A “To Be” List

4643967to do listDo you have a “To Do” list?   I am more motivated and get more accomplished  when I have definite goals for the day.

What I have not thought about is having a “To Be” list! Jeff Nevison posted this on facebook and I thought it was such a good idea I wanted to share it.

Living each day ‘With the End In Mind!’
Start each day by taking the time to write out a few things you want to be able to feel good about at the end of the day when you reflect on your day. Not a ‘to do’ list, more of a ‘to be’ list. Who will I be today? The epitaph of your day before it begins…

Some examples:

*Today I was friendly, encouraging and loving to everyone I met or spoke with

*Today I put others ahead of myself

*Today I took my wife’s hand and prayed for her and our marriage

*Today I applied something from the scripture or devotional I read this morning

*Today I took the time to close my eyes and listen to my ‘breathing’ as a way to be reminded of the creator of each breathe

*Today I shared something about my faith with… (a person or people) that I met

*Today I just let my Spirit filled heart direct my steps and words.

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Being intentional helps to create purpose and focus. Pray over your ‘list’ and Share your ‘End In Mind’ day with someone as soon as written and then your results at the end of your day.
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Men’s Place

 

This plan includes accountability which is always helpful.

Rick Warren said, You were made by God and for God and until you understand that, life will never make sense. May we live purpose-filled lives as we live every day intentionally for God!

Have a blessed, productive day being what God called you to be!

Gaye

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Are You on The Rock or the Roller Coaster?

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“For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?

 

 

 

 

Last month I began getting pretty upset because two of my girls hadn’t been communicating with me very well.  I felt neglected and it bothered me.

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Danilo and Anna 9-27-14

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Wesley and Bethany 8-3-14

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Danilo and Anna Vara 8-2015

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Wesley and Bethany Crews 8-2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know these newlyweds are busy, but when too much time goes by between calls and texts, it gets rough. I long to be involved in their lives even if it is from afar.  Recently,  I started complaining to my friends,  Is a 10 minute, uninterrupted, weekly phone call too much to ask?!!!

BibleThen I wondered how many times I make God feel that way.  Ouch! He knows what I’m doing, but He wants to hear from me.

My mind wanders too much while I’m reading my Bible.  I often get distracted while praying.   And though I talk to Him often throughout the day, I often don’t linger long enough to hear what He might want to say to me.

I had decided my girls had pretty much forgotten about me and I was going to have to be content knowing they were independent and happy.  Bethany and Wesley had let me know they were coming for a visit so I was looking forward to that.  I knew I would at least be able to talk to them that weekend!

They arrived on a Friday afternoon and it was really good to see them. After we greeted each other, Anna suddenly appeared!  Bethany and Wesley had arranged to swing by the airport and pick up Anna as they were driving in.  I got an even bigger surprise that evening after dinner when Anna handed me a gift. Inside was a little onesie and an ultrasound picture of her tiny baby!

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Anna, Baby Vara, and Grandmommy 3-11-16

 

My girls had intentionally avoided talking to me because they were afraid they would let it slip about the baby or the surprise visit!  I had totally misread the circumstances! Again, I was reminded of how dangerous it is to trust my feelings instead of the facts.  Deep down I knew my girls cared about me, but when the evidence didn’t appear to support that, I denied what I knew to be true and began focusing on my ever-changing feelings….which is NEVER a good idea!

 

 

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This is a battle we all face every day.  Life happens and we can get discouraged.  Sometimes things seem hopeless, but God is often working behind the scenes. This is where our faith needs to kick in.  Like Peter, when we start focusing on our storm (problems) and taking our eyes off of Jesus by not reminding ourselves of His promises,  we begin to sink emotionally! (Matthew 14:27-33)

jesus-rescuing-peter-from-drowningWe must not trust our feelings, but the facts of who God is and what He has promised to do for those who believe in Him.  When we can’t see Him or feel Him, we must remember what He has promised.  He is still with us. When our emotions begin to get the best of us, we must anchor our minds in God’s Word, the Bible….the truth.

