Beauty for Ashes

 

many-roses-pic

             “God makes all everything beautiful in his time.”  ( Ecclesiastics 3:11)

The Bible tells us that God wants to take our struggles and make something beautiful from them. His plans are good for us even in the mist of a storm.  Jeremiah 29:11  tells us “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

If 2016 brought you disappointment, sorrow, or discouragement, this post is for you. None of us are immune to pain. It is part of His plan. But the beautiful part is that he:

Consoles those who mourn in Zion,

to give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

( Isaiah 61:3)

Have you made a New Year’s Resolution? I have and its based on this verse. May God bring beauty from the ashes in my life. I’m trusting this verse to bring me the joy, peace, and love that I desire in 2017.

Why do we go through the fire?

Psalm 84:6 tells us that As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools.”  

Those of us that go through times of mourning and weeping we make a well, so the next person has water to drink from. Their pain is not as hurtful. We are able to encourage, help ,and love on those that are mourning.

If you haven’t thought of a word or phrase to define your journey into 2017 join me in this phrase based on God’s promises!

beauty-for-ashes

 

Linking up with: Coffee for your heart 

Back to the Future

Date and Time Machine remix

~This year marks the 30th anniversary of the movie Back to the Future!

I don’t know why but the future and the past are often on our minds more than the present. It seems that we often think about the past and our regrets, or we dream about a better future. But living in the moment–that is hard. Whether we are making plans for the holidays, or scrap-booking pictures from yesterday, our daily lives often get lost in simple mundane activities that seem to take up all of our time. This may be why the movie Back to the Future was so popular when it was first released in 1985 and is just as popular today. It explores the subject of the past and the future and how the two coincide.

The recent reviewing in theaters of Back to the Future II on October 21,2015 marked the time that Marty and Doc Brown went into the future.  According to the movie’s  predictions, we are supposed to have incredible inventions such as the hover-board, flying cars, hands-free video games, and fingerprint identification which allows clearance through doors by scanning finger tips. Some of these predictions were correct.  For example, Microsoft’s Kinect allows hands-free gaming, and fingerprint scanning is now widely used by theme parks.  Even our phones are starting to use bio-metric identification for security.

Back-To-The-Future-November-1955-Hill-Valley-Telegraph-Newspaper-7

Today marks the time that Marty McFly traveled back in time, November 5, 1855. 

The instantaneous time travel was not planned but was a result of his friend Doc Brown’s ingenious invention mixed with poor decision-making.  Doc lives his life in a way that takes chances in order to accomplish the extraordinary.  His message is remarkable, “If you set you mind to something you can accomplish anything.”  Doc is the ultimate example of this statement. The time machine was his most extraordinary and risky invention, but on the quest to invent such an extraordinary machine, he never stopped to ask himself if he should.

You see, it is great to have dreams and to have vision but if it doesn’t align with God’s plan then we shouldn’t continue with it. Sometimes it might seem hard to know what God’s plan is; however,  we can always refer to the word of God to give us the big picture. Prayer, fellowship, and discernment help us to determine our smaller steps.

A verse that often helps with decisions is from Micah 6:8:

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”

micah 6

Proverbs 16:9 tells us that God is directing our path:

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

The lesson we learn from Doc Brown is this: Even if we can accomplish something we need to ask the question if we should accomplish it. In Back to the Future Marty McFly finds himself flying through time because he is trying to escape a group of angry Libyan terrorists who are seeking revenge for Doc Browns theft of their plutonium. When the doctor sees them coming he knows that they are not there to negotiate but to murder him for deceiving them. The words he said to his friend Marty where this: Oh, my God, they found me, I don’t know how, but they found me. Run for it Marty.”

 So often, when we give into a bad decisions, we forget that we are not only taking a chance that we can get hurt, we are risking the well-being and happiness of those that we care about. Because our sin affects others. Doc Brown, in this moment in time, pays a heavy price for his sin with his life. And although Marty escapes in a time machine, he has a long way to go before he can secure his own life and safety back in 1985. It seems this invention has only created heartache.

