Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rain, rain...

I would like to report that there is no rain falling in my house!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Celtic Evening 2009

If yall are looking for an entertaining evening Thursday night, come out for this! Sarah is playing at about 7:30...

Hope everyone is having a wonderful St. Patrick's Day and all the great music and entertainment going on. Please try to come out next Thursday night March 26th at 7:00 PM and join us at the Birmingham International Center for this years "A Celtic Evening: Music and Dance from Scotland and Ireland"

A Celtic Evening is the annual fund raising event for the non-profit Alabama Celtic Association. The ACA promotes Celtic heritage, arts and education state-wide and provides grants and scholarship funding for Alabama artists for continuing study of the Scottish, Irish and Welsh arts. A Celtic Evening: Music and Dance from Scotland and Ireland on Thursday, March 26, 2009 will held at the Birmingham International Center, 1728 5th Avenue North in Birmingham Ticket are $15, fully tax deductible and available at:
www.BIC-AL.org.

Mithril will the featured as part of a full evening of Scottish and Irish performance including Irish dancers, ACA scholarship recipient and award winning piper Dallas Key, Naomi Milam (a local Gaelic singer), ACA scholarship recipient Russell Hopper on the fiddle and other Alabama Celtic artists.

Some more info about Mithrill....Mithril, the Gulf Coast's premier Celtic/World music band will make their very first appearance in Birmingham for one-show only, A Celtic Evening: Music and Dance from Scotland and Ireland on Thursday, March 26th.Since its formation in 2003, Mithril, a band of seasoned multi-instrumentalists, has played on concert stages around the country. Their high-energy Celtic Music programs have graced a wide range of venues, from pubs, intimate concert halls, churches, renaissance fairs, and festival stages, to large auditoriums with symphony orchestras around the US. This month they earned multiple standing ovations from more than 3,000 fans in two sold-out performances with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra at the Saenger Theater in Mobile. Tom Morley and his bandmates, Andra Bohnet, Ben Harper, and David Hughes, perform their all-instrumental shows on a wide variety of traditional instruments, including Irish flute, whistle, fife, Celtic harp, fiddle, bouzouki, tenor banjo, guitar, bodhran, djembe, and harmonium, playing with the precision of their classical training and the enthusiasm that springs from their love of traditional music.

Hope to see many of you there. If you cannot make it but would still like to support the scholarship fund, you can do so by sending your tax deductible donation to ACA at PO Box 724 Trussville AL 35173.
Mary Dougherty-Bergeron
President Alabama Celtic Association


Alabama Celtic AssociationPO Box 724Trussville, Alabama 35173celticalabama@gmail.com

Center

All martial artists seek the source of strength and power within themselves. Martial arts teaches you to look inside yourself for strength, from that place in the center of your being, your tanden or your hara.

As a Believer I have an unlimited source of strength within me – the Holy Spirit. He dwells at the center of my being – my gut, my hara, my tanden. That is more important than my heart – physical or emotional. It is more important than my brain – my intellect or thought. It is my center; the balance point deep inside me.

From my center I settle, I focus, I sink, I relax. I turn and move. I stand strong. I root myself to the ground. I act and react. I block and strike and control.

Lord, I pray for Your Grace and Peace to flow through me.

Not my own energy
or spirit
or muscle
Not my thoughts or my fears.

But the Grace and Peace of God Almighty
The Blood of Christ Jesus
my Saviour and Redeemer.

The Faith and confidence
Your Spirit imparts
to seal and keep me.

That is focus – kime
and mushin – no-mind
and chi – energy.


Rebecca A Givens, 03/2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Letter to my Kids

In the last few years God has brought some hurting families into our lives. Unfortunately, hurting and broken families have become the norm in today’s society. As I thought about the children of this brokenness – including the amber alert issued a few days ago (a father kidnapped his own small child), I thought of some things that I wish I could impress upon my own teenage children. Here is an edited version of what I sent my own kids:

When you are young it is hard to think about the future. The feelings of the moment seem real, the possibilities of the future do not. Both lust and love can head down paths that are permanent and heart breaking. Who you sleep with or marry affects so much more than the two of you, and so much more than the here and now.

