Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"Prepared for a Purpose"

Though I read a lot, I seldom recommend books.  The reason being that I may have thoroughly enjoyed it, but it could very well not be someone else's enjoyment.  A little fear of rejection thing going on here? Dr. Phil where are youuuuu  :-) ... HOWEVER when I DO come across a book that I believe is worth reading, you better believe I will shout it from the housetops.  I make no bones of complimenting my favorite authors and spreading the news about their books.

Now even though I have not read this book yet (ordered it this morning), I have a good feeling about it.  It's non fiction and I heard the author's testimony this morning on TV.  This is the woman that through great courage with God's help was able to talk a gunman that had walked into an elementary school , fully armed, to surrender to police. I liked her spunk and her admission of her total reliance on God not only in her personal life, but even in the midst of a crisis of this magnitude.

So I recommend that you get this book, because I believe that it will encourage us all to:

"Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching."  2Timothy 4:2

Click link below to hear a snippet of her testimony:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3xIRlUlTSY

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Retirement...


“Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”  Psalms 71:17-18 (NIV)
I just recently retired from my job after 17 years.  It was a great job and I enjoyed it.  Of course it was not perfect and there were days that I resisted getting up to go (especially this past winter) but all in all it was a good job. My first 11 years were spent having more direct contact with students, which I loved, the past 6 years were more staff contact; however as I allowed God to enter into my heart that I should “bloom where I’m planted”, I met some awesome people and have made some lifelong friendships that have enriched my life greatly.  It was the classic example of resisting change…opposing something that God had ordained for my good.  Why do we do that?  We resist even without giving change a try, when just over the horizon of doubt, fear and maybe feelings of rejection, is a bright and wonderful experience.

I wrestled for about a year with the decision of retiring. Being a widow, I first went through the “But I’m alone and have no one to support me”.  I think I “heard” the Lord laugh at that one…He said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Plus I checked my track record for the past 12 years and reminded myself how He has taken care of me thus far.  THEN I had a round with “Suppose I give up this job and find out later that I need it back.” Then it dawned on me that if I trusted God to get me this job , surely if I for some reason needed to get another one, He can do that too…DUUUHHH YEAH!

I had already felt impressed about the date that I should retire, but after listening to the nightly news about the economy, I started to extend that date further and further from the original one. I was a WRECK!  Couldn’t sleep or eat with doubt and fear trying to overtake me.  Until one day in conversation with a faithful friend of mine and lamenting over when or if I should retire, she simply said “Well, if someone told you that you HAD to stay would you be happy about that?”  I immediately said “NO”!  That made me weigh the balance between lamenting over whether to stay or having the freedom to leave and feeling happy! A no-brainer. When I asked the Lord about the date to retire again, was that a sigh I “heard” this time?  Anyway in all of His never-ending patience He impressed on me again the original date! I went through so many changes when I could have saved my self the grief and just did what He impressed me to do in the first place!  LOL
So here I am, retired and in a new season of my life. I am excited about what He has next for me. Is everything the way I want it to be? No. My late husband and I talked about retiring together and traveling.  I, myself would LOVE to have that be the case, but God in His sovereign will had other plans. I have the comfort of knowing without a doubt that he is with the Lord and in no more pain or suffering, cheering me on to enjoy this life that God has given me; and to fulfill my purpose here on earth so that I can one day experience all of the pleasures in heaven that he is experiencing right now. Until then...

It is with joy that I grow old because God says:
 “I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” Isaiah 46:3-4 NLT

And I am excited for the journey because:
 “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing. ” Psalm 92:12-14
Amen!
On another note here are some summer blue and white changes to the homestead:
 






 
 
 
 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

What the World needs is Love, sweet love...

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

Such a simple truth, "For God SO LOVED..."  Love is the foundation of our very beings.  Just think God loves us so much that He allowed us to be born and have a life on this earth. While some may see it as a curse, shame on them!  I know that this life is not perfect, it is filled with sadness, pain and grief and hurt, BUT STILL, if you are living and breathing, you have a chance to change that.  Do I live in a world where there is always pink clouds and fairy tales? No! I have tasted the affects this world has to offer and believe me it ain't pretty.  But I also know that if you have hope, there is always a chance to make things better.  But many of us have lost the Love; whether if it has been through the bitter trials of life or some may have never experienced the true, pure love that God has ordained from the foundations of the earth.

