Friday, January 12, 2018

The Gospel According to Biff - Life Lesson #2 - "You Can Make A Difference"

You may be asking yourself..."Does she realize that Biff...was just a dog?!" HA!! I sometimes ask myself that question too.  Yes...he was just a dog, but hind sight...he was something God used to help me through an incredibly difficult time.  Did he realize it? Obviously not! He was just a dog!! But I sure felt his impact and warmth in my life during such a cold, hard season.

There are a couple things that I'd like you to remember.  Biff, being rejected from his litter, and set aside probably to just die, was never believed to live a good productive life.  He was written off.  He wasn't given much hope.  But in my eyes...Biff was a gift.  In his own unique way, he blessed me and made me feel great joy and love.  When I was sad, he brought me a smile.  He made a difference in my life.

This is a short life lesson to remember....but very important to remember.  You may think you don't matter.  You may think you've been written off.  You may even believe that no one sees you, or feels that you can do anything of significance.  I'm here to tell you...that is a lie!!

Ephesians 2:10 says that YOU are God's handiwork!! He created you to do good works!! These good works are to make an impact on people!! See....you were created for a reason and a purpose...to make a difference in the life of someone else!! Don't EVER let someone belittle you and make you feel you're not important!!!

You are...and you CAN make a difference in someones life...even if it's something small.  You may never know how you have impacted someones life. You may never know how your word, your smile, your kind deed makes a difference in someone life.  But it doesn't matter....it only matters to that one you helped to lift up!!

Today I'd just like to encourage you...you DO make a difference.  You're loved and valued!! Walk out each day knowing that no matter how small you may feel....your life makes a big impact!!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Gospel According To Biff - Life Lesson #1 - "Chosen"



One of my all time favorite Bible Stories is the story of David, the shepherd boy.  I love that he was in an obscure place...hidden away from everyone and seemingly forgotten in the "important" things of life.  When Samuel was coming to choose the king....I think David was definitely considered the underdog.  

On the day that I had to go and choose my puppy, the one I wanted to be a part of my healing process after my 17 year old brother was killed, I couldn't wait to walk through each kennel and look at all the puppies to find MY puppy. They were all so adorable!! When they all look like this you'd think it would be so hard to choose!! 

We looked at litter after litter.  I remember that day vividly.  I was so disappointed because even though every dog I saw was so adorable...so fun...sweet and cuddly....I didn't see the dog for me.  The dog that would leave an imprint on my heart for years to come was not there.  

Finishing the tour...I asked the gentleman if he had any other puppies and he said he didn't....then paused to tell me about one that had been rejected by it's litter. He was also rejected by his mother and father.  He told me that when that happens there is something wrong with a puppy.  I told him I wanted to see him anyway.  He took me in the house, away from all the litters to this one that was all by himself.  He was tiny, and very shy.  He wasn't full of spunk and life and wasn't very playful.  But my heart was drawn to HIM!! This was the one for me.  I told the man that this dog was the one I was choosing! 
Any potential issues or problems with the dog didn't matter to me.  He was the one I wanted.  I wanted to love this sweet dog and let him know he was special and important to me.  In the grand scheme of things...I do realize he was just a dog...but at that time to me...he was a lifeline during a very difficult season of life.  Loving and nurturing him helped fill an empty place in my heart as I grieved.  He was chosen out of all the other "highlighted" puppies and litters.  

You see....many times...we feel forgotten ourselves.  We feel because we aren't in the "highlighted litters" and are tucked away from everyone else...that we are less, or unimportant, have nothing to give or are unwanted. We may have even been rejected by others...it happens.  But I'm here to tell you....that our Heavenly Father knows you're there!! He knows what He has planned for you and even though there are so many others out there that overshadow you....you are chosen...you are dearly loved!! 

Ephesians 1:11
In Christ is where we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

So while my sweet Biff was tucked away, out of sight...he was supposed to be in my life and there wasn't another puppy that would do. He was brought to my attention because I kept looking.  I didn't stop until I had the right fit! I was Biff's purpose.

