During my pre-flight check, as passengers boarded and stowed their bags, and on my final check of the plane before take-off, I mentally reviewed the safety procedures I'd learned during my training - doors and exits locked and secure, making sure passengers had on seat belts and their seats were in proper take-off position, their table for snacks and drinks was put up and locked, bags were either in the overhead compartments or tucked under seats, and other important safety pre-cautions for everyone on the plane. I shut the front cabin door making sure it was secure, and strapped myself into my jumpseat; as the plane was going down the runway, I would again review emergency procedures in my mind. I needed to retain what I'd learned, and apply it to each flight. Are you learning from God's word each day, gaining knowledge and wisdom from Him, living it out practically?
  • Serve God and others with love (Galatians 5: 13). Most people think that a flight attendant's main job is to serve drinks and snacks. But that isn't true. Her main job is passenger and crew safety. However, it was part of my job as a flight attendant to serve drinks and snacks every flight, as long as it was not a really short flight. The plane aisle was extremely narrow, and I would have to first make an announcement, then prepare the serving cart (a bucket of ice and scoop, napkins, cups, sugar, creamer, canned sodas, juices, and water) and push it to the back, serving everyone until I reached the front. Smiling at passengers and being as friendly as possible went a long way in making it a pleasant flight for everyone (and not all passengers were friendly back, or easy to deal with!). I knew that I was anointed in my job walking down that aisle - or even pouring a Coke for someone and handing them peanuts! I felt that simply being a servant was a way to witness to others about Jesus, without having to say very much (our lives being a living epistle to the lost). As believers, we should be known by our loving service to others. And ministry should always start in the home, with our family! Do you serve your family and those around you, willingly and cheerfully, as unto the Lord?
  • Trust God. When I finally came back home after I resigned, my former pastor asked me wasn't I ever afraid of flying and that the plane would crash (like many people, flying made him nervous because it's out of your control). I could honestly answer him no, because I LOVE flying. It's FUN! Even on bumpy flights with a lot of turbulence, I felt a confidence and trust in God. I knew that plane was not going to crash as long as I was on it - I prayed over that flight, myself, and all the passengers, and was in God's loving hands - and He was not finished with me yet! But even if the plane did crash, I knew where I was going for eternity! Do you? Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? If not, I invite you to ask Him to be your savior. He is my best friend - and it will be the most exciting ride of your life! If you do already know Him, do you trust Him, really trust Him with everything in your life? Give him your worries, fears, concerns, dreams and desires. God cares about every detail of your life, and loves you! Trust God for "a safe flight" in life, and a great adventure!
  • Have an adventure. I loved being a flight attendant! It was one of the funnest times of my life, and when our daughter is grown and moved out of the house, I may do it again. Traveling is so much fun. I was able to fly all over the east coast as a flight attendant - for free! One of my benefits was that my family was also able to fly free. I flew Ray and Leah to Florida to visit Sea World. I love dolphins, and we had so much fun looking at all the different animals. Leah had never been to the beach before in her entire life (born in Missouri), and we were able to rent a car and drive to the beach. She loved the ocean, and had a blast. Later, we also flew to New York to see Niagara Falls, one of my dreams come true, and to Georgia to visit my family there. One weekend on my days off, I flew to Portland, Maine, on a trip by myself to see light houses and visit "up north" (someplace I'd never been). One of the trips I worked was to Miami, and on the night of my arrival, I went out with the crew to eat at a Cuban seafood diner. The air was warm and balmy, palm trees stood tall with the backdrop of a crisp, blue sky, and musicians played for the diners. I visited many other places working as a flight attendant. I toured the museum in Birmingham, Alabama, seeing the special, nation-wide exhibit of Pompeii's volcanic explosion that buried the city. They had some archaeology plasters of some of the volcano's victims, and many other remains that had once been buried by lava. It was fascinating and horrifying at the same time. I watched a pretzel maker in Chicago, and tried one of the large, salted, buttered treats for the first time - yum! In cities I took buses and went shopping for summer clothes and cute shoes. Life is meant to be lived as an adventure, not as a boring, monotonous routine. What are you wanting to do? Are you doing it? If not, why not? Really live!
  • Our final destination is going to be so awesome! Although work was really fun, it was always such a relief to get back to my apartment in Florida after a long trip, especially the three or four day trips. Sometimes I'd have anywhere from three to six flights on a single day, and when you had several days of that, you are just exhausted afterward! After six months of working 10 to 12 hour shifts, and not being able to see my family much at all during that time, I decided to resign at Christmas. I missed my family too much! Homecoming was so sweet and good. As Christians, our redemption is drawing near and our homecoming, our final destination with Christ in eternity, is going to be incredible. I can't wait! How about you?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let God's love spill out of you today

Refreshing water - Let God's love spill out all over those around you.

