Saturday, August 17, 2013

Life Lessons From Philippians

I have many favorite passages in the Bible but Philippians must be my favorite book. I tend to go back to it again and again, re-reading the same verses I've long since underlined and highlighted.

Within its four short chapters I find enough verses to challenge me for a lifetime. Here are a few:

Philippians 2:5~
Attitude check! Maybe this was the verse that spurred the whole WWJD? movement. I don't know that for sure, but I do know there isn't a day that goes by that I don't need this reminder. Is my heart where it needs to be? Does my attitude line up with Christ or does my attitude stink?

This one is a lifetime challenge in and of, itself:

Philippians 2:14~
Yeah, I admit it. This was our back-to-school verse this week. I also admit that it wasn't just for the kids. It was for me. It still is for me. "Do everything without complaining or arguing." Really, God? Everything? Let that word "everything" stew for just a moment and see how far you get. If you are like me, you'll start complaining about this verse or arguing how impossible it is to follow. Thankfully, there's another verse in the Bible about nothing being impossible with God.

Here's a great two-parter:

Philippians 4:4-7~
Rejoice in the Lord always. Then the writer repeats the direction: Again, I say, Rejoice! These words always and everything stir up something inside of me. Can it really be done, Lord? Not apart from Him. Verse 6 is where it really starts to get me. Through prayer we can trade in our anxiety for peace. What a deal! Sign me up! Yet, I know that many times when I am anxious, I turn to everyone and everything but prayer. If only I could remember to turn to him first. I hand him my darkness, the crumpling piece of coal. He returns to my hands a shining light, a dazzling diamond. Anxiety for peace.

Philippians 4:6-9~
Another way to have peace in our lives is to keep our minds focused on these things: whatever things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
I am compelled to believe that keeping our hearts and minds on good things keeps us from anxiety in the first place and guides us to have a better attitude. Without a doubt, a better attitude will keep us from complaining and arguing.

So, today I rejoice to be alive! I rejoice for God's goodness and provision in my life! I think of all the wonderful things He has done for me and I praise Him. I turn my worries and fears over to Him and receive his peace. I set my thoughts to Him and already feel a better attitude coming over me.

I am thankful for the answers He has given us. All we have to do is take the time to read His love letter to us!

Do you have a book in the Bible that you are drawn back to over and over again?

Smile :) donnamusing

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Feather Pillow

As a child, I remember sleeping over at my GranMa's house. Her sheets were always crisp and I could smell the sunshine that dried them. Better than that, she had feather pillows. Why are feather pillows so exciting? Well, I'm glad you asked.

A Garfield comic strip had given me a grand idea. Somehow, a feather had landed just perfectly so that as Garfield snored, the feather would fly up and then come back down to his lips again. This happened over and over- ultimately, leading my small brain to believe that this could be done. And, so I tried.

Each time I curled up on the crisp sheets after saying goodnight to my GranMa, I would feel around on the pillow and pluck a feather loose. Then, I would try to accomplish my quest. Over and over, I would place it on my lips, blow it up, and then it would land somewhere on the sheet. I'd feel around for it and try again. Much to my dismay, I never achieved the task.

Nearly ten years ago, I spent the night with my GranMa when I'd work at my boss's satellite office near her home. Even still, I would pluck out a feather and try. Mostly just for fun and the nostalgia of it... but, it could happen, maybe.

Well, today that memory came rushing over me as my daughter plucked a feather from the decorative pillow in our office. I watched as she rubbed it up and down her arm. She admitted, "Sometimes, I like to pull the feathers out of this pillow."

I reassured her by telling her my story. So, there we lay trying to blow a feather up from our lips and hoping it would come back to the same place so we could start again.

I'm happy to share that I've tempted my daughter with a lifelong quest.
I'm ashamed to realize that my GranMa probably has a half-filled pillow in her guestroom. ;)

Smile :) donnamusing

Thursday, August 1, 2013


It's so good to have my sweet hubby home. We are both glad that he stepped out on faith for this adventure to Uganda but just shy of two weeks was the longest we've ever been apart. I asked him to guest-blog a story that he wrote a couple days into his trip. Of course, I hadn't heard the story before seeing these t-shirts he brought home. The blog explains the shirts so well.


I learned a new word shortly after arriving in Africa: Mzungu. It’s the name for white people among the Ugandan people. At first you might think of this as some sort of racial slur. And maybe to some Ugandans, it is. I’m sure some have been hurt by white people in one way or another. But that’s not the way I heard it. I heard it from Ugandan children with smiles emerging from ear to ear and hands raised high with enthusiastic waves. They were excited to see us. Mzungu is good. Fun. Different.

Years ago I would have never signed up for a trip like this. Never. I’m comfortable and content in my US born-and-bred life. I like my creature comforts. My food. My warm bed. My health. My family. My god who doesn’t need me to “go.” I can grow where I’m planted.

So, why am I here in Africa? What changed?
Well, first, I met my wife. She’s the reason my involvement, and even attendance, at church had a rebirth after years away. I looked at her and saw a love for Christ that I’d never known. A relationship, not just an acquaintance. I wanted that. I got involved with my church. Played bass in the praise band. Living the US Christian dream. Still wouldn’t be caught dead in Africa, though. Nope.

When I started attending Brentwood Church, I decided to make a shift. I wanted to go deeper with God. I saw people like Jeff Sellers and I wanted to have that same passion and drive for Jesus. I met Jeff for lunch one day shortly after he had gotten back from Uganda in 2012. He couldn’t say enough incredible things about it. He was completely enamored with the people and the country. The seed was planted. God was saying, “GO.” At first I wanted to ignore it. No way I was going to Uganda. But, I realized I had said, “no,” too many times already. Staying the same is not the change I wanted to see in myself. 

So, here I am.
Mzungu. I am a mzungu in Uganda. I am blessed to be within an entire group of Mzungus. A fantastic team I get the privilege to work with. They bless me with their hearts and their kindness.

I have seen a great many things in just the first few days of my trip that I never thought I would see. On the 7-hour ride from Kampala to Gulu, I saw miles and miles of country that was foreign, yet sometimes familiar, and I would snap back to the reality that I am indeed in Africa. I’ve seen monkeys and baboons even before the safari later this week. I’ve seen the Nile River from a bridge with armed guards because of the recent fighting in Uganda and the strategic point the bridge represents. I’ve seen reckless disregard for life and limb in the way people drive on these streets. I’ve seen slums so full of filth and decay that it made my heart ache. I’ve seen the faces of little children delighted at my presence. Holding my hand, the hand of a stranger, as though I was their best uncle Matt (and not to mention delighting in seeing their faces in a photo on my camera). I’ve seen people restored through the work of Sports Outreach Institute. I’ve seen a church service within a small building on Koro Farm full of local people with more spirit and faith than mega churches in the states. I’ve seen Jesus in the people of Koro Farm. And I am touched and honored to be here.
I am anxious to see what’s next. Tomorrow.

Matt Tyree