The "World" through various media has distorted the true meaning of love, so much until whenever the word "Love" is mentioned many folks conjure up sexual "love" in there understanding.  But true love is so much deeper than 15 minutes of sexual gratification.  God's love which is the highest form of love, and then there is a mother or father's love for a child, a child's love for a parent, the love of siblings, family members and friends. We all need it and we all should be giving that love.  Even love for our pets, they need it!  My newest addition to my household is a 6 month old, all of 4 pounds Chihuahua and when he needs love, he knows how to make such a precious noise until I just have to pick him up and give him some love. 

One of the saddest things to hear is someone tell you that they have never felt loved. Sometimes folks may not know how to receive love, but regardless, to have never felt love is a tragedy. I get so upset when I visit places of worship and there is no warmth or love shown to the folks that walk through the doors. They go about "Church" business and in the process have forgotten about who is walking through those doors....the broken, the hurting, the lonely.  We have a work to do!
I have heard many stories of the unloved.  After 18 years of Prison ministry, 10 years of teen ministry and 17 years working in a high school, you better believe I've heard some doozies and they all break my heart.  I used to ask God "How are we going to fix this?  There are so many that need to know your love." and He answered, "You love them one at a time."  And that is what I am learning to do, as they come across my path or I theirs, I pray that God shows me how to LOVE the occupants of this old broken down love-less world.  Sometimes it may be tough love, but I pray that God will direct me each day.

God loves us so much that He was willing to die for us through His son Jesus, there is no greater sacrifice. All He is asking us to do is to love one another.  We may not all agree, but we must respectively disagree and continue to love.  Love does not mean that we compromise our beliefs, nor should we accept things that do not line up with the Word of God.  But we must love the loveable and the un-lovely as well.


Dear God, I pray right now that you teach us to love like You do.  Not just our family and friends, but those that we come in contact with everyday.  None of us are perfect, as You know Lord, but help us to love even through our imperfection.  That those around us that see our lives, will see a life that loves and have a heart for people. Thank You God for sending the most perfect example of love through Jesus Christ...Amen!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

His Joy is my Strength...

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye." Psalms 32:8

Oh! how I needed to read this word from the Bible!  Lots of decisions and so much on my mind. Trying to figure things out and unnecessary concerns about things that were none of my business. Plus I'm retiring the end of this month...lots of changes...

John 21:20-24 talks about Jesus giving Peter the assignment of "Feed my sheep" and Peter asking Him what about that disciple, meaning John, and Jesus basically telling him "What is that to do with you?" In other words "Peter don't be distracted by how I use anyone else, but concentrate on what I ask you to do."  I think that was part of my problem plus I had heard some sad news about some folks that I love very much. It threw me into a tailspin of anxiety, but thank God for family and dear friends that talked me through it.  Have you guessed? I'm not perfect.  :-)  I'm just someone walking this life's journey that has to be reminded at times that I'm not alone in this.

What a blessing it is to have the joy of the Lord, I think I sometimes take it for granted, because when I don't have it I feel just awful.   His Joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). 

Through my late husband's long illness and passing, I think I learned how to put a cap on my joy because I did not know what each day would bring.  If I allowed myself to get too joyful, how could I be prepared to handle what may be sad? Sounds crazy, but very real. I am learning how to allow God's joy to be limitless in my life... to be happy and that's okay.  To not let things that I cannot change bother me so very much.

I have a painting on my wall with the inscription "To believe is to know that everyday is a new
beginning."  I love that...I may blow it today, but at least tomorrow as God wills, I get the chance to start over again with Him and by faith I WILL succeed! That I WILL enjoy this life that He has so blessed me with and allow His JOY to permeate my life!  Thank You Jesus for giving me a new chance, thank You for not giving up on me, thank you for loving me unconditionally!  Amen!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring around the House...

