Posted by: Diane | June 26, 2014

Kindhearted Giving

While I was standing eight hours/day at the trade show, I met some fascinating people. This was a really good thing because it took my attention off my aching feet!

As one kind-looking woman approached me, I noticed she was wearing an interesting pin and I immediately commented on it.

“Oh, I love your pin – my husband is a bass player!”

base pin

I hadn’t even finished my sentence before the woman took the pin off her sweater and pinned it on my shirt.

“Sounds like you’ll appreciate this gift. Please take it and enjoy.”

I smiled . . . and although I was taken back with her generosity, I accepted the gift because I’ve often done the very same thing to others.

My husband kids me and says,“Why bother buying you anything nice?  I know that if you really like it, eventually you’ll give it away.”

He’s right.

It’s just “stuff.” I appreciate gifts and I always keep the homemade and the “just for Diane” gifts that people have given me but there is something wonderful about giving a gift to someone for no reason at all, other than the fact that he/she likes the item. I’ve never related to “gift-giving” as my love language, but I have to admit that in certain circumstances, it brings such joy to my heart to give away things that belong to me.

It was delightful to meet another woman who feels the same way and now, I can enjoy this meaningful gift —  until I meet someone who’s married to a bass player and I’ll pass it on, with love.

 

giving love

 

I like the challenge that Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages puts forth to all of us when he writes, “The one who chooses to love will find appropriate ways to express that decision every day.”

. . . in many ways.

 

 

Posted by: Diane | June 25, 2014

A Good Reminder

I took the train to the wrong terminal in Atlanta this morning. Ugh! Not a good way to start the day but I scrambled to the shuttle and made my way to the right place, with time to spare.

As I waited in line to check in, I met a family from the Middle-East— mom, dad, three children and three big buggies, toppling over with the weight of all their luggage. My two days of approaching people and marketing my book must have paid off because my curiosity outweighed my fatigue and I confidently engaged the family in conversation. Turns out that this family was heading to Toronto and connecting to a flight overseas for eventual full-time mission work with an unreached people-group in predominantly Muslim region.

When the parents asked me to watch over the buggies filled to the brim with their earthly belongings as they took the kids for a bathroom break,  I couldn’t help but think about the days when I did exactly the same thing in 1994 – mom, dad and three young children, headed to Bratislava, Slovakia, to start a sport ministry.  That was so long ago and here it is – 2014 – and GoodSports continues to thrive, under the wonderful leadership of Tom and Debbie Johnson.

My, oh, my — so much life has happened since. For a few minutes, it was wonderful to get lost in the memories. Going to the wrong terminal turned out to be a good thing.

We talked further about unreached people groups in the world and they encouraged me to take a look at Joshua Project website. Years ago, when Chris and I went to Tijuana, Mexico to build houses for a week, there was a guest speaker who talked about the 10/40 Window in our world and I remember being overwhelmed with the statistics.

“The rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude. The 10/40 Window is often called “The Resistant Belt.” An estimated 4.65 billion individuals reside in approximately 8,747 distinct people groups in the 10/40 Window. The 10/40 Window is home to some of the largest unreached people groups in the world. 

 

It was wonderful to witness this family’s passion for and obedience to God.

As I looked forward to quiet time on my swing by the water, I was reminded of the Great Commission:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28. 19,20 NIV

It’s much too easy to forget our ultimate calling in life . . . and it all begins with love.

love God love people

 

Most of all let love guide your life. Colossians 3.14

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Diane | June 24, 2014

Adventures In Atlanta

Yesterday was the first day of my first trade show . . .

welcome to Atlanta

. . . and it’s been quite the adventure!

sign

I didn’t realize that my feet could hurt so much! I brought three different pairs of shoes and for the last two hours yesterday and this afternoon, I went barefoot! It was just brutal to stand in one place for eight hours. I stood at that corner cap, shown in the picture below, handed out book selling cards and engaged people in conversation. I must say that it was a really difficult thing to do for two days . . .

Xulon booth

but I survived!

showing my book

When I first arrived yesterday, I just stood there, holding my book. I had no idea how to “do” a trade show but I quickly realized that people weren’t about to approach little o’ me. If there was going to be any conversations, I was going to have to be the initiator. I approached a middle-aged woman, explained what my book was about and asked her if she would like a book card with my contact information. She looked at me and responded with, “I’ll take your card but to be honest, I’m just going to throw it in the trash.”

Whoa.

I’m not sure where I got the courage to continue my marketing strategies after that strong rejection but I managed to stay for another seven hours and I must say that things only got better . . .

. . . so I came back for another day!

I met magazine editors, big name authors, inquiring women, book store owners, leaders of women’s ministries and marketers of “everything Christian” you can imagine. I accumulated a pile of free books as well but I can’t possible bring them all back so I will be giving them away to the hotel people at the front counter.