I want to encourage you...God hasn't forgotten you either!! He has his eye on you and has a design for you that no other person can fulfill.  Don't get discouraged, give up or loose heart!! In His timing...your purpose will find you too!! You are chosen!! 




Friday, December 22, 2017

The Gospel According to Biff - Life Lessons From My Dog

It has been almost 20 years since we have said good-bye to the sweet little dog.  You see...this little life saver came into my life during a very difficult time.  My 17 year old brother was killed in a small engine plane crash...and we were all a little lost.  My family wanted to get me a dog to help fill some of the void that we all were feeling at loosing my brother.

When we went to pick our dog out from the breeder...he took us and showed us all the litters he had.  We looked at puppy after puppy....but none seemed to jump out and tug my heart.  At the end of the tour I asked him if that was all he had.  I wanted to see if he had any more puppies because the one for me, I didn't see.  He proceeded to tell me that was all he had....but with a long pause...he said "Well...we do have this other one...but it's been rejected by its litter and mom. You won't want him."  I assured him that I wanted to see him.  So he took me inside to see this runt of a puppy....and my heart leaped outside of my chest....that was the one for me! I knew it!!

He was indeed a "special" dog.  But he taught me so much during the 6-7 short years he lived.  When he was alive I wanted to write a book about all the neat nuggets and insights he taught me...but I never did.  So today...almost 20 years later...I felt like my blog was a good place to share with you the nuggets this sweet dog taught me.  I always said its "The Gospel According to Biff" because the life lessons I learned from this sweet dog are lessons we can all remember to take with us throughout life.

So I welcome you to join me over the next few blog posts as I reminisce about these simple life lessons from my dog!! God teaches us amazing things through all of life...if we will just open our eyes and hearts to hear Him!! These are the few things that Biff taught me....

1.  You Are Special AND Chosen
2.  You Can Make A Difference
3.  How You See Yourself Determines Your Reach
4.  Our View Limits Us...God's View Empowers Us
5.  Walking Straight Gets You There Faster
6.  Don't Eat Scraps when Fresh Food is Waiting
7.  Your Presence Is A Blessing
8.  Get All Feet In or You Have A Mess
9.  Jealousy Divides....Joy Binds
10.  Little Things Can Change The World

I hope you will join me as I share the sweet life lessons in this "Gospel According to Biff."  God teaches us through all kinds of things....even our sweet little dogs!! I look forward to sharing these little nuggets.  They are indeed "Pearls of Purpose" from my 20's.  Have a wonderful Christmas!! Blessings!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Receive It So You Can Give It!



Have you ever found yourself making critical judgments about someone else? Maybe it was not anything you spoke out loud…but just a judgment based on a moment in time.

I found myself in that place today.  I was waiting in a line and thought to myself about the person in charge  “Wow…she is just not nice.  Look at that mean scowl she has on her face.  Would it hurt her to lead with a good attitude?”  I’m being honest here…so don’t judge me!  As soon as that thought popped in my head the Lord corrected me and said “Buffi, I love her! She is loved by me and has had a hard day, don’t be so hard on her.” 
I stood corrected and repented for my thought.  I could not help but allow my mind to linger there a little longer though.  Why was my reaction toward this person not first that of extending grace?  Why did I judge her with such a lack of compassion and love?   The revelation hit me;

I can only give to others what I can first receive myself. 



Receiving grace from others is difficult for me.  I am so hard on myself and place so many expectations on myself that should not be there.  Anyone else relate?  If I can’t receive God’s grace daily in my life for all my shortcomings, then I definitely cannot extend grace to others in my life when they need it.  It’s one reason that is so important that we DAILY receive a dose of God’s grace, mercy and love.  If we don’t, what are we possibly extending to others?

Turning on the news you can hardly ignore the fact that there are so many in this world that cannot extend grace, that cannot seem to extend love, and they judge others with such harshness.  It breaks my heart.  But keeping in mind that we cannot extend to others what we do not receive ourselves puts a whole new spin on what I see. 
No longer do I see hateful, rude, selfish people…I see a soul that God loves, that has never experienced His kindness. His kindness leads to repentance.  I see a soul that needs to experience the true love of God that isn’t rude, or proud, self-seeking, or easily angered.  I see so many people that have never experienced the fact that God loves them so much!! They can’t extend grace and love because they have never received it.

