“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Happy Monday! Thanksgiving is wonderful time of the year. We enjoyed good friends, family and food. I feel very blessed and that is something good. I hope you enjoyed the holiday as well. I have a short post today, mostly due to the number of meetings in my schedule. I plan to return with a better post tomorrow.
Do you ever feel like your situation couldn’t possibly get any worse? Do you lose your focus and have trouble completing the smallest of tasks? Well, you might be depressed and need to see a doctor. In the meanwhile, remember that you are never alone and God is constantly sharpening your skills for future assignments. I often reflect and I never expected my life to unfold how it has. The best part is you never know who you are helping along the way.
Lord, You have been our dwelling place [our refuge, our sanctuary, our stability] in all generations.
PSALM 90:1 AMP
Happy Thursday! It’s a great day to forgive others and yourself.
Have you ever been blown away be an event or unexpected occurrence that you felt was unfair? If so, how long did you dwell on it – minutes? Hours? Days? Weeks? Years? Did you rant, fuss and complain? Did you get mad at others who didn’t understand your emotions? If you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t feel alone. I recently read that it is important for leaders to be emotionally stable. At first, I was thinking “this isn’t a problem for me”. Then, God reminded of the many times I have been upset about events or happenings that I thought were unfair. Each time I approached those around me for comfort and understanding. I just wanted someone to say they saw things my way. I never realized that my roller coaster of emotional instability was driving everyone crazy.
The good news is Colossians 2:5 tells us that even though we may feel alone, we can find emotional stability and “unwavering confidence in His power wisdom and goodness” (Amp). The bad news is we have to work at this. It’s not enough to just know that God provides our emotional stability. We have to practice being emotionally stable. You may not believe it, but I know people including myself who have stayed upset about something for years. I have more good news though. Over time I have improved. Most things only upset me for a few hours or a couple of days, instead of months of years. However, if it was something really painful, I rarely forget. I’m striving for letting go of bad events in five minutes or less without anyone ever knowing. It’s a good goal to have.
If you have struggled with emotional stability, find your strength in God. God bless you.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 KJV
Good Morning and Happy Friday!
What seems like is a great day for those of us who are anticipating the weekend, might be more challenging for others. There are people all around you suffering from emotional and physical pain. Often diseases are invisible to human eyes. You look at the person and don’t know the pain they are experiencing. They struggle to hide their suffering for many reasons. Emotional pain is even more invisible than physical, and can cause just as much suffering.
You don’t have to look hard to find people who need you to brighten their day. There was an elderly lady in front of me in the checkout line a couple of days ago. Her husband was in a wheel chair and she was having trouble working the credit card machine to pay. All she needed was someone to care enough to help her without compromising any security issues. I turned around and there was another lady who just wanted someone to listen to her. She was lonely. When we stop rushing from place-to-place, we can see pain all around us.
So, today when you see someone who is short-tempered, rude, or struggling, pause and pray for them silently. Ask God to work through you in their life. Maybe you can do something to ease their stress and pain. If you are in pain today, I will keep you in my prayers. Turn to God. He eases the suffering of the worn. God bless you.
For if I do this work of my own free will, then I have a reward; but if it is not of my will [but by God’s choosing], I have been entrusted with a [sacred] stewardship.
1 CORINTHIANS 9:17 AMP
Good morning! We are so thankful to have survived the storm with no damage. Today, Britt and I are celebrating our anniversary a little late by spending the day together.
