Saturday, December 28, 2013

Child-like Faith


Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”  And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them. 
 Mark 10:15-16, Luke 18:17


The innocence of a child is so precious and pure. And though an assignment from hell to steal that innocence has been around for centuries, it seems the tempo has been quickened. Proof of that can be seen every time you pick up a newspaper or read the latest news on your computer. It seems the age of the victims of this attack gets younger and younger as the years go by.  And yet I also see parents and guardians encouraging their children to grow up quickly: by making little girls wear makeup and compete to see who’s the prettiest, allowing children to be entertained by things that are designed for adults and ignoring, even finding it amusing when they, the children, adopt and mimic profane mannerisms and language. God help us, because we have helped to speed up this hellish assignment.
Jesus, I believe was so drawn to children because of their innocence and undaunted willingness to believe the TRUTH. His words fell on fresh, newly tilled soil and sprung up with an urgency to grow.  Not to grow up so that “No one will be able to tell ME what to do”, but to grow and receive more of the Truth so that a solid foundation would exist and there would be relationship with the Father.

 
I am told that when my older brother was a child, an acquaintance of his burst a balloon , so my brother got an old rusty nail and announced that  “My Da will fix it."  We always laugh at that story, but think about his faith in his father.  Oh that we would believe that Our Father could and will do the impossible for us!  Child-like faith that’s what Jesus meant.  A belief and trust that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us and wants the best for us. Maybe you didn’t have a good example for a father or did not even know your father at all…still we are without excuse because we have a Heavenly Father that is perfect. ” When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” Psalms 27:10
As we prepare to enter into a new year, we do not know what the future may hold, yet we must not fear. I believe that the greatest faith of all is not that of the great teachers and preachers across this land, but the greatest faith is that of a child that solely and purely believes that His Daddy spoke and speaks the Truth and that settles it all. We must trust God and yes even with a childlike faith believe that He is taking care of us. No matter the hopelessness that is being reported in the media we must believe that our Father is in charge and in doing so we receive the kingdom of God.

 

 

 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Time...A wonderful time of the year!

"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Christmas will be different for me this year. For the past 11 years, I have spent Christmas away from home, traveling to be with family. This year I feel the Lord saying for me to stay at home.  I don't quite understand it but feel it necessary to heed to this gentle persuading.  I am not sad about it because I know that when He asks us to do (or not to do) something it is for the greater good, the bigger picture.  So I have settled into making this holiday a very special one.

Though I will very much miss being with family, I will not miss the hustle and bustle of the airport. An 11:00AM flight for me means getting up at 4:00AM so that I can finish packing, getting the dog to the kennel, then coming back to make sure everything has been done, i.e. mail stopped, neighbors notified, water turned off (I have a story to tell  about not turning the water off once and came home to over 4 feet of water in the basement from a broken water heater), thermostat adjusted, doors and windows locked, etc., etc.  The Rapid Rover (airport shuttle) picks me up at 8:00AM, THEN it's checking in luggage , going through security and the long walk to the gate.  By the time I am finally on the plane I am exhausted.  I don't see how folks travel for a living!

No matter where we may be at Christmas, may we remember the true meaning of this Holy Day!  God sent His only Son to earth in the form of a baby.  He came in the most vulnerable form to show how much He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us!  And as He grew in wisdom and stature as the Bible says, He fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, He IS a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and may the Prince of Peace reign in our homes, our lives and in our hearts!

On another note:

This year I added some animal print to my decorations, here are just a couple of pictures:


Front doors

Welcome Rug

Apple & Pomegranate Topiary
 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Giving Thanks


Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.   I Chronicles 16:34

The roots of the fallen tree
Looking out of my dining room window I can see the clear blue sky, so lovely.  Before October of last year I did not have this view…my neighbor’s 40 foot tree stood in all its glory, branches reaching to the sky.  But during Hurricane Sandy of 2012 that mighty tree became a casualty of the storm.  That tree that had been there for decades was lifted roots and all and pushed to its side on the ground!  When we surveyed the damages after the storm, I looked in amazement that if the tree had fallen to the left, it would have landed on my house and 2 of the upstairs bedrooms, along with the dining and living room would have been destroyed.  Instead the tree looked as if something pushed it backwards and into the lot of a temporarily vacant home.  All I could say was “Thank You Lord” for your protection!  That even through the storm, with winds blowing over 50 miles an hour and the house sounding like it would fall apart, and I did not know what was going on outside, you kept me safe from harm!
And isn’t that how it is, when we go through a “storm”? We may not know the outcome, the situation may consume our thoughts, the tempest may roar and there is frustration, confusion and even anger BUT God wants us to trust Him that He will keep us safe and will surely work it all out.

