Morning Encouragement

Good morning friends. I wanted to share with you a quick word on fighting the good fight. What does that mean…why do we have to even think about fighting? Because Life is hard, sometimes even on good days. Billy Graham’s message this morning was an encouragement to me and I hope it will be to you.

Remember to always walk with Christ, live for Christ, and to have one consuming passion—to please Him in all that we do. Then, whatever happens, we know that He has permitted it in order to teach us some priceless lesson and to perfect us for His service. He will enrich our circumstances, be they pleasant or disagreeable, by the fact of His presence with us. Billy Graham

We wonder why life seems to be so hard sometimes and its usually because we make it hard by forgetting His presence is always with us, strengthening us, loving us and sometimes carrying us.

Remember the footsteps poem from a few years back, even though we can’t see Him around us, even though we only see one set of footprints in the sand, it proves he is just carrying you. He will not leave you to carry the burden, the discouragement, or the fight alone.

Let Him drive the car for a while and enjoy the beauty out the window. I know that sounds like a strange analogy but it is a favorite of mine as I often want to be the one driving. But if we would move over and let Him drive, there may be a few less potholes or at least the ability to not bounce too hard when you hit them.

I encourage you today to feel His peace surround you and as always remember to be kind and reflect the beauty and joy of His presence in you.

It’s Beginning to Look…

I know it is not December yet…but it is after Thanksgiving, so I don’t feel bad about showing you my new Christmas toys. I promised I would share my pictures once everything was up but its been up since mid-November. I wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving to start sharing. I put it up early so that I can enjoy it. Since it takes me two plus week to get it all up, I put it up early so that I can enjoy it all of December… cuz it’s a lot.

Last year I started a tree for my bathroom. Whaat?? Yea. I kept seeing these cool nautical ornaments and my bathroom is beach themed…so, there you go. Yes, my daughter and I are addicted to interesting looking and different ornaments, so this was a natural direction for me to go. The tree (4 foot) sits on a small table inside my corner tub. A tub I can’t use because its too difficult to get in and out of.

The tree is white and the lights are blue and all ornaments except for a few small dark blue balls, are ocean or river themed. I love this picture because you see the tree, its reflection in the mirror and the reflection of the tree that is in the bedroom. We will do that tree one day soon.

I am not sure I really have a favorite ornament on this tree but I am partial to my manatees, because I am from the south and manatees are in the rivers of Florida. This ornament is ceramic and shows a mom and baby.

For the sharks and whales division, they are broken down by ceramic like the above manatee or glass with pearls added to represent bubbles in the water. Plus we girls like the bling anyway.

The mammals of the sea show the tight bond of love and caring between mother and child, as well as male to female pairs as most mate for life.

Sharks are most important to the ecosystem. Because of the limited understand by most people, they are doomed as evil beast instead of their own form of majestic beauty.

Stingrays are also in the shark/skate family and while they can be dangerous if you are not careful, they have a grace and beauty of their own. And of course we can’t leave out the turtles, amazing sea creatures.

I am still looking for other interesting creature’s of the sea, a sailfish would be fabulous but I have yet to see one. So I close with her close cousin in appearance, the Marlin. Then of course you have to have a lighthouse for your seascape. The lighthouse was originally part of my village but I felt it fit better here. I will share the village as well soon.

I hope you have enjoyed this fun traipse through the ocean of my bathroom. Remember all creations of the ocean have a beauty and purpose and most of them have an understand of family, love and kindness. So be kind in all you do to all kinds.

FOTD, November 29

I generally don’t have beautiful flower pictures this time of year, and these are in a vase, but they are filled with the color of fall and make my office look happy. Flowers make everything look better and happier.

I first thought the peach colored carnations clashed but the more I looked at them, they seemed to add a different look to the bouquet.

While the yellow mums up front are always a favorite, the multi-colored mums are bold and striking drawing you in to the full beauty of the mix.

The the golden Alyssum drooping from the sides ties them all together with fall colors of warmth and beauty.