The subject of “choices” is heavy on my mind. God is a respecter of people. He gives us free-will. Yet, we struggle with our choices. How many times have you been in the store or maybe on the Internet shopping, and seen something you feel like you can’t live without? You can’t afford it, but really want it. Have you ever juggled bills mentally? I am reminded of a time that I fell in love with a special Bible. It was beautiful. The pages were embossed with roses. There were beautiful images in the Bible and I loved the way the synthetic pink leather felt. For a year I visited the book store and walked around carrying the Bible like it was a baby. Every time I put the Bible back on the shelf and didn’t purchase it for myself. I did, however, buy the Bible as a gift for someone else. The recipient seemed pleased at the time, but I later learned that they didn’t like it. One day I was driving down the road and saw the book store was closing. I rushed over, but the Bible was gone. As soon as I got home from work, I searched the Internet and found one for half the price on Amazon. I ordered it right away and felt that immediate contentment. The next day I learned it was on back order. It stayed on back order for six months. However, individuals were selling the once $40 Bible ($25 on Amazon) for over $2,000. I gave up and ordered a similar Bible, which I didn’t need. The next day the Bible I wanted shipped out. I ended up spending $50 for two Bibles I didn’t need. Yet, I was excited to receive my beautiful Bible. Guess what? It’s untouched in the same place I set it when it arrived. The truth is I have several Bibles and I didn’t need another Bible, especially because it looked pretty. Bad financial decisions are painful down the road and take a toll on relationships. In fact, how many divorces have you noted due to finances?
Have you ever fallen in love and wanted to give into physical desires when you weren’t married? It seems commonplace now, but Paul covers this sin of the flesh in the Book of Galatians. Maybe you have already succumbed to the passion and now you are in a difficult situation related to that decision? Or maybe you are stressed at home and a pretty face provides a temptation you are unable to resist. Have you resorted to crime in order to feed your family? Have you ever been faced with a difficult ethical decision at work? Have you made bad decisions in how you treat others?
The list goes on and on. Not only do your decisions affect you, but also others. Even if no one knows about your bad decision, your attitude and actions will show what is going on inside of you. Some decisions take many years to overcome. Some decisions may change your life forever or even result in a physical death.
So, what do you do? You can’t be indecisive for long periods of time. The answer is accept Christ as your personal savior. Build a good relationship with God. Study your Bible daily. Build relationships with other Christians. Then, when you have an important decision, ask for God’s guidance. It’s that simple! What a super gift! Yet, it does take a little effort every day. The good news is that if you have made bad decisions, and we all have, you can ask for forgiveness and realize that it takes time overcome bad decisions.
Have a wonderful Wednesday and spread God’s love everywhere you go. God bless you.
Clarifying note. After I posted today, my husband pointed out that the Bible tells us in Acts 10:34-35 that “God is no respecter of persons”. However, the phrase is used in a different context. My reference was in regard to personal free-will. God respects our free-will. Acts 10 is referencing God showing no partiality.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:14 NIV
Happy Tuesday! It’s raining here and we are so excited! Isn’t it great God knows what we need and when we need it.
Have you ever had one of those days where you felt invisible to someone? I’m sure you have had at least one person in your life that has treated you like no matter what you have done, it’s never enough or good enough. It’s tough not to take this to heart, especially when you feel singled out. What’s worse is sometimes this type of behavior seems to almost grow contagiously, and before you know it multiple people have joined. So, what do you do?
One thing I know you don’t want to do is let them control your emotions and actions. Sometimes it is just enough to take a deep breath, smile and keep going. Other times you might feel a little more beaten down. You can still take a deep breath, smile and keep going, but when the person is talking, listen to what they are saying and watch their body language. Then, when they leave, pray for them and turn the situation over to God.
In Exodus 14:14 Moses told the Israelites that if they would stand firm against the Egyptians, the LORD would fight for them. God is still fighting for us today. We only need to be still. While you are waiting, put on some praise music and to uplift your soul. Whatever you do, try to avoid mimicking the actions of people who mistreat you, when you deal with others. If the situation continues, pray about it. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes pain to get our attention and push us to make changes in our lives. If that is your situation, don’t fret. Just let God help you.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Good Morning. Today is the last day of my mini vacation. I needed a few days to recover from so many long days at work and to catch up on some school work. I’m pleased to say that my house looks better and I have written two essays. The essays are still being edited, but I am pleased at the progress I was able to make. Also, this past weekend was birthday weekend. One of my children was born on the 9th and the other on the 11th. It was nice to have everyone here to celebrate.
Throughout the week I enjoyed the company of my husband, Dominic and Singer. The very playful Dominic will be a year old on the 23rd. It has been nice to wake up with him stretched out beside me in the mornings. I’ve heard it said that all good things must come to an end, but I just jump from one good thing to another.