Both love and lust can have the same affect, they can both bypass reality. They can be blind to faults, blind to consequences, blind to the future. If you do not have a standard, a measure outside of yourself, outside of your own feelings and thoughts, you will follow your love or your lust down treacherous paths. Until you have had children you cannot understand what happens to a parent’s heart. I know I don’t understand it still, but when I see a parent torn apart I hurt for them.

This person that you love, what will they be like in the future? One year, five years, ten years or more down the road? Do you want this person to be the father or mother of your children? Do you really know them?

Will you stand in court one day, waiting for a judge to decide who your child will live with? Will you watch someone who was unworthy of your trust drive away with your own child? Will you watch your own confused teen be led astray by your ex-spouse? You cannot imagine that hurt, that anguish of soul. Will you live in fear that a violent drug addict, the father of your young child, will want to spend time with his son? Or that your teen son will choose to follow his wayward mother rather than the God you serve? These children are in danger, not from the world or peer pressure, but from their own flesh and blood, from the young man or woman that you loved once, from that relationship that you entered into before you know how things would end, before you knew who they really were and what they were really like. Your heart will break with the child of such a union, in a pain that you cannot imagine.

And so I urge you, do not rush in to love or lust. Enter into relationship slowly and carefully. Do not give your heart or your body lightly. Pray and seek God in your life. Allow Him to bring people in, allow Him to direct your course. Look for godliness and kinship of heart and mind. Allow true love time to kindle and grow, and it will flame higher and brighter and warmer and longer than quick love or lust ever dreamed. Out of such a relationship and love will emerge a safe place for the future. A safe place for you, and perhaps for children as well. And whatever heartache you must suffer, may it not be the heartache of a parent who stands alone to protect your children from one who should have stood beside you rather than opposing you.

Lord, I pray for my own children. That You would keep them safe, pure, and devoted to You. I pray that You would guard their hearts and minds, that You would hold them tightly to Your side, that You would guide their steps. I pray that they would love You, desire You, and follow You down paths where You lead. I pray that the generations that follow me would follow You, that You would give me a legacy that follows You. I commit them to You.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hangin' with my Peeps

I love hangin with my peeps.

This is Hawk. We aren't sure what his/her variety is... but he is very agile and lively.


Can you believe that 27 of these baby chicks came in this box?! Maybe 4 of them would fit in it now. I hate that I didn't take any pictures of them when they were tiny and fuzzy...
But here is a picture of the babies that I got off the McMurray Hatchery website. You could easily pick them up and cup them in your hands.

Now you have to chase them down and they are more than a huge handful.
The white one is Angel. We can't decide if she's the same variety as the other yellow ones or something different...

This is Peeps. We named her when she was small, but she is now the biggest chick out there... Peeps doesn't exactly suit her anymore!



I gave them a spent collard plant out of the garden to peck at...

This is red because the heat lamp is red...

And last of all is a short video so you can hear the lovely little peeps:
video

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Acts, background

Well, since I finished reading the Bible through for my morning devotions, I have started working my way through a podcast course from Covenant Theological Seminary on The Life and Letters of Paul. I put the lecture in my ipod along with my other podcasts that I listen to while I am cooking or cleaning house by myself. (I don't listen outside, I like the outside sounds of life: wind, birds, etc. And I don't listen if my family is around, I like their conversation!) I do the reading as my devotions each morning, and once I have caught up with the reading I listen to the podcast again while sitting at my desk and taking notes. This helps me get the most out of what I am learning.

Anyway, I just finished Lesson 1 this morning, and it was excellant. I am not going to reproduce my notes here, but there are a few thoughts I want to share...

Why did Jesus call to Discipleship?
The answer is in the historical background of the New Testament (which is found in the OT), which is:
Creation - Glory
Fall - Misery
Redemption - Glory

God's work goes on, unhindered, with or without me, or anybody else. The question is, will I be a part of it? God's purpose will not be stopped by economic problems or church problems or anything. But His mercy is so great that He still consoles us in our problems.

Trauma and difficulty focuses you on the problem. When you are well you have 1000s of wishes. When you are sick you have only one wish.

