Yesterday's blog challenged you to reflect and ask yourself a few questions before setting your goals and/or resolutions for 2015. How did you do? Are you ready to decide the course of action and direction for the coming year? I think you are.
I've seen on Facebook today and heard from a friend, they've started their "Resolutions and/or Goals" list for 2015. While everyone's goals are different, there are similarities. Goals, dreams, and resolutions that fit into similar categories.
If you've already written down your goals, do your categories stand out to you? Are you heavier in one area than another? I'll be honest, I haven't written my down yet I've started towards at least one of the goals prior to the calendar changing to January One.
Of the top of my head, I think these are my categories in which my goals will be divided. My goal, to have a goal or two in each category by day's end tomorrow.
What categories are your goals & resolutions divided into? How many goals are within each?
Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. Most look to this date and day as a sign of hope and better things to come. Some express thankfulness for the current year ending.
When you think of December thirty-first, what is the first thing you think of? Is it the parties? Celebration? Thankfulness for another year? Hope for the coming year? Regrets of things left undone, unwritten, or never shared? Desires fulfilled or unfulfilled? Have you ever thought of all you think about this time of year?
How does one day out of three hundred and sixty-five, trigger so much excitement, depression, anticipation, let down, and hope? I honestly don't know. I have friends who eagerly await the "New Year" because the current year was so difficult. I also have friends that look back at the list of things they are grateful for and plan for an even better year when the clock strikes Midnight.
I don't know where I land on this pendulum of questions unanswered. BUT, I do know that December 31 and January 1, each and every year, represent the end of one year and the introduction of a new, fresh, and unexplored year.
“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind
Tomorrow, I share a goal or two or three with you. Yet, at this moment, we first have to reflect, prepare, and plan ~ before we can set the goal, we need to know where we hope, dream, and pray to go. Ronald Reagan doesn't say we achieve the goal we set, instead he remind us, when we work hard towards the goal...we win!
What Questions Must You Answer BEFORE
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What is your favorite Christmas gift, memory, or event for this year? Why is it so special?
Do you have a funny "bunny" Christmas gift story to share? This is probably a childhood one...
Merry Day-After Christmas
Rest Up, It's the weekend!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NIV
One of my favorite Christmas memories are contained within the four walls of my Gram’s house. Each year the Searles family gathered at Gram and Aunt Nancy’s for a Christmas “breakfast” like no other. The aroma of turkey, ham, homemade stuffing, rolls, and assorted other foods filled the house and met ones nose before even opening the door to enter.
In the years past my mother and father in-law hosted the annual Christmas Eve party, following Midnight Mass. You heard me, the party started after the Midnight Mass and usually went until just before my husband and his siblings awoke on Christmas morning.
Oyster soup, baked goods, and a time of fellowship filled the house. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors flooded the house to share in the joy of the Christmas season.
Regardless of the Christmas tradition, the size of one’s family, the amount of gifts under the tree or the supply of food in the kitchen ~ the true gift is Jesus. I’m blessed with all of these. I pray you are too! Merry Christmas!
But when the fullness of time had come,
God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law..."
Words from "Whatchristianswanttoknow.com":
"The innkeeper had no room for Jesus. Do you have room in your busy life to let Jesus in. He came to this earth to be crucified so that you and I may one day live with Him in heaven. Will you come to Jesus?
If not, why not? Maybe today is the day that God is knocking on the door of your heart. Have you any room for Jesus?"
Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/17-bible-verses-about-the-birth-of-jesus/#ixzz3Me2IRMR8
Merry Christmas 2014 ~ Jesus is born!
Christmas Lights in Heaven
At Christmas time we trim our tree
With gifts and candy canes
And go for joyful sleigh rides
Down sparkling snow-filled lanes.
We fill our homes with tinsel
Our heart with Christmas cheer
We're all a little nicer
At this lovely time of year.
Stores are filled with shoppers
Streets are trimmed in green
Carolers on each corner
Tis' quite a lovely scene.
But we cannot know the beauty
The splendor or the love
Of Christmas time in heaven
With our Saviour up above.
The light that shines from Jesus
Stands out from all the rest
Of all the Christmas time displays
His is by far the best.
Like diamonds shining in the sun
You'll find His flaming light
Like a million candles burning
In the middle of the night.
