Saturday, April 10, 2021

Leadership

These were chosen from the congregation, leaders of their fathers’ tribes, heads of the divisions in Israel. Numbers 1:16

God spoke to Moses in this chapter and orchestrated the first census to prepare them for battle. It describes exactly how they were supposed to go about it to see what each family was capable of doing. Tribes of people were chosen for battle and tribes of people were chosen just to protect the tabernacle. The leader was Moses and then there were leaders of each tribe and family. Everyone knew their position and their job to do in order for victory.

This is how I see the church, the role of our pastors and the leadership. If people believe that God has ordained them with the future and decisions of the church and don't follow the leadership of the pastor then it will not lead their church to victory. Our job is not to conjure up our own ambitions and missions for the churches we attend. We are to follow our pastors and his leadership. If we feel they are wrong then it's our job to pray for them because I believe God can make any wrong be right.

God has given us political leaders, parents, bosses, etc. and if this same truth is applied it will bring blessing!  

 This is a picture of a young girl leading the elephant at the circus that I
 attended with my grandkids on November 9, 2012.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

God Wants Our Battles

Judges 1:1  A time came after the death of Joshua when the People of Israel asked God, “Who will take the lead in going up against the Canaanites to fight them?”

Even though the people of Israel had won their battles in the book of Joshua there were still more battles to be fought. It is a reminder that no matter how long we have been Christians there are still personal and spiritual battles to be fought in our own lives. We never come to a place in our life where everything is figured out and all is well or we have arrived. There is always something within us that must be dealt with or conquered.

The same God that watched over the people of Israel is the same God today to watch over all of us. God will guide us and help us to be more what He has created us to be......


 This picture was taken on one of my walks, January 2012.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Life’s Losses

Therefore David took hold of his own clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. II Samuel 1:11-12

David experienced great grief in the loss of Saul and Jonathan in this passage. David had spent years running from Saul who wanted to kill him. He did not rejoice in the death of an enemy. 

Today death is so trivial because people are watching it every day on television or reading about it in the news. Experiencing losses comes in many forms: death, moving away, broken relationships, loss of a job or health, etc. A defense mechanisms that many people use in handling loss is to minimize its significance. We convince ourselves that the loss is not a big deal or get into some busyness to forget. 

Others are going to hurt us intentionally or unintentionally and we will do the same to them. It is so difficult to not dwell on the pain that causes us emotionally and physically. David was able to grieve not just for his best friend, Jonathan, but for Saul who had been trying to kill him for years. David refused to get stuck in the past hurts that Saul had caused him.

This picture was taken on one of many walks I shared with my youngest daughter 
and my nephew James after school in 1996James was killed in an accident at the age of 21.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Negative Emotions

And the king took an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, I Kings 1:29 

Looking back on King David's life we know that God had delivered him from much anxiety, sorrow, pain, anguish, suffering, agony, torment, heartache and heartbreak. These are many of the same emotions we all experience in life at one time or another. We can trust God as David did with all of our emotional stresses. If anyone had a right to nurse a grudge it was David towards Saul who attempted to kill him. He trusted God with his life and knew that it would only do harm to himself and God's purpose in his life.

The root of anxiety and stress in my own life is always my own lack of faith. I am constantly repenting to God for my unbelief. Sure I have blamed a million and one other things or other people but when I finally am honest with myself it is always by my own doing, my own sin, my unbelief that God has taken care of everything for me. 




Saturday, March 27, 2021

Resting!



Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. Genesis 2:1-3

Being brought up in Andalucia, a nap or siesta was part of our culture. When we moved back to the United States, my parents just changed our nap time but it was still a routine for our family. My parents were very active at home, work, ministry, education, athletics, music, etc. so they understood the importance of taking time to rest. 

As an adult I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone guilt another person by saying things like "Oh must be nice to be able to nap." As if naps or quiet times are not available to everyone. I really never understood that mentality but it seemed to me that they were securing meaning and worth by all their pursuits and not having to have any rest.

Resting (a nap or quiet time) is good and necessary not only for our spiritual welfare but also for our physical and mental. God gave us an example in these verses to go by and we need to listen in order to receive the blessings of a good rest!

 My son's daughter Isabella posing on a statue at the zoo on our visit in 2009.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Land Mines of Life!

