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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Slide the City Pittsburgh

April 16, 2015 –Pittsburgh will get a slippery makeover when the Slide the City Tour brings the 1,000 foot slip and slide to South Park June 6th, 2015. Turning hills into water-sliding thrills is the goal of the event, which was created in an effort to get people outside, having fun, and connecting with their community.
Slide The City Pittsburgh: Saturday June 6th, 2015
Location: South Park – Allegheny County
Registration Opens: April 22nd, 2015 10am Eastern Time
To Register: Go to http://www.slidethecity.com/events/pittsburgh/
Participants in Slide the City will ride inflatables down a 1,000-ft. slip and slide. This one-of-a-kind experience will help people “slide into summer.” The first event of its kind, Slide the City has seen massive growth since it started in 2014. This original concept went viral when the video was released, and this year promises to be bigger, better, and wetter. “This will be one of the highlights of your year,” said Slide The City Founder, T.R. Gourley “Get ready for the slide of your life!”
Pittsburgh has shown great enthusiasm for the event with over 17,000 people signing up to be notified once registration was opened and hundreds more joining the waitlist daily.
Each rider can purchase a one ride pass, three ride pass, or all-day pass. With over 150 events in the US and Canada, and more than 20 international locations beginning with Japan and Australia as early as March, water slide enthusiasts are sure to find a Slide the City event nearby.
All are welcome to slide into fun. Visit www.slidethecity.com for more information about Slide the City dates and locations or checkout what fans have to share on Facebook at www.facebook.com/slidethecity.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's Time To Wake Up

 
About eight days after Jesus had said this, he took Peter, John, and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, 'Master, it is good for us to be here.'" Luke 9:28-33a
Can you see it?? I love this passage of scripture! Oh, to be one of the three men who got to see Moses and Elijah and be with Jesus as they "discussed Jesus's departure." Do you wonder what they talked about? Were they encouraging the Lord, knowing what He was about to face?

The section beginning in verse 32 really grabs my attention:
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw Jesus's glory..."
Have you been there? I have.

The past two years I feel like I've been waking up from a long slumber. I've been "very sleepy." But, as He has relentlessly pursued me, my eyes have begun to open. Streams of light are starting to peek through the slits of my eye lids.

And I am seeing His glory.

And, let me tell you, saying, "it is good to be here" is the understatement of the millennium!

The second half of verse 33 is Peter finishing his thoughts to Jesus...
Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. (He did not know what he was saying),"
I believe that in his exuberance and grogginess, Peter was so excited and so READY that he presumptuously suggested the altars.

I love that God's Word contains these little bits of insight. How many times I've run at the mouth to glorify things that were never meant to be on par with Jesus.
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud saying, 'This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.'" Luke 9:33b-35
My pastor recently explained that the meaning for the word "listen" in verse 35 means "listen to obey."

The Lord was telling these men not only to hear Jesus out (and shutty their mouths with their foolish ideas), but to obey what He said.

Here I stand, guilty as charged, when it comes to listening and running off half-cocked with my brilliant ideas.

The Lord has had to gently remind me more than once to listen...and then obey.

Interestingly, James (a different James) 1:22 mirrors this same concept:

Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." 
So what was so terrible about Peter's suggestion to build altars? After all, the Old Testament is filled with stories of altars being built to the Lord. Commentary suggests that the Lord interrupted Peter because Peter was focusing on the wrong thing. He was in awe (understandably) at what he'd just witnessed (plus, half asleep), and was probably looking to prolong the experience a little longer. He wasn't focusing on the right thing: Jesus and the enormous sacrifice He was about to make.

How many have been there?

I'm raising my hand.

Sometimes, I am so moved by the Lord, so knocked over by Jesus that I jump up and dash off to do something. In my zeal, like Peter, I miss the point. I totally skip over the crux of the matter...Jesus.

In my crazed desire to commemorate or pay homage to Jesus, I miss what He's actually saying and the very important fact that it's all about Him--not me.

My ideas may be good--and even well-intentioned, but if I'm not listening fully--and obeying--it's not pleasing to God.

Have you been there? Are you there now? Are you so ready to do something, but maybe you're not listening fully? Not obeying?

Or are you still asleep?

If you're still asleep, friend, let me gently nudge you awake.

There is absolutely nothing like having your eyes wide open and being awake before the Lord.

If you're starting to see light stream through sleepy eyes, may I suggest that you sit and listen? Chances are, your excitement and the vigor may supersede your reason in that moment.

And if you're listening? Follow through with obedience.

That is sometimes the hardest of all.

Doing when it's all our idea and seems right and good to us (like Peter's altar idea) is great, but obeying when it's scary, unknown, or outside of our comfort zone is another thing.

Here's to all the Sleeping Beauties out there...may the Lord awaken you with Sonlight streaming through your window.

And may you listen and obey.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Conflama

I'm there. 

