Thursday, January 25, 2018

God is doing something wonderful in the deep places of my heart.

Fast Jump to 2018

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Hard Stuff


A recent visit to my sisterhood blog has me contemplating a November writing challenge.....
 "learning to thank God in/with the hard stuff." 

 I haven't penned much of anything in the past couple years, but when I read my morning's devotional it reminded me of a blog post from a few years back...writing from what I believed...that I will have  struggles and hard times but God is watchful of how I handle a trial versus the trial itself or more precisely, how I glorify Him without drawing attention to me or the trial. That is not meant to imply I can't mention a particular circumstance, but God's healing, love, and continual provision are first, foremost and testimony; to take my focus off God takes me  to where danger lies.

This morning I was reading through the three booklets of poetry I self published.

I, as the author, can remember the particular situation I was facing when I wrote each one, yet none of them pinpoint or mention a specific trial or experience. That is the beauty of poetry for me....and a comfort...both in the writing and reading. Aside from sharing with my blood sisters and a few intimate friends, my life is not an open book and I've always preferred it that way....I am a private person yet poetry allows an outlet...a release to express myself, God's love through intense or excruciating circumstances.

In the past couple years, I have allowed my heart, my focus to center more on my trial than on God. I'm not saying I doubted God or walked away from my faith; but my focus has been so painfully centered on how to survive financially and emotionally that I submitted to whomever and whatever came my way to make life bearable or workable. Vulnerable. I found myself recipient of bullying, unfair tactics, manipulation, deceit, lies, etc,etc. You know "all the stuff that makes the world go round, the stuff we all try to dodge as best we can". Still I was believing, always believing I was gonna be alright....I was gonna get through this. Well, the end result has been frustration, anger, disappointment, disillusionment. Sound familiar to anyone?  It all sounds so ridiculous and pitiful to me. Quite frankly I've grown tired of all of it, all that battle, grown tired of dealing with others and ultimately grown tired of me and my attitude. 

The last few years have taken me along a lost path and through a painful lesson, a season of growth; one that stretched me beyond what I wanted, prayed for or even thought myself capable....

one, that in due time will find it's rightful place poetically; 

one that will comfort me, perhaps others in future years when all their HOPE seems gone.  

It is one that once again reinforced my belief that God is my focus in every aspect of my life; He is the One that strengthens, guides, protects  and encourages me. At the end of my day, I am so thankful God is with me through the hard stuff.  


Streams in the Desert, Saturday November 15, 2014

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living.
(2 Cor 1:8)

But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. (2 Cor 12:9)
God allowed the crisis to close around Jacob on the night when he bowed at Peniel in supplication, to bring him to the place where he could take hold of God as he never would have done; and from that narrow pass of peril, Jacob became enlarged in his faith and knowledge of God, and in the power of a new and victorious life.
God had to compel David, by a long and painful discipline of years, to learn the almighty power and faithfulness of his God, and grow up into the established principles of faith and godliness, which were indispensable for his glorious career as the king of Israel.
Nothing but the extremities in which Paul was constantly placed could ever have taught him, and taught the Church through him, the full meaning of the great promise he so learned to claim, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
And nothing but our trials and perils would ever have led some of us to know Him as we do, to trust Him as we have, and to draw from Him the measures of grace which our very extremities made indispensable.
Difficulties and obstacles are God’s challenges to faith. When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus; and as we go forward, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be tested, we may have to wait and let patience have her perfect work; but we shall surely find at last the stone rolled away, and the Lord waiting to render unto us double for our time of testing.
—A. B. Simpson

Thursday, February 27, 2014

In Quiet and Rest

This is where I have found myself the past couple years. Working through, praying through in quiet and rest. 

 From Streams in the Desert by L.B.Cowman 2/27/2014

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day (Gen. 32:24).

Left alone! What different sensations those words conjure up to each of us. To some they spell loneliness and desolation, to others rest and quiet. To be left alone without God, would be too awful for words, but to be left alone with Him is a foretaste of Heaven! If His followers spent more time alone with Him, we should have spiritual giants again.

The Master set us an example. Note how often He went to be alone with God; and He had a mighty purpose behind the command, "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray."

