Tag Archives: God

Reflection: The Stain of Love!

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This week has given me many opportunities for reflection.  A dear sweet friend and co-worker passed from this life into the next on Sunday morning @ 8:00am.  And at 8:00:01am she opened them in the presence of God.  This is what I believe and it is not up for debate.

As I have gone through my week thinking of her at every turn, my days have been filled with smiles and laughter, a few tears but only because of the kind remembrances of her and the unselfish life she led.

She leaves behind a beautiful family with hearts filled with wonderful memories and wisdom only a woman of God can instill in the lives of her children.

I have reflected on how this woman born in the Ukraine came to be a part of God’s plan in my life.  I am a city girl from the Southern United States and she a beautiful woman from a small farming village in Russia.  Only God could have seen how we needed one another for this season of our lives.

I have heard it said that people come into our lives for a moment, a season or a lifetime.  You would think that the person who comes into our life for a lifetime would make the biggest impact on us.  But I do not believe that to always be the case.

There are those people who come into our lives and they make an impression.  They can either make a good impression or a bad impression.  But impressions are easily forgotten as time passes.

There are those individuals who come into our life and they make a mark.  A mark sticks with you longer than an impression.  When I think of a mark I think of a scar.  Scars are made by cutting into our flesh, they hurt and make us bleed.  Some marks are deeper than others but they heal, the pain goes away and eventually you are left with a faded mark.  There are good scars and not so good scars…A good scar could be one left from a surgical procedure that saved your life or delivered your child into your loving arms.  A bad scar…there are too many to mention…

Then there are those who come into our lives and leave a stain.  They pour themselves out all over us and when they are no longer with us we see a reflection of them in our own lives.  I realize there are good stains as well as bad stains…A bad stain that comes to mind is red wine spilled on white carpet…A good stain is the perfect walnut stain applied to a beautiful hand crafted wooden cabinet.  To better illustrate my point here is the definition of how “staining” works;

The primary method of stain formation is surface stains, where the staining substance is spilled out onto the surface or material and is trapped in the fibers, pores, indentations, or other capillary structures on the surface.  The material that is trapped coats the underlying material, and the stain reflects back light according to its own color.”

My sweet beautiful friend was a “stainer”…she stained everyone she met with her color.  She didn’t just spill a little of herself into your life, she poured herself into your life.  It was subtle and sweet.  Her intentions were always meant for good.  Her grace and goodness had a way of making you stop and realize how blessed we were just to be standing up, walking around, able to work…my sweet beautiful friend seeped into my pours, she filled every indentation of my being with warmth and love.

This is one stain I will never try to remove or cover up…it is the stain of love.

Other Reflections of Love:

Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror

This Man’s Journey

Christine M Grote

Fabulous 50′s

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Why Worry?

From time to time I worry…mostly I worry about my son when he is out and about. I sometimes worry about the outcome of a doctor’s appointment especially when I have to wait to hear test results. I also worry about getting a speeding ticket when I whiz past a police officer…I worry about my husband’s health…because of the level of stress that is involved in his job. I worry about disappointing my employer…I worry about dropping the ball on big projects or making the wrong decision.

The One thing all of my worries have in common is I have little if any control over them…Worrying does not make my son come home earlier or the test results come back quicker. Worrying does not keep me from getting a speeding ticket and it does not lessen the stress in my husbands day. Worry doesn’t keep my from dropping the ball or making the wrong decisions.

Then Why Worry? If I can change something i am worried about i should change it…If I am worrying about something I can’t change it is a waste of time and energy…

I should Let worry be a warning light that I need to pray…I should replace my worries with prayers..lift up my worries to God. Lay my worry at the feet of Jesus. Redirect my energy from time wasted worrying to trusting that God has a better plan.

Saying I am going to replace my worry with prayer is easier said than done. Worry is like a bad penny it seems to turn up at the most inopportune time…or is it the most opportune time. I guess that would depend on your point of view.

Remember worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere. I’m just sayin’…Why Worry?

Philippians 4:6 New Living Translation (©2007)
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

Matthew 6:25″ Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.”