The colors found in heaven
Have such a wonderous glow
And you'll find a world of beauty
Where the golden rivers flow.
There won't be gifts or mistletoe
Nor stately Christmas tree
But the throne of God will glisten
With the Blessed Trinity.
©2001 Marilyn Ferguson
In His Light & Love,
~Used with permission - visit Marilyn's site to read more of her poetry ~
Have you opened any of the gifts we talked about?
Have you shared one of these gifts with someone else?
Christmas is a season of generosity and love,
gifts we should exchange throughout the entire year.
What is your favorite "priceless" gift...given or received?
Ask any woman with close "girlfriends", she'll tell you, "She's my sister, not my friend." I'm thankful for the multitude of "sisters" in my life. There is no one to take the place of Heidi or the relationship we had together. While this is true, it is possible to allow others in to our lives. Not as replacement but instead, as wonderful and special additions.
One of the hardest lessons I learned was to allow others in. I've had friends and those I trusted and enjoyed fun times with, but not too many I would open my heart completely to. Why? At the time, I wore a defensive mask, working hard to keep others out because I thought they wanted to replace Heidi and our relationship. It's taken years to realize, the wonderful, caring, and dedicated women in my life aren't replacements...they are added blessings.
Today's gift, another you can't unwrap, are your "sisters", also known as your best friends. I'm forever thankful for these amazing women God's placed in my life and more grateful God used one small child to restore hope and eyes to see it's possible to let others in. My guard is still up at times yet I've found to let a few friends, "sisters", in...life is much richer, fuller, and full of unexpected blessings.
Open your heart and thank God for the friends He surrounds you with. If you feel alone, close your eyes and ask God, "Who is the friend you've sent me?" Sometimes, she has been there the whole time and we just didn't recognize them.
Will you share an instance of when a "sister/friend" was there for you?
How are your friends like sisters to you?
Last weekend I started this journey to the manger,one day at a time til we reach Christmas Day. Some blogs were back to back and others allowed a day to reflect before reading the next post.
The wisemen brought gifts to Joseph and Mary, for Jesus. Most think of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh -- the physical and tangible gifts. BUT, their first gift was that of faith. The magi's faith recognized the star shining brightly in the sky and their faith guided them to the quiet manger and Jesus.
The next was Jesus' gift to us, His death on the cross that provided us with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is that still and quiet voice within leading us through our days and helping to carry our innermost thoughts to heaven.
Yesterday, the gift of friendship was given. C.S. Lewis reminded us, friendship isn't necessary but it does "give value to survival". Today, I want to delve deeper into the gift of relationships, this time, the gift of "sisterhood". A gift I'm thankful for. God blessed me with eighteen years of memories with my sister, Heidi Allen. On April 3, 1994, I thought I lost this gift forever but after many years, prayers, conversations, and times of reflection...sisterhood is a forever gift.
Years later, I understood what they meant but in the pain of the moment, with Heidi kidnapped and missing...I couldn't see or feel their love, concern, and desire to eliminate the pain. If you want to know more about this aspect, check out my book, Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey. But for today, let me share an experience from last week.
I was reminded of this chapter as I listened to my friends and coworkers visit during lunch on Friday afternoon. The conversation started with child birth and transitioned to the bond between sisters. I listened to them each share all they loved about their sister(s) and the things that drove them crazy. Thankfulness flowed from each of their mouths, for the relationship they have with their sister. One has multiple sisters and they each talk, daily.
I fought tears back and thought about leaving the lunch room multiple times because I was overwhelmed with their appreciation, love, and closeness with their sisters. How I long to talk to my sister daily. I miss seeing her each day, either before or after work. I miss "Sister Day" on Thursdays. I grieved the daily phone calls and our kids growing up together, as we planned.
While thankful my friends have this close knit bond with their sisters, my heart was so heavy with grief...missing Heidi. Instead of running from the break room and crying in the bathroom stall, I fought back the tears until my lunch break was over. I pushed thoughts of Heidi, memories, and missed opportunities to the back of my mind and carried on with my day.
After school, my daughter asked multiple times, "Are you okay?" I responded, "Yes." She didn't believe me and persisted throughout the afternoon and evening. I thought the mask of "everything is okay" was on but my beautiful daughter could see beyond it and became concerned. As we ventured home she asked again, followed by, "Mom, are you okay? I'm getting worried." Time to remove the mask.