The second most important commandment is to love your neighbors as you love yourselves. You may wonder how you can do this when families can’t even get along. One way is to be mindful of your conversations. As you go out today, I encourage you to be careful what you say and how you interpret what others say. In fact, if there is the slightest chance that you might be misunderstood, don’t text. Texting lacks tone and can be easily misconstrued. There is nothing wrong with speaking your mind, but choose your words and approach carefully. While the receiver may forgive you, some words will not be forgotten. I encourage you to be careful how you interpret what someone is saying. Often that means stepping outside yourself and thinking of the other person’s perspective. Be careful when you blame someone. The situation may be different from what it seems. Be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Be careful not to overlook or take some people’s efforts for granted in the recognition of others. Finally, hang on the words of God.
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
Good Morning! Over the last couple of years I seen people say goodbye to their loved ones too many times. Sometimes the goodbyes have been before and other times it has been after their passing. I try to provide comfort without so many words, because sometimes my words are far from comforting. Have you ever been there?
I have a subscription to Faithbox. Every month a new box comes in and a portion of my money goes to help feed hungry children. The other items in the box are sometimes used by me, and sometimes I pass them along to my Sunday School Class. Last week my Faithbox shipment arrived. Imagine my surprise when everything in the package was about grief. My original intent was to pass it along to a couple of retired people who have recently experienced the loss of a spouse. There seemed to be a nice book in the package, but when I looked at the book’s cover I questioned whether it was a good fit. At first glance the book looks like one that is better suited for a younger family. Well, you can’t always judge a book by it’s cover. So, I moved on.
Yesterday, I learned that a young man had died. Although 29, he is still a boy in my mind, because he grew up with my children and is the same age as my son. His sister is the same as my daughter. They went to church and were acolytes together. I remember looking at him and his sister growing up thinking, they looked like angels holding candles for the Gospel readings. His mother and I are on the vestry and altar guild together. This was a little too close to home for me. I think I might have even experienced a little bit of shock when I first heard the news.
So, this morning I know where the book belongs. You never know what someone else is going through whether it is a person or a family. Take time to tell others how much you love them, because no one is promised tomorrow. Also remember that we are all sinners, but God loves you. God bless you.
All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
Ecclesiastes 3:20-22 NIV
Good Morning and Happy Friday. I haven’t posted as much lately, but I did attempt to post yesterday. Unfortunately, my post was not published and appears to be lost. So, today I will enjoy the opportunity to reshare yesterday’s post with the inclusion of some additional blessings. Maybe, it was a sign from God that I needed to wait.
We have been very busy this week with work and family. I once heard Joel Osteen say that we are the most productive when we have balance in our lives. I can honestly say that I need to make balance a priority today.
Tuesday our church celebrated Shrove Tuesday, or as many people call it, Fat Tuesday. Our tradition is for the children to sell tickets for a pancake supper, which the youth are involved in preparing and serving. All the money raised goes to the youth program. Our guest was my daddy. We also met my husband’s parents at church. Church fellowship is good for the soul. If you are feeling down and out, make yourself go, and enjoy the opportunity to spend time with others, who also love the Lord. I have come to think of the church congregation as my family.
Ash Wednesday follows Shrove Tuesday. It is the first day of Lent and is a time for prayer, penitence, time with God, fasting, and thoughtful preparation for Easter. Many people give up something they enjoy during Lent. I often hear chocolate or meat. I’m laughing at the thought of giving up chocolate this year with Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine’s Day. I like to give up something (i.e. clutter, gossip, or possibly a food) and add something (i.e. a special prayer book, extra time with God, etc.). It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being mindful.
On Ash Wednesday our church has a special service that includes “the imposition of the ashes.” It is one of my favorite services. The ashes are the burned down palm branches from Palm Sunday of the previous year. The minister makes the mark of the cross on each participant’s forehead and reminds us that we have come from ashes and to ashes we will return. Before we leave the building, we wipe the ashes off because it is not for public display. It’s a wonderful service, but this year the service was held at noon and I was unable to attend because of a work obligation. I did notice that there were many cars at the church. This is one of my favorite services because it make me mindful that none of us are promised tomorrow.