Matthew 6:34  “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

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Home is…

Recently I made an unexpected trip home…to see my parents.  The reason for my visit was a somber occasion.  One of my Dad’s sisters passed away after a lengthy battle with lung cancer.

 It’s a funny thing…the place we call Home.  For some people their idea of home or going home is associated with the place where they grew up.  For some it is the actual house they grew up in…a place filled with childhood memories.  For others Home is associated with the city or town where they grew up.  They have detailed memories of days gone by…waiting for them around every corner. 

I do not associate home with either the town where I grew up or the house I grew up in …This is most likely due to the fact that my family moved around a lot…There are three distinct houses from my childhood each in a different city and I have wonderful memories from all of them…however, when I think of home none of these places come to mind.  They are just places where I lived when I was growing up. 

I once remarked to a friend that I was going home for the weekend…and I was surprised by her response…she said you mean you are going to see your parents.  I said yes…I am going home.  She shared with me that she no longer considered her parents house or the place she grew up as her home…Home to her was where she currently lived.  Her comment gave me pause and I began to ponder why is it that I still refer to going to see my parents as going home when they no longer live in the house I grew up in…

Even though I have never lived in my parents current home, when I think of visiting them…I always associate it with going home.  They have lived in their home for almost 20 years… but I have no childhood memories of this place.  No memories of late nights giggling with girlfriends or of prom pictures taken in front of the fireplace.  No memories of family movie nights or well deserved time outs or month-long loss of privileges or boys coming by to pick me for a date.   However, it still feels like going home…

It’s because…You see…I associate home with people…for me Home is a feeling!  It is warm and cozy…it is safe and secure…it is my favorite foods in the fridge…it is easy conversations…it is familiar…it is afternoon naps on the sofa, LSU football games on the TV…it is my Dad asking me to get him a glass of tea…it is my Mom whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, it is one of my sisters telling us a crazy story and the rest of us laughing until our cheeks hurt, it is the sounds of my son playing his video games or my husband laying out the plans for his next project…it is the sounds of my family living life together wherever we are…for me, this is Home!

Sometimes you hear people refer to someones death as a home-coming…The bible tells us that God has prepared a place for us…a heavenly home…a home like none we have ever known…the bible also promises that for those who put their faith in Jesus that they will have eternal life…that they will be reunited with those who have gone before them…When I think of my loved ones who have passed from this life to the next…and have been called Home…I never think of the house they will dwell in…I think of all of the family and friends that have already gone home and the wonderful family reunion that they are experiencing…

Home is…where the heart is and for me my heart is always with my family!

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The Gift of Grace…

When I first believed and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior I received a gift…The gift of Grace…God’s riches at Christ’s expense. I asked for forgiveness and acceptance. I turned away from my old ways and chose a new path. 

Although I did not feel worthy of receiving such an incredible gift…the gift of grace.  It was given to me, unconditionally.  No strings attached…no further requirement on my part.  It was and is a free gift.

As I have grown in my faith I now understand a little bit about grace.  Along the way I have learned to extend the gift of grace to those around me.  It is often those who least deserve the gift who need it the most.(I was one of those people)  Therefore, it is given without the expectation of getting anything in return. 

Sometimes there are individuals in our life that require extra grace, sometimes I can be one of those people.  Nonetheless, grace is required, grace is given.  I am thankful everyday for the grace that is afforded me by those in my life, no strings attached.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.”

What Is Grace?

What is grace? Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. The cliché definition of grace is “unconditional love.” It is a true cliché, for it is a good description of the thing…Let’s go a little further, though.

Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver (the one who loves) in relation to the receiver (the one who is loved) that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…Grace is one-way love.

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This post is part of the Blogging Challenge: A to Z April Challenge…this is the letter “G”!

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Peaceful Morning

Peaceful Morning…I have spent the morning in a quiet house, enjoying a hot cup of coffee, watching the birds dance through the branches of the oak trees.  The morning air is clean, cool and crisp.  It is a perfectly peaceful morning! 
 