Come join in with Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge and share the beauty you are seeing. Share the beauty of kindness where ever you go and its beauty will make you shine.

Backyard Acrobatics

I enjoy watching the antics of the birds and squirrels our my windows. It is amazing how animals can adapt to the humans who have invaded their areas. We could probably learn a thing or two from them.

Twice now I have had to call animal control to come get the ground hogs who are bound and determined to dig tunnels in my yard. Guess that is better that porcupines.

Then the squirrels became creative in getting to the suet feeder at the office. I later added a slinky to the post so they can’t climb up it. It a gentle and effective way to keep them off certain feeders. They have their own feeder further over.

Then the antics of the sparrows was amusing when the suet cake got to small. I would think eating from the side of the cage would be easier…no, he climbed down inside it where no one would bother him…smart bird.

The woodpeckers we are used to seeing hanging upside down, which is why I have the bottom feeders. But they like the regular ones better. The nuthatches like the bottom feeders but are very skittish of movement.

Guess its time to pull up the dried up sunflower. All the birds enjoyed eating the seeds from them. Well, I guess they should have, they planted them. Having nature come into your yard is a fun way to help you relax. You can actually learn a lot about the hierarchy of the different birds. Think of putting out a feeder, you would be amazed of who may come by.

And as always remember to be kind…to all kinds. All of nature understands kindness and are part of God’s creation plan too.

Reflections of Love, Loss and Encouragement

Good Saturday morning friends. If you celebrate Thanksgiving where you are, I hope It was a wonderful time of family and love. This past week we lost two women from our church family that were synonymous with their biblical names reflecting love, kindness and strength of character. I did not know Mary as well as Ruth but we as a church family will miss both ladies. Even in this last year as Ruth began to slow, her love of Jesus and people never slowed and the power of kindness radiated from her. Something we all should remember and try to copy. 

As we start into this holiday season, first with this past holiday of Thankfulness, we next go into a season of preparation. A time filled with hope, love, joy and peace. Another fierce encourager in our church family gave out a small devotional book to help us prepare for this season, the season of Advent. I realize not all churches celebrate Advent but I think we should all understand its purpose and decide individually whether or not to celebrate this beautiful season. I hope to shed some light by sharing this devotional with you, each week until Christmas, to help us focus on “the coming”. So many of us focus on the coming of Christmas that I think we forget to focus on the coming of Christ. The nation of Israel focused for centuries on the coming Messiah and now that he has come, we need to focus on His return so that not only are we celebrating His birth, but we are focusing on our preparedness for His return.

The circle of evergreen surrounding the candles of advent represents God’s never ending love for each of us. He came into this world to save us. The large white candle represents Christ, an ultimate gift of love from God surrounded by four other gifts from God to help us walk through this darkness.

As we prepare to walk through this season with these gifts from God, lets remember to share these gifts with those around us and to always be kind.

Always Be Kind

Giving Thanks

Here in the US, we are celebrating Thanksgiving. A day set aside to be thankful for all we have. The first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621, was a celebration of the harvest between the early Americans and the Indians. We celebrate it today with loud and busy families and way too much food.

As with all holidays, an element of sadness can occur when we focus too much on the physical aspects of our surroundings and not enough on “the heart of the matter”. Some families may have very little to share physically but love and kindness is a free component that carries more value that all the turkeys eaten on this day.

For all of us, let us remember to give thanks for the bounty of this day. And in all things be kind. If your bounty is very small, give thanks for what you do have and in all things be kind. Giving thanks is choice of the heart. We can look around us and be sad for the things we wish we had or we can praise God in all things, being thankful for what we do have. So I challenge you on this day of thanks to be Thankful for in all things and the world will suddenly begin to look much brighter.

May you have a blessed thankful day and as always remember to be kind in all things.

