Friday, October 9, 2015

One for All


“And we, though many, throughout the earth; we are one body in this one Lord."   *


Powerful words on World Communion Sunday. My heart was filled as I sang from the choir’s back row, my arms and my heart opened to the power of a world united in love.




Is it but a dream?

It is my lifelong dream.

Peace.



Love is my mission in the world, though I never really explored that thought before. I seek beauty, and love is beautiful. Now, before you think I’m stuck in 1969, let me explain.


To me, beauty is in God’s Creation. It’s all around us! The birds, the trees, the skies. YOU. You are God’s Creation.


Each being, special in its own gift of life that it brings. All meant to live together, if not in complete harmony, at least in symbiosis.
  
This beautiful World, given to us to live and grow on, and to love one another while we’re here.

It isn’t right that our species focuses on ways to kill and ways to heal at the same time.

We need to focus on spiritual growth, expansion of the mind into new perspectives, and understanding oneself and our purpose here on this earth.

Though we all have different thoughts on what or who our God is, it is safe to say that we are all living, breathing human beings walking this earth together. I see more similarities in that than differences.

Perhaps that is what we need to focus on. Understanding more of how we are alike. This involves compassion, acceptance and tolerance, as we learn to work together for the betterment of humankind.

All for All.

Is it just a dream?

I know it is not. I know there are like-minded people in the world who seek peace and justice over retaliation and restitution.




Learning to live together, in Peace.


Could that be the reason we're here? 







* One Bread, One Body , John B. Foley - United Methodist Hymnal


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Done Any Casting Lately?

Sunday Scripture

and a

Song


"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." 
Peter 5:7 NRSV




When your heart is broken. When all hope is gone. Even in our sadness, especially in our sadness, we are not alone. We must remember to cast all of our anxiety on God, and because He cares for us, loves us, so much, we are given His peace in return. I can't explain how it works, I only know that it does. 

Sometimes I feel I must lay my burdens at His feet every day until I can finally release my anxiety. Some times are easier, some harder. But when I remember to seek Him first, the rocky road seems a little less bumpy, and even if I can't see the way, I know the road is before me and I don't walk alone. 

I thank God for always standing by me, even when I failed to call on His name. 

Hopefully, I'll remember to call on Him sooner next time. 

Enjoy Cast Your Cares by Finding Favour....It speaks my heart today

Subscribers, please click on Hope to find to view this video on my blog site. 
Mobile users may choose to view this video on youtube.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Singing in the Rain!


Did you ever notice that the birds sing even on a rainy morning?

I awoke to a robin singing a sweet spring song outside my window. It’s such a pleasure to be able to leave the windows open again while we sleep.

I knew the weather was predicted to be rainy and possibly stormy, and I had already resolved that we wouldn’t be landscaping today. Spring rains are a sure way to slow down my work. 

And sometimes, that's okay - Especially on a Monday!

What I did not expect was that despite the dreary, wet morning, the birds were still going to sing, as if nothing could deter them from their joy and purpose.

Perhaps we need to be more like the birds.

Too often I let the troubles of life weigh me down. Sometimes it makes it hard for me to see the sunshine. Sometimes I wish it would be a gloomy day to match my mood.

It isn't often that this dark mood dampens my spirits. I have been blessed with a rather sunny disposition (most of the time), and it can drive some people crazy as there are  those who prefer a rather damp temperament.

But most people are drawn to those who seem to exude the joy of life through everything they do. We all know someone like that. These are the people whom you wonder, “How can they be happy all the time?”

I believe it is a choice to be happy. Nobody is happy all the time. Life deals its lot of joy and sadness without thought to where it lands. Much like when I spread fertilizer by hand. 

Sometimes too much here or there, but usually it’s pretty evenly distributed. 

We have to choose joy like the songbirds.

Earlier this spring, when snow and ice still predominated the landscape and the morning temperatures were below zero, I walked outside and heard the birds singing their early springtime songs.  It gave me such hope!

After months of long, frigid nights and not a spot of color in the landscape, these sweet feathered harbingers of joy began to announce that most assuredly spring would come.

And indeed it did! May is busting out all over. Trees are either blooming or sporting a new growth of baby green leaves. Tulips and daffodils dot the landscape with their bright heads stalwartly defying strong winds and storms.

Perhaps we are more like the bulb plants. We hide in the darkness of our winters, but we must have the tenacity to reach for the light.