In John 14:27 Jesus said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth,  give I unto you.  LET NOT your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The LET NOT tells me that we have to work at allowing God’s peace in our lives. I think Jesus knew worrying and being anxious would be our natural default.  He tells us to  make a conscious choice to not allow ourselves to be troubled, worried, or afraid.

Notice there aren’t any exceptions made here.  We have to decide to trust Jesus instead of ourselves every time to have Jesus’ peace.  The peace is there for the taking, but we must work for it.  So when you find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster, find your footing on the Rock (Jesus) and drop your anchor in God’s Word, the truth.

Keep looking up,

Gaye

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Back- Wesley and Abigail Front- Nathan, Bethany, Gaye, Anna 3-11-16

 

I’m indecisive….I think.

decision-making-processes1I have never liked making decisions. So much so, that until a few years ago, a trip to Subway would almost throw me into a panic attack! I would get David to order my sandwich and eat things I would rather not eat just so I wouldn’t have to go through “the decision line.” Isn’t that crazy?

We added a family room onto our house about eight years ago. I agonized over buying a sofa for months.  I spent countless hours researching the best construction, fabrics, and looking on the internet to determine exactly what I wanted. At the time, I knew it was crazy to waste all that time, but I also knew I would be stuck with this sofa for many years and I didn’t want to regret my decision.

I’m not sure what my problem is, whether it is the fear of making a wrong decision or insecurity or what, but it has been a very real weakness of mine all my life. BUT, God is changing me.  This past year I have been forced to make hundreds of decisions…big ones, small ones, and insignificant ones, but nevertheless, they have been decisions that only I could make. The other day, I thought about how God has used this to grow me.

Just in the past few weeks, I’ve had to make two major purchases.  After dealing with two big problems with my van, a third problem arose and my mechanic told me it would cost more to repair it than it was worth. He also told me I needed to get something quick, because the van could leave me stranded at any time.  So I had the added pressure of a time limit.

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I had a budget that I wanted to stay within, but when I started looking, I quickly realized it was going to be almost impossible for me to get a good car for that price. I knew God understood my situation so asked God to lead me to a good car at a good price. I found one that day for $3,000 less than I thought I would have to spend! It was an older car that had been somebody’s baby for eighteen years and is in excellent condition.  I’ve been very happy with it.

Last week, my refrigerator (20 years old) decided it was done. Again, I said, Lord, I don’t have a clue about how to shop for a refrigerator. Will you please help me? Just help me end up with the best one for me.

I was at a large chain store when it opened and started praying as I was looking.  When I asked about a white refrigerator, I was told they would have to order it and it would be two weeks before it would come in! I thought about everything in my refrigerator deteriorating at that very moment and knew I didn’t want to wait that long.

I then saw an acquaintance in the store and all I really knew about him was that he is a Christian.  I asked for his advice and he directed me to a family-owned business in town.  I was able to get just what I needed there and they delivered it that afternoon!

I’ve studied 2 Corinthians 12 this week with Community Bible Study and the commentary said, When we are at our worst, we are well positioned to experience God’s best–God’s power at work on our behalf! That is SO true!

It is in our weakness that we are able to feel God’s presence and see His power. It is when we are out of our comfort zones, being stretched, at the end of our ropes…when we depend on God the most. And I believe God loves wowing us!

There has been many times this past year where I’ve said, God, I can’t do this! I don’t have what it takes! And it’s like He says, Yeah, I know, but YOU don’t have to; I’m here. Trust Me. Depend on Me. I’ve got this.

God's strength made perfect in weakness

The apostle Paul asked God three times to remove something that was causing him distress. God answered him with, No. God was using a hardship in Paul’s life because Paul needed that hardship to be effective in the ministry. God told him, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Paul’s attitude about this “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7) changed after this.  Paul said he would gladly live with this problem so the power of Christ could rest upon him. It was more important to Paul to have God’s strength and power than for the infirmity to be removed.

When we experience weakness or trials, we tend to….

  • depend on God more and less on our abilities
  • be more humble and less prideful
  • be more compassionate
  • notice God’s provision more

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So if you are feeling weak today or overwhelmed with your circumstances, don’t be discouraged. You are in a prime position to be wowed by God. Go to the Creator of the Universe, the Great Physician, the Author and Finisher of our faith, your King and Redeemer, the One named Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. He is there waiting for you and wanting to be your EVERTYTHING!

