Our plan for this beautiful Saturday was to sleep until we woke up. My goal was simple, sleep past 6 a.m. I'm happy to say, I slept until 6:30 a.m., so first goal of the day met. The house was silent, with the exception of the kitten and dogs excitement to have one of their humans awake so early on the weekend.
With the pets happy from receiving some love, I ventured to the kitchen to start the coffee. I looked around at the things I should do but decided to cop-a-squat instead and spend some quiet time in prayer and journaling. Within a couple hours I was feeling tired so guess what I did? I snuggled under the warmth of a blanket on the couch and napped until ten. Although it was my friend's text tone that initially jarred me back awake, it was the sunshine fighting to get through the blinds and curtains that truly awakened me.
I know snow and cold isn't specific to the typical areas this year. If you are tired of being cold, plowing, shoveling, and the bitterness of winter. Open your blinds today, the sun is shining and Spring is closer than it might feel right now. Regardless of the weather, the True Son, Jesus Christ, He shines everyday and He's waiting to be invited into your life. It's like opening the blinds to let the sun in, simply open your heart and let God in.
For God, who said,"Let light shine out of darkness,"
Do you measure Spring by the date on a calendar or the reality of the weather outside?
The past few weeks have left me praying and asking God those "why" questions again. My heart breaks for a family near and dear to us. It breaks for a family I've never met in person yet thanks to their strength and faithfulness, I feel as if I know them. What do these two families have in common? They both have a young children with terrible illnesses. Diagnosis, treatments, and lack of treatments that have altered the way they function, live, and enjoy life.
What does this have to me, outside the empathy I feel for them? Many are unaware of what I'm about to share, some things are meant to remain private but as I journey into an unknown with someone dear to me, I wanted to share.
Well, a little over five years ago I remember the first time I watched our young daughter enter the "donut" for testing. The care, patience, and understanding of the technicians still amazes me today, a blessing I still count today. My daughter visited the "donut" a variety of times since then, all in hopes of determining what was attacking her system. I found myself on my knees, in tears, at the feet of Jesus asking "why".
The good news, each time she gently moved into the "donut", the results came back clear, with no cancer or other life threatening disease. The frustration became the four years of no diagnosis and doctors having to treat symptom rather than the route of the illness.
I'm thankful to report, last year, about this time, the neurologist team at Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester, New York were able to use ALL the various scans, blood tests, and other testing administered over the years, along with an updated CT Scan (now a teen, she didn't call it a donut) to determine the cause of the pain, the attack on her immune system, and the reason she struggled to function like a typical teenager.
We are thankful God answered prayer and showed the doctors what testing needed to be done and then directed her to the right doctor. She continues to get stronger and most have no idea of this journey we traveled. She is a determined young woman, preparing and planning for her future after high school. Instead of "Why am I sick?" or "Why can't the doctors figure out what is wrong with me?" or the struggles that come with missing a lot of school and the absence of friends...our conversations and struggles are that of a typical and healthy teen.
I'm thankful for this reminder and the hope it renewed in my heart. At one point, we didn't know what caused our daughter's poor health yet thanks to God answering prayer, we know. There were days of crying as I listened to her in pain and their was nothing I could do to help her. BUT...today, thanks to God, we know the cause and our burdens are "I need shoes for the semi-formal and we have no time to get them."
Seize the day and enjoy each blessing God gives you ~ we don't know what tomorrow brings. God doesn't answer all our prayers the way we want yet HE ANSWERS ALL PRAYER, IN HIS TIME. May we continue to seek His face, wisdom, and direction in the depths of all life's circumstances - good and challenging.
What are you thankful for today?
If you are a frequent follower of my blog, you know where my inspiration is rooted. I’m a nature girl and to see the colors, variety, and life in all God’s created around me brings instant relaxation then inspiration to write and create. My favorite time of year is when I can sit on my back deck; there is something about drinking coffee or iced tea on the deck.
Regardless of where or when you find your inspiration, be prepared. In my case this means always having paper, pens, pencils, and a camera with me. Yours might be drawing pencils and a pad, or possibly paints. The sky is the limit, so go for it. Once you know what inspires you, seek out opportunities to be inspired.
Share at least one
As we slow down, we are able to reflect and focus on God and His plan for our life. We’re all designed differently and God’s unique and intrikit creation, you, is more wonderful than you might even realize. Take time each day as we journey to the cross to reflect on the reason for this season.
How are you gifted? Where do your talents shine? What attributes do you have that leave people saying, “You are so good at “x”, you should…” This might be the way God plans to use you to share Him and the Hope of Eternity with the people you meet.
Who knows, you might have a Lenten Devotional within you that could bless the hearts and lives of others…you just don’t realize it yet. Or, it might just be the tool you need a year from now when you look back to see how far God has brought you and the growth within your heart and lives, thanks to a few moments of quiet time during the next forty days.
Do you have a favorite devotional for Lent or do you do a different reading plan each year?
Someone reading this today might be looking for their first or a new devotional and your thoughts might start them on a journey to the cross that will change their lives in ways only God can imagine.
I was raised with the knowledge that God was the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but it wasn’t until my adult life that I understood Jesus died for ME. I know it was taught in our CCD religious education classes and different Scriptures were read during the weekly masses but it took a child to drive the important and vital part of this death on a cross home. Jesus died for me. Jesus died for you.
Being the inquisitive type, I asked the pastor if there was a reason no Ash Wednesday service to start the season of Lent. I can’t remember his response yet I was left to reflect on the majority of my life and this drastic change of events. It took me some time to understand the concept but as I thought about it last week, I think I might finally understand. I could be wrong but here is my understanding on today’s significance in the life of all believers.