God didn’t forget me. I received a call about 3:00 from my husband on Wednesday afternoon. My sweet little dog Freckles died. I have had many pets over the years, and all of them were special. I am especially thankful to have had Freckles in my life. Before Freckles I had a black Shih Tzu, Long Hei who had gone missing within seconds. When my husband opened the door to let him out, my daughter showed him a bracelet she had made. It couldn’t have taken more than 60 seconds. Then, Long Hei was gone. That was close to 20 years ago, and I still look for him today. I often think of how hard it must be for parents whose children go missing.
So, we purchased Freckles, this cute little Shih Tzu puppy, a short time later. I sometimes talk in my sleep. Whenever my grandmother died, my husband relayed a funny story. He said I asked him where “Freckle Man” was. He questioned me again and I said “you know that cute little black and white boy.” From that day on Freckles was called “”Freckle man”, “Freckman”, “Freckle boy” and Freckles. Freckles was the cutest puppy. He played and jumped through the yard like a cartoon character. He was easy to train and the best snuggler I’ve ever known. He even got mad with me when I didn’t snuggle with him. He loved to go bye-bye and never ran away.
When he was about four years old, my daughter called me at work and said something was wrong with Freckles. I have to admit that I was aggravated and didn’t believe anything was wrong with him. I was wrong. I took Freckles to our local vet, Dr. Kelly, who I am so thankful to have in my life. After Freckles had gone through 8-9 surgeries for what Dr. Kelly diagnosed as Portal Shunt Disorder, Dr. Kelly was able to obtain an appointment at Auburn University for Freckles.
We knew in advance that the surgery would cost us several thousand dollars and a large portion had to be paid upfront. Dr. Kelly had told me he understood if I wanted to put Freckles down. I had people coming up to me saying, “just put him down and buy another puppy.” I remember talking to my husband and him suggesting that the decision might be a test of my character. Even though I knew there was a possibility that I might pay the money and Freckles might not make it, it wasn’t a difficult test for me. I borrowed from my retirement to take care of Freckles.
So, I set out alone with my puppy to Auburn, which was several hours away. Freckles had never traveled a long distance before, but he was a great traveler. He had never been taken out on a leash, but he was great at that too. God was with me on this journey. I got lost and one of the students at Auburn called me and talked me through the directions on how to get to the University Veterinarian Hospital. As if that wasn’t enough, a student met me at the door and helped me and my puppy into the hospital. Freckles underwent several tests and we made a couple of visits before the specialist found the problem. Dr. Kelly was right. Before it was over, I left my puppy for a surgery that could cause the end of his life. Freckles would have to stay for two weeks of observation after the surgery, should everything go well. He had never been left for two weeks anywhere. I tearfully said goodbye to Freckles and paid the very large bill before heading home.
On the day of the surgery, I sat by the phone at work waiting eagerly for good news. I prayed that God would take care of my puppy. By the middle of the afternoon I received a call from one of the students. The surgery was successful. Every day a student would call me and give me an update on Freckles. I never attended Auburn University, but I highly recommend them for pets. One day a student called with the funniest statement. He said “you didn’t tell me Freckles was a cage jumper.” Of course, we didn’t know because he had never been in a cage. So, now Freckles was also known as the “cage jumper.”
I was so glad to bring my little cage jumper home and life was mostly normal after that. Freckles did have to stay on a low protein diet, which is hard to manage with a dog. For a while we had our own dog treat business, where we sold healthy dog treats. Freckles was at the center of this activity. I’m very thankful for Dr. Kelly and the students and doctors at Auburn University. They were able to extend Freckles life by about 12 years.
