Evening Encouragement, Change

Good evening. Tonight I had a Zoom Bible study meeting. It makes me acutely aware of how much I miss Sunday School. And it’s not just Sunday School but how I miss seeing everyone, seeing how they are doing, getting hugs and all the loving things we do as a church family. I miss the family but I am ever so thankful for today’s technology helping us stay as connected as much as we can. In the late 90s, Tim LaHay and Jerry Jenkins wrote a series about the end times called the Left Behind Series. I thought this series was great and I ended up with the entire series, except for the two they wrote after the series was complete that talked about what was going on before being left behind. I bring this series up because when it was written 25 years ago, technology was not what it is today and the people in these books were able to connect with each other worldwide through satellites – well, that was fiction then but true life today. Our world has become very small with the abilities of computers today. But even though the world is changing around us – God and His promises never change.

The bible reminds us over 20 times through old and new testament that not only do His purposes never change, He himself does not change.

And in a world that sometimes seems crazy and  scary with it’s fast changes, we have the security of knowing HE NEVER CHANGES.
John starts off his book reminding us who God was, what the Word was and who Jesus was.

Then later when chaos was everywhere and fear was running rampant, the writer of Hebrews reminded the people of Jesus being God and He never changes.

That gives us great relief, courage, faith and hope in understanding that no matter how bad it may get, whether it be from a virus, conflicts or the sheer feeling of hopelessness, God is always there. I love the footprint message that reminds us how much He loves us.

So remember that He is always by your side, just reach up and He will grab your hand.

And as always, I remind you the value and power of kindness as it reflects the living expression of God’s love.

Things That Bring Us Peace, FOTD

This morning is another beautiful day. I walk around my small yard and thoroughly enjoy the peace God put there for me to see.

Especially after a night of police chases down our quiet street…twice. Proof that satan is busy all around us and now more than ever we need the rest and peace of Christ. Sarah Young reminds us this morning in her devotional Jesus Calling of the importance of resting in Him. Through the quiet restful time devoted to God we find His peace and love. He wants us to know how very much he loves us and it breaks his heart when we feel unworthy of His love. He said we were worth it and that we should never feel that we are not.

He will rejoice over you with His love

I think we sometimes gets caught up in idea that we need to earn our love from Him but with Him His love is boundless. And He loved us long before we started doing any type of work.

So I encourage you today to take joy in His love for you and let His light warm your soul.

And may He bring you Peace.

I leave you with some more beauty from my yard to enjoy Cee’s Flower of the Day. Flowers do make me smile and remind me of God’s love for us. And if they are fragrant, that is even better.

And as always, I remind you of the beauty and magic of kindness.

Power of Encouragement

Sometimes it is the tiniest thing we do, and that is usually done unconsciously, that can bring about the biggest smile from the encouragement it gave. I think it is so important to lift others up especially in today’s chaos. Coming home today, I got tickled with the radio’s encouragement as it was talking about the encouragement you got from flossing or not flossing. What?!?  Even now I can not put that together but as long as it got someone’s attention and they were encouraged, then it was worth it. Even the USDA had a cartoon campaign by building a car out of veggies to encourage kids to eat better. Encouragement can come in many different forms.

Eating a car may appeal to boys…

While I am from the south and love my veggies, I prefer the encouragement I get from Scripture and friends and then I just pass that encouragement on to other friends and occasionally here at my blog. According to google, the most encouraging verse in the bible is Psalm 46:1 –

I can see that as being a powerful encouraging verse but I am sure we all have a favorite that speaks just to us. Mine is in Proverbs – well one of the many – 

Personally, I need someone to direct my path because I am easily distracted by something like a butterfly and then I will fall in a hole in the ground that I didn’t see. But it is the love of His guiding hand, the gentleness of His whisper and the power of His truth that helps us cling safely to every word of His “training manual” and that is what keeps us encouraged. When we share it with each other or with those who don’t know His words, that is when we again remember just how powerful His words of encouragement are and we can again feel His peace surrounding us.

So, I am just passing on the encouragement I get from reading His words. The more we are encouraged, the more we can encourage others and the more we encourage others, well it just makes a ripple effect that can spread near and far…like tossing a pebble in a pond.