The greatest miracles of Elijah and Elisha took place when they were alone with God. It was alone with God that Jacob became a prince; and just there that we, too, may become princes--"men (aye, and women too!) wondered at" (Zech. 3:8). Joshua was alone when the Lord came to him. (Josh. 1:1) Gideon and Jephthah were by themselves when commissioned to save Israel. (Judges 6:11 and 11:29) Moses was by himself at the wilderness bush. (Exodus 3:1-5) Cornelius was praying by himself when the angel came to him. (Acts 10:2) No one was with Peter on the house top, when he was instructed to go to the Gentiles. (Acts 10:9) John the Baptist was alone in the wilderness (Luke 1:90), and John the Beloved alone in Patmos, when nearest God. (Rev. 1:9)

Covet to get alone with God. If we neglect it, we not only rob ourselves, but others too, of blessing, since when we are blessed we are able to pass on blessing to others. It may mean less outside work; it must mean more depth and power, and the consequence, too, will be "they saw no man save Jesus only."

To be alone with God in prayer cannot be over-emphasized.

If chosen men had never been alone,
In deepest silence open-doored to God,
No greatness ever had been dreamed or done.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thoughts ON A Snow Day

Yesterday, February 5th was a snow day for me

I called my place of work and explained I wouldn't be making the drive and took the day off. I personally think that for ME it was the responsible mature action to take; I didn't ask for approval having been told in "new employee" meetings not to put myself in harm's way or take risks with inclement weather conditions.

I wasn't concerned about losing my job or whether others would poke fun at me about "not" driving in the snow storm. I've learned to pride myself in decision making, not in a boastful sort of way, but in a peaceful sort of way;  especially when those decisions speak of my individuality to be neither follower nor leader, but to know what keeps me at peace while living in this world....

Snuggled in a blanket on the couch with a good book, watching the snow fall outside while in said position, cooking up a pot of home made chili accompanied by homemade cheddar garlic biscuits, watching re-runs of the "Waltons"....speak of some of the ways I spend a snow day in upstate New York.

Most of the time, snow days are contemplative days...days to write and read and rest.

Rest and contemplate during a storm....... how is that possible?

Many times in my walk of faith, it hasn't worked that way.  All too often in the midst of a "life" storm,  I've been known to speak too soon, react too soon and then complain when those decisions would come back to haunt me with adverse consequences.

In the past, there's been conflict while discovering my own individuality.......because I'm not a follower nor a leader nor am I particularly impressed with trends....I am unique in God's eyes.

It is good when the Lord gives us contemplative moments to realize how far we've come, how much we've grown and changed; it is all part of His design, His will for us...and though we may find ourselves in the most fierce battles of our lives, He is there to give us rest, newness of life, peace and GRACE...

I'm a huge believer in GRACE......and Thankful to God for Snow Days !

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Praying Daughters

Yesterday was my first day at a new job. There’s  been plenty of “first days” in my lifetime when I’ve doubted my capabilities, but for this job and at this point in my life, my mind and heart filled to overflowing with a  hope and peace that only God can give .  

I spoke with both daughters Sunday evening by phone .  My youngest settling into her new home in CT prayed for me, my new job, my commute . She herself venturing into unknown territory; resting in God’s trust and guidance .  My oldest (and her husband), nestled safe and warm a few miles from me with three sick children at her feet, she too shared her prayers and thoughts . 

The forecast for early morning of sub zero temperatures,snow covered roads and gusting 45 mile per hour winds would make for limited visibility and an unpleasant  commute . An easy thirty minute drive could turn into an hour or more . One never knows what to expect from day to day .  I am not foreign to winter driving in upstate New York having lived here most of my life, but still the adverse weather cast some worrisome concerns for my morning travels .

As snow draped the earth through the night and winds howled, the prayers of my daughters held me.  I myself, prayed against any senseless anxiety about road conditions . Restless, sleep was not coming easy and then I heard my daughter’s prayer again, “ease her mind Lord”.  Immediately my mind was filled with fond memories of winter instead of tomorrow's pending danger. The simple joys in my own childhood of ice skating, snow ball fights, snow fort tunnels, sledding, cold winter walks to church or school;  continual reminders of winter’s beauty.  I remembered my own two daughters, their tiny faces pressed against a frosty window pane at first snow fall…marveling in the beauty of the snow capped rocky mountains of Colorado; skating lessons, skiing, sledding; their young lives embracing joy and laughter in the wonder of winter.   