Today I was reading from Philemon in The Message version Bible. I really liked what the sypnosis of Philemon said, and want to share its encouraging message here with you:

Every movement we make in response to God has a ripple effect, touching family, neighbors, friends, community. Belief in God alters our language. Love of God affects daily relationships. Hope in God enters into our work. Also their opposites - unbelief, indifference, and despair. None of these movements and responses, beliefs and prayers, gestures and searches, can be confined to the soul. They spill out and make history...Paul had no idea that believing in Jesus would involve them in radical social change.

Are you positively affecting those around you through your relationship with Christ? Is your faith in God greatly influencing your family, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors? I have a magnet on my refrigerator of water dripping into a pool, making ripples. It says, "If you can't make waves, make ripples."

Of course, I would love to be a tsunami wave of God's powerful influence on those who cross my path each day. But if I can't be that for now, then I want to be at least ripples of Jesus' love....a delightful splash of encouragement, joy, and peace. And as I am faithful with the little, then I pray God will give me increase....expanding my borders and sphere of influence for His glory and to further His kingdom. Yes, I want to be used in a GREAT way by God! How about you?

Do you want more of God? Are you hungry for Him? Would you like to have more of an impact on those around you, ministering to them? My desire is to be so saturated with God's presence, that my face shines as Moses' face did after he spent 40 days and nights with God, and he came down the mountain. (Exodus 34: 30). So filled with His Spirit, that His grace and forgiveness touches everyone around me and ministers to them. So deeply in love with Jesus, that the sweet aroma of His anointing that is within me fills an entire room of people...and breaks every yoke and bondage of darkness!

As this paragraph from The Message above says, wouldn't it be awesome - and what God really wants from us - to have His love and truth spilling out of you and me to even make history...to make radical social change, as Jesus and his disciples did, turning the world upside down?!

After all, Jesus Christ was the ultimate in social change. Eating with known sinners. Driving greedy merchants with a whip out of His Father's house of worship. Making no accusation against the woman caught in adultery. Touching and healing lepers. Saying children are the greatest in the Kingdom of God, and to become like them. Calling Pharisees - the religious and hypocritical teachers of the law - snakes and white-washed toombs. And finally, dying on the cross in our stead, so we could be saved and could spend eternity with God.

Here is both a challenge and a great encouragement to you and me today from Philemon 1: 4 -7 and 1:21-22:

Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, "Oh, thank you, God!" I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other believers. And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers..You'll be doing it for Christ, but it will also do my heart good. I know you well enough to know you will. You'll probably go far beyond what I've written. And by the way, get a room ready for me. Because of your prayers, I fully expect to be your guest again."

Today may we make more room in our hearts for Jesus, and may we brim over with His living waters of love, goodness, mercy and eternal truth, to all those around us...that people would clearly see Jesus in us.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dream BIG


Ed Viesturs climbing Mt. Everest.

http://www.mounteverest.net/story/stories/ExWebSpecialEdViestursIstillhavepeaksthatIwanttoclimbMay182005.shtml


This morning I listened to a great message on Blog Talk Radio by speaker/writer Cindy Rushton, Dare To Dream. I believe it will really encourage your heart as it did mine. Cindy is WONDERFUL, and spoke for two hours. I am not going to share all that she said, but I did take notes - I want to learn as much as I can from those speakers and writers who are a great success! Here is a recap of her uplifting message:

Get a vision/dream. Decide what it is that you really want in life. Burnout is a sign of having no vision for your life. Get alone with God, and pray for Him to speak to you about His vision for you. Listen to Him & obey.

Get practical, and write it down. Write everything down! Habakkuk 2:2-3 says, "Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is for an appointed time, but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come. It will not tarry."

Set a time limit. "By Christmas, I will achieve this dream!" Where do I want to be in one year? six months? next month? You don't want to be in the same place next year, do you? If you don't start moving, you will wind up not fulfilling your destiny and living with deep regrets. Each month, assess your progress toward your dream. Stop with the excuses, and just get going!

Set specific, attainable goals. If you want to lose weight, and you write down, "Lose 20 pounds this month," that is most likely NOT going to happen. Aim high, but make your aim sure. Get busy. Step by step, work toward your dream. Surround yourself with dreamers, not dream-killers.

