Saturday, December 28, 2013

Any Bad Habits?

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!

What is a habit anyway? A habit is anything that we do that has a controlling influence on our lives...it becomes part of us. It could be smoking, drinking, excessive eating, chewing gum, twisting paper clips as we listen, saying "you know" every few words, drinking coffee every half hour and so on...

QUOTE: St. Augustine said, "A Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes a necessity." 

My doctor told me that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit or begin a good habit. She was encouraging me because of a new food regiment she was about to put me on and if I stuck to it for 21 days, it would become a good habit. For some reason that seemed possible when she put it that way.

I feel for people who are addicted to bad habits because I know how difficult it is to give up something that is bad for us. It almost seems crazy when you can't give up something that will eventually harm you right? But the bondage is so great so I thought my doctors motivating words might motivate someone else.

Habits are first cobwebs, then cables. 

The good news is that chronic worrying is a mental habit you can learn how to break.

 This is a picture I took of a lizard that lives in our yard in 2012.

Monday, December 23, 2013

~Strength In Weakness~

2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.


It's okay to be weak because God is strong ~ It's okay not to have all the answers because God knows it all ~ It's okay to be wrong because God makes all things right!  Know that God has allowed it for His purpose and for His kingdom. It's not personal even when everyone around us seems to be against us. It is God who can work through us in our darkest hour. 


We can do ALL things through Christ 
who will strengthen us!

This picture was taken when I visited the country of Spain in 2007.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Need Some Joy?

Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. 
 

We all need joy in our life in order for life to make sense, right? Otherwise, how miserable it would be to just exist and feel no joy at all. We have all met people from time to time that have been robbed of their joy due to life's circumstances. I think it is disheartening  when I meet people who rob themselves of their own joy. No matter how much you try to help them see the good in life they see the negative, always complaining and in a state of major self pity. Let's be honest, we are all guilty!
 

There are people who should not have any joy because of life's circumstances and yet they do have real joy.  That is amazing to me because they manage to enjoy God's blessings in the midst of it all.
 

Joy comes from God and He gives it to anyone who wants to receive it and even when life happens and bangs us up, it will be where we least expect it.
 

Joy has come to me in many forms....some times from a scripture, a child, a friend, a flower, a butterfly, the ocean, artwork, etc....and when I least expect it!
 

In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag. - W.H. Auden
 This picture was taken on one of my walks on March 31, 2008.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

~Taking Time To Encourage Others In Spite Of The Imperfections Of Life~

II Cor. 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Life's imperfections consist of health and emotional burdens like depression or anxiety, a heartache over some loss, death of a loved one or financial difficulties. Every sorrow and difficulty is common to every home. We all have problems and cares that can weigh us down. We don't all have wealth; but we all have burdens.

Many of us have been thru things that uniquely qualify us to help others. We can help lift a burden for someone by listening, caring and encouraging. We don't always have the answers or the ability to change the circumstances but we do all have the ability to care. Some times it's just the ability to show we care that is enough to encourage another person to keep going when all seems lost.

The ability to help others when we ourselves are burdened is one way to enjoy life in spite of the imperfections!

This picture was taken when we visited Savannah in 2009.

Monday, December 16, 2013

~Practice Makes Perfect~

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

written during Hurricane Season 2006:
When tropical storm Alberto formed in 2006, I thought it would be a good time for a practice drill to be sure we have our hurricane preparedness plan at home working. I asked Jim to show me how to work our new shutters which all we needed to do was close, pack and leave. I like the sound of that, don’t you? Anyways, we pulled the shutters together, easy, easy, easy and then I asked, why is there a lock on the handles? He said, because you need a key and then I asked, where is the key? He looked at me as if to say, I thought you had it. When you have been married as many years as we have, you don’t have to speak because a “look” speaks volumes. I looked back at him and I said, "No, I don’t have the key so where do you think it might be?" Oh brother, we failed miserably our first hurricane practice drill and a few weeks later when the next tropical storm formed we still had no key.

My life is a lot like this story, I can have a plan on how I think it should be but if the main "key" is missing then I am left feeling stressed instead. I personally always make the mistake of trying to plan my own life because I become so wise in my own eyes. Then I realize when I can’t get it right that I just need to stop looking to myself but instead look to my Heavenly Father. 

