There are times life is too loud. There are so many distractions these days with all our other responsibilities. I gave myself some time off this past week – to unplug, refresh, and recharge. I put my phone away. I didn’t blog everyday. I didn’t check Facebook 12 times a day. I didn’t record any music for the last month or so. I even muted my new app Periscope, lol! It was one of the best things I have done in a long time.
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who does all the talking?
Where you couldn’t even get a word in because they never stopped to listen?
How did that make you feel?
Yeah, me too. It’s frustrating.
I have to confess this was how my talk with God was going this past month. I was doing all the talking. And not listening.
Thank you Holy Spirit for promoting me to unplug, to simply shut up and listen for God’s whisper. I feel so much better today. And hopeful. And joyful. You give me rest Lord. Thank you Jesus!
1 Kings 19:11-13
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Your tomorrow is greater than your yesterday. And today is a new day! Be present. Be here, now. The past got us here. We survived. God is good, He is faithful, and He walked us out of the valley of the shadow of death. Now what?
I can’t tell you how much time I have wasted trying to change or ‘understand’ my past. Now I get why God encourages us to put the past behind us and be present in the moment. And He promises that our future will be so much better!
Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
It comes dow to trust for me. Either I trust God and believe what He says or I don’t. I wish I could say I was perfect, but I am not. I question God all the time.
Did you really say that?
You want me to do what?
You want me to go where?
Really, I have to pray for her?
And the list goes on. I sure am glad that God’s patience is bigger than my list of questions. And that His mercy is new every morning. Yet He calls us to trust Him, and follow Him. Day by day. I like how Brennan Manning puts it:
The way of trust is a movement into obscurity, into the undefined, into ambiguity, not into some predetermined, clearly delineated plan for the future. The next step discloses itself only out of a discernment of God acting in the desert of the present moment. The reality of naked trust is the life of the pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious, and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future. Why? Because God has signaled the movement and offered it his presence and his promise.
Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God
So I sit here quietly, and listen. Show me Lord what this day is about. Walk with me and direct my feet. Today Lord, I lay down my list and follow your voice.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Spring Training Lesson #4 – Honoring the Holy Spirit
You sense the presence of God when you wake up…
You hear something that ‘pricks your heart’…
You see a beautiful sunset and wonder…
You start crying at church when they sing that song…
The Pastor preaches a Word that opens your eyes…
All are signs that the Holy Spirit has something to share with you. Something to teach you. Do you slow down and listen? Do you stop what you are doing to see? Do you write it down to meditate on later? I confess I am guilty of moving so quickly that I do not stop. I am learning to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit in my life. I want to acknowledge His presence in my everyday life more. And I want to stop and listen, stop and see, just STOP when He says to stop.
The Bible says that the Holy Spirit lives IN US and He will be with us forever – Jesus promised. Let us all be more aware of His presence and His prompting. Here is an excerpt to one of my friends blog that helped me see today. Even the Demons stop and worship in His presence.
“We have the honor of entering into the presence as much as we like and yet so many of people take it for granted. How many times have people stood in church and the presence of God is surrounding them, yet they do nothing.
Not even the demons could have stopped this afflicted man from worshiping Jesus. Likewise no pain, situation, affliction or trial should stop us from worshiping when we’re in the presence of God.”
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:15-21 NIV)
“All this I have spoken while still with you.But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:25-27 NIV)
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16: 12-15 NIV)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (Romans 8:26 NIV)
Sometimes in my travels I come across really good sites that help us Authors, Bloggers, and Musicians. I would like to introduce you to Animoto. You can set up a free account and get started making a book trailer or even a trailer for your Blog. They make it so easy. There are templates included, and even music that you can add for free.
Animoto makes it easy to create professional-quality videos on your computer and mobile device. At our core, we believe that video is the most powerful way to communicate what you care most deeply about—whether that’s your family, business, or a cause—and that making videos shouldn’t be limited to only those with technical know-how and expensive production equipment.
Benefits of Animoto:
It’s free to set up an account.
You can upload your video directly to YouTube and share on all your social networks.
It’s easy to do with templates and music.
You can embed your video on any WordPress Page if you use the YouTube link.
It is a great way to increase traffic to your site.
You can use for personal or business needs.
It’s a great way to promote your book, blog, wedding, party, etc. on social media.
