1/29/12

Year-In-Review

From "Because I'm The Mom Productions
and without further adieu ... 
Our Year-In-Review 2011
Ready Yourselves

video

Higher quality viewing at Julee Ann's Vimeo
Outtakes available upon request.

1/28/12

Defragging

For the better part of January, which is the better part of gone, I've been purging.


No, not the master cleanse, or the detox diet, but more like hoarders anonymous for the laptop.


To give credit where credit is due, I thank Apple for pulling their (my) iWeb and my (their) Mobile me gallery. You see, while everyone else was connecting and commenting and building their blog base through social media, I stayed true to my little 'ole easy to use website.  
It's like I wrote,  illustrated (with photos) and published  my own storybook from 2003 - until June of 2012.  


But now it's time to move on, and I do so with no regrets.   Time for another chapter. Turn the page.  Head out on the highway to clear my head and Macbook.  Seriously it's time to purge because of  years of internet bingeing.  If pinterest was food, I'd be a sumo wrestler.


It's so very embarrassing and exhilarating.  Last night, while Skyping with my friend Kate, I tried to find a photo I wanted to share with her.  It was hopeless, not to mention the fact that I do not can't multitask.  Try finding a photo amongst scads and scads of archived folders, events, scans, tiffs, and jpegs, all while balancing your laptop and a glass of wine.


Today, I'm still rifling through and trying to put finishing touches on the Year-In-Review, with apologies to my loyal followers for the delay, but by the end of the week-end, your and my wait will be over.


Side-note: So glad a true friend doesn't delete you when you neglect to send condolences, and time and distance prohibit a non virtual get-together,   Ring me up, Scotty.


And so my detoxification process continues.
day before yesterday = my desktop, gossip, and ungratefulness
yesterday = iPhoto (you may question why I couldn't find said photo last night, and so do I)
today = safari bookmarks and bitterness
tomorrow = e-mails and american idol's preliminary auditions
the next day = pinterest boards, worry, and facebook subscriptions (did you know you can unsubscribe from certain fb status updates?)
sunday evening = Year-In-Review Movie and a lighter, happier me.


Cut-off.
Gone like yesterday.
Boom
Deleted
Free.
Pruned.


So I got to thinking about purging and pruning. Unlike the years with an iWeb journal, I haven't named 2012 yet, but thanks to blogger I have a new mantra/blog category entitled "What Does It Mean, When It Says ...?"  which I'll refer henceforth as WDIMWIS.


WDIMWIS ...


"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." John 15:4-6



1/27/12

Election Results

I could argue my view until the cows come home to the grey barn farm, (like for example, doesn't it point to a flawed IRS system, as opposed to a "republican fiasco" when millionaires don't pay their fair share in taxes?)  

It is what it is.


But, is it what the blue states say it is? Or is it what the red states say it is? Is it what rebublicans say it is? Or is it what democrats say it is? Is it what Jake says it is? Or is it what Julee says it is? Is it what Newt or Mitt says it is?  Is it what the president says it is, or is it what congress says it is? Now this verse is taken horribly out of context, but yet ridicoulously spot on, no?

People will grab something on the right, but they will still be hungry. They will eat something on the left, but they will not be filled. Isaiah 9:20

I heard a sermon at Melissa and Spencer's church entitled "It is what it is. Or is it what God says it is. By Angela Hughes at The Point

So in the spirit of the intro to the Steven Curtis Chapman's "Heaven In The Real World" song I give you my one and only 2012 post on politics. 

"Where is the hope? I meet millions of people who feel demoralized by the decay around us. The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us, or what laws we pass, or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. And that's where our hope is in this country. And that's where our hope is in this life." ~ Chuck Colson

So vote responsibly, vote early and vote often, but don't argue politics, people, tell everone what he has done and how great he is!


That's all she wrote folks. Selah.

