simplyliving

Simply living the simple life with God, Grace and Giggles

Dressed in …

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This picture was taken at the Australia zoo. It’s my usual attire, minus the kangaroo. I am a simple gal. I wear no make up (because when I do I look just like me, except with makeup, and after all the fuss and bother of putting it on, I want more). My hair is going grey and I’m not stopping it. From time to time I think I would love to wear a little Breakfast At Tiffany’s black dress and some kicky high heels, but how would I chase goats and chickens in such a get up? I’m also not a small sized woman. I suffer from bone on bone arthritis in my knees and something in my shoulder that requires cortisone shots every so often so it will work. So comfortable, unrestrictive clothes fill my wardrobe. (I’m not making excuses here, just trying to set the stage. )

From time to time, I think I would love to dress up and wear pantyhose and shoes that could not hold my orthotic insoles. Those days are rare but when they come, I get a full on dose of the enemy’s taunts…’ fat, fifty and frumpy, that’s me.’ Today was one of those days. I wasn’t even doing much. Got up, read the Word and headed to our church’s kids camp where I help with preschoolers. Mostly I help with recreation, run kids to the bathroom, wipe noses and calm crying kiddos. I love it. I wouldn’t wear a tiny black dress and scrappy shoes today. But, for some reason, I thought it would’ve been nice. When things make zero sense like this, I chalk it up to the enemy’s taunts.

When I got home, it was raining full on, a windy side on rain but, there were goats and sheep to check on and chickens to feed. I slipped on my red rubber garden shoes and my jacket and headed out to check on the animals. Sloshing along in the mud and through the puddles, cleaning up chicken coop poop and taking the four legged livestock alfalfa, is no place for red-bottomed four inch heels and strapless dresses. My jeans and button up plaid shirt was the perfect outfit. Yet, still – ‘fat, fifty and frumpy me,’ played in my head.

There’s only one way to combat Satan’s taunts and that is with the Word of God. And this is what I read from Colossians 3 in the Message : “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, DRESS IN THE WARDROBE GOD PICKED OUT FOR YOU: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered content with second place, quick to forgive. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Father forgave you. And, REGARDLESS OF WHAT ELSE YOU PUT ON, WEAR LOVE. It’s your basic, all purpose garment. Never be without it.”

I like to say the Bible has an answer for everything in life. It truly is our instruction manual! Here, I find the answer to the enemy’s accusations: it doesn’t matter the shoes, or dress, or jeans or shirt. My choice is to simply wear what He has already laid out for me – Compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, and LOVE.

I reckon they go good with heels or orthotic, dresses or jeans.

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ID Please…..

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Be Who You Is – If You Ain’t Who You Is – You Is Who You Ain’t. Or, Be yourself; everyone else is taken. There’s lots of cute ways to say it, but the message is…be yourself…the challenging part is to figure out who that is. Even at age 53 ¾ I drift on the uncertain sea of identity. How is that possible?

It’s a fact that I am a mother, a Nana, wife, relation of some sort to people and a friend. I’ve been all those things for a long time. But it’s the inner me that wafts along and can’t seem to tie down. And I can get in trouble, because I start being who I think others think I aughta be. But, really, I just need to be who Jesus made me to be and things would be better. It’s hearing His voice over all the others that gives me pause and then, makes me lose my footing.

When we moved to Australia I had an identity crisis because, well, we moved to Australia. Suddenly nothing was familiar and my somewhat disjointed personality took a beating. Then, we found an amazing group of friends in our church and I clicked with the women. My identity was back.

Now that we’re back home, it’s clear that I am a mom and a Nana, I am a writer, and a friend. I’m a relation of some sort to some people. But, settling in has been more challenging than I thought it would. Finding a new church has been difficult. (Why do I always compare the new church with previous churches anyways? I know that’s not the way to go). And, then I start down the walk of being who I think people think I should be or am, and the mess starts all over again. It’s only time in the WORD and prayer that brings me back to my true identity. Eventually my chaotic soul is at peace.

Here’s what I was reminded of – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done! (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

I am only here (On earth) temporarily, so all the stuff that makes me crazy, sad, depressed, anxious, those things won’t be in my real home. My real home is with Jesus. He’s blessed beyond anything I could ask or imagine here and I am thankful. Philippians 3:20, 1 Peter 2:11-12, John 17:14, John 15:19.
I can be sure that God works for my good in every single circumstance in my life. (Every means all, not just the easy or good circumstances). Romans 8:28

I am a creation of HIM. God himself made me unique. He gifted me as He saw fit and I can be sure He will complete His good work in me. In the Psalm 139 it says He himself knit be together. If you’re a knitter you know your hands, mind and thoughts are very busy when you’re knitting. Imagine the creator of the World making us in a similar, intimate fashion. Psalm 139 13-16, Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 12:6

Those things give me hope. They remind me that I am a child of the one true King and that as His kid, nothing is impossible. Including figuring out who I am.