With an honest and transparent heart, "Mags, I'm not okay. I just miss my sister. I miss your Aunt Heidi. It's just one of those days." She smiled, put her hand on my arm and said, "It's okay Mom, everyone has a bad day." We finished our ride home in silence. A peaceful, reflective, and comfortable silence. Once home, the remnants of the week's busyness reminded me I had things to get done.
It wasn't until I sat to watch Hallmark that the flood gates opened. One of this year's new movies is Angels and Ornaments. The final song for the movie reached into the depths and the suppressed lunch time grief, released...and released...and released...I'd like to share this song with you, I found it on YouTube.
Holidays are a challenge for those missing a loved one. My family, and others, miss our "missing" loved one and most are missing someone they had to say good bye to, often too soon.
Christmas is a time of celebration, it's Jesus' birth that offers a rebirth of hope in the hearts of many this holiday season. Don't give up.
Let the tears fall BUT remember, Jesus was born to die. He died, so we can have eternal life. Heidi's kidnapping taught us a valuable lesson, cherish each day...tomorrow isn't a guarantee. While I miss my sister, in the words of my Gram, I must "Live for the living." Off to celebrate family and make memories.
Until we meet again Heidi...forever my sister and in my heart.
What is your favorite "sister" memory?
How often do you talk with your sister(s)?
The Gift of Friendship...
Today's gift of "friendship" is summed up best in the C.S. Lewis quote above, it's unnecessary but gives value to our life while here on earth. This past week has been one of hustle and bustle. There is the everyday activities of work, groceries, and laundry with the additions of special luncheons, evening gatherings and holiday baking. The specialness of the additions, is the friends in which we spend time with to celebrate these moments.
Friendship doesn't come in a box. You can't contain it in a box or place a bow on it to make it look beautiful. Friendship is a genuine, heartfelt, loving, and special relationship between two people with similar interests. Notice I didn't say, the same, but instead...similar.
I'm thankful for my friends and the variety of friendships I have. If I'm in the mood to sit and crochet or craft, there are a couple friends that instantly come to mind. If I'm in the mood to just chillax on the deck with or watch a movie, another is the one I'd call. When I'm at my breaking point and just need to release some of the pressure, stress, and overwhelming feelings...there are those I can share with, knowing it stays in confidence and they join me in prayer. Sometimes, praying together, to the Holy Spirit, to intercede as we know not how to pray.
"Finally, the real definition of a true friend comes from the Apostle Paul:
"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die;
yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:7-8). "Greater love has no one than this,
than to lay down one’s life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Now, that is true friendship!"
While you can't unwrap a physical gift
as it relates to friendship,
if you open your heart,
you can experience, embrace, and share it.
How does your closest friendship
impact your life?
"We live in a, let it go mentality, especially this Christmas, BUT…when we change our attitude to “let it be” as we accept, obey, and move forward with the path God places before us…we’ll receive wonderful gifts from God – one’s you can’t wrap in a package."
As you wrap the gifts for under the Christmas tree this year, remember, some of the best gifts come in small packages or in this case, don't require any packaging. These gifts can't be contained within any rectangular prism or cube, in fact, some are invisible.
But now, I am going to the One who has sent Me,
and none of you ask Me, “Where are You going?”
I know that hearing news like this is overwhelming and sad.
But the truth is that My departure will be a gift that will serve you well,
because if I don’t leave, the great Helper will not come to your aid.
When I leave, I will send Him to you."
John 16:5 - 7 VOICE
Jesus died on the cross for your sins, my sins, and the sins of all men, women, and children. God sent His Only Son to be born, knowing He would face death on a cross. Jesus didn't run in the other direction or ask for God to lift Him to heaven, but instead, walked and near crawled, carrying His cross to Calvary. Jesus' words to us, "...My departure will be a gift". We see sacrifice, Jesus gave a gift.
Have you received this gift?
He did this for a reason: so that for all eternity
we will stand as a living testimony
to the incredible riches of His grace and kindness
that He freely gives to us by uniting us with Jesus the Anointed."
Ephesians 2:7 VOICE
If it weren't for the crucifixion, we wouldn't have the open communication line with God via the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit I planned to introduce as our first gift yet after some time reading my Bible, in order to receive this one, we first have to acknowledge and accept God as our Savior.