But wait… they do manage to fix things, right? As far as Hollywood is concerned, on a date with destiny (the time lightning strikes the clock tower), Marty and Doc Brown do a remarkable job of not only returning Marty to the future ad warning Doc about the terrorists, but also helping his father.  And lets not forget about Mayor Goldie Wilson.  The movie illustrates this can all be fixed…

But outside of Hollywood deception and death are not so easy to reverse. You see the bible tells us that even if we are able to deceive others we can not deceive God because we can’t escape his presence. It’s important to realize that our sin will always be found out. Even we believe we can get away with sin amongst or friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers, the sin or poor action will not escape the eyes of God.

Psalms 139: 7-10 :

 “ Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.”

Although, Doc Brown was smart enough to create a time machine out of a DeLorean he is not cleaver enough to cheat sin. You see, although it was a great idea to create a time machine, Doc was so focused on whether or not he could, he never stopped to wonder if he should.

I think this scenario happens more often than we realize. Do we believe that the ends justify the means. If you can do something amazing but in the process you would need to break one of God’s laws would you still do it?

My answer is a resounding, “No.”

I believe that any task that includes lying, cheating, stealing, or any other sin is not part of God’s plan and isn’t worth the risk. However, if I follow God’s law I will live a life under the watch of my Father’s eyes. It’s important to know and believe that miracles still happen. God is the ultimate creator. We are his design. As we submit to his will we will live a life that is exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ever ask or think. If you are facing a hard decision today, might I suggest that you trust Him. His plan is always better than anything we can ever ask or think.

In Back to the Future III, Doc Brown does offer us all good advice. Our futures haven’t been written yet.  He says that,”your future is whatever you make of it, so make it a good one.” Although this eccentric scientist has gotten some things wrong, he has also gotten some things right. Our futures are ultimately in God’s hands, but in order to be in the center of his plan we need to seek him with our heart, mind, and soul.

Matthew 6:33 

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

 

Linking up with: Coffee for my Heart ,Women with Intention Wednesdays, Whole Hearted Home, Word Filled Wednesdays, Tell His Story, Three Word Wednesday, the RaRaLinkup, A Little R& R    Grace and TruthFaith Filled Fridays, Women Living Well, and The Weekend Brew.

What Every Woman Should Know

Everywoman roses

 

Everywoman should know how to cry, laugh, and listen

Crying is beautiful, listening is a way to be there for another person,

and laughing is the best remedy for any aliment

Everywoman should know that timing is everything,

You may not be ready for your husband or your husband

may not be ready for you, so you should be patient

There is no perfect husband so don’t wait too long

It is better to have loved, and even lost, then never to have loved at all.

Everywoman should know that a house is not their foundation

it is the people in the house that matters the most, you can lose your

home and replace it, but if you lose your husband, daughter, or

faith your foundation will be shaken

Everywoman should know that everything that happens is for a

purpose, and every struggle makes us stronger, it’s an opportunity to

become better, but if you are not careful about your perspective you

can become bitter, so always choose to see struggles as an

opportunity to grow

Everywoman should know that happy people are kind, and unhappy

individuals are capable of hurting others due to the fact that they

are hurting inside, when others criticize you it is more about them,

then it is so much about you, so take it with a grain of salt

Everywoman should know that money cannot buy happiness, being

true to yourself and your values will always bring a return that is

immeasurable

Everywoman should know that friends are as priceless as gold,

cherish your friends, they are also like

wine they get better as each year continues

Everywoman should know that popularity will fade with time, but a

true friend will last a lifetime, don’t neglect your true friends

Everywoman should know everyone makes mistakes and no one is

perfect, so we should always forgive and forget, when we have been

hurt deeply forgiveness may take time, but time does heal all

wounds

Everywoman should know that the grass is not always greener on the

other side of the fence, although there may be some woman that

have it better, there is always someone who has it worse, so be

thankful for what you have, and count your blessings every day

Everywoman should know that mistakes are as never bas as the way

we make them to be, ask yourself this question the next time you

make a mistake in the grand scheme of things does it really matter?