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)

Have a blessed day while you trust God to hold you!

Gaye

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What if the “little things” aren’t so little?

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My sweet friends, Crystal and Robbie, who have been with me through thick and thin for years!

Do you ever wonder if you are making a positive difference in this world?   So much of life is doing the same things over and over again.  Life can get mundane.  Whether it is going to work or school, keeping the home, or caring for small children, you can begin to wonder if what you’re doing really matters.

For months I’ve been praying for God to guide me.  Maybe I’m expecting more than I should.  I’ve been discouraged that I haven’t felt more direction about how He wants me to serve Him.  But today I did something that didn’t take much effort on my part, but the lady commented, “You’ve made my day.” That comment meant a lot to me. What an awesome opportunity and privilege it is to make someone’s day!  That’s a big deal!

Could it be that I am already doing what God wants me to do? What if God’s will is made up of hundreds of little acts of obedience instead of a few big life-changers?  God doesn’t mean for all of us to be a Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, or Mother Teresa. God primarily wants a personal relationship with each of us.  After we allow Him to take precedence above all else, the results of what we do are up to Him and we may not see those results in this life.

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Dad and Mom

I grew up watching my mom regularly practice random acts of kindness. It seemed to come as naturally to her as breathing. Many times as we were walking into a grocery store, she would offer to push the buggy back for someone who had finished loading their groceries in their car.  She was forever sacrificing for my dad, sister, and me.  My mom also took time for the elderly neighbors that most people seemed too busy to visit.

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Aunt Denise and my cousin, Sara.

I’ve been on walks with my aunt Denise and often watched as she thoughtfully picked up a newspaper and carried it to the door of a sweet little lady because she knew she wouldn’t want to walk outside in the cold to retrieve it.

 

 

I’ve lost count of the times I wearily opened my mailbox to find a sweet card from my Aunt Martha telling me she was praying for me.

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Aunt Martha and Uncle Wayne

A missionary friend, Dicky Reynolds, regularly sends Bible verses and tells me he is praying for my family and me.

Yesterday I was in the middle of a making a recipe, crunched for time, and realized I had no eggs.  I quickly ran to my closest neighbor and asked if I could borrow some from her. She seemed happy to oblige and it probably seemed trivial to her, but it was a HUGE blessing to me! I did not have 40 minutes to go to the store to buy those two eggs.

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A word spoken at just the right time is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11

Numerous friends have blessed me over the years with a smile, a hug, or a word of encouragement just when I needed it.

My friend, Robbie, kept a steady supply of fresh fruit coming when I was too sick from chemotherapy treatments to eat anything else.  Crystal has taken time to keep in touch with me as our lives have been crazy busy over the years. Then there’s my friend, Kathy who literally walks through life with me!

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Those little things that we don’t think much about, may often be the very things that someone else needs to make it through another day.

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Kathy and me hanging out with Jack.

Maybe God doesn’t allow us to see much of the positive impact we are making because if we knew, we would become prideful. Maybe learning how much we’ve blessed others will be part of our reward in heaven.

Maybe there is a season of quiet, reflective preparation needed for new ministries. Jesus went to the desert for 40 days before He began His ministry.  After Paul’s conversion when God called him to preach the gospel, he didn’t immediately go Jesus’ disciples to get advice or learn from them. He first went away for three years to get to know God and prepare for his ministry. (Galatians 1:15-19)

And then there’s always the possibility that I’m not as surrendered to God’s plan as I think I am. Maybe there is some selfish ambition I’m not willing to let go.  And maybe I think too much.

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At any rate, we can be sure God sees and rewards every deed done when a heart of love is behind it.  And maybe while I’m craving to see God do big, awesome things in my life, His desire is for me to live by faith, obey, and trust Him when I’m not seeing much of anything going on. I would do well to remember that little is much when God is in it.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

 

 

Closing the Cancer Chapter!