We had to have new keys made for our shutters so hopefully the next practice drill will be smoother.....

This picture was taken at "Vizcaya" when we visited in 2012. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

*The Unseen Path Of Life!

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path - Psalm 119:105

Every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our lives, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see. ~ Corrie ten Boom

The story of Corrie ten Boom who survived a Nazi death camp is a great example of courage and strength in the midst of the most horrific circumstances. Most of her family died in those death camps but yet she realized that her life spared was a gift from God. She stated that "there is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still" and "God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies." At age 53, Corrie ten Boom began a world-wide ministry which took her into more that 60 countries in the next 33 years! She testified to God's love and encouraged all she met with the message that "Jesus is Victor." Take time to read her website: http://www.corrietenboom.com

When life seems hard take time to remember those like Corrie ten Boom who took their sacrifices of life and shared God's love, mercy and grace. We don't always see what God is doing in our own life to make us a better reflection of Him.

Traveling with the Lord is not about being able to see where our journey leads but trusting in the one who leads!

This is a picture I took of my grandkids that I had sitting on top of my desk at home, September 2013.
 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

~Wonderful Gift's from God~

God gives us the gift of forgiveness. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9

God gives us the gift of salvation if we will trust in Him. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 

Another one of God's gifts to us is the Holy Spirit the moment we become a believer. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, self-control and faith. These are the qualities that God says, I put into your life when you let me live through you. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

God also gives us the gift of special abilities which are called Spiritual Gifts. They are the abilities you need to get the job done that God wants you to do. “Each of you has been blessed with one of God's many wonderful gifts to be used in serving of others. So use your gift well.” 1 Peter 4:10 

Spiritual gifts produce spiritual results! 

This picture was taken January 2014 when I was teaching the kids a few 
weeks ago at church and we made these bracelets to help in memorizing John 3:16.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

*We Are Never Alone!

 John 14:15-18 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.


God's gift to us is the Holy Spirit who indwells in us and gives us peace that passes all understanding; which means we are never alone. The Holy Spirit is like a suit of armor that prepares us for life's daily battles. The Holy Spirit goes out into our daily conflicts and protects our front, backs, sides and insides; our whole being.


The Holy Spirit is God’s moment-by-moment provision for strength, courage, boldness, victory and the abundant life. It’s for you and it’s God’s plan for your life! 

Focusing on worst-case scenarios won’t keep bad things from happening. It will only keep you from enjoying the good things you have in the present.

"A godly woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her."



This picture was taken at sunrise on the beach!

"What I Like About Christmas"

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

written December 10, 2010:
Christmas is one of my favorite times of year because of the festive decorations, parties and most people just seem to be in good spirits....I don't care for the shopping and spending money on things we would not normally purchase any other time of year but overall it is still one of my favorite holidays! With my kids and grand-kids I try to just spend time in celebration as much as possible and on the 25th I cook up a traditional southern breakfast.

This is something I have done all of their lives and it is the only tradition that we still carry on today. I am so grateful because it is a wonderful family time and we are in agreement to keep it going.  I feel it is the BEST part of our day together!

Some years my mother travels from Spain to spend the holidays with us so that makes it even more special. Also, I use as many family members things to add to the tradition such as my dads dishes, my grandmothers goblets & my mother n laws trays so their memories live on with us....It's just a magical time of year for us as a family ~ 
  It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.
- W. T. Ellis

 This picture was taken of my youngest grandbaby in 2012!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Category 5 Storm

2 Corinthians 4:8-9,
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

According to the weather report all is quiet in the tropics right now and as I was reading this I thought how great it would be if we all had a radar to watch to see when a storm of life is about to come our way personally. Unfortunately life is not that way at all so we have to be prepared spiritually each and every day as we may face a new day where all may be quiet or we may face a day where we have a Category 5 coming. One never knows what each day may bring but we can take comfort in knowing that God knows and watches over us and is able to protect and prepare us for the storms we will be facing.


