Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eclectic Relationships

Ephesians 4:29 When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. 

I have decorated my home in an eclectic style from a broad range of memories and inspiration. I have used what I love instead of what someone else says that I should or should not use in my home. My home reflects good memories, people, places or things that have inspired me along the way.   I have things around the house that bring back wonderful memories of places I have traveled and been inspired to use my creativity. When I look around my home it all comes together in my mind according to my personal journey of life!

My relationships are much the same way as I decorate my home. I also have friends that I have made good memories with and have inspired me much in the same way. There are so many types of friends in life who we meet growing up, at school, at church, our neighbors, at work, etc. The one thing that I find important in any friendship is someone who gives affirmation. Not someone who just tells me what I want to hear but someone who I know loves me genuinely to build me up instead of tearing me down.

Over the years I have had all types of friends but the one thing that I have learned from watching my own children is the importance of choosing your friends more carefully. I spent years giving my children affirmation to help reinforce their self esteem and confidence only to have them choose a friend who can undo all the years I have invested with their criticism. One of my grand kids confided in me how one of their friends brought them to tears with their harsh words. I began to affirm her and thought about how all of my own children had been defeated so many times by the negativity and criticism of others.

Later on that same day I witnessed as one of my kids was being criticised by one of their friends in a sarcastic remark.   I knew that no matter how much I tried to correct that situation and affirm my adult child in that untruth that the damage was already done and it would be to no avail. It makes me sad to think that all those years of affirmation could be damaged by people who are critical in nature. It also teaches me to be careful in who I personally choose to be around too. I can only pray that my own children and grandchildren do not allow others to destroy their self esteem and confidence. I can't control what others do but I can choose to decorate my life a lot like my home with eclectic relationships that inspire me!

Michael Minot tweeted: Your value doesn't somehow decrease just because someone else doesn't recognize your worth. 

T
This picture was taken when I was walking on Peanut Island, May 2013.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Don't Worry!

Matthew 6:31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?"



We know as Christians that we shouldn't worry if we trust God but there is plenty to worry about for everyone in this crazy world. The problem is how do we not let that worry defeat us? In the scriptures above, Jesus is giving us some examples of what we worry about such as our health (what shall we eat & drink) and our possessions (what shall we wear).

Some people believe that these types of worries are only for the poor but actually the rich worry too. The poor worry about how they will get these things, the wealthy worry about losing them. Actually there are so many things we could spend our days worrying about in our relationships, job security, family, health and the list is endless.


Worry is stressful to our mind, body and soul and can make us physically sick. It can also take away precious time from our life if we spend too much time worrying; such as hours, days, months and even years. Is there really anything good that comes out of worrying? I can't think of a thing!


If we want to stop worrying then let's begin to take action steps to change this unhealthy pattern. First of all we should pray....then we need to ask others to pray for us too.  Once we have given that worry over to prayer we should begin enjoying creation and taking the time to look at what is beautiful in the world. The ocean is the place where I like to take my worries and my sadness because I feel God's presence; and I pray that I am able to leave them there! 


God has provided so much beauty around us to be able to enjoy and see His goodness. He provides us with His Word to give us hope of uncertainty. He provides us with good people to help us sort out the chaos and assist us in making sense of what is truly important. 


We cannot control those things around us....and most of the time I can't even control my response to those things.....but God has a way of guiding, teaching and comforting while in the midst of the worry....


I took this picture October 2013 of the typewriter in our office that I have used since the early 90's - I love the wheelwriter 10 and get a kick out of it when young people come in here and look at it as if it is something out of Jurassic Park.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Don't Give Up

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 
I Samuel 1:10

Hannah was being tortured by her rival and in a very dark place in her life because she wanted so badly to have a child.

But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara which means bitter for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. Ruth 1:20

Ruth was bitter because of the death of her husband and two sons. 

These ladies responded with their emotions weeping in anguish and a bitter heart. They didn't walk around with a smile on their face and trying to think positive. They were in the darkest place as we so often find ourselves in times of crisis. Hannah cried out to God bargaining with him for a child. Naomi worked the fields and still did what she knew had to be done to put food on the table for herself and Ruth.

They could not see or imagine how wonderful their futures would turn out in spite of their emotions. God blessed them both in a great way that they could not have imagined. When all was lost for them both, it was only the beginning of their story.

Our lesson is to hang on in spite of the emotions of grief, bitterness, heartache and loss. No matter how much you feel your emotions are not showing your faith and trust, God will still move in your life. Sometimes we find ourselves in a difficult situation but don't give up!

 This is a picture taken of Palm Beach Island and the connecting bridge I took April 13, 2008.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Critical In Nature

"Judge not, that ye be not judged." Matthew 7:1

It is so easy to be critical of others and when I begin to go down that trail I have to ask myself: "When did I get to be so superior?" Am I so perfect that even though I have so much to work on myself personally I need instead to take time and thought to what others are doing wrong? I instead need to begin praying for those individuals and realizing they are in God's hands and take responsibility for myself. I think it is easier to see the faults of others than our own faults. We are fools if we believe we have it right and others have it wrong.


