Tag Archives: Christian Living

SPREAD THE LOVE FRIDAy – living from Disaster to disaster Without losing your positive attitude

“Commit thy works unto Jehovah, And thy purposes shall be established.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:3‬ ‭ASV‬‬

Happy Friday! It’s Spread the Love Friday and touching is not allowed. When we had Church services we waived the peace sign to people across the room. Do not fear. There are other ways to spread God’s love.

A year and a half after Hurricane Michael our community is slowly recovering. Just when we were beginning to see help, we found ourselves faced with COVID-19. All my book signings and travel has been cancelled and we are working inside a locked building. It seems like it would be a great time to catch up on work, but work and the emotional stress is heavier than usual. Maybe it’s the isolation, or the amount of fear that blasts through television broadcasts and social media. One of the hardest things for me to accept is the inability to have worship services.

As the week Has progressed more and more business are shutting down and limiting hours of operation. Yesterday, a friend from California shared a story about her elderly mother being sick and her inability to check on her. During the day I was in meetings discussing how to handle hurricane evacuations during COVID-19 quarantines. Then, last night I learned our son-in-law, daughter and grandchildren have been exposed to someone who tested positive. This morning I faced the tear-filled eyes of a friend, who had lost her friend unexpectedly.

How can we stay positive as we watch the world, as we know it, fall apart? Part of the problem is God created us to be social. We need interaction with other people, and let’s face it, electronic media isn’t the same. Sometimes we need a hug without fearing contamination or exposing someone else. Sometimes we need to sit together and listen to the people we love express their grief. Sometimes we need to laugh together. I feel this need strongly, despite being immune compromised. I know I might get sick and die, but cannot help but hug someone who is hurting.

Another problem is we are so bombarded with negativity and fear, that we can’t see the good. In 1999 psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris conducted the “invisible gorilla” experiment to show that when we focus hard on something, we become blind to the unexpected. (Choi; 7/11/2010; https://www.livescience.com/6727-invisible-gorilla-test-shows-notice.html). Volunteers watched a video of two teams (one dressed in black and the other in white) passing a ball. Participants were charged with counting the passes. They became so enthralled in their task that they didn’t notice a gorilla entering and walking around the room. Since that time there have been many other studies, but the point is sometimes we become so overwhelmed by what is in front of us that we fail to count our blessings. I know that I can become so focused at work that I’m easily startled. Have you ever experienced that?

We are being bombarded by news updates and images related to COVID-19 constantly. While we certainly cannot completely control our environments, we can choose to go outside for a walk, FaceTime family members and friends to check on them, send cheerful messages or funny memes to make others smile, and cry with one another. The human experience is important for everyone.

Our worship services may have been cancelled, but Isaiah 54:17 says “[n]o weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against them in judgement thou shalt condemn.” COVID-19 is not of God. We can continue to worship at home with our families. We can watch televised worship services. I have made adjustments by holding Wednesday night youth meetings and Sunday School meetings through a group chat app. Our minister is also live streaming.

In the middle of the chaos that is taking place, find your peace in God, who always understands. May God Bless You.


Forgiveness Thursday – Rely on God

“But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:12-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s Forgiveness Thursday and a great time to forgive yourself and others.

This week has been truly hectic. I worked the weekend and the holiday, and still couldn’t catch up. However, I felt a little relief on Tuesday morning, knowing I had delegated out a large portion of the assignments in my office. That didn’t last long though. Every day, more and more assignments piled up. Yesterday, I locked myself in my office trying to meet deadlines only to find out that I had even more to do at the end of the day. I worked until the very last minute before I sped to Church to teach the youth. Last night I was thinking, “I don’t want to work this weekend, plus I have school work.” I felt like I needed a break, so I could live outside my job, enjoy my family, clean my house and complete my school assignments.

This morning I came to work early, but it wasn’t long before my heart was racing. I suddenly remembered that I had not made time for my devotional. I stopped for a moment, to read my Bible. The priest in Hebrews 10 trusted God rather than relying solely on himself and others. That’s when I realized what was happening. The only one who will never let us down is God. I was putting the burden on myself. While it is good to do the very best you can at everything, stress is not healthy. God doesn’t want us to feel like we are alone and everything depends on us. He wants us to do the best we can and depend on Him.