Below are some pictures from a fun visit to the The Wig Shoppe in January 2014.  My sweet friends, Kathy Burnett and Melissa Rigney, and my daughter, Anna, went with me before I started chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer.

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I tried the “Kathy Burnett” look. She rocks it. I did not.

 

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Kathy and Melissa were such sweet supporters for me on this day!

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Anna checking out the blonde look. She could swing it for sure, but she wasn’t convinced!

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I feel like I’m closing the cancer chapter in my life today. I had the port that was used for my chemotherapy treatments removed this morning.  My surgeon said it was a day of celebration because the port is no longer needed!

With tears of gratitude, I heartily agreed with her.  I completed my treatments 19 months ago and it is still hard for me to believe there is no sign of that aggressive cancer.  I’m still in awe that I wasn’t nearly as sick as I could have or should have been taking the “Red Devil” chemotherapy.  Nor, did I experience the extreme fatigue that is so common with thirty-five radiation treatments.

Yet, I still have so many unanswered questions.  Did I learn all the lessons I needed to from my cancer journey? I feel happy and relieved it is over, yet cautious.  This is why…

  • I am humbled that my story has ended so well when so many times it does not for others.

Why am I so blessed to be basically done with the seemingly endless doctor appointments, treatments, and scans? Was it because I was a tough cookie?  No.  Was it due to my good diet and exercise? Although I did what I could, the answer would be, “No.” Is it because I had the most intelligent doctor who chose the best treatment? She was a good doctor, but I don’t think that is the answer either. Is it because I had faith to overcome? No. What little faith I have has been provided by God Himself because of His amazing grace.

Many others have had these same advantages and have had much different outcomes.  I believe there are two reasons.

1) There were many precious saints of God, many who are reading this right now, who prayed for me. THANK YOU!!!!

2) Because my God, the creator of the universe, has work for me to do. Thank you, God, for giving purpose to my life!

In my mind, there are no other explanations.

  • Once there is a cancer diagnosis, there is a chance of recurrence.

People ask me if I worry about the cancer recurring. I don’t worry about it, but every time I have a new ache I wonder if the cancer is back. I haven’t figured out a way around that one. Once there has been a cancer diagnosis, I wonder if one can ever completely not think about it. The doctor said as I get older I will naturally have more aches and pains, but pay attention to the ones that persist or worsen.

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When I’m tempted to worry, I remind myself that my times are in God’s hands. (Psalm 31:15) At best, Job said in Job 8:9, we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow. God planned my days before I was born. Psalm 139:13-16 from The Message says it beautifully,

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God– you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration–what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,  how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

My husband, David used to say, People feel sorry for you when you have cancer.  But what they don’t seem to realize is, they could die before I do.  Any of us could die suddenly in a car accident, with a stroke, massive heart attack, etc. at any time. No one is promised the next breath.

I don’t mean to be morbid, but it’s just a fact…. we aren’t getting out of this world alive, unless Jesus comes back to get us in our lifetime…which is very possible!  Either way, wise is the person who plans for eternity. Everyone will live forever somewhere. Those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone will live forever in heaven with Him. Those who have not, will have to spend eternity in the lake of fire…a place where God never wanted or intended for His creation to go.

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As I celebrate life today as a cancer survivor, I pray you can celebrate life as a child of God as you live out His plans and purpose for your life!

Keep seeking Him,

Gaye Hughes

 

 

“No one will know…”

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Bethany, Anna, Nathan, David, and Abigail

As a parent, I never quite knew what to do when I confronted my children about a wrong doing in which they had no regrets.  Do you make them apologize when it is obvious they are not sorry? Twenty-five years later, I still don’t have the answer.

Although I never had much trouble with my children, I remember being surprised when those cute little kids argued.  I recall my sister-in-law saying, “You have to remember Gaye, they are just little sinners.  They will be much sweeter after they come to know Jesus.” 

She was right! In fact, I could see a new tenderness of heart right away after each of them at various times talked with Jesus, repented of their sin, and asked Him to be the Lord of their lives. But after that, there is still much training and Bible knowledge needed.

