“A Nice Surprise”

What a nice surprise yesterday morning. I woke up to find I had been nominated for this award by my fellow blogger over at Roller Coasters!  (http://jmc5407.wordpress.com/) On days when I am feeling least inspired, it’s nice to know I can at least be an inspiration for someone else.
In keeping with the rules, I am supposed to write seven things about myself. So here goes:
1.       I am an OCD neat freak with possible tendencies toward perfectionism. Ask my family!
2.       My favorite colors are teal/turquoise/blue. They just make me happy : )
3.       I love photography. No one is safe near me if I am carrying my camera (which is most of the time). Most have learned to grin and bear it.
4.       I have a beautiful daughter who quite often opens her mouth and my words come flying out. Yikes! (sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse)
5.       I have been called sarcastic. I like to think of it as honest humor : ) Just my way of coping with being somewhat backward and shy.
6.       I love horses and live vicariously through my daughter who gets to ride these amazing creatures every week.
7.       I am blessed. No doubt about it.
So with that, here are MY nominees:
http://jmc5407.wordpress.com/ (returning the “nominee-love”…her blog is honest and real)
Check them out!
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

“Go The Distance”

Joshua 1:9

Every day when I wake up, I have to decide how I will face my “opponent” (that evil anxiety).  Most days are easy. I wake up and it’s a KO, a total knockout. I come out with fists swinging , throwing  jabs and conquer the day. Those days are simple and make me feel like a champion.

Other days however, aren’t so effortless. There are times I have to go a couple rounds before I even get out of bed. Those days don’t happen that often but when they do, it definitely can make me feel like I am down for the count.  My opponent sneaks in with a sucker punch, a left hook and has me on the ropes. He fights dirty.

But there is someone on the side cheering me on. Telling me how to defend myself, to cover my face from those punches and do some fancy footwork to dodge my opponent.  He tells me to keep going, to get up and go another round. He gives me strength and promises that I will walk out of that fight with my head held high if I will just believe in Him and listen to what He has to say. He wipes the sweat from my brow and gives me the essentials needed to be victorious. Saved by the bell, by the Saviour.

No matter what opponent you are facing, don’t ever give up. God is always there to “coach” you, to be your “trainer”, your biggest fan. Strengthen yourself in His word, in hope and in faith. As the great Rocky Balboa said “I ain’t heard no bell yet!” : )

“Father’s Day”

Me and my Dad 

A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” –  Billy Graham

A salute to Dads.

  • The Dad who helps with two o’clock feedings so that Mom can rest
  • The Dad who provides for his family (this one should be a given but sadly, quite often it isn’t)
  • The Dad who assumed the role of father for a child that is not his own
  • The Dad who spends the evening playing with his children even after a full days work
  • The Dad who loves his children’s Mother (the greatest gift he can give them)
  • The Dad who is PRESENT in his children’s lives. Present for baseball games, birthday parties, and school plays. Present in times of need and with encouragement.
  • The Dad who teaches his childen values and is a good role model
  • And most important the Dad who models himself after the greatest Father of all, our heavenly father, teaches his children to pray and prays with them.

 Happy Father’s Day to you all!

“Follow the Pull”

 “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis

It was a beautiful morning. I walked outside and the air was so crisp and calm. It was one of those mornings when I wished I didn’t have to be at work so early. The sun was shining dimly, filtered by the fog, but just bright enough for my flowers to still be bending toward it.

Have you ever noticed how your houseplants in the window grow toward the light, or like my flowers on the front porch, lean toward the morning sun? They do this to increase the amount of sunlight they receive during the day. This improves their odds for successful reproduction. The root direction never changes, but the flower itself follows the pull of the natural light. This gives them plenty of energy as well.

Similarly, we grow better when we lean toward the source of our energy: God. Imagine the sunlight on your face is God’s touch, His healing, His mercy and grace. As you follow the pull, you feel refreshed, calm and uplifted. You are able to thrive and live peacefully knowing that your roots are planted firmly in God’s word and on His promises, allowing the rest of you to lean toward Him and continue to strengthen and increase in wisdom and favor.

“…But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength” – Isaiah 40:31

“Lake Love”

    Fireworks over the lake

“The power of the river is to flow wildly. The power of the lake is to think calmly. A wise man both flows like a river and thinks like a lake”.