Put your trust in God every day. I hope you have a wonderful day. May God bless you.

Tell Me Something Good Monday – New Beginnings

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭6:19-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s tell me something good Monday! My good news is getting a little rest after Christmas. I had a couple of days off and enjoyed waking up slowly, cuddling with my pets and reading. I even binge watched a little Netflix. It was nice. However, I’m also glad to be back at work today.

This morning I’ve been reflecting on how our lives have changed over the past year. A new puppy joined us early in the year. Later in the year we welcomed a new granddaughter and was able to spend time with our grandson while our daughter was in the hospital. In January, I started a youth class at church with the wonderful assistance of my sweet friend Melissa. The teens designed their own shirts and enjoyed three fun outings. My husband celebrated 30 years at his job. At the end of the year, I published my first book and I have started on the second. It was definitely a busy year, full of exciting times. However, there were some challenges during the year, including my sister miscarrying her twin daughters, one of which was named after me, and her later finding out that her health is bad.

Whether your year was all that you wanted, or a little more challenging, the new year brings about thoughts of new beginnings and opportunities. It’s good to reflect on the past, but move on to the present and enjoy every moment. Find your hope for the present in Jesus. May God Bless You!

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Try Something New Tuesday – Christmas Eve

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Good Morning and Merry Christmas Eve! It’s Try Something New Tuesday! We are always looking for something new to try, especially in terms of relieving our stress. We want a little “peace” and quiet, a “peaceful” evening, and “peace” in the office and at church.

I’ve been conducting a little research on peace for a book that I’m working on. I have a BA in Political Science and International Affairs with a minor in history and economics. So, I have spent many hours studying peace in the classroom. One thing I know for certain is we do not live in a peaceful world. All you need to do is turn on the television at night. You will see politicians arguing, shootings and other disturbing images. While this seems to be a new phenomenon, it’s not. History shows that only a little more than 10 percent of the time humans have inhabited the earth there has been peace. There have been 286 wars within the last 300 years in Europe alone. What have we or our representatives done? Entered into countless peace treaties meant to last forever. The sad truth is most lasted no more than two years.

Everyone want to eliminate stress and find some peace. Stress is not what you see on television, or at work. Stress is how we react to what is taking place. It’s internal to us. Stress is the internal tension, which can be both emotional and physical, we feel when we can’t control our environment.

I would like to suggest that real peace is not derived from what is going on around us. A warm bath does not give us peace. Walking in the woods may feel peaceful, but it doesn’t give us peace. Shootings and fights do not give us peace. Peace is something that happens within us.

God sent a personal representative to be our “Prince of Peace.” In John 14:24, Jesus explained to the disciples that although the world was certainly not peaceful, He would provide the peace we need that is unlike what we see and expect in the world. In fact, it is beyond our understanding. This is something to remember and to celebrate during Christmas and every day.

Today, turn inward to find the peace you are missing. May God bless you!

It’s Tell Me Something Good Monday – Produce a Harvest Like the Seed Planted in Good Soil

“Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭4:13-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s Tell Me Something Good Monday. My good news is I’m almost ready for Christmas. It really did slip up on me this year, but I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends this week. Please share your good moments.

This morning I was reading Mark Chapter 4. Jesus tells a parable about a seed being planted on different types of soil. He follows it up with the explanation. If the seed is God’s word, where and the conditions the seed is planted determine the outcome. Some will be easily influenced by Satan and the seed will not grow. Others will give up when things get bad. Other people will let worldly things get in the way of the seed’s growth. Finally, there will be some that will nurture the seed, have faith, study and spread it exponentially.

Later in the same chapter after teaching several parables, Jesus is on a boat sleeping during hurricane-like weather. The others on the boat were afraid of the weather and woke Jesus up. He questioned the disciples about why they were afraid and didn’t trust Him. In order to produce an exponential crop, we have to understand that peace doesn’t come without difficulty, but with faith in Jesus.

