*Sigh*

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Politics. *sigh*

It’s very hard to escape it right now. Social media is lit up with it. I try to avoid as much as I can and bite my tongue. But sometimes it’s a little hard for me to keep quiet. Now I won’t get into the issues that are sparking a good bit of America’s anger right now…partly because most of it goes over my head. I will however take a simpler approach.  I don’t necessarily see myself as simple minded but I try to look at things the way others may not. So here’s where I stand:

  • I look to God for my source of peace. I can look at what is happening and have that peace that surpasses all understanding that the Apostle Paul wrote about in Philippians. I don’t need to take the weight of the world (or this country) on my shoulders, because Jesus has already overcome the world. No matter what happens, this will remain true. (See Philippians 4:6-7 and John 16:33).
  • The way I see it, we still have it pretty good here in the United States. I can go to the store and purchase food when my refrigerator grows empty. I can flip a light on when the sun goes down. I can turn on my fireplace on the coldest days of winter and run the AC when the summer heat is too much to bear. I can visit my doctor when I am sick and my employer pays for me to use insurance when I do. My child can go to school and pursue college if she desires. I can go to church and worship God freely. These are all reasons to be proud to live here.
  • As the pledge of allegiance goes, we are ONE NATION UNDER GOD. I understand that many people have disavowed the “under God” part and that is sad in itself. But now everyone seems to even be forgetting about the ONE NATION? United we stand, divided we fall. It seems that every day there is a new division among everyone. How much longer can we hold this country together if it is being chopped up into so many pieces? I totally get that not everyone will be on board with what is happening and social media and the internet have made it easier for everyone to have a voice (myself included, as seen here) but can’t we do this without tearing each other down? Friendships are falling apart and family ties are being strained. I am for standing up for what you believe in but can it be handled differently? Fights, protests, banning businesses because of someone’s political views…isn’t that over the top? Again…*sigh*.

I don’t pretend to have all of the answers and I’m just a country girl who tries to see the good in everything and everyone. I just want everyone to be happy and get along. It may be a “Polly Anna” view of things but like I said, let’s keep it simple. Having said that here is my humble advice:

Love Jesus.

Live in God’s word.

Be thankful.

Be kind.

Love each other.

And just calm down.

God Created the Ocean

untitled22As we arrived at the beach yesterday and made our way to the ocean, I marveled in it as I always do and just took it in. I began to wonder what God was thinking when he made such an amazing place and these words came to my mind:

God knew we would need a place to go to rest our weary souls. He knew we would need a place to be rejuvenated and to find solace. A place unlike any of His other masterpieces….a place that would make us stand in awe and would only make sense when we come to the realization that is was of His design. God knew we would need something vast and never ending that would echo His love for us. So God created the ocean.

Your steadfast love, O Lord, is as great as all the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your justice is as solid as God’s mountains. Your decisions are as full of wisdom as the oceans are with water. You are concerned for men and animals alike.  How precious is your constant love, O God! All humanity takes refuge in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 36:5-7)

 

Made New

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I have always had a love for old things. Most of the furniture in our home, aside from our bed and sofa, are pieces I have collected over the years that were in need of a little love. My love for these things soon became a hobby and now the hubby and I buy and sell refinished items and use pallet boards that I salvage from work to give old things a new, yet rustic look.  Pouring love into these pieces is a type of therapy for me and I love doing it.

A lot of the things I have collected have come from local thrift stores or flea markets but I have also rescued things from my brother’s basement, the back of a co-worker’s truck (he was heading for the dumpster!) and the garbage pile at my husband’s work. People often have things they want to toss and ask me first. More often than not, I say “I’ll take it!” Most people would look at what I salvage and wonder what in the world I’m thinking, but I see potential in most everything and I hate to see a good piece of furniture get tossed aside. I have cleaned, sanded, painted and polished these things until they become “new” again.

Today I was inspired by a  paragraph I read in a book by Matt Chandler:

“…when I was at my lowest point, when I absolutely could not clean myself up and there was nothing anybody could do with me, right at that moment, Christ said “I’ll take that one. That’s the one I want.” You know the Bible calls the church Christ’s bride. So it’s like standing before Jesus, completely exposed, all of our flaws and insecurities and-worse than that- our sins are right there in front of his face, and against all reason and rationale, the song of grace becomes startlingly, exhilaratingly true because the Groom looks at us and declares us beautiful. Spotless. Righteous. Justified.”