Over time Freckles slowed down. He became the drill sergeant of the house, keeping all of us in order. Last year Freckles began having seizures that increased over time. Most of his teeth fell out and his cataracts preventing him from seeing well. He was still the best cuddler right until the end. During the last couple of weeks Freckles health declined even more. He seemed to be in a great deal of pain. About a week ago, I tearfully asked God to not let my Freckle Boy suffer. Ash Wednesday he died peacefully in his sleep. My heart is a little bigger because of a little dog. Today, my house is empty and my heart also has an empty spot. No one is promised tomorrow. Be sure to tell everyone you love them and make every moment count.
Life goes on and as I pause to think of that little cage jumper throughout the day. God knows our hearts and the weight that is on our shoulders. I have been overwhelmed at work. Long stressful hours fill my days. This morning I came to work to find some of God’s blessings waiting to help. A local church had sent me some helpers to “pay it backwards.” Wow! How blessed could I be! Life is like that. Just at what seems like the lowest moment, something amazing happens. God knows what I need before I even ask.
Take time to spread the love to everyone you see today. God bless you.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2
Good afternoon. I pray that you are enjoying your weekend. My week was super busy. This morning I have become aware of some friends who are very sick. Sometimes our world seems bleak and hopeless. We find ourselves searching for answers with our minds that we couldn’t possibly understand. That is when we need to trust the Lord instead of trying to make sense with our brains (Proverbs 3:5).
Always remember to count your blessings. There are so many things we take for granted every day. Look around you and make mental notes. There is always someone worse off than you. Just by being able to read this post, you doing better than a large portion of the world’s population who are unable to read and do not have access to electricity, computers, WiFi, Internet, and other technology that we take for granted.
If you are feeling hopeless, ask God to heal you. Then, thank him. He is such an amazing God. If you have any prayer requests, respond to this post. God bless you.
The silver-haired head is a crown of splendor and glory; It is found in the way of righteousness.
PROVERBS 16:31 AMP
Happy Saturday! It’s a lazy Saturday at my house. Our grandson spent the night and we slept in this morning. Ahhh.
A couple of months ago I noticed and accepted the fact that my hair is now shades of grey. Which led me to realize that I’m only fooling myself about others not knowing my age. I mean, why am I coloring my hair? Is it to convince others or myself that I’m young? Or maybe it is because it makes me feel good? This is definitely a personal decision, but I talked with my husband and we decided that now is a good time to transition into grey hair, which is the real outward me. Also, now is a good time with grey hair being popular for all ages. So to make the transition easier, my hair dresser colored my hair some “ashier” shades and applied a grey toner over the top. If you are considering doing this, let me give you a word of warning. Give yourself some time and be gentle with yourself. I was blonde for fifty something years, when I looked in the mirror I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I would be. It took me a while to adjust. Now, two weeks later, I love it! In the book of Proverbs the Bible tells us that silver hair is “a crown of splendor and glory” that is “found in the way of righteousness” (16:31). Isn’t that awesome!
Hair isn’t the only thing in life that can be shades of grey. Many important decisions on the surface don’t appear black and white. I am reminded of Billy Joel’s song also called “Shades of Grey”. While the song appears on the surface to be about war, it has many layers and applies to our every day decisions. When we are young, right and wrong seem absolute, but with age we realize there are many dimensions to dilemmas. That’s when the question hit us like a brick wall.
Once I had a job opportunity that seemed promising. In my lack of great wisdom I drew out all types of charts with different scenarios, and went back and forth in my mind on what was the best decision. Did I make the best decision? I don’t know. I do know that in all my great wisdom and predictions for the future, none of the scenarios were even close to what happened. In retrospect, I should’ve put the entire situation in God’s hands. I know a couple who are considering whether to have a second child. There is so much to consider: money, careers, marital concerns, age differences between children, and housing to name a few. Should they take a chance? No one knows what the future holds. No one!
While these scenarios are real in every way, I also know that some decisions are much tougher with more devastating consequences, like whether to disconnect life support from a loved one or what to do when your child is in jail. The best action is to pray and trust God. I love the verse John 5:30, which tells us that by ourselves we can do nothing, because our judgement is limited. However, when we seek to please God, His perfect plan will come together in our lives.
May the colors of your life be vibrant and bright! God bless you.