A bulb grows slowly through the thawing ground, unbeknownst to us. Gradually the leaves and stem emerge, reaching ever skyward as the stalk grows longer and stronger.

Sort of a resurrection, all of this life returning from a frozen world.

We can begin again. We can reach for the Light of the world and we can choose to continue to grow.



And for our own good, we can choose to be happy.

Life isn’t about the things we have. Sure, we like to have nice things and we certainly need clothing and shelter.

But I believe life is more than these things. It is a journey.

Though the road stretches out before us, and for some of us, winds a long way behind, we can only see the part that is right before us.

Think of walking on a path. We can only concentrate on the part that is under our feet. We can’t see where the twists and turns of the future (path) will lead us.

And so, we must not worry about what is ahead.

We must live in the moment, enjoying the gifts of life, slowing down long enough to enjoy the sound of raindrops after months of not hearing them. Savoring the song of the birds as they rejoice in the new life all around them.

Every day holds some joy. Those that choose to live in that joy will find it. Sometimes it takes more effort to come out of our darkness to see the light.


But it is definitely worth the effort to feel the sun on our face once again.




Look for the joys, the little surprises that this new season brings to us. They’re not hard to find when life is being created practically right before our eyes.



I hope the joys of springtime help you find your way out of the darkness. Savor the moments that replenish your spirit.






As you find those moments, you will soon fill your days with more joys than sorrows, and propel yourself into a new way of seeing life on this big, green world.





Happy Springtime, everyone! 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You Have It, So Bring It!


We are all greater than we think we are.

Believe it, my friend.


Worldly forces seem hell-bent to put us down, to keep us in our place. 


They they seem to flaunt, "How dare you think you have something special to share?"


I'm here to say that YOU DO!


We ALL do.


God made each of us in a unique way. We all have special gifts. Some that we may not have even discovered yet.


Often we feel what we have to offer isn't good enough to share with the world. We wonder, who would care to hear what we have to bring?


There's always that nagging voice that whispers to us to say that we aren't good enough, that what we bring isn't special at all, and that nobody cares.


I hear that voice all the time.


And I'm learning to tell it to shut up.


That is the voice that stops us from being all that we can be.


That negative self-talk that keeps us from believing our truth. This truth: that who we are is important, and that someone, somewhere, needs to hear (see, read, use, build, understand) whatever it is that is within us trying to find its way to the light of day.

We all have gifts. We are each uniquely special. Your smile, your laugh, your friendship, your hospitality, your caring, all belong to you and you alone. 

The love you bring to this earth can only come from you. 


We each have to do our part. 


Together, we make something great. 


So don't give up on your dreams. Don't be afraid to share your special talent. Honor yourself and go forward with your goals. 


We'll all be better for it. 


And don't listen to that whispering doubt that you can't do it; that you aren't good enough, or you just don't have what it takes. 


Tell that voice to shut up! And listen only to that still, small voice that you need to hear.


The voice of encouragement that tells you: I made you for greatness. You are the apple of my eye, and I want you to be all that I know you can be. 


Open your heart to the possibilities. Resurrect that dream that has died. We only have this one life to live. We need to always remember to keep growing, so we may become the person our mature self can look back on and say, "Yes, I did it!"



It's never too late to begin anew. 

Let's work together to encourage each other.

I want to see (hear, taste, read, discover) what you have to bring. I really do, and I'm waiting...



It's time for the world to know you. Even if it's just in your own, small way.  Bring it!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I Am Forgiven


Sunday Scripture
and a
 Song


"Then Jesus said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.' "
Luke 7:48 NIV


You know that feeling, the one when you realize you are completely free?

Free from sorrow.

Free from pain and strife.

Free from guilt and shame.

We may know all, or some of these painful feelings every day in our lives.

And freedom from them? That's sounds wonderful, but we live in the real world. Right?

Only partly true. 

We life in a fallen world. And it's far too easy to focus our eyes on the pain, misery and heartbreak that touches our lives every day.

With the internet, we are instantly connected with every news source that loves to share the latest sadness of natural disaster, human suffering, and mankind's inhumanity to its own.

It can be downright depressing.

However, we do have a choice where we keep our focus. And we can choose to focus on what is good in life. We can keep our lives focused on God. 

With an argumentative teenager in the house who questions everything (not necessarily a bad thing, but definitely exhausting!) I am challenged daily to profess my faith amidst a world gone awry. 