I realized that often in our lives we feel like those things tossed aside in the garbage and Someone is looking for us, waiting to clean us up, polish us and make us shine.  The possibilities that I see in those broken down pieces of furniture are what God sees in each of His children. He says “I’ll take you! You have potential. You are mine!” You may be chipped and rusty and have a little dirt. You may have pieces that need to be fixed. God can do this for you! He wants so badly to show you how He can make you brand new again. He can do it for anyone. Invite Him into your heart and let Him pour His love into you. You will be a new creation.

 

Joy and a Little Red Wagon

I recently watched the Disney Pixar movie “Inside Out”. I had heard a lot of good things about it and even heard that parts of it would make me cry. Truth? It did. The whole movie revolves around five characters who represent the emotions in the mind of the main character, Riley. There’s Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger and Fear. They all live at “Headquarters”, the control center of Riley’s mind. Joy is, of course, the bubbly, happy character who tries to constantly keep the others at bay so she can keep Riley happy. But when Riley’s family moves and everything changes, Riley’s other emotions start to take control. Without going into the whole story, Joy eventually loses her way and ends up far away from Headquarters, trying desperately to make her way back.

One scene in particular stuck with me. While Joy is displaced from Headquarters, she ends up in a pit full of forgotten memories with Riley’s imaginary childhood friend and they are frantically trying to get out. They find the wagon that Riley and the friend once used to pretend to fly to the moon. As they sing and chant a song from Riley’s childhood, they begin flying up toward the ledge that will lead them back. Each time they come so close but always fall short. Joy just can’t get there. (I won’t spoil the movie by telling you how she finally made it).

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My point, though, is this. I could totally see this happening in my own mind. My Joy, flying up, up toward the goal, trying to bring me back from the pit of despair. Some days she makes it and some days she is just shy of the goal. The other emotions tend to get in the way, especially Fear and Sadness. They want control all the time. In the movie, the emotions run the control panel and Joy tries to keep a good check on things there. I’d imagine that most of the time the control panel in my own mind looks a little like a nuclear meltdown. The emotions stunned. Something like this…

INSIDE OUT

Pictured (L-R): Sadness, Fear, Anger, Disgust, Joy. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 I know Joy is there and wants to be in control the majority of the time but like the Joy in the movie, sometimes she loses the way and has to work through a lot of issues to get to the place she needs to be. I just need those other emotions to get out of the way when they aren’t truly needed and bring me back to my JOY. So next time, I’ll picture myself in a red wagon, flying toward the goal and knowing that if I don’t make it on the first attempt, all I have to do is keeping trying.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Quality of Life

A great post from Bill at Unshakeable Hope. I needed this today. Maybe someone else does too…that’s why I’m sharing it.

Unshakable Hope

I’ve been thinking a lot about quality of life issues lately. More specifically, I’ve been trying to figure out why some people that (in the natural) possess virtually everything we think would make for a good quality of life, yet they’re miserable. Conversely, many others have almost none of the ingredients that we think must be in the mix for a good quality of life, but they seem perfectly content.

I think about this issue more and more as life with ALS becomes an even greater challenge. If ALS takes its natural course, the victim will die of respiratory failure. The muscles needed to breathe become weaker and weaker to the point where you just can’t breathe anymore. Oftentimes the flu or pneumonia are just too much for those with advanced ALS and can speed up this respiratory failure.

I had a severe case of the flu in February, and…

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“Granny’s Bible”

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In my hands I hold a bible, the pages thin and worn.

They once lay in the fragile hands of a woman I adore.

This bible was my Granny’s, her peace and truth and hope.

Promises to comfort her and words to help her cope.

Dates beside the verses for each time she turned the page,

Reminding her what she had read and needed on that day.

Tucked inside the pages, little notes that she had penned,

And clippings from the newspaper of family and friends.

The Psalms were where she seemed to spend a great deal of her time.

Almost every verse is marked, and more than once, I’ll often find.

These poems must have often been a solace in her life,

Whether praising God in joyful times or moments of great strife.

As I turn the pages carefully, I feel her next to me.

And remember how she read this book oh so passionately.

Assured that in the life she led, she’d find no words were greater

Than the ones revealed in black and red, the truth from our Creator.