Stay on guard. Realize we have an enemy who does not want us to succeed. He attacks those who are being promoted. Spiritual warfare surrounds the birth of a miracle, just as Herod ordered the killing of children because he heard of the prophecies about the Messiah. The enemy will not be able to stop God's plan for your life, but be alert in prayer against his strategies. Don't let him distract or discourage you. Increase your faith. You need more faith than ever before as you pursue your dream! Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

Dream BIG. God has great plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). He has big dreams for us, and wants us to achieve them. He will help us. Pray and ask Him to help you make your dreams come true. Just as with Abraham, God wants to do the utterly impossible in and through your life. Think big, dream BIG, and make it happen, with God's help! You CAN do it! Your dreams CAN come true!

Cindy's encouraging message can be heard at Blog Talk Radio at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Mom-to-Mom-Radio-Show/2009/06/09/Dare-to-Dream-with-Cindy-Rushton.

You can visit Cindy's website at http://www.cindyrushton.com/. Also, be sure to check out my website www.bethjones.net/cms. I am making decisions right now about getting the website redesigned in Wordpress within the next month, and plan to have my blog's content imported into the new website, so they will both be at ONE site, which will be very convenient for me and my readers. I cannot WAIT! Please pray that God helps me to get this DONE SOON, and for His anointing upon the website designer. I plan to use this blog's graphic (the header) with my new site!

Be sure to check by here each week for new posts and podcasts. I'd LOVE to hear back any comments, questions, or feedback from you about today's post, or about any of the other posts or podcasts at Tablet Of My Heart. You can subscribe to my blog by rss feed with your favorite feed reader, or by email subscription. Have a GREAT day!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Marriage - give it all you got

Skyler and Hannah on their romantic, midnight picnic

Skyler and Hannah

Today our friends' daughter Hannah got married. She looked so beautiful in a strapless white gown with a long, white train, her hair in an updo with a few, jagged bang strands on the side of her forehead, with a little glitter and white flowers pinned in her hair. The groom Skyler and his groomsmen in black tuxes, the bridesmaids' short, black dresses, and the mothers of the bride and groom in semi-formal, black dresses were very elegant.

Overall, the wedding ceremony went smoothly, other than their slideshow not wanting to start at first, and one of the toddler flower girls crying and refusing to go down the aisle, lol. At the reception immediately following the service, I served the punch. It was a unique recipe that Hannah had gotten from someone at another church - a large jug of cold Hawaiian punch and 3/4 of a liter bottle of Dr. Pepper. Adding the Dr. Pepper made the color a dark red, which was one of the wedding theme colors. A lot of people liked the different flavor.

And the chocolate wedding cake was so good - as well as the chocolate fondue fountain for the strawberries, pineapples, marshmellows, and salted pretzel sticks! All the kids at the wedding had a blast with the chocolate fountain. Afterward, Ray, Leah and I helped some friends clean up the church and the reception hall, which is always a lot of work. But we had fun!

During the vows, the pastor read Ephesians 5:22-32, out of The Message version Bible, which I loved. It says:

Wives, understand and support your husband in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church - a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out in her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor - since they're already "one" in marriage.

No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That's how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. No longer two, they become "one flesh." This is a huge mystery, and I don't pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.

The phrase, "Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives" struck me. That is how it should be in marriage - mutually. After the honeymoon, we should not stop "going all out" for each other. Every day, we should find ways to show our spouses we love and appreciate them.

For example, when Skyler and Hannah dated, he took her on a midnight picnic, bringing all of her favorite foods. What a romantic!