I would be perfectly content to sit under the big oak with a blanket and a book and my little bird friends for the rest of the day.  But there are a few things I must do today!  If I get moving I will be able to stop and enjoy the beautiful day the Lord has Made for me wherever the day takes me. 
 

Peaceful Morning...

Pleopeltis polypodioides…Resurrection Fern is a plant that can be found in hardwood forests of  southeastern United States and southern Africa.  It is an air plant that attaches itself to the shady branches of oak trees.  The Oaks in our yard are host homes to this little gem.  When the air is moist and there has been a bit of rain they are lush and green.  During the dry spells the fern curls up and appears to be dried up and lost forever.  Some sources report that this fern can lose up to 97% of their moisture content and survive. 
 
However, the plant is not lost.  It is just protecting itself by curling up and storing what moisture it has until the next sprinkling of rain from the heavens. 
 
The fern reminds me of myself.  When I hit a dry spell creatively or spiritually, I  curl up and withdraw into myself.  I already know that this is only a temporary situation.  When times like this come calling it is not because I am sad or depressed it is just time to be still.  With a bit of quiet time and reflection I know that I will be restored.  Peaceful mornings spent quietly reflecting on days or events gone by encourage me to look forward to the next peaceful morning…spent in a quiet house, with a cup of hot coffee and my dancing bird friends.
Peaceful Morning…

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”  Lamentations 3:22-24

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Finding Focus and Balance Through Reflection

My life is out of fous.  There are too many loose ends leftover from the Christmas Holiday.  There are too many new projects vying for the front burner.  All of which deserve and need my attention.  Some are more urgent than others…but each one carries its own weight of importance.

 

The other aspect of my life that is out of focus but has the ability to bring clarity to the lens I view the new year with is the time I spend taking stock of this past years accomplishments and short comings.  The accomplishments are the jumping off point for an exciting new year.  The short comings will channel my goals.

I know I am looking for balance in the coming year…balance between my spiritual life, husband, home, work, health, hobbies and relaxation.

Sometimes you have to say no to a really good thing in order to say yes to a really great thing.  Where do I draw the line?  What gets the yes?  What gets the no? Do I continue to blog 6 days a week? Should I submit that article to the paper? How often should I go to the antique center to fluff my space?  What about exercise…Where am I going to fit that into my already over crowded schedule? How can I balance all of my online time…with my need for real people interaction?  What about that special quite time to get my day started off on the right track? What about Hubby time?  What about house cleaning and gardening?  The dogs need to go to the vet for their shots?  The list continues but I think you get the picture…I only have one day off a week and I am having a little trouble working out the balancing act in order to get it all done. 

Just this week alone I have read at least three blog postings that have inspired me to think about this coming year with a different focus. 

JannaT wrote in her Sunday blog about digging deeper into her spiritual life.

“My Sunday posts are the most challenging ones for me to write because I’ve committed to “dig deep” and ask myself questions like: What made me feel ‘full’ this week? Why might I feel ‘empty’? In what ways have I stumbled? How could I feel closer to God next week?”

My Pajama Days is adopting a theme for the year to help her stay focused on her really big goals for 2012!!“

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” – Kahlil Gibran”

Miss Mustard Seed has landed on a single word to inspire her in 2012…Celebrate!!!  Miss Mustard Seed has so much to be thankful for and to celebrate. 

Sometimes we get so busy doing life that we forget to slow down and enjoy the life we have worked tirelessly to create for our family and  ourselves.

So…I am thinking I will spend time each week reflecting on the deeper meaning of life…did I say no to good things so that I could say yes to great things?  I will start each day with prayer and thankfulness reading God’s Word. I will say no more often to the computer calling my name so I can spend more face to face time with my BFF, my beloved Husband.

I have chosen my theme for the year; Faithfulness, Family,  Fuel and Fitness.    I will focus on taking care of me by feeding my body good nutritious natural foods and exercising to build a stronger healthier me. 

My word for the year is Balance.  The rest is just the proverbial icing on the cake…

How do you maintain balance?