At that time you will say: 
    "I praise you, Lord! 
       You were angry with me, 
    but you are not angry with me now! 
       You have comforted me.
  God is the one who saves me; 
       I will trust him and not be afraid. 
    The Lord, the Lord gives me strength and makes me sing. 
       He has saved me."
  You will receive your salvation with joy 
       as you would draw water from a well. 
  At that time you will say, 
    "Praise the Lord and worship him. 
       Tell everyone what he has done 
       and how great he is. 
  Sing praise to the Lord, because he has done great things. 
       Let all the world know what he has done.
 Shout and sing for joy, you people of Jerusalem, 
       because the Holy One of Israel does great things before your eyes.
Isaiah 13


1/23/12

Exchange Rate

I get a cold and rainy January day, you get yet another blog post.  



“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” 
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


Sometimes I tune into the TV show Extreme Makeover. The looks on their faces right after they start to move the bus is enough to get me to stay tuned in until they've televised and traversed through every inch of the new house.


My dad is a king, and since I'm his daughter I live in the palace.  


My father, the king,  is good and kind, all the time.  When I walk through the halls, I feel warm and safe.  I feel like a princess. He is forever trying to get the point across to me that I am worthy of his love.  He imparts faith to me on a daily basis.  He  tells me how great I am.  He prepares feasts and is constanlty remodeling my rooms. He doesn't let me believe the lies and He longs for me to sit down by the fireside and learn of his ways and worship him. 


My father the king, hosts an extreme makeover every day.

His exchange program, is the likes of which I can't even begin to understand or fathom.  He takes my garbage and leaves me a banquet.  He wants to exchange my fear for faith. He wants to take my sickness and give me health. He wants my messed up check-book for financial freedom. He wants my lonliness in exchange for a relationship. He takes the curse and gives the blessings. He offers joy for sadness and peace for worry.


My father, the king, has new surprises for me every morning.   The price has been paid.  He bought me over 2000 years ago. He cared and loved me enough to send his son to take the punishment for me.  What can I do, but follow his lead and put on the robes of kindness, gentleness, love, faith, mercy and grace. I must not walk around with my head down.  I refuse to mope or complain. I won't worry or whine.  I can't, because my father, the king, has adopted me into his family. I'm the daughter of a King. I live in a palace.


Without fail, and absolutely WHENEVER I see a picture of Prince William and Princess Catherine, I think royalty!  They dress like Royals, they act like Royals, they smile like Royals, and they even wave like Royalty. 


So excuse me if I sound like a princess, but it's time to start living like royalty.




But You, O LORD, are a shield for me,
         My glory and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3


 Lift up your heads, you gates; 
   lift them up, you ancient doors, 
   that the King of glory may come in. 
 Who is this King of glory? 
   The LORD Almighty— 
   he is the King of glory. Psalm 24:7-10

1/21/12

Show & Tell

It was a dark and stormy night. No, seriously, it was a dark and stormy night. I was 5, maybe 6 years old. We were rounding dead man’s curve (I’m not making this stuff up, why just last year they straightened the road so it’s not a curve anymore) I’ll show you … it’s only about a mile from Great grandma’s farm.
The lightening struck and the thunder rolled.  I felt the car sway all over the road, thanks to the Wizard Of Oz type winds.  My mom was driving and as you’ve probably figured out she didn’t have a cell phone and we probably weren’t in seat belts.
Because of the curve, I knew we weren’t far from home and so my fears churned low in my stomach, paying enough attention to be called up with a whimper.
I trusted my mom to get us home.  Scary, strong, Indiana storms, the kind that turn day to night and carry freight train like noises, were not on my radar. Yet.


“Huh oh!” isn’t a comforting phrase to hear when you’re little and strobes of lightening reveal corn laying over on it’s side in the field, out your car window. The next flash lit up my mom’s worried face, as we slowed to a stop.  We had run out of gas. I was getting ready to call the fear troops up to active duty, when I heard my mom, quietly and calmly pray… “Dear God, please send someone along to take us home.”


A couple of minutes passed, plenty of time for my stomach and the storm to go into overdrive, until a neighbor pulled alongside, and as we jumped from our lifeless station wagon into his welcoming car, we hardly got wet.


In November of 2011, while sitting in great grandma & grandpa’s Florida trailer, my dad told me of another miracle of God, stepping into our lives and claiming, “I love you, you’re mine, fear not.”


