Of Marbles and Footballs…

I once heard a preacher give a word picture I will never forget.  Apparently, when he was a boy, his most favorite thing in the world was playing marbles.  Every afternoon after school, he and several friends would gather at a house near the schoolyard to play marbles.  One afternoon, as he was nearing high school age, a group of slightly older boys passed by the group of marble players.  As they tossed the football amongst themselves, one yelled out, “Hey!  Want to play ball?”  This preacher reports that he stood up from the marble-playing friends, walked away with his new football-playing friends, and he never looked back!  Now, he said it would have been wrong for him to have walked by his old marble-playing friends each day and said, “What’s wrong with you guys?  What don’t you grow up, get rid of those marbles and come play football with us more mature guys?”  No, he would have never done that!  Those other boys just weren’t as old as him.  They had not outgrown the marble playing stage of their life.  Did that make them inferior somehow?  Did it make them “wrong”, immoral or ignorant?  Of course not!  It’s just that there was now a difference in maturity between this young man and his former marble-playing friends.

As Christians, we sometimes treat each other this way.  We look at a fellow Believer and we want to say, “What’s wrong with you?  Why don’t you see that what you’re doing (not doing) is wrong and immature?  Grow up!”  God has a very pointed and purposeful path and destination for every one of His children.  He grows, polishes and convicts each of us at different times in different areas of our day-to-day walk with Him.  Convictions in the Christian life are a funny thing.  It is so easy to see the splinter in someone else’s eye and miss the plank in our own, isn’t it?

Matthew 7:3-5 

 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

We must be so very careful not to quickly cast judgment on our brothers and sisters in Him.  It can be a very painful, hurtful thing.  It can, and has been, used to divide the Body of Christ time and time again.  We sometimes use the excuse that we are trying to “speak the truth in love”, but are we really? Do you notice that you feel a bit angry or irritated when you consider this situation? Is it possible that the recipient may not be ready to hear it?  Perhaps we should just pray more and wait for God to calm our spirit and do the convicting.  Perhaps we need to do some serious self-examination in our own lives before we speak out and end up being offensive rather than helpful. Remember this scripture?

Proverbs 16:24  Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

If you look around and observe the body of believers that you associate with, you will see diversity very clearly.  We don’t all attend the same church.  We aren’t all the same denomination.  We aren’t all the same race.  Some of us have physical challenges.  Some of us have family issues.  Some of us are older and some younger.  Some of us have always lived in Jacksonville and some are just passing through!  Some of us are new Believers and some have been saved for many, many years.  However, we all want to reverence and serve the One True God!  That, my family, is our common bond.

A couple of points to ponder:

(1)   If you feel a need to speak the truth in love, do so only after MUCH prayer.

      James 1:19   My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be        quick    to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

(2)   The Bible says there is wisdom in a receiving counsel.  It might be a good idea to confidentially run it past a brother or sister in Christ before saying a word.  However, don’t run it past all your friends first disguised as a “prayer request”!  That is called gossiping!

Proverbs 15:22  Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they succeed.

(3)   Remember that convictions are a result of God speaking directly to the heart and do not determine one’s salvation.  Your friend may not EVER be convicted of something that God has heavily placed on your heart. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

(4)  Correction is much more easily received when you are already in true, proven relationship with a person.  The person you feel led to correct should already know that you love them and are interested in their spiritual well-being.  Develop true relationship first before trying to bring personal correction.

Think back for a moment.  I remember when I was not convicted about my music choices or the length of my skirt.  It took me a long time to quit living so much under law and live more by grace.  I still struggle in so many areas of life – don’t you?

A lady that I highly respected (now deceased) spoke to a group of us young women once about the need to always present ourselves as a lady.  She felt that we should wear a dress or skirt at all times in order to present ourselves properly.  This talk came at a critical time in my life when I was so thirsty to know more of my God and to do all He desired of me.  I really, really struggled with this for a long time because I am truly a jeans-kind-of-gal and I always have been.  Finally, one day the Lord used my husband to help me see His grace.  Bob explained to me that this particular lady had 3 girls!  That family went to ballet recitals, piano recitals and tea parties!  We had 2 boys!  We went camping, hiking, camping, canoeing, bleachers at ballgames, and did I mention camping!  Bob suggested that it would not be modest or ladylike for me to wear dresses and skirts all the time!  He also felt it would isolate me from the very people I needed to witness to.  You see, I am the way I am because God knew I would have boys!  I suspect that God will never convict me to wear dresses all the time! (Whew!!!)

So let’s not get off track and allow any defeat in the body of Christ.  Let’s stay focused and allow God to do His work in our hearts and the hearts of our fellow believers as He reveals to each of us, in His time, all the mystery of His perfect will!

Ephesians 1:3-10

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace  that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,  he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,  to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

THANKS FOR READING!  Please check out the Home Executive Tip of the Day!Click Here

Whistle While You Work!

House Cleaning?? Cue the Eye-Roll Emoji!!

