Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 17 comments



I saw your picture today.

It made me sad.

And you know why. 

Whether you admit it or not; 

You.

Know.

Why.


You got what you wanted,

but I have to ask, 

"Was it worth it?"

I have to ask.

Because it cost me.


You may not think it was much.

But it cost me a lot.

Maybe too much.

And that's on me.


I have to ask,

"Was it worth it?"

Because, you see, 

It.

Cost.

You. 

Too.


Maybe you already know that.

Maybe you already know. 

Maybe you've felt the consequences.


Or maybe you haven't.


But it did cost you.

How much?

More than you think.


Much, 

Much, 

More.


You didn't say anything.

You just did it.

And still didn't say anything.

And haven't.


Which says a lot.

About you.

And your integrity.


Or.

Lack.

Thereof.


But I take comfort in this:


"A good name is better than fine perfume..."

and

"Frustration is better than laughter,

Because a sad face is good for the heart.

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning

but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure."

Ecclesiastes 7:1, 3-4




Yes, these words give me comfort,

But they also cause me sorrow.

Great sorrow.

Because I wonder,

"How often is it me?"


How often is it my picture, 

That makes someone sad.

How often have I been the one,

to hurt another,

with my actions?

Or with my words?

And I didn't say anything.


Because I was ashamed.

Because I was afraid.

Because I was proud.

Because I just didn't know.


If that's the case.

If it was me.

I just want to say, 

I'm so sorry.


Because we don't always know.

But that doesn't make it hurt any less.

And that doesn't make it okay.


Maybe that's why God says, 


"Be completely humble and gentle;

Be patient, 

Bearing with one another in love."

Ephesians 4:2

Lisa



I have been known to link up with: Make Your Home Sing Monday, Monday's Musings Inspire Me Monday, Sharing His BeautyLiving Proverbs 31Unite, Soli Deo Gloria, Tell Me a Story,  Titus 2sdaysWorks For Me Wednesdays, #TellHisStoryA Little R and RWoman to WomanChoosing Him,  WholeHearted WednesdayWedded WednesdayCoffee and ConversationFrom House to HomeSo Much at HomeThursday Favorite ThingsThriving ThursdayFriendship FridayFaith Filled FridayBest Blog Post Ever,  Make My Saturday SweetStill SaturdayMissional WeekendSpiritual SundayThe Weekend Brew
[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 13 comments

Earlier this week I had the privelege of sharing a message about courage (featuring my scaredy cat*) with a local MOPS group. I told of my rising stress level as I went to bed that first night (and subsequent nights) with a strange (to me) cat loose in my house, not knowing what condition I would find my home in come morning.

I relayed the fact that it was day three of a scaredy cat on the loose before I came to the realization that God is in control of all things. Before you start thinking this isn't a newsflash I have to ask you a question: Do you say you believe God is in control of all things, or do you actually live as if God is in control of all things?

As with most things, it's easier said than done, isn't it? 

"As I have purposed, so it will be; as I have planned it, so it will happen." ~ Isaiah 14:24

The truth is, if I was living out my belief that God is in control I wouldn't be worrying or feeling out of control, would I? Because He is in control there can only be two sources for anything:
  • God caused it.
  • God allowed it. 

Either way, the Bible tells us that God can use everything that happens to believers for our benefit, whether it happens to appear to be beneficial or not. Whether He ever reveals to us the benefit or not.


"We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose." ~ Romans 8:28

I know this.

I believe this.

So why is it that the very day I gave this message I found myself worrying? 

I've been having some success at my attempts to catch up, necessary since in the past several years I seem to have fallen behind on pretty much everything. This included sending in my knives to be sharpened - something long overdue. Finally, two weeks ago I called a demonstrator who came over and helped me pack them up to be shipped. The following day my husband took charge of our grandsons for a few minutes so I could make it to the post office in the small window of time when they're actually open.

I did the responsible thing and paid the extra fee for insurance, feeling the satisfaction of one less thing on my to-do list. The demonstrator said it would take a couple weeks for the sharpened knives to be returned, so I didn't think much more about it - at least until after I had given my message. I realized it had been a couple weeks and I thought I should check and make sure they actually arrived at their intended destination. 

I couldn't, because I couldn't find my receipt.