When I was a young woman, I remember fearing certain losses or death of a loved one. Wondering if I had enough faith and trust to endure the land mines of life that I would see others having to deal with themselves. I would imagine some scenario in my life and think I don't think I would be able to go on if.......and filled in the blank. 

Looking back, some of those things did come to pass but many did not happen. Other things happened that I didn't or couldn't possibly have imagined and I realize that God did and will sustain us. It is difficult to imagine the grace that God has for us in the middle of what we would have thought would have destroyed us otherwise.

There have been moments in my life where we have been crippled but not defeated. We can't always understand what is happening or why but we can see God carrying us through the land mines of life!


This picture was taken of the brightest full moon 
I have ever seen over the ocean, October 2013

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Looking For Sunshine

Many times as a young mother I would plan a fun-filled day for my kids. The best of plans would go awry with just one of them waking up in a mood. It's difficult to expect 3 children to all wake up pleasant. Maybe it would be an accident where one of the kids would have an injury or we all woke up to an epidemic of illness. 

By the end of the day I would just want to sit and cry from my own disappointment and that of the kids. It would be one of those days that would be so out of my control leaving me feeling helpless and questioning my ability as a mom. To say I was discouraged and frustrated would be an understatement.

There were a few things I would do to help us turn our awful and depressing day into a good one: Singing silly songs with the kids would always make them laugh and laughter changes everything.
 Building a fort in the middle of the living room for everyone in the family to sleep and bringing all our mattresses to lay on. Makes the fort more comfy! Reading stories together as we all lay in my bed and having the older kids read aloud too. Baking something fun and festive that makes it feel like a holiday. Creating crafts always seems to be something kids find stimulating and enjoyable. Even a simple trip to the library together made the day brighter.

There are so many ways to make a day pleasant even though it didn't work out as planned. Keep looking for the sun on your next cloudy day!

A picture I took of a storm approaching the coast and
 the sunshine and blue skies just beyond those clouds.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

I Am Asking “Why” Too!

written February 9, 2011: 
I walk around with all the "WHY" questions like everyone else
and stay unsettled in the not knowing just how it all goes...
there are days I am strong and the WHY's are just there
then the days that my grief is just centered around all
the "WHY's" that are hanging around....

Amazing I get anything done trying to solve this mystery of
life and yet we all go along without knowing just "WHY" and
everyone works and everyone plays ~ even though we all
struggle with all the daily questions of "WHY"~I don't know!

Yes, I don't know "WHY" today or any day but have learned
that by faith to just trust that the God that I serve doesn't
need me to know the answers right now but one day we will and
then we may be glad we didn't know - just sayin' it could be
so.....just my theory I know.....

WHY do you ask, do I believe such a thing and I have to
reply with the same as before, I don't know but I do.
I trust and by faith live without the question of "WHY"
being answered today.....hope you do too.....

"WHY?" Because I care about you..........by Donella




When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

This picture was taken on one of my walks on the beach 2007.

 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

No One Cares



I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true;
I would tell you how He changed my life completely,
He did something that no other friend could do.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There's no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.
written by Dr.Charles Weigle 

Jesus did something that no other friend, parent, spouse, child or family member could do. No one can care for us like He does. We are always let down by those around us. Even more heartbreaking, we always let others down around us. 

We are not capable of caring like God does 
but with His help we can be His love to others. 
 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us
Romans 5:8


 This is a picture of flowers I picked in my garden
 and put on my dining room table, May 2013.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

One Moment At A Time

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

This is advice I often give that has helped me during those difficult days where you feel you cannot handle one more thing. Some days we can only handle one day at a time. Some days it may only be one hour at a time. During a stressful life event it may only be handled 15 minutes at a time. 

Don't look too far ahead when times are difficult because it can be too crippling. Instead break life into small pieces that can be handled and asking God to take care of the rest. Stress can exacerbate any physical or emotional problem and make us feel we  are defeated before we even begin. Planning in our minds only moments at a time as we are going through any difficulty will ease up the pressure and worry of the future. 


This may not be something we need today but we may know someone who does and we can pass it on....

 This is an old barn in Tennessee when I visited January, 2010.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Follow Me

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8

God did not call us to a set of rules but instead to a relationship. God is not interested in what we can do but in how we love Him and how we love others. Do we follow for love or do we follow for another reason?