They do offer an upgrade to HD for a small charge. (I paid $10 to go to 720p)
Here is the first one I made for my book Snow White Darkness. This book shares my journey out of Domestic Abuse.
And here is one I created for my blog Prayers and Promises. I wanted a trailer for YouTube that described my Prayers and Promises Channel. After I uploaded my video to YouTube I added an annotation at the end of the movie to direct people back to my Blog. Anytime you can crosslink (direct people from one of your sites to another of your sites your SEO will improve. Then you find yourself on the first page of Google Search without even trying, lol!).
Send me a link to your new video creations! I would love to see what you come up with!
12 Inspiring Quotes for our Brave Soldiers and Fallen Heroes
“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert F. Kennedy
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”—Joseph Campbell
“We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us”. —Winston Churchill
“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
” It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.” – H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.
“Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.” —Douglas MacArthur
“The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” —Patrick Henry
“Live for something rather than die for nothing.” —George Patton
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.” —George S. Patton Jr
“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham
The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”– Douglas MacArthur
You can’t drown a rubber duck. Really. This post may be a bit out of the ‘norm’ for me. But it’s true. Today is D-Day. Foreclosure day. We have to go to court and sign the papers as the bank is taking back the house we thought was ours. Life happens. Yep. Not what we had planned – but we will walk through it together.
I lost my job after a leg injury. Went back to PT twice this past year. And the ex stopped paying his Child Support the same week we signed papers for the house. Guess he got jealous. Oh well. And the other ex put a lien on the property with the back child support due. Guess you can pay for 7 years and still have a debt that doesn’t go away overnight. Big surprise.
We have been paying our debts – yet here we sit. We have been following God and seeking His face – yet here we sit. We are believing God for good things – yet here we sit. Can I tell you life is not always rosy when you are a believer? Things still happen – planned and unplanned. Yet, God is still good and I know He will make something good come out of this.
It’s funny how people respond when you are going through a trial to test your faith. You either get the “Ohhhh – no wonder you are so stressed.” or the “You need to get right with God.” as they point their fingers and raise their eyebrows. Funny how some people like to kick you when you are down. And funny how some people judge your walk by how much money you make or how much you tithe.
But then there was one. One man who told the truth and came into our trial. “I went through a foreclosure too.” He said. “And I made it. My kids made it. And things are better today. God is with you and you will make it.” I can’t say who, but thank you my brother – for sharing your journey with us. It means more than you will ever know. You give me HOPE. You build my faith when you share how God has restored you and your family.
Today I choose to believe in faith – despite what I see, despite what I hear today. It WILL work out for our good – God promised.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8:26-28 MSG)
So, what’s the duck you ask? Well at Quaker State & Lube they have this drink I got one time that is called DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE. It is a blue vodka thing that comes with one of those rubber ducks in it. And the duck floats on top of the drink.
It reminds me of that carnival game we all played at the fair with all the ducks floating in a row. You can dunk them, push them down, but YOU CAN’T DROWN THAT RUBBER DUCK! It always pops right back up! We will get up – you can’t drown this hope – we will pop right back up!
And then I ran across this story that made me smile.
“In 1992 a shipping container filled with rubber ducks was lost at sea. Over 28,000 rubber duckies fell overboard on their way from Japan to the United States. Imagine thousands of rubber ducks floating on the ocean. Many of them have since washed up on the shores of Hawaii, Alaska, South America, Australia and the Pacific Northwest. Others have been found frozen in Arctic ice and made their way to Newfoundland and Scotland. How wonderful to find a rubber duck on shore one day!”
I pray that you and I float just like theses rubber ducks today – and find new and exciting places to go because YOU CAN’T DROWN A RUBBER DUCK!
I looked up some other Christians who have gone through Foreclosure. Thank you Lord, for witnesses who are not afraid to share their struggles. God bless each of them abundantly!
Thank you all for sharing your hearts with me as we walk along this journey called LIFE. I am eternally grateful I do not have to walk alone. May the Lord lead us to ALL the good things He has for us in 2015. God bless you all with peace and joy and love,
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
The Power of Influence
The power of influence lives in your words.
We have the ability to build someone up or tear someone down with our words.
Our words carry power and may live long beyond the moment that they are said.
Other people can either accept or reject our words – regardless if they are true or not.
Sometimes people say words over us that we accept as true when they are false.
We become what we believe.
The words we say over ourselves have the same influence – to build us up, or tear us down.