I’m learning that marketing a book is harder work than writing one!

I asked a lot of questions and gathered a great deal of useful information about marketing my book but the best part of this experience has been meeting fellow authors and sharing battle stories.

friends:fellow authors at Xulon

It’s been a good couple of days but I’m really looking forward to going home and sitting on our swing by the water with my husband. We’ve got a lot to catch up on because once again, I have been reminded . . .

 

everybody has a story

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Diane | June 23, 2014

Passion City

515 church address

This is where Passion City is — 515 Garson Drive, Atlanta, Georgia.  It’s just a building — a renovated Home Depot, I believe . . . but it’s AMAZING inside and it certainly was a wonderful way to spend three hours this past Sunday morning.

We were greeted with these beautiful words in the front foyer . . .

awakened from the dead

. . . and the place where 2500 people gathered for the 12:30 service was HUGE.

big space

On a normal Sunday morning, Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin lead the way in extravagant worship – word and song.

Incredible music. Challenging message about generosity.

While we were waiting for the service to start, I noticed a table in the distance with some lightbulbs in it.

lightbulbs

After the service was over, many people walked over to the table, screwed a lightbulb into the wall, and celebrated.

screwing in the lightbulb

I was really curious about this and talked with the lady in the green shirt. She explained that whenever someone comes to the Lord in this church, they are encouraged to come to the wall, tell their story, be prayed for and light up a lightbulb in remembrance of this experience.

all lit up

Apparently, there have been MANY people who have come to the Lord since January, 2014. Each lightbulb represents a new believer.

Friendly people. Passionate worship. Wonderful Sunday.

 

 

Posted by: Diane | June 22, 2014

God My Rock – Brenton Brown

Posted by: Diane | June 21, 2014

But . . .

I would love to write a book entitled,  “I Sit More Comfortably on the Right Side of My ‘But.’ 

Let me explain. Look at these made-up statements:

“I want to forgive (someone’s name) BUT she hurt me so badly.”

“I want to start my own business consulting business BUT I’m afraid that I won’t be  successful.    

“I want to become less anxious BUT there are so many unknowns in my life.”

“I want to believe in God BUT the I think the Bible is just a bunch of silly stories.”

“I want to be a better mother BUT I need to work long hours so I can provide for my family. 

You get the point, right?

I know many women who desire more in their lives (as communicated by the words on the left side of their statements) but have believed lies (as communicated by the words on the right side of their statements)

…and when I say “women”, that includes me. For example, I have said in the past, “I’ve longed to be loved by a father BUT I was told when I was younger that I didn’t need a father – heavenly or human” or more recently, “I can see why I need to get on Twitter to market my book BUT I can’t imagine people being interested in what I’m thinking about and observing throughout the day.”

It’s easier to settle for (or get comfortable with) the lies, rather than living out the truth.

I’m trying to stay on the right side of my “but” these days.

Life with Jesus is about moving forward . . . breaking through . . . thinking big.

It’s just a thought. . . but I do like the play on words in the proposed title! 🙂

if you wait for perfect conditions..
Posted by: Diane | June 20, 2014

Christianity – My Crutch

thre is always a way

I’ve often heard people say that, “Christianity is a crutch.” 

I’m OK with that.

In Mere Apologetics, Alister McGrath points out that “one of the most familiar criticisms of Christianity is that it offers consolation to life’s losers.” Make no mistake – this statement, “Christianity is a crutch” is intended to insult believers – it implies that only weak people need religion.

When I was younger, this presupposition about Christians offended me but I’m a lot older and hopefully, a little wiser these days – I see things differently now. The reality is that we all do need help. We are all broken people, looking for something to sustain us. We are all looking for purpose and props to make our stories meaningful.

A crutch presupposes two things: (1) that there is a sickness or injury and (2) that a person is drawn to use some type of a remedy or support, hence the crutch.

With Christianity, God clearly states that the disease is sin, and that the disease is real. The remedy is not a religious crutch but rather, a relationship with Jesus Christ – a solid foundation.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. the rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. Matthew 7.24-27 NIV

I admit it – I am broken. I acknowledge that I do need the Gospel to give me a right mind. I am weak in my self. Left to myself, I will screw things up. I didn’t pull myself out of the muck and the mire. I was stuck and He unstuck me. I was dirty and He cleaned me. I was rescued and saved by grace alone through faith alone.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40.2 NIV

And I give God the glory.

I do lean on Him. I need Jesus in my days. Actually, I need Him in my minutes.

I, personally, do not see my faith in God as a crutch – I see Him as an answer  – the way, the truth and the life (John 14.6) but hey, if people see Christianity as a crutch, that’s good news because we’re all crippled. My life has convinced me that Christianity is the only crutch that can bear the weight of my brokenness.