We as married couples can go on midnight picnics, too...or find other ways to go all out to love our spouses. Here's a few romance tips from some marriage websites to help keep your marriage going strong:
  • Wash each other's hair or each others' bodies - slowly wash it.
  • Go out on a date for a malt or ice cream.
  • Treat your spouse to breakfast in bed, and stay there all day.
  • Build a snowman - or have s'mores over a bonfire.
  • Take a long walk in the country, looking at the stars and the moon.
  • Go back to the place you had your honeymoon. Have your picture taken, holding hands and smiling. Have it nicely framed for your bedroom.
  • Have dinner somewhere different - in the backyard on a quilt, by the den fireplace, or on the patio.
  • Pray with your spouse every night. Prayer builds intimacy.
  • Kiss for a long time - just kiss!
  • Declutter your bedroom, remove the tv or the laptop, redecorate it the way you both like. Use scented candles and fresh, clean, pretty sheets. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary of passion and rest for you both. Cook tasty hors-d'oeuvres or a good, hot Italian meal, and eat alone in your bedroom over candlenight (the kids in bed or at grandma's!).
  • Have a 'tech free' night - no tv, no cell phone, no computer. Just the two of you talking.
  • Look at your wedding album together and family photos. Laugh, cry, enjoy the memories.
  • Take country line dancing or some other type of dance lessons.
  • Secretly save money for a cruise, Hawaii, or Ireland, and surprise your mate with the tickets (if it takes a year to save, that's ok! Just start putting a little money away each paycheck! And don't spend it!)
  • Make a slideshow or scrapbook of your spouse's lifetime achievements, letting him know how proud you are of him.
  • Have coffee together in a new town, and then explore it.
  • Buy your spouse something he's/she's been wanting a long time.
  • Take up a new sport together like skiing, hiking, biking, or horseback riding.
  • Do little things for each other. This can mean so much. Ask God what would really encourage your spouse today, and then do it.
  • Most of all, just love each other and be kind to each other. Build friendship daily, and keep communication lines open. Verbally express your love and respect for each other every day.

Remember, "go all out." He's worth it!

Getting away

Wishing for a day in the sun at a tropical beach.

It's late at night, or I should say early in the morning (2:18 a.m.). I am up so late, downloading shows from Cindy Rushton's Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2009 ~ awesome speakers! Last year for Christmas, Ray bought me a purple Ipod. I have been using it for music downloads, but this is the first time I've downloaded radio shows/podcasts by MP3 on it, and am so excited! Lately I am really needing some encouragement. :) Tonight at Walmart, I bought a little, soft, zippered Ipod carrying case to hang on my jeans belt loop, so I can listen to the downloads as I'm going around the house, doing chores.

The days have seemed long lately, and I feel tired. Stressed. Very busy. Just wanting a good night's sleep (insomnia)...or a week's trip to a beautiful, tropical beach somewhere ~ away from everything mundane and familiar. The key words are getting away.

If the exotic beach is not a reality right now, how do you get away from it all? Where do you find peace and relaxation in the midst of all the rushed dailyness?
God is the perfect place to go. He is a safe haven, a sanctuary of tranquility. He is your resting place, and mine. "Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother, Like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord, From this time forth and forever." Psalm 131: 2-3
Rest in the Lord, and in His love and tender care for you.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Michael Hyatt: "You have something to say"

Blogging demotivator poster: "Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few."

I thought the above blogging demotivator poster was hilarious, even though I don't personally subscribe to its philosophy. Blogging is a great outlet for writing, and I am lovin' it. And I am learning so much from other bloggers!

If you are new to blogging, you can take away encouragement about blogging from Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson, Inc., in his video presentation, 12 Reasons Why Every Traditional Publisher Should Blog.http://michaelhyatt.com/2009/04/12-reasons-why-every-traditional-publisher-should-be-blogging.html.

Even though Michael is addressing publishers, he offers everyday bloggers incentives about why they should blog. The primary one is that you have something valuable to say, something that you can uniquely offer others. There is no other person on the planet with your background, your personality, your experiences, your insights, your gifts, talents, and skills. You are the expert on you.

What is it that you really want to tell others? What is burning in your heart to share?

Let people get to know you, the real you. Be transparent as glass, be authentic, be yourself. Tell people about the way you've messed up - and learned from it (you do need a point - you don't want to just throw up your past on people!). Don't try to copy someone else. People will tell if you're faking it! God wants to use you, just the way you are! He specializes in using our weaknesses for his glory.

Don't worry about the numbers at first (how many subscribed readers or subscriptions by email.) That will come in time. It's not about numbers, it's about giving of yourself, pouring out to others. Numbers can be misleading and will trip you up fast. Just share your heart. Get real, and be willing to be vulnerable. Tell others your pain, and your victory through it, because human pain and suffering is always relevant.

Let others get to know and to love you. You have so much to give others! Share the solution to that problem! Your perspective may be the one thing to help someone else today.

Your blog will have its own flavor, theme, brand. Blogs vary. Some are serious, some are fun, some are packed with information and resources, some are inspirational. Here are a few of my favorites that you can check out for ideas, and to help you get started:

Problogger offers practical, very helpful tips for blog beginners here. http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/14/is-a-blog-right-for-you/. Problogger's blog is a wealth of information on blogging, and one of my favorite sites. You will enjoy his laid-back, uncluttered, clean style, and walk away with valuable resources. Watch his vlogs, too. I wonder, is he always so calm? Does anything ever upset him? He has such a soothing, peaceful effect on you, and he makes you really want to blog more!

