Archive | November 2014

Peaceful, Nice Veteran’s Day to You!

Peaceful, Nice Veteran’s Day to you all!

In reflection today of those in my family, and those from around our Country who have served, and yet serve, and in thinking particularly of the changes that serving can and does make in our troops and their family’s lives, I came across this song Stand With Me by the band Downhere. It carries the message I wish to say to each of these faithful, serving in our Armed Forces –

I will stand with you!

May our entire Country stand with each of you, today, and always – God bless you and your families, and thank you for putting yourself out there for your Country and each of us. I appreciate each one of you
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0yOzDptjWs#t=15

Tiff and Chris in Uniform

Welcome Home Son-in-Law

Richard Aaron in Uniform

Brave Nephew

Chas

Brave Neice

Nikki

Brave Niece

Billy, Mindy, Cyndi in Terminal

Welcome Home Brother

Dad in Uniform

My Korean Veteran Dad

Billy in Guard Uniform

Hero Brother

Billy in Navy Blues

Awesome Brother

Honor Guard at Dad's Funeral

Veteran Honor Guard

Salute at Dad's Funeral

Veteran Honor Guard Salute at Dad’s Funeral

  Billy Taking Navy Oath

A Special Little Treasure

Happy Friday to you all!
How are you today?  What’s going on in your personal world today? 

Well… whatever it is, I hope you have a good day, filled with energy and purpose.  I pray you have good clarity for what needs your attention today, and peace in the decisions that must be made.  I pray you have strength and good health to meet your obligations today, and friendship, love and/or companionship to help along the way.

Most of all, I pray you have sweet communion with the One who made you and created you, for all things good; who knew you and loved you, before you were even born. 

 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

I know, I can hear you saying it.  These days it does seem particularly hard to rise with a good, positive attitude and be upbeat & hopeful for the day.  I know.  With the “war on terror,” mean-spirited politics, flailing economy, job losses, etc, it’s hard to find much to celebrate in the news, isn’t it?  And frankly, most of us are pretty stressed out with trying to provide for our families, right?  Yikes, so much negative emotion going on!  

Well, let’s take this moment to regroup, to recharge – as I pray peace for you today. Wherever you are, I pray that you’ll feel God’s peaceful presence with you, giving you energy and discernment for the things that truly matter, whatever they may be in your life, and help you let go of the things that don’t.

Let’s just let down and de-stress – for a moment.

Okay, think about when you were young, did you ever find a shiny penny, a pretty little rock or seashell, some little item that was a special little treasure to you?  Treasures for Blog framed Remember that feeling, that excitement in finding, in holding that little treasure?  I pray today that you find a special little treasure – a feeling, an emotion, a relationship, a trinket, a friend, a memory – that brings a smile to your face, a joy to your heart, like that special little treasure when you were young.  I pray for something or someone to be that special little treasure in your day.  

See what you can find in your day today, to be that awesome little treasure, bringing a little piece of positive joy to brighten your day.  Even if it’s just a happy memory hidden in your heart. Find it, pull it out and live it again!

And if you’re able, I invite you to go out and be a special little treasure for someone else today – or how about this weekend?  Take a moment, an hour, a day – whatever you can, and give a compliment, open a door, buy a cup of coffee, help a friend – or even a stranger.   Try making a positive difference in someone else’s life.  You might just feel a little piece of joy stick you right in the heart. (grin)

For it is written, 
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

Or in today’s words: Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.  Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.  Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.  (Philippians 4:8-9 The Message)

So, for today, for this weekend, let’s take a time out from all the wars, the anger, the backbiting and cursing going on everywhere.  Let’s instead, find or be a treasure!  How about it?  Are you in?  Let’s make a pact to concentrate on positive thinking today.  Let’s dwell on the good things in our lives and some good things we can do or get involved in around us.  (Remember that “thinking of you” card you were going to send? Or that caring phone call you were going to make, or neighbor’s lawn you were going to mow, or invite to lunch, or helping chore you were going to do? Or how about that prayer you were going to say? Ooooooohhhhh.  Or maybe that book you were going to read, that walk in the garden, or church you were going to check out?) 

Well, today’s the day!

Let’s set our hearts and our heart-longings on things that really matter, things that truly might make a difference, in our lives, or someone else’s.  Let’s forget about all the haters and hate-filled stuff going on and instead fill our minds and words with affirmation and kindness.  Let’s find the positive instead of the negative. Let’s try to build up instead of tear down. 

Let’s ourselves be a special little treasure today.  

Come on and join me?  Let’s do this!