After finishing the compelling Christopher Yaun book titled, “Out Of The Far Off Country” my dad, your great-grandpa Lloyd, experienced no Parkinson's symptoms for about 3 minutes.  He relayed it this way,
“After weeping about the events and circumstances in this true story, I jumped up off the porch sofa, and moved about the whole trailer with no weakness, no shaking, and no steadying myself to walk. I felt like I was eighteen.”  Funny man, Grandpa Grover, asked him why he didn't go shoot some hoops.


I don’t know how old you’ll be when you read this and understand but this letter will forever be a reminder of the power of prayer, miracles, and encounters with God in this earthly life.


Many years, prayers, stories, and miracles (they’re not all mine to tell) have passed between these signs and wonders from God. But these two; one miracle being forever remembered as a great sum of faith deposited into in my childhood memory bank. The other, keenly reminding me of a Father who never leaves us or forsakes us and wants to bless, heal, show mercy and favor.  Oh how he loves you and me, that he would reach down and whisper supernaturally, "I am with you always!"


I tell you these stories so you will remember the mighty hand of God is powerful to save. I lay these words on the altar of sacrifice to the one true God.  I also tell you to keep myself accountable.  There may be big faith gaps in my stories,  and there are other stories to be sure, but let these serve as a memorial between the two of you.


In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these words mean?’ tell them, “For a while, just as the Israelites of the bible, my Grandma’s pride took over and she strayed off course. She wrote these letters to us as the accounts of her road home.” 
Let these words remind you:  Your God and the God of the Bible, stands ready and waiting to do what he said he would do. Call on Him and he will show you things you haven’t even dreamed of.


My prayer for you, my dear grandchildren, is that you will have a long list of 3-minute miracles and may you see and experience even greater signs and wonders.

1/20/12

Lady Ga Ga Is Right

Recent events from my former life and, holy cow the book of Genesis have caused me to think about sin. Yeah, that's right I said the "S" word on my blog. There's a truckload of sin goin' on in Genesis.  Eating from the wrong tree, deceit, sleeping with young-girls & housekeepers, gluttony, sister-wives' baby making competition, murder, jealousy, anger, laughing at God, etc. etc. etc. Then, as my YouVersion reading plan takes me through Genesis and Romans at the same time, more sins are discussed and strike closer to home.
evil
selfishness
hatred
jealousy
fighting
lying
thinkin the worst about each other
gossip
hate
rudeness
conceited
brag about oursleves
disobedient to parents
don't keep promises
show no kindness or mercy to others....
Romans (Paul) goes so far as to say "they invent ways of doing evil."
Sin is like a snowball ... it gathers momentum, and grows bigger as it rolls along, unchecked it can turn into an avalanche. 
People are tempted when their own evil desire leads them away and traps them.  This desire leads to sin and then the sin grows and brings death.— James 1:14-15


We WERE born this way! Adam and Eve sorta got the sin ball rolling, so we get to deal with the sin nature they left to us.  Nonetheless we were also born with a free will to choose.  To decide. To repent. So first off, and at the risk of appearing judgemental; let's get January's sermon on the blog out there.
#1.  Our sin nature isn't, but sin is a choice. Isn't everything?
#2.  All have sinned and therefore all need a Savior.  "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned"— Romans 5:12

"Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and make you pay more than you want to pay-" not neccessarily biblical but spot on.
What are there, 7 billion people on earth now?  And no two, exactly alike.  Sit and think about that for a minute or so.
Our Creator, created us, in his image (stop and think about that for an hour or so)  We were created so He could give us his inheritance, help him bring the kingdom to earth ("on earth as it is in heaven...") and we could fall in love with his son. And we were created, creatively, so we could share this good news with others--so that all might know and believe.  We were born this way, too!


So I blame myself.  I don't know what I was doing, maybe sitting in church or arguing politics, when those terrorists were learning how to fly and not land planes in Sarasota, FL.  What was I doing while hollywood produced 82 films and tv shows on the occult and paranormal activities. (2011) ... reading Harry Potter and the Twilight series? What am I doing while children are being turned into sex slaves?  Teaching a sunday school class or taking the teenagers to Cedar Point? What am I spending time doing when my neighbor is thinking of suicide? Surfing the internet? What am I doing while the next generation may be the last? Trying so hard to see the tiny speck in someone elses' eye that I can't see the log in mine? What was I doing to spiritually influence those I entrusted my children to? Worrying about audition results or what part they would get in the play, if they had the latest fashion, or if they played on JV or Varsity?