That is where we come in.  We are the body, the hands and feet of Christ! We have to be the ones to extend to others around us what they have never received, so they in turn can give what they have never given.  God so loved the world that He gave his only son….so that we could have LIFE!!! Life isn’t worth living if you don’t feel loved, if you aren’t extended grace, and if you don’t have the hope that there IS a plan for your life and you were created for a reason and a purpose!!
Our world is in a MESS and we are the messengers! We aren’t the judges! We have to be rooted and grounded in love so we can be filled (to overflowing) with ALL the fullness of God!! (Eph. 3:1-22) We must spill over God’s love if we are ever going to see our world change!
As I read that scripture in Ephesians…I was drawn to the word “rooted.”   A root is an anchor or support to a plant. The root is the origin/source of a plants nourishment.  What that root receives is what it is going to give out! So if we are “rooted and grounded in love and know the love of Christ that surpasses all of our knowledge”, no matter what comes our way or who rubs us the wrong way, what we are taking in at our root is going to come out in our fruit toward that person and situation!


This is definitely not a ground breaking revelation, but I do feel it is something we  have become a little slack in. This world of social media makes us feel it’s ok to air our opinions everywhere. But it is not! We air HIS opinions to the hurting and dying world.
Take a good look at your life.  What is daily coming from it?  Do you experience frustration and aggravation with others around you? You could be lacking Patience! Ouch…yes…I just said it! But don’t be hard on yourself.  If you’re having trouble extending it, I’m sure you’re having trouble receiving it.            Number 14:18 says the Lord is slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness!  

When is the last time you have allowed God’s loving kindness to flood your heart and soul when you knew you had blown it? If you want to extend it to others…you’ve got to receive it first!
The list could go on and on.  Take inventory of your life.  Get a journal and write down the areas where you seem to be really missing the mark in your relationship with others.  Then pray over each area and ask the Lord what part of His character you need in your life so you can extend that to others.
We are called to be hope bringers, grace givers, and to lavish love and kindness on others! As women of God, we cannot do that if we first don’t accept love and kindness, receive his grace and hope in our own personal lives on a daily basis! It’s a daily walk my friends. We all need it. 
I am hopeful that tomorrow when I see a grouchy lady, my first response isn’t going to be judgmental or negative, but it will be one of kindness and encouragement. That is definitely what God extends to me! When I receive it, I can give it! We are His hands extended to this world!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Ultimate Designer





Ok, I admit it! I LOVE HGTV!! I love all the DIY shows and House Hunters and Flip or Flop. You name it…I could watch these shows 24/7.  If you’ve been around for anytime at all…you are probably no stranger to repurposing furniture, taking something old and making it fresh and new again!! It’s absolutely inspiring to watch.
It never ceases to amaze me how someone can see past all the imperfections of an item and can visualize what it CAN be instead of what it is.  A whole new purpose can be seen in objects.  Something that was once trash, an old beat up shutter could be the perfect jewelry display holder! Something that was discarded as unusable and not effective anymore, like an old rake, could be re-purposed and hung by the back door as a dog leash holder and look as cute as can be!  I’m sure many of you have plenty of things in your home that you are re-purposing yourself!!   You looked past the imperfections of an item and cleaned it up and called those imperfections character! You saw in an item purpose for something it wasn’t made for…but you could see past its current condition make a new purpose!! It’s SO inspiring!

Honestly though, it’s not a new thing…to take something broken and make it beautiful. It’s not a fad to find trash and turn it into treasure!! I would say... 
God has been the ultimate designer since the beginning of time!!
 
