Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Different Lens

Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.  Exodus 23:2

The reason we have conflict with one another is because we see things so very differently. We pick up our views of life from our daily surroundings. A lot of people make their moral choices more from feelings than from what is right. My biggest fear as a mother were the friends my children would surround themselves with each day. The world views and goals of others will dictate our children's path and every parent has that to deal with in their own children.

Our children are surrounded with people who have their own brokenness, bitterness, abuse, etc. and the lens view continues to change in a greater way. One person can be around negative behaviors, soak it up like a sponge and behave contrary to what they have been taught. Another person could be around the same negative behavior and will use it as a tool or example of what they do not want for their own behavior and life. It's a choice, so choose wisely!


 This picture was taken of the side of a building where they 
painted people and animals that looked very real in Stuart Florida, 2010.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Attitude Needs Daily Adjustments

 Hebrews 4:12  "For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Read this and thought it was worth sharing:
Dear Lord,
So far today, I am doing all right. I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or self-indulgent. I have not whined, cursed, or eaten any chocolate. However, I am going to get out of bed in a few minutes, and I will need a lot of help after that. Amen.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: To choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way.   
                                                                   Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor.


This was taken of my grandkids at the playground June 2013.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weakness

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:10

There was a time in my life that I used to cover up how I felt because I didn't want to appear weak or discouraging. The wonderful thing about being over 50 is that you learn that weakness isn't something that needs to be hidden. Everyone has weaknesses and everyone has strengths. The wonderful thing about being weak is being able to understand others with weaknesses. When we lay aside our worries about what others may think and begin to be authentic with others, God can use us. 

We need to value and believe in others in spite of their weaknesses like Jesus does. God doesn't see us like we see ourselves. He can see our potential. We have to trust God with our strengths and our weaknesses. When we give God our weaknesses He is able to do something that we never dreamed possible.

When we begin to be authentic about ourselves we risk losing family and friends who may have difficulty with our weaknesses. Don't let the way you feel about you be determined by others. I believe God can use us more because of our weaknesses. Our life is not about our popularity but it is about God's Kingdom. Our weaknesses are sometimes more useful for God's Kingdom.

My prayer: Lord, help me to see myself as you see me and help me to see others as you do.

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works... Heb. 10:24 


  This picture was taken, at night, by my niece Theresa in Delaware during a snow storm. Her photography has always been such an inspiration to me personally!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Too Much Weight

Whether the burden that weighs us down is one of guilt such as the one that consumed David’s thoughts in Psalms 32, the fear Peter experienced in Matthew 26, or the doubt Thomas carried written in John 20. Jesus has invited us to bring them all to Him: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.

We are not built to bear our burdens alone. When we cast them on the One who wants to bear our burdens,  He replaces them with forgiveness, healing, and restoration. No burden is too heavy for Him.

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. 
Psalm 55:22

We can hug our hurts and
make a shrine out of  our
sorrows or we can offer
them to God as a sacrifice of
praise. The choice is ours. 
~Richard Exley

 This picture was taken of my youngest daughter in 1991 sleeping 
with one of her poofies that Aunt Glenda bought for her.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Uncertainty

Often I am asked, "How am I supposed to know if it is God guiding me or just my own thoughts?" There is no simple answer to know for certain but there are some ways to seek where God is leading. Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek God first and He will take care of the rest. If we take time to seek God each day then He will make it more clear to us. When we have a burden to do something out of the ordinary that will benefit someone else besides ourselves then most likely it is God. I think we have such a selfish nature that when we begin to concern ourselves with others it has to be God. 

Will we always have the certainty of where God is leading? Not according to the scriptures as in the case of Jonathan who said these words when he was up against an army and it was just him and his armor bearer....I Samuel 14:6 b.... it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” He wasn't sure if God wanted him to take this chance but he trusted that God could bring him victory even if it was just two of them against an entire army. God didn't make it clear to him what to do but he visioned a possibility of defeating the army on his own. It could have turned out so horribly wrong but it didn't in this case because God gave him the victory.

Jonathan had a natural doubt and uncertainty on what steps to take but he continued to move forward in faith. That is the lesson when we are up against our own war or wars ~ move forward, take the steps and let God give us the victory!

This picture was taken of a pumpkin I carved 
with my nieces and nephews in Delaware, October 2014.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Conflict Resolution

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Every conflict between friends, families, etc.  boils down to one thing: self-centeredness. Children are so adorable as babies until the terrible two's come to play and it loses it's cuteness. How many adults do we know that seem to have never outgrown those toddler terrors? Disagreements come about because we so often are just thinking about ourselves much like a toddler. A toddler is only concerned with his own needs because they are the center of their own universe.  

So often, our solution to solving conflict is avoiding the people we’re having conflict with. We move out of the neighborhood, we change friends, we stop going to the same events that they attend. We figure that our universes can’t collide! But the right solution, the godly answer, to this problem is to bring the other person into the center of our universe.  