I admit that I am not always able to convey the message I feel in my heart, that God is good, and God is sovereign. 

I have questions, too. 

One thing I know for certain, is that I am forgiven. God reminded me of this once again. 

I woke this morning with that thought firmly in my heart, mind and soul. I am forgiven. 

I don't have to feel guilt and shame. I don't have to suffer the anguish of reliving my past mistakes (over and and over again).

The freedom that comes from knowing this truth is liberating. 

Not the kind of feeling that makes me want to climb to the mountaintop and shout and sing.

It's the freedom that gives me peace, and makes me feel unbelievably grateful that Jesus took this burden from me so that I can live life more fully. 

I am forgiven. I let that seep into my heart and my soul. And I know peace. 

If you have burdens you carry, hiding them so that no one knows your pain, know that God knows. He sees everything. He doesn't judge. There is no trial by jury. 

You are forgiven.

All He asks is that we strive to change. Repent. Become new in the gift of life he offers us every day.

Go, and sin no more. (John 8:11b NLT)

I wish you peace, my friends. I pray for hope, for all people. I know in my own life when I keep my eyes focused on God I find peace and hope, and the fruits of the Spirit become tangible and real.

It takes work, and sometimes choosing not to click on yet another horrendous story on the internet. 

It is a choice, as to where we put our energies and focus our spirit.

It is as simple as asking (though it's usually more like begging) for forgiveness, and a chance to start anew that we never believed we could have. 

This freedom can be yours.

You are forgiven.


Nichole Nordeman's song "Finally Free" says it all. Please watch and enjoy.



Subscribers can click on Hope to find to view this video on my web site.
Mobile viewers can access the link here on youtube.


Previous posts on this theme for your encouragement:

You Can Begin Anew

Life Renewed - Bring the Rain! 

Spring Cleaning of Your Heart









Sunday, March 1, 2015

Don't Wait Until Tomorrow


Sunday Scripture

and a

Song



It's finally MARCH!! For those of us living in this northern climate, winter seems endless, and it's been SO VERY COLD this year. 



So today, we celebrate that we have made it through January and February, and knowing Spring is just around the corner (or another month away, if it's a typical Northern Spring. 

Next Sunday we set our clocks ahead - really? Don't get me going on Daylight Savings Time. I love the sun in the morning, and I will miss seeing it early in the day. It is what calls me from my sleep. 


But for those who work into the evening hours, it is nice to be able to see the sun for a little while outside of the workplace. 



Let's Celebrate Today.


Let's Celebrate YOU!



Enjoy the beauty of this brand new day, this brand new month, this brand new YOU.


For YOU are a NEW beginning.


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"   2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

In the New Living Translation, it spells it out even more clearly:


"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 


I love the New Living Translation. The simplicity of its words brings scripture to life for me. It may not have the poetic prose of some other translations, but the words really hit home.


So DON'T WAIT until tomorrow. Tomorrow will come and another tomorrow and soon all of our tomorrows will follow. 


CELEBRATE God's new creation in you, each and every morning. 


"The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
 
Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning."  Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)


We do have a chance to begin anew. Every. Single. Day. Over and over again. What a great gift!


Celebrate life and the gift that is uniquely YOU. Only you can bring to the world the precious gift that is your spirit. 

So don't wait. Let your little light shine and celebrate the gift that is YOU!



I heard this song the other day and it has brought me to my knees, literally. Don't waste a minute. Why am I Waiting for Tomorrow? Here is Mandisa, singing my heart.
Subscribers, click here to enjoy this video on my blog site.
Mobile users can can find the video here on Youtube.

Monday, February 9, 2015

You Are Not Alone



No matter what path you walk

No matter who you are

No matter what you do

You are never alone


Despite wishing things were different

Despite executing our free will

Despite the choices we make

We never walk alone



Make friends with the Spirit

Who shares in our lives


For together, 

You are not alone


The Wisdom of the Universe

Will always be there

For guidance and direction



We must acknowledge

Our weakness

And surrender

Our struggle



            Keep looking forward

            Forget looking back




Our God of the Universe

Existed before Time

And has never

Left your side




            Not for one moment





God is as close as a whisper

A prayer

A song of praise





         Never will you be forsaken

            Never are you alone



Believe in this truth

Banish fear

Knowing 

You are Not Alone


Strength from the Almighty

Power of the Breath of Life







Yours, for the asking

Yours, for the taking


God's Angels surround you

God's Comfort enfold you


Walk with confidence,

Child of God





(The cloud pictures are all mine, taken at various times. Can you tell that I am always looking up? ;)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Lucky Life

My Facebook friends have recently seen this picture as my new profile pic. This is my beloved Lucky Cat. 