Anne Jackson has traveled all over the world using online media to tell stories about poverty. Her blog on Uganda is powerful and heart-breaking. http://www.flowerdust.net/category/my-blog/compassion-uganda-blogging-trip/. I really want to go to Africa, and love reading posts about that fascinating land.

Mrs. Fussy Pants (Allison Worthington, or Alli) is one of the most recognized names in online media. I love Alli! She's smart, she's pretty, she's sweet, and she's charming. She was voted #17 of the top 50 most influential women in social media and #38 among top women bloggers. Her site has great articles, news, and blogs from all over the nation. One of her more fun vlogs(video + blog = vlogging) is Fight The Frump - My Favorite Lipstick (Vlogging Style). You can view it here. http://www.mrsfussypants.com/whatsmartmommiesknow/2009/05/fight-the-frump-my-favorite-lipstick-vlogginstyle.html.

For hilarious reviews on the tv series Lost and her children's antics, as well as blogs that will deeply touch your heart and uplift you in faith, visit Shannon from Rocks In My Dryer.
http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/shannon/about-the-author.html.

Writer/speaker/homeschooling mom Cindy Rushton is my role model in all 3 areas, and you will just love her website and blog at http://cindyrushton.com/. Cindy has great resources for you; she is a fountain of encouragement and fresh, creative ideas that can help you in building a godly home.

A beautiful, unique, inspirational blog about marriage, speaking and writing is Sheila Wray Gregoire's To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. http://tolovehonorandvacuum.blogspot.com/. You won't want to miss Cindy Rushton's or Sheila's podcasts! I could listen to them all day! They are both so fun, and you learn so much from them!

Devotional Diva Renee Johnson, speaker and writer to the 20-somethings, has free Bible devotionals, thought-provoking blogs, and short, powerful podcasts on a variety of topics. http://www.devotionaldiva.com/devotionals.html. Renee's passion for Christ shines through in all she does.

You might also check out my other favorites to get you started blogging. I love The Glamourous Life, Musings Of a Housewife (my blog designer Jo-Lynne), Catholic Teacher Musings, T. Suzanne Scheppmann, Organizing Queen, The Inspired Room, Marnie's Blog, Trish Berg Blog, The Writing Life (Terry Whalin), Lysa Terkeurst (Proverbs 31 Ministries), and so many more that are not named here, but are equally fabulous.

All these people, who I've never met in real life, have penetrated my heart with their blogs - my life has been deeply enriched by this online adventure of blogging.

There just isn't enough time each day to read them all, but they have really blessed my life and given me such encouragement and valuable information on blogging, writing, speaking, business success, being a wife and mother, etc. - and I believe they can help you, too. You can subscribe to my blog and theirs, by clicking on the rss feed icon on the blogs (using your favorite feed reader like Google or Yahoo), or by email subscription.

Find your niche. Find your voice. Start blogging today. Be a part of this delightful, new place.

"It is not down in any map; true places never are." ~Herman Melville

Here are their links below:

http://www.mopsmommyof4.blogspot.com/.

http://www.musingsofahousewife.com/.

http://www.teachermuse.blogspot.com/.

http://susannescheppmann.blogspot.com/.

http://organisingtips.blogspot.com/.

http://theinspiredroom.net/.

http://marnie.com/blog/.

http://blog.trishberg.com/.

http://terrywhalin.blogspot.com/.

http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Finding contentment in yourself ~ antidote to envy

Have you ever felt that sharp stab of envy? I recently encountered it, and it's an ugly thing. It gets even worse when you read its definition in Webster's: malice or resentful awareness of another's advantage, joined with a desire to possess that same advantage.

Ewww, envy is nothing that I want!

But I am not alone in these occasional feelings. Envy is common among writers. Mary-Frances Makichen humorously blogs about writer's envy in, Why I Don't Envy Nora Roberts - Sort Of. http://wordmedley.com/?p=229.

In the 10 Commandments, God warns us not to covet, or envy, in Deuteronomy 5: 21:

You shall not covet your neighbor's spouse, and you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.


Donkey.

Now I don't really want my neighbor's ox or donkey, but there are some things that others have that I would like!