We don't teach our children to cut off their siblings when they are small? No, that would only cause emotional anger and pain but instead we teach them to forgive, make-up and be friends again. 

If we begin to put other people into the center of our universe, and they put us in the center of theirs, then there is unity! We miss out on so many blessings when we don't follow God's best for our lives.....

This picture was taken while walking on the beach November 12, 2012

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rejection

The Father gives me my people. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them.”  John 6:37

Everyone has faced rejection at some time in their life. It may have been a parent, a spouse, a business partner, their kids, classmates, etc. No matter what you do or say, someone is not going to like you. People may not accepts us or like us, so it is important to understand that God always loves us. 

Once we realize that we are in the same predicament as every other person in the world then hopefully it will help not to take any rejection so personal. People who reject others are usually struggling with their own hurt and insecurities so rejection becomes a pattern in their life. We do not have the power to change people or heal their hurts. In many cases there is nothing we can do or say that will make any difference. 

What we do have control over is our attitude because of that rejection.  Love doesn't rub it in, it rubs it out.  You don't have to approve of everything people do but you do have to love them. “Accept one another,  just as Christ accepted you.” Rom. 15:7 

God has put so many different types of people in our life and we need to enjoy the blessing of our differences. We will miss out on so much if we don't open ourselves up to others. I have learned to pray in my time of need, "Lord, bring into my life those you think I need today." It is always a blessing!

Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. 1Timothy 4:4

This picture was taken over a ridge at sunrise from
 my hotel room in Georgia, December 2013.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stand

My friend "Wayne Asbury" shared this devotional and I wanted to share with all of you!

Psalm 92:12
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree”

Have you ever seen a palm tree in the midst of a great storm? That tree may be bent so far over that it's almost touching the ground, but when the wind finally stops, that palm tree bounces right back up. What's interesting is that while that palm tree is hunched over under the pressure of the storm, it is actually becoming stronger. The reason God said you'd flourish like a palm tree is because He knew there would be difficult times. He knew things would come against you to try to steal your joy and victory. You're going to be like a palm tree because when the storms of life blow, you are going to come right back up stronger than before. As you reflect on past events, remember, the storms you have encountered have only made you stronger. You are wiser, you are more alive, and you are headed for victory. Your brightest days are right out in front of you! Always remember that with God on your side, nothing can hold you back.

After you’ve done all you can you just stand,
Thom

 This picture was taken at the beach as I was watching the sun rise in 2006.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Unpredictable Life

 The dream or future we see for ourselves is usually much different than the future we actually end up with in life. There are many things that come along that we cannot predict.  Life will change on a dime with health issues, accidents, divorce, deaths, addictions, extreme weather, wars, violent crimes just to name a very few. Life is a constant of out of control behaviors and circumstances.

We prepare the best we can with insurance, wills, savings, education, etc. The older we get the more we realize that the best made plans are not possible in preparing for everything. I could never have imagined myself in the unexpected circumstances that have been a part of my own life. I have learned one important thing and that is not to bother to worry about anything. Seriously, the difficult circumstances of my life never even entered my scope of possibility.

In 1960, our family was visiting a small coastal town in Africa called Agadir in Morocco. When we arrived there my parents found the entire city of Agadir had just been devastated by an earthquare and tsunami. My father took pictures and told this story many times as I was growing up. There were 12,000 to 15,000 people who lost their lives that day. We had come so close to being there during that time. I am sure my parents never imagined the possibility of such a disaster happening so near to them and their small children. 
YouTube footage Click here!

“And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Psalm 39:7

 This is one of many pictures my dad took of the demolished city of Agadir Morocco
 from the earthquake and tsunami that hit in 1960.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Grateful For Family

The longer we know someone it is easier to take them for granted. We are not always grateful for the family that God has put into our life. We focus more on the bad memories than the good ones. We could all complain about something in everyone around us. There is certainly plenty in myself that others could and do complain about. We are all a mess!

We have to choose to be grateful for our family, our friends, our neighbors, etc. How do we show that we value those who God has placed in to our life? Let's be more thankful and not be guilty of  just complaining, making fun, nagging or criticizing them.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Philippians 1:3


This is a picture of my Aunt & Uncle with their kids and grandkids in Tennessee at Point Park Lookout Mountain, Thanksgiving 2010 ~ this is a family tradition and many wonderful memories I have with all of them! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Are We Good Or Evil?

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God. III John 1:11
 
Friend, don’t go along with evil. Model the good. The person who does good does God’s work. The person who does evil falsifies God, doesn’t know the first thing about God. III John 1:11 (The Message)


It isn't difficult to be confused on who truly knows God and who doesn't. It is easy to see God's goodness in the life of others. When we don't see goodness in others then it's clear they probably do not know God. But what if they profess to be godly or worse are cruel in the name of religion? 