We are not saved by what we do but by what has been done already on the cross. Salvation is free and given to us freely. Salvation and forgiveness are available because of the cross...


This picture was taken at the beach watching sunrise, February 2016

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Trusting God!


 I took this picture of the sunset from our campsite in South Florida!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Our Purpose!

 

I posted this picture on a painting postcard I made and added a photo of a bird I took while camping at Ortona Locks.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Wearing Woes

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

We need to remember that everyone has problems, fears, anxiety, betrayal, and this list is endless. No one is immune to difficult circumstances. No one has the monopoly on problems and issues in this world either. There is enough to go around. We can't control the difficult circumstances that come into our life and we can't always control how we wear our woes.
 

woes

definition
1. grievous distress, affliction, or trouble.

All the positive thinking in the world will not work to help overcome the wounds life may bring but God can heal us in ways we don't expect.

When in the midst of conflict or problems in my own life, God sends reminders to me of all that is good. For example, I can hang around one of my grand kids who hugs me so tenderly and tells me they love me and all is well in my world. My husband and I have moments when the young adults at church will say or do something for us that our hearts become overwhelmed with joy. God has provided nieces and nephews in our life that lift us up just by hanging around them. We thank God constantly for the sweet relationships He gives us each day. My husband and I remind ourselves to take time to reflect on all the good that God has provided and we want to wear our gratefulness. Is our life perfect? Of course not, but most days it feels pretty close because of the relationships God gives to us who become the hands and feet of Jesus in our life.

My prayer today is to thank God for all that is good today and to trust Him with all that is not...

 This picture was taken by my mom in Spain of a poppy field in 2006.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Help Wanted: Holy Spirit

One thing I have learned is that I cannot control anyone or anything. When I was younger I believed I had the power to change the world. I'm not sure where I developed that thought process but I really did think I could. After raising my own children, I have certainly been humbled into knowing I can't control even a small child, a teen, or adult child. My children ALL have a mind of their own.

There are times when I want to control what others are thinking, feeling, believing, etc. I give it my best effort in trying to convince them of what I believe is the better way to think, feel, believe, etc. It sounds to me like I may have some control issues but I will write about that on another day. God has given everyone a free-will and we have to honor that in each individual.

Only God can change the heart of any individual. Allow God to change others internally because it's the only possible solution. It seems there are so many of us who try to be the "Holy Spirit" in the lives of others but that just does not work. First of all, when I am consumed with how others behave then I have taken the focus off myself and what needs to change in me. Secondly, if I am concerned over someone's actions then that should just be a reminder to bring them before the Lord and leave them there. It's God's job, not ours ~ so let it go! God may or may not change that individual but I guarantee He will change our own hearts in a way we never dreamed possible. ~

Life would be simpler and more enjoyable when we focus on God and His desire for our lives! Stay focused! 

~ This is the day that the Lord hath made.....I don't want to mess it up! 

This picture was taken of my youngest daughters little one on February 2013.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

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!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Be An Angel To Others



This is a picture taken by my beautiful niece Theresa who inspires me with her photography. I put the picture on an acrylic pour I did in Illinois during our visit September 2020. The bird embellishment is from a napkin. It is up to us to see the beauty of every day things!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Infinite Understanding


I took this picture from the flowers growing in our yard at a home we lived in during the beginning of this pandemic in Lake Placid. I have a decorative napkin behind the photo that matches the beautiful colors of this flower. The small flower embellishment is from a vintage 1940’s greeting card I bought in the 1980’s. The blog was written by my sister n law Tracey Graham January 9, 2016. Together they make a beautiful work of art!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

A Love Lesson




My mom took this picture of people dancing when she was visiting Paris, France in 2010. The butterfly is a picture my niece took when we visited Canada together. The background is a painting I did with left over scraps of project fabrics and papers with acrylic paints. The floral embellishment is from a picture of my sheets that I cut out. In the words of Romero Britto, Art is too important not to share!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

What Are You Saying?


This picture was taken on a road trip with my mom in the winter of 2009. We traveled from Florida through Louisiana to Dallas. Then through a blizzard from Arkansas to Nashville, Tennessee and finally Chattanooga.