 He has taken people who should have or could have been thrown away or discarded because of sins, failures, & mistakes, and re-purposed them to new meaning and purpose!! He has awakened people for generations to their original designs!!
What is absolutely amazing…is that all the things in our lives that we see as imperfections…the things we think would make us not good enough or unworthy, are the things that God sees and says “NO!! THIS is what makes you the person I have created you to be!!”  None of us are perfect! We all have flaws and major imperfections.  He’s working on us daily!
Sometimes I think how in the world can I be 45 years old and still see myself as lacking in so many areas?!? I look at what I “should be” from a flawed perspective.  Yes…I DO compare myself to others. I know I shouldn’t.  But I do!  If we’re honest, many of us still do! We’re all works in progress!!  But when I do that and compare myself, I’m not looking at myself from the master designer’s perspective!
When a DIY artist envisions a new purpose for something they have found, I don’t always see it.  Sometimes even up to the end of the show I’m still thinking…how in the WORLD are they going to use that thing for anything!?!? You see…I am looking at it from my perspective. I don’t see the worth of that thing because I’m not that master designer.   He sees it perfectly!
My friends, God sees you as a TREASURE!!! He has paid a costly price for you because you are so worthy!! You say, “Oh…but I’m this way, or I lack this or that”….but He says “That is what makes you YOU and perfect for what I have created you for.”  You have to see your worth from the designer’s perspective.  
Psalms 139:13-16 says: He formed you in your inmost parts!! He knitted you together in your mom’s womb! He fearfully and wonderfully made you!!! You were not hidden from him when you were being developed in your moms tummy! You were intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  He saw you with his eyes before you were even formed.  He dreamed up every day of your life and wrote them in your own personal novel!! He did all of this just for you before you had even taken your first breath!

Next time you’re tempted to look at your imperfections, your dents, your brokenness….I want you to remind yourself of these DIY/Trash to Treasure shows, and I want you to remind yourself that God is at work in you.  These things you’re working through with Him are creating an amazing and inspiring piece of His handiwork!! Don’t compare yourself to what you see Him doing in others! You have a different design!  It reminds me of this short “wisdom story.”

“A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one end of the pole he carried across the back of his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream, the cracked pot arrived only half full. This went on every day for two years, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment and saw itself as perfectly suited for the purpose for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived as bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“For the past two years, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws you have to work without getting the full value of your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and out of compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the wildflowers on the side of the path. The pot felt cheered.

But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and again it apologized for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I knew about your flaw and took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them for me. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you were not just the way you are, he would not have such beauty to grace his house.”

God knows you…just the way you are and still thinks your amazing and so worthy of what He has called you to do!! Be encouraged today and know…You are His Masterpiece!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

This Ain't Home!!!

Traveling home from a weekend get-a-way with our family...we had to go through a "big city."  Well...it's considered a "big city" compared to what we're used to.  It was actually Nashville, TN.  The interstate was backed up bumper to bumper and we made a split decision to head closer to the city, the downtown area to bypass the traffic.

Nashville, TN
As we went toward the skylight...our youngest son who was adopted from China...exclaimed "WHOA!!!"  He was in awe of the big buildings and how big this downtown area looked.  He was wide eyed and amazed!! I chuckled...because he responded as if it was the first cityscape he had ever seen.  In all actuality....he is from a city in China that has over 32 MILLION people.  The downtown area where he is from dwarf's the little cityscape of Nashville.  But you see...he doesn't remember where he is from.

Chongqing, China
Did you catch that?!? HE DOESN'T REMEMBER WHERE HE IS FROM! Considering this world we live in is not our home....don't you find yourself in the same place as my son? We admire all the things this world has to offer. We strive for these goals we have set for our lives that are really not our own.  These things we admire and these goals that we set for ourselves PALE in comparison to the Master Designer's plan for our lives and what HE has created for us!


I recently purchased some Norwex products from a dear friend.  I didn't know a lot about the products, but knew they were good and supposed to be good for the home and environment.  One of the things I purchased was the Norwex mop system.  I've got to admit....after being so excited for it to come in....I was totally bummed once I got it.   I couldn't believe that I got it.  But hey...at least it helped to support my friend as they raised money for their adoption.  It was a good cause. #AdoptionRocks

Continuing to want to support her...I decided to tag along with her to another Norwex show she was having.  As she gave the demonstration again...she showed the proper way to use the mop and I was FLOORED!! The light bulb went off in my head!!!
I had been using it wrong this whole time!