I have heard it said that the brain takes the shape of what it rests upon. They call this plasticity in psychology. It means you get to choose what you believe and that choice changes the functioning of your brain and the relationships between you and yourself and you and the world. Remember the story of the Eagle who was caught in the hen house? (Read it here: The Eagle and the Chickens)
I had a recent experience that really opened up my eyes to how our words have influence. Sometimes I go listen to live music at the local coffee shops and stuff. Not only here, but other places too. And this time I just listened – to the words of the singers and watched the crowd’s reaction to their songs.
Some songs were just downright depressing. Can I tell you I used to do that? When I first started playing out I did all my ‘dark’ songs. Ugggh. I can’t believe I did that. I think I just wanted to get it out and get on with it. No wonder the crowd was speechless afterwards. Forgive me for being so selfish.
Other songs that the musicians sang were positive and had the crowd smiling and singing along. And I finally got it. It’s not about our songs – it’s about their song – their story. As songwriters we should help them to remember something and then minister to them right there. Music Ministers bringing health and healing and song – now that’s what I want to sing about. I am not going to leave them sitting in the pain. From now on, I will use my words to minister to them and bring light into their darkness. Enough about my darkness, I don’t live there anymore. Be the Light.
I am learning a few cover songs to play out and about now. There is something about getting the audience to laugh and sing a long. It’s like I’m not the only one who ever felt that way or did that thing. And I am changing the ‘tone’ of my songs to a positive outcome. Enough whining and crying – no more tears in my beer!
I think it’s time to write a power anthem girls rock song, lol!
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 AMP)
Oh, sweet mornings. My husband is a creative cook. My daughter is a creative cook. 2 cooks in the kitchen last night. Oh my – getting creative sometimes makes an explosion! Yet, I would not have it any other way. There is something about an Artist making something – you can see the spark. You can feel the energy!
Make the mess today – create something wonderful!
10 QUOTES ON CREATIVITY
“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. ” ― Pablo Picasso
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ― Maya Angelou
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”― Albert Einstein
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ― Sophia Loren
“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.” ― Red Haircrow
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. ― Ephesians 2:7-10 MSG
“Creativity takes courage. ” ― Henri Matisse
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ― Walt Disney Company
“The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.” ― Leonardo da Vinci
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
I had a very good afternoon today. There is nothing like being around creative people and other Artists. It just makes my heart jump! I had the pleasure of joining some of Janesville’s finest Musicians, Storytellers, Authors, and Artists today at a local Art Gallery in town. And the joy was contagious today!
The room was full, the ambience was beautiful. Alicia Reid has a beautiful Gallery, Raven’s Wish, that features creations from over 70 local artists. And add to that tea and cookies, jazz music, and a room full of shoppers.
Let me share my most precious memory of today. In the crowd was a group from a local home for mentally challenged individuals. I love their spontaneous joy and laughter and lack of inhibitions. I worked in the school district in Special Ed for 3 years. And I have to say, those kids taught me so much about unconditional love and joy.
We we did a medley of Christmas Carols and my favorite memory was listening to the crowd sing along. It didn’t matter if they had a microphone, sang on key or off key, it didn’t matter who sang or who lead or who made mistakes. It was pure joy, and it was contagious!
How do you measure joy? For me, it was the song in the heart of the crowd today. 😉
I wrote this poem 8 months ago as I sat in the waiting room with my husband, my kids, and my father. My step mom was going in to have part of her lung removed for cancer. I have never seen my dad in a waiting room of a hospital – ever. He hates hospitals. Yet he came, he sat, he waited. We held hands and prayed together before she went in. We were all in tears. We brought her a prayer cloth from church. More tears.
And we went to the waiting room. To wait. And trust. That God had it under control and no matter what happened, He would hold her in His arms. And it would be ok.
My dad’s love for my stepmom touched my heart that day. My dad is not a talker. He is kind, gentle, and would do anything for anyone. It wasn’t always that way – but things changed. He is not who he used to be. And neither am I.
My dad showed me that day that love sits, love endures, love waits. He taught me that day – in his sitting and waiting and silence.
I saw that same love with my father-in-law and my mother-in-law as well. Opa and Oma have shown me what real love looks like too. I was speechless as he sat by her side those last days, and was just there. The love they have lasts forever. Love is not bound by life in this world – love is stronger than death and cancer and surgery. Love is forever.