I worked a full time job outside the home for the first 25 years of my married life. During that time I developed the habit of doing ALL housework and chores on the weekends only. Because I did everything at once, it took multiple hours to accomplish. So naturally, over time, my mindset became that anything and everything to do with housework or cleaning was very, very time consuming. I would not even consider beginning a task unless I had an entire day to dedicate to just that. Needless to say, my house was not often cleaned or even very “picked-up”. I would sooner die than have anyone just “stop by”! My Mom used to try to tell me that I could accomplish small tasks during the week and not be so overwhelmed, but I guess I could not hear her due to my deeply entrenched mindset that it ALL HAD TO BE DONE AT ONE TIME! (Okay, some of my inability to listen was hardheadedness…a topic for another blog someday!)

This misguided mindset continued even after I became a stay-at-home mom. At least then I could schedule in a day to do a lot of housework on a more regular basis. It’s a good thing! With all of us at home all day on most days the mess we created increased exponentially. Not to mention all the new clutter of a homeschooling family being added to the mix!

Fast forward with me to around 2004. We decided to move from our home of 27 years in Mandarin, live in my Mom’s garage for 3 years, and build a new house on my parent’s property. (I know, I know! What in the world were we thinking?!?! Again, another blog for another day!) I was faced with the overwhelming task of going through every single thing we owned and downsizing greatly. I literally had to touch every single item in my home, garage and attic and decide for it to go in one of 4 places: pack to stay with us at Mom’s, pack in storage for 3 years, put in the garage sale stacks, put in the give-away/Goodwill stacks. What an enormous undertaking this was! I took me a full year to work through it all. This was when God taught me that I was WAAYYYY too attached to things! Why did I had several sets of twin sized sheets when we had not even had a twin sized bed in years? This is just one small example.

So now you know the background for my thought process when in 2009 we were able to finally move in to our new home. That experience made me determined to limit my clutter of “things” and to develop a mindset of doing small amounts of housecleaning very faithfully. Never again did I want to be ashamed of someone just coming by to visit. I was convicted over my prior slothfulness and lack of organization. I was sad when it dawned on me how much it prohibited me from practicing the gift of hospitality that I enjoyed so much.

I’m such an avid reader. So I found a few books that were very helpful in my search for just the right plan and I will list them at the bottom of this post. I used a bit from each author and their experiences and developed my own plan of attack. We have been in the house 10 years now and I am pleased to tell you that my plan still works! Certainly I’m still not perfect at it and there are definitely times that I need to spend a full day (or more) catching up and getting back on track.
I want you to know though that success lies in the little things! I plan to share with you some tips and plans of action. So I’m adding in the “Home Executive Tip of the Day” page to my blog.  Jump on over to that page now and see today’s tip, then check there often for a new one! Maybe you have some tips to share as well? Put them in the comments and let’s all together whistle while we work!

In His Service,
Tracey

P.S. – Here’s some good reading materials: Is There Life After Housework? – Don Aslett; Sink Reflections – Marla Cilley (“The Fly Lady”); Sidetracked Home Executive – Pam Young & Peggy Jones

Ordinary AND Unique??

Welcome to my blog!  I hope I have peaked your interest with my title.  I’m well aware that “ordinary unique” is an oxymoron, but can one not be both at the same time?

The word ordinary means normal, plain, commonplace, or customary.  I am not from a bloodline of the privileged or highly educated.  I’m just an ordinary American girl born into a lower middle-class family in what used to be a simple city of Jacksonville, Florida in the mid 1950’s.  Life in general was so much simpler then.  My dad was a carpenter by trade and my mom was a homemaker.  Ordinary.

The word unique is defined as unparalleled, not typical, or the only specimen of a given kind.  For as long as I can recall I have considered myself to be “different”.  Maybe it was because I was so tall and lanky with Irish fair skin and freckles.  Or perhaps it was because I was an only child for 12 years.  My very personality and sense of humor was odd compared to my peers when I was a teenager and I was always much more serious minded.  I did at some point though begin to realize I was purposely made the way I was.  There was no need for conformity, no point in even trying!  Why, the very Creator God of the universe had formed me and shaped me to be just as I was!  The entire chapter of Psalm 139 told me all I needed to know to feel comfortable in my own skin.  Scripture assures me that he knew all about me even when I was still in my mother’s womb and although I was “curiously wrought” and I am “yet being unperfect”, still His thoughts towards me today are more than the grains of sand on the earth!  Can you imagine that? How unique we are!

This has been a goal of mine for quite a few years and I’m finally taking the time to launch it.  I do hope to have followers, maybe at least a couple of friends or family members who will occasionally read.  However, my primary purpose is just to record what I have learned through the years in hopes that my children, grandchildren, and possibly even great-grands will know a bit about their heritage.  I want them to find comfort in the fact that their parents were not perfect and they were well aware of it!  I hope that they will also see how the experiences of life are much more favorable, and infinitely more adventurous, when God is allowed to be involved.  I really hope they will laugh at me and with me as I record some interesting and incredible details of the life and times of Bob & Tracey Cavender.

I hope you will learn and laugh with us, too!  Now let this journey begin!! WELCOME!