Everywoman should know that balance is the key to peace, never feel

like you have to do the most, never do the least, but try to be

somewhere in the middle

Everywoman should know that people will never remember what you

said, but they will always remember how you made them feel when

you said it, so speak the truth in love

Everywoman should know that ignorance is bliss, try to make

yourself ignorant sometimes so you can enjoy life, don’t worry about

everything, allow others to help you, and remember to only take one

day at a time, and rest at least one day out of the week

Everywoman should know that it is better to take risks then to live

with regret, if you have an opportunity to fulfill a dream you may

not have that opportunity tomorrow, so see every moment as a gift

and take an opportunity when you have the chance, once an

opportunity is gone…it’s gone

     Linking up with: The Weekend Brew , Testimony Tuesday, and Coffee for Your heart.

 

The Hollywood Homeless

Hollywood1

I had never been to Hollywood Blvd. before, but I thought I knew what to expect on my first visit. Images from films, stories from friends and family–I knew that the streets were lined with stars with famous actors, musicians, and  directors. I knew about the “Chinese Theater” that has the handprints of celebrities in the cement out in front. To me, Hollywood Blvd. seems to be where the heart of LA lies. It is the attraction of this walk of fame that brings us to its streets filled with shops and movie theaters so grand they host Hollywood premiers.

But, what surprised me, as I was looking excitedly at the names of the various stars, were the people who lived on Hollywood Blvd: The Hollywood homeless.  There were numerous homeless people  on the very sidewalks that we use to honor the legacy of our film, television, and radio”stars.”

Hollywood Homeless Star

Walking up and down Hollywood Blvd and seeing the names of the stars next to a homeless person on the street brought me to a place of humility.

Was I part of the problem? Why do I look to honor the “stars” anyway? Why should they receive more of my attention than any of the homeless–much less the store owners and workers, restaurant workers etc. on that very same street? As I continued down Hollywood’s walk of fame my eyes were drawn to  familiar actors, directors, and singers. But I also noticed the stars that were empty (waiting to have a name inscribed) and I couldn’t help but think that the homeless men and women living on that street deserved their name on the sidewalk. Perhaps, more so than the actors and actresses. After all, they are the ones that live on Hollywood Blvd. Why not honor each of them? Not with just a name in a star, but love, compassion, shelter, and understanding. With all the wealth in Hollywood, why wasn’t there an effective charity that impacts these streets?  

What do we mean by “star”? A star shines brightly in the night. It’s magnifying  light contrasts with dark night.  Stars are put on pedestals–they are considered to be higher than the “Average Joe “. But where do their talents for singing, acting, directing, come from?

Do they not come from God?

Shouldn’t the credit be given to Him?

So often the Maker of Man is left out of the equations. And what is God’s perspective on Hollywood’s walk of fame?

I’m not sure myself…however, I don’t think that we are to place one another above each other. The  Bible,  in contrast to making a name for ourselves, encourages unity by humility. Philippians 2:3 reads:

 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.

Romans tells us that” all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” ( Romans 3:23) Thus, no one is greater except the name of Jesus.

The homeless that live on Hollywood Blvd. are made in God’s image and are of equal value in God’s eyes to the ones we honor with their names in stars on the street. I hope that when we  visit the walk of fame that we would not  ignore those that need our help that live on those very streets. They need our help and support. Many of these people had dreams of stardom themselves.  Dreams that brought them to Hollywood only to leave them broken and empty-handed. Even though they didn’t succeed in Hollywood, they are of no less of importance in God’s eyes. Because in God’s eyes we are all the same.

In God’s eyes we are all the same. We were made in his image and we are all his children. 

Linking up with:  A Wise Woman Builds Her Home , Faith Filled Friday , Grace & Truth , The Weekend Brew , and Coffee for Your Heart.

Learning to Dance in the Rain…

Learning to dance in the rain.