Wordle 527

Its fun when you spot a challenge you have never seen before by reading the post of people you do follow. Susi Bocks of I Write Her has encouraged me over the past couple of year with my meager attempts of writing. I am of the old adage that if you do use it you will lose it and the creative process, regardless of the genre, stimulates the brain and I want mine to stay stimulated so I play with writing. And she wrote a story here on Wordle 527.

Bwarren creates a fun challenge with The Sunday Whirl and Wordle 527 by giving you a list of words that you have to assimilate into a 100 word story. Join in with it and see how you can stimulate your brain. Today’s list is below.

Meredith looked down the stone path of the enchanted forest. She knew the legend of this forest but she had no clue of its truth. The icy wind blew making her breath hang in the heavily scented evergreen air. She knew few people dared to walk this path during this time of year but winter was the best time to spot this elusive bird. Sparks of anticipation spread up her spine as her courage began to brew. Stepping on the path her eyes caught sight of a huge feather lying along the paths edge. Did she dare go?

Hope you enjoyed my fun. Remember in all that you do, always be kind. It can make all of our stone paths a little smoother.

Plant seeds of Kindness

Should Encouragement Sound Hard?

Good morning friends. I wanted to share my “slap in the face” from my devotion this morning with Oswald Chambers. As the end of the year gets closer, and the holidays are within touching distance, we run around being “do-gooders” in the name off sacrifice for others. We sacrifice out time, our talents, our money with the hope of making our Lord pleased with us and of course helping our fellow man. We don’t outwardly look at it like that but I think sometimes that thought can niggle at us. I think we forget what true sacrifice is and I boil it down to this analogy – If the task you are doing to help fellow man may seem to others like a sacrifice or burden but to you it is a chance to show love and support, then your heart is in step with Christ. If the task you are doing to help fellow man feels like a sacrifice or burden then your heart is not in it, so stop. While it may be needed, its long term effects will not last. And it is needed to last in some form of caring.

We forget what true sacrifice is…

How dare we talk of making a sacrifice for the Son of God! We are saved from hell and total destruction, and then we talk about making sacrifices! Oswald Chambers

That was a hard statement to read this morning. And it made me think about all the programs we are getting setup for the holidays to help the needy, to help their physical needs; the food baskets, the “Share the Warmth” clothing drive. But are we doing enough to help their spiritual needs, their emotional needs. I can’t answer that question. Its different for each person. Am I, myself, skimming off the top or digging deep.

The missionaries around the world are truly sacrificing for Jesus. Remember the big news stories about the missionaries in Haiti getting captured and now its old news…but you know what, they are STILL captured and imprisoned. As they are in Afghanistan and other third world countries. But what can we do about that? Pray! If every person in the world would pray for them, not just once, but every time you do something for others, say a true heartfelt prayer for them. The power of hell has no power over the love of God and His people who sincerely believe in Him.

Taking the time to stop – be still – pray…is a sacrifice we can all do. It doesn’t come from our financial resources or our talents, it comes from our time and our heart. True sacrifices come from our heart.

So as you approach the holiday season, look at things a little more differently. Look at the value of true connection to others needs and always surround it with love from your heart. Never forget to pray for others and always be kind.

Always Pray in Kindness

Then and Now, a Week

A week is only 7 days but man, the things that can happen in such a short amount of time. Good Friday evening friends, I hope your week was good, as eventful as you wanted it to be and above all safe.

I have been exceptionally busy this week but have approximately 75% of my Christmas decorations up. I know its early but like the commercial on TV says, its only too early if you think its too early. Plus, Hallmark Christmas movies started on October 22, so the house has to look right to watch Christmas movies. Just sayin’.

Because of the amount I like to put up, it takes 2-3 weeks to get it situated like I like it. I takes me a week just to build the village. I added a train this year, a cheap one but it still choo-choos, has a whistle and goes around the track. That’s all I needed. Once everything is up and running, I will start sharing that part of my fun.

I am all about being happier.