Jesus is present with us through all of life’s storms, but no one is exempt from having difficult times. Even when our problems seem insurmountable, He is there with us. When we maintain our faith in Him, our love for His word creates an exponential crop.

Have a super Monday! May God bless you!

A Joyful Saturday before Christmas

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:10-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Christmas Eve is only three days away and I’m cuddled under a blanket with a warm cup of coffee. Sitting here surrounded by my pets, I’m making a mental list of things that need to be done. It will be a busy week with many great moments. Yet, my mind drifts and my focus blurs as I recall years gone by and Christmas celebrations in my life.

As a child I loved helping my mother decorate and bake Christmas goodies. Not only do the scents of Christmas treats fill my mind, but also the strong odors of wood chopped by my father on those cold days we gathered firewood, and of the smell of a fresh Christmas tree harvested from “back forty” of my paternal grandmother’s farm. Christmas at church included going door-to-door singing Christmas carols in scarves and mittens made by mom. I sat in church with my maternal grandmother and listened by her side about what Christmas really meant. Christmas Eve was always celebrated with my paternal grandparents. My father’s four sisters lived away, so most Christmas Eve celebrations were at our home. We were allowed to open one gift and after dinner enjoyed fireworks bought by my parents. On the years that my aunts were in town, the celebration was larger and more exciting with cousins. The evening always ended with a ride around town to enjoy decorations and Christmas lights. Christmas morning was so exciting. After we opened our presents, we traveled all the way across the street to my maternal grandmother’s home for Christmas lunch and presents. When the day was over, I remember my mother feeling melancholy that Christmas was over until the next year.

As a teen Christmas was a little different, but still exciting. There were dances and parties to attend, and boyfriends that stole Christmas kisses under the mistletoe. One Christmas I went to the Blue-Grey Game with my high school band, where music my band director had helped me arrange was played on national television. Unknown to me at the time, this would be a transition into my adult life.

As a young adults Christmas meant juggling four sets of grandparents and two sets of parents. It was exhausting. Yet, today I wish I had that problem. It would be nice to spend time with each person who is no longer with us. From our very first Christmas together, we collected a special ornament each year related to where we were in our lives. Once our children were born, we kept some traditions and started some of our own. The traditions would continue to change with time. My husband and I had so much fun shopping for gifts for the children, and watching their faces as they opened their presents. Every year we watched Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and counted our blessings. When the children grew older they were involved in Christmas pageants, handbells and acolyte activities at church. During their teen years we changed our tradition at home to opening presents after midnight mass at church. It made the kids happy, and we were able to get a little rest. Two of my fondest memories were of our son being Crucifer on Christmas Eve during his senior year of high school and our daughter playing the role of Mary in the Christmas pageant, when she was a little girl.

When our children left home, we celebrated college graduations, engagements, weddings and pregnancies. Hanging the Christmas ornaments became a nostalgic walk into the season. As grandparents with an empty nest, we still enjoy midnight mass on Christmas Eve. What better way to celebrate! We also look forward to our parents, children and grandchildren joining us on Christmas Day.

Last year, Christmas followed Hurricane Michael and celebrating was among the ruins. Despite the obvious, we celebrated. This year I have fallen behind. Less than a week to prepare and all I have accomplished is shopping, wrapping and attending parties. My husband is struggling, as well. He took the day off to finish putting a swing set together for the grandchildren. While we plan to attend midnight mass, it will be in the Parish Hall, because our House of Worship is still uninhabitable.

The angel of the Lord said “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Have you ever thought about what “great joy” means? It’s not just happiness and fond memories. Despite the fact that it was a gift from the angel, we have to choose joy to enjoy it. Then, with the happiness we experience a peace that is far beyond our imaginations.

Our church recognizes the Liturgical Calendar. The season that we are in now is called Advent. The Christmas season actually starts with Christmas. Advent is a time of self exploration and penitence, but it also a time of joyful expectation. Christ is the “Prince of Peace” and his coming joy is a choice that we all need to accept. Even when we may have sorrow in hearts about people who are no longer here, or those who will be leaving us soon, and even when we long for carefree days gone by, we have the choice. As the seasons in our lives change, so does the peace that comes with the choice of joy.