 When I graduated from my credential program, I was ecstatic to say the least. It was a hard year and a financial strain because I was student teaching. During this time, I was  learning so much but not yet receiving a paycheck.  My husband and I lived in a small apartment and we owned one car. So getting to classes was hard although I was blessed to be in a program with a group of women that were amazing. Together, we helped one another through this program. One  friend in the program gave me rides everyday. As each of us had a difficulty that came up, we all pitched in to help.

At the end of the program, when all our final projects and reports were done, we  had a celebration party. Nothing too fancy, but memorable and heartfelt. It was Spring and the sun shined brightly with enough warmth to make even the Grinch smile from cheek to cheek. The excitement of new opportunities was in the air… as well as the smell of fresh flowers that were beginning to bloom. I remember shades of color, like pink, orange,and blue.

We met in a home which made the atmosphere cozy, comfortable, and sweet.  There were muffins and pastries and a nice chicken dinner. We ate and talked about everything we had been through. We were all in agreement that we benefited so much from being a tight-knit group. We had done it together. And enjoyed the feeling of knowing that this journey had finally come to an end. Some of us had already signed teaching contracts for the Fall and some of us were still in the process. But the hardest part was done.

We did it!  We were finally credentialed teachers!

At the end of the celebration, our supervising professor read us a book. I had never heard this book before, but I did know the author– Dr. Seuss. I had read “Green Eggs and Ham” as a kid along with several other classics like “The Cat in the Hat,” ” One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and the infamous,  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  The funny stories, bright beautiful illustrations and interesting characters kept me entertained for hours– and still do.

But this book held a title I had never heard before, “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” At first I thought this was a showcase of another wonderful children’s book that we could read to our kids.But this wasn’t the case. The beginning words of the book, “Congratulations today is your day you are off to new places far and away” spoke volumes to me because I was going to be starting a new journey.

The Places You'll Go !

As the book continued with its inspiring words I knew it wasn’t just a showpiece–it was intended for us. These next words, “You’re on your own. And you know what you know” where especially meaningful. We would all be going in our own directions. And although we were more than prepared to begin this new journey, it is always hard to leave the comfort of friends that you have had the support of for sometime.

Oh, the Places You'll Go ! By: Dr. Seuss

Just as there are many pages and chapters in a book, there are many chapters in our lives that are made out of the choices that we make. We can choose are own life’s path, our careers, friends, places we see and things that we do.  Our passions, the people and places in which we choose to spend our time–make up the many pages and chapters of our storybook.  We are the authors to our life’s story.

As our Professor–mentor and friend–continued to  read each page, she showed us the illustrations as well. I felt my heart skip a beat or two, and  by the end I felt tears fall down on my cheeks.  I was taken by surprise, I never would have thought a simple book by Dr. Seuss could make me have such an emotional reaction, but it did. And it was a sweet occasion. They were tears of joy. And aside from shedding some tears, I laughed a few times too.

It was very clear this book was intended for us–a perfect graduation day book filled with wisdom, motivation, and truth. Although predominantly a children’s author, the wisdom and well intended verses tell a tale of life’s highs and lows.  Whatever our background, and whatever our journey, it is never so simple as a one straight path . We all have ups and downs. Seasons of blessings and times of great despair; and of course there are times that fall in-between there. We experience sadness and loneliness too.

As she continued to read  the words, she came to the point in this true to life magical tale, that  describes the times in our life where we will shine.. The words of wisdom were well versed ….

Oh, the Places You'll Go! Dr. Seuss

At  the story progressed,  I felt hopeful that these words would be true. That I would find success and “soar to high heights.” I felt excited and a bit nervous  because we were all taking off on a new flight towards achieving our dreams. Soon we would be in a classroom filled with kids to teach. And we did want to succeed.

Flash forward several years–  and yes– I have achieved some success. We have bought a house. I obtained  a fulfilling teaching  career. I have been on vacations a time or two. We have enjoyed the peace and serenity that life can bring through contentment and self-actualization. However, just as the next lines in the book describes, “Hang-ups and Bang-ups can happen to you.” I have experienced life’s inevitable failures too.

