Thursday, December 31, 2015

Old Year - New Year

Wow! How can it already be the last day of 2015??
I honestly don't think I've ever felt that a year has flown as quickly as this year has, and I know I'm not alone. I've heard many people--even young people--comment that the days seem to fly by.
In my humble opinion, I think the main reason is that many folks--young and old alike--stay super busy these days. Busy schedules combined with all the technology at our fingertips (which can be good but also VERY overwhelming at times) and it seems each day whizzes by.
Since I can't slow down my clock or my calendar, what I can do is make sure I'm living each day to the fullest in the way that God would have me live. As a Christian, I want to live my life in obedience to Him, and doing activities He would have me to do.
As I look back over this "old year" 2015, I am very thankful for my many blessings and the opportunities that the Lord provided for me to serve Him. But as I look ahead to the "new year" 2016 I want to focus even more on looking for daily opportunities to serve the Lord and live for Him. Then I know I truly will be living my life to the fullest!
     So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.   Psalm 90:12

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Unsettling Times - - Ultimate Trust

Although I try to stay caught up on major news happenings, there are days that I just really don't want to hear or read anything negative going on in our country or our world. I've heard people comment that watching the television news reports almost sends them into a state of depression. Other people tend to worry more--a lot more. And some folks will plainly state that hearing or reading news reports makes them feel extremely grumpy.
So while I do feel it's important to be aware of what's going on in our world, we do not need to *dwell* on the negative reports (and sadly there are plenty of those). Should we try to insulate ourselves and our families from all the negativity in the world? I don't think that's the answer (nor is it really possible).
If we're not careful, we can allow fear to take over - - especially in these unsettling times. As a Christian, I know without a doubt WHO is in control, and I must remember this. Yes, I need to keep up with news reports (but not go overboard reading every frightening detail), pray about various situations and innocent people who are affected, and most importantly TRUST the Lord in all things. I know that He watches over His sheep, so we need to place our ultimate trust in Him - - ALL the time!
     For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.   II Timothy 1:7

Monday, October 12, 2015

Shining Lights

This morning I came across a Bible verse I've read many, many times. In the book of Matthew, Chapter 5, Jesus says: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.
I've always loved this verse, but today it made me really stop and think. Am I a "shining light" in my daily life? No matter what I'm doing or where I am, can anyone else see that I'm being a "light for the Lord"?
I believe as Christians we are supposed to be different from the world. Even though we cannot earn our way into Heaven, if we are true followers of Jesus Christ we will want to live for Him, and act in ways He would want us to act. My understanding is this means in ALL we do, say, and think. So whether I'm in the grocery store, at a ballgame, or with family and friends I need to be a shining light for the Lord in all my actions and words. Not always easy in today's world, but something I truly believe I should do. May I strive to be a light each day, no matter who I'm with or what I'm doing. After all, I may reach even one person who needs that special light.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Older and Bolder

Today is my birthday. A "milestone" birthday, at that. It's funny because I don't think of myself as being "this old" haha - - except on days when I'm having lots of aches and pains - - but on those days I really try to focus on my blessings rather than the pain (easier said than done sometimes).
But today I am definitely going to focus on my blessings, because the Lord has truly blessed me in so many ways - - especially with a loving family and friends. And as I think about my many, many blessings, I have more of a desire to live a life that makes God smile. Recently I was thinking about positive changes I could make in my life as I turn another year older, and it occurred to me that I need to be bolder. Not becoming more outspoken, but being bolder in sharing my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Does this mean I must approach strangers and ask if they are Christian? No. But I need to look for every opportunity to share my love of Christ with others, and make the most of every chance to let people know what the Lord means to me, and how He will help others.
I cannot imagine how my life would be if I didn't have my faith in Jesus, and I feel burdened for those who don't share this faith. So may I find ways to help others who need Christ in their lives, and may I be bolder about doing so!

