Pat Layton Pat Layton Pat Layton: Sweet Tea for Surrendered Sisters
Fresh Word Friday
I can not even remember the last Friday that I brought a "Fresh Word Friday" to "Sweet Tea". 

It is not that I have not collected them, or thought about posting one, I just do not have enough DISCIPLINE to keep some of my many spinning plates spinning, or my many good intentions on my schedule.

As I have pursued God's Word this past week about balance and priorities, the word DISCIPLINE has been rolling around in my mind and heart.

When I hear or even THINK, the word discipline, I get ready for fun to go BYE-BYE!! 

Things like:

carrot verses carrot CAKE
treadmill verses rocking chair and good book
skinny latte verses White Chocolate Mocha
car wash verses a good movie
"sale" racks verses "New Arrivals"

is just NOT a "fun" sounding word to me. 
I looked it up in my big old Webster's (I keep this giant ripped up red book next to my prayer chair). What I found kind of surprised me. I knew the obvious definition, the one that I don't care for that I mentioned above.

It goes like this: Discipline: to punish or penalize for the sake of training, instruction or control (YUK); to impose order; a rule or system of rules (YUK,YUK,YUK)

but then, I found some other stuff. 

The root word of DISCIPLINE is DISCIPLE: Follower of Jesus, Apostle. 
This definition lead to this:

A Field of Study, a training that perfects character; teaching, learning, training, order (YUM). 
Now, those are some words I can hook up with.

A have have a very old book on my bookshelf  titled "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster, originally published in 1978. 
I have studied this book a few times over the years, the last time was a few years ago with a group of ladies who where in my home for a group that I host now and then called "Leading Ladies". The group is made up of women of all ages who are serving in positions of leadership. Some are in ministry, business or education. The book has always been a great challenge to all of us and is not an easy read. It is steak verses jello, if you know what I mean.

I decided a few days ago that it might be time for me to revisit these principles and get my inner world into a bit more outer order. 
I don't know about you, but for me, sometimes things just seem to get off track a bit when I least expect it. 

I begin to struggle with priorities, feel crunched and overly busy. AKA---STRESSED!!
I find myself sad about not having time for some things that matter to me:

time with my friends or family that is about rest and restoration---not work or even "ministry"
time in my garden--just for fun, not because I NEED to
time just meditating on God's goodness--not working on a 3 point outline or a book chapter

I have some signs in my life that tell me when it is time to regroup. 
When I feel like a dry sponge at a worship service, I know that I had not spent enough time in God's presence to stay full. 
When I feel easily irritated or discouraged, I know that I need to take a look at my inner life. 
When I slip back into people pleasing or insecurity, I know that I have wandered from the things that keep me strong and connected to who I am in Christ.

Does any of this ring a bell?

Mr Foster says in his book, " The disciplines of the spiritual life call us to move beyond surface living into the depths. They invite us to explore the inner caverns of the spiritual realm. They urge us to be the spiritual answer to a HOLLOW world."

He goes on later to say, "JOY is the keynote of all of the spiritual disciplines. The purpose of discipline is FREEDOM from self interest or wordly measures".


Psalm 42:1 says:

As a deer longs for water, so I long for you God.
I thirst for God, the living God.

As the heart pants and longs for the water brooks
so I pant and long for you o God,
My inner self thirsts for God,
for the living God.
Amplified Bible

A white tailed deer drinks from the creek;
I want to drink God,
deep draughts of God.
I am thirsty for God alive.
The Message

Mr Foster closes his first chapter with these words:

"The life that is pleasing to God is not a series of religious duties. 
We have only one thing to do, namely to experience a life of relationship and intimacy with God."

That is the kind of discipline that I desire and purpose to maintain in my life. 
It is time to get me some reNewed DISCIPLINE!!

However, I will be having me some Carrot Cake during the Super Bowl!


Blogging Families
My firstborn son Tim and his beautiful wife Kim jumped into blog world a couple of months ago. Since then they have created a variety of beautiful blogs and made friends all over the Nation. They are having a blast using lots of the creative energy (not to mention computer skills) that all of them possess. 

Each grandson has a blog:

Our oldest Grandson, AJ, expresses his love for Christian Rock music here at ChristianRocker:

second born, Jacob, is a fisherman to the core and tells his tales here at Jacob' Fish Tales:

Kim shares her creative talents by way of an Etsy blog here:

To top it off, they have a family blog shared by Tim and Kim called ForeverWherever that I personally read daily just to keep up with my traveling crew. I could not for the life of me get the banner on my post. Tim did not inherit the techy gene from me!