I don’t think it is BUT if this is one of your beliefs and it draws you closer to humbling yourself at the feet of the cross…then you should. The Church is not a building; it is the people believing in God. The church is the people who know Jesus died on the cross for their sins. The church is the people who know they are sinners and are only saved because of Jesus’ crucifixion. We, the church, have the right in this country to worship under whatever “house” or building, we desire but the unity of Church is our believe and faith in God.
I’m thankful we can reflect on God’s gift to us. I’m thankful for God’s sacrifice when He sent Jesus to earth knowing he would life a short life then suffer crucifixion on the cross for our sins. I’m thankful God keeps His promises and Jesus rose again three days later, on Easter Sunday. I’m thankful He left us the Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf, especially when we know not what to pray.
As we enter this season of Lent, regardless of your religious beliefs and routines, keep your focus on God and seek His face and direction. Have a conversation with God, also known as prayer, about what He might have you sacrifice for forty days. What might you add to your life to renew and strengthen your faith over the next forty days? Ask God how He plans to use you and what you need to do in order to better achieve HIS plan, not yours.
Lent is a journey to the cross. A journey you aren’t meant to travel alone, God is walking alongside you the entire way…waiting for you to reach out, call out, and seek His love, guidance, and provision.
The best news of all, you don't have to wait until the forty days before Easter to start this relationship and journey...you can do it today, all you have to do is invite God into your heart and life, then spend time daily talking with Him.
Lent and Ash Wednesday are beautiful displays of the intimate relationship available to each of us. Not everyone participates or believes in the traditions of ashes but if you think about it, it's about fasting and starting anew all for the sake of drawing nearer to Jesus. I haven't attended an Ash Wednesday service is years yet the lessons learned when I did remain in my heart with new perspectives I've gained since. It's a learning process.
I'm thankful for the various religions that build our Church...church is the believers and one day, in heaven we'll join hands and humble ourselves together at the feet of Jesus. It's not about the different practices, it's all about the heart and our relationships with Jesus. I'm thankful for Lent as it draws attention to Jesus' death and resurrection and opens the door to share our faith with others.
What, if any, traditions or routines
do you participate or practice at the start
of and during the course of Lent,
in preparation for Easter?
The most frustrating of this fact, sometimes I've been up almost two hours and am still finishing up while they put their coats on.
So here is another question, am I the morning person or do the ones with the ability to jump out of bed, prepare, and leave in less than ten minutes really fit the mode of "morning person"? They have maximized their sleep time and still manage to be out the door and functioning in 1/25th of the time required by me. I might have non-morning-person envy, lol.
Generally, the morning person is the one who enjoys getting up early, usually before the sun peeks through the window. This is so me. I'll be the first to admit that if I oversleep or have to get ready quick, I'm a bear to spend a morning with. I require an hour of no human interaction before starting the day. I enjoy this quiet time, no distractions or things-to-do. It's just easing into another gift of a day.
Whether you are a morning person or a get-up-and-go kind of a person, remember to start each day thanking God for the new one He gifted you with.
Tomorrow isn't promised to us and life can change in an instant. Is there a morning routing that makes the start easier? Are there things that happen that trigger a bad start?
Where do you fall on the spectrum?
Morning Person or Non-Morning Person?
Or somewhere in the middle?
My sister Heidi, our Gram, and K.C. on his birthday. He turned twenty-five this week.
I understand many who follow the blog are not on Social Media. As I typed that I thought, you might not even know what "social media" is. Social Media are the online (Internet) social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so many others.
I do have Facebook - click here to visit the Where's Heidi? or One Sister's Journey pages. I'm on Twitter too, click here. I believe I even have Vine and Instagram accounts too, thanks to my sweet teen.
Instead of posting my photo to FB, I'm sharing here on the blog so those not on social media have learned a new phrase, "TBT", and its meaning. You also get so see my beautiful sister and grandmother on Scoops birthday many years ago.
Do you participate in TBT? Why or Why not?
What is your favorite part of TBT?
You never truly know someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes."
–American Adage, Source Unknown
Vitamin L's song is written to encourage positive character traits in children because it's a powerful and catching tune. I've found if the tune is catchy and we can memorize it, then it becomes a part of who we are. In light of the current hearing, allegations and rumors fill social media and news media. I can't speak for my entire family, but I know personally, I do my best to avoid reading too much. The current situation is overwhelming enough without adding the additional stress of comments made with no regard to the feelings of anyone involved.
There are two families and generations of children, some now adults, affected by all the he-said-she-said publications, comments, and drama created by the masses responding with no concern to how the other might be feeling. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I pray that through the justice system working the way it was designed...truth and justice will prevail and answer the initial question...
I don't know what lies ahead yet if it brings my sister home, then all our prayers have been answered. I don't understand God's plan or the reasons for all that is going on BUT I do know this...God is faithful. God answers prayers. God still performs miracles. He does this according to HIS will, not ours. It might be difficult yet we need to trust His plan and move forward in faith for what tomorrow brings.
One thing that can make this journey more manageable, is to put yourself in someone else's shoes, because none of us can know how or what the other is feeling or doing. Conflict is a struggle for ALL involved. Life's situations affect ALL involved in the situation differently. It isn't our role to determine how the other's role, it's our responsibility to deal with ourselves. Just a thought to ponder today.
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"Life’s challenges confront us all.
Many amongst us courageously carry a burden
while also carrying on with life.
We cannot know whether the person seated
next to us has shoes lined in velvet or nails.
We cannot know. Nor do we need to know.
Especially today, in our sometimes topsy-turvy world,
leading with compassion and acceptance
can change the course of human encounter.
It's not necessary for us to know a life story
before we offer a warm smile and a kind word or gesture."
Quote taken from an article on www.everydaysuccess.com
Do you find it easy or difficult to put
yourself in someone else's shoes?
What helps you maintain this perspective?
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