I'm pretty organized, as evidenced by the fact that when it came time to pack up the knives I readily located the original cardboard sheaths they arrived in over a decade ago. Yet the receipt from just two weeks ago was not to be found - not in my purse, nor in my car, nor where I normally keep them. Nowhere.

Perhaps this was a reminder that, while I'm not where I should be when it comes to worry, neither am I where I had been. Rather than spending every waking moment consumed with locating the receipt, as I was known to do in the past, I was able to let it go after my cursory search.

I think perspective has a lot to do with it. While I would not want to have to come up with the money to replace the knives, I was able to look away from the here and now and instead focus in on the bigger picture. I realized that, while this looked like a problem in the moment, in the scheme of all eternity this wasn't even a blip on the radar. It just goes to show that a small change - in this case pulling back to look at the greater scheme of things - can make a big difference!

What are you worrying about today? Perhaps it would help you let it go if you asked yourself these questions:

     - Is there anything I can actually do about the situation?

     - How important is this in the scheme of all eternity?

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." ~ Matthew 6:34

Epilogue: The day after I gave up my search I received an email informing me that my sharpened knives were on their way back to me and today they arrived! I so glad I didn't waste any more time worrying than I already had!



Lisa

* I am pleased to report that while I still have a cat in my basement, I am no longer stressed out about it. For those of you keeping tabs, as of the date this post was published this cat has been holed up in my basement for 4 months, 3 weeks and 1 day. Cat whisperers are encouraged to leave suggestions in my comment section ;)

I have been known to link up with: Make Your Home Sing Monday Inspire Me Monday, Sharing His Beauty, Living Proverbs 31Unite, Soli Deo Gloria, Tell Me a Story,  Titus 2sdaysWorks For Me Wednesdays, #TellHisStoryA Little R and RWoman to WomanChoosing Him,  WholeHearted WednesdayWedded WednesdayCoffee and ConversationFrom House to HomeSo Much at HomeThursday Favorite ThingsThriving ThursdayFriendship FridayFaith Filled FridayBest Blog Post Ever,  Make My Saturday Sweet, Still Saturday, Missional WeekendSpiritual SundayThe Weekend Brew
[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 8 comments

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm learning that having things less than perfect is not the end of the world. Still, I am a "detail person," so if something is even a little bit off, I notice; and there are circumstances where this is not a bad thing!
A few years ago, for example, I wanted to mail out a sympathy card. I was down to my last stamp, and thank goodness I looked at it before sticking in on the envelope!

Perhaps someone less observant wouldn't even notice the stamp on the envelope, but is it worth it taking a chance that someone in need of a sympathy card would first read the message, "That's all Folks!"?

I think not!

So I headed into "town" to purchase some more generic-looking stamps.

I use the term "town" loosely. I often joke I live in Mayberry, but in reality the place where I live in is much smaller. We do have a post office, which I'm very grateful for, but they don't deliver mail and it's not easy to patronize. It has only one parking spot; a handicapped accessible one which really isn't accessible to anyone. It runs parallel to the front of the building, positioned in such a way that makes it next to impossible for anyone to park there or on the little bit of driveway next to it. (Obviously they did not consult me when it came to parking!) To make the inaccessibility complete, they're only open between the hours of 10 and 2. 



This past Christmas we received our first card the day after Thanksgiving! 

Yes, evidently there are some people that on top of things. 

No, I am not one of them. (And I'm okay with that.) Remember, I'm learning to cut myself some slack! (Perhaps you didn't mail out any Christmas cards. It's okay; you should cut yourself some slack too!) 

It was the week prior to the holiday before I managed to get to the post office within the limited time frame, ready to buy Christmas stamps and mail my cards. Much to my chagrin there were no Christmas stamps to be had {sigh} either time I visited. Now, being the lover of order that I am, Batman stamps were not my first choice for Christmas card postage - I was thinking more along the lines of the nativity or even a wreath or something - but in the end Batman is what I opted for. My reasoning (99% of the time there's a reason I do what I do) was twofold; first, I knew if nothing else, my grandsons would like them, and second, Batman will help out Wycliffe Bible Translators. (Wycliffe collects used postage stamps and sells them to fund Bible translation, but there's only a market for the limited issue stamps, not flags and such.)

At one time, Batman stamps on my Christmas cards would have been totally unacceptable, but today I find it humorous. I mean, where else but "Mayberry" would the post office not have Christmas stamps at Christmas? No, I actually consider the Batman stamps a mark of victory! I mean really, what is a Batman stamp on a Christmas card in the scheme of all eternity


Not that I...have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. ~ Philippians 3:12

Hey, this girl is learning to cut herself some slack!