As I slowly drifted into sleep I couldn’t help but think back on my early days of parenting.   It does not come easy. It does not come without bumps and bruises, it does not come without interruptions, separations, heartache or consequences.  There are no clear cut answers, there are no guarantees. It challenges wisdom, discernment, intellect and faith.  What greater joy is there in parenting than to share Him with your children and live out your own life as an example of His unconditional love. This mother knows that in all times and especially in times of fear and doubt, adversity and confusion, parenting  requires God and prayer.  Without Jesus Christ, the One who offers hope, faith, strength and courage, parenting would be  impossible for me.  

  Thank you Lord for entrusting me 
with Your amazing gift of children.

Thank you Lord for praying daughters.

I have no greater joy 
than to hear that my children 
are walking in the truth.
3John 1:4

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Beauty In Silence

I’ve spent the past three weeks in quiet anticipation of an opportunity involving change and challenge. I am not one who has ever been fearful of either, but willingly admit the thirty days prior to the past three weeks brought me great distress.

I am ever so grateful how the Lord walked me through that time. When I wanted to mouth off to the world about injustice, deception and lies, yada yada yada, HE showed me the beauty in silence.

When I was offended by words of “it is what it is” take it or leave it, when loyalty and dedication no longer mattered, HE showed me the beauty in silence.

Had I been inclined to go into battle or embrace the mindset of "I’m going to give all of them a piece of my mind, show them a thing or two"…..HE showed me the beauty in silence.

Praise His Holy Name for I feel certain I would be facing something far more detrimental had I made a different choice. Rebuking revenge, bitterness and anger, I sought the company of the Lord, found complete peace through His truth, discernment and wisdom. I rejected the “oh why me” that is readily available in times of trial and prayed, “use me Lord.” 

Psalm 141:3-4 

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; 
keep watch over the door of my lips! 
Do not let my heart incline to any evil, 
 to busy myself with wicked deeds
 in company with men who work iniquity, 
 and let me not eat of their delicacies!

When I contemplate my continuing journey, this new beginning, He has spoken deeply to my heart to not get caught up in the chaos of the world, but to go forth in courage and strength, with a resolute calm, mindful of how my words and actions affect others, to keep my mouth silenced of senseless barter, to speak encouragement and kind advice to others.

Gratitude erases bitterness and transforms our past
Our cup of sorrow and joy, when lifted for others to see and celebrate, becomes a cup to life . . . Mostly, we are willing to look back at our lives and say: "I am grateful for the good things that brought me to this place.” But when we lift our cup to life, we must dare to say: "I am grateful for all that has happened to me and led me to this moment. This gratitude which embraces all or our past is what makes our life a true gift for others, because this gratitude erases bitterness, resentments, regret, and revenge as well as all jealousies and rivalries. It transforms our past into a fruitful gift for the future, and makes our life, all of it, into a life that gives life.
(Taken from  CAN YOU DRINK THE CUP by Henri J.M. Nouwen)

Throughout the past few weeks, I have been refreshed, rejuvenated by reaching out into the blogging community. Reading into the heart of others always blesses me.  This morning I found myself directed to one blogger and listening to The Ball Brothers “All I Have To Be”. The words reiterated  God’s perfect timing in my life.

"will you meet me in this moment,
be the calm before the storm,
before I walk into the chaos
of the world outside my door.
Let me sit with you in silence
and hear you remind me Lord,
all I have to be,
all I have to be
is yours"

 Proverbs 25:11
 A word fitly spoken 
is like apples of gold 
in a setting of silver. 

Blessings on your day !

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Passion For Writing

 Early on in my writing adventure, I embraced the concept that if I have breath in me, then I have God given moments to share, to write about.  It can be something of little significance or something monumental; a joyful event or one that stirs up a bad memory or hurtful situation. Regardless of its nature, the underlying hope is it might dish up a mighty serving of encouragement or inspiration to another. 

I admit, in all my human-ness, there have been times when the little voices in my head tell me I’ve run out of things to write, stories to share.  My little brain becomes so muddled by the groans and murmurs of everyday life, writing is close to nil. 

God has used such times to discipline and grow me, both as a writer and a woman in dire need of a Savior.  A reminder to myself that reaching others comes through His call on my life and there is nothing I can do more of or less of that will thwart His purpose.   God reveals to me things I might otherwise be blind. I write to bring glory to God; to be a witness to HIS unfailing mercy and love.  