I have so much to be thankful for, this is just one instance when I KNOW that it was Him that kept me safe.  When I look over my life, and I trace my steps through many things that maybe some would have crumbled, had a nervous breakdown, lost their mind and even just plain old given up, I can see how He has kept  me.  It is by no means a testament to my strength, because I KNOW that without Him I would not be here today.

 Many years ago when I sat on the steps of our Philadelphia row home and looked into the sky and said “God if you’re real and you hear me, show me You.”  This came from a heart that was searching for real peace, and even though I had “things”, it did not satisfy.  Having grown up in the church I knew about God, but didn’t really KNOW Him.  But after that night He made Himself known to me through a neighbor that would come to talk to me about her experience with Jesus.  I don’t even remember her full name, but I thank God for her and her faithfulness, because it started me on a road to get to know God better.
The journey has not always been easy, but this I know, God is faithful and has never left my side since I invited Him to come into my heart. I have so much to be thankful for! Through the sun, the rain, the good times, the bad times God has remained consistent, you see He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Some people disagree that God is not good, because of something that has happened tragic in their lives.  I don’t profess to know everything, but why not ask Him?  Invite Him into your life and then ask Him, give Him the chance to love you.

Thank You Father God for Your loving kindness that endures forever, thank you Jesus for dying for my sins, for paying the penalty that I could not  pay, and thank you Holy Spirit for being my teacher, guide and comforter.  You are all three in One and I thank You! May I always keep my hand in Yours, my eyes on You and most importantly, keep my heart as Yours.  Thank You!

 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Time flies!

I cannot believe that November is already half over!  And really the Christmas season is in full swing!  I don't do much decorating like I used to, but I still like to add some gaiety to the house after all we are celebrating Christ's Birthday! 

I still have the Fall deco up and it will stay up until the last day of November (don't ask me why, but that's the day I always do it).  But here are some things I've done in previous years:

Love this teapot, got it from Ross a few years ago along with some platters and creamer, all with scriptures on them.
 

My favorite Snowman that gets a place of honor in the living room  :-)


Outdoor Apple topiary, I have 2 that I got a few years go from Target, they are by Smith & Hawken, love their stuff!

The "Hope" ornament is one of my favorites, first thing to see when you enter the house.


One year (2011) I used the colors green and gold, so I used all my green glass.
 
 
Can't forget a snack for Santa ("Santa" meaning any hungry person that gets this first!)  lol


I hope that you enjoy your time of decorating for the Christmas season! Treasure and savor every moment, whether you are alone or with family!  Jesus IS the Reason for the Season!
 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Does God care about our tears?

“Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother."  Luke 7:11-15

I suppose that most of my writings some say are about suffering and sad stuff…but I write what I am learning at the time.  I remember praying and asking God what was my purpose and I believe that the answer came back with a question. “What moves you the most?”  With that I realized that as far back as I can remember I was always so moved and touched by anyone or anything that was hurting.  Rather it was the lost little kitten or the schoolmate that was being abuse by her relatives; I took this hurt deep into my heart and wanted to fix them.  As the years have passed and I’ve experienced some pain myself, it has given me more compassion for those that are suffering and I want to fix it.  If I see someone cry, rather happy or sad tears, I cry. It’s hard to listen to the news or read a newspaper without feeling a very deep sadness. Or to hear someone describe a painful injury or surgery without what I call a twerking in my extremities, we laugh about this at work, but it is so real. J
I know that I am not the only one that has compassion for hurting people, there are many and I believe that God wants to use us in this world.

Does God care about our tears? Yes, He stopped a funeral procession and saw the pain of this woman, who had already lost her husband and now her only son.  He was moved with compassion and told her “Don’t cry.”  He saw her tears, better yet He felt her tears and He did something about it.
So many times when we go through trials we wonder “Does anyone care?” “Does God even care?” I remember that not long after my husband passed and I was walking in a store and everyone around me were laughing and talking and acting as if business as usual.  I wanted to cry out and say “Don’t you see that I’m hurting?”  Don’t you feel what I feel?” “Don’t you see that my life has been turned upside down and I can’t fix it!”  But the answer is No, they can’t see and they can’t feel what you are going through, but there is One Who does and His Name is Jesus.  His whole reason to coming to this earth was to be “Emmanuel” God with us.  To show us that yes, I know what it’s like to be hurt, rejected, misunderstood and abused. Hebrews 4 says it best:

“ For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16
He not only sees our tears, but He cares. And when we ask Him to comfort us He will. I heard evangelist Christine Caine say “What we do does not change God.” Her meaning was, no matter
how we may fail, fall short, disappoint, hurt, suffer, etc.  It does not change God…God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He IS the same loving, merciful God with arms always open to receive us.  It is US that have to learn how to humbly come to Him and accept His mercy, goodness, comfort and whatever else we need…He IS our all in all.  We must allow Him to console us when we cry.  We may not understand all in this life, but we can have the assurance that we can trust the One who knows our future.  Let Him touch your broken and hurting places…let Him dry your tears.