Lisa


If you'd like to help support Wycliffe Bible Translators, collect your cancelled commemorative stamps and mail them to:

Wycliffe Associates Stamp Ministry
P.O. Box 620143
Orlando, FL 32862
[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 13 comments

It's been so long since I've written a blog post, I hardly know where to begin. This spring I set my agenda aside as I made arrangements and preparations for a summer mission trip to Kenya. The week after I returned was spent at a cottage with a group of ladies as I attempted to rediscover what time zone I was in. Mid-week my son-in-law went into the hospital a few hours away from home and soon thereafter I found myself with two toddlers in residence for what turned out to be 6 weeks. Throw in a scaredy cat who hasn't left my basement since she came to live with us on LABOR DAY and perhaps you can see why, besides being behind in everything, I'm having a hard time getting back into the swing of things!

It's easy for me to get overwhelmed by all that needs to be done and frustrated by all the things I didn't accomplish this past year, but when I start feeling that way I need to stop focusing my feelings and instead turn to God's truth.


Photo courtesy of Susan Downing and Flickr


It's important for me to remember that, while I feel as though I have spent most of the past year on a detour, the truth is that I have been exactly where God wanted me, on the path He chose for me. 

I need to let go of my self-imposed deadlines and agendas and recognize that my value is not in what I do, but to Whom I belong.  Psalm 37:23 says, "A man's steps are established by the Lord and He takes pleasure in his way. If God is taking pleasure in what I'm doing, shouldn't that be enough? Shouldn't I be doing the same?

How about you? How do you handle it when life doesn't go according to your timetable? Do you get stressed out by the things on your agenda left undone? According to Scripture, feeling overwhelmed is a good indicator that we're striving to follow our own plan rather than being satisfied with God's plan:

 Though he falls he will not be overwhelmed. ~ Psalm 37:24


I wish I could tell you, step-by-step, how to move from satisfaction in completing your own agenda to satisfaction in following God's agenda, but to be honest I'm not there yet. The good news is I know the first step, and that is to be rooted in God's Word. 

Perhaps I'm looking at this all wrong. Again, I'm falling back into thinking, "What am I going to do to remedy this?" when over and over Scripture is saying that God is the One with the plan. I just need to stick close to Him and cooperate.

Lisa


I have been known to link up with: Unite, Soli Deo Gloria, Tell Me a Story,  Titus 2sdays, Works For Me Wednesdays, #TellHisStory, A Little R and R, Woman to WomanWholeHearted Wednesday, From House to Home, Thriving Thursday, Faith Filled Friday, Best Blog Post Ever,  Make My Saturday Sweet, Spiritual Sunday, The Weekend Brew
[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 10 comments


ORGANIZING


Tips for Tuesday


Since it's that time of year again, I thought I'd rerun this timely post.

Christmas is over and now comes the task of getting our homes back to normal.  Most people display the Christmas cards they receive in one way or another, but what do you do with them once the holiday has passed?  It seems like such a waste to throw them out, but saving them all takes up precious space and odds are we'll never look at them again (or remember where we put them!) 


I do save a few special cards, but for the remainder I've put together some ways to put those used Christmas cards to good use.  There's something for everyone, so even if you're not "crafty", please keep reading!





1. Convert them into Christmas postcards to use next year.


I have a friend that has been doing this for years.  Using a card front with a clean back (no writing on it), cut it to postcard dimensions.  According to usps.com,  postcards must be rectangular and measure between 3 1/2 and 4 1/4 inches high and 5 to 6 inches long.  Once it's cut to size, just draw a line down the middle of the card (while in landscape position).  Next year, put your message on the left (you could even use a rubber stamp if you're crafty) and the address and stamp on the right.  You can even save a little money by using postcard stamps rather than first class!




2. Turn them into next year's Christmas cards.

usps.com says cards must be rectangular and measure between 3 1/2 and 6 1/8 inches high and 5 to 11 1/2 inches long.  I like to make mine 4 1/4 inches by 5 1/2 inches.  This fits well within the guidelines, and just happens to be the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of card stock cut and folded in half. 





Cut the design from the card front and using double-sided tape, adhere to the folded card stock you've prepared. To add interest, you can layer with a mat cut from card stock 1/4" to 1/2" larger than the design.  