The Holy Spirit is the tool you need. He will lead, direct, listen and carry your requests to God. This conversation and communication is also known as prayer. As you pray, walk and enjoy the snow...sing a song.
What is your favorite Christmas carol?
A Journey to the Manger 2014...
Have you thought about Mary’s role, her acceptance of the miracle occurring within her womb? She learns of her mission and gift, from the angel Gabriel. Gabriel assures Mary, “the Lord’s presence is with her”, sensing Mary’s apprehension and concern. The angel continues, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with Child and give birth to a Son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” (Luke 1:30-31)
Mary asks Gabriel all the “but”, “if”, and “why” questions about the words spoken to her, about the journey of not only motherhood, but the virgin mother to the prophesized King of Kings. The Bible doesn’t elaborate or say the length of time in which Mary ponders but it makes clear Mary’s response to God’s message.
For the word of God will never fail.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.” Luke 1:37-38 NLT
It is with full acceptance, faith, and humility that Mary moves forward in the journey to Bethlehem. Do you remember her cousin Elizabeth? When Mary went to visit, Elizabeth’s (miraculous) baby “leapt for joy in her womb” upon hearing Mary’s voice because of the child in which Mary carried. “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” Luke 1:44b - 45
“And Mary said,
Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.”
Luke 1:38 Message
- willing to accept God’s call on our lives?
- humble ourselves to God’s plan?
- and say “Let it be with me”?
We live in a, let it go mentality, especially this Christmas, BUT…when we change our attitude to “let it be” as we accept, obey, and move forward with the path God places before us…we’ll receive wonderful gifts from God – one’s you can’t wrap in a package.
To find out what some of these gifts might be…visit the blog each day between now and Christmas ~ a priceless gift each day.
Have you accepted "x", then said,
"Yes, Let it Be" to God?
What's holding you back?
Messenger: Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news,
news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere.
Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you!
He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority!
You will know you have found Him when you see a baby,
wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.
At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined
by thousands of other messengers--
a vast heavenly choir. They praised God.
Heavenly Choir: To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God!
And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!
Luke 2:10 - 14 VOICE
I celebrated many a Christmas with my focus on Santa Claus and the "magic" of the holiday. Is this a "magical" time of year? Many will say yes, but I want to challenge you today, to reflect on the reason for this miraculous holiday. It isn't about magic, but about the Spirit, the Spirit of God sent to earth in the form of a Babe in a manger. It's Christmas Spirit surrounding, filling, and guiding us this time of year. Rather than let the Christmas chaos consume us, let God into your heart and embrace, share, and absorb the Spirit, Love, and Sacrifice of this joyous time.
It's not about the stockings, packages, baking, cooking, or events ~ it's about God sending Jesus to be born in a manger, on a bed of hay in a feeding trough. Don't fill the bottom of the tree with empty gifts this year, instead, take a moment and see what hope-filled gift you could create for your loved ones that will bring pure joy to their heart and a keepsake their cherish for years to come.
Mary and Joseph kneeled on a dirt floor with tears of joy in their eyes. Their faith provided the glimmer, sparkle, and joy that first Christmas morning as they accepted a Gift for the entire world...Jesus Christ.
As soon as the heavenly messengers disappeared into heaven,
the shepherds were buzzing with conversation.
Shepherds: Let’s rush down to Bethlehem right now!
Let’s see what’s happening!
Let’s experience what the Lord has told us about!
So they ran into town, and eventually they found Mary and Joseph
and the baby lying in the feeding trough.
After they saw the baby, they spread the story
of what they had experienced and what had been said to them about this child.
Everyone who heard their story couldn’t stop thinking about its meaning.
Mary, too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart.
The shepherds returned to their flocks,
praising God for all they had seen and heard,
and they glorified God for the way the experience
had unfolded just as the heavenly messenger had predicted.
Luke 2:15 - 20 VOICE
Are you "rushing" to Bethlehem this Christmas?
Don’t run from tests & hardships, brothers & sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure & teach you true patience as you endure.
Putting a Jacket On...
I'd like to tell you I had a positive and understanding outlook but I did not. I second guessed the timing of switching the heat over and how I wasn't going to spend my Sunday morning shivering because of a heating glitch. Why don't we just cancel church until next week when the new heating system is complete? As we discussed this inconvenience, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and I thought of our International Workers. I thought of Kamie, a friend participating in The World Race, and so many others in far worse conditions.
