Samaritan’s Feet….Changing lives one pair of shoes at a time!

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Making friends......one pair of shoes at a time!

Samaritan’s Feet volunteers & staff, Gaston County Commissioner, Tracy Philbeck and I washing feet and giving a new pair of shoes at Rhyne Elementary in Gastonia, Making Friends, one pair of shoes at a time!

Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern,  you understand, is holiness,  not hygiene.” John 13:10

Spending time at the feet of others was the example Jesus set for us to follow as He bowed in subjection to the disciples for the purpose of washing their feet as an act of honor and service. Nothing can be greater, than knowing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, humbled Himself to the position of servant. As we put ourselves in the position of service, we look up into the eyes of the ones that we have come to serve and say. “You are the most important person at this very moment. I want you to know that you are loved by God and by all of us. We are here today simply because of our heart to love and serve you just as Jesus did.”

Today, I was once again blessed to participate in a shoe distribution with Samaritan’s Feet. The mission and heartbeat of founder, Manny Ohonme, is 10 million pairs of shoes on the feet of 10 million children in the next 10 years You can read more about Manny’s story of how a simple pair of shoes changed his life and led him to follow what was exampled to him by the love of  one who came to serve him.

http://www.samaritansfeet.org/who-is-sf/mannys-story/

I have had the privilege of serving alongside Manny Ohonme and his wife, Tracie since 2005 and have nothing but the utmost love and respect for this man and his family who daily live out what they believe. While we do not often share the same schedule, we are often in contact and communication. Today, however, Monty and I were blessed with a most special opportunity; to give back to children, teacher’s and staff at an elementary school near our hometown of Dallas, NC. We rallied and gathered our friends to help us support the effort of Samaritan’s Feet in our Jerusalem. Gastonia, NC

On this day, 400 plus children, teachers, and staff would receive our undivided attention as we spent time getting to know them, focusing our hearts and attentions towards them, washing their feet and providing a new pair of socks and shoes for each one of them. The event was a surprise for the entire school and spear-headed by their caring principal, Rebecca Huffstetler.

The day started as usual with the younger children filling our stations. So, precious. Timid. Embarrassed and confused by all these people taking off their old shoes, putting their little feet in cold water, washing them and putting new shoes on their feet. Refreshing, but in time the older children would fill the chairs and their disbelief was often verbalized.

My breath-taking and life-joy moment happened near the end of the day when a less than thrilled tough 5th grade boy sat down in front of me. What would become my favorite conversation of the day began with, “So, lady, how much are they paying you to wash my feet, be nice to me and give me this new pair of shoes?” And with attitude and no smile, I might add. He was not rude. Simple putting it all on the table and in all likelihood, wanting to call me out and say, yep, told you so, they don’t care about me.

“Nothing.” I replied. “God loves me (us), we love you and I came here today to tell you how very special you are to Him and to me. Nothing more. Nothing less.” A cynical 10-year-old smile ensued. Our moment together ended within five-eight minutes and toward the end a new-found, whimsical, wry smile appeared. I held his hands, looked him square in the eyes and ended by letting him know that every step that he takes in these new pair of shoes, that I will be thinking of him, praying for him and trusting his life to a God that wants to do great things in and through him. His name will be written in my prayer journal and I will believe God for His very best until heaven.”

I continued as the Holy Spirit kicked my heart into gear and shared the gospel message of hope, a future, and of surrendering his heart to receive the free gift of life now and eternal through Jesus Christ. The promise of forgiveness, new life and God’s perfect plan for his life. You see, we get moments like these on occasion and I felt the urgency to seize the moment while it was sill today! I continued. “God’s plan for you is perfect. Your story is still being written. When you want to give up or you struggle, think of the silly lady who said, you can do it through complete surrender of your heart to the Lord and the power of God which is greater than your mind can conceive.” God wants you to know that you matter and that He has a plan for your life!! An, sweet friend, I pray for you, I will claim each step for the rest of your days for  God to do “exceedingly, abundantly in your life above all that you can ask or think.” HE IS ABLE!!!

He sheepishly, smiled. I said there is just one more thing. “Can I get a hug?” I have yet in my life until today, felt a more genuine embrace than from his big ole size 10 men’s shoe bear hug that I received from Gods most precious possession.
You see, God spoke directly to his heart today. The Holy Spirit penetrated the deepest part of this young mans soul and there is no doubt in my mind that the God of the universe will make good on a prayer prayed forward for a life in the balance between the god of this world and our heavenly Father’s will for his life.

So, when you wonder if God still uses the smallest of opportunities for His good and His glory, remember the hardened heart of my friend today. And when you pray, you need not know his name but that his heavenly Father is well acquainted with the matters of his precious heart and life. Next time you think, I should do something to help….just do it. Don’t wait. The true blessing will be yours. And when you wonder, does God really still open hearts in the least imaginable ways….like through a pair of shoes, a smile, a hug, a word of affirmation, a touch or a smile? May you see my face smiling back at you and saying….Oh yes He does!! Remember, Jesus said it best….”My concern is holiness…” May we walk simply on this path of righteous living….and trust God for life-changing results! For His glory! Amen and Amen!

