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Life Is Good But Not Perfect

4 Aug

The sun poured out across the back field, lighting up the flowers like nature’s jewels. The soybean field was emerald green against the worn wooden fence posts. In the distance, beyond the field, I saw the outline of the town’s water tower. It was the start of another Monday morning out here in the country.

 

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Life is good, but not perfect. I gave up trying to strive for perfection, because it only causes stress and frustration. The fact is, life will never be perfect. There will always be pet fur stuck to furniture, cats that drag dead birds onto the deck, stickiness on the counter tops, a clogged toilet, a lawn mower that is broken, weeds in the flower bed, and  regret over words that should have never been said. Even in the imperfect mess of life, there is still so much that is good. So much to be thankful for….so much that God blesses me with.

 

 

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Oh, that I will never go through this life with blinders on!

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Today I am thankful for: 

*sunshine

*pets

*new acquaintances and old friends

*secret smiles with my husband

*the jangle of the dog’s tags

*bare feet

*cars that run

*icy cold water

*a favorite magazine in the mail

*bees buzzing around the lavender

*beautiful, delicate Morning Glories

*healthy children

*second chances, and third and fourth

*losing weight and getting healthy

*family support

*cooler weather

*lots of opportunities

*God, for all the ways He blesses

 

Sometimes It Takes A Storm

2 Aug

It was a few minutes after five in the morning. I heard the faint rumble of an approaching storm. I listened as it grew closer. The dark bedroom was bathed in the blue-white of lightning. It went on for quite a while, and now, even hours later, I can still hear thunder. Today is wet and gray and I like it. I like stormy, rainy days…at least once in a while. I like the smell of the soil when it is wet from the rain, or walking through puddles with my rubber boots.

Stormy days remind me of being cleansed. Even in the midst of life’s thunder and lightning, hard torrential rains, and gray skies….we can know that the storms, although at times scary and maybe even dangerous, will eventually stop.

Sometimes it takes the storms to wash away the dirt of life, to bring a fresh perspective and appreciation.

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Mark 4:39

And He (Jesus) got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.

 

 

 

THE SKY TURNED DARK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY…

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A SUMMER STORM AT MY HOUSE…

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I TOOK THIS PICTURE OF A SUMMER STORM IN COSTA RICA…

 

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Don’t Get Left Behind

29 Jul

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I’ve been seeing several ads and promos for the upcoming movie, Left Behind, that opens on October 3rd. The movie stars Nicholas Cage, who plays one of the lead characters, based on the best selling Left Behind series, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. The book series came out well over a decade ago, and has been read by millions the world over.

The Left Behind books are based on the book of Revelation in the Bible. The book of Revelation was written by the apostle, John, concerning the end time events that would occur. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God, and the book of Revelation is God, through John, telling us what is going to happen.

The events begin with the Rapture. This is when all those who are believers in Jesus Christ, will be taken out, raptured, from this world. In less than it takes time to blink, we will be gone. Just…. like…. that. In the mass exodus of believers, there will be chaos and confusion as to what happened. We can only imagine what it will be like for those left behind. Unmanned airplanes, cars without drivers, children gone from playgrounds, or from their beds, business men and women that never make it to the meeting. Houses now empty. Family members separated. The world in turmoil, on every continent, through every time zone. Gone. All gone.

Then begins the years of Tribulation. A time like this world has never seen. A time when the earth groans under the evil that plagues it. A man will come to the people and say he is bringing peace. He says he will heal this world. He is deceptive and cunning and the masses will believe him, because they long to believe in something…someone. Yet, he is the offspring of the Deceiver and he manipulates with his lies, those that were left behind. He ushers in the most horrible time that history will ever know, until time ticks down to the great battle of Armageddon, where quite literally all 0f hell will break loose.

God will not be mocked.

The Great Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, will come in all His power and glory.

27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Jesus Christ) 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.29 “Immediately after the distress of those day “‘the sun will be darkened,and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.  Matthew 24:27-31 NIV

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17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair,“Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”

19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. (Jesus Christ) 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. Revelation 19:17-21  NIV

Some have heard of the Rapture, the Great Tribulation, and even the Battle of Armageddon, and yet they turn their backs on God and His Son, Jesus. They tell themselves that none of this is true. They deny God, and slander the name of Jesus. They live their lives in the most cavalier way, wasting precious minutes, until there is no more time left.

Do not be deceived.

As the producer of the movie, Paul LaLonde, said, “Left Behind is based on a true story. It just hasn’t happened yet.” 

 

 

 

Oh, That You Would Bless Me

28 Jul

I first heard of Jabez, well over a decade ago. Before the year 2000, I didn’t know who Jabez was, or how what he said was important. He was hidden away in the book of 1 Chronicles, his name and prayer, wedged in between family genealogy. Let’s face it, the who begat who is kind of dry reading. It wasn’t until Bruce Wilkenson wrote his book, The Prayer of Jabez, that this Bible character became real to me.