I went from a grumbling, judging, and just overall...negative...to humbled and reflective. Today I choose to put on the coat of thankfulness, appreciation, and love. I'm thankful for those bringing small heaters and for the warmer weather this morning. I appreciate the men and women working to install the new heating system and pray they aren't upset about the transition not being complete, it was out of their control. The coat of love warms the heart deeper than any heater ever can. Our leadership loves the Lord so much, they aren't foregoing our weekly worship service because of something as minor as no heat. Instead, they've used creative thinking to make it possible for us to still meet.
Joseph and Mary traveled miles and days to deliver Jesus in a cold manger. The very least I can do is travel a few short minutes in our vehicle and keep my coat on while worshiping the God who provides heat in our home, a vehicle to get to church, leadership dedicated to keeping our doors open, and an Eternal hope in my heart for whatever today and tomorrow might bring.
No heat for one service is a small inconvenience, not a hardship. This morning I'll put on my winter jacket and a positive attitude. Both are necessary and easy to do.
NOTE: We are home from one of the most beautiful Advent services I've been too. A new addition to the worship team provided a violin. Amazing. The church wasn't cold, actually, it was warmer than normal thanks to the generosity of those with space heaters. The chairs were full, the theme of "joy" was modeled by all at church this morning. Another lesson learned, sometimes what we think will be an inconvenience ends up being an unexpected blessing. A special thanks to all who made this morning's worship service a warm and beautiful success.
Do you sometimes perceive an inconvenience as a hardship? How would our attitudes and outlook change when we recognize the difference?
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
~ Dr. Seuss ~
reminds me of how God created each of us
to be unique and special,
and to use this individuality
to encourage others
and share His love...
while at the same time
leaving me with a Dr. Seuss quote in my head.
Without over thinking the below question,
just respond with the first thing you think of.
I'd love to hear from you in a comment below,
but I hope you'll at least answer it to yourself.
If your initial answer shocks you,
take a moment to think about why you answered that way.
Have a wonderful, warm, and safe day!
Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image.
Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.
As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills
and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.
Romans 12:2 VOICE
Where are you the most comfortable to
"stand out" and be who you really are?
Don't get me wrong, there are days and moments of being "miserable". I am human after all. My hope and prayer, when the miserable monster comes over me, that I recognize it and nip it in the bud directly before becoming the domino of others feeling miserable too.
You might not realize it but your mood and attitude affects the people you interact with. We have a choice to either motivate others to see grace, mercy, hope, compassion, empathy, love, forgiveness, and the list goes on and on OR we can become overwhelmed with the challenges of life and be the first agent for a miserable day, for ourselves, and those we care the most about.
Do you let life make you miserable or does it motivate you to be a positive catalyst for those around you? There are people who have lost so much yet to see them out in the public, model the opposite of their circumstances.
She fought embarrassment and ridicule because of how her family "looked" while using the welfare checks (before there was the SNAP cards). What those in line after didn't realize, is they were living in small quarters, my friend often wore the same clothes so their kids could have what they needed first, and she worked hard to provide for her family and the hardest thing they ever did was ask for help but out of respect for themselves and their family, they modeled "motivation", not "miserable". Her kids have a great sense of who they are and the many blessings they have because of their parents attitude and humility.
An encouragement to motivate you, your neighbor, friends, and family that there is hope and a light at the end of your tunnel if you are living a similar life. Don't give up or let your current circumstances bring you down, instead use them as the fuel to motivate you to work harder, volunteer more, and be the positive domino of moving forward with faith, grace, mercy, and hope.
Do you have a story to share, words of encouragement to offer, or a time when you chose motivation over miserableness?
Will you share below in a comment?
Just ask and it will be given to you; seek after it and you will find.
Continue to knock and the door will be opened for you.
All who ask receive. Those who seek, find what they seek.
And he who knocks, will have the door opened.
Think of it this way: if your son asked you for bread,
would you give him a stone? Of course not--
you would give him a loaf of bread.
If your son asked for a fish, would you give him a snake?
No, to be sure, you would give him a fish--
the best fish you could find. So if you, who are sinful,
know how to give your children good gifts,
how much more so does your Father in heaven,
who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children!
This is what our Scriptures come to teach:
in everything, in every circumstance,
do to others as you would have them do to you.