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Hopes and Wishes for 2012

My Hopes and Wishes for 2012 are simple.  To live the life that God has planned for me…a life filled with Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness,  and Self Control.  Galatians 5:22-23 

I hope to love without fear of heartache.

I wish to laugh until it hurts.

I hope I will never stop trusting that I am on the path that will lead me to a life everlasting.

I hope to offer up grace and mercy to those who cross my path.

I wish for everyday of the new year to include random acts of kindness, so much so that they become a part of who I am and not something I do.

I hope to live my life above reproach so that my actions do not cause others to stumble.

I hope to have the faith of a child..to believe in the wonders of the world without question to why or how.  “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

I hope to continue to grow a spirit of gentleness that has only come to me through stopping to consider the other persons situation before reacting.

And lastly but certainly not least of all…I hope to continue to grow in my understanding that self-control does not come from my self-centered mind-set but a mind centered on the Spirit that dwells within me and the small quiet voice leading me, guiding me through all that is my life.

I hope to continue to live a life filled to overflowing.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

This past year has been filled with many blessings. My husband blessed me with his unconditional love and support without fail or hesitation, he is my biggest fan.  I have watched my son treat his girlfriend with love and respect that can only come from the example set by the way his Dad treats his Mom.  Although a few friends have passed away from this life my life is richer for having known them and called them friend.  I have enjoyed a renewed love and passion for writing.  I have realized a long time desire to have a little junk resale business of my very own.  I have entertained my friends and family in my home.  I have seen my prayers answered when the Doctor finally found  a treatment for my Dads Parkinson’s that has given him back his quality of life.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” unknown

This past year has been filled with many new friendships.  I have met their families; rejoiced at the arrival of precious little ones and experienced heartache over their losses.  I have enjoyed a cup of tea as well as delicious desserts at their kitchen table.  I have watched the sun rise and set from their decks and patios.  I have heard them sing in church and I have celebrated their anniversaries and birthdays.  I have even traveled with a few of them on their wonderous and amazing vacations. I have come to appreciate the differences that make each of us unique.  But it is our uniqueness that draws us together and links us together.  Our camaraderie comes from our willingness to “just write”.    My friends have shared their lives with me yet we have never met in person.

Here are some their reflections of the past year as well as some of their hopes and wishes for 2012.

Making Room (emjayandthem’s blog)

“Your closet should contain 3 categories of clothing: clothes you love, clothes that fit you now, and clothes that garner you compliments whenever you wear them.” Peter Walsh, organizational expert.

View Outside My Window for 2012 (This Man’s Journey)

“I wish for 2012, more love, inner peace, loads of smile and laughter, of happiness that comes from a contented heart for me, for my family, for my friends but more importantly for those whose 2011 had been covered with anguish and struggles.”

Zen Living for Idiots (Spirit Lights the Way)

“As we cultivate mindful awareness, we begin to view the world with alert curiosity, rather than through the distorted lens of stale judgments, attitudes, and opinions.  We start to see things as THEY are rather than as WE are.”

Failure Succeeding In the Opposite Direction (Janna T Write’s Blog)

“My relationship with God is the glue that bonds me as a wife, mother, friend, writer, employee, leader, and compassionate human being. Sometimes I feel like parts of me threaten to peel away, but I want my life to be held tighter than crazy glue between fingertips.”

Reflecting on… this past year, today and the coming year (Pocket Perspectives)

May those of us who might be reflecting during the next few days…

review with clarity
ponder with insight
consider with love,
gentleness and forgiveness

appreciate with heartfulness

prioritize with wisdom
wonder with depth and imagination

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All I want for Christmas…

Christmas cannot be all that we want it to be. It’s only a holiday.

Christmas cannot bring harmony to your home.

Christmas cannot bring peace on earth.

Christmas cannot bring happiness.

But Christ Himself can do all of this and more.

That is really what we are longing for deep… inside.

 • Not Christmas, but Christ.

• Not merriment, but the Messiah.

• Not goodwill, but God.

• Not presents, but His presence.

Anything or anyone short of this will disappoint.

 But God never will.