God is My Bowl of Cream of Wheat

Full Fur Lined Slippers   After experiencing my first dry, HOT Nevada summer, I am definitely enjoying this week’s burst of cooler, fall weather – yay!  How about you?  Waking up to a brisk 49 degrees (and after pulling out my warm, fur lined slippers), I find myself longing for a bowl of hot, satisfying Cream of Wheat! Mmmmm…Rich and creamy, made with milk and a touch of pure maple syrup for just a hint of sweetness, topped with dried cranberries and cinnamon toasted walnuts or pecans – oh yes! Just what my tummy is hungering for. 

Cream of Wheat for Blog 2

Mmmmm…that was SO good! Soothed me right up!

     As I was eating, I got to thinking this: my rich, delicious, soothing bowl of cream of wheat does for my tummy and body, just what my relationship with God does for my soul and my life. Oooooh yeeeeeaah!  Here’s how:

The thick, hot cream of wheat itself serves as my breakfast foundation; it’s the soothing, nutrient rich filler that lines my tummy and satisfies my hunger.  Just like my relationship with God.  Believing in God, allowing myself to love Him, and having deep faith, fills me up with goodness, satisfies my hunger for belonging and self-worthiness, soothes my battered soul and creates the rich foundation for everything in my life.

Maple Syrup 2The little touch of pure maple syrup serves as the wholesome little bit of sweetness I need to not crave delicious and tempting super fats like fried donuts and pies in the morning!!  This is like prayer – my conversations with God.  Talking with God fills me up with sweet love from my Maker, satisfying my craving for acceptance and love and all the very tempting but bad-for-me things in this world.  After imbibing in a little prayer time, I feel loved and renewed and good about myself, and relieved of the need to go out and seek the wrong kind of acceptance socially.Cranberries 1 comp

The cranberries lend a little bit of tartness just to liven things up. They get my orneriness and backbone going, just like God’s Word or Scripture does.  When I need a little strength and courage to do what needs to be done, I can always go to the Book and find that encouragement and backbone, and even a little direction for my day to day living.  Plus, cranberries are loaded with anti-oxidants and help improve immune function.  Scripture is also loaded with anti-oxidants for life, and applying God’s words to my life definitely improves my immunity to temptation. (smile smile)

Cinnamon compThe cinnamon adds a little spice for variety and flavor.  Just like my Christian service and ministry work.  I love the sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy flavor of cinnamon, and I love the sweet feelings and spicy variety I find in helping/doing nice things for others.  People and physical work can be great fun, but they can also be quite spicy!  But like cinnamon, mission work is full of variety and adds so much robust flavor to my life!Pecans

And, finally, the nuts give a little shot of protein, a little “meat” to cling to my tummy, which helps the rich cream of wheat fill me up, making me feel that much more satisfied and content.  This is just how I feel when I visit (fellowship) with other believers, whether socially or in church.  They back up and affirm my faith, helping to enrich and shore up my confidence and satisfaction in serving God.  And when I might falter, they are there to help carry me through the empty spots. These friends are God’s little helpers in making my life rich, happy, full and satisfying.

So there, you have it – God is my bowl of cream of wheat 

Yum!

The Most Beautiful Gift

Good invigoratingly cool Fall Sunday morning to YOU!!!!

     And on this invigorating morning, let’s have an invigorating conversation: I’ll start with asking you this:

How is your faith this morning? On a scale of 1 -10, with 1 being non-existent and 10 being unshakable, where would you rate your faith? Hmmm….go ahead and give this some real thought for a few moments.  No judgement here – just personal introspection 🙂  Would you say you are:

  •  A non-believer – you don’t believe there is a God out there who created all things. (1)
  •  Neutral – you don’t believe or disbelieve there is a God out there.  (1+)
  •  A God-believer – you think or you know there is probably a big God out there who created and watches over stuff. (1-3)
  •  A God-follower – you know there is a God out there, Creator of all, who watches over all, who you interact with regularly. (4-7) 
  • How about a God-lover – you KNOW God is real, you love Him and do your best every day to talk to Him and ask Him to lead your life, and you truly try to do what you think He wants you to do. (8-10)
  • And then there’s the God fanatic – you KNOW God is real and AWESOME and you live EVERY moment to please and worship Him and tell everyone you can about Him. (10+)

     I will happily admit that I probably reside in the God-lover category, with tendencies toward the God fanatic. Though I don’t go beating people over the head trying to convert them 🙂 Hehe.  So, where do you reside? Are you happy there?