Caring for God’s beloved!

Coming to Cup of Grace Coffeehouse

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Simple Life Heartenings:

The annual MRO Summer Caution will be filled and brimming with grace in 2014. So grateful to provide this opportunity for ladies in NASCAR to gather for encouraging moments as we challenge hearts and provide a platform for service right where we live! Please consider joining us, as we present our broken beautiful lives to honor and serve God!!

Originally posted on mrocommunitycenter:

We are so excited to finally share our Caution musician with you all!  We’re also giving away a CD – enter at the end of this post!

-drum roll please-

This summer, at the 2014 Cup of Grace Coffeehouse, we’re excited to welcome singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb!

Her first full-length album, As Sure as the Sun, was released in February – it is beautifully written with Scripture woven into the melodies.  She has two previous EPs – Magnolia (2011) and With You Now (2013).  She has previously toured with her husband Drew, as part of the Americana rock band, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors.

“My heart with this music is to sing truth into the darkness. I know that the world can get pretty dark some days, and I’d love to be sending out songs like little campfires to light up the night. When I write, I am…

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Grace Happens Here

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Simple Life Heartenings:

Beautiful words of grace from my co-laborer and friend. All is grace!

Originally posted on mrocommunitycenter:

Grace.  A ready favor.  Sometimes it catches me by surprise

I count it a great honor and joy of my life that I get to watch kids journey in their faith. I have a precious friend named Jack that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know for several years now.  I wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate a victory that I witnessed in Jack’s life recently.

In Richmond, we studied about the life of Joseph and the life cycle of a butterfly, particularly about how it is a lovely depiction of the Gospel.  After Bible Time, we actually got the opportunity to release butterflies that we’d grown.  The kids were so very excited about this and each child was interested in the good of the butterflies.  After our release, we noticed that quite a few hadn’t been able to fly away.  At that point, Jack and a…

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Grace and Peace Medallion Necklace Dayspring

Bless mom with this beautiful necklace on a special day or any day! This beautifully crafted necklace sales for $8.49. A steal!! A beautiful expression of faith!

Message: grace and peace

Scripture reference on back: 1 Peter 1:2

Size: Chain: 24″ L with 3″ extender
Size: Pendant: 1 5/16″ diameter
Attached Charms: bird and “G” charm
Material: zinc alloy with antiqued gold finish, faux pearl on end of extender
Redeemed drawstring fabric jewelry bag included- Size: 3 1/4″L X 5″H

Shop Gifts for Mom!” title=”Mother’s Day Necklaces at Days”>Mother’s Day Necklaces at Days

A Life Remembered ~Lynda Petty

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My heart is saddened to hear of Lynda Petty’s passing….. She was a blessing to me personally and professionally. Every moment we shared, she spoke wisdom into my life. You are and were the true strength behind your man. Your example in the NASCAR community is one that has been modeled by many women. And sweet friend, it continues to influence and lead women to this day.

Treasured friends Gaye Joy, Lynda Petty and Stevie Waltrip

Treasured friends Gaye Joy, Lynda Petty and Stevie Waltrip

You spoke often of God’s grace, your faith and reliance on your Savior, Jesus Christ. A faith that you did not hide but readily shared even in moments we shared together with other women in the community. Without a relationship with Jesus Christ, you assured me that your life as a racer’s wife would have been next to impossible.

I am grateful for every little shared visit and was honored when The King allowed me to drive the 43 Dodge Charger Bandolero, minus the Hemi engine, in YOUR honor in the 2011 Inaugural Better Half Dash. In this moment it seems only appropriate to share just a few special memories that are a part of my life forever.

 

Miss Lynda's Petty Blue Dodge Charger

Miss Lynda’s Petty Blue Dodge Charger

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The Beautiful Miss Lynda

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A treasure to carry the Richard Petty name in honor of His wife, Lynda Petty.

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The King and I just before the race

I will likely not step onto a platform to speak of her life, except to share with you the small segments of time that we shared and how very special they are to me. But if there is one thing that I do know, it is that Lynda Petty would want me to share with you at her passing, to give up striving and surrender your life to Christ by believing on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. You can know for sure that being absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Heaven will tell and I can know with great assurance that Miss Lynda’s passing from this life was made into the presence of her God….

What legacy will we leave? Will I leave? Will there be more to the story than what I do for a living? Where I live? My status in life? Or will it be filled with stories of a life of faith in Jesus Christ that has been invested in others?

Is my life defined by education? Worldy success? Earthen treasures? Or will it be defined as a life that represented a love for mankind, living for Christ and serving others in His name?