But there’s more.

The simple list for me is this:

Because of Jesus I am salt, I am light. I am Born Again and saved by HIS grace. I am a new creation in HIM, old things have gone away, and all things are new. 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16, Matthew 5:14, Matthew 5:13. I find comfort in these words. Because it (life) is not about me, it’s about living for Him.

At times when my soul is adrift and tosses about in that sea of uncertainty He is the rock I hold to, and HIS word shows me the way, reminding me why I shouldn’t be anxious, or afraid, or bitter, but rather live in Him a hope filled, love overflowing , life.

Face it, life gets lifey. The sea gets choppy. Hope floats. Rain comes. Anxiety makes the heart race. But Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. No matter where God moves me geographically, or where I might head of myself or the world sends me emotionally, He remains my only hope and the voice most clear.

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Kinder goats, Jacob Sheep, chickens and a farm =

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Life

It’s been busy and exhausting. Now that we’re ‘homesteading’, I feel much closer to my heroine of my novel …Widows Redemption…Hannah…instead of goats, I have chickens and sheep..but…none the less..I’ll be gardening, hoeing, planting, sowing etc.

I have a new blog (I know how many do I need anyways?) called Baldwin Acres which will chronicle my ventures, if you’re interested!

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Farmer? Chickens? Vegetables? Me?

Farmer? Chickens? Vegetables? Me?.

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Writing, publishing, online magazines and life

Originally posted on Linda Mae Baldwin:

I am back in wet, gray, soggy, Washington state in America after a three-year stay in beautiful, sunny, warm, Queensland, Australia. Despite the dismal weather differences, I am blessed to be back exactly where God wants me and cuddling on the Grands, catching up with the kids, and setting up a new life-thing.

What new thing? A while ago I had my own website which turned to be a waste of space and time. So now I blog. Jury’s still out on the waste of this endeavor. On my website I wrote book reviews. I’ve been a reviewer for Romantic Times Magazine for the last seven years. If you know anything about me at all, you ‘ll know I love pink flamingos – those pink, elegant, misunderstand beauties and I are connected on a ‘I get you,’ level. I used my long-legged friends to rate the books I reviewed: 1…

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my last Aussieland post

my last Aussieland post

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Nothing is Impossible with God

I bought some paperback bibles in different translations and wanted to make them last longer so I followed an idea my daughter had done. I got some different styled duct tape and decided to wrap them. My ESV bible got a lovely muted flower print, but my Message translation is my favorite, and it is now sporting pink flying pigs on a teal blue back ground.

I have always found the saying, ‘when pigs fly,’ somewhat endearing. It is almost a challenge – ‘that’ll happen in your life, when pigs fly’. I know the connotation is that the thing that is going to happen will be a miracle because of course, short snouted, wide bellied, curly tailed pigs will never ever fly.

I had the bible with me one day and a friend noticed. It’s kind of difficult to miss if you’re paying even the least bit of attention. Her statement to me, caught me of guard. She held it, turned it over, looked it up and down and then said, ‘so the stuff that happens in this book is as likely to be real as pigs flying?’

Wow. No. Not at all. The exact opposite! The flying pigs are obviously indicative of the scripture; ‘Nothing is impossible with God,’ Luke 1:37. Every time I pick up that bible that verse is what I think. When things are going poorly, when life is grand, if I’m facing problems or questions, those little flying pigs immediately remind me that with God NOTHING is impossible. It’s an invitation to dig further into His truth.

I’m a little confused as to why a believer would first think that the images would symbolize that the Word was as impossible as flying pigs, but it was an eye opener: don’t assume anything. When speaking to anyone about the merciful love of our great Jesus and the treasures in God’s Holy Word, start easy, start with something like – God loved the world so much, He gave His one and only Son, so whoever believes on Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life. (John 3:16). A person’s words don’t necessarily convey the true status of their heart nor will they automatically merge with your thoughts. But, if you start with the wonderful truth that Christ died for you, the response of the listener will tell you where to go next.

My friend has different life experience than I and maybe has had experiences which make her thoughts go the opposite of mine, but I much prefer the thought I get, when I see the cover of my Bible, that with my God NOTHING is impossible, not even, flying pigs.

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Faith Walkin’

Faith Walkin'.

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Faith Walkin’

I’m not much of a walker. Well, according to my mom I wasn’t much of a ‘stander’ either. The story goes that I would simply stand and then the hugeness of my head or the weakness of my neck, or just my unique DNA, would make me fall backwards, like a felled tree. It was so frequent that I had to get fluid drained from my head when I was three years old. If standing was problematic it’s no wonder that walking proved to be a challenge.