Yet coveting or envy opens the door for the enemy to come into our lives (James 3: 16):

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

No thank you! I don't want confusion and evil reigning in our home! Furthermore, envy keeps me from having a grateful heart for what God has done in my life. It questions His intrinsic goodness to me - implying He has been better to someone else than to me.

I want to experience God's love, peace, and joy, and all the blessings that He wants to give me for my life. Envy robs me of that, because I am focused on the greener grass (or the published articles and books, or the better marriage they have, or the great relationship they have with their kids, or their blessed finances, or the whatever is envied) instead of on my relationship with Jesus and my loved ones. What, then, is the solution when you or I feel that green-eyed monster called envy?

The antidote to coveting and envy is contentment and praise of God. 1 Timothy 6: 6 says:

Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

Psalm 18:49 says, Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.

If you're praising God, your heart will be full of joy, not envy. If you're content with yourself, it will be impossible to envy others. You will feel happy and fulfilled with the blessings God has given you.

You will know your identity in Christ, and will be satisfied with who you are...and what you've accomplished already...and where you are heading with God's help. You will worship and praise Him for all He's done. You are walking with God, step by faithful step, toward your dreams and your destiny in Christ.

We are not called to be someone else. I am called to be me. You are called to be you.

Most of all, I want Jesus Christ to be glorified in my life and for God to be pleased with me....His unique blueprint for my life, not someone else's plan. So what if others appear more successful, as long as I am walking in obedience to the Lord? I need to follow Him, not look around at others. (John 21: 20-25).

God will reward each one of us for our obedience to Him! What has He told you to do? Then do it, and you will know His pleasure. If we trust in Him and commit our ways to Him, He will direct our paths. (Proverbs 3: 5-6). He wants to give us the desires of our hearts, and be good to us.

The Amplified Bible says in Proverbs 14:30, A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.

Look at the benefits of not being envious of others and being content: a calm and undisturbed mind, life, and health. This sounds much better than rottenness of our bones!

One of the best books I've ever read on envy is by Bonnie Friedman, called Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distractions, and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life. Her writing is excellent, with powerful imagery. You can read an excerpt of the book in the New York Times' article here. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/26/books/envy-the-writer-s-disease.html?pagewanted=1..

You can also buy it online at Amazon.com. As Friedman says, it is our own focused writing that will drive away the starved, hidden, insubstantial face of Envy. "What exists is only the writing. And when the writing goes well, its pleasure lasts the whole day," she says.

http://www.writersstore.com/product.php?products_id=431..

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ebook: To Kindle or not to Kindle

Sony PRS-500 portable reader system. Used from $189.30 and new from $295.00 on Amazon.com.

Problogger's blog, How To Create Ebooks That Sell, was thought-provoking. http://www.copyblogger.com/create-ebooks-that-sell.

He advises that if your manuscript is over 200 pages, you might want to go ahead and try to get it published or self-publish. People in today's postmodern culture want to just skim things fast. Problogger says that your successful Ebook can be anywhere from 10 to 50 pages. A book that is 50 pages max? That is an attainable goal, for even a beginner writer!
Your edge over losing a sale to Amazon, or other online bookstores and sites, will be to solve a problem in your Ebook and to be a credible writer. And of course, your writing needs to be solid, something people want to read! This problem to solve doesn't even have to be a hard one.

Let's see. Why teenagers want to be able to drive, but can't do their own laundry. Why husbands do not fear bullets, fire, or blood, but would not be caught dead buying feminine products for their wives that time of the month. How libraries will file Kindles on their shelves. Just kidding.

Readers don't want to do the research they need (I personally love googling!), so that's your job with your Ebook ~ putting a convenient, useful product in their hands that will help them, and that they can download very quickly, for a reasonable price.

Problogger even added a tip to use Ejunkie, which my website uses for readers to purchase my article, Having Faith In Fearful Times. http://www.bethjones.net/cms.

My personal preference is still to be able to curl up with a good book when I want to read. A world without books would be such an awful, empty place.

There's nothing like a good Jane Austen book.

I also am very technology challenged, so the idea of buying a portable reader system, like the one by Sony at the beginning of this blog, is not very appealing to me ~ I don't want to have to figure out how to push buttons just to be able to read a book! (Makes turning a page sound really lazy, doesn't it?)

Then again, I have an IPOD, a cell phone, and a laptop, so why not a Kindle? :)

At any rate, Problogger gave me some ideas about creating Ebooks. Now to go find some problems to solve. :) What are your thoughts on Ebooks? Do you like them, or do you prefer an actual book?