Matthew 7:7-12 VOICE
Have you ever had a need, a need so great that brought tears to your eyes or one you were embarrassed to even utter aloud? Have you ever had a need, hope, or prayer you only trusted to God? You know what I'm talking about ~ the prayer for something so great that ONLY God would be able to answer it. Or maybe, you know of someone who might meet the need but due to your pride and humility, you never ask because you want to know, without a shadow of doubt, it was God who answered the prayer to meet the need weighing you down. Can you relate to this?
If so, have you seen God's unconditional love, merciful provision, and gracious giving at exactly the right time with just what is needed? Will you share in a comment below to encourage us, you, them...of how God worked in an amazing way through another to meet a need only HE even knew you had.
Christmas songs, carols, movies, music, shopping, and parties are in full swing. Let's pause for a moment to reflect, share, and celebrate the miracles of Christmas...The first...Jesus is born a babe in Bethlehem.
How did God answer your greatest need?
Will you share a praise to encourage another?
See you there ~ don't need winter boots this year! Bring an umbrella - It will be a GREAT day!
Have you ever played the game “PLINKO” before? Until a couple weeks ago, I hadn’t, or if I had – I didn’t remember. It’s actually a fun game using a circular game piece and a slanted board with pegs on it. You place your game piece at the top, flat to the surface, and then release. The game piece slides from top to bottom hitting the pegs. You can start at the same spot but end in a different location at the bottom depending on the angle, spin, or speed in which you release your game piece.
Prayer and PLINKO both have a purpose or objective. In PLINKO, your objective is to land your game piece in the correct bin at the bottom, depending on the type of game you are playing. With prayer, the purpose is to first, play the game. Then, trust that God is going to answer. Only God knows the answers and unlike the game, there isn’t anything we can do to “aim” or “sway” God’s decision. BUT, as long as we are talking to God (praying), at least we’ve placed our prayer on the table. This is the first and simplest act of faith – God does the hard work, He answers the prayer.
Picture your “PRAYER PLINKO” board with only three boxes at the bottom. “Yes”, “No”, and “Not Right Now”. It’s that’s easy. We pray and ask God for things and He ALWAYS RESPONDS. I asked a pastor once “Why doesn’t God answer my prayer?” The pastor’s response was simple and to the point, “God always answers prayer. He says “yes, “no”, or “not right now”. God always answers, just not always the way we desire or understand, and in His timing, now ours.” I’ve never forgotten his. As I played PLINKO with the Kindergartners I was reminded of this lesson on prayer.
First, you need to play –Talk to God like you talk to your best friend over coffee. Share your heart. Thank Him and praise Him for the way He is working in your life.
Second, now release your prayers and needs to God in the same way you talked to Him about all you are thankful for. Trust God to listen and hear your prayers.
Finally, prayerfully wait for God to answer in His time, not yours. This is the hard part. God will answer your prayer – only He knows if it will be a “yes”, “no”, or “not right now” but as you wait…trust God because He can see beyond anything we dream or imagine and knows what is best for us and others.
Can You Accept God's "Yes", "No",
& "Not Right Now" Response to your prayer?
If you aren't a cat lover, then today's blog might not be your favorite, but if you are mischievous at heart, you might enjoy it. I guess you'll have to read to decide which end of the spectrum you lean towards.
Here's the deal, Naomi was a birthday gift for our daughter from wonderful friends and us. They gifted the kitten, we allowed her in to the house. It didn't take long before we all fell in love with her and her orange streaks. I should of known, a "red-head" is always spunky. I should know after all.
Once she saw the piles of glittering, sparkling, and shiny objects...a kitten's playground was created. Instead of relaxing on Sunday afternoon and evening, we decorated. Decoration Central was not by choice but instead, necessity. We came home from church Sunday morning to see Naomi's head peeking out from under the pile of Christmas sweaters, sweatshirts, and table cloths. I had to wash them again. She didn't greet us at the door, only peered out to say, "Yeah, I'm in this pile of goodies, what'cha going to do about it?" before pulling her head back underneath the abyss of Christmas cotton.
This was the moment we decided, it was decoration day. My husband, Ed, being wise, joined his buddies to watch football, escaping the adventure of decorating quicker than the kitten could pounce, play, and tackle. Ornaments, bells, and holiday stuffed animals eventually found homes around the house. Some even had the luxury of being dropped to the floor and then dragged across the floor. Once in the center of the floor, they were left...to wait.
