Favorite This Far, JusJoJan-last

Linda is winding up Just Jot January with us sharing a favorite post from the last year or month. I have not been blogging but a few months(Aug 2018) so I will just go with a favorite of mine plus one that seems to get a lot of likes for it. It started first as a picture from Irene of Heaven’s Sunshine and I loved that photo so much I wrote a poem about it. Since it is a small poem, I will just repost it all here.

TO THE TOP for THE BOTTOM

One of the most enjoyable things about blogging is the amazing photographers, professional and non-professional that share their photographs for all to enjoy. A lot of the photographs that are shared are due to various challenges as the one I will be sharing with you today,  well technically it’s night (2:30 am)but I couldn’t sleep so I am writing.

Irene from Heaven’s Sunshine was following the challenge for stairs from Pic And A Word  by Patrick Jennings. Her picture was so inspiring to me, I told her I was going to write about it, so I did. I hope you enjoy it and do stop by Irene’s blog for some wonderful pictures.

Steps to the Cross
Bailly Cemetery – Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

   THE CLIMB

I see and maintain it still is not fair,

I have nothing to lay at the top of the stair.

It’s not my fault, I did nothing wrong,

Well, maybe I did, it’s just been so long.

How long has it been since I climbed to the top,

I remember it’s relief, Why did I stop?

How can a symbol of such astounding grief,

Be given to us to bring so much relief?

With love so amazing, to the cross did He die,

To flood us with gratitude that still makes us cry.

The burdens we carry don’t always seem fair,

Always we can lay them at the top of the stair.

The first step looks brittle, can it carry my weight?

This burden is heavy and may seal my dire fate.

As I touch each step and climb ever higher,

Is this what I should do, is this really my desire?

As I clear the last step, the cross is before me,

I question my worth, did He also die for me?

As my knees get bent, I am smothered by His grace,

And I lay all my burdens at the accepting cross base.

                       – Anita Tillman Neal –

 

Always remember there is a burden carrier and it isn’t you. Scripture tells us repeatedly that He is there to carry our burdens for us, we just have to be willing to give them to Him.

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And as always, I remind everyone the much loaded value of kindness. Carry it with you where ever you go and share it as much as possible.

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Kindness As A Goal

In all of my post I ask all readers to remember kindness to others. It is the easiest and most difficult thing you could do. The book of Galatians reminds us the effects of not being kind in Galatians 5:15 – “If you bite and devour each other, beware as you will destroy each other.” But then in vs 22 the list of good attributes of following the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. And again in Colossians 3:12 -“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, KINDNESS, humility, gentleness and patience.”

All of these commands come straight from the heart – God’s heart. And it is passed down to us for us to share with others in reflecting God’s precious love.

I ran across this posting the other day, not knowing who wrote it but I wanted to share it with you to remind you  no matter how small an act of kindness you share, it makes a very large mark on life.

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Your kindness always matters

So I ask you to leave fingerprints of kindness where ever you go and help the world to smile.

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Master of …, #JusJojan

It’s a word than dons power or specialty as in “master of my house” or “jack of all trades and master of none”; then in golf there is the Masters Tournament each spring in Augusta Ga. or in biblical times and even up to current times there is the master/slave relationships of people. For today’s Jot in January we are following Linda and Sadje’s prompt of master and since it is also a Sunday my mind went only in one direction – The Master.

It is my belief that all people follow. Even those that lead, follow. They follow what they believe to be the truth according to their own priorities and these priorities are gain by things they have lived through and assessed to be the truth in their hearts and mind. And  that truth is their master.

Look at all the good and bad leaders of this world we have seen thus far. They lead from their hearts and were able to convince others that his/her priorities were correct and true until someone else came along with a better idea of what they believe to be true. I think in each person’s heart, whether it be for mastering his own life or mastering the hearts of a nation, it starts with being true to what he believes as the truth and that therein is the root of the problem.

In  John 18:37, Jesus explains to Pontius Pilate that he is the witness of the truth where Pilate retorted “What is truth”. Philippians 4:8 reminds us that “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on such things.”

In my opinion when you take life and boil it down to the stickiness left in the bottom of the pan there are only two defining truths and therefore two defining masters – the Masters of Good and Evil and who those Masters are. You can walk in the gray matter between the two for a while but there will be a day where a choice will need to be made. The first choice you have to make and that choice will decide your direction of choices is do you even believe there really is a Good Master and Evil Master.