A future and a hope: not despising small beginnings

For many years, I was a closet writer. I just wrote in my diary, wrote short stories that I threw away after a few pages, and wrote articles that stayed safely tucked away in files on my computer. Then I realized it was time to stop hiding my talent, like the lazy servant (Matthew 25: 14-30).

I began writing articles, sending them out for publication. When I received the generic rejection letters after an agonizing six to ten weeks later, I would feel depressed; this means I'm not a real writer, I'd think. Today, I still don't love rejection letters, but I realize they are part of the territory. If I can't take constructive criticism, then I need to get out of the business while I can.

Editors are not man-eating sharks, who love ruining your life. (Ok, some of them are sharks, but most of them are decent human beings, who love to write and read themselves!). They are busy people, with wisdom and an eye for detail, and they know what sells and what readers want. Listen to them! Then re-write!

I gave defeat the boot, and eventually some articles were published in smaller magazines. My husband lovingly framed my first acceptance letter. I was paid just $25 for a short article, but you would have thought it was $250,000. I was ecstatic. Finally, I was published! These articles motivated me to begin setting higher goals...and then life happened.

For the last several years, our family has gone through some really hard, stressful events, and for a season I laid down speaking and writing to concentrate on our family's needs. This year as things have calmed down a bit, I began sticking my little toe back into the water, and am now again focusing on blogging, writing articles for publication, and speaking ~ being careful to make sure that God and my family come first. But I try to write every day!

Mary DeMuth, Christian speaker and author of Daisy Chain and Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, encouraged me today in her May 6 blog post on writing, The Story Behind Yesterday's BreakPoint. Wow. http://www.relevantblog.blogspot.com/. Here is an excerpt from her post:

Simply put: don't give up.

Don't neglect to exercise the gifts God has given you.

Don't despise small beginnings.

Be patient for God's plan to unfold.

Sometimes it may feel as if nothing is happening as a writer or speaker, or doors are not opening fast enough. A national Christian speaker whom I recently contacted for tips on getting more speaking opps told me that with the economy the way it is now, even well-known speakers are not being paid what they're usually paid...and are getting less speaking engagements than they usually book each year year.

She said pastors are no longer willing to pay large amounts for even seasoned speakers. She also said that many women are no longer attending events like they used to...they are too busy, have babysitting problems, or can't afford it. Also, there's a new transition taking place; everything is online now. Why drive or fly far away to a conference, when you can listen by MP3 in the comfort of your own home?

She said it takes time to achieve the level of writing and speaking success we desire. We should not be discouraged. The book of Ecclesiastes says there is a season, a timing, for everything. God has perfect timing. He is never late.

Often I feel like a race horse, chompin' at the bit behind the gate...and it seems God and everything in my life moves at a turtle pace (even car traffic! Why are they driving so slow?). A lot of times we want to run ahead of God, before we're ready for something. But He has to prepare the soil of our hearts.

Cindy Rushton, my role model for writing success, says, "We have to do a lot of dirt work first." She gave the example of when she and her husband Harold began building their dream home in the country. Harold winded up buying a bobcat because there was so much dirt work he needed to get done (and hiring someone to do it is very expensive!). The dirt work is messy, hard, long hours of work. But it's necessary for a level, secure foundation.

To achive our writing and speaking dreams, we have to do the dirt work first! We have to lay the right foundation, which is that of our faith in Jesus Christ. He is the reason we write ~ for His glory. He has given us these gifts of writing and speaking. And we should not hide or waste them, but be faithful with them.

We have to "just do it," as the popular Nike slogan says. Write. And write some more. Re-write. And never stop writing! Learn from others who have gone before us, and are now a success. Same thing with building a speaking platform.

This morning, I listened to pastor's wife Lisa McKay, who spoke for A Woman Inspired 2009 conference. http://www.christianwomenonline.net/issue/2009/03/a-woman-inspired-online-conference-april-6th-9th/. These web site has a variety of articles on marriage, parenting, home decor, ministry, writing, blogging, and more.

Lisa spoke about our calling from God in her presentation, Bigger Than Your Biography. She said something that really ministered to me: "The thing that we've had to work hard for is precious."

We don't know why God seems to open doors more easily for others. It does seem like some people get everything handed to them on a silver plate. That is probably not the reality. In fact, I recently emailed a writer friend who has a hugely successful ministry, and commented on how fast her ministry had grown since I first met her. What was the key? She told me it was not fast at all; it had taken her over 20 years to get where she is today. And it is called work! It just seemed fast to me, when I compared myself with her. Which we should not do! We all have our own timetable with God!