Life is so full of storms it seems, just like hurricane season they come when you are not ready and when you least expect it and you are never prepared. Who can prepare for the day to day dramas that affect all of us in one way or the other except to trust in God to take care of us in the midst of each crisis. The hope we have that he is continuously holding on to us as the storms of life are knocking us down and that we will be able to get back up and go on with our life once again.


I think about the young men and women giving their life in the war for all of us here to have a better quality of life and the men and women before them. Personally, I have not had to give up my life for anything or anyone. I feel blessed and privileged to know that there are people I do not even know who are fighting for you and me. That encourages me to keep going no matter what storm I may be facing today. These are people who see something bigger than themselves and are willing to take a risk daily for something they believe in.


During the last few years of hurricanes, like everyone else has experienced, every plant in my yard died except one bougainvillea. It actually bloomed even more after the hurricane and that reminded me so much of people in my own life that persevere through it all. They are such an encouragement  to me and my family as they bloom in this garden called life!


My prayer and challenge today is to be more like the bougainvillea and that I may bloom more after the storms passes. (written in 2006 during Hurricane Season)


I took this photo when Hurricane Sandy 2012 was miles 
from our shores on it's way North.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Seasons Of Life

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1


There are dozens of seasons in our life. Here are some of the seasons according to Ecclesiastes 3:2-8.

A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.


Ask yourself in whatever season of life you are in today, "What can I learn from this season of my life?"  

Prayer: Lord, I want to trust you in every season of my life ~ good and bad!


This picture was taken at my work 
when it was decorated for Christmas in 2008.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Good Or Evil?

Romans 8:27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Everyone has the feeling they are always fighting the good angel and the evil demon on their shoulders. When I hear the evil demon telling me what to do, I know it is my own wicked flesh talking. When I hear the good angel telling me what to do, I know it is the Holy Spirit living within me.When I give in to my flesh it always gets me into trouble. When I listen to the Holy Spirit it leads me to a path of peace.

We don't always know the right thing to do but the Holy Spirit living inside of us does so we need to  listen and obey. Pray for God to make all things clear and it will be made clear. Listen for God's voice in your heart and life to direct to what is right. It will never be contrary to God's Word. Listen carefully and completely. 

How do we hear? 
 Through prayer, God's Word and obeying His Word!

 This picture was taken when I was traveling on 
the coast of Mississippi in 2009.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

~A Different Path~

When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. Exodus 13:17a

As children we begin to dream or plan of what we want to be when we grow up. When I was young I believed that I would be a missionary in some far away country leading people to Christ and a better life. I never saw myself married or having children. Instead I have been married, divorced, re-married with 4 children and going on 11 grand~kids. I have served in ministry since the age of 21 here in South Florida and to some people this is a far away country. God had a different plan for my life and it is not at all the plan I was making in my head. 

When I read the passages of scripture in Exodus it reminds me that God controls our destiny as He did the destiny of the Israeli nation. Life brings us things that we do not always understand what the purpose is in our lives and the lives of those around us. This is where our faith comes in and we must trust God in what He is doing. 

Everything God does in our lives is about His Kingdom so I have learned not to take it personally when my life takes a different path. There are many things I did not plan such as dealing with alcoholism and drug addiction. This is an area of difficulty for me to watch family and friends who are ruining their lives with their addictions. I used to believe I had all the spiritual answers to assist them to change their behavior only to be disappointed. I now realize I can't change anyone not even myself but I can continue to pray for them and help when they ask.

 
An unplanned route will often strengthen your faith!

 

Friday, November 8, 2013

~Growing Faith~

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

How do I grow my faith? The scriptures tell us by reading God's Word! It seems so simple and yet Satan finds ways to talk us out of doing something so simple as reading. Our lives get bogged down with stuff to do, people to see, places to go. Some of those things are good things too. We should never be so busy that we do not take time to read our Bibles.

The enemy is out to destroy our minds and we need the guidance of the scriptures to keep that from happening. How many times do you find your thoughts and mind saturated with negative thought processes? Prayer and scriptures are needed to fight that negativity so our minds can be used for something more useful in life.

When our faith increases then our life is more useful. We can grow spiritually and recognize when our hearts and minds are under attack. We need to protect our thoughts and trust God to take care of everything in our life. That will bring peace that is beyond our comprehension. If we are only taking in the negative of life then our life will produce negative. Let's saturate our hearts and mind with the Word of God! It brings good things.....