I explain all of that because I have not had time to post all the beauty I have seen this week. Coming from the deep south and now living in eastern Iowa, I get a taste of all four seasons. Fall though is probably the shortest, lasting only a few weeks – like 2 weeks max. Summer lasts forever and then winter is a sneeze away from fall. But there are 4 distinct seasons here. What happens with such a short fall is like in a cartoon – poof, the leaves change, sometimes overnight. This last week was fabulous with temps in the upper 60s – its November y’all, In Iowa.(Two years ago it snowed on Halloween.) Then Sunday the temp dropped into the 40s and poof…

Monday and Tuesday were alight with rich color. And because I am not an expert photographer, these picture don’t really show the beauty of their color. But I am sure where you live, the colors are just as striking. And the clear evening skies were amazing.

Wednesday showed more beauty but the cloud cover started moving in and today, Friday, its in the 30s and snowing…Yep, welcome to Iowa.

So thanks, fall, for stopping by with a quick hello. While I love spring, fall to me has the most dramatic colors. Maybe because they have such short lives pushing all their beauty out at once. They they turn brown, turn loose and go to sleep for 5 months. Five months is a long time to not see the rich colors of nature but if we look hard enough, we can also see the beauty of nature as she sleeps. I think the evergreen and its deep green color is a symbol of life and hope and maybe why we put evergreens in our homes, real and artificial, with multicolor balls and lights to remind us the importance of color, smiles and happiness in all that we do. My hope for you this season is to feel the happiness as the lights of Christmas start to come out. Share that joy and remember to always be kind. Being kind, especially at this time of year, can really help a struggling soul to believe in the hope that the struggles may soon be soften in not completely go away. May we all share the kindness this season gives us with the chance to do more.

Always Be Kind, Share when you can

Three Strikes, Am I Out?

There is an old saying that trouble comes in threes…

Three puppies may be trouble but they are cute troubles

Well I had three “accidents” last week that could have caused serious injury but I walk away with minor bruises. God is definitely protecting me and yes I need to slow down and be more careful. All three incidents were from rushing and carelessness.

Incident 1 – I posted last week about the balloon drop we did from trunk or treat but I did not tell of almost cutting off my thumb with the paper cutter, the big one at the church office. The original sign for the balloons were too large so we had to cut them down …a lot…at the last minute. My right hand going faster than my left insured that I closed my thumb in the device. Fortunately I got away with only a cut on my cuticle and now a bruise coming out under my nail. Moral of story – slow down.

Incident 2 – Doing the final cut on the front lawn and raking up the last of the gourd debris I tried to break my nose or put out my eye. My wrought iron flower pot hook that is attached to the fence was empty but the hook was still quite capable of causing harm…and it did. I never wear my glasses outside when doing yard work as they fall off easy when bending down. But today, I did and it probably saved my vision. As I bent down to gather debris, I hit that hook square on with my glasses, right on the eyepiece. I did not break my glasses but did bruise my nose from the force of the sudden stop. Moral of the story – slow down.

Damaged Eye Glasses Broken Glass Stock Illustration 1540899305
Good grief!!

We have a theme going dont we…

Incident 3 – I had a small flower pot that the plant was pot bound and so I was going top repot it. It is a cute little pink pot that is prefect for starter plants but I left this spider plant in it too long. In trying to get the plant out without damaging it or the pot, I got impatient, the pot slipped from my hands and fell to the floor hitting me square on my pinky toe before it hit the floor and broke. After a loud word of pain, I reached down and picked up the damaged pot, took the hammer and broke the rest of the pot off of the tightly bound plant. I would have never been able to get that plant out in one piece without breaking the pot. So now, 1 bruised foot and 1 broken pot later, our spider plant is correctly repotted in a correct size pot. Moral of story – slow down.

Life can get us in a bind sometimes making us be more clumsy than necessary because we THINK we need to hurry.

But when we rush, it actually slows us down. Sometime those short cuts are worse time eaters or dangerous to our health. So the moral of todays three strikes – SLOW DOWN

Cartoon Turtle with Sunglasses Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock
Be Cool!

May your week be safe, and as always be kind. That is something you can never regret.

Always be Kind