While pen has rested quietly on the table, prayers for direction, diligence, courage rise up. In His perfect timing and with move of the hand, words spill onto a page; not always intended for a wide audience, not always for publication or distribution.......simple words.......reaching into another’s heart….in need of a Savior.

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just begins
to live that day.

  Emily Dickinson

Friday, January 17, 2014


Have you ever sensed  God’s nudging?  Yet you’re reluctant to budge?  You are in a situation that offers this pretense of perfect although you know very well it's lacking in plenty of other areas?  Or perhaps you are comfortable, content  in where you are and what you’re doing, yet things aren’t quite right and He’s trying to get your attention….you think you have things in control.....He has different plans for you..... but still you want to resist.  

I’ve had two such situations recently and both of them reminded me of my favorite scripture verse, one I quote quite often:   
For I know the plans I have for you, 
Declares the Lord. 
Plans to prosper you and
 not to harm you, 
To give you hope and a future. 
 Jeremiah 29:11

Situation One:

Which direction now? At 60 years old a career change was not something I was contemplating much less expecting. I wasn't looking for a change in direction.  I was comfortable, content with where I was in my job and had no intention or desire to change. Unfortunately to embrace such an attitude is un-realistic in today’s world, being that longevity is almost non-existent in the work force. It also seems that  dedication and loyalty  no longer  hold much value in the hiring or firing of individuals.   An accompanying thought:  is it so wrong for me to think that in my job function of caring for other people, namely the elderly,  that integrity, dignity, upstanding morals and honesty would preside over ruthless managerial, bureaucratic procedures?  I must be old school because people have asked me… Why would or should I think that? My answer is simple… because that is how I was raised, how I was taught to function in my day to day activities; those are just a few of the  characteristics I deem worthy and it is what I have taught my children. 

And it is here where I pause and give praise to HIM, to God,  who is all knowing, all powerful and faithful…the One who instills in us the knowledge, the courage and the wisdom to depart from such wickedness and substandard moral ethics of  this world;  I praise HIM for orchestrating the events that would remove me from an unpleasant and de-moralizing situation and provide a new and more promising opportunity.

Situation Two:

For quite some time, actually too long, I’ve been in a slump…a writing slump….I  have felt inundated with the thoughts and opinions of others and unable to bring any words of merit to my own writing tablet. It  is the second area I sensed a gentle nudging from God. My recent decision to return to blogging and establish a more disciplined writing routine  has brought renewed purpose; it also is helpful in lifting me out of that mid-winter-blues-rut. 

Yes, I do experience  those mid-winter blues. In past years  they’ve settled so deep into my being  I thought I might never resurface and join the living. There have been times in my life when  those blues could more appropriately be labeled depression since the circumstances causing the downward spiral lasted longer and merited greater concern.  

 I don’t write or speak of it too much except with those whom I dearly trust and believe can respond in a positive and helpful way . For the most part, that has been a very remote few and for them I am thankful.  I have learned through my experiences and in talking with others, each person suffers in their own way and from varying circumstances.  I know what triggers mine so all I have to offer anyone is how I handle myself. I admit I have not always been easy on myself and even insensitive to others.  It was my lack of genuine understanding of an individual’s circumstances and for that I have asked many for their forgiveness.  Mistakenly I relied solely on the findings of various clinical studies which alludes treatment is the same for each and everyone.  That is not the answer I accept as mine, but with compassion and empathy, I no longer argue it is not the answer for others.   For me, my faith and writing have always proven to be positive and productive therapy.  

Both of these recent awakenings  have taken me out of my normal routine and certain comforts.
And even though one brought me more stress than I would have liked, neither took me out of God’s sight or His plan for me. By divine intervention, prayer and faith in “waiting”, I’ve been  given a fresh and new focus.

 If you ever sense God doing a little nudging in your life or if  things are changing around you that you never thought would change….be attentive to HIM…. He’s got a plan for you, for all of us.  All we need do is yield to HIM.    

There’s more to Jeremiah verse 29 and it goes like this…..

Then you will call upon me 
and go and pray to Me 
and I will listen to you. 
And you will seek Me 
and find Me 
when you search for Me 
with all your heart. 
And I will be found by you, 
says the Lord and I will bring 
you back from your captivity......

Jeremiah 29:12-14a

Blessings  on your day !!