In that place I find myself often. Feeling like few "get" me. Wanting desperately to be "gotten." Wanting to be able to spill all my jumbled thoughts out on the table and categorically, systematically go through each, one-by-one, and make sense of the tangled mess. 

I'm at that place where words fail to encapsulate all the emotions and colors flowing through my mind--and words rarely fail me. 

I'm at a juncture in my faith and in my life where I feel I'm being called to go deeper, higher, farther. 

I feel like I've been given a small, smudged corner of the map and told to "walk that way" and then....nothing more until the next directive. In the mean time, I'm walking blindfolded, clutching this tattered piece of map for all I'm worth, and waiting, waiting...

And clinging. 

Clinging to the hope and faith I have in God. Believing Him when He says that He has a plan, that I'm not just wandering aimlessly without purpose. That He understands, even when I or others don't. 

And I'm trusting. 

Trusting that He is directing my paths. That He does have my best interest at heart. 

I'm limping along, bruised and wounded by life's battles, nursing scars, and not sure I can survive the war. Weak and dehydrated from the back-and-forth that happens in life. Exhausted from the beautiful and maddening differences found in each one of us; those things that can bring us together can also drive us so far apart. 

And asking myself if I really mean it when I say I'll follow Him. 

Will I?

Will I choose a tattered, living, breathing map to a destination I know, but a path I'm unsure of over a clear-cut path to misery?

Where He points will I go? Where He leads, will I follow? 

Will I leave those who won't follow, even if they ask me to stay? Even when it makes no sense to them--or to me?

Will I ignore the disbelief and incredulity of others in order to please Him?

Sometimes it feels like it costs me too much even though the price has already been paid. 

And do I really believe what I say I do?

The more I learn, the more I know. 

And the more I know, the greater the realization that there's a line in the sand.

It's impossible to be a part-time follower once the Truth is revealed.

So here I stand, holding this piece of map. One foot in front of the other. 

Ready. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Momma Don't You Worry by Louie Lawent-A Review

I recently read a children's book by Louie Lawent called Momma Don't You Worry (LadyBee Publishing). Once I read this short, sweet, sing-songy, rhyming book, I knew I would share it with all of you. 
If you've ever had a preschooler or kindergartner eager to launch out on an adventure, you know what the conversation is like when you're out together in public: little pleading voices with big, adventurous eyes begging to be let go on a journey by themselves.

Tiny little hands become slippery as you work hard not to let them out of your grasp. Small feet struggle to keep up with momma while interested eyes are darting around, taking in their curious surroundings.

While I read Mr. Lawent's book, I could picture an antsy little guy of five ("almost six years old" ), tugging at his mom's hand and darting off on an adventure, only to find himself lost and afraid.  A fast-thinking and smart little boy, the little guy in this story remembers what his mom taught him to do in just such a situation and asks a sales clerk for help finding his mom. All is well as the little guy and his momma are reunited and he gives in to his mom's desire to hold his hand tightly. The illustrations inside the book are adorable too, allowing the reader to visualize the entire story.

Momma Don't You Worry is an endearing story about one little boy's realization that maybe, just maybe, it isn't so bad holding mom's hand after all. 

You can find Momma Don't You Worry on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Grieving Well With Jesus Series: Grieving the Loss of a Grandparent

On January 10, 2015, I lost my grandfather.  In two years and seven months I had lost all of my grandparents.  I was so angry and had such a heavy heart.  The grief that I took on was like a weight that was tied to my ankle and dragging me down to the bottom of the ocean.

Now I know I am not the first person in the world to lose someone, but when I lost my grandfather it was final.  The end of a chapter in my life was ending and I had absolutely no control over it.  Now I am the type of person who has control issues.  I like to feel that I have a handle on something, but something as large as life and death, how could I ever feel I would be able to control that?  

Even when my family placed the phone up to my grandfather’s ear as I said my final good bye, I still was telling him that this was not part of the plan and he needed to just stay longer so I could have my one last visit that was only in one week.  

Honestly that last visit wasn’t going to make his leaving this Earth any easier, but in the heat of the moment I thought that was what I needed.

For the rest of Lindsay's story click HERE.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Grieving Well With Jesus Series: 7 Ways Grief Changed Me

Sara Shares 7 Ways Grief Changed Her Life

I received 3 phone calls on July 12, 2013. The first was from Dad, his weekly check-in from one state away. We gabbed and chuckled. I put the girls on the phone to chat with him. We parted with “I love you.” The second phone call was from my brother. Dad had collapsed. He was being rushed to the hospital. The third: “He’s gone.”
As abrupt as that, life can end.
Anyone who doesn’t fully comprehend how short life is has never had a third phone call.
Grief is universal and inevitable.
Grief is also a game changer.
Over the last year, I have discovered this to be true in many ways in my view of the world.
1.  I have put less emphasis on the material side of life. Not that I was especially materialistic to begin with, but after seeing Dad’s 62-year life reduced to figures on a court document, I just can’t deny how empty possessions are. They burn, rust, break, disappear and get sold at auction. In their place is only air.
To read more about the 7 ways grief changed Sara click HERE.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Was It All A Dream? Thoughts On Easter.