Just click the link and you will love it!!

Their last creation is a home remodeling blog that is being featured today at "The Nestor"!! 

This one has my special attention. I love to find new projects for my son to try out at Mom's!

This thing is bursting with "SONey Do's"!!! Don't Ya think!!??

Check it out!!

Blessed is She!
"Blessed is she who believes what the Lord has said will be accomplished"
Luke 1:45

I am posting from New Braunfels, Texas. It is about a 30minute drive from here to San Antonio. The weather has been VERYYYY COLD, which only matters to me because I chose to leave my ADORABLE new Sky Blue coat AT HOME because of what told me about what the weather was going to be like. Shame on them!

Coat or no coat, this event has gone down in my prayer journal as one of the coolest ministry times I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. I know I have said that MANY times but honestly, it just gets better and better!

I served as a keynote speaker at the Southern Baptist of Texas Woman's' Conference. State Leader, EXTRAORDINAIRE, Shirley Moses invited me. I was, am, and will forever be, humbled by her invitation and overwhelmingly grateful for the blessing.

We were all challenged and enriched by time of praise and worship and some fabulous teaching by Kelly Mintor on Friday night, followed by some amazing workshops. It was a late night but FULL, FULL, FULL. Topped off by a spontaneous trip to Sonic!

My keynote followed praise and worship on Saturday morning and was out of the book of Ruth, called "Four Steps into Your Next Blessing!". 

The sweet smiles and tangible feelings of love and grace that rose up from the 450 women who attended just about blew me away. Their kindness continued when at BIG bunch of them returned for my workshop later in the afternoon.

The BIG DEAL about this is that my workshop was called "The Mission Field of Abortion".

When I first started giving this workshop 3 years ago, I was lucky to have a handful of women. I mean let's get real here. If you are the 1 out of 3 women who have had a past abortion, like I am, this workshop does not sound like a fun way to spend your getaway weekend with the girls.

If you have NEVER had an abortion, you may not really relate to the need to attend this workshop, nor understand what it has to do with you. There are always MANY other wonderful and exciting workshops that most women would much rather attend. I fully understand!

I have seen and felt God doing a great work around this truth over the past year or so but yesterday knocked me to my knees. 

Somewhere around 150 women choose my workshop for their afternoon!!! Women who have had abortions and women who have not but just CARE about the pain and destruction caused by abortion our Nation and around the world!!!

I still have tears as I think of it.

My heart is full to overflow at the goodness of God as I continue my 22 year journey of being a voice in the church about this critical life and death issue. 

If you came to the workshop...I LOVE YOU!!!!! 

I am thrilled to have so many new sisters by my side. 

Tomorrow, I will doing an all day training at Oakwood Baptist Church for those who feel called to offer "Surrendering the Secret" Post Abortion Healing in their churches and pregnancy care centers. Several of the women who attended the workshop yesterday have signed up at the last minute. They made a way in their day, to attend.

Today is a day of REST and Praise.


Imagine the Potential

As we have watched a historic event come about with today's monumental Presidential inauguration, I can not help but think of the monumental decision that was advanced 36 years ago on January 22, 1973.

Since that day over 50 MILLION unborn children have been destroyed by abortion in this "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave".

Men and women all over America have been sold the lie that children are a "burden" and can be gotten rid of with the suck of a vacuum or the slice of a knife. They have been sold the lie that "it will only take a minute" or "you can get on with your life". 

I know, I was one of those women who was convinced that abortion was my only choice, my social responsibility, my easy way out. 

Since that landmark decision was made, abortion is now legal throughout our nation up until birth and has wiped out entire generations of life.

If you would like to join me in honoring those organizations and ministries who stand on the front lines in this Nation on behalf of the unborn, please pass this You Tube along for prayer and consideration as you link to the website of one of those faithful and brave organizations.

As for me, I want to thank Heartbeat International, Carenet and Life International for their undying and unyielding service towards the protection of the Sanctity of Human Life in America and around the world.
Stay the Course!! You are in my prayers.

On a local level, i would be remiss not to lift up my our own Tampa team of Hero's at Life Impact Network!!

Marvelous Monday!!

Happy Monday Morning Bloggy friends. I thought I would share some of my morning journal with you today. My hope is that it will bless you, stir your thanksgiving juices if they have not yet been stirred yet today and to simply share my overflowing Love of Jesus with you !!!