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I’ve often wonder if the character qualities I deem most important  were properly passed down to my children.  Eighteen years just doesn’t seem like enough time to get them ready for all life can throw at them. Thankfully, my children have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ so they have the Holy Spirit to teach and guide them.  He’s a much better teacher than I could ever be!

Something happened recently that really encouraged me.  The truck Nathan (age 17) drives has tinted windows. It was that way when we bought it and the tinted plastic

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had begun to peel on the side windows.  Because it was going to take awhile to be repaired, we dropped the truck off and left.

Quotation-J-M-Hill-right-values-Meetville-Quotes-244630-300x204I got a call later and my conversation with the repairman went something like this…

Repairman: You told me you wanted me to match the side windows with the back tinted window and I can do that, but I wanted to let you know there is a law regulating the degree of tint that can be put on the side windows.  If I match the back window like you asked me to, it will be a little darker than the law allows.  Do you want me to match it  or do you want to stay legal?

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Me: I want to stay legal.

Repairman: I can use the darker tint. No one will be able to tell by looking at it.

Me: No, we want to stay legal. Hey, my son is outside…can you hold on and let me ask him what he wants to do?

Repairman: Well, I can tell you what HE is going to say.  He will want it to match.

Me: Just hold on a minute and let me ask him.

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I explained the situation to Nathan and asked him what he wanted to do and he replied, I want to stay legal.

That’s when my mommy heart leaped for joy and did a little dance! I trotted back to the phone and said, I just want you to know I have one awesome son and he wants to stay legal!

Nathan would probably have never gotten a ticket had he decided to have the windows tinted darker, but he wanted to do the right thing anyway. His decision made me happy as his mother, but more importantly, it made his Lord happy.

May we all…

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Have a blessed day!

Gaye

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Resting in the Lord

6453ac28ca60bd6d5fa9ea3977533b06Recently two of my friends have told me the Lord had been speaking to them about resting in Him. They have been meditating on Scripture and trying to learn what that looks like in everyday life.

I haven’t heard many sermons on this subject, but as I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized this is an important principle to grasp…one I want to understand better. Sometimes when I’m having a hard time figuring out what something is, it is easier to think about what it isn’t.  I would say the opposite of rest is work, sleeplessness, being anxious, and worrying.

My friends realize resting isn’t just about the physical.  God wants us to work. We need to provide for our families, wash clothes, clean the house and fulfill a multitude of other responsibilities.  And the Bible is pretty clear about how God feels about laziness and wasting time.

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Both of my friends are grieving  their moms’ recent home-going to be with the Lord.  While these sweet mothers were ready to meet their Maker and the God whom they loved, it must be so hard for their daughters to not be able to walk down the hall or pick up the phone to talk with them.

In addition, these homeschooling moms are dealing with the last of their birdies leaving the nest, their children getting married and moving away, cancer, job loss, etc.  It’s no wonder they are seeking rest!

Jesus has already taken the brunt of our grief and sorrow. In Isaiah 53: 4 it says, Surely he hath borne our griefs (sicknesses), and carried our sorrows (pain). He took the worst of it on the cross when He died for the sins of the world.  But, we still are confronted with pain and sorrow in this sin-cursed world in which we live. So He wants us to even carry the leftover heartache to Him.

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In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek (gentle and humble) and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

So how do we stay calm and rest in our spirit when we’re being constantly bombarded by some heavy cares in this world? I think it means every time those uneasy feelings of worry, anxiety, and fear arise, we have to speak truth to ourselves from God’s Word. We talk to God about it and then refuse to worry about it anymore.

It’s like the game where the little heads keep popping up and you have to quickly hammer them back down. We crush fear, worry, uncertainty, anxiety, grief and pain with verses like….

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

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Psalm 34: 17-19 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth them, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite (grieving and penitent for sin or shortcoming- Websters Dictionary) spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

Ephesians 3:20, 21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen!

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Rest in God, in His goodness, knowing He is faithful to see you through although your storm is raging right now.  You can trust Him.

Behold the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.  Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. (Psalm 33:18-20)

I would love to hear from you, Readers!  What have you learned about resting in Him?

Keep looking up,

Gaye

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