     Well, I haven’t always believed in God; truly I struggled with having “faith.”  Throughout my less than perfect childhood, especially after a frightening experience in an over-zealous church, I mostly just tried to get through each day however possible.  But one day that all changed.

     In reality, I was probably just a normal girl, with normal issues, but one day found myself at the end of my rope in the midst of emotional trauma, and with nowhere else to turn, I asked God if He in fact was real.  And that if He was really out there, would He please show me, and help me believe that He was real and that He cared enough to help me with stuff going on in my life.

     Have you ever been in that place?  Well, here’s my story:

     One Sunday morning when I was 18, I was visiting my mother in Oklahoma (I had been living in Ohio with my Dad).  She asked me to attend a church service with her that morning, so I did.  During the final prayer time I bowed my head with everyone else, but I wasn’t really praying.  I didn’t know how for starters, and second, I didn’t really believe that God was there or cared about me.  Truthfully, I was thinking about getting home, changing into my little pink bikini and laying out back to soak up the sun’s rays, soothing my troubles away.  But as I secretly looked around me, seeing  all these people with heads bowed in prayer, I wondered why they were praying and how they thought doing so would help anything.

Little did I know that this day, and one person in the church service this day, would change my life forever.

     While the Pastor was praying up front and I had my head down, I felt a hand touch my shoulder.  Startled, I looked up and saw the Pastor’s wife standing there next to me.  She looked into my eyes and said, “You’re having trouble with faith, aren’t you?” Woah – what? How did she know I was thinking about that? At first I was scared, but then she said something like “You don’t know how to believe in God, do you?”  Ummm…no, I really don’t.  But, again, how does she know that – she doesn’t even know me?  A little freaky!  

     But then this Pastor’s wife smiled at me and said, “That’s ok.”  Wow, I have to say I felt a little less freaked out and maybe a little relieved when she said that.  But somehow at the same time I began to feel this little tugging going on inside me – this little yearning to know and understand what she was talking about, this beginning desire to know and have faith – to believe that there really was this God out there somewhere in my crazy world. But what she said was right – I didn’t know how.

     And then she asked me if she could pray with me.  I was nervous, but I nodded and bowed my head.  And she prayed, quietly, personally, right there with me, she whispered a prayer for me, simply asking God to give me faith.  And from somewhere deep within me, I realized, yes, I really wanted to have that faith!

     Then the service was over and I went home.  I really didn’t feel any different, and I went about my day.  Later that afternoon I was in the kitchen, bent over the sink washing my hair.  All of a sudden I felt this feeling on the top of my head, then it began to spread down into my head, my neck, my chest, and into my heart.  Like something had been put on top of my head, and then was pushed inside my head and then traveled down into my heart.  I mean, I could literally feel it!  Imagine my startled wonderment.  But interestingly, I wasn’t afraid.  And as soon as I felt this – whatever it was – hit my heart, I somehow just knew that it was faith – that somehow I now felt faith.  That somehow, some way, that something I felt on my head was a rock of faith being inserted into my head, pushed through me and instilled into my heart.  Oh my gosh!! Faith! The knowledge that somehow God is real.  I knew – I just knew that there was a God, a real God, living and being.  Who saw me and knew me.  All of a sudden I felt like I had known that my entire life.  It was as if I had never doubted.  I just knew God is.  I believed!

And so I had my faith.  God answered the softly whispered prayer of a humble Salvation Army Captain’s wife, for a troubled teen to have faith.  The beautiful gift of faith – became mine.

     That was many years and many life crises ago.  But my faith has never wavered since.  Yes, I have questioned “why” on some things and I have been angry and hurt at God for some things.  In fact, I have railed at Him a few times.  (Which incidentally has brought me closer to Him, not farther away.)  But my belief that He is there, and my trust in Him has not wavered. And it is this belief and trust that carried me through, and yet carries me through each storm in my life.

     Yes, this surprising gift of faith has turned out to be the most beautiful, life-changing gift I have ever received.  And it can certainly be yours too if you want it. I won’t tell you that having faith will make your life easy, nothing will do that.  But it will carry you through the deep waters of life – which we all have – knowing you are not alone, and that He is there helping you every step of the way.  Just ask.

Just ask Him.  A softly whispered prayer or a desperate cry for help – whatever your situation – in all sincerity, just ask Him to give you faith.  Ask Him to help you believe.  He is there – waiting.  

For you are His Beloved.  

He knows you.  He created you.  He wants you to know Him.  He wants you to have the peace that believing in Him brings.

“This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve  revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!  

John 16:23-24 (The Message)