Good Morning Lord,
Thank you for a brand new day!! 
You are an amazing God. Your goodness is fresh in my heart today. 
Your mercy overwhelms me and your love melts my every stress.

When I reflect on my daily weaknesses--my fears, my selfish ambition, my short temper, my grumbling and complaining--instead of your rebuke, I am surrounded and embraced by your complete kindness and grace.

Somehow, it makes me think of my youngest G-baby when she wakes up from her nap with a big beautiful grin on her face when I come to get her. It's like that smile was just waiting, while she slept, to pop out again the first chance it has. That is how you are Lord, although you never nap:), you are always just waiting for us to come to you so that you can smile upon us, bless us, and reach out for us.

Your Words in Psalm 139 reminds:

Where can I go from your Spirit, where can I flee from your presence..
If I go to the Heaven, you are there

If I go to the depths, you are there

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, If I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,

Your right hand will hold me fast.

Father God, it is so good to know that we are always in your sights. You are the God of details, the God of direction, the God of divine attention. You have all the answers. All the healing. All the provision. All the blessings. All of the hope.
Fill me today Lord, with ALL that you have for me. Fill me with your character, your love, your purpose.

I praise your name Holy God and lay my day before you.

Bless you friends,

( G-girl and I did not PLAN to match that day, we just happen to have the same taste!)

One Pouty Puppy

The quiet, the loneliness, the clean bathrooms!!!! YUK!!!

You would think we would be used to this by now but we just aren't. The baby of our family has returned to college after a nice long Christmas break. I love to know that she is safe and sound each night, asleep in her bedroom upstairs. (Although, I have to admit, we sometimes disagree about how LONNNNGGGG she sleeps!)

As much as her Dad and I miss her each time she leaves there is one family member who actually GRIEVES. She mopes around for days unable to accept her loss. She sits outside our daughters bedroom door, waiting for her to return. If I should happen to turn a light on upstairs, she goes blasting up the steps two at a time to seek her Mama.

Her name is Lucy.

Lucy was a gift that Julianna gave to herself. I mentioned a few posts back that my Dad died just after Thanksgiving 6 years ago. My Mom gave a small financial gift to each Grandchild in his memory. Julianna spent every cent of her money to buy Lucy. She is a MaltiPom mix. She is a great dog and has been practically perfect since she was a puppy. Sweet, obedient, non-shedding and potty trained in a few weeks.

Lucy truly has few vices.

When Julianna is home, Lucy does not leave her side and literally burrows under the covers to sleep at her feet each night. She is also quite happy to stay sleeping with Julianna as morning becomes afternoon. They are a great match!!

Since Julianna packed up and headed south a few days ago, Miss Lucy has not given up hope that she will soon return. My hearts goes out to her as she waits patiently here on the steps. I keep telling her that Julianna loves her, has not forgotten her and will soon return but she is not satisfied. She just keeps waiting and pouting.

I am trying to avoid it but I think it is inevitable that sooner or later I will have a fat white puppy sleeping at the foot of my bed next to my feet.

I hope my honey doesn't get jealous but honestly, sometimes it does those men good to have a little competition, of the canine kind anyway!!

Tasty Tuesday Techy Troubles
I have almost run out of time for Tasty Tuesday. Maybe not out of time but definitely out of ENERGY!! I returned last night just before midnight from an amazing weekend in Kentucky and have not quite gotten myself together yet. (see Surrendering the Secret Blog tomorrow, for details)(note LINK!)

I was PERSONALLY invited to be a part of this new blog "parade of food" and determined to get to it by the end of the day.

I have to admit that the "Mr Linky" part has had me intimidated just thinking about it but here I am!!

This yummy event is being hosted by ForeverWherever and has great potential to become one of my favorite blog parties! (another LINK!!)

I actually have only been a part of this wonderful community of creative creatures since April of last year. I have since learned how to:

#1) POST!
#2) POST!! with colored letters, italics and/or BOLD print.
#3) POST!!! adding a link to another blog.
#4) POST!!!! with a photo or two.

One thing I have NOT yet mastered is Mr. Linky!!

However, since this is my beautiful Daughter-In-Law's idea, I must give it my best shot!