Enjoy your Saturday and choose joy! May God bless you!

Spread the Love Friday – Enjoy and Let God’s Word Shape Your Perspective

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:10-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Isn’t it great to wake up and realize it’s Friday! I woke up today dancing a jig right out the door. Yes, I have a lot of work to do at home and the office. Yet, there is a little bit of happiness knowing a break is ahead for some fun and relaxation. This weekend I have my list of things to do, but plan to go outside a bit and breathe in the air, while I admire my surroundings. If you haven’t tried it before, even five minutes outside can improve your mood and outlook. Bring a friend and spread the love.

This morning as I was thinking about how wonderful Fridays are, I realized that I was letting events decide my perspective. How many times have I started the day happy, and something kind of spoiled the rest of the day? Of course, I know the old saying that “it’s not what happens but how you react” that’s important. However, today I was reminded of Colossians 1:10-11.

Colossae was a City located about 100 miles from Ephesus and near Laodicea. In Paul’s letter to the early Christians in the church of Colossae, they instructed them to be strengthened in God’s word. We can look to scripture for every occasion, but today I would like to encourage you to instead of letting what happens around you affect your attitude, pause and think of what God’s word says. Find your strength there. Joy is an action and choice we all have regardless of what’s happening around us. When we express joy we are also able to be more patient, kind and loving.

Have a wonderful Friday! May God continue to bless you!

Spread the Love Friday – Never Stop Fighting!

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

Happy Friday my friends! Some weeks are tough and this one has been especially tough for me trying to race the clock and meet deadlines. Yet, I have a sense of accomplishment this morning. I feel like I made a difference. At the end of the day, that can be a game changer.

Have you ever fought for someone else? Most of us do it every day without thinking twice. Maybe it was for your children or your parents. You might have fought for an employee. Maybe you stood up for someone who seemed less that acceptable to others. Whenever we take these types of actions in our lives, we automatically feel the rewards. We don’t have to toot our horn or brag. God rewards us.

Have you ever had a heavy heart or maybe felt depressed? Depression is real. Society tells us that we are doing too much and should withdraw from helping others to take care of ourselves. This type of self-medicating often leads to alcoholism, drug abuse and isolation. While we should make time for ourselves, when we help others, God heals our hearts. In fact, the more we give of ourselves to help others, the happier we become. The grace of Jesus is the healing we need.

You might wonder what you can do. A very wise friend of mine once said that she listens closely to what others are saying, so that she is able to understand what is not being vocalized. That struck me and I have never forgotten. It means watching the person’s body language. It means really listening and not just waiting to make your point. I started doing this and found that the majority of the time I forget what I was going to say. Yet, it helps me to understand the needs of others. Once you know what someone needs, you can help them, and the process continues.

Today I urge you to reach out to others and help them. Your heart will be full! God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – Where Do You Find Hope?

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5 NIV

Good morning children of God and Happy Thursday. It’s Forgiveness Thursday, which is a reminder to start anew forgiving yourself and others.

With the recent destruction of Hurricane Michael, I find myself busier than ever trying to make a difference, but with the same demands from people. Actually with more demands from other people. I know and see the needs and do not feel angered. Yet, sometimes I think bureaucratic requirements that will not make a huge difference in how life goes on from day, should be maybe more reasonable considering the circumstances.

Then, I face the day-to-day problems of life. Last week our Great Dane died unexpectedly leaving a hole in our hearts and lives. Our cat is not at all happy either. My husband burned his hands badly. Then, the part the took the cake for me, was sitting in the doctor’s office for the second time with vampire red eyes and painful joints listening to the doctor tell me there is nothing else he could do for me until a new drug is developed that will not lower my white count so much.

I’m no different than you or anyone else. We all have struggles. It’s how we respond that determines how happy we will be. Where do you find your hope?

Monday night my husband and I attended a For King and Country concert, which touched our hearts and provided good Christian praise music and entertainment. I was even impressed with the t-shirt sales staff, who prayed with the volunteers and taught them how to make a difference in the lives of the concert attendees. Then, yesterday, after hitting my point of exhaustion, I led the teen group at our church. God showed me the hope I needed again. There may be lots of bad in the world, but there is always hope when we take time to listen and train our youth.