I lost him two days before my birthday last December. It's taken me this long to be able to write about him, but I have to share his story because I loved him so. He was my baby kitty for 16 years, and I lost him three days before Christmas.


Cats could win awards for the ways they sleep!


I have lots of pictures of my sweet, furry friend. How funny is it that most of them are of him sleeping? Cats really have the life, don't they? And though they may seem to just eat and sleep a lot, the love they give is
Lucky & Kali sharing a Cat Nap
unconditional. 







I found this little guy when he was only 6 weeks old. 
Driving down Center Road to pick my son up from football practice, I saw a kitten sitting on the line in the middle of the road. I pulled over right away and jumped out, only to see the little hairball run up under my SUV. 



This tiny kitten was so afraid, he crawled up on top of the rear axle beyond where I could reach or even see him!


He was a big boy when he was healthy in 2013

Two people out for an evening walk came up and asked, "Was that a squirrel that ran up under your car?" "No, it was a kitten!" I exclaimed. So now three adults were under the rear end of my SUV trying to find this kitten. 

We flagged down an Ameritec worker who had been working up the street, as he had a flashlight and it was now beginning to get dark. So now there are FOUR adults under the vehicle with a flashlight and a long stick trying to find this kitten! Finally, I got a paw, and pulled him down. He was only fur and bones, so he must have been lost for awhile and certainly hadn't eaten for some time. 

I tucked him into my coat and went on with my evening, including taking him with me to a Cub Scout meeting where the treat after the meeting was vanilla ice cream. We gave a taste to the little kitten and he LOVED it! After the meeting I took him home, and he became my Lucky Cat, so named because he was lucky to be alive. 

He was too young to be away from his mama, so I became the Momma Kitty from the day I brought him home.  Over the years he grew into a sweet, fat, cat and enjoyed life with our other cat, Rocky, and our English Springer Spaniel Lizzy.

As he reached his senior years, he developed diabetes and I had to give him insulin twice daily. He still thrived but began to decline in the spring of last year. I took a vacation and he never seemed to recover from my absence. 

He kept losing weight, even though we finally got his glucose levels controlled, and watching him decline was so hard.

As my son Tim and I decorated our Christmas tree this year, Lucky slept by the fireplace on a bed of blankets I'd made for him, and he never got up again. 

That night I slept on the living room floor with him with my hand gently touching his front paws as he didn't want to be held anymore. The lights on the tree shone down as I checked on him throughout the night. He seemed to sleep peacefully. But in the morning, he passed away, quite peacefully, with his family all around him. 

Rocky Man in the Sunshine

It's taken me this long to write because I miss him so much. Our sweet old cat Rocky Man, who is in his 21st year, has outlived both Lizzy and Lucky. My son's kitten, Kali, knew that Lucky was sick. Rocky has his own medical issues and was temporarily blind from having high blood pressure, so he really didn't know that Lucky was gone. 


I know Kali misses him, and she was sad after his passing. I can tell she also knows of my sadness, as she has become closer to me since then.


It's hard to put a positive twist on this story, but I am grateful for the 16 years I had with my baby kitty and I know that he is pain free and frolicking in kitty heaven with my Mittsy Cat from long ago. We love our pets like family, and losing one of them leaves a big hole in our lives.
Rocky and Kali checking out the back yard


Lucky used to follow me around like a shadow, always hoping for treats. He could be sound asleep on the couch, and I would walk by into the kitchen and boom! he was up following me and looking up to me with hopeful eyes for a treat. 


Lucky in the Sunshine




Lucky peacefully enjoying the sunshine in my garden 
I guess the moral of the story is that we should never take anything for granted. After we lost our Lizzy Girl 3 years ago, I knew what it felt like to not be able to hug and pet her anymore. As my kitties age, I've given them special attention and love, knowing that they won't be with me forever, either. 

I love all of these pictures (and I have many more!), even though most of them are of sleeping kitties! I love to see Lucky's beautiful coat and his little brown nose. I wish so much I could hold him one more time.

Some might say taking pictures of a sleeping cat is a waste of time. But now I have these pictures to help me cherish the memory of a furry little friend who was my companion for 16 years. I miss him so and Lucky, I will never forget you.