That’s what I want for Christmas–Jesus Christ.

Taken from the Greg Laurie Daily Devotion

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Post #303…What do you miss?

The question of the day..What do you miss?  The very first thing that comes to mind is you.  I do, I miss you!

I miss reading your encouraging posts and daily challenges.  I miss your poetry and photographs.  I miss the weekly photo challenge and the link ups.  I miss reading all that you have taken the time to write.  I feel like that friend that doesn’t reply to emails or return phone calls.  I am not that person!  I really have been burning the candle at both ends and the ends are getting closer to meeting in the middle.

A few weeks back the process of organizing 8 nights of banquets began and everything else came to a screeching halt.  Every minute of every day has been dedicated to making sure everything is in order for that nights banquet.  Attention to the little details is what makes an event memorable.  And there are lots of details that need attention.

Before this event began I asked God to use my gifts and talents to serve Him and His Church. I did not know what that would mean at the time but I was up for the challenge.  No matter what was asked of me.  Now at the end of each day my feet ache and body is weary.  But every morning I wake up with renewed energy and excitement.  Every day I give all that I have to give and every morning God fills me with what I need to get through another day.

As I type these words I am fighting to keep my eyes open.  But I feel the need to let you know that I am still here, just on the other side of cyberspace…desperately wanting to read every word you have written.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about…What do you miss?

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Spiritual Renewal

The State of Texas is experiencing the worst drought on record.  Lakes are drying up, wildfires are raging, farms are turning into dust bowls and cattle ranchers are being forced to sell their livestock due to the lack of hay. 

I have watched the cracks in our yard grow deeper and wider.  And despite our best efforts to water our lawn and flower beds the weaker plants are dying off.  I have also watched several brown patches in our lawn spread like a cancer.  The fern that grows on the oak tree branches has appeared to shrivel and dry-up beyond any measure of hope that it will return.

Everyday we pray for Rain.  We pray expectantly.  We pray without ceasing.  We watch the skies.  We rejoice as the rain clouds appear.  We fall silent as they disappear without dropping a trace of rain.  

Then just this week we were blessed with 2 days of rain.  Mind you it wasn’t very much rain.  Just a 1/4″ each day.  Oh but what that 1/2″ of rain has done for the flowers and the grass and the fern in the oaks.   The flowers are blooming, the brown patches in the lawn have new blades of green grass springing up and the fern has been resurrected.  Even the birds seem to be singing and rejoicing because they know that their needs have been met.

I have been experiencing my own personal drought.  As the earth dried up so did my verve for life.  I began to lose interest in several of the things I enjoy doing.  Writing this blog, collecting junktiques, working in the garden, pulling the pesky weeds and even cooking in my beautiful kitchen. 

Then it occurred to me this morning as it has on previous occasions that just as the rain fell and began to renew the plants and animals, so had God renewed my spirit.  It seems that as the rain fell it literally began to wash the dust and cobwebs from my spirit.  I rejoiced in the smell of the wet earth, the puddles on the drive-way and the cooler damp temperatures.

God showed me that no matter how bleak things may seem HE  is always at work, working things out for those who believe in HIM.

No matter how much watering I do on my own it will never be enough.    I have an inherent need of Gods renewing spirit.  He sends it in different ways every day.  We just have to learn to recognize it when it shows up.

It comes with the refreshing rain after a long drought.  It comes with the bright sunshine after a torrential downpour.  It comes in the encouraging words spoken by a co-worker.  It comes in the comments of my blogging buddies.  It comes with the development of a new friendship. It comes in a hug from my 22-year-old  son.  It comes in the knowing wink from my husband. 

God knit me together in my Mothers womb and knows the number of hairs on my head.  I am wonderfully and beautifully made to be exactly who I am.  He designed a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, a plan to give me hope and a future.  He sends people into my life to help me grow and become the Girl he designed me to be.  Ultimately my life is made up of my own choices, but when I make choices that are with-in Gods will for my life, I am Blessed beyond measure and my cup is filled to over-flowing. 

Hebrews 11:1  “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

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