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..." Ecclesiastes 3:1



Front doors
Dining room
Kitchen

Front porch
Foyer







 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

His Hand

At the point of decision...what should I do?  I don't want to miss Your plan for me God. I'm feeling anxious, edgy, don't like that, I'd rather have Your peace.  Those were my feelings a few weeks ago. I was at the point of a major decision in my life and usually that comes with a lot of stress for me.  That is until I can get my focus adjusted....

Then I "saw" it, a picture in my mind, yes God speaks to me in "pictures".  And in this picture I saw a little girl about to cross the road, she was looking both ways trying to be careful, but was still afraid.  Then a person (Jesus) appeared at her side.  He said nothing only extended His nail scarred hand toward her. The little girl in turn no longer afraid, easily slipped her hand in His and He led her across the road. Instantly I knew God was speaking to my heart, that as long as I trusted in Him to lead and guide me, I would be okay.

The fear that was trying to conquer my confidence for weeks vanished and I was able to make the decisions that I needed to make   God is so faithful and I'm sure all of us have times when we can share how He has helped us. Each journey is unique, but it all comes back to this: God cares about what concerns us and He WILL help us as we TRUST in Him.

I remember as a little girl how whenever I was about to cross the road with my earthly father, how he would silently extend his hand for me to take it. He never had to even speak to or look at me to encourage me to take his hand, it was a natural gesture. Taking my earthly father's hand was automatic as a child because I knew that he would protect me and had my best interests in his heart.  So beloved, how much more does our heavenly Father wants to protect lead and guide us! It should be so easy to take His hand, and yet we allow the enemy of our lives to lie to us that we can handle and work  things out on our own. As I posted on a previous post WE NEED GOD. 



Won't you take His hand today...He's waiting..to lead and guide you on this journey of life.
"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

Sunday, March 16, 2014

We need God

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

We need God. In this world I don't see how anyone can think that they do not. Unfortunately sometimes it takes a trial to realize that without Him we are really helpless and hopeless.

In August 1994, I was at a church in Philadelphia singing as a guest. Shortly after sitting down in my seat next to my husband I suffered a brain aneurysm. What followed was a great trial for me and my family, but through it all God proved Himself totally in control as we in our helplessness allowed Him to take control.  There were times during this trial that I have no memory of, but there were times when I was
conscious, that I distinctly remember God's work at hand. After they rushed me to the ER in the first hospital I remember coming awake in an X-ray room propped up in a sitting position and strapped to a gurney. I remember thinking "God I am totally relying on You to help me, I cannot move and have no control." Then there was the time right before they took me in to prep me for brain surgery and I said to God silently " I'm in Your Hands" and as I closed my eyes I "saw" four large angels surrounding my gurney, wings outstretched and touching, surrounding me. As they rolled me into the Operating room the scripture "For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways." (Psalms 91:11) settled in my spirit and mind. I was physically helpless, totally out of control and God showed me that He is still in charge.   

So many miraculous things happened. And I am eternally grateful for the many brothers and sisters in
Christ that prayed for me. God used so many to uplift and encourage me and my husband. During a time of prayer my husband said he felt God speak to his heart that I would be "unhindered" when I came through this. And indeed I was, within 10 days I walked out of the hospital free of any after or side effects and the only medication given was the routine pain meds which I did not need. God showed us in so many ways how when we are helpless and even at times hopeless, He will take us up.

I have had many people share how they had loved ones that did not make it after having an aneurysm, and I am so sorry when I hear this. I don't always understand why things happen, but I do know this, God is no respecter of persons and shows no favoritism, and things we may not understand here on this earth, we will one day understand. Even in my own personal life, I do not understand totally why the Lord allowed my precious husband to succumb to his illness, several years later. But I have hope, for you see without hope we cannot have the faith to believe that God is in control and that we will never be disappointed as we trust in Him. Trusting that one day we will see clearly and until then He will give us "...joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

We need Him, we cannot truly make it without Him.  God in His mercy allow us to think that we are in control of our lives...we may think we are succeeding, but actually it is Him and His unconditional love at work.  And my friend He is patiently waiting, waiting for us to turn to Him and invite Him in. To invite Him into our crazy world, our messes, our turmoil and yes even our issues that we think can never be fixed.  We try so hard to work it out by ourselves...aren't you tired?  God says "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Let Him give you rest, let Him give you peace, let Him give you hope...we need Him.