We need to stop believing we have the power to change others when we cannot even change ourselves. Let's work on encouraging others instead of tearing them down. Let's learn to take our focus off what others do and say so we can focus more on what we do and say instead.

Criticism has never accomplished anything but instead has brought pain to others. 


Criticism is a lot like cruelty, it leaves similar scars.


This picture was taken of the flowers in my yard!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Time For Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heaven...
 


Solomon describes in chapter 3 the cycles of life: sowing & reaping; weeping & laughing, mourning & dancing; gaining & losing; silence & speaking; loving & hating.....so how do we handle these cycles? Do we only respond well or with gratitude when they are the ones that we want? Or do we trust God in ALL of them?
 

God is in control of all that happens to us, good and bad. So what is our response to Him in everything?  I think we have a tendency to love God when it is all good but then angry or hate God when things are bad. Like our children do when they don't get their way or have to do something they don't care to do. One moment our kids are thrilled with us because we are taking them to the mall but the next moment they are hating us for asking them to clean their room.
 

I have learned so much about my relationship with God from watching my children respond to me as their mother and I know where they get it from.....their father! HA, I wish.....no I have to take responsibility here; unfortunately, they follow my example!


God's plans for your life far exceed the circumstances of your day! 
                                                                                                                              Louie Giglio


This picture was taken of me and my husband October 2013.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Infinite Understanding!

written by Tracey Schultz Graham:
During my morning reading I focused on Psalms 147. It tells us what gives God his greatest joy and that's genuine worship & trust from us. But I paused on verse 5 which says "Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite." I just became in awe over that verse, "His understanding is infinite." That speaks volumes.....

God's understanding has NO limits!!! There are days that I don't even understand myself but God understands me perfectly!!! So why wouldn't I want to know him more every day? Why wouldn't I make him first in my life? Why wouldn't I seek his will for my life? After all, who knows me better than God himself!




Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hope In The Journey!

written January 5, 2012:
Encouragement comes in many ways....a kind word or deed, a beautiful sky or the ocean, the scriptures, poems, books, art, music, etc. In this journey called life we have days where we feel such a devastating blow to our hearts and emotions that cannot be explained and we may feel hopeless. Hopelessness is a very dangerous place to be and a time to make the necessary steps to do what we can to find hope and encouragement.

I am encouraged when I look at the world through my camera lens. Also, I find hope in scriptures like the verse below:

Jeremiah 29:11  "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
 
This picture was taken December 2011 in Delray Beach. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Love Lesson!

"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

One of the best books I read on relationships was "His Needs Her Needs" by Dr. Willard Harley. It was a real eye opener for me to understand my husband and the responsibility I had to be a better wife. My husband grew up with 4 sisters so he already had a better understanding of women in general. It wasn't until we began to apply some of those principles that we saw a great difference in our marriage.


After attending a Promise Keepers Conference many years ago my husband implemented something he learned there that he continues to do today. He began to sit down each day to talk and listen. At first it was a bit strange and then some days we found ourselves talking for several hours. He has been great about making sure we still do this and what a difference it makes on our relationship.

There are so many wonderful tools today to show us how to have a better marriage. I am grateful to those who take time to write and teach about these principles in order for many of us to make changes and live more wonderfully with those we love. Another great book written is "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman which taught me so much about myself.

My prayer: Lord show me how to love like you have loved me!


My mom took this picture of people dancing when she was visiting Paris, France in 2010.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What Are You Saying?

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart 
                          Be acceptable in Your sight,
                          O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.


We are accountable for all our words and it can bless our life or curse it. That is a pretty powerful statement when you realize how important what you say is in your daily walk. I have heard people say, "it figures ~ always happens to me" and it does because they have said it and now they are living it. "Just my luck" is another term I have heard often when something goes wrong and because they have said it, now they are living it. Some of these sayings came to these individuals when they were children because someone uttered the same curse on their own life and they have continued that generational curse.

Let's be aware of what we say and that we do not use words that will not only cause harm to others but to ourselves.



Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right. 
                                                                                           ~Terry Squires @OneImpact Bible


 I took this picture as I was traveling with my mother during a 
snow blizzard in Tennessee 2009.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Be An Angel To Others


And the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king. II Kings 1:15

I love that the angel gives Elijah a reminder not to be afraid because of his circumstances. I'm pretty sure if Elijah had not been afraid it would not have been necessary to have an angel bring him this message. Fear happens to all of us even a great prophet of God. 

When I become fearful it seems that I always have someone in my life such as one of my family members or a dear friend act much like that same angel to remind me, not to be afraid. Not in a condemning, self righteous or cruel way because that would only cause me more fear. Just yesterday a friend hugged me and told me she prayed for me that morning. I realized then I was not fearful of a circumstance that particular day because someone had taken time to pray for me.

We need to always pray and encourage each other because we never know how others are struggling. Let's remove whatever unkind cruel spirit there may be in others around us by praying for them too.

 This picture was taken by my beautiful niece Theresa on a walk in Delaware, May 2014.