Oh the Places Youll Go, Left  in a lurch Oh the Places You'll Go Hang ups and Bang ups Dr. Seuss

Life never offers us a guarantee that we will have smooth sailing along the way.  We will all win and lose at times. And experiences both success and failure. And unfortunately for me for this period of time, I have had some bad luck. These verses describe my life to a “T.” The funny thing is I had no idea that anything bad was headed my way. As I get older, I realize that this is just the way life is, a car accident can happen in a moments notice, a sickness, a financial hardship, an end of a friendship or marriage.

Sometimes we are blindsided.

We never see it coming and we are not prepared to handle the situation. At first, we might do anything at all because–like this picture–we are just hanging there. As we watch from a distance everyone else’s  life carry on and begin to wonder,  “Why me,”  “How did this happen?” or “Why didn’t I see this coming?”  Then, so often we  blame ourselves and then we may even blame others.

But the bible tells us in Matthew 5:45  that “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”  Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised  when things begin to go wrong because they happen to everyone. In fact in 1 Peter 4: 12-14 , we are told

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 1but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

This verse speaks volumes to me because we are told not only will we have trials but we should rejoice and be exceedingly glad.

There are many stories in the Bible that show that God allows evil to rain on even though he considers righteous. Job is an example of a righteous man that endured hardship beyond imagine. He lost his wealth, children, and even his health . Furthermore, his friends who should have been be consoling him blamed him for his present misfortune. They said that God must be punishing him from some hidden sin. But this simple was not the case.   I think the saddest part of Job’s story to me is that his friends and wife betrayed him.

Unknown to Job and his friends there was a battle, or a bet, in the spiritual world that was out of the sight and mind of Job. Because he was so righteous he was the target of these maladies–which is exactly the opposite of what his friends assumed. God chose Job to go through a trial because he was God’s best. God bragged about Job and said “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1: 8 ).

Yet, Satan insisted that Job was only good to God because God had blessed him. So God allowed these awful inflictions on Job.  Job persevered and even though his wife cursed God for all that had happened, he did not; he remained faithful. In the end, Job was blessed with double the possessions, wealth, and family that he previously had before the affliction. What a marvelous story to teach us to be faithful no matter what the circumstances.  

I can learn from the story of Job. We don’t know why but we know who is in control.  Trails are hard but they are necessary and  bring value if you are faithful and true. And even when we fail we learn and grow stronger. It may not be in this lifetime but in eternity that the answer will be made known.

I’m not sure why I am going through hardship, but I do know that no matter how strong you are it still hurts. I’m grateful that during this time of trial I have a wonderful family and a few trustworthy friends that I can rely on.  And with their strength, love, and encouragement  when I am weak they help to pull me up.  God is also by my side through this trial.  One of my favorite verses is “If God is for me than who can be against me” (Romans 8:31). Knowing this truth I can continue to hope and pray and keep holding on…

As the wisdom from  Dr. Seuss’s graduation book continues ….

Oh the Places Youll Go Dr. Seuss Waiting Place

This verse “You can get so confused and you’ll start in a race,”  makes me laugh, because I have been running in circles and getting nowhere. I  have asked questions  where I am often met with adversity.  The results are the same there are no current answers. The situation is out of my control and  there is nothing in my power that I can do.

So after exhausting myself I too must surrender to this uncomfortable place… “The Waiting Place.”

Oh the Places You'll Go Dr. Seuss The Waiting Place Oh The Places You'll Go Dr. Seuss Waiting

The “Waiting Place” is exactly where I am right now. I have passed the point of knocking on doors that were never meant to open for me by calling others that are simply not prepared to give me a response.