So, today I encourage you to listen to Holy Spirit God has poured into our hearts. He is provided for our comfort and for us to use to comfort others. God bless you.

Spread the Love Friday – When We Get Off Track

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Happy Friday. I haven’t posted in a few weeks and I feel like I owe my readers an explanation. Sometimes explanations are easier to feel than to relay. Last Spring I took on an additional duty at work of writing newspaper articles weekly. I love this new part of my job. I have the opportunity to hear stories and convey them in a positive light. It’s not like regular news reporting. It’s promoting businesses and how people feel about themselves. So, weekly I interview people and write two to three articles which appear in two newspapers. I was very blessed to have one article appear in two larger, regional newspapers. I had experienced some heartbreak at home and this new venture, although stressful when meeting deadlines, left me feeling like I helped people.

Then, October 10th the world as our community knows it changed when Hurricane Michael wiped out our town. The workload in our office increased dramatically. I sometimes feel my head is spinning with tasks I’m juggling. Again, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to help with housing, economic recovery and spiritual health. So, about two months ago I began working more closely with others on housing provisions. Then, about a month ago I decided to get involved with the long term recovery team. This is on top of my already too busy workload. Yet, it feels good to make a difference in whatever small way I can.

In the middle of all this recovery work and writing, I decided to join the gym on January 1st. I want to be healthier and lose weight. I haven’t lost weight, but I have been faithful to going to the gym six days a week for 1-2 hours a day. Also, around this time we learned our daughter is going to have a baby. How exciting! I knew I needed to finish up my classes, so I could make her a quilt.

Then, one other thing happened. I had been hearing the call for a while, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t responding. One morning while leading Sunday School a grandmother conveyed her concerns about what was being taught in history at the local public school and how it conflicted with what the Bible tells us. So, I knew I needed to step up. Now, I’m leading a teen group on Wednesday night. For a church that had few children attending Sunday School, I feel so blessed to have 5-9 teens coming every week to learn. What a blessing!

Well, no one can do it all, and I’m no exception. In the midst of my own stress, I felt Satan’s daily attacks. Before I knew it, I wasn’t keeping up with my classes. I was studying my Bible to teach, but not for my daily reading, and I quit writing my blog. Most days I was going to work at 7 am and getting home around 9:30 pm. My husband has been supportive and helpful with the house work, but my life lacks balance. In the middle of it all I was spending far too much time on social media.

So tonight I realized that I need to give up a few bad habits and add back the good. While I will not be posting every day. I plan to post one to two times a week. I also plan to study my Bible daily for my relationship with God. I’m going to work more on my classes and spend less time on games and social media.

There are a few good things that have occurred over the course of the last year. God has brought some special Christian friends into my life. One friend is my gym buddy. Another is my spiritual friend, who fasts and prays with me. Also, about a year ago I joined a Women’s Bible Study class in another town and with another denomination. I love these ladies. We study together every week.

I have come to realize that none of us are perfect, but I have been growing despite setbacks. Satan knows our weaknesses and when I’m under attack the most, I must be doing something right.

It has now been over four months since the storm hit. I was in a meeting on Wednesday where six of the eight people present still did not have phone and Internet service. Our community was hit by one of the largest storms recorded, but we were forgotten. I live in a rural area with lots of trees, or maybe I should say we had lots of trees. The damage we have dealt with is different from what others have experienced. The storm hit right before the election and the California fires. We have been forgotten by many. Yet here we are, a community already economically depressed, with businesses and residents gone. This morning I was told that a school bus never picked up some of the children. Why? It’s easier to leave than to struggle in the aftermath. There were not enough school bus drivers. This is one of the many issues we face. Depression is another. I heard a report of seven suicides related to the storm. Just driving through the debris daily is depressing and many are not able to use their church buildings. Our church has this problem. Yet, our blessings are more. Hundreds of people have helped our community and we have each other. Above all we have our sweet Lord.

I request prayers for our community. God bless you.