Continuing with my Seafood theme of last week, I decided to go with:

"Low Country Boil" (my personal version)(note Bold Blue Italics)

A whole bunch of small frozen corn on the cob
A whole bunch of small red potatoes
A whole bunch of Kelbasa Sausage
A whole bunch of fresh shrimp
one more time,
the same amount of fresh King Crab Legs

Throw the first 3 in a BIG pot filled with water and Old Bay Seafood Seasoning, cook over a gas burner for about 20 minutes, add the last 2 things for about 10-15 minutes.

Dump it ALL out on a newspaper covered picnic table (if possible have your son build a VERY large one for you!!).

Provide lots of squeeze butter, salt and rolls of paper towels!!

Add family! Enjoy!!

(ps...Note PHOTO!!) (sorry Mr Linky, maybe next time!)

Walking In Hope
I am going to allow myself 15 minutes to complete this post since the last one I did about Crabbing took me about 4 HOURS!!! (Don't ask me why). In any case, I have only gotten 2 sweet comments on it so apparently it did not stir the hot pot of discussion and overwhelming AWE that I had hoped for.

The whole thing about BLOG comments and the measure of our worth is fodder for a whole different post, or  possibly a counselors couch, one or the other.

I am sitting alone in a hotel room in COLD and WET Kentucky, about to begin a weekend of 4 speaking events that begin at lunch today. 

I have been enjoying some treasured and yearned for time with the Lord, since about 6:30 am. Awesome time. Precious actually.

In any case, I am flat chomping at the bit to tell SOMEBODY this most amazing thing about my SHOES!!! So I am going to tell "Sweet Tea"!!!

Before I left Tampa, I was packing my clothes for this trip. I had each outfit that I was considering laid out on my bed. This is IMPORTANT stuff for us girls especially when we are going to be standing in front of lots of other girls who will be noticing what we have on!! As I plopped one pair of shoes up on the bed next to a dress that I was considering wearing.......

Right smack inside these shoes it says "FULL OF HOPE". Can you believe that! Have you ever seen anything like that inside a pair of shoes?? These are not new shoes. I have worn them before  and I have never seen this.

OBVIOUSLY, I chose to go with that outfit as well a pick a few other things to go with the shoes!

I don't know about you but I am FULL OF HOPE and there is nothing more that I want in all the world than to WALK in it!!

I have spent some time this wonderful Saturday morning, thanking God for who he is, for the Hope that he has given me. His WORD that is FULL OF HOPE.

Join me today will you, look up a few verses of scripture that have the word HOPE in them, then, even if you don't have these cute grey and cream heels.....WALK IN HOPE today!!

Of all the ones that I read, the scripture that I chose for my day is:

Psalm 62:5-8 (New International Version)

5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

7 My salvation and my honor depend on God [a] ;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

2009 New Year Resolution--Go Crabbing!!
I have been a bit delayed with a few New Year habits that I normally have ready to go before the big silver ball drops in Times Square.

3 New Year routines that I tend to repeat!
1) A New Years Day, unstoppable urge to clean up my Christmas decorations and get them out of my sight!
2) A Verse of Scripture that God uses in my heart to kick off the year and give me an idea of where we are going together this year.
3)A list of New Years Resolutions and "SMART" Goals on the front page of a fresh new payer journal

Number one came as usual. 

It took me 2 weeks to get my decorations up and one day to get them down! 
I am like on Fast Forward all day on January 1st, ripping stuff down that I so delicately placed just weeks before.

The second and third things that I have come to expect, were not as timely as usual but have arrived none the less.
I love to start the year with a fresh Word of scripture that I KNOW will resonate in my heart all year long. That "Word" that I longed for came to me this past Sunday at church (go figure!)

The scripture that God gave me was this:

The Lord directs the steps of the Godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.

Psalm 37:23 NLT

I love this scripture. Until this past weekend, I am not sure that I have ever read this version. 
If I have, it has not done before, what it has done to me this past week. I love that about God's Word.
His promises are living and breathing and ever stirring up new things inside us.

When I received this Word on Sunday, I saw it in a whole new light and have been meditating on it and picking it apart for 4 days.

I have discovered that it is packed full of FRESH, SWEET MEAT!!

During my prayer time this morning I was reminded of my childhood training for eating Low Country Crab.

Yep...Crabs! That is the word picture God gave me this morning in my prayer chair.

Have you ever eaten crabs that have been boiled in a big giant pot while sitting close to squishy, salty marsh grass? It is UNBEATABLE! I grew up in Savannah, Ga. so crab boils were part of my upbringing and still one of my favorite experiences.

