Warm Wednesday Words: Sophie Lucia-Marie Jacobson

Sophie turned 8 on January 6, and I got behind in asking for grandchild birthday blogposts…but Sophie jumped in to get me caught up again.  I remember her from the moment she was born, and am honored to be her “Marme” and love the cuddly moments we share.   As you can tell from her next to last picture, she got her sewing skills from me, not her talented mama.

Sophies top blog pic

My favorite food is: Donuts!

My favorite book is: Right now my favorite book we’re reading out loud is Jungle Book. My favorite book I read myself was about Amelia Earhart.

I think the coolest person on earth is: Uncle Jacob

My favorite thing to learn about is: Animals, and stories of real people.

The thing I am most awesome at is: I like to do a lot of things, but maybe I’m best at making things.

If I could go anywhere in the world I would go: Maybe somewhere to feed hippos.

My favorite color is: At the moment it is red, but I also kind of like yellow.

When I grow up I want to become: I don’t really know what I want to be right now. Maybe a zoo keeper.

My current favorite song is: The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Three words I feel best describe me are: Hyperactive. Weird. Crazy.

When I was little I used to: Do a lot of things! Like watch TV a lot. I probably chewed on things. I don’t know what all I did when I was little.

My favorite season is: Probably summer.

The absolute best thing about camping is: Being in the wild!

The snack I like the best is: Granola bars.

One food that I really dislike is: Tomatoes.

My best friend is: I don’t really have one. But I have lots of good friends.

If I had one wish it would be: To own a pet hippo.
My favorite movie is: Oscar’s Oasis maybe?
My favorite outfit is: Umm… maybe my long jeans skirt and my owl shirt.
My favorite thing to do: Play with my calico critters, or pretend to be an animal.
A favorite memory of mine is: Going to the beach!
My favorite animal is: Hippo
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Warm Wednesday Words: Words Seasoned with Grace

Tongue is a FireSome of my best days are those that are sprinkled with encouraging words, while the occasional less tolerable days are peppered with careless words.  I have no doubt I’ve supplied fodder for many a person’s better and worse days as well.  We’ve likely all used adjectives to tear down, just as we’ve all likely been torn down by hurtful and exaggerative words.  Adjectives emphasize and therefore leave their mark in the memory.  How much better it would be for them to leave a positive, pleasant memory then a negative, bitter one. However, I know too well, when I get puffed up with pride or anger it is impossible to chase down grace and tack it on to my words as an afterthought.  That would be akin to attempting to put out a fire with a watering can; whereas a heartfelt apology is more like the downpour that puts out a fire.  Even better is to not ignite a fire of words at all.  “Don’t say anything that would hurt [another person].  Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed.  That way, what you say will help those who hear you.”  Ephs. 4:29 GWT  “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.”  Col. 4:6   How I need an ample supply of stored up grace before I open my mouth.  I also know that not one of us is perfect in taming our tongues, but we are to still strive to be.

forgiven much loves muchThe verbal cold wall, no less formidable then 20′ rock castle walls, can be just as damaging, especially as time seems to be on the side of verbal walls, adding layer after layer of additional impenetrable silence and misunderstandings.  The silence behind withheld words of encouragement or reconciliation does damage and this choice  insidiously hides behind a cloak of innocence.  Shortchanging or refusing good and timely communication and reconciliation speaks volumes regarding the lack of grace and abundance of arrogance.  If all  Christian service was done in the order of Matt. 5:24,  and therefore divinely blessed, how much more effective it would be.

The tongue is the only body part which is “set on fire” by hell, itself.  The enemy has a vested interest in that particular part of the human anatomy and the damage it can do. “Like a sharpened razor, your tongue devises destruction, working treachery.”  Ps. 52:2 HCSB  There are times when words should be withheld; not in stubborn silence, but to avoid the arrogance of insisting on the last word.  Though I doubt there’s a single human being all-wise in this area, the saying does have merit, “Wise people are not always silent, but they know when to be”.

Often thoughtful words take time to formulate…more time then some want to give.  A regular influx of grace helps words tumble out less dangerously in those impromptu moments.  No matter how easy or hard it is to say the kind thing, nor how many times I blow it, it’s an art worth perfecting. How I need to take the time each morning with the Source of grace, and ask Him for a clearer picture of the grace I’ve been given at the Cross and therefore the grace I have no right to refuse giving.  Ps. 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  With my words I can make someone’s day brighter or with my words or withholding of them, I can tear them down.  The devastating effect of the latter can dampen the spirit and demotivate.  Since words have such a profound effect, why not raise the word bar?  Do you take the time to season your speech with grace?

Warm Wednesday Words: An UnDivided Heart

Undivided HeartI have many times longed for a personality or “heart” swap, and this week I was privileged to hear a speaker at a ladies event give the key to making that possible.  Though I’ve heard and read it before, it’s simplicity seemed profound at the moment, and I even woke up that night with it on my mind.  It is not possible with my own efforts, such as reading the best self help book, attempting some new resolutions, or even listening to the best sermons or spiritual lessons, though the latter may contain the key.  It is simply, Ask.  Prayerfully, ask in faith, acknowledging my great need and reminding Him of His implied promise in Ps. 86:11.  As Oswald Chambers said, “Our Lord’s making of a disciple is supernatural.  He does not build on any natural capacity at all.”  Whew.  What a relief.  Because what I’d like to become more often then not is not naturally consistent in me.