                 Peace is not the absence of conflict, but of inner conflict.


This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. Joshua 1:88



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Strength For Each Day!

Each day brings us new challenges; some good and some not so good! We really don't need to prepare for the good things but how do we prepare for the "not so good" that comes at any given moment? We've all been there when we have gotten bad news regarding our health or the health of a loved one. Daily on the news we hear about accidents, job losses, death and so much more. What about all the news regarding the economic uncertainty of our country with all the doom and gloom coming from our politicians? It's no wonder anxiety is so prevalent in our society.

If worry and anxiety helped or did something beneficial I would be the first to tell you since I do both so well. Instead I find it begins to defeat me almost immediately and is of no benefit to us going into any kind of difficult situation.

Judges 6:14-16
Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.


 This is a picture I took of a Hibiscus in my garden in 2006.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Weaver


My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I, the underside.

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

-Grant Colfax Tuller

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled.


This picture was taken in Savannah, Georgia when we visited in March 2013.

Monday, October 14, 2013

If I Had My Life To Live Over by Erma Bombeck

(written after she found out she was dying of cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you' More 'I'm sorry's.'

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it, and really see it .. live it and never give it back.


This is a picture of a parrot in my yard taken in 2009.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Where Is God In The Hard Times?

Hebrews 13:5b I will never leave thee...

Everyone faces difficulty and no one is exempt from hard times in their life journey since the beginning of time. God has given us the Bible packed with stories of all the difficulty of the saints before us. It shows us how they handled their life circumstances as we face our own trials and tribulations. It is to encourage us no matter what life may throw at us so that we are able to work through and overcome any and all hopeless situations that we may have to face now or in the future.

A quote from German theologian Otto Dibelius, a leader of the anti-Nazi resistance movement in World War II: “God does not lead his children around hardship, but leads them straight through hardship. But he leads! And amidst the hardship, he is nearer to them than ever before.”


God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him ~ Hudson Taylor




This is a picture I took of my brother at the beach when he was visiting Easter 2012.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

~Making Decisions With Prayer~

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established. 

My husband and I pray together daily and separately about any and all decisions in our life. Some are big decisions and some are not very significant but that is how I know God's will for my own life. Usually God brings us ultimately to the same decision and really how often does any married couple agree on anything? 

That is how I know it is God working in both our lives and the key to those decisions is prayer. Rarely does my husband decide differently than I do. If that should happen, I will usually follow his decision because I believe God can make a wrong decision right. These are the moments that I have to trust God no matter how I may feel. Easy to say but not always easy to do.
 
Usually my husband and I will not make a final decision on something of significance until we are both in agreement. It may take a few weeks but if we continue to pray we can see how God blends our hearts together in the same direction. We have managed to do this for several years now and find that no decision has been left unanswered by our Heavenly Father.
 
We both know how difficult it is to agree on what color to paint a room or something as simple as what to watch on tv. So when God works on our hearts to come to the same conclusion we know without a doubt that it can only be God!

Few things in life transform your character like making a commitment to pray together!

A picture of St. Andrews in Tangier Morocco taken by my 
father in the late 1950's or early 1960's.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Simple Things!

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I Thessalonians 5:23

God is constantly ministering to our spirit in some way. A touch, a sentence, a scene, a flower, an animal, a person, a sunrise, a sunset, the ocean, a lake, a stream, a sweet memory and the list goes on. There are so many ways that God lifts our spirits and fills us with joy each day. Look for His touch in the small and simpler things of life!

One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized. ~Oswald Chambers

Take time to notice how God is speaking to you today and see if it guides your day differently! The scriptures describe that God speaks in a still small voice which I believe can be drowned out in the clutter of our every day lives. Where will God reveal himself to us today? 

Traveling on the road at Ponte Vedra beach in March 2013.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Discipleship


 ...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20

Discipleship is teaching others how to follow Jesus. We don't have to be great theologians to teach others how to follow. It's in the simple every day things that we do all day that we can teach those around us how to follow Jesus.
When my grandkids are in the car we always have a sing a long of Sunday school songs that I have taught over the years. Their favorite is "Jesus Loves Me" and we always discuss afterwards God's love and say the verse together John 3:16. I have been using my car rides with my kids and grandkids all of their life for a time to teach them about following Jesus.

