Thursday, January 25, 2018

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

Fast Jump to 2018

New Blog post is pending. Please check back.

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 remember......to 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 !

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Blogathon 2014

I paid a visit to my blogger friend, David over at Sugar Loaf Mountain and he is participating in a 2014 blogathon.  You can read about it HERE and join in if you like. I am late getting started and am joining in at prompt #9.

  My Jolly Little Life 


Today's prompt is to write about your favorite recipe. It's a perfect prompt for me today, not necessarily for my favorite recipe, but it's my youngest daughter's favorite meal. She is home visiting from New Hampshire for a couple weeks (thank you Lord Jesus) and she requested her favorite receipe of mine....home-made lasagna. I prepared the sauce a couple days ago and will be assembling, baking it at my home, then heading over to my oldest daughter's home to enjoy the feast.

Sauce

Sautee in tablespoon of olive oil, 
3 garlic cloves 
(minced or finely chopped) 
1 large onion, 
mushrooms, 
green, red or orange pepper 
(for this dish I used red & orange). 


Add:
1/2 pound ground turkey and brown
I also added a small chuck steak 
cut in small cubes 
shredded or finely chopped carrot(s)
(with home-made sauce, the carrots add 
just enough sweetness without using sugar)

Add:
 1 can crushed tomatos, 
1 can tomato puree

Add spices: 
oregano, basil, bay leaf, thyme,parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Simmer on low for 2-3 hours

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lasagna

Lasagna Noodles
Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese 8 ozs
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Parsley
2 Eggs

Cook the noodles 
according to instructions
on box.

Mix 1/2 mazzarella cheese 
with cottage cheese, two eggs
and parsley

baking dish 9X13
Begin with layer of sauce
in bottom of pan
add lasagna noodles( 3-4 to a layer)
top noodles with cottage cheese mixture
sprinkle cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan cheese
top with noodles

repeat layers 3-4 times

Bake @ 375 degrees 
35-40 minutes

I will serve with a 

fresh green salad 

romaine lettuce, handful of spinach, 
cucumber, grape tomatoes, 
diced apples, shredded carrot,
broccoli flowerets

  Italian vinaigrette dressing:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 TBS chopped fresh oregano or
2 tsps dried oregano
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


It's been quite some time since I've made my home-made lasagna or even eaten pasta. In all honesty I am looking forward to it and spending time with my beautiful family....

Blessings on your day !














Sunday, January 12, 2014

Everything beautiful




My new year is getting off to a much different start than I expected; one I admit I wasn't prepared for. It's my own fault, allowing myself to get into an "ahhhh" zone thinking life is moving along smoothly with no more abrupt interruptions, isn't life a breeze attitude.  NOT so. 

 Everything has its time. A time for every purpose.  

So I shall consider it of His purpose and my instruction, as I wait out the interruptions; for God is sovereign and is in complete control over everything that happens.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
 
 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.



Blessings on your day!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014



I am embarking on a new and glorious year.....
one in which doors are open,  opportunities await 
and His provision covers me.....




but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year....Deuteronomy 11: 11-12





He leads us on by paths we did not know;
Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow,
Though oft we faint and falter on the way,
Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day;
Yet when the clouds are gone,
We know He leads us on.
He leads us on through all the unquiet years;
Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears,
He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze
Of losses, sorrows, and o’er clouded days;
We know His will is done;
And still He leads us on.
--Nicholaus Ludwig Zinzendorf
 
Borrowed in Part
"Streams in the Desert"

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Blessings of Traditions.....

Words spoken to me last night left me humbled, honored and very much appreciated and loved.




This is a picture of my parents in their younger years.....their beginning years. They taught me much about adversity, struggles, determination; they were far from perfect. Some of their hardships came self-inflicted, others were the result of a changing world and the battles fought to keep peace and normalcy within a society being compromised. This sounds familiar to those of us living through the upheaval in our nation today. One thing they managed to instill in me was tradition. Some families have many beliefs, customs, stories passed down from generation to generation. The truest significance of tradition is measured by the stir of memories, the tribute paid to a loved one.

For many years my mother’s tradition for Thanksgiving morning and Christmas morning was to serve homemade cinnamon rolls; her name for them was sweet rolls. With eight children to attend and feed, I am certain her morning’s were simplified by this much appreciated labor of love. She made a delightful orange frosting for the rolls, flavored by freshly squeezed orange. Often times she welcomed assistance and I can remember standing beside her, watching, learning, gaining a genuine appreciation for home-baked goods. I will not deny, the greatest pleasure came with the eating.

When I had the pleasure to take on the role of wife, mother I found myself carrying on many traditions from my parents. For many many years, home-made cinnamon rolls graced the breakfast table for my daughters on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. More often than not, a platter was set in the living room and we feasted while watching the Macy’s Day Parade.



I received a call late last night from my oldest daughter. She was carrying on my tradition. It was her first time making home-made cinnamon rolls and could I tell her exactly how I rolled and assembled and the recipe for the frosting. It might sound silly to some, but it brought me great joy to hear her speak of many fond memories shared around a plate of cinnamon rolls.