 When I was 40 years old I bought a pair of Dr. Scholl exercise sandals which had been so popular when I was a teenager. They were making a comeback and I could finally afford a pair. I remember wearing them the day of my 40th birthday. Walking from the car park to the entrance of the mall I fell OFF the exercise sandals and broke my third toe on my left foot. Doctor referred to it as a spider web break, because the little bones were shattered in so many pieces it resembled a spider’s web. My most recent walking related incident took place just a few weeks ago in our drive way where I was singing, ironically enough, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles –“ then bam, I slipped off the edge of the drive and fell flat on my knees and my hand. The edge of the drive was one obstacle that got by me. It’s a great relief that when we discuss walking in faith, or walking by faith, it usually has nothing to do with any sort of physical movement.

 My favorite faith walking account is the blind man in the bible. Imagine you are blind from birth. In that culture this sort of ailment was often attributed to sin, either the person with the ailment or their parents. Men were the main providers for the families. So here you are, a blind man, possibly battling more than just your physical limitations; you can’t provide for yourself, let alone your family, and you know folks are wondering just what horrible thing you or your parents did to cause you to be blind. Maybe you even wonder that yourself. The only way to survive is to beg for money. Along comes this guy you’ve heard of. Jesus of Nazareth. Some say he’s a prophet from Yahweh, others say he’s from the devil. You hear him approach. He is with other men and they ask him, point blank, who sinned you or your folks, as if you are also deaf. But Jesus’ answer, that neither one sinned, this is something you are happy and relieved to hear. Jesus goes on to say that they must get all the things done because soon it will be dark. Since you’ve lived only in darkness your entire life this doesn’t affect you. Then you hear him spit. You lean forward. There is silence. Gritty damp cold mud is pressed on your eyes. You draw back but stay still. Jesus tells you to go wash in the Pool of Siloam and wash in the water. You’ve never been to the pool because it is a long walk. There are rumors that healing takes place there, but the journey is long and you have never been compelled to tackle it on your own. But this time you do. You rise up. Jesus doesn’t tell anyone to go with you and no one offers. But you go anyways, mud on your blind eyes, heading for a place you’ve only heard of. Jesus’ voice has carried with it an assurance you’ve never felt before.  When you finally arrive at the Pool of Siloam, you are exhausted but inwardly excited. You don’t even stop to shed your sandals or your tunic. You rush to the stairs. Somehow you navigate the steps into the pool. The tepid water washes over your hot feet. As you descend the water soaks the hem of your tunic, then, up to your waist plastering the fabric to your thighs. Now, you’re in the middle of the pool. You are surprisingly calm or your heart is pounding. You remember Jesus said to, ‘wash in the pool.’ So you do. You take a deep breath and plunge under the water. It makes no sense that when you stand you will suddenly see. What does that even mean? You rise up from the water and the warm breeze wafts across your wet skin. You open your eyes. You blink once, then twice. You close your eyes and carefully, with one finger, draw the silt off each eye. You open your eyes wide, but then slam them shut against the brightness.  Even with them closed, the darkness you’ve known your whole life is displaced by something you can’t even describe because you have no words for seeing except ‘dark’.  Slowly, you open your eyes and for the first time in your life you see.

Of course this account in John 9 has much more to this man’s story. When Jesus made him seeing, he also opened his heart and he became a believer. This man told everyone what Jesus had done for him. This man must have felt like his life was new, like he had been given a second chance, born a new. He even challenged the religious Pharisees when they said Jesus was a sinner and accused him of being his disciple when they were disciples of Moses. Finally he says, when they persist, ‘that is very strange! He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.” So brave! So strong.

This man is thrown out of the synagogue because of the religiosity of those in charge. He wasn’t following their rules and he challenged their beliefs. Even still, his story gets better. When Jesus hears he’s been cast out he seeks him out and asks him if he truly believes in Him. ‘Yes, Lord! I believe!” The man can hardly contain his joy, his belief, his love.

 Jesus explains that he came to the world to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they can see, that they are blind. The Pharisees ask if Jesus is saying they are blind. And He answers “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty, but you remain guilty because you claim you can see.”

This man actually had to physically walk somewhere. Thank God he has not required that of me, but I hope that I would go. Even though I might fall off my shoes or break some toes.  Our challenge most times these days is to have faith in not our physical walk but our spiritual one. Look at the flip flop of this man’s life. All this from one faith walk. One journey that some would have refuse to take because it was too hard, too long, too complicated, too ___________.  How about you?

 

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