So what does it mean to have an undivided heart?  The band Casting Crowns referred to a saint with a divided heart as one with dirty hands and a plank in his eye.  Oh how we hate hypocrisy in others, yet we all have at least a little of it from time to time.  I also think a heart division occurs when we make other people or things as important as God.  To have an undivided heart may include putting God in His proper place no matter how it effects the rest of our activity time “pie”.

time chart clockReferring to the matter of going the extra mile from the Sermon on the Mount, Oswald Chambers says, “It is a statement of what will happen in me when Jesus Christ has altered my disposition and put in a disposition like His own.”  Sort of like a memory disc just available for the asking from our Heavenly Father.   A broken heart is another matter that I can actually be thankful for if God can accomplish His purposes through it.   But a divided heart is spiritually dangerous and needs a corrected focus.

BeFua divided heartA healthy heart organ must be hard working and elastic, without divisions and holes.   It’s vessels must be elastic and muscular to carry out the relentless task of pumping blood throughout the body.  I am asking for a monumental Valentine gift from the lover of my soul; i.e. a soft and undivided heart that is daily tuned to His.  There could be no finer gift to have, though it wouldn’t be for keeping, but rather for pumping what He gives back out to others, which, after all, is a fitting use for a heart.

What heart gift would you ask for this Valentine’s Day?


Warm Wednesday Words: Not so Steady Sentiments

Me and TonyExuberant (Merriam Webster Online Dictionary) very lively, happy or energetic:  filled with energy and enthusiasm.
Passion (Dictionary.com) Any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
Grief (Dictionary.com) A cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow.

It can be a blessing and a curse to feel strongly.   I’d  rather dwell on the fun and happy…better yet, joyous, side of things, especially since what we feel deeply must be expressed some way or another.  When I was growing up, Donna Fargo’s lyrics, “Shine on me sunshine, walk with me world, it’s a skippidity do-da-day, I’m the happiest girl in the whole U.S.A”  resonated with me.  My mom loved to tell stories and laugh and joke while we cleared the dinner table and wound down most evenings.  Like anybody, I love the fun times but can embrace the occasional heartbreak, too, and sometimes even in the same general time frame.

To both soar high and plunge deep is the personality God gifted me with and its bane is restrained by the Christ who lives in me.  Unfortunately, that restraint is an ongoing and unfinished process.  But for most folks,  honest humility necessitates reciprocal forbearance.  I find comfort in the Biblical David, and many other Biblical characters who felt deeply.  As obvious from the Psalms, David dealt with a restlessness and a range of emotions.  Yet his confident expectation was in God that without a doubt all would be made right.  (Ps. 63:1-11)  He was hidden in Christ and an avid worshiper.  And so am I.

open my mouth wide enoughGuy Brown, Ph.D., commenting on Kay Jamison’s book,  “Exuberance:  The Passion for Life”, says that ‘exuberance appears to feed off social interaction…and in adults exuberant behavior can be regarded as youthful playing or “kidding around”…exuberance is a behavior or mode of interaction, rather than an emotion …Exuberance keeps occasional company with grief, though grief may command the greater mention.’  It is here that passion, with its’ long suffering tendency, may over ride the sometimes more flitty exuberance.  While talking at length on exuberance and all its pros and cons, Brown says, “Yet exuberance and joy are fragile matter.  Bubbles burst; a wince of disapproval can cut dead a whistle or abort a cartwheel.  The exuberant move about the horizon, exposed and vulnerable.’  There was a curious request made of God in an Anglican prayer, he says.  ‘Shield your joyous ones.’  Everyone asks God to watch over the sick, the despairing, the suffering; as well we should.  Yet, I’m thankful someone thought fit to pray for divine protection for the exuberant ones normally left to their own devices, and the misunderstandings and judgments that cloud their paths.

Brown and Jamison allow that the exuberant types can be “silly, juvenile, annoying, and disruptive”.   But thankfully, Jamison added a saving grace, “Potentially, they may be more creative, because they generate random, playful ideas.”  Though Brown was somewhat searing on the exuberant types and admitted to being more of an “Eeyore” than a “Tigger”, he did offer food for thought.

Meantime, I tend to ere more on the lighter side and find lengthy cut and dry, “left brain” centered engagements like a stuffy room, drastically in need of a breath of fresh air.  In one of my favorite Oswald Chambers devotionals (and there are many), he says, “Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow aspects of life are not ordained by God; they are ordained by Him equally as much as the profound.  We sometimes refuse to be shallow not out of deep devotion to God but because we wish to impress….And it causes us to be a walking rebuke to other people.” (Nov. 22 My Utmost for His Highest)

humor, faith, laughter, prayerJesus promised those of us who grieve are blessed, because we will also laugh.  We are told that laughter is good medicine.  I personally think that should include belly laughter, and definitely should include a trust in God despite circumstances.  God tells us quite simply how to live:  “Be fair and just to others, compassionate and loyal in our love, and don’t take ourselves too seriously, but always, always take God seriously.”  (Micah 6:8 The Message).  Along with being Holy, Just, Mighty, Fearsome and many other things, God is also Compassionate and has a sense of Humor.  On the exuberance scale are you more the Tigger or the Eeyore?  What characteristic do you have that vacillates between a blessing and a curse?  How do you keep on the positive end of the spectrum?  How forgiving are you with failures, both in yourself and others?