Author Archives: susan2009

About susan2009

I am a 58 year old female who just finished her BA in Theology/Christian Leadership. I was on the 30 year plan. I finally graduated seminary (2009)! . . . . I have two marvelous adult children that I am very proud of. . . . I have the extreme privilege of attending and working for the best church in No. CA. . . . I became a Christian 3 days before my 16th birthday. 35 years later I'm still growing. . . . AND . . . I'm going on a "God hunt;" will you join me? After all, how can I resist the One who calls ME daughter?

the one became two

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Welcome to the business side of my blog world, where we will talk about topics for children’s ministry, women’s ministry, and small groups that are offered at Cordova Neighborhood Church in Rancho Cordova, CA.

I divided up my blog, Fruitful Words, into two blogs; all of the personal posts are staying on Fruitful Words and everything work related is on this brand new blog, Fruitful Devotion.

While we get things set up, some of the links will be down, but given the volume of posts you should have plenty of back reading to peruse in the mean time.

Thanks for visiting!

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Boundaries Benefit Me and Others

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A well maintained physical fence insures that boundaries are respected. The same applies to life-fences too.

When you don’t set a boundary, you are doing that because it fulfils some need in you. However it is not typically in the best interest of the other person to do this. Your lack of action is not helping them long-term.

Think about what happens to the child who is not taught to be respectful towards others. Many times s/he develops a rude, self-centered, out-of-control attitude. People tend to stay away from and not like these types of people. So your inaction actually harms the child in the long run.

Boundaries are like fences around a yard (your life). They keep others’ problems out of your life (yard) and in the yard where they belong.

Boundaries . . .

  • Define what is me and what isn’t me
  • Show where I end and someone else begins
  • Lead to a sense of ownership
  • Are not walls or an excuse to avoid interacting with others
We need to keep things in our yards (our lives) that will nurture us. We need to keep out those things that will harm us. Sometimes we do the opposite: we keep the good out and keep the bad in.

This is why we need a gate. When the pain or the sin of boundary-less living affects us, we have a choice. We can either open the gate of communication (to God and to appropriate people) or ignore the pain and/or sin.

“Confessing pain and sin helps to get it out [of my yard/life] so that it does not continue to poison me on the inside” (Boundaries, p31).

What is my responsibility? My responsibility includes my . . .

  • Attitudes
  • Behaviours
  • Feelings

What is not my responsibility? Galatians 6:2 talks about helping others with their “stuff.”  This help is to take place during times of crisis and tragedy. This is not to be a day-to-day involvement where the other person abdicates their choices, power, and actions to you.

Think about this  . . .  “Satan is the great distorter of reality. He caused Eve to question God’s boundaries and God’s Truth” (Boundaries, p33).

NOTE: The book I am getting this information from is titled, Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. This is my 4th time through the topic and I learn something to apply each time.

Your Turn . . .

  1. What is an action in your life that needs to be put out?
  2. Is there an area where you are questioning God’s boundaries or His truth?
  3. Are you taking full responsibility for your attitudes, behaviours, and feelings?
  4. Is there some action you want/need to take regarding a boundary with yourself or someone else?
  5. Are you neglecting a boundary because it is fulfilling a need in your life? If yes, what is the potential long-term harm to the other person?

Related Posts

I wrote this post (#4) for the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors.

Spoiled Milk

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The pure milk of God’s Word is curdled when

“So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” I Peter 2:1-3 (The Message)

  • hate is added
  • self stirs itself in
  • fears jump in unrestrained.

When we drink this cup . . . the nourishment is spoiled.

  • We retch.
  • Thinking God has failed us.

And yet – NO.

  • It is the additives.
  • They are the poison we added.
  • We let them slip in without conscious thought.
Take a fresh glass of God’s milk . . . Guard it.
  • Keep it additive-free.
  • Let its nourishment strengthen your spiritual bones.

This prose was inspired by I Peter 2: 1-3: So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.  Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Your Turn . . .

  • What “additives” of hate, selfishness, and fear do you need to root out of your thinking and behaviors?
  • What blaming thoughts of God do you automatically think when life is “spoiled”? What true thoughts can you replace them with?

I wrote this post (#3) for the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors.

I Am Written on God’s Hand

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“See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins” (Isaiah 49:16New Living Translation).

God is telling me He thinks about me and my problems ALWAYS. So I don’t need to fret. He has the power, love, and inclination to help.

Lord, help me to exercise my faith to believe this instead of worrying or fearing. Psalm 139 is another good portion of Scripture to read when I feel that God is not inclined to notice me.

Your Turn. Dear Believer, This encouragement is also for you. You are written on God’s hand. You are in God’s thoughts. Do you know this? Believe it? What step can you take today to show faith?

NOTE: This is the 3rd photo in my series, A Spring of Self Portraits. This is an item from my Spring Bucket List.

The list of the portraits is after the (more…) button. Just click on it.  Read the rest of this entry

Ten Ways to Practice Self-Care

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The Chi Machine wiggles me back and forth for only 15 minutes. Strange thing is, as soon as I set the timer, I think about ALL the things I have to do right NOW!