     In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.      Ephesians 3:12

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Proverbs in Pittsburgh

Recently I went to Pittsburgh to help my son get settled in before beginning his graduate work there. Even though I was very sad at the thought of my "baby" being so far from home, I'm very proud of him and also was a bit excited to visit a different city.
The first morning there, my husband and son were moving items into my son's apartment and I was at our hotel. Needing coffee, I headed down to the hotel lobby, where a nice counter was set up for guests to help themselves to coffee or tea.
I'd noticed an elderly man seated  alone on one of the sofas in the lobby area, and he appeared to be watching me as I prepared my coffee. He made a general comment about the coffee, and I smiled and replied. Apparently the man couldn't hear what I'd said, because he scowled at me and in a somewhat harsh tone he said, "You don't have to whisper. You're not in church."
Taken aback by the man's tone--and his scowl--I continued smiling even as the words from Proverbs 15 popped into my mind.
                         A soft answer turneth away wrath.
Clasping my cup of coffee, I stepped closer to him, still smiling, and explained that until I've had my morning coffee, I usually speak softly.
I gradually noticed a change in the man's tone and expression, and for the next twenty-five minutes we had a lovely visit. It turns out he's widowed and had been out taking a walk, stopping in the hotel for a cup of coffee. He was obviously lonely, and needed someone to talk with. The Lord placed me in that situation and I'm so glad! This elderly man had lived in Pittsburgh his entire life and had so much fascinating information about the area he shared with me--including pointing out some scenic places we needed to visit while there. Before I returned to my hotel room, he stood, smiled at me, and told me I was a "kind Southern lady."
We never know what a stranger is going through, and often a person just needs a listening ear or a smile. I continue to pray for the man I met that day, and hope that maybe--just maybe--for that brief time we visited his loneliness was eased a bit.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

We All Need GOOD NEWS!

It seems that many people I've spoken with in recent weeks have been very discouraged, and it's no wonder. Just viewing a news report on television or reading the newspaper is enough to send our mood spiraling down--way down. Even though I know it's important to "keep up" with what's going on in our country and the world, I think we can become bombarded by so much bad news that we let it affect us too much. At least that's how I feel at times.
I'm not suggesting that we ignore news reports or be oblivious to what is happening, but I personally feel we need to limit how much "bad" news we take in.
I've also been making more of an effort to pray - - really PRAY - - about people and situations I hear about in news reports.
What has helped me most of all is turning to the GOOD NEWS, my Bible. I continue to be amazed at verses that seem to speak to my heart about a particular situation or concern. Even verses I've read many times in the past seem clearer to me as I open my mind and heart to God's Word.
So while the world around me seems to be overwhelmed in bad news, I will cling to the hope that I have in my God, and the Good News He offers us.
      Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.   John 14:27

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Family of Her Dreams

I recently had the pleasure of reading Author Keli Gwyn's newest book, Family of Her Dreams, which is a June release from Harlequin Love Inspired Historical.
Set in California in 1866, Family of Her Dreams is a delightful, heart-warming story that I did not want to end!  The heroine, Tess Grimsby, is a caregiver to two young children and also housekeeper to their widowed father, Spencer Abbott.
The author did an excellent job making the characters "come alive" as I read, and it was easy to feel I was actually there, observing the people and events. This historical story has the perfect blend of romance and action, complete with believable characters.
I highly recommend reading Family of Her Dreams, and I look forward to reading many more books by Author Keli Gwyn. Five Stars!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May Memories

Today is Mother's Day, and I enjoyed a wonderful, blessed day with my precious children. Now as I glance out at the evening sky, it seems this is the "finale" to a glorious day - - the colors are gorgeous. It's as if God used His paintbrush and swirled shades of pink, blue, and orange - - breathtaking! Another reminder that we serve an amazing God who loves to shower us with unexpected blessings and beauty.
This same God is always with us - - through happy days such as today, and through the sad, difficult times that everyone goes through.
Since it is Mother's Day, I've thought a lot of my own precious Mama--now in Heaven--and how very much I miss her. But I'm so very grateful for the time she was here on earth, and I treasure all the sweet memories of my Mama, and am thankful for all that I learned from her. May I always strive to be the loving, Christian mother to my children that my precious Mama was to me.