It is a joy to celebrate, while yet in sadness the memory of a life lived well and in relationship with the Lord. She has won the the greatest victory of life eternal. And she rests for good in being reunited with the heavenly Father.

On one of our last at-track visit’s, I dropped by for a visit. Toward the end of our time together, I asked Lynda what her favorite Bible verse was. She thought for a moment before handing me her well-worn Bible that was tucked right by her on a shelf. Her eyes were failing by then, so she passed it to me and asked me to read it to her. 2 Timothy 4:4-8 (I am sharing it with you today from the New Living Translation)

“…..keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant. You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! You can depend on it…..”

No more taking the hard times with the good precious one. Heaven has been opened and is now your great reward. As for me, I will always remember, be challenged in my faith to walk with great strength because of the time that you have invested in my life.

And above ALL else….This IS a race worth running. I long to run hard right to the finish. I am committed to keeping my eyes on the Lord’s work and WILL do all within my ability, with the Lord’s strength, to keep the Message alive……for the building of the kingdom of God for His glory.

Until then…..

From Glory to Glory

From Glory to Glory

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2014 MRO Ladies Reunion

{Re}connect with treasured and new friends along with special guest Jackie Pegram for our MRO Ladies Reunion.  Have a cup of coffee and a sweet treat among friends!  We hope to see you there!  


Please RSVP here or to Danielle Bolin (dbolin@go2mro.com) by March 1.  Children are welcome to attend.

Sharing Grace.

Giving Thanks In ALL Things

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I pray that you will be encouraged and as a way of reminder, find a place for thanksgiving today as we enter into a time of remembering. Affirmed and grateful for how timely God always is when we need a “word in due season”. God continues to stretch & shape my heart as I bend and surrender my will, to each committed new mercy-filled day to give thanks in ALL things. The last few years have been filled with some challenging, fear-full, one step at a time, God-Sized and yet “hard” eucharisteos–the giving of thanks for my family and I. This joy journey, the purposeful pursuit of grateful living, where “thanks-giving” rewrites the habits of ingratitude into “thanks-living” has caught me off-guard, captured my thoughts, and is continuing to transform my heart. As a way of transparent confession, this truth-teaching that transforms hearts at the same time has opened the door for warfare unlike anything that I have ever experienced. Yet. Will. I. Praise. Him.

It is easy to say, I give thanks in ALL things. It is another to give thanks as you walk THROUGH the “hard eucharisteo’s” and come out of life’s most difficult “opportunities” to learn that giving thanks is the only way to fullness of joy. Sigh. You see for me it has settled deep, opened, exposed and removed dark places closed off to the Lord and recreated a beautiful place for God to fully live. Emptied. To. Fill.

The Lord dwells there. His presence makes known to us the path that leads to life according to Psalms 16:11 Apart from HIM there is no joy-filled life, rest for my soul, nor surrender to His sovereignty. He is working ALL things together for good, from His view of ALL that is going on. And on the days when thanksgiving has truly transformed my life, we meet there. Without the giving of thanks, I am left empty with nothing of the Who He is in His fullness to spill out one drop of thanksgiving. Lord. Help. Us.

Today, I stopped and with a burdened heart, gave thanks. He IS the mighty warrior, supreme and powerful ruler…the God of the universe; yet in His mercy, His presence sees. Knows. Leads. Comforts. Provides. His presence fills every emptied out place with peace in this life when ALL things seem to be shaking in  this world and the spiritual realm. We will never understand the ways of God, nor comprehend how His unfailing love is working in ALL the days of our lives for our good and His glory. Lord, Your ways are higher, stronger, greater and every moment of thanksgiving back to You is a small gift from this veiled view. The mystery. We. See. Dimly.

Such love…..so pure, rich and deep. Oh, the JOY that floods my soul.

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Tonight we give thanks. WE. GIVE. THANKS. Tomorrow’s mercies will be there for every bent and spilled-out surrendered heart to what seems so very simple. It will likely challenge every programmed response we have ever learned to date. Yet, His promises are trustworthy, sure and steadfast. He is God and HIS character, nature and attributes remain the same ALL-ways! Sure as the sun will rise to greet each new day, if the Lord wills.  New. Every. Morning.

“Eucharisteo…always, always precedes the miracle.”Ann Voskamp

To give thanks

“Eucharisteo, always, always precedes the miracle.” Ann Voskamp

Thanks Ann Voskamp for validating my heart’s journey towards fullness of joy! God has taught me so much in 2013. I am grateful that He does not give up or abandon His creation but continues to long for a relationship with His beloved! The privilege that I have had of leading women, children and families along the same path that this simple life traveled has been beautiful to watch from my view. My heart leans in to their stories of their journey fills my emptied heart with such deepened love and joy around the living Word received and applied so powerfully in their lives. God’s message and directed course for this season has led surrendered hearts through the “hard eucharisteos” into the places where THEIR messy story began. Their pathway still meandering, as does mine, around the field of mines that vie for the lies and affections of our life. Hearts rewritten with gratitude and Thanks-Living are among the best in this season of remembering.