How do you take care of yourself? Are there special foods you eat, activities you do, or people you seek in order to care well for yourself?

I practice (at least) 10 things to comfort myself. When I don’t practice self-care, I get depressed. My schedule gets out-of-balance. I cry easily. And the world looks gloomy.

I like to make sure (1) I am hydrated and (2) drink a daily green smoothie. Other ways I self-pamper are as follows . . .

(3) I like to finish and then check things off my to-do list and/or Bucket Lists. The sense of accomplishment I get is very satisfying. The to-do lists help me stay on task with life’s demands and the Bucket Lists makes sure I add FUN and worthwhile things to my life.

Birthday pressie from my daughter in 2010. Isn’t it gorgeous!

(4) Having a pedicure may be a silly way to self-pamper, but it makes me smile when I look at my pretty toes. Or I LOVE it when my daughter draws henna designs on my feet. The beauty of if also makes me smile.

(5) Epsom bath salt soaks in the tub ease sore muscles and relax me. It seems these days, there is always something that hurts.
(6) Drinking coffee (iced coffee in the Summer and hot coffee when it’s cold), mint or cinnamon tea, or a chocolate blended drink makes me sit down and be still. This stillness helps calm me. And my tastebuds are very delighted with these drinks.
(7) Writing and thinking about why I am grateful, reminds me how much I am loved and blessed by people and by God. Practising gratitude helps me put life into perspective.
(8) Snuggling under a blanket (even in the Summer) for a nap brings me comfort and refreshment.
(9) Talking with God or a select few also give me a balanced perspective on life.

My daughter bought this for me from Craig’s List. My first Chi machine lasted 10 years.

(10) I also like to Chi. The Chi machine helps my asthma, takes kinks out of my back, and gives me energy. Since this is a beneficial 15 minutes, I wonder why I don’t do this more often? I am going to make this April’s exercise.

Your Turn . . . Share a way that you take care of yourself.

Related Posts . . . 

NOTE: This is the 2nd photo in my series, A Spring of Self Portraits. This is an item from my Spring Bucket List.

The list of the portraits is after the (more…) button. Just click on it.  Read the rest of this entry

4 Things I Learned from Going DOWN the Sand Dunes

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I may never own/drive a red car. But I can boast that I've sand boarded with a RED sled. Isn't it just humming with life?

March of 2011 I took a trip of a lifetime to visit a friend, Trish, in New Zealand. She took me all over the North Island. One thing we did was take a bus tour up to Cape Reinga, the very top of the North Island where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea butt chests.

Along the way we  . . .

  • Attended a haka, Maori dance. Our busload of tourists was treated to this small group of people doing a haka. At the end we all were invited to make faces. We were either welcoming the dignitaries in our group or scaring away our enemies. Who knew that bulging your eyes and sticking out your tongue had that kind of power?
  • Saw ancient Kauri wood carvings at Ancient Kauri Kingdom. This shop had plenty of food and gift offerings. We even walked up and down a gigantic Kauri tree stump that was carved into stairs connecting the 1st and 2nd floors. The photos at this post are some of the wood carvings
  • Drove on the beach highway known as the 90-Mile Beach. Just as the Bus driver/Tour guide was telling us this was a fairly safe drive unless it is raining, the rain started coming down.
  • Sampled food. We ate a packed lunch on one of the countless gorgeous beaches that New Zealand possesses.  Of course cups of tea from Thermoses were passed around. A stop at a small shop for an ice cream cone was mandatory and appreciated.
  • Sand Duned DOWN huge dunes which was a first time event for me. One of the highlight events was sand boarding down the dunes at the Te Paki quicksand stream. I am not keen on heights, fast speed, or difficult hiking that involves three steps up and one step back.

But I did it and I learned 4 things about going DOWN the dunes.

You control the speed of your life by controlling how much you do each day. Make sure you even schedule in times of doing "nothing."

ONE. You control the speed. You want to go fast? Keep your legs and feet up. You will z-i-p down those dunes fast! Are you a scaredy-cat like me? Then you keep your feet down and watch OUT for that spray of sand that is sure to spurt right into your open, screaming mouth (all the way down)!

Life is like this too. You can control the speed. Mostly my life (unlike my sledding) goes way too fast. This is because I am not cautious about what I add to the calendar. I add regularly occurring (good) things, but don’t take away anything. So I end up zipping from one event to the next, screaming (inside) because of the insane pace I keep.

Life is an area where I want and need to control the pace better. Two books have helped me on this are: Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, And Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson and Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner. Time to read them again and practice the advice.

Besides taking things OUT of my life, I need to thoughtfully and prayerfully add things to my life. Just because it is a good thing, doesn’t mean it is best for me to do.

Finally, the speed of my life is best moderated when I have ample time in prayer and Bible study. These twin acts help me to hear and obey the will of God for my life.

Related Posts . . .

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Friends who offer encouragement through words, listening, hugs, and other actions help us make it through those long treks.

TWO. You can make the l-o-n-g trek with breaks, a friend, and encouragement. I don’t know how tall that sand dune was, but it was TALL.