The scriptures are pretty clear that it is not the talk but instead the walk of a person that speaks volumes!

 This is a picture of my sons dog taken June 26, 2009.

Monday, April 21, 2014

We Need Others

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; Genesis 2:18a

In life, I believe we all need each other. God created all of us to dwell with him and with each other. We think sometimes that we can do it on our own but I can tell you at my age I have learned that is impossible. I need the people in my life such as my husband, my kids, my grand~kids, my brothers and sisters, my nieces and nephews, my aunt & uncle, my cousins and that is just the family side of things. I also need my friends, my church family, my neighbors, my co-workers and that list is endless too.

Thank you Lord for bringing people into my life that I need and also need me. It makes life sweeter as we go hand in hand with one another through the good and the difficult of our journeys together!



This picture was taken after climbing Sleepy Bear Dunes while camping in Michigan around 1998  with my mom and my family from Spain.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Friend Like Sancho Panza

One of my favorite stories growing up in Europe was about Don Quixote. I thought it was true since I had visited as a little girl the windmills at La Mancha where the story took place. All over Spain there are statues, signs and people dressed up like Don Quixote. I collect them myself now and have my favorite prints by Picasso and Salvador Dahli. I also framed a picture I drew when I was a 6 years old of the windmills of La Mancha. The picture next to it I took of La Mancha in 2007 which appeared on Channel 25 news for several months as the favorite Vacation Picture taken summer of 2007.

Don Quixote had a friend named Sancho Panza who travels with him as be battles windmills, thinking they are giants. Sancho is a loyal friend even though Don Quixote has gone mental. Many things happen in their journey that defeat Don Quixote. When they arrive home, Don Quixote has a broken spirit and is put to bed. Being defeated in life he denounces his knighthood and dies with his friends along his side.

This story reminds me so much of life as we battle our own windmills thinking they are giants. Let's face it, those giants (people and problems) in life cause us to go a bit mental right? I am grateful for the Sancho Panza's in my own life who are there with me even when I'm mental. Friends and family with "love and loyalty" are a "safe place" after battling the giants in my own life!

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
 This is a picture of a sketch that I bought from a street artist in Madrid, Spain 2007.

Monday, March 10, 2014

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.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Life Chapters

Each time I finish up a book I become a little sad when I know it is the final chapter. The book I am reading becomes like a friend that I enjoy spending time with each day. I always think to myself that I hope I am able to find another one soon that is just as enjoyable. I always tell my daughter that I feel myself grieve each time I finish up a good book.

Our life has many final chapters in our friendships, marriages, children, grandkids,  jobs, homes, health, finances, etc. Death may bring a final chapter we didn't expect. We feel we may not recover many times from the loss or the ending. The human spirit is stronger than we realize and with God any and all endings can be the beginning for a new chapter that we have not even imagined.

We need to trust God with our future in the midst of all the tragic losses of life. We don't know what God is going to do with our circumstances but in faith we have hope for our future. As we find ourselves at the end of a life chapter don't forget to turn the page to the beginning of something new. 

Psalm 18:28  “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”

 
 This picture was taken when I visited Sevilla Spain in 2012.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

~My Journal: It Just Feels Good~

I wrote this in my journal on July 11, 1995: In the midst of a storm in our life our 5 year old daughter Deena asked, Mommy is Jesus here? I answered, "Yes!" She saw that her dad and I were struggling emotionally and asked, "Where?" I replied, "Deena, pretend you are mommy and daddy okay? Now I will be the part of Jesus." I then picked her up in my arms like a baby and carried her around the room. She giggled!

Later in the car, she asked, "Mommy, is Jesus still carrying us in the car?" I said, "Yes, He is!" Deena replied, "I like that." I asked her why and she answered, "because it just feels good."

The Lord is my keeper......Psalm 121:5a

Even though our little girl could see that her mom and dad were struggling, I was able to reassure her that we were trusting God to carry us through this storm and all life's storms in our future.

This picture was taken of my youngest daughter Deena around 1995 when we were at Chucky Cheese.

Monday, January 20, 2014

~ Worship Is Important ~

      Revelation 4:8b   “ Holy, holy, holy,
                                      Lord God Almighty,
                                     Who was and is and is to come!”


written by Tamela on January 20, 2009:
In Chapter 4 of Revelation there are a lot of different things going on but what sticks out the most is the fact that the Angels and the Saints are worshiping God continually. If the Angels and the Saints think it's important to worship the King of Kings all the time, then why shouldn't we? Don't you think you should be practicing for that day when you finally get to heaven?

God's right over us as the Creator gives Him claim over everything, and that is a fact that should be accepted and enjoyed. Rejecting that fact only leads to frustration.

Make sure your planning ahead for that great day!

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, who was and is and is to come." (vs. 8b)

"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." (vs. 11)

AMEN! WORSHIP HIM!

My daughter when she gave birthday to her youngest son in 2010.