The truth of the matter is that Jesus never offered a crutch. He offered a cross.

 

in-christ-alone-my-hope-is-found1 

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.  C.S. Lewis

 

Posted by: Diane | June 19, 2014

Laughter – Letting Loose

laughter is the sound of the soul dancing

More chuckles today.

Feels good.

Before me, even as behind, God is, and all is well.                                                                          John Greenleaf Whittier

Posted by: Diane | June 18, 2014

God’s Presence, My Peace

 

God in the background

True . . . God does cause truth to surface, understanding to prevail and hearts to heal.

It takes time and patience. Waiting is always difficult.

But I believe that God also works in the forefront of life too.

Yesterday, I went shopping with my daughter because her birthday is next week and I’ll be in the States on her special day. So, we hung out for a few hours and had a wonderful time together.

We popped into smallMart (the little store where I work part-time) for a few minutes and I found this little solar-powered flower. To be honest, I’ve been looking for one of these for the past year — I saw one on someone’s dashboard last May and loved it. At the time, Chris and I were on holiday out west and I looked in many stores for this little gadget but couldn’t find it.

Then I forgot about it.

. . . and it showed up yesterday — just where and when I needed it — so, I put it in my car.

solar flower

It was a very cloudy, rainy day yesterday and for the first couple of hours, this little flower didn’t do much.

Mid-morning, the sun began to break through and the flower began to dance — slowly at first but it danced, nonetheless.

By early afternoon, this flower was bopping, non stop.

Last night, as I read my Bible, I realized that I too, am powered by the Son.

In the midst of this cloud-covered day, there were glimpses of the sun.

In the midst of this cloud-covered day, there are glimpses of the Son.

 

I miss dancing . . . but I know those days are ahead.

For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17.28 NIV

 

Posted by: Diane | June 17, 2014

Bearing Bad News

 

It is perfectly OK to admit that ..

There are days when life feels so very heavy.

I’m coming off a very difficult week emotionally and I still feel the remnants of confusion, anger and unspeakable sadness.

Yet, life goes on.

The birds’ chirping wakes me up in the morning, the neighbours drive past our house and head to work, the rain falls, there are meals to make, gardens to water, mail to pick up, pages to write and meetings to attend — all while there is so much to process and pray about. The clock keeps ticking and I constantly feel like I’m trying to catch up to “normalcy,” whatever that is. I want to run past and overtake the pain . . . but I’m lagging behind.

Someone has passed me the baton of unexpected and disturbing news and I suppose I am supposed to pass it on but instead, I’m holding onto it, wondering what to do. Yah, it’s perfectly OK to admit that I’m not OK these days but who wants THIS baton? Who wants to be burdened with this painful reality? Everybody else is busy running their own races so I’m trying to process a lot of information on my own. I find myself retreating from conversations, wanting to be alone, trying to make sense of it all.

These are the days when I don’t run to Jesus . . . I stagger . . . but He’s there with open arms and He understands me. He listens, comforts and His Word reminds me of Him, as my Hope and the Author of better days.

anchor

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.                         Hebrews 6.19 NIV

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Diane | June 16, 2014

Father’s Day

My friend told me that her son gave her husband a bottle of BBQ-smelling cologne for Father’s Day. I guess this pre-teen surmised that since her father loved to BBQ meat, he also would love smelling like BBQ too!

After doing a bit of online research, I found out that BBQ-smelling cologne is on the list for “Worst presents to give Dad on Father’s Day.” So are boxers with “World’s Best Dad” written on them, singing fish, useless gadgets, nose hair clippers and my personal favourite, the Potty Putter.

Our downstairs bathroom is so small that if you drop the soap in the shower, you have to open the doors to bend down and retrieve it (great scenario for soap-on-a-rope!) so I can’t imagine making room for a putting green in there!

However, Chris received some awesome Father’s Day “presence” – he was able to spend the afternoon/evening with two of his kids and the third one made a point of contacting him throughout the day.

He also received a wonderful card from Phoenie, his grandson, and that always makes him smile. Chris and Phoenie have an annual and much anticipated “just guys” camping trip every summer and Phoenie’s choice of card clearly communicates his excitement.

Phoenie #2

Love his words!

Phoenie's test

I recently read this quote – A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. (Unknown)

There’s something about a father’s love.

This past week has been a difficult one for our family and I was comforted by this prayer that was recently sent to me.

Heavenward by Scotty Smith – A Prayer for Father’s Day

Heavenward by Scotty Smith


A Prayer for Father’s DayPosted: 15 Jun 2014 04:23 AM PDT

     For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth derives its meaning. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:14-19

     Dear heavenly Father, on this Father’s Day, it’s an unparalleled joy to acknowledge that you are the Father we’ve always longed for and needed. Our most loving and engaged fathers have been a wonderful hint of what it means to be your beloved children; but they could never be to us what you alone can be. And our most broken and irresponsible fathers cannot rob our hearts of the joys we find in knowing you and crying, Abba, Father.