May we leave behind a generation of men, women, children, and grandchildren who love Christ with all their heart!


 This is a picture of my great-nephew Corey as he pulls me along in my float
 while I am under an umbrella trying to protect myself from the sun in the 1990's.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Surprise Package Full Of Love!

Let all you do be done in LOVE.  I Cor. 16:14

Recently my husband and I have been burdened for individuals that we care for and taking time to pray for their difficulties. It wasn't within our control to be able to do anything but we can always pray. We are grateful to those who share their hearts because they do not want to bear their burdens alone even if all we can do is listen and pray.

This was a particularly difficult week and in the midst of it we received a surprise package. Our niece Theresa had sent a box full of gifts for us from Delaware. Our hearts were overwhelmed because we were not expecting it and it was so nice to know that someone had us on their heart. God knew we needed to be shown love that particular day and he used her to bring us joy!

My husband received clothes which are always his favorite and I received a beautiful piece of artwork that she had done herself. I had chills when I opened up the framed flower she had put together because she inspires me with her beautiful work. I put it somewhere I can see every day as a reminder that God is faithful to show us His love through others. It was the encouragement we needed and we are grateful!






Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Life Lessons

Proverbs 14:26 He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.

My parents were missionaries in Europe and they took me to church every Sunday, Wednesday night plus any other nights of the week for music practice, studies, events, etc. My Aunt Betty and Uncle Darrell also raised their own children in church and since I was at their home so often I went along. My senior year of high school I trusted in Christ as my personal Savior. I knew all about God in my head from growing up in church but I didn't have a personal relationship with Him in my heart until January 28, 1976.


God called me to ministry at 21 years of age and I also took my own children to church every time the door was open. I never let any other school or sport event interfere with church because I felt it was a priority. We have some amazing memories of our time together as a family and growing up in church.


Church is a place for children to learn how to do LIFE! There isn't any other institution here on this earth that teaches exactly what our children need in order to handle every situation for their future. There are still no guarantees that your children will turn out right but it gives them every opportunity to know the way....



This is a picture I took of my husband playing the drums with our daughter
 and her husband in 2012. They have all been involved with the Worship Team
 for many years. It is a joy to watch them all as they share in ministry 
and I am able to enjoy the music while holding my little grandchild. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

~Strength In Weakness~

2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.


It's okay to be weak because God is strong ~ It's okay not to have all the answers because God knows it all ~ It's okay to be wrong because God makes all things right!  Know that God has allowed it for His purpose and for His kingdom. It's not personal even when everyone around us seems to be against us. It is God who can work through us in our darkest hour. 


We can do ALL things through Christ 
who will strengthen us!

This picture was taken when I visited the country of Spain in 2007.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Laughter Is Good For The Soul

Luke 6:21 Jesus said, "Blessed are ye that week now: for ye shall laugh.

written November 30, 2010
This past Thanksgiving I laughed more than I had in a very long time because my mother, Aunt, Uncle and cousins are so hysterically funny. I laughed so much my throat hurt but it felt so good to my soul.

I have been blessed with family members who know how to tell good stories. It is just a lot of fun to hang around them and listen to the stories over and over again.

Worry, negativity and criticism is just not a part of their nature but instead they are uplifting and loads of fun. Now that I am an adult and I see how dark and negative the rest of the world really is I see the importance of laughter. My mother and aunt were not as fortunate but instead grew up with my grandmother who was very negative and difficult. Instead of complaining about their childhood they have found a way to talk about it in such a humorous way that it keeps my grandmother's memory alive, which I love.

How wonderful to have such a gift of laughter in my life given to me by my family and I am forever grateful!


I took this picture of my Aunt Betty and my mama during Thanksgiving in the 1990's. We would stay in rustic log cabins in the Cumberland Mountains and spend our days telling stories, laughing, singing and playing Rook! Just having these two ladies together is all you need to enjoy yourself and have fun anywhere!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Need Some Joy?

Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. 
 