When you eat a good, fresh from the dock, boiled crab, you rip that steaming sucker apart to get to the big fat easy to reach pieces first.  Your taste buds are instantly engaged and screaming for more. 
Big white chunks of sweet flaky crab meat are the stuff dreams are made of! 

YUM, Let's get this party started!!

However, that is when the real work begins.

I was strictly trained NOT to waste a single morsel of that treasured sweet crab meat. As a child, my Dad monitored our throw away pile. My sisters and I were not allowed to move on to the next easy stuff until every tiny sliver of crab meat left in the deepest places of that crab were shiny clean
(Now that stuff will TEACH!!)

When the Lord brought this all to my mind this morning I was overwhelmed with the truths that He was showing me. It was a tender time of savoring the memories, the training and the character of my Dad who passed away 6 years ago this past Christmas. 
Sometimes we teach our children more when we don't think about it than when we are TRYING to teach them.

God gave me a Personal Ministry Mission Statement a few years ago. It is:
Equipping Women with Eternal Truths for Everyday Life

The eternal truths that were stirred up in me, using an everyday life memory, were as bountiful as a pot full of boiled Blue Crabs! 

The analogy is obvious. Eating God's Word can be like eating Crabs. 
Sweet, Yummy and Worth the Work.

The third thing, from my list above, that I have been waiting for clarity on, has to do with Resolutions and Goals. However, since I have been sitting in my prayer chair WAYYYYY longer than I should today, I need to leave that "revelation" for another day.
I know, you are probably devestated as you have been hanging on my every word, right?? 

So as not to leave you starving for more... here is just a taste :) of what I have been led to put on my "2009 Resolutions" list:

Check out "The Inspired Room" and her challenge of "Balanced Living" for a Beautiful Life---12 Months of Goals. God has added a little twist for me that I will share later.

Check out Beth Moore's Scripture Memory Challenge. Again, I have a twist to share.

For now, be blessed sisters and join me for some 2009 Crabbing!!

BTW---Those dear friends of mine who have multiple BLOGS and tell me how little time they spend on writing post are FULL OF......Crabmeat!!! 

You know who you are my crab loving friend!

Life is Beautiful but Not always Fair!
My New Years idea to bless some new friend with "Life: Beautiful" magazine for a year turned out to be my blessing.

That is what usually happens isn't it? So often when we attempt to do something good for someone else, we get even better stuff back. You know the promise, "give and it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together and running over. 

That is exactly what happened to me..... kind of!

It was a blessing for me to hear the words that God used in your lives this past year and the ways that He spoke to each of your personally. It always amazes me how He ignites His Word in our hearts and His truth into our everyday lives.

Thank you each for sharing with me, with us, something that you learned or heard from God this past year.

I promised to announce the winner today. The first Monday in 2009. Although today is almost gone, it is still Monday (and quite a Monday it has been) and I am here to keep my promise.

I decided to use the good old fashion method of drawing names instead of trying to fiddle with the random number thingy. After writing down each entry name on a small sheet of paper, I summoned my daughter to do the honors. 

I pulled out a pretty blue bowl so that I could take a picture and capture the moment.

So far, so good.....

A one year subscription to Life: Beautiful Magazine goes to.......

drum roll please.....


Karla shared:

Here is a quote that the Lord used to convict me in a powerful way.

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves and not to twist them to fit our own image; otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves that we see in them".

I've been trying to change people for as long as I can remember. I've decided to put down the magnifying glass that I've been looking at everyone through. I've made the decision to let God do the changing. It's a great place to be as I enter this new year

Good words Karla, ones that I often need to remember.
Thank you for visiting "Sweet Tea" and for sharing your heart.

Now about the "unfair" part. 

As my daughter put the bowl aside to announce the name of the winner, it rolled from the couch and landed on the floor by her feet. (refer to photo above, see rug, see legs hooked to feet)

Not a LONG distance. And on the RUG!! 

You would think by looking at this that it fell from MARS onto the Rock of Gibraltar...for goodness sakes! 

So NOT Fair!

Oh well. Life is still beautiful! My bowl on the other hand is not, nor was the cleanup of the BILLION shards of blue glass. 

I am off to a Bubble Bath!

Karla, please email me your full name and mailing address and I will get you signed up for LIFE!

Thank you ladies. I am honored to have you take the time to share your thoughts with me.
I'll be thinking of something else to give away soon. 
Blessings and Happy New Year!!

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