There is much my family has endured the past few years. I know mine is not the only one; as a nation, as a society these are discouraging times; many are existing in troubled and broken lives, to some it's a constant and heartbreaking presence. This is not to say there cannot also be joy and rejoicing in the face of adversity; Despite the unfortunates that befall us all, there also is Hope in new life, new love and in at attitude of overwhelming gratitude;  as shown to me through words my daughter spoke;  Through a light hearted exchange, she expressed to me her gratitude; it was not just about carrying on the tradition of cinnamon rolls;

 “Mom, it’s the life you lead, 
the joy you bring to our family 
and I can’t think of anyone 
I would rather choose than you
to model my life after."

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for all the Lord has done in my life, for the parents that guided and set me out into this world, for the many friends and family; the unending blessings. For my daughters and grandchildren who make everyday worth living. Today is a day set aside to express our appreciation, our praise and grateful heart; to be with loved ones, share past memories and create new ones. I am heading to my daughters to enjoy some cinnamon rolls and the joy of sweet family. Thank you Lord.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 
 Serve the LORD with gladness: 
come before his presence with singing. 
Know ye that the LORD he is God: 
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; 
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 
 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, 
and into his courts with praise: 
be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 
For the LORD is good;
 his mercy is everlasting; 
and his truth endureth to all generations. 

Psalm 100

Monday, November 25, 2013

Season's Change

It's been a superb Autumn.....a season like no other; full of incredible colors, sunrise and sunsets ablaze, carefree moments with family and friends, hugs from children, grandbaby kisses, visitors from afar,   memories anew, tantalizing scents and leaves crunching.......brisk morning air, a winter's tease, goodbye..

when all the familiar
is swept away

God's love reassuringly remains

 superb indeed



Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD of all the righteous acts of the LORD, which he did to you and to your fathers. 1 Samuel 12:7

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Not Everyone Understands, But HE Does





The candle's glow cast shadows throughout the room, an unwelcome reminder of the day's dreadful news. The solitary place setting, plate/silver/napkin/glass, remained at the end of the table awaiting his arrival. The words "never again" rang through my mind over and over again....Never again would he grace my Thanksgiving table.  The gold rimmed water glass could never sufficiently hold the tears shed this day.

It was eighteen years ago, on the day after Thanksgiving, I found my brother lying face down on the bed in his apartment, an apparent heart attack. His death, abrupt and sudden, changed me in ways others hadn't. 

I have wisdom enough to know it is not for me  to question God's ways. It is sufficient for me to acknowledge  and accept the sovereignty of His love mercy and grace.

Weeping may endure for the night, 
but joy comes in the morning.
Psalms 30:5b 

I do admit, it was in painful silence that my heart grieved, grasped to understand and accept the reality of  change, of death, of a life stolen from me again. A fragile existence.  

I pondered the delicate murmuring of  my last words to him; 

Did they float softly away into the brisk November air or were they words that comforted him into final sleep? 

An invitation to join in celebrating a season, a season of thankfulness and gratitude; to share in the happiness of family, life, love. 

Did my words, "I love you", press into his heart? 

Did he believe in a loving God?  


I pray the answers to those questions is yes. When I  re-visit the days, the months, the events leading to his death, I can celebrate  but at the same time lament with insatiable grief. The memory of him lingers in my mind, in my heart. The long talks, the understandings we shared, the changes he hoped for, the pain he tried to flee from, the things that held him bondage in a world he couldn't escape, the mistakes made, the man he strived to be. He was my brother.

Blessed are those that mourn, 
for they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:4   



 

I am entering my most favorite time of year,  a time of giving, sharing, knowing and understanding the hope we all have in Christ Jesus. A time that gives cause for me to reflect on former days of immense joy when my entire family was here on earth celebrating the birth of Jesus. 

Still I recognize that for others there are many moments of sadness during this time of Thanksgiving and the holy season of Christ's birth. 

I have been through the anger, the hurting, the not wanting Christmas to arrive both during my mother's cancer and after she died in 1980. I  shed my tears over the untimely death of my father, my brother, my sister; the death of my children's paternal grandmother on Christmas Day as cancer stole the very life from her. 

I was not always a professing believer of Christ and I can't begin to explain how alone I was during many of those times; trying to maneuver through the most difficult issue of death. 

But now, my life is no longer spent in dark hours of question and turmoil. When I find myself in the midst of the holiday season, experiencing sadness, grieving still the loss of many loved ones, I turn to the One true God, to the One who holds my life in His hands. To the One whose precious birth gives eternal life to all who will believe. 

I also praise God for the people He has placed in my life, those who love and care for me, family and an abundance of friends; while they may not completely know the depth of my loss or grieving, I do not expect them to.....

God does and He is with me always


Whatever loss or sadness you are going through, my prayers is you may also look to Him  for comfort and peace this holiday season; give Him thanks and praise for all He has done for you......

We have a wonderful God. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy.  He comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. Why? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement,  we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.

2 Corinthians1:3-4  

re-post of original dated 2009