My beliefs are there is definitely a Good Master and an Evil being that wants to be a master but has already lost. He is just going to take as many as he can away from the Good Master through his trickery and lying by deceiving those into believing the Good Master is not the truth. The choice is intimately up to each individual as he searches for his own truth and that which makes him happy.

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The choice

 

Everything we do in life is a choice and my hope is that more of us choose the Good Master as he will bring to us the love, tenderness and kindness we are all so hungry for.

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Hope, Joy and Love

The fear and wonder the shepherds must have felt to see the heavens open with bright light and creatures they had only heard stories of but have never really seen. They knew from the prophets that He would come as a child from the lowly town of Bethlehem.

I wish you all the joy, wonder and love this season can bring us. A reminder of what did come and a foreshadowing of what is still to come. May you feel His love, peace and comfort and carry it with you to share with others as you go.

   Have a very Merry Christmas.

heart

Advent Continues, Weekly Prompts

GC and Sue W have created a prompt that is so up my alley.  The joys and traditions surrounding Christmas are my most favorite of the year. See their prompt below to join in on the fun and share your photos.

http://weeklyprompts.com/2018/12/14/advent-continues

For me and my daughter, we start preparing the week before Thanksgiving but this year we started the 1st week on November as I was due for surgery the second week and I was not going to miss out on my decorating. We are also major college football fans, so every year there is an off weekend where our team does not play. That is the designated day for Christmas decoration shopping day. Sometimes we find something and sometime we don’t but it has become a yearly tradition we look forward to with love and fond memories.

When I decided to move from the deep south to the midwest for a new job, my daughter wanted to come. He job was going nowhere and her last relationship had crashed and burned. So we moved together. We were fortunate to find the perfect house with a walk out basement and a kitchen on both floors. So she is downstairs where it stays cooler to her liking and I am upstairs. Close to each other but separated as well.

My daughter and I are both suffers of the same…”illness?!?” – YCHTMC – An acronym for “You Can’t Have Too Much Christmas”.

Upstairs I have are 3 full size trees and 3 table trees. Down stairs my daughter has 3 smaller full size trees and 1 table tree.

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Dining Room Tree / Village
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Living Room Tree
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Bedroom Tree with Santa and Chris Moose

Below are the downstairs trees in her large living area.

I have 6 multiple pieced nativity sets in  various styles, colors and sizes with many single unit nativity scenes.

My biggest set has individual lights for each house and my smallest is actually a fountain.

My daughter has 2 multiple pieced nativity sets and several single unit scenes.The reason I have more is I have been doing it longer. It is a sickness I inherited from my mother and I have several ornaments that were hers. It is a family affair. With my sons, their wives keep them in check.

I am also an angel collector and most of those stay out year round; they just get located in a different location allowing other and numerous table decorations. Plus there is the village that grew this year and now has a section located in a different spots which houses the country scenes and the Christmas tree village.

 

There are traditional decorations, whimsical decorations and some just silly decorations but laughter and the love of Christ is what Christmas is to me. Through November I have displayed some of my pictures so I will repost a few but you are interested you can review my other post from November.

I sincerely hope you all have a marvelous Christmas regardless of your religious affiliation. It is a season of love hope and caring and we must always be considerate and kind to each other, especially at this season. There are many hurting during this time of year and will need and extra hand of kindness shared with them so please share kindness when you can.

Enjoy my love and fun of the season.

 

Do You Read The Study Notes? #1LinerWeds

Do you ever really wonder what the Bible is? Where did it come from? Is it real, is it true? I have very strong, foot standing my ground beliefs to all of these questions and I think all of us need to think on these questions to figure out where we stand individually on these questions as it balances us on where our priorities lay.

aopen bible

My answers are – The bible is the very word of God, given to His prophets by God and the disciples to tell the world who He is, what His plans are, the history of His people Israel and how to prepare the entire world for His abundant love.

The month of December I am reading through the book of Luke and trying to stay to one chapter per night as there are 24 chapters which carries you to Christmas eve. On Christmas eve we as a family always read Luke chapter 2 to praise the birth of Jesus.