     Thank you for adopting us, through the finished work of Jesus. Thank you for freeing us from our slavery to sin and our orphan-like ways; and for giving us the Spirit of Sonship, a secure place in your family, and an inheritance that can never spoil or fade, kept in heaven for us. Thank you for promising to complete the work you began in us, and for always, and only, disciplining us in love, even when it hurts.

     Father, thank you for grace to forgive our earthly fathers who failed us, including those who broke our trust, hurt us, and misrepresented you to us. Continue to heal us and free us from the lingering effects.

     And thank you for grace to acknowledge our failings as parents, and for promising us the strength we need to humble ourselves before our children, and to trust you to write stories of redemption in our families. Please do so, Father, to your glory.

     Lastly, Father, we thank you for the spiritual fathers you’ve given us—the “dads of grace” who help us discover more and more of the multi-dimensional love of Christ. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.

Posted by: Diane | June 15, 2014

Remind Me Who I Am – Jason Gray

Posted by: Diane | June 14, 2014

Truth

You cannot save people, you can only love them

Posted by: Diane | June 13, 2014

Response To Bad News

I heard some devastating family news this week and it’s been difficult to process it all. Four days into it, as I reflect on where I am emotionally, mentally and spiritually, I recognize a pattern in where I have gone as I have mourned great loss, both this week and in times past.

I share it because perhaps it will be helpful for you, when you are dealing with difficult news in your life.

__________________

1. REALIZING

THIS IS MY UNDERSTANDING.

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  Psalm 112.7

2. RUNNING

THIS IS MY CHOICE.

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18.10

3. REACHING

THIS IS MY HELP.

a) GOD REACHES OUT TO ME.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. Psalm 18.16

 b) I REACH OUT TO GOD.

Still, if you set your heart on God
    and reach out to him,
If you scrub your hands of sin
    and refuse to entertain evil in your home,
You’ll be able to face the world unashamed
    and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.
You’ll forget your troubles;
    they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
Your world will be washed in sunshine,
    every shadow dispersed by dayspring.
Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again;
    you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy.
Expansive, without a care in the world,
    you’ll be hunted out by many for your blessing.
But the wicked will see none of this.
    They’re headed down a dead-end road
    with nothing to look forward to—nothing.  Job 11.13-20

c) I REACH OUT TO MY FAMILY.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6.2

To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! Proverbs 15.23

4. RESTORING

THIS IS MY HOPE.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  1 Peter 5.10

Posted by: Diane | June 12, 2014

A Twinkle In Your Wrinkle

 

wrinkled? wonderful?

Aging is not lost youth – our North American culture has it all wrong. As Audrey Hepburn once said, “And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows.”

I had the delightful opportunity to speak at a Christian’s Women’s Club this week. As I looked over the audience of approximately 120 women, most of them older, I saw a room bursting with wisdom, experience, skills and stories.

Such beauty.

I was invited to speak about my book, Sisters in the Son, and what a joy it was to share my passion for older-younger woman friendships. This was the first opportunity I have had to sell my book and I was delighted that women were interested in my story! What a strange feeling to be asked to sign my books – I’ll have to be a bit more proactive and think ahead about suitable and meaningful words to write!

I recently read this quote by Douglas MacArthur — “You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”  There is such truth in these words. On Tuesday afternoon, I had many precious conversations with women who have walked with God for many years . . . and I was blessed.

how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.                                                                     2 Timothy 3.15 NIV

I left that afternoon with such joy in my heart and four precious notes in my pocket.

One woman shared this quote –  Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone. Jim Fiebig

Wonderful thought, right?

Another woman came up to me, gave me a very tight hug, wrote her address and asked me to visit her this summer.

A third woman wrote, “Diane, thank you for sharing your heart with us. I love your sense of humour and your passion for meaningful friendships between women.  I want you to know that I do not wish to grow younger. These days are brilliant for me and I hope the same for you when you’re in your 80’s. Embrace your twilight years with wonder, continue to hold unswervingly to the hope that Christ gives us and love, love love.”

This note came from a woman, with whom I would love to have a very long cup of tea.

And last, but certainly not least, I was given this quote.

When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age. Victor Hugo

I do believe that we will be, in our older years, what we have believed and practised in our younger years. I saw this truth lived out in the lives of so many joy-filled, hope-trusting women who reminded me that “age should not have its face lifted, but it should rather teach the world to admire wrinkles as the etchings of experience and the firm line of character.” Clarence Day

 

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