 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

November ! sweet November!

Well I made it through October and I thank God!  I feel a little lighter now!  This was my morning Bible reading:

Psalms 13

 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
 How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
  and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
  How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
  Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,
  and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
  my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
   for he has been good to me.
 
"Give light to my eyes..." stood out to me in these scriptures.  When you go through grief sometimes it feels like the light has gone out of your eyes.  I look in the mirror sometimes and feel that my eyes are not the same...they have seen great sadness.  But there is hope my friends!  God IS the Light and as we call on Him, He will fill us to overflowing with His love!   King David of the Bible, who wrote most of the Psalms, went through every emotion I believe that I have and am going through and He always ended them with HOPE!  And that is what I feel...HOPE!  Life can sometimes deliver a punch it seems below the belt...seems so not fair...but our Referee Jesus is ALWAYS on call to hear our cry and deliver us.
 
The key for me is learning how to ALLOW God to intervene in my situations.  So many times I try to work it out by myself, and though I may think I am so strong, I can never be as strong and mighty as my Father God.  He will never interfere and MAKE us do anything, but as we hand over our burdens to Him He will faithfully take them and give us Peace and the knowledge that He will and is continually working things out.
 
I admit it unashamedly I need Him!

 
I LOVE this old  hymn :                   
 
I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.
Refrain:
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

I need thee every hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
(Refrain)

I need thee every hour; teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises in me fulfill.
(Refrain)

I need thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me thine indeed, thou blessed Son.
 
Listen to the group Selah's version:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-LkUTjYSUs

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October


I have a "Love/Hate" relationship with the month of October...  well... maybe hate is too strong a word, so let's just say dis-like. My mother's birthday is on the 2nd and my husband's is the 22nd, so that's the beginning and towards the end of the month.  With all my excitement about the changing season and decorating, I say every year that I won't let it affect me...but it does.  I miss them both so much!  Both of them loved this season too.  My husband and I would always take a weekend in the fall to go on a getaway up to Lancaster Pa. to see the changing foliage.  My Mom always talked about how she loved the cool, crisp mornings in South Carolina, how she would open the windows and let the fresh breeze flow through the house after being closed up during the long hot summer.

I know that I must move on, God IS my help during times of sadness...but I am human and those feelings do come. So that is why I hang on to the Psalms, they encourage me, they remind me that I need not fear anything even the sadness that try to overtake me during this time. And though it seems like it is a battle going on with my emotions, God has already made me the victor as I trust Him!  Here is one of my favorite ones...

Psalms 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
 
On another note...here are a few pictures of my 2013 Fall d├ęcor:
 I Love pumpkins!
 
Antique Clock from Germany
Pitcher and bowl a gift from a sweet friend, I use it for every season
China Cabinet rescued about 20 years ago just before it was put on the trash pile!
Kitchen corner
Welcome to Autumn!
 
 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Gratefulness !

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,..."  Hebrews 12:28

This morning I am just grateful...grateful for a faithful God.  He knew me before I was even formed in my mother's womb (Psalms 139).  And even though He knew all the mistakes and bad decisions that I would make along life's journey, He STILL allowed me to be born and to come into this world!

God's love is fathomless, we could never determine the depth nor the height of His love for us.  Though He never condones my wrongdoings, He knows beforehand and forgives me when I come to Him with a repentant heart.  We could never earn God's love, it is so very unconditional and the scriptures tells us that we can never get away from it.

I am so grateful that He knew me, saw me, loves me, keeps me and continue to hold me in the palm of His almighty Hand...never to let go!

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.   For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:37-39

I know that the fall is not here yet, but I'm chomping at the bit to pull my decorations out!  here are a few from last year:



Here is my foyer  Fall '12

Dining room table  Fall '12

Dining room buffet  Fall '12


Kitchen area  Fall '12


Front doors  Fall '12



Front Porch  Fall '12



Pumpkin tea set !


Kitchen table Fall '12


On top of Antique china cabinet  Fall '12




 
 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Gown


Yesterday I woke up with so much energy that before I even brushed my teeth I attacked my closets.  About twice a year I go through the house and gather things that I have not used or worn in 2 years or less and I pack them up and off they go to a charitable organization.
I pounced on my closet and though some things were hard to let go, I knew that if I had not worn it in a while I probably would not do so in the future so out it went.  As I was re-checking, my eye caught something sparkling way back in the recesses of the closet.  In all honesty I knew what it was; it was a sequined formal gown.  I removed the clear plastic covering and saw that it was still beautiful, dark periwinkle blue with silver sequins…lovely.  I calculated that it had been hanging there for over 15 years unused. It was outdated of course with the shoulder pads, but still lovely.