Excited to try it once home...I couldn't wait to sweep my floor with it.  OH MY GOODNESS!!! Let me tell you! It is the most amazing thing. It's wonderful for pet hair!!! It's now my favorite cleaning tool.

What was my problem before?!?! I was not using it the way the maker intended it.  I had my way of using it, the way that I thought was the best way to use it.  I honestly just didn't realize there was a better way to use it.  I didn't realize it would work so much better the way the maker envisioned it.  Really....I didn't know there was another way to use it! I was looking at it from MY perspective instead of the makers perspective.

Isaiah 55:8 (The Message)
“I don’t think the way you think.  
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
      
And so it is with us! This world that we live in is not our home! The life we strive to create and live, is really not our life! It is ours to steward the way the Lord wants us to.  Things we think we could never do...God may be saying..."But that is what I want you to do."  He is seeing it from a Heavenly perspective...the perspective from where we were designed and created.

He is saying...."Don't let the world define you and make you think you can't do something that I have really created you to do!"  He is our HEAVENLY FATHER!!! He works things out all for HIS GLORY, from HIS Perspective, and based on HIS plan! Not of this world based on things we see! (And mind you...HE does it! We don't have to force something!!)

1 Corinthians 2:9

So today as you ponder and seek him...remember...the little plan/dream you have in your head that you think is really grand...is NOTHING compared to the Master Designer's plan for your life. Don't forget what your Homeland looks like and the way your Homeland's principles work! Seek HIM in the midst of the unknowns...Don't get distracted by little things, or discouraged by seemingly big things.  Remember where your home is and that He's your Daddy and you cannot imagine all that HE has planned for you!



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

It's All About Timing

It's summer time! Sitting here quietly while my kids have their "down" time.  They're soaking up every minute of their electronic time as possible.  Have you ever seen one of those cool apps that lets you play the piano? You just follow the dots where they tell you to go and you have officially played the whole song.  They're really fun apps.

So I'm sitting here...listening to one of my children play through the songs as fast as she can...like she's trying to beat a record. I was trying to figure out what each song was that she was playing.  I could catch what some of the songs were by just the notes alone.  But my daughter was just clicking the buttons...she had no idea how the song went.  So even though she was pressing the correct note...her timing was off. She didn't have the rhythm of the song.  Without the rhythm...the song was completely unrecognizable in so many ways.

The rhythm is just as important as the notes.  

The beat each note holds...the rests...the syncopation...they all make the song what it is! It's not just about playing the right notes!

Isn't that what life is like? Many times we feel if we just "DO" the right things (play the right notes) everything is going to work out like we think it should. God will open all the right doors and things will go just like you think!  But that isn't the case.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"

This is a very familiar passage in the Bible.  Many of us have heard it our whole lives.  It is so true! Just like the "timing" of a song is necessary for it to be the song it was written to be....The "timing" of our lives is equally important for our lives to be like it was designed as well.

When we feel like we're doing all the right things and have everything in place...but it's not working like we think it should....MAYBE...just MAYBE it's the timing.  God does everything in seasons...and HIS seasons most of the time are different from our time table.  

For many years...Mark and I could never figure out why we seemed to be doing all the right things...but our path was not going where we thought it should be going. It really made no sense to us.  We went through many seasons of discouragement and second guessing ourselves. The enemy would quickly come in to discourage us and make us feel like we had missed God and we weren't good enough.  But really....the whole thing is just about timing. The timing of our "song" of life.  

Just because you're doing it all right, playing all the right notes, doesn't mean it's the right timing.  Keep being faithful...and don't grow weary in doing what it right.  Gods timing is different from ours...but don't stop! Keep playing the right notes....let them become second nature.  Then once God places our life song on the right rhythm....Our lives will begin to make beautiful music!! 

This is just another little lesson, "A Pearl of Purpose" if you will, that I've been learning in my life song!! Can't wait to hear beautiful music from YOUR life song as well!! Have a great week!!