Thanks-Giving. Miracles. Thanks-Living. Fullness of joy.

Excerpt from Ann Voskamp’s Journal Entry Today…..

http://www.aholyexperience.com/

“They were simple people, but they knew it because they had lived it:

No matter what the headlines shout, the world only has two stories: bless God or curse God.
No matter what the world tries to sell, we all only get to choose from two shelves: Give God thanks or Give God the door.
No matter what we’re facing, there are always only two roads: thanksgiving to God or dismissing of God.

“They were simple people but they had decided that they….

…..would not let hard times steal their thanksgiving.
…..if you let something steal your thanksgiving, you let something steal your joy, and if you let something steal your joy, you let something steal your strength.
…..would let nothing steal their thanksgiving to God – so that in everything they could stand strong in God.

Simple people – keeping it simple……. we will give thanks to God not because of how we feel, but because of who He is.

No disaster, no storm, no cancellation, no termination, no catastrophe would stop them from giving thanks. Because…….they knew it:

No matter where they were, every thanksgiving always brought them home —- giving thanks always brings you home to the heart of God.” ~Ann Voskamp

My children, grandson and family will be together around the inherited family table, the gathering place of so many great memories. It represents a lifetime filled with so many blessings. Countable gifts. The measure of a gracious God. We. Give. Thanks.

Home. “Thanksgiving” is bringing them home. Around the table, our collective hearts will pause and find peace above ALL circumstances through Thanks-Living EVERY DAY IN ALL THINGS.”
Yes, and this I know……Thanks-Living will lead us directly to the heart of God. “In His presence IS fullness  of  joy….” Psalm 16:11

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Moments That Go With You

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Home

Home

Giving thanks for the gift of amazing moments in my life and Jesus, the cornerstone. The sunset from our front porch welcomed us “HOME”. The dwelling place of OUR combined hearts and the moments that tell OUR story! #blessed #fullnessofjoy

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.” Sarah Dessen

Celebrating Veteran’s Day

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Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Goldsboro, NC 1980

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Goldsboro, NC 1980

So proud of my husband, U. S. Air Force Retired Monty Self. Our service together as a family has taught us so many wonderful things and blessed us with amazing friendships all around the world.

It is a choice that is not for the faint of heart. There were challenges all along the way but our lives are richer for it and I would not change one moment of our military lifestyle. We’re all blessed by the men and women who have sacrificed their lives to grant us the freedoms that we enjoy today!

May the Lord continue to honor and bless every service member past and present. We pray earnestly for the family member(s) related to a veteran or active duty service member for YOUR sacrifice as well!! You are the unsung heroes who keep the home front strong while the person serving does what they believe in….protecting and defending the constitution of the United States of America at all costs.

We are still One nation under God! A huge thank you to ALL veterans for your service! We honor YOU!!!

Happy Veteran’s Day with deep appreciation!

Protect And Defend

Protect And Defend

Treasures Of The Heart

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A little Tuesday tune-up of my blog, led me to a blog entry from earlier this year. Having read through it again….something stilled my heart, called me to surrender to the fullness of the moment for a quiet time with Him around my own thoughts from that particular day.

I AM a “word-girl”! I am captured by a vingette of the heart. Word pictures that draw me in, settle deep within my soul, hug me tight and capture a needed place to dwell. God always sends a word in due season. When I am all wound up, got stuff to do and ready to start checking off the to-do list? The Lord met with me as I slowed to a focused pace, leaned in and savored every moment with Him as a treasured gift.

“The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” Matthew 6:21 {MSG}

In this moment, you may well know that the to-do’s to do, have been transferred in an orderly fashion to tomorrow’s to-do list…….and all is well. If the Lord allows, tomorrow will bring with it demands that need my attention, stuff will still need to be done, etc…

I bend low in honor of my Lord in prayer this night. I whisper thank you for the extra measures of grace and mercy for the moments of my life that have gone unsurrendered. The peace, at this day’s end, that came with the treasured gift of spending time in the place that I most want to be. In conversation and communication with my Lord and Savior, who has given me life forever and access to treasures that are eternal and promised to all who are in Christ. I have been blessed with more than I will ever need for this life. And the blessings…..I am still counting!!

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars” Matthew 16:19-20

Treasures In Heaven

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<div data-href=”https://www.facebook.com/melanie.self/posts/10202444533817493&#8243; data-width=”550″><div><a href=”https://www.facebook.com/melanie.self/posts/10202444533817493″>Post</a&gt; by <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/melanie.self”>Melanie Self</a>.</div></div>