Of course I tried to reason keeping it; after all, I paid good money for it and who knows I could have the shoulder pads removed  and it will be good as new, because you never know when I may need a blue and silver sequined gown at the last moment to wear…WHERE?  WAKE UP Sweet pea you’re dreamin’ !
When I finally settled down and allowed God to speak to my heart, I began to see what that gown “represented” to me.  Years ago I was a part of the cast of a musical play that is very well known in this area. I was soloist for a couple of the songs in this play.  I wore this gown for the finale solo, it was a dynamic scene, with special props and lighting. The gown sparkled under the lighting as the glorious Heaven scene was being portrayed on stage.  What a great season in my life to be a part of that.  But just as seasons change, it was time to let go.

The gown represented a very good time in my life.  It was a time of recognition, accolades, compliments and of gratitude that I was a part of something where God was touching the lives of many people. It represented something good, but it was time to move on to the next season.
Through my life’s journey it has been a monumental time of growing up!  I often chuckle how sometimes God uses things that we think are negatives to motivate a positive outcome.  For instance gone are the accolades, compliments and recognition, but in its place are confidence, character and assurance in God and of who He is. I admit it, I had a lot of growing up to do and in the process I have lost some things and especially some people very precious to me, but through it all I have a clearer image of Jesus and His precious love for me. I am no longer in the limelight, but I desire to continually be in His light, the Son’s light. I am like my dog Bruno who is always looking for a sunny spot on the carpet so that he can bathe in its warmth.  I pray that I always search and yearn for His light, so that I can bathe in His Truth, Love and yes warmth.
So…letting go…even it is was a good thing, even if it represents a great time, when it’s time to move on, you gotta let go.  I’m sure we have all heard the analogy of a person holding something so tightly in their hand until God Himself cannot open it to pour in something fantastic!  We cannot fully experience and enjoy what He has for us until we let go and trust Him to fill that spot with what He wants for us…now.

Well, after I admired the gown for a few more minutes, inspecting the sequins and even smiling to myself as I remembered the good times…I covered it back up and placed it with the other things to be taken away. No tears, no regrets, just thankfulness for a faithful God who directs our paths that takes us from season to season.

“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:19

 

 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Victory! My right to "Bare" Arms!


“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 I Corinthian 15:57

 Well the summer season is winding down.  Even though the temperature outside is still hot, I can feel it in the early morning.  Feels like autumn is just around the corner…

As I look back over the summer, there were three major things that I accomplished.  I had the house painted outside: you cannot imagine the relief I felt when I finally was able to find, with the help of my neighbors, a house painter that not only was a good professional but he had a wonderful
attitude (those 2 things don’t usually come together).  He did a fantastic job!  Secondly, I had some major tree removal and trimming done in the backyard.  Last fall’s Hurricane Sandy that swept through my area did damage to a lot of trees. One very tall Pine tree that was leaning at a 90 degree angle had to come down and several other smaller trees were removed.  When the Tree guy was done, it looked like the sunshine had come back in.  Just a side note:  It is hard when you are a widow or single sometimes to find good reliable people to do projects around the house. My advice is to ask your neighbors or co-workers for references, if the workers are referred by someone you both know or who has utilized them, they most likely will do a better and reliable job.


And thirdly (drum roll please), I got the victory over my reluctance to wear sleeveless tops!  Yep you heard it correctly!  I got the victory over my “Right to BARE Arms!”  My UPPER arms that is.  I’m sure that to a lot of you reading this it may seem absurd, but I was not blessed with trim, firm upper arms and as the years have gone by they seem to want to migrate south…and in a hurry!  So my cure for all of my adult life has been to never wear sleeveless tops.  Not even a cap sleeve, it had to be at least a ¾ sleeve.

My arms and I were fine with that arrangement until the soaring, relentless heat wave that hit us this summer.  Honey it was HOT!  and for a very long time.  I wish that I could tell you that I was awakened by the voices of a band of angels singing “It is well for you to bareth  your uppereth  arms”.  But no! I was so hot one day and I looked down and saw that I had on a long sleeved top with the sleeves pushed up mind you, but it hit me! “You are nuts!  GOD gave you your arms and if they are working properly, you ought to be thankful!”   I couldn’t get to the store fast enough!  I bought the cutest really short sleeve tops and when I tried them on, yes my upper arms sagged and swaggered to the occasion but I rejoiced because I no longer felt that worry of what folks will think! I was FREEEEEEE  and  Cooool!  Hallelujah!  And I looked cute too!  LOL.





 So Thanks be to God who gives us the Victory!  Does God care about the little things in our lives? You bet He does.  He wants us to be victorious in every area of our lives,  even if it’s the victory over exposing your upper arms.   So thankful that I can laugh over my sweet victories! Thank God for having a sense of humor and helping me to laugh loudly through this journey of life!
 
 
On another note:  Check out the  full size Tea set I found at the local GW for $3.99