I couldn't figure out what Miss Naomi was up to until she crouched across the top of the couch, prowled her way to the arm and then POUNCE! Poor Christmas mouse didn't know what hit it. If Toy Story is true, and stuffed animals are alive when we aren't in the room, I'd have to be the kitten after we left the room. But since Miss Naomi wasn't decorated with Christmas lights, the Disney movie really is fictional.
One of my daughters favorite things to do is set up the manger and organize the stuffed animals. Let's just say that her "everything has its spot" set-up, was disturbed over and over again as her precious kitten, Naomi, helped her arrange and rearrange. I, on the other hand, was very thankful because I was able to get the rest of the house decorated.
Until it was time to put up our tree and all it's tantalizing treats dangling from its branches. Oh boy, we knew it wasn't going to be a quick process but we never expected the journey since decoration day.
We have multiple pictures of Miss Naomi climbing the trunk, perched on the branches within, and sleeping under the Christmas tree. Yesterday though, she won the prize for disturbing the magic of Christmas.
Must be one of the glimmering ornaments moved ever so teasingly as the fan moved it because out of no where, Miss Naomi ran across the room and leaped upon the Christmas tree to attack and take it captive. UGH!
"Stella" kitty photos taken by Victoria Ross. Thank you Victoria for letting me share your kitty today.
Meet "Stella" -
a Facebook friend's kitty, who appears to be exhibiting similar Christmas mischief as our Naomi.
Who needs Elf on the Shelf when a cat's in the house?
Not us...how about you?
"Stella" kitty photos taken by Victoria Ross. Thank you Victoria for letting me share your kitty today.
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Miss Naomi simply peered from within the branches, rolled on to her belly, and started playing with one of the few ornaments that remained on the branches. Since it was nearing time to leave for work, I placed the tree back on the table and tucked the ornaments in the box under the tree. Mary laughed as she got ready for school, saying, "It is going to be a long few weeks until Christmas." I didn't see her humor at the moment but decided to roll with it because I have my moments of distraction by sparkling objects, I just don't lunge at the tree.
As if the tree isn't enough excitement, Miss Naomi has now decided to climb our stockings!! Ugh! Life is about choices, we can let the playful and healthy kitty's ambitious playing ruin the mood or teach her "no" and use wisdom to put away some of the shinier objects until next year.
As post scrolled my home screen on Facebook yesterday I realized I'm not alone. A friend posted a picture of her kitty, Stella, in the Christmas tree. The positive, we aren't alone in our adventure. The negative, Stella looks like a grown up cat, so every year will be this much fun.
What is your favorite Christmas Cat story?
What do all of these have in common?
Each is a symbol of hope. Hope for Heidi M Allen to be found.
This summer there was a lot of media coverage, excitement, and discussion about the case. Many prayed and hoped Heidi would be found to bring peace to my parents and family. Some were overwhelmed when one of the county's biggest cases took the spotlight because it stirred up emotions and memories. I've ran into so many wonderful people who are praying daily and hoping, upon hope, that all of the discussion will bring Heidi home. This was, is, and always will be the family's priority....Heidi. She remains missing over twenty years later.
All the sleepless nights this summer and fall, the heightened "on guard" feelings, and overheard discussions in the store will be worth it...if the root of the discussions bring Heidi home...we continue to pray Heidi's body is discovered. Until then, we ALWAYS HOPE and try to share this with other. One year for Christmas I designed a t-shirt with a heart, Heidi's picture, and the words - "Hope for Heidi". I tried to combine our families symbol of hope, the heart, with the orange associated with our community. The result is an orange heart with Heidi's photograph and Hope displayed for all to see.
A special thanks to David at V Sign Design for modifying my original design to create this beautiful and hope-filled one. This Saturday, I will be at the Presbyterian Church in Mexico, New York, as part of "Christmas in Mexico".
I hope to have some vinyl window clings for sale, along with my books and parent's wood working. The window clings are the same as the banner above. This is one small way we can share Hope for Heidi M Allen with each other and those we might meet. There is no profit made from the window clings, after cost, if there is anything left over - I'll donate it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Heidi's name.
Hope for Heidi M Allen...displayed for all to see...
Thank you for your prayers...
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