Great news, there's a point #3 
As far as the east is from the west,
         So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
—"Psalm 103:12
“I, even I, am he who blots out 
   your transgressions, for my own sake, 
   and remembers your sins no more. 
—Isaiah 43:25


“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 
Acts 17:24-28

I was created for more than this. I was created to love Him with all my soul, heart, and mind. Tim Tebow, me,  and you, were created to praise Him. What if everytime I booked a photo session, I fell to my knees gave thanks to God for supplying my needs?  If I'm a believer and can write, I must write to honor Him.  If I'm a believer and can paint, I should paint so others can see his handiwork.  If I'm a believer and work in a factory, I should work so my co-workers and boss see Him in me. If I'm a believer and making comments on facebook, I should build-up, not tear town. Get creative, someone's life depends on it.


Coming soon: "Living In A Palace", "3-Minute Miracle" "Dear Max & Lilly" and "Ready Yourselves" the Year-In-Review video. I'm serious this time.

1/6/12

Egads

Read through the Bible
Read my book list (at the least)
Write a book(s)
Get healthy
Keep a thankful spirit
2x a month cooking
Stay off facebook
Start a non-profit
Enjoy Max & Lilly 
Save the Depot
Pray without ceasing
Mentor someone
Build the business
Be bold in my faith
Do the dishes
Go to bed early
Get up early

Think outside the box/bin (hence the photo, courtesy of Mother Earth News)
Plan the "studio", the "trip", and the "party" (more on this later)
Make the bed
Feed the cats
Restore the barn
Capture the brides
Give it away
Put it away
Throw it away
Dream dreams
No excuses
Take the blame
See miracles
Prayer Walking
          Today ~ Praying for: my niece Ariel, with  YWAM.
                          :for my niece Angela, with her online magazine  launch
                          :for my friend Kate, as she lays her wonderful FIL, Bill, to rest.
Pray, Read, and Write some more.


Call me crazy, but I think this list is doable. God help me.

1/5/12

In A Relationship

It’s well after midnight, as I lower the west shade, and set the automatic timer on the lamp with the energy saver light bulb.  The neighbors’ rooflines still glow with the colorful Christmas bulbs as they peak through the woven blinds (the lights, not the neighbors) and warm my heart, even on this seventh night out.

One more sleep here and then I’m off to 2012.

I vow to change.  Again.  Set in motion and pushed forward by an urgency to get it right this time, I leave myself room to breathe as I go through the mechanics of closing this space.  I’m sorry about the trashcan full of regrets and wasted chances.

He whispers, as I fixate on sweeping up the crumbs, “I’m so proud of you, for turning around and changing directions, you’re forgiven.”

One never knows when the 'lasts' will occur.  Oh sure, you can count the biggies; last time I’ll walk these halls, last day on the job, etc. etc.

Sometimes, a 'last' sneaks around the corner and startles you.  What if Friday evening Dec 23rd becomes the 'last' family Christmas in the house where we raised a family?

The voice is stronger than before, “You are mine, and I am totally in love with you. Follow me.”

I head upstairs to close furnace vents, curtains, and chapters.  The scrapbooks line the shelves and a few toys have resurfaced. I make beds, put away some childish things, and leave the mementos’ to their fading.

His encouragement is now palpable, “Stay focused on the goal, keep your mind fixed on me, don’t waiver. This world is not your home. Be strong and courageous.”

I gather random items to take with me, a basket of old love letters, a box of family photos, and a well-intentioned study bible. To everything there is a season and a purpose under heaven … a time to plan, so I’m not sure what I’ll need in 2012.

The voice grows stronger, “Don’t worry about anything. I do not have plans to harm you in any way.  Let me take care of you. I’ve paid all your debts. I see to it that even the birds have a nest and flowers have their dress. Lean on me.”

As I close up this house for the last time in 2011 and make my way south, I leave behind the past and press on towards a higher calling. I do so with authority and resolve to concentrate on my relationship with him.

Now the voice is audible, “Who do you say that I am, Julee? Fall in love with me.”