On another note:
 With HOPE that the spring weather will be soon to come, I've add some spring touches around the house
Living room

Foyer dresser


Bunny planter


Door basket

And Introducing Buster my new pup




 




Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Greatest of these is Love..."

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.   And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
 
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;   does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;   does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.   For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
 I Corinthians 13

There is nothing more to say after reading these scriptures about the true meaning of Love. Nothing to be added or deleted. Thank you Lord for not only giving us the true meaning of Love, but you demonstrated it so beautifully through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

February 14th is a special day, a day to show your love ones how much you love them! It also was my wedding anniversary.  But I rejoice!  I rejoice for the people that are still able to celebrate their love ones on this earth and I rejoice because God allowed me to experience a good marriage with a precious, God fearing man. We were blessed to experience the true love of  I Corinthians 13.

Happy Valentine's Day y'all!  Show your loved ones some love today and always!

On another note, here are some pictures of my home decorations and from my favorite Tea Room from years past:

Front doors

Front porch

My favorite Tea Room!

Tea Room!

Tea Room!

A Heart Tree at the Tea Room!

Vintage Heart Pottery

Vintage Heart Pottery

Lovebirds!

Roses from my sweet sister!







 



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Whiter than snow...

"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."Psalms 51:7

There is nothing more beautiful that fresh fallen snow. In the area where I live we are now into our 4th major snow storm and though I do not like the clean up part, I confess that I love the snow when it is falling and fresh on the ground. If you go outside when the snow is beginning to fall there is a holy hush, a serene quietness, almost as if nature is standing in awe of it's own beauty.  And when it has fallen to the ground and no man nor animal has marred it's surface, it is the cleanest, purest, and most pristine sight! 


And yet the scripture says that when God cleanses us, it is even whiter than snow. What a wondrous miracle that is!  That He loves us so much that when we ask Him to take away our sins and mean it from our hearts He removes them and cleanses us of all unrighteousness. 
[I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.]


Several years ago, around this time of the year, one of my best friends, who was very ill with just a few more weeks to live on this earth said to me in a phone conversation from her bed: "When I look out the window at the snow, I think of how clean the Lord has washed my sins away." She was a person that loved the Lord with all her heart and was a blessing to her family and so many others. The illness was not kind to her, she suffered very much in her body and yet she still was at peace, so very much at peace and in her own way declared from her heart with great assurance "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

Every time I see snow at it's purest I think of her and it is a gentle reminder of God's unfailing love for us.  I don't know about you but God had a lot of cleaning up to do with me and it is still a daily practice that I ask Him to forgive me and cleanse me. And He is so faithful.







Here is an old hymn that says it all:

"O for a Heart whiter than snow"
Eliza Edmunds Hewitt (1851-1920)

O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
Kept, ever kept 'neath the life-giving flow,
Cleansed from all evil, self-seeking and pride,
Kept pure and holy by Calvary's tide!

Refrain

O for a heart whiter than snow!
Saviour divine, to whom else shall I go?
Thou who didst die, loving me so,
Give me a heart that is whiter than snow.


O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
Calm in the peace that he loves to bestow,
Daily refreshed by the heavenly dews,
Ready for service whene'er he shall choose!

Refrain

O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
With the pure flame of the Spirit aglow,
Filled with the love that is true and sincere,
Love that is able to banish all fear!

Refrain

O for a heart that is whiter than snow,
Then in his grace and his knowledge to grow,
Growing like him who my pattern shall be,
Till in his beauty my King I shall see!

On another note:  Here are some pics of my "Winter White" décor















And a "Hello" from Mr. Winter White himself!  BRUNO!