This card also had a recycled message inside, mounted on a layer of card stock.


3. Cut them into gift tags



Again using a card front with a clean back (no writing on it), cut your cards into rectangles to use as tags for next year's gifts.  If there is a place on the front to write, all you'll need to do next year is write on the names and tape it on.  If the tag is all design, punch a hole using a hole punch, run a piece of string or ribbon through it and do your writing on the back.  If you want to get fancy, you can buy card punches of different shapes rather than sticking with rectangles. 


4. Recycle them (and help a good cause!)

St. Jude's Ranch for Children, located in Boulder City, Nevada, has a 40 year history of healing and caring for abused, abandoned and neglected children. When you send in card fronts (of any kind) the children recycle them into new cards which they then sell.  You can find the requirements and the address to mail them to here.


5. Pray over them!

This is great for those family photo cards you get!  Last year I began the New Year by placing the stack of photo cards in my "quiet time" area.  Each week I would pray for the family at the top of the pile.  If I was really on the ball, I'd let the family know I was praying for them and ask for prayer requests.  Hanging it on the refrigerator helps to remind me to pray for them during the week. 


I'm sure there are a lot more uses, but I hope I was able to give you a few ideas. 


Lisa


I've been known to link up with: Frugal Fridays, Soli Deo Gloria, Inspire Me Monday, Titus 2sdays, Tell Me a Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Courtship Connection,Tutorials & Tips TuesdayInto the Beautiful, God Bumps & God Incidences, Word-Filled Wednesday,Winsome Wednesday,Simply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, Monday's Musings, Monday Montras, Funky Junk Interiors
[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 3 comments

ORGANIZING

Tips for Tuesday


Well, December is not the month to get caught up on anything, which is why you haven't heard from me in a while. Since it's that time of year, I thought I'd re-share one of my favorite recipes with you. Not only are these cookies/candies delicious, they also appear to be much more difficult to make than they really are!

Oreo Cookie Drops

1 (20 ounce) package of Oreo's (store brands also work great!)
1 (8 ounce) cream cheese
2 (12 ounce) packages of candy coating

Place cookies in a blender or food processor and process until finely crushed.  In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and crushed cookies until blended.  Roll into 3/4 inch balls.  Cover and  refrigerate for at least one hour. 

Melt candy coating (I like to use white, but you could use chocolate as well), stirring until smooth.  Dip balls to completely coat and place on waxed paper until hardened. 

Drizzle with melted chocolate or colored candy coating if you'd like to dress them up a bit.  Because of the cream cheese, you'll want to store these in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

~~~~~

I was re-using a gift bag the other day, and realized the tag had already been written on.  Rather than tear it off and look for something else (which I confess I did on the first bag) I cut the tag in half and then removed the used portion.  This left me with a one-sided tag that I could write on! 



Blessings,

Lisa

[ Read More ]

Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments


'Tis the season for pumpkin pie! I don't know about you, but I like it with whipped cream added liberally. I'm not a fan of recipes that tamper with my traditional pumpkin pie, but I love this one because it's basically pumpkin pie smothered with creamy goodness; wrapped in a blend of cream cheese and Cool Whip.




PECAN PUMPKIN DESSERT

            Base                                                     
2 -15 oz. cans solid pack pumpkin            
1 -12 oz. can evaporated milk                 
1 cup sugar                                          
3 eggs                                                  
1 teaspoon vanilla                                                      
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
18¼ oz. box yellow cake mix
1 cup butter, melted
1½ cups chopped pecans

FOR BASE: Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with waxed paper and coat the paper with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.



 In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, milk and sugar.  Beat in eggs and vanilla; add spices.  Pour into prepared pan.  



Sprinkle with dry cake mix and drizzle with butter.  Sprinkle with pecans.  Bake at 350° for one hour (convection ovens 325° for 50 minutes) or until golden brown.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  


Invert onto a large serving platter. (If you don't have a platter large enough you can use a big cutting board.)



Carefully remove waxed paper. 





Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 oz. Cool Whip, thawed  (NOT fat-free)


FOR FROSTING: In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Frost dessert.  Store in the refrigerator.  


Not unexpectedly, there were no leftovers. Even Dude was a fan!



Lisa


I've been known to link up with: Make Your Home SingMonday's Musings

[ Read More ]