Think about how small the initial ripple of a wave is when first made that can grow into a enormous tidal wave. May we all be ripple makers of encouragement for each other and maybe this will make it a happier world. And as you encourage, remember the tiniest spark of kindness can have a bursting affect of sunshine, so always be kind.

Beauty in Life

Monday is the day we start out work week so I want to start mine with a reflection of the beauty of nature. Monday Macros is a good time to focus on the details of beauty around us so I give you Sunshine’s Monday Macro from my yard and wish you a beautiful start to you week.

Bees are still visiting my yard
I am only 2 inches in size big in beauty
Yellows and red make this Dahlia special
I am the larger of the blooms picture this morning but still under 3 inches

Hoping these smiling flowers bring a smile to you. And as always remember to be kind. It shows the beauty of YOU.

Always Be Kind

Fall is Coming

Finally today the sun is shinning after a week of steady rain. I am not really complaining, we needed it badly. I pray that the Pacific coast gets some rain soon or at least relief from the fires.  Yet still the south is reeling from the floods of hurricanes – 2 within a couple of days and we here in the midwest are still cleaning up from last month’s Derecho, an inland hurricane, where massive decades old trees were knocked over like toothpicks. 

Trees don’t go across streets..with car light behind them…

Weather, whether we like it or not, affects us all, sometimes good, sometimes bad. But today I am relaxing in the sun and tolerable temperatures and taking some fun pictures of the few remaining flowers as cool temperatures start leaning their lives toward their winter’s sleep. It’s hard to think of it that way since its just mid-September but last year it snowed on Halloween so…

I am just not ready for the grayness of winter…

As much as we would like to think we are in control…we really aren’t, but how we allow life to affect us as it swirls around us, plays an important role in how we survive or not and how those around us thrive or not. So for now I chose to let the sun shine in, smile with the flowers and hopefully spread some smiles in your direction.

Ring of light proof of surrounding love

My sincerest prayers is for all to be happy, encouraged and have the ability to enjoy the life surrounding you. Where there are troubles surrounding you, may they be short lived and may you feel the peace of Christ flow about you.

Flowers and nature make me smile so I share with you the smiles I had today.

And as always remember the beauty of kindness. All of nature understands this gift as it is from God, and we just forget to share that sometimes.

They all understand…so should we.

The Collar, #SoCS

Control or Not Control, That is the Question

The Collar

A ring of control around our neck,

This one lay empty upon the deck

Some are made of metal, some of leather

Some are heavy or light as a feather

The ones worn by dogs are not for pretend

The ones by humans may be a fashion trend

The better way of control may be a harness

Where it holds your body from a major mess

But we as humans must truly confess

It is not our body that we need to control

but a small component that drops us in a hole

It is our tongue that spews gentle or mean

A component that is hard for us to keep clean

A component that we must learn to control

For this should forever be our life long goal.

Linda G. Hill Stream of Consciousness Saturday has given us a fun prompt of “collar”.

Come join in on the fun and see how we all tackle this challenge. And as hinted to in the poem above remember the value of being kind. This should be a goal for all of us.

Always Be Kind

Release

Tonight I release a little bit more. A little more pain, a little more hurt, and gain a little more courage and a little more self worth. Its been a long journey and I pour out a little more of my soul with the help of my computer to continue my journey in healing. Tonight I watched again, the movie “I Can Only Imagine”. Fabulous movie and the song is probably my favorite all time song. If you haven’t seen it, or heard the song, you need to.

This true story of pain and courage from an abusive home and the hope from its story’s journey has been a huge inspiration to me to remind me there is life after abuse. There is hope after abuse. And there are dreams after abuse.

While I did not come from a physically abusive home towards me when growing up, there were the occasional drunken brawls of abuse between my parents. And what so many do not understand is that there are many forms of abuse other than physical and all of them are detrimental to children of the home.

Colossians 3 reminds us of correct rules for Christian homes reminding parents that they are to love each other as Christ loves them and to not discourage and embitter the children. When children become discouraged from abuse in the home, it sets a standard for their understanding and let me just tell you – No one…No one…and I say it again…No one should be allowed to harm another person with physical action or with words, whether they are family, friend or a total stranger.