     Her children arise up, and call her blessed.   Proverbs 31:28

Friday, April 24, 2015

An April Afternoon

A few days ago I went into my backyard to pick up some paper plates that had blown off my deck (where I feed stray cats). As I walked across the yard I suddenly stopped, taking in the picture-perfect Spring day. I looked up at the bright blue sky, noticed how green the trees were with sunlight streaming between the branches, and listened to the birds chirping their hearts out. It was impossible not to feel a sense of joy as I took in the beautiful day that the Lord had provided.
I couldn't help but think back to my much-busier days of teaching school, raising my children, and constantly feeling I was in a rush.
Not that I didn't appreciate pretty days then, because I did. But now that my life is at a slower pace, I can take time to savor all the beauty around me. And take extra time to give thanks to the One who created all the wonderful sights and sounds around me.
    This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.   Psalm 118:24

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Author Kim Vogel Sawyer has been my favorite author for quite some time, and each time I read another book written by her I'm reminded of why she's my favorite!
The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy Series follows members of an Old Order Mennonite family who live in Kansas. Book 1 is When Mercy Rains and is excellent. I recently finished reading Book 2, When Grace Sings, and highly recommend it. The only problem was that a couple of nights I stayed up way too late reading, because I wanted to find out what happened next!
When Grace Sings follows the story of Alexa Zimmerman as she's running a B&B in her grandmother's home. A Chicago tabloid reporter, Briley Forrester, arrives for an extended stay at the B&B. Alexa is unaware of Briley's hidden motives for being in her community. The events become even more interesting when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna Grace, who is engaged to Steven, a young man with a hidden dream.
These characters came alive for me as I read this book---another reason I love Kim Vogel Sawyer's stories. She has a talent for creating believable characters that you find yourself truly caring about!
Now I'm eager to read Book 3 when it comes out, and I highly recommend this series.

Monday, February 23, 2015

February Feelings

The month of February is often associated with Valentine's Day, and I've even heard February referred to as "the month of love" (even though Valentine's Day is only one day, LOL). But how wonderful it would be if every month could be a "month of love" - - as in showing LOVE for EACH OTHER. 
In the book of John in the Bible, Jesus says that we are commanded to love one another as He has loved us. WOW! I think we all can use this reminder (at least I know I sure can) because some days we just don't feel very loving toward others. Yet we need to remember that as Christians, we are to strive to follow the example of Jesus and love everyone (yes, easier said than done).
One way that we can show love for others is when we let people know we hurt when they hurt. I was recently reminded of this when I had many friends and relatives who demonstrated love by their compassion and caring. One of my sweet kitties had cancer and had to be put to sleep at my veterinarian's office. Even though the loss of an animal is not the same as a human loss, it's still a terribly painful time. As I cried and felt so sad as I left the animal clinic with an empty cat carrier, I was soon comforted by those who truly understood the grief of losing a beloved pet. They felt my sadness, and as they showed compassion and understanding, I felt their love.
May I always look for ways to show others that I love them, just as I have felt loved.

     This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  John 15:12

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Joy in January

For the past several years I've had a special "word for the year" rather than setting New Year's resolutions as I used to do. I don't choose this special word lightly - - actually I pray about it and then wait to see what the Lord impresses on my heart.
Back in December I started thinking and praying about my "Word for 2015" and before long the Lord clearly gave me the word JOY. My first thoughts were: Am I understanding the Lord? In the past I've had words like TRUST, PERSEVERE, and SERVE. So....I prayed some more, and sure enough it was clear. My Word for 2015 is JOY.
I want to be JOYFUL every day - - not just when things are going smoothly, but EVERY day. Because as a Christian I have many reasons to be joyful - - especially knowing I have a Savior who loves me and has promised me eternal life!
This special word also has another meaning in my life. Many years ago my precious Mama (now in Heaven) told me that the way to have true joy in your life is to live this way:  Put JESUS first - J
                                                          Put OTHERS next - O
                                                          Put yourself last - Y
Her reminder has stayed with me over the years, and that is how I always want to live. I show my love for Jesus by serving and doing for others, and in doing that I receive joy. May I always have a spirit of joy in all that I do.
     Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  
                                                                                    Psalm 16:11