This night so many years ago was filled with restless, anxious tears and praying.

All the Disciples had scattered after Jesus was crucified and all feared for their own safety.

A mother whose heart had been torn in two, who watched her first-born be humiliated, beaten, and then savagely nailed to a cross, nursed a wounded soul beyond repair. 

Their leader, their teacher, their brother, their friend, their son...was dead. 

It was over.

I can only imagine the absolute despair they felt as they watched Him be taken down from the cross, wrapped in linen and placed in burial clothing.

As they watched the stone rolled in front of the tomb...and then watched the sun set on their broken hearts,  their futures now suddenly uncertain.

I wonder, did they sit up all night wondering if they'd imagined it all?

Did they question all they'd seen, the private conversations they'd had, all they'd experienced?

Was He a fraud?

Had he fooled them all?

Did Mary lay awake with a shattered soul, wondering if the angel had lied to her so many years ago...or if an angel had come at all?

Did she re-live every moment of His life from start to finish, struggling to remember every minute detail, every word, every memory, every second? 

Were those the longest hours of her life? Did everything in her long to go to the tomb and crawl in beside her precious son?

As Peter lay in the dark and the tears fell without mercy, guilt and shame covering him like a blanket, did he replay in his mind all three times he'd denied Christ? Did he wish with every fiber of his being that he could go back in time and do it over again?

Like ants scattered, were His disciples fearing for themselves and wondering where they were to go now? Were they lost? Lonely? Scared? Disillusioned?

Truly, this had to be their darkest hour. 

During this time...from when He was crucified until He rose again...the whole world held its breath. 

These hours were the ellipses of all time.

Can you feel it? The heavy silence, the suffocating stillness?

Can you feel the fear, the insecurity, the doubt?

The despair, the pain, the dejection?

Until...the unthinkable happened. 

Jesus...the man they'd watched die only days ago...suddenly wasn't in the tomb any longer...

{To be continued...}

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Anxious Mom eBook is Here!

No pranks or practical jokes here! The Anxious Mom eBook is ready!

I can't tell you the excitement I have over sharing this 1 year journey with all of you!

What began with a delicate "dipping of my toe" into studying scripture about anxiety and fear has grown into a full-fledged eBook that has not only helped me, but--I've been told-- has spoken to others as well.

I pray that all who read this will come away with a renewed sense of trust and faith in God and an understanding of His sovereignty. 


Below are some responses I've received from a few brave souls who proofed and edited The Anxious Mom (Thank you to Ginny from Joy from Grace, Alison from A Walk in Faith, and Kate from Heading Home):






Care to read an excerpt?

Introduction
I could count on both of my hands...and both of the hands on every person 
on this planet...how many times I've felt anxious. It's grown over the past
year or so to a point that I knew I had to make a change or I was headed to a
breakdown.
God's really been working on my heart. He's been bringing things to my 
attention and putting them slowly in my path for a while, but lately it has
been at break-neck speed. I have learned so much about fear and anxiety.

A big part of what I've learned is how common anxiety is among us. And 
most surprisingly, how common it is in women. Many of us worry about our
kids to the point of distraction. Of course, you'd never know that just from
looking at us or even from having a casual conversation with us. No, we're
very careful to keep those "crazy" feelings tucked away while we're in 
public. 


We hide behind the illusion of a smiling face, a full social calendar, and
Christian buzz words like "blessed" and "faith." It's usually not until the sun
goes down, and the house sits still and quiet, that we allow those feelings to
slowly crawl up our throats and threaten to spill out of us in heaving sobs.
Our chests clench and the thoughts that run through our heads are worse
than any horror movie we've ever seen. 

Even though the details of our thoughts might be different, the feeling is all
the same: a sense of being out-of-control. It’s a nameless, faceless,
unsubstantiated fear about our children's or loved one’s safety and well-
being.

For so long I have merely held the horror down and kept it at bay. But
now...God is getting me ready to look the beast in the eye.

I'm taking this on.

I'm going to look right at it and walk right through
it.

I'm scared. Which is almost funny if you think about it: I'm afraid to face my
fear…of fear. But I have to. I need healing and I feel like I need to get these
things I'm learning down on paper (so to speak) so someone else may
benefit.

For the next several chapters, I’ll share with you the posts I wrote about my 
struggle with anxiety (they appeared on my blog Suburban Stereotype). Bear
with me. Basically, I'll be lying on the "couch" and you'll be the proverbial
fly on the wall.

Would you like to read more? 
Then download your F R E E copy right HERE

If you feel led, please leave a review HERE.

Also, care to share this ebook launch on social media?

A Divine Encounter
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