If you understand something, you have it. Just being able to make it work is not enough; Christianity is not pragmatic, it is not true because it works. Lots of things work in the short term. Christianity works because it is true. It works and it is true; we have to understand it and live it. Not that we will ever comprehend God... but it is not enough to just do the works of Christianity. God requires our body, our heart, and our head; works, soul, and thought.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

God is Good! (and His people are pretty awesome too!)

At this moment my husband and his best friend are up on our roof working their tails off. A friend who will come up from Mobile and spend several days roofing your house is a good friend indeed!

Some of you know that our roof has been leaking horrendously... it rains in our house. Some of you also know we have been in financial difficulty, which means there has been no money to fix the roof. Well, let me just say that God has done everything except the actual sweat of the physical labor for us, and I am going to say He gets credit for that too.

For 6 months we have been collecting shingles from every source possible. A friend even advertised on Craig's List for us. Another friend with lots of connections collected up a large truck load for us. No, they don't match. We will have a patchwork bit of art up there. Another friend, a contractor, wanted to supply the felt and the nails. That just left structural replacement which we wouldn't be sure of until we got into the roof, and our pastor informed us of some very vague source of money to help with that.

Now it is spring break, unpaid vacation for my husband, so the time is here for the work. Yesterday they stripped off the shingles and found a depressing sight. The shingles were thin and old, the felt underneath was in tatters (and had been put on the wrong way), and the decking was 1 in thick rough cut oak scrap. With nails sticking up into the shingles. And rotten places. All the decking needed to be replaced, not just patched.

A quick call to Lowes gave me heart failure... nearly $700 for the decking. But I remembered our contractor friend who wanted to help, so a call to him and he got the decking for us at his cost, saving us HALF the money! And he put it on his account so it doesn't need to be paid until next month!

They have now repaired the rotten places and are driving in the nails that are protruding. The decking was delivered and they will put that on top of the old decking, making a lovely flat surface for the felt and the shingles. By the end of the week we should have 1/2 of an excellant roof.

Several months ago I could see no way to get a new roof. It was physically impossible. But God had a plan, and He had people in place to pull it together for us. And I know the other half of the roof will come together soon.

Thanks God, for Your provision and Your people!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bird Flight

While working outside this afternoon I spent some time watching the birds flitting around our bird feeders. As they flew about from the various trees and bushes they looked really awkward and erratic. They were not at all graceful in their flight! I wondered how they kept from hitting each other or tree limbs or the bird feeder. Their paths went up and down and side to side rather than in a straight line; they didn’t swoop or soar. Their little wings seemed to beat in a random pattern rather than a smooth rhythm. Yet they never missed the perch they were aiming for, and they never hit anything on the way. They could perch sideways on the wall or the post, on top of the bird feeder or the shed, on a small limb buried deep in the brush pile. It was amazing.

Sometimes God’s plan for my life’s journey feels like the bird’s erratic flight. It seems to be random flitting about rather than graceful. Yet it always ends where He wants me to be.
May God give you a sure perch, no matter how erratic your flight is!

Rebecca A Givens, 02/2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

God's Eyes

God’s Eyes
see the beast inside me
burn with hatred for sin
shine with love for me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Romans 1:20-27

We are going through Romans in my Wednesday morning Bible Study. This morning we read Romans 1:20-27. It's all about man being without excuse because we can know God exists through nature, and how God gives people over to sinful desires. The progression is very graphic.

Do not acknowledge God, or glorify Him, or thank Him.
Futile thinking
Foolish , darkened heart
Idolatry
sexual impurity
homosexuality

My thoughts as we talked through this progression in the "world" I suddenly realized that this is also happening in the church. We now have churches that have the name "Christian" who teach that it is ok to be homosexual. I am not talking about condemning homosexuals, I am talking about saying that God thinks it's ok to live that lifestyle. The Bible, God's Word to us, clearly states that this lifestyle is wrong, it is a sin. Yet we have churches here in America that openly teach that this is acceptable.

My next thought was sadness for all the people being deceived there. People who think they are doing what God wants them to because some preacher said so.