This page in the storybook of my life is slowly turning into a chapter as the days increase, and I have yet to get the phone call, email, or snail mail that  I have been so longing to hear. Although I have no control over how quickly people are moving on the other side of that phone…

What I can do is pray and do my best not to worry. The Bible gives us advice when it comes to useless worry and unrest. Philippians 4:6-8 says

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

It has taken me some time to do, but I have finally realized that this is what I must do–pray and trust God. Because I get it: The Waiting Place is exactly where God wants me to be at this time.

So now,  I am trusting God’s timing; and I know that He is never early or late but shows up at exactly the right time and place. And everything that is going on behind the scenes– although I may not know–God is in control.

And so,  I have been  trying  to stop fretting and checking my email twenty-five times a day. And instead I am keeping myself  busy.

Now, I have more time now to read the Bible each morning with an enjoyable cup of coffee when I get up. I can exercise by walking around our nearby park. There are plenty of unfinished projects to be done around my house. There are books I can read. And errands that need to be run. Instead of just simple meals I know have the time to make a few dinners that are a little more special. And  I have started to clean areas in my home I never knew needed cleaning because I was too busy to see. And  as I began to fill my new to-do list with this new time that has been divinely  given to me, I finally decide to change my outlook or mind to no longer see this as the  Waiting Place.

Because I am the author to the story of my life , and instead of just waiting, fretting, and pacing, and trying to push through doors that I cannot go through; I have decided to make a place…a comfortable place to make my own song to dance too because…

“Life isn’t about  waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” -author unknown  

 

Ever Present Help in Times of Trouble…

Woods

Each and ever day I need God’s strength to make it through. I cannot predict the future. I face many different decisions throughout the day. There are roads not taken…and some chosen…each with their own bends and twists in the woods that lead us to another unknown place.  Robert Frost wrote a poem describing the dilemma each of us face in the array of choices presented to us each and every day.

The Road Not Taken  1874–1963

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stoodWoods bridge
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The poem, “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost explores the theme of choice.  Yet, there are so many interpretations of how Frost is exploring this theme.  Does it mean that all choices in life our sometimes equal?  For example, the poem suggests that both choices are “just as fair.” Or does it mean that some choices impact us in ways that make “all the difference.” I really do not know. I think the unknown combined with the idea of the dilemma’s we face creates the complexity and  intrigue of this well crafted poem. It is a common but exquisite metaphor, that the speaker is in the woods, a place where we may be scared and in need of safety  from any danger that can approach our way. As I think about my own life,  I often think of a decision I made and don’t see the impact until time has passed. As Robert Frost suggests, in the lines, “I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence,” it is hard to see, in the moment,  the result of a road taken or not taken. For example, how can any of us know if it was the right decision to change careers, start a family, move across the country?  It isn’t until a significant time has passed that the outcome becomes clear.

Woods Waterfallgreen barn

I am intrigued by these lines in the  poem:  “Yet knowing how way leads on to way/ I doubted I would never go back.”  Robert Frost is suggesting that many opportunities may never come around again once we pass them by.  I don’t believe this is true.  Through hope, and determination, and hard work we can revisit paths me may not have been able to walk down before. We should not live in fear. If we are thoughtful and have two choices, sometimes neither can be wrong. Some may be more difficult; however, as this anonymous quote suggests: “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.” If you are ever given two options that are difficult to chose between, you can rest at ease. If we stumble, we may just return, all the more stronger and wiser, to that fork in the woods where we can take the path that we missed. It is never to late to begin again…

Deers in the woods

 

My own version of ” The Road Not Taken” by: Robert Frost

Choices

Although the choices we face in life may always be

filled with doubt, indecision, or regret

It is never to late

Our  life is full of decisions that must be made

but yes, we can always return to another day

Filled with new possibilities

To find love in unknown places,

To find the happiness and the fulfillment we need,

To find a resting place just like home.

Home is where the Heart is. Where does your heart lie?