Lisa also shared at The Woman Inspired 2009 conference that we should look at our lives, and see if we're being totally faithfully with what we've been given now, before God gives us more ~ perhaps more than we could handle.

She said that we should look at the motive of why we're doing it; is this what God has really called us to do, or are we doing something because it looks pretty on someone else? We need to check our hearts.

Are we doing everything now that God has given us with excellence? Are we taking care of our family to the best of our ability? Are our homes in order, or is everything falling apart while we're pursuing our passion?

Lisa said we need to be thankful for our houseful of children. Our family, next to God, is our priority. She said it does not matter how successful your public ministry is, if your family feels neglected.

As wives, our job is to be our husband's help-mate. She also said that motherhood is the highest calling there is. I totally agree! Being able to be a mom is sacred - the greatest job on earth! And if my husband or our daughter feel like my writing or speaking matters more than they do, then I have failed at my most important job! Does your husband feel overshadowed by your ministry or business? Or does he come first?

We must find that serene place of balance and focus. It starts with time with God. We should not overlook our family. We also cannot neglect to use the gifts God has put inside of us, because that is wasting something precious from the Lord. He wants us to use our gifts! We can do both, and we can do them with excellence. We can learn to compartmentalize our lives, organize our days, and manage our time effectively.

We don't have to be a closet writer or speaker. We can step out in faith, like Peter walking on the water. As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will not sink. We can do and be what God has called us to do and to be ~ the mighty woman of God that He desires us to be! His scribe. His messenger of hope and truth. He has given us something to say, and we need to share it to others who need encouragement and faith.

We should not despise small beginnings. We may be taking what feels like baby steps right now, but have a big future ahead! God says in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has good plans for us, for a future and a hope!

As we are faithful with what is in our hands, God will give us increase. He will give us the desires of our heart. Lisa referred to Psalm 37: 3-5 as the basis for her teaching, and I will share it here also:

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness; Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; Trust also in Him; And He shall bring it to pass."







Thursday, May 21, 2009

The four types of personalities: the way we were created

A great book, Personality Plus, by Florence Littauer.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Personality+Plus.


Wife: Oh honey, by the way, there's a few people coming over tonight for a little
get-together.
Husband: Tonight? What kind of get-together? You know I hate parties!
Wife: It's not really a party, just some people coming over. And what's wrong with parties? It will be fun!

At seven p.m., 25 people show up at the front door for food, games, and catching up with each other until late that night. Some of them, the husband does not even know. The wife is energized and all smiles. What a great time! Later, the husband retreats to his room, drained and worn out from all the people. He just had wanted to sit on the couch and watch tv.

Does this sound familiar? When I attended CLASS (Christian Leaders Authors and Speakers Seminars) writers'/speakers' training in St. Louis and in Connecticut a couple of years ago, the staff also did some teaching on the four types of personalities. http://www.classervices.com/.

Suddenly the light came on. Now I knew what the problem was ~ my husband was phlegmatic! Just kidding. The teachings helped me to finally understand myself better, and why I am the way I am (Choleric-Melancholy). It also helped me in my relationships with others ~ to "get" them, and therefore, to be more easily able to accept and love them.

They are not behaving the way they are, just to purposely drive me crazy. It is the way they were created by God ~ they are different from me! And we are all wonderfully and fearfully made in God's sight (Psalm 139:14). None of the personalities are better than the other.

Each of the four personalities has strengths and has weaknesses. Florence Littaeur, founder of CLASS, says, "As leaders, we need to know what people's strengths are and why their weaknesses bother us." We also need to understand ourselves, tap into our strengths, and overcome our personality weaknesses.

Differences in personalities can cause great struggles in marriage, and with our children, other family members, bosses, co-workers, friends, and all those around us.

Florence's book, Personality Plus, is an excellent resource for identifying what the four types of personality are (Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic). It will give you new insights into why you think and behave the way you do, as well as those around you ~ and why your differences can cause such friction between you. With studying of the personalities comes understanding, and even compassion. Knowledge is power, and this book is a great tool for couples, parents, writers, speakers, teachers, and other leaders.

Florence was interviewed by Linda Goldfarb (Communicating With Power) on Blog Talk Radio on the personalities ~ how she began learning about them and teaching about them with her husband, Fred. Florence is such a scream. She's very funny, interesting, and has a lot of wisdom to offer others. Tune in for a great show about the personalities with Linda and Florence at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/communicatingwithpower.