My next thought was less gracious for them, because whose fault is it if they don't read God's Word for themselves?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Little Peeps

We have some new chicks that are now one week old. I love to sit in the hen house and watch the little fluff balls, they have such sweet, calm little peeps while they run around scratching and eating. Then they all get tired so they snuggle up together and fall asleep, until one of them jumps up to go eat, running over the backs and heads of the others. Then their little heads will pop up, their bright eyes looking around until their heads droop and their eyes glaze over once again.

Some of the more aggressive little peepers will stand up straight and flex their wings out at each other. It is quite comical to see these 2 inch tall balls of fluff trying to look fierce. I want to laugh at them. In their little world they rule… until they need me to provide food and water, and heat and shelter, or until I step in and pick one up. Today I expanded their brooding pen and their world suddenly got bigger. At first they didn’t want to stray into the unknown area, away from their comfortable heat source. I laughed as they began to realize the world is bigger than they had thought it was.

I think perhaps I am more like these little chicks than I would care to admit. I am 2 inches tall, living in a warm brooder box, being taken care of by someone who is so big I cannot comprehend Him any more than those little peeps can comprehend me. Sometimes I get pushed out into the cold, sometimes I get picked up and held, sometimes I hear strange and scary noises and I want to run around peeping frantically.

The difference is that I can know and love and serve the One who is in control of my life. Those little peepers will eventually come to know me, to know at least that I bring food! And I will come to know each of them as individuals. I will enjoy them, their clucks and their antics and their eggs. But I will never be a chicken, I will never step into their world as one of them, I will never know their thoughts (if they have any), and I will never give my life for theirs. God did those things for me. While I was lost and clueless about Him, He stepped into my world as a human being and offered me salvation.

I want to know this One, this Man, this Christ, this Creator and Sustainer, this God who has stooped down to my level and claimed me as His own. I want to know Him and to love Him and to serve Him.

Lord, bless this little peep who desires to serve You.

Rebecca A Givens, 3/8/09

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Resilience and Power of God’s Word: featuring John Bechtel

I recommend all of Ravi Zacharias' broadcasts, but this one was quite good! John Bechtel is funny and has a great message. Click on the link to go to the page to listen or download the podcast.

The Resilience and Power of God’s Word: featuring John Bechtel(part 1 of 1)
by Ravi Zacharias

Depending on the source, publishers believe that the average American household has at least three Bibles. Some polling groups report that upwards of forty percent of the American public claim to read the Bible on a daily basis. Yet many pastors and churches would report that Biblical illiteracy is at an all-time high. If American’s hold the Bible to be so precious, why does the Word of God continue to lose its place in our lives? This week we present a very special program featuring a powerful story from Christian missionary John Bechtel and a stirring Q & A with Ravi Zacharias. Join us to rediscover The Resilience and Power of God’s Word.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I'm Finished!

This morning I finally finished reading the Bible through! Ok, so I didn't make it in a year... it was about a year and 3 months. There were a few periods of life in that time that I bogged down in. But as I say to my karate class, the key is to never give up.

I have to say that this was a great experience. Reading large chunks of scripture like that is not something I have done before, because I tend to get sucked in to the details. But the great thing about reading for an overview is that all those little pieces came together; I could see how so many things fit in the big picture.

I am anxious now to zoom in on some smaller pieces, but I also look forward to reading all the way through it in a short time again in a few years. Maybe when the kids are gone or when I "retire" I will do it every year in addition to more detailed study...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Trapped in the fatal narcissism of spiritual perfectionism

The kingdom belongs to people who aren't trying to look good or impress anybody, even themselves. They are not plotting how they can call attention to themselves, worrying about how their actions will be interpreted or wondering if they will get gold stars for their behavior. Twenty centuries later, Jesus speaks pointedly to the preening ascetic trapped in the fatal narcissism of spiritual perfectionism, to those of us caught up in boasting about our victories in the vineyard, to those of us fretting and flapping about our human weaknesses and character defects. The child doesn't have to struggle to get himself in a good position for having a relationship with God; he doesn't have to craft ingenious ways of explaining his position to Jesus; he doesn't have to create a pretty face for himself; he doesn't have to achieve any state of spiritual feeling or intellectual understanding. All he has to do is happily accept the cookies, the gift of the kingdom.

The Ragamuffin Gospel Visual Edition: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out