We all need joy in our life in order for life to make sense, right? Otherwise, how miserable it would be to just exist and feel no joy at all. We have all met people from time to time that have been robbed of their joy due to life's circumstances. I think it is disheartening  when I meet people who rob themselves of their own joy. No matter how much you try to help them see the good in life they see the negative, always complaining and in a state of major self pity. Let's be honest, we are all guilty!
 

There are people who should not have any joy because of life's circumstances and yet they do have real joy.  That is amazing to me because they manage to enjoy God's blessings in the midst of it all.
 

Joy comes from God and He gives it to anyone who wants to receive it and even when life happens and bangs us up, it will be where we least expect it.
 

Joy has come to me in many forms....some times from a scripture, a child, a friend, a flower, a butterfly, the ocean, artwork, etc....and when I least expect it!
 

In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag. - W.H. Auden
 This picture was taken on one of my walks on March 31, 2008.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

~Practice Makes Perfect~

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

written during Hurricane Season 2006:
When tropical storm Alberto formed in 2006, I thought it would be a good time for a practice drill to be sure we have our hurricane preparedness plan at home working. I asked Jim to show me how to work our new shutters which all we needed to do was close, pack and leave. I like the sound of that, don’t you? Anyways, we pulled the shutters together, easy, easy, easy and then I asked, why is there a lock on the handles? He said, because you need a key and then I asked, where is the key? He looked at me as if to say, I thought you had it. When you have been married as many years as we have, you don’t have to speak because a “look” speaks volumes. I looked back at him and I said, "No, I don’t have the key so where do you think it might be?" Oh brother, we failed miserably our first hurricane practice drill and a few weeks later when the next tropical storm formed we still had no key.

My life is a lot like this story, I can have a plan on how I think it should be but if the main "key" is missing then I am left feeling stressed instead. I personally always make the mistake of trying to plan my own life because I become so wise in my own eyes. Then I realize when I can’t get it right that I just need to stop looking to myself but instead look to my Heavenly Father. 

We had to have new keys made for our shutters so hopefully the next practice drill will be smoother.....

This picture was taken at "Vizcaya" when we visited in 2012. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

~A Different Path~

When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. Exodus 13:17a

As children we begin to dream or plan of what we want to be when we grow up. When I was young I believed that I would be a missionary in some far away country leading people to Christ and a better life. I never saw myself married or having children. Instead I have been married, divorced, re-married with 4 children and going on 11 grandkids. I have served in ministry since the age of 21 here in South Florida and to some people this is a far away country. God had a different plan for my life and it is not at all the plan I was making in my head. 

When I read the passages of scripture in Exodus it reminds me that God controls our destiny as He did the destiny of the Israeli nation. Life brings us things that we do not always understand what the purpose is in our lives and the lives of those around us. This is where our faith comes in and we must trust God in what He is doing. 

Everything God does in our lives is about His Kingdom so I have learned not to take it personally when my life takes a different path. There are many things I did not plan such as dealing with alcoholism and drug addiction. This is an area of difficulty for me to watch family and friends who are ruining their lives with their addictions. I used to believe I had all the spiritual answers to assist them to change their behavior only to be disappointed. I now realize I can't change anyone not even myself but I can continue to pray for them and help when they ask.

 
An unplanned route will often strengthen your faith!

 

Monday, June 24, 2013

~Growing Faith~

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

How do I grow my faith? The scriptures tell us by reading God's Word! It seems so simple and yet Satan finds ways to talk us out of doing something so simple as reading. Our lives get bogged down with stuff to do, people to see, places to go. Some of those things are good things too. We should never be so busy that we do not take time to read our Bibles.

The enemy is out to destroy our minds and we need the guidance of the scriptures to keep that from happening. How many times do you find your thoughts and mind saturated with negative thought processes? Prayer and scriptures are needed to fight that negativity so our minds can be used for something more useful in life.

When our faith increases then our life is more useful. We can grow spiritually and recognize when our hearts and minds are under attack. We need to protect our thoughts and trust God to take care of everything in our life. That will bring peace that is beyond our comprehension. If we are only taking in the negative of life then our life will produce negative. Let's saturate our hearts and mind with the Word of God! It brings good things.....



                 Peace is not the absence of conflict, but of inner conflict.


This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. Joshua 1:88