So, many weeks have come and gone. Time has passed. Yet, this man’s prayer has come back to me, over and over again through the years. In the midst of family ancestors, God saw fit to mention Jabez’s prayer to Him. Jabez wasn’t anyone that would be considered special. From what I understand, he was just an ordinary kind of a guy, just living his life. But, right there in 1 Chronicles 4:10, this is what is written, “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

Some people think that Jabez should not have asked God to bless him, feeling that might be a bit selfish. I disagree. Scripture clearly states that God granted Jabez’s request. Why would God have allowed this short prayer, nestled into family ancestry, if He did not think it was worth reading? Small? Yes, but powerful. I think this tells us something about Jabez, but it also tells us something about God.

God loves us. He is Sovereign and He is Just, this is most definitely true, but doesn’t He enjoy hearing His children cry out to Him? Realizing that He is indeed the One who is in control? And with understanding know that all good things come from Him?

I believe that thanking God for all the ways that He chooses to bless, every single day, is music to His ears. The more ways our eyes are opened to all the daily gifts that God gives, the more we are blessed. There are times when I slow down and make the conscious decision to write out the blessings, and thank God. God knows me, intimately. He knows that He created me with a love and appreciation for the aesthetic. When I stop and notice the Queen Anne’s lace elegantly bowing to the wind in the pasture, and thank Him for it, when I see the morning dew sparkle like a million diamonds on the field of grass, when I walk down the driveway to get the mail and go through a cloud of dozens of yellow butterflies…….He has to smile. Some would chide me and say, “God is almighty, He doesn’t care about whether you like flowers and butterflies.”  I would reply, “I believe you are wrong.”

I Chronicles 16:34 

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 28:7

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Colossians 3:17 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
James 1:17 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
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Today I am thankful for:
*friends that invite my family over for lunch* laughter and pizza*afternoon naps*safety in the storm*family*celebrating a friend’s birthday*flowers of the meadow*the smell of rain soaked soil*green grass everywhere*beautiful ruby throated hummingbirds*the hoot of the Great Horned Owl*muddy dogs*dirty dishes in the sink, eating well*bare feet on summer days*gray storm clouds*an unseasonably cool breeze*no humidity*errands completed*excitement over son going to college*growing up *growing in Him*fruit smoothies*sleepy heads* soft worn rugs*God and His Son, Jesus—for it is through them that all of these blessings are possible. Amen.
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Alpha And Omega

24 Jul

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Life has a lot of twists and turns. As much as I attempt to make plans and fill my calendar, life changes. Sometimes the news is hard and painful…. just in the past month there has been a death in the family. At other times the news is good… this month has also brought an announcement of a pregnancy, and two invitations to weddings. We will start packing to send one son off to college, and get senior pictures made for our daughter.

Life is stitched together, one day at a time. One moment at a time. There are a lot of twists and turns, and we are all at the mercy of the unknown.

Thankfully, no matter what happens, I know the One who is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end…….and all the days in between.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 NIV

 

The Word That Comforts

23 Jul

On Monday, my back was a little sore, yesterday it really hurt. After not being able to get comfortable while laying down, and getting little sleep because of it, my back is aching today. I am only in my mid 40′s, but am feeling much older today…at least my lower back is. I have no idea what I did to cause this. I am spending my time puttering around the house today, doing a little of this and a little of that. It feels better to stand than to sit, so I will stay at least moderately busy.

Sitting here at the kitchen table, while typing, is starting to hurt….so, instead of spending my normal amount of time blogging, today I leave you one of my former posts. The words are comforting in a world that is ever changing.

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God Is Already There

Foggy forest of oaks in Cantabria. In the lush...

 

 

 

We live in uncertain times. There are plenty of anxious

moments to go around. Fear of the unknown runs rampant.

The questions of daily life can loom large, leaving us wondering what tomorrow will hold?

Most of us, unless you are the daredevil, fly by the seat of your pants type, like some security.

We like to know there is some stability in this ever changing world we live in…

When desperation drives us to our knees…

When the hurting parts of life seem to painful to bear…

We want to not fear what tomorrow holds.

And The Word is strong and true…it leaps, alive, off the page.

Fear can be replaced with courage. Anxiousness can be replaced with calm assurance.

Not to worry about the future…

God is already there.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leaveyou nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?  Psalm 56:3-4NIV

Keep Adding To The List

21 Jul

 

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Keep adding to the list.

Write them down as a testament to all the ways the Lord gives.

Practice, daily, until it becomes as normal as the breath you take.

Breathe in the moments and breathe out the thankfulness.

The sparkle of early morning dew on the grass, that shimmers like a million diamonds and then is gone….but, I was there to witness this fragile, delicate beauty, in that moment. The sun streaming through the fog. The neighbor walking the dog in the early morning quiet. Light shining through the turquoise mason jar on the window sill, sending color onto the counter. Clothes that smell fresh, like lavender. Hugs and kisses. Morning coffee. Cards written to friends. Knowing love. Seeing God as He walks in the every day. Simple things, yet not simple at all.

Practice.

Practice to be ready.

Strengthen the ability to give words of thanks……in all things.

Because the storms will come.

Eventually, the hard surf will pound you against the rocks.

When the storms of life threaten to overwhelm, this list will become precious.

Priceless words that remind of all the ways that the Lord has blessed.

God was faithful then, and He will be again.

 

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