To help me not read too far ahead, I also add on the study notes at the bottom of the pages as they give you a way to wrap your head around what was happening then and how I can apply it to today. I use the NIV study bible, studying first the word and then referencing the study notes to help me understand what I am reading. And for me, each time I read the same passages I have read many times before, I get different insights depending on what is going on in my life at the time. The bible is a living document, ever teaching and ever loving.

Chapter 5:36-39 of Luke has the parable of the old wine skins verses the new wine skins and while I vaguely understood what they were saying I went to the study notes to see what they could explain to help me correlate to today. What the parable tells us is not to put new wine in old wineskins as they will burst spilling you wine onto the ground. We all understand that things get worn out but lets study that for a second. Wineskins were goat skins where the edges were tightly sewn together to create watertight bags. As the bag ages, the skin becomes hardened and less pliable. The aging process of new wine requires expansion from the gases created so you need a pliable bag, therefore, you need a new bag. If you put new wine in old bag, it will be stiff leaving no access or room for expansion and the bag will split spilling it contents.

What Jesus was teaching with this parable was the comparison of the Pharisees being too rigid to accept His new teachings of Christianity. The old teachers of the Law could not turn lose their traditions and rules to be able to accept the new approaches and structures Jesus was explaining to the people. How does that apply to us today? Well, we as Christians must always follow the word and be careful that our hearts don’t get so hard and rigid with our traditions that it prevents us from from accepting the new way of thinking that Christ brings. We need to keep our hearts soft and pliable, always ready to accept His teachings of life changing messages. You can never tell when he may drop an opportunity to share Him in  your lap. Use wisdom, discernment and love in applying His truths so that others may want to come and learn.

Galatians 5:22-23 reminds us that God’s love and showing of His love to all is compared in my mind like sweet succulent grapes hanging from the vine for all to enjoy and share with others  – the Fruits of the Spirit. The top of the list is of course Love. Why love? Because God is love. My favorite of the fruits is kindness. To me you cant give kindness without love, so I always close with encouragements of kindness – for those needing it and for others to remember to share it.

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Kindness can be a small as a smile

Fruits of the Spirit = Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control

And thanks to Linda G Hill in allowing us to share fun, wisdom, peace and love through One Liner Wednesdays.

Beauty in Nature, #1LinerWednesday

There are many beauties we see daily in nature that give us a glimpse of what Eden must have looked like. Adam, as he named all the creatures, seeing that some were more beautiful but realizing each specie had it purpose in creation that blended with the circle of life as intended for all to be harmonious with each other. Working together as a unit of divine creation and then….man ruined it. I read an article recently listing the most dangerous creatures in the world and man was listed as one of the worst. How could we,  the beautiful creation that representing God himself, strayed so far from His purpose. But this story is not about what man has done but to refocus back on the beauty of creation itself. Specifically, birds. Since I am somewhat temporarily disabled, my mobility is challenged and I have really become very fond of the birds that visit my feeder.

Yes, even the pesky squirrel is part of nature although neither I nor the birds appreciate his appearance. But the few that I admire the most are the woodpeckers and the red cardinals. With the ground now covered in snow, their bright red feathers really are beautiful.

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Dad and Mom

I had remembered my sister saying that cardinals represented loved ones recently lost but I don’t really buy into that but in research I did find some interesting facts. With cardinals, they are mates for life. They don’t mind the cold weather so that is why their bright red plumage shows up so well against the snow covered trees.

In many cultures they are thought to be messengers from the spirit world. Their bright red feathers represent love, boldness and passion. Their resilience of harsh weather can bring hope for hard times. Cardinals are appreciated as good fortune bearers and they remind the followers of Christ of His red blood that was shed for us. They are also symbols of Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s birth. They bring joy, song, harmony and happiness to people’s homes and lives. I have one that sits on my tree in the living room.

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The cardinal

As you go out in the world, open your eyes to the beauty of creation. Even the tiniest of flowers can bring a smile knowing that God placed it there for you to enjoy.

flower train
Single daisy

And always remember the value of kindness. Like a single bloom that makes you smile, a single act of kindness can bring sunshine to someone’s gray day.

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In following along with Linda G Hills One Liner Wednesday, we add the cute monkey that represents Peace, Love and One Liner Wednesday.