Last week was not kind to me. I was tested on many levels from the get-go on Monday morning. The middle of the week turned in a different but equally difficult direction. By the week’s end I was exhausted, mentally and physically. But I made it. It was a testimony to my strength and will and my faith in God. Ultimately, dealing with any kind of issue, whether it is anxiety, stress, addiction, forgiveness, sickness, anger, jealousy, etc., simply can’t be done without the grace of God. Of course, that is my opinion. Others may disagree but I have seen it at work and I can testify to it.

After a rough week, I spent most of my Saturday near or on the lake. I can’t think of a better way to unwind. For me, there has always been a draw toward the water. I live near the river and I love being on the lake. Of course, I love the ocean as well, but I don’t get to spend as much time there as I would like. A few years ago, I spent a lot of alone time at the lake. I was going through a difficult time. Relationships just weren’t turning out as I had hoped. Most likely because I wasn’t living my life as God intended. I would go sit by the water and just try to relax, watching the boats go by. I had no way of knowing that my time at the lake, mending more than one broken heart, would lead me to the amazing person I am with now. I think that was God’s plan all along. Despite my disobedience to Him, He took me there to heal and those trips eventually led me to the person he meant for me to be with. Someone who enjoys the lake as much as I do and so much more. I can spend my time now on the water, not just sitting on the “sidelines” and enjoy the breeze and the sunshine. Thinking calmly or just not thinking at all.

Never doubt where God is taking you. I would have never imagined a couple of years ago that a body of water would be God’s way of showing me hope and a new direction. After the rough months I suffered through during the winter, those days on the lake continue to heal me. Just in a different way now. It’s an opportunity to put stress and worry aside and just be a part of something beautiful, to “think as a lake”. To “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7)

“Just Imagine”

I never watch the news anymore. There’s just too much being reported that will depress even the most “glass-half-full” kind of person. I turn on the computer and try to avoid the headlines on my home page but sometimes they get my attention and then I regret reading them.
Obviously the media doesn’t want to report the better side of the news because sadly people seem to be hungry for the most outrageous, disheartening, sad, crazy story that the news reporter can come up with. What does this say for our world? We wonder why people create insane situations and commit the most heinous of crimes. But when this is all we are fed, how could it be otherwise?
It’s heartbreaking to think that there are still places where hope can be found and random acts of kindness are being done but it never gets brought to light.
Imagine how different our world would be if:
·         We turned on the news and all we heard was something positive and uplifting
·         God was still an acceptable word to say in schools, on television and in newspapers
·         Drugs, alcohol and money didn’t control people, but God’s word did.
·         People still had respect for human life and innocent children
·         War wasn’t an option
·         Churches pews were full and overflowing on Sunday mornings
·         Everyone knew what love meant – to give it and receive it
·         God was the first choice, not the last resort
I’m not being totally naïve. I realize a lot of these issues have been around for a while but it seems our world is in such a state of disarray. It makes you want to crawl in bed and pull the blankets over your head and never peek out.
So how do we find hope and joy in these saddest of times? The answer is always: God. His word is still available to read. He is still available when we pray. He is still working in and through people. It just doesn’t always get brought to our attention. The goodness of the world is overshadowed by sin, at least in the majority of the media. But if you look around, there is still proof of God’s work being done. Focus on these when you see them. Spread the word.
So with that, I encourage you to take time to do one act of random kindness a week. Two or ten, even! You never know when that moment may make a difference in someone’s life. It may not change the world but it may change one person, two or ten. We have to start somewhere.
“It’s better to light a candle, than curse the darkness”

“Eye On The Sky”

When in doubt look up. Look up to the one who created all that is above you and around you. Look up to Him in prayer, in faith, for wisdom and hope.

I’m constantly looking up. Not just figuratively but literally too. I am fascinated with the sky. It’s God’s very own “etch-a-sketch”.

It can take on many forms. It changes many times over the course of the day. It is never the same for very long.

How can anyone look up at all of that beauty and think anything less than this is a creation of God?

I thought this yesterday when I was admiring the beautiful double rainbow from my front porch. Then today I came across a quote by Abraham Lincoln that summed up what I was thinking: “I cannot imagine anyone looking at the sky and denying God.”

Don’t forget to look up now and then. Take it in. Soak it up. Just revel in His creations.

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson