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.

 

I lift my eyes up to the mountains

I lift my eyes5

 Summer is a time for resting, rejuvenating, and rejoicing!

Children are out of school. Families and friends come together in fellowship. Many of us take a vacation. Summer is special to me. As a teacher, I am able to rest, restore, and rebuild my spirit after a whirlwind of hard work throughout the year. Once the school-year ends, rest and rejuvenation begins.

One of my favorite ways to rejuvenate is to go camping. I love the mountains. I love spending time in the great outdoors, sleeping in tents, roasting marshmallows for s’mores over a warming campfire, telling ghost stories as the fire dies. This summer, my family and I found a spot right next to small creek.  Nothing beats listening to the bubbling water of a creek near the campsite as I sit and relax, enjoying the crisp, clean air.

It doesn’t matter where your special place is as long as you get there and rest, relax and rejuvenate.

         Psalm 121:1-8

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
  My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

  He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
  indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

  The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121, was especially on my mind as I spent time in those wonderful majestic mountains. This Psalm reminds me of when I was in high school. I was on the swim team, and I would have to be at the pool by dawn. It wasn’t always easy because the water was cold in the mornings. But when I swam the backstroke on those misty mornings, I would look up into the gorgeous sky and sing, quietly in my head, a song inspired from this Psalm. It strengthened my mind as I mediated continually on these verses.

Many years have passed since then, but I still meet Him in the morning. Nowadays, with a warm cup of coffee in my hand. I read a chapter in the bible and pray for safety, discernment, and help throughout the day. In my youth I knew where my help came from. Today I still do. My help comes from higher than the mountains. God dwells on high and He  is able to abundantly meet our needs. He does exceedingly more than we could ever ask or think  (Ephesians 3:20). feet from slipping  Do you remember the story where Peter was walking on water?

He was able to walk onto the water but when we took his eyes of Jesus he began to sink (Matthew 14:22-33). I know right? This lesson is something we all need to learn from. We need to keep are eyes on “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

He is the one that can help us. He is the one that created each of us. He knows every hair on our head, and he holds each tear that we shed in a bottle (Psalms 56:8). He is full of compassion and rich in love.

God is intricately involved in our lives. So much so that he promises that our feet will not slip if he does not permit it. His grace is unending. We are watched and cared for and God sees us as the apple of His eye. We shouldn’t seize to look up and recognize that our help comes from the Lord above.

The Lord watches over you

Yahweh watches over us. We shouldn’t fear the wind, rain, or sun because God promises to protect us, “the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”  If it is not His will for us, it will not be permitted in our lives. When we do go through seasons of sorrow — when we feel faint of spirit– it is only for our good.

Psalms 30:5  tells us “weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”

We don’t always know the end results but God does: “For all things work together for good for those that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) river treesv4 As I walk this road called life, I can breathe freely knowing that whatever path I may take God watches over me. He is an ever-present help in times of trouble. His promises are undeniable. His aim is to keep us from harm. What a peace we have in Jesus. What rest we can enter into the dwelling place of the Lord most high knowing that we are safe now and forever more.

Psalms 91:1-2 tells us,

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord,

“He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

What is even more astounding than his protection is that he wants us to experience life abundantly (John 10:10).  God’s desire is more than just provision, He wants us to “soar on wings of eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.” Eagle Soaring

   Isaiah 40:28-31

 Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary  and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

 Wow. I am reminded by just how much God loves me. He wants nothing but the best for me. I can hope in him because he wants to restore me. His plans are for me to be stronger, wiser, and be renewed. There is no higher name than Jesus. We are told in the book of Philippians 2:10-11, “that ever tongue will confess and every knee will bow.”

If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, might you say a prayer to invite him into your life? Jesus says, he stands at the door and knocks and he will enter into your heart and life when you invite him in (Revelations 3:20). There is no better place to be than in the presences and protection of Jesus. If you would like to invite him into your life, this is a simple prayer you can pray..

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I know that I am a sinner saved by grace. Please forgive me of my sin and enter into my life. I receive everything you have for me. I offer up my life to you. Please help me to live for you and to turn from my sin. 

 Amen.

If you sincerely asked God to come into your life, then you have begun your personal relationship with Him. He has come into your heart and will guide you through the Holy Spirit that now dwells inside of you. I would suggest getting involved in a Bible-based church. Your new journey in Christ will allow you to learn His will for you. Aside from fellowship with other believers, it is important to pray and read your bible daily. Below are a few verses that show God’s promises to you:

” That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

(Romans 10:9)

 “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)  

As we continue to find rest this summer, may we remember to look up and know for certain where our help comes from.

Linking up with: Testimony Tuesday, RaRa Linkup, Tuesday Talk, Coffee for Your Heart, and The Weekend Brew.

    

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.

Music to Soothe the Soul

The song “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong comforts me much like a warm and fuzzy coat on a cold winter day. I am refreshed by the calmness and stillness that the song  brings forth, like the sound of soft bubbling waters in a brook. It feels inviting and soulful. The song opens with a majestic sound from the trombone accompanied by the piano and clarinet. The audience is overjoyed  which is apparent from the overwhelming  applause. After just a few breathtaking notes, they  know that they are about to hear something truly special. It is pure joy. Life is so sweet through the voice of Louis Armstrong. His depiction sends a message of hope, love, and friendship. It truly resonates with ones heart, mind, and soul.

 What Wonderful World

by: Louis Armstrong

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I wish I  could say that I had this vision for the world. I don’t always see people and places in this genuinely lovely light.  As he sings “The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky/ Are also on the faces of people going by …” we get a picture of his loving nature towards others.

I love his analogy comparing the colors of the rainbow  to people in the world. It’s  truly astonishing.  To me it means that just like each color has its own strength and personality, he feels that same warmth and expectation in the people that he meets in passing everyday. His lyrics put me to shame, because I don’t see people in shades of color.( Or, in other words, as unique individuals that I am eager to greet and  meet).

 I admit that I often see people stereotypically…or in “black and white.” They are one-dimensional at best.  And I don’t intend to meet their acquaintance.  On a good day, I could say that I see others in gray, which means I am not stereotyping–but I am not operating in love either.

In Matthew 22: 37 -39 God calls us as believers to “Love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind.” And to “Love are neighbor as our self.” This was Jesus’s response when asked what the greatest commandment was to fulfill the law. It’s amazing to think that “on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

As I listen to the lyrics in this song, I have a better understanding of how to love God and love others. I can appreciate what God has given me, as Louis does describing  “trees of green, red roses too,”  “skies of blue and clouds of white, ” and ” dark sacred nights.” And I can look for opportunities to show goodness to my neighbor even if it just means showing love by passing by  and simple saying  a genuine “hello” and” how are you.” Just as it is  suggested in the lyrics, “I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do/ They’re really saying I love you.”

Love is often spoken of but not demonstrated, articulated well, or understood.  Yet, in this song, I know what love should look like. The message of love is so crystal clear.

But  the best description of love is described in  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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.

I hope and pray that I can learn to love like this. “Love never fails” because it is necessary for heaven. In heaven our lives will be without suffering and hurting, and we will no longer in need of things such as knowledge, faith, and hope. But we will need love. Because heaven is a real place and we need to be a people of love when we reside past heaven’s gate. The song “What a Wonderful World” shows me a glimmer of what love looks like and through these lyrics I see a small slice of heaven.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

I Corinthians 13:13

Are you in tune with God?

Piano

 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

(Psalm 100)

 Are you in tune with God? Just as a piano, guitar, or any other instrument needs to be in tune for the sound to be pleasant to the ear, so do  our hearts need to be mended and  binded together with God so that we are in tune to what he would have us do or say.

When I  am going through the storms and trials of life I try to remember to, “make a joyful noise unto the Lord,” and to ” praise the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100). Worship is such a big part of what it is to be a Christian. I believe when we truly just worship him with our voices and instruments there is power in the praises of his people. For example: When Paul was beaten and imprisoned he was praying and singing praises and then there was a  sudden  earthquake and the doors of the prison were open and his chains fell off.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed (Acts 16:26).

There is nothing impossible for God (Luke 1:37). He is a God of miracles.  He delights in the praises of his people and if can speak the universe into existence then he can surly save the righteous from harm. The story of Paul and Silas in prison speaks volumes to me. If it were me, I am sure I would be questioning my faith but Peter and Silas were singing and rejoicing. They felt compassion for the jailor who tried to kill himself thinking they had escaped so they assured him they were still there. Wow. This means they  were overflowing with God’s goodness in there present circumstance. I am astonished that they would not be running out of that jail cell, but instead showed mercy to their jailor and the jailor immediately believed and asked what he needed to do to become saved. “Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.  And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16: 30).  In the mist of this victory for Paul and Silas God’s grace is poured out on this jailor who believed after these events unfolded and not only did he believe, but his whole family believed.

Maybe, this is the reason that God allowed them to be in jail and beaten. Through their trial God was working a far greater purpose–to save the jailor and  his family. When we are going through a trial we do not know the reason or the outcome but God does! Isaiah 55:8 explains, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord .We never know why we may be going through such trails. Often times when we are ministering to others and being used by God the enemy will attack. The reason Paul and Silas were imprisoned was because of spiritual warfare. For the bible tells us that…

  We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

Paul cast out  a demon from a slave girl that was being used by her masters to gain money because she was “possessed by the spirit of divination.”  In other words she was able to know the future and was a fortune teller for money. Whenever God’s work is being done the “principalities, powers, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” are at work trying to devise a plan to shut us down, discourage, block, or harm us. Although we never see this battle being fought, we often see the effects and can be at peace to know that the fight is not ours because “The Battle belongs to the Lord”    (1 Samuel 17:47). You may be going through a hard time. You may have lost your job, suffered medical problems, have martial problems, or something else. But God, who is rich in mercy, who sent his only son to die on the cross for our sins, knows the beginning and the end of our story.

I am writing this for myself because I need to hear this, read this, and  study this. I need hope because in the midst of my messy life and overwhelming circumstances I need to know there is a Savior that loves me and would break the prison doors open for me too, if I needed them to be broken.While I wait for this season of trial to end, I know this “All things work together for the good for those that are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), so I can let my burdens rest in his Hands by ” casting all my cares upon Him” because he cares for me and you too (1 Peter 5:7).

 And remembering Peter’s and Silas story I will try my best to lift my head up to Heaven knowing that He is my Redeemer.

And  my ever present help in times of trouble.

 

The Waters so Still

still waters 33

I wrote this poem to describe how refreshing and healing the waters can be to ones soul.

When my Soul Needs Soothing

When my soul needs soothing, I play the guitar,

slow rhythmic songs that require repetition of chords

that counteract the rapid beating of my heart and the

shaking of my hands.

The strumming of the guitar comforts me, calms me,

soothes me,

as I begin to sing songs that I love,

and songs that I’ve heard a million times before.

My heart begins to lift,

the lump in my throat begins to loosen,

and my shaking from my hand steadies.

I sing a song inspired from Psalms 23

He leads me besides the water, so still. Let me

catch my breath. Let me drink my fill. Let me lie in fields of green

where only gentle breezes flow

and I’ll reach out my empty hand for the cup

that over flows. Restore my soul.”

When my soul needs soothing, I call my best friend,

older and wiser, she gives the best advice.

Gleaning from her own experiences, she gently listens

as I let the sorrow out of my soul and spirit.

I am then ready to let the healing process begin.

As my true friend, she is never afraid

to speak the truth in love.

Her words are comfort, as apples on a fine day.

When my soul needs soothing, I pray.

I ask God to give me guidance and help

throughout the day,

When my soul needs soothing, I hold something precious in my hand.

A stone I’ve kept for memories, a special gift, or a photo

that evokes a loving memory.

I wrap myself up in something warm,

my sister’s hand-me-down bedspread,

the quilt my grandmother made for me,

or the green and red precious-moments blanket,

my friend from grade school made me as a present.

When my soul needs soothing, I cry until there are no

tear drops left to fall on my pillow.

Exhausted from the emotional drain of energy,

my body sinks deep down into the bed covers.

I fall asleep. I wake up the next day

fresh and ready to start a new.

When my soul needs soothing, I go to the oceans, lakes or my backyard pool.

I dive into the cool rushing water

and feel my body temperature change from warm to cool.

The water refreshes and calms me

as I swim each stroke. The deeper I swim underwater

the further away I become

from the sorrow  in my soul. I step out of the water and lie beside it,

in a lounge chair,  relaxing

as I feel the sun’s rays dry my skin

and let the warmth touch deep down

past my skin

into the depths of my soul…

and I am restored.

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

Stones of Rememberance

Rocks

While shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday, I bought a stone. I usually find them and then paint them, but this stone was perfect, so I bought it! I loved the color, the texture, and the word inscribed. It looked similar to the rocks pictured above and the word written on the rock I chose was “hope.” Through this rock, I was praying and hoping for a season that is filled with good dreams, bright days, new friendships, and good health.

The movie, “The Long, Long Trailer,” which takes place in the  1950’s, depicts a newly wed couple and their travels across the country. The conflicts in this marriage begin sooner than one would suspect simply because they take on such big goals. It’s always good to have a plan but sometimes we need to be realistic and start out slow. Their first mistake–which so many of us make–was financial. They invested in a trailer. Their next mistake was communication. Literally, and figuratively, in every way, shape, and form, these two people could not communicate with one another. In the beginning, it was sweet, but then things started to get ugly.

Lucy and Ricky
The reason I am reminiscent about this short film is because of the scene were Lucy decides she wants to save rocks for memory sake. But Ricky, her husbands says–no way Jose–because it would make the trailer too heavy to go over the hills. The lighter the load the easier the drive. But Lucy just simply could not let go. So she took it upon herself to find a solution and she hid the rocks from Ricky. Problem solved. No…here’s what happens next:

The road began to get ever so bumpy, and then… scary! Ricky, nervously…cautiously drove this trailer up a upaved mountain road. The entire time unaware that Lucy had hid the rocks in the trailer because she could simply not let them go. They came tumbling out and Ricky did find them, and then he nearly blew his top, having been so mad. In the end, they made it through the dangerous mountain road. Although their mountain path was cleared, their relationship was now the one on the rocks.

I love stones. I like to remember the times when God has been good to me in my life. In the book of Joshua the Lord instructed him –after they were freed from the pharaoh in Egypt and passed the Red Sea– to collect stones of remembrance.
Joshua 4 New International Version (NIV)

1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

Seasons of trials, blessings, or storms, I like to remember special places. I too collect stones although not as many as Lucy–but I can relate to her sentiments.  Remembering the places we have been with stones is a great idea…but moderation is also important. This film is hilarious and truly a classic.

Below is the trailer for the film, “The Long, Long Trailer.”

 

Photo Credit (stones) : Kathy Fornal

The Blank Canvas

A New Beginning…

Home Inspirational words

Retrieved from (http://www.photoswithquotes.com/bloom_where_you_are_planted_333.htm)

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…