Because a lot of times it creates a cycle and it takes a lot of courage and effort to break that cycle. I was not strong enough to do that. Off and on for twenty years I stayed in an abusive marriage. It took two divorces from the same man for me to finally break free of this pattern. And it took another ten for me to gain strength and courage to survive on my own, with three children. Then it took another ten for me to find a new life of courage and self worth with new dreams. Life is hard and I don’t know how anyone can survive this life without Jesus Christ, its hard enough for those of us who do follow him.

My revisited dream of being a writer is actually coming to the front. Will I be a best seller, no, but my second book is in process of being printed and I am hoping it will be out in October. It is a sequel of my first book…about dogs. God instills in us survival techniques that sometimes can come out in various art forms. Some people turn to music, some to painting but I turned to writing. Dogs were a big part of my survival so I turned them into people and wrote about them. It was fun and encouraging for me as I still fight with self worth. When you are told for many years how worthless you are, it takes a while to flush that all down the toilet. I am enclosing one of the first poems I ever place of WordPress. I was inspired by a fellow blogger’s photo and it shows how even now I struggle with self worth in Christ knowing full well to him I am precious. Never forget how much God loves you and that he always has a plan for you. Grab hold of his hand and hang on.

Bailly Cemetery, Courtesy Irene Tron

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 its relief, why did I stop?

How can a symbol of such astounding grief,

Be given to us to bring us this 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 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’m smothered by His grace,

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

Anita Neal

Probably the reason I push kindness like I do is because I fully understand its benefits, it value and how easily it can spread. besides it is one of the fruits of the spirit. So I remind you as always the utmost value of kindness. Please be kind.

George, The Hornworm

This is George. He is a hornworn caterpillar or rather a sphinx moth caterpillar. See that little pointy thing on his rear end? Or maybe its his head, not sure, all I know is he and his friends are eating up my tomato plant. If it was early summer I would be upset but my one plant is about gone so I picked all tomatoes of any size and brought them inside. They can ripen in the window.

According to what I read, once they mature into moths, they are great pollinators and encouraged by some farming communities. Since the plant is on its way out, I will let it be the food for the two worms I see. George is quite large, about the size of my finger but pictures I saw on the internet show them to get even larger. So I will study him to see how he does.

As long as he stays where he is and does not get on any other plants, I will leave him but but…don’t mess it up George or you will be a gonner.

All life and creation has a purpose, you just have to weigh what wildlife you have around you to see if you allow it to stay…if it had 8 legs….no, no, no. Don’t care if any spider is beneficial, stay out of my yard and if you come in the house…

While we try to be kind to all kinds…there is a limit to which crawly things I will tolerate. But try as much as you can to be kind when you can…

From Frustration to Kindness

God reminded me today to “Sit – Breathe – Relax – Love – Be Kind”. We all have those days when someone just pushes all the wrong buttons. I don’t have those days often but they usually come about when someone…rather when I feel someone is being …no  I am not going to say that word… so I will say when someone does not use the intelligence you know they have. And when that someone is someone in your family…well family is different and can be more frustrating because you know exactly how they operate. But then I think about how I frustrate God and He definitely knows exactly how I operate. I am sure He does a lot of Sit – Breathe…well, you get the idea.

He teaches us how to treat others in any capacity that we encounter them, then He reminds us through the lessons of the Fruit of the Spirit how people need to be treated. If we are given a choice of being intellectually right versus allowing our heart to show kindness in how we behave…then being kind should always win out over being right.  And like my Pastor said in the bible study on Wednesday, it’s the trials and situations that we face that strengthens us so we can survive and hopefully bring others along with us who are watching us and how we behave and then they want to survive as well because with all the frustration we were still kind.

It is through His grace that we are saved and while we ourselves can not save anyone…we can show the benefits of God’s love and salvation by being kind, loving and supportive. As we are currently going through odd and difficult times, allow His strength to cover any weakness you feel as you breathe in His love. Then you can breathe out His grace for you and others around you. And together, you and God, will have all the strength you need for any situation.

I leave you with a little humor…that says a lot. Have a great evening and new day tomorrow.