3 steps up and 1 back meant that we walked 3 times the length. Right? Half way up I was panting (didn’t think to use my inhaler before going UP) and weak knee-ed. Not just me either.

Bunches of folks were taking a break. Even my friend Trish.

I stopped and looked down – we came a fair distance. I looked UP and saw we had a LONG way to go still.

After Trish and I rested, we decided to go for it. I was nervous because the bus driver only gave us 15 minutes and we were gone at least 10 minutes already.

That break with an encouraging friend is what I needed. Because of both, I was able to make it to the top.

Life sometimes feels like an uphill trek with more steps backwards than forward. Some days, some weeks, some seasons feel very l-o-n-g. That is when I/we need help from a friend who encourages us with words and actions.

At these tiring times in life, we need to make sure that we take breaks, that we have at least one encouraging friend, that we practice margin, and that we control the speed of life well.

Related Posts . . . 

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Why is it that new adventures often make me fearful especially the older I get? I don't care that fear keeps me off roller coasters. But I do care that it keeps me from pursuing worthwhile things.

THREE. The ride was exhilarating and I am proud of myself for facing a fear. Looking up that TALL hill I knew that I’d have to face my fear of heights and speed coming D-O-W-N the dunes.

I was also afraid that I’d crash and hurt myself. I don’t care for pain or broken bones. But I did face that fear, step-by-step. I didn’t let myself concentrate on what “could” happen. I concentrated on the journey and my friend. Therefore I was able to make it to the top.

I sat down and whoosh I was gone.

Even though I screamed the whole way down, I discovered I LIKED the ride. The speed was exhilarating, although I didn’t care for the sand in the teeth. And I was so proud of myself. If we had time, I would have gone up again. Or so I like to think. 🙂

Sometimes life throws fearful situations my way. It is easy to let fear control my actions. But when I know this action is what I should be doing, it helps to conquer the paralyzing sting of fear and move forward.

I like to say to my kiddos, “Don’t let fear make your decision for you.” In this case I didn’t and I was rewarded.

Related Reading . . .

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We may not be as unique as this rose, but we are unique. So grab a hold of those once-in-a-lifetime chances. And GO for it!

FOUR. Not many get to do this. It was a cool once-in-a-lifetime experience since I don’t live near New Zealand. Focusing on that and the other above 3 points, helped me to get up that hill and then sled DOWN.

Once on top, I could have forsaken the sled and walked DOWN. But I didn’t. I took the opportunity in front of me.

Life also throws once-in-a-lifetime opportunities our way: A speaking engagement, a new job, starting a family, mastering a subject, going to counselling, a new relationship. All of these have the potential of not working out, of being out of our depth, of causing pain, embarrassment, failure or seeming just too hard to do.

But God has a unique plan for my life and yours. He has given us the tools to tackle these opportunities. Even when there are glitches in the process, we can still learn from these unique challenges.

Let’s make a deal. Let’s choose to tackle the obstacles that stand in our way. Let’s really LIVE our life going after those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Related Posts . . .

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RECAP .  .  . 

  • Remember you control the speed. Take the time you need to accomplish this step. Declutter your life so you have the emotional and physical stamina needed. Live a life that you control. One that is set at a reasonable pace.
  • Remember your arsenal of helps: breaks and a friend who encourages. How you travel , with whom and with what kind of people are under your sphere of influence. So choose wisely.

    I haven't read Don Quixote De La Mancha YET. When I do, I want to read it in Spanish.

  • Remember to enjoy the ride and to pat yourself on your back for a job well done. I often forget or neglect to reward myself for a job well done. I will say “Thank you” to others (verbally and with cards), but neglect to tell myself “Thank you.” That’s not right. It is okay and good to do
  • Remember to take on those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Life is an adventure. Take each one as it comes your way.

My next scary (to me) adventurous “sand dune” is checking out and then attending a 2 week Spanish immersion class in Mexico or South America. Just the thought of it brings stampeding elephants to my stomach. But, oh, won’t I benefit sooooo much by doing this?

Your Turn . . .

  1. So what “sand dune” do you need to climb up and then sled DOWN?
  2. What tools will you use to help you make it?
  3. What advice do you have for us fellow “athletes”?
  4. Go ahead and brag. Tell us about your “sand dune” experience.

Related Sand Dune (real ones) Posts . . . 

NOTE: This post is inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. The word is DOWN.

Your Help is Needed on Easter, Sunday Morning

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We will have a fruit bowl, various breakfast breads, empanadas, parfaits, coffee, and orange juice. Please sign up to help make CNC’s Easter Breakfast special.

As you know, we are serving breakfast at two times on Sunday morning. Therefore,we are looking for folks to help in one of three shifts. 

1. 7-9am – Set out food and serve at the 1st breakfast.
2. 8:50-11am – Clear away 1st breakfast and serve 2nd breakfast.
3. 10:50-until cleaned up.
Please respond with a comment,  if you are able to help at one of the time slots.
Thanks everyone. Feel free to invite someone to help you at the time slot you choose. This will be a fun time as we work together and serve our church family and guests.