Small birdhouse

How do we rest and find peace in the mist of the endless bends and twists in this road called life? I rely on God. Psalm 46 reads,” God is our refuge and strength,an ever-present help in trouble.”  Thus, whatever path I chose I can find rest in this,” … Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9

The Blank Canvas

A New Beginning…

Home Inspirational words

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Home. What comes to mind when you hear this word? Right now, for me, it means redecorating; My husband and I are redecorating the living room. Now that we have lived in the house for five years, it’s time to do a little remodeling. My house hasn’t been painted or richly decorated since we moved in.  Replacing old and borrowed items with newly chosen decorations and fresh paint is like a dream come true. I am so excited to begin this summer  journey…

Presently, my living room is filled with a dark chocolate paint from the previous owners. We have made the most of it, but it has always darkened the mood of the room. We brighten it with our decorations and laughter, but what it really needs is a fresh coat of  paint  that is a cheerful color. We chose a blue color called Colorado Springs. Our inspiration came from beautiful photos we came across of different Cape Cod décor. We liked the feeling of those living rooms filled with different shades of  blue and white accents with beach themed attire and decorations. We wanted to bring that calm and serene feeling into our home.

The first few days of painting we were both rejuvenated.  Especially when the primer fully covered the brown walls and all you could see was white. After five years of dark brown, I was estatic to say the least. And then I begin to think…

Although, we have been married for eight years my husband and I were  beginning a new chapter in our life. We both are starting different teaching positions in the Fall. I as a 2nd grade teacher; he as a middle school teacher. Reflecting on this passage from Ecclesiastes 3:3-8, there is “… A time to weepAnd a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance…” reminds me of both my past and present seasons. I  have felt great grief in the past few years. And lately, I am experiencing a time of blessings and I am truly grateful for God’s goodness. As a new season unfolds, I am hoping to see  blooms of love, joy, and peace…

I am embracing the present and letting go of the past. Ecclesiastes 3:3 (NIV) reads, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaves” which reminds me of this truth.

Whatever the season, for good or bad, I pray that I can learn to be content and at peace knowing that God is ultimately in control. I am not there yet, but I know I am a work in progress; God is continuing to shape me, “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand…” Jeremiah 18:6 (NIV).  Likewise, Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)  further explains, “Yet you, Lord, are our Father we are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”  

Bebo Norman’s song ” The Hammer Holds,” illustrates this in a somber and eloquent way: God is constantly shaping us. And when we endure hardships and trials in our life, it is part ot the Maker’s plan. By purifying our hearts, just as gold is refined in fire ,the songwriter expresses the pain of being purified. Yet knows, God is good; this pain is necessary. This  song  comforts me knowing when I am going through a difficult time that it is an intricate  process as God is handcrafting  me for His purpose. The first verse to the song, “A shapeless piece of clay… that’s all I came to be… but this hammer pounds…”

“The Hammer Holds” by: Bebo Norman

As the  smell of  freshly scented paint filled the air, and I  looked at my white newly primed walls, waiting to be splashed with color. I realized my life is a canvas. I can paint on it anything that I so chose. Just as a painter selects a new scene to draw and new colors to paint with I draw on the blank canvas of my life, each day, and make a beautiful piece of art.

The blank canvas before me…

white canvas

                                                                      and the blank canvas  in front of you…

A Father’s Day Benediction

Spiritual Father's Dy photo kid and dad

Dear Jesus,

I know that the definition of a father in our culture most often is referred to as the biological connection between a father and son. Yet, I know so many men that may not have bore a child of their own but are deserving of this title even more so then those that may have a biological child. My husband is a great mentor to kids that come from a poor neighborhood. As a teacher, he is concerned about their academic success. He plans lessons diligently and with care to best meet the needs of all the students in his classroom including ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender, etc. He provides them a safe nurturing environment for them to play games in his classroom after-school, on his own time, taking into consideration the skills he can teach them on a mathematical-logical level in his choice of games. I love him dearly and I honor him as well. I know that he is a dad to so many for a short season as he is investing so much into their development as future leaders. Lord, I ask that you would please bless my Husband on this day for all he does because in my eyes he is a dad!

Sincerely,

A Loving Wife

Spiritual Father's Day