Thursday, July 28, 2011

The God Who Raised the Dead to Life

Today on my way home from dropping my husband off at work, I was listening (as I usually do) to a local Christian radio station.  A worship song came on, and though I cannot even tell you the title of the song or the group who sings it (I must find out now because this song was simply brimming with exhortation and truth!) I can tell you one simple yet profound phrase from it that has stuck with me like a burr to my pant leg all day long today: The God Who raised the dead to life, calls you to rise. 


Selah because selah means, "Pause, and think of that."  That's exactly what I did the moment I heard that phrase.  Why?  Was it a new truth to me?  No, it was not.  I know the God I serve.  He is great.  He is good.  He is full of love because He IS love.  He is merciful.  He is just. He is faithful . . . the list could go on and on.  But when I heard this phrase today, I nearly cried.

Do you know why I cried? Because the words struck me like an arrow to my heart. Yet it was the godly conviction that I felt, the same kind one senses when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin in our life, or of our deep and utter need for the mercy and grace of God to fall upon us as we repent and turn to Him.  It was that sort of feeling. Followed by an immediate and overwhelming flood of gratefulness to God.

This is what I was thinking the moment that phrase hit me and am bubbling over with even now: The God Who raised the dead to life calls me to rise.  How could I ever, even for a moment, forget the boundless power of the God Who calls me to rise?  How could I allow myself to be held captive to the fear that He has rescued me from?  How could I ever doubt that my needs have been met already through Him Who knows my every need, down to the smallest and most trivial? He made the dead to live again, He made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, the leper spotless and without blemish . . . and yet, in my day-to-day, with what I see as huge, mountainous obstacles always getting between me and my dreams and my desires, I forget just how great is the God I serve.  How much power is in the name of Jesus.  How I should never put anything past Him and His wise plan for me, and the ability to see me through EVERYTHING that comes my way.  How could I ever forget, even for a moment?  He is calling me to RISE!  Rise out of these ashes with which I have let myself become besmudged; out of this sackcloth, the heavy clothes of mourning and sadness and burdens.  Rise because He is stronger and greater than ALL that I face and I must find the powerful faith in these truths that have been, are and always will be: He that is in me is greater than anything in this world!  I serve the God who made the dead to rise!  

What are you facing today that would seem smaller than the tiniest speck of sand if you were to choose to look at in the light of God's power?  What would seem so much smaller, so much easier to overcome or to get past if you were to look at in the right perspective?  The God Who raised the dead to life, calls you to rise!

Matthew 17:19-20:

 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [21]

2 Chronicles 14:11:

11 Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. LORD, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.” 

Isaiah 54:10: 

10 Though the mountains be shaken
   and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
   nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
   says the LORD, who has compassion on you. 

John 10:28-30:

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All About My Marvelous Self ! A-ha!

Hello Friends!

I really dislike being so far from the blogging world, reading your lovely blogs and of course, making posts on my own.  But I'm taking a few moments now to answer the questions that three of you so kindly asked me.  If I wait much longer, I'm concerned you might think I forgot you all which is never, ever the case! So, thank you for asking, and here goes . . .

Q: What is your favorite go-to meal if friends or family are coming over? A: Good question!  I have to honestly say, that I try to make meals that are "friendly" to the people coming over.  While we don't entertain all that often at this point, when we do I attempt to ask, ahead of time, if the guests have any allergies or just extreme dislikes. Typically I will also go for something that is tried and true.  My mom used to tell me, "Don't try out a new recipe when you're having company!"  I don't take quite the same stance, as I have experiment a few times with at least moderate success; however, I do take a similar stance and like to utilize my favorite recipes when possible. Also, I have a friend who must have a gluten-free diet.  So when she comes to visit, if we plan to eat, I find I stretch my creative horizons to make food that is okay for her to also enjoy! A couple faves so far include chocolate dipped raspberries and homemade slow cooker spinach dip with corn tortilla chips when she visits!  :-)  Otherwise I love soups and stews and casseroles, good for bigger groups and easier on the chef.  Wow, that was a long-winded answer!  I would be interested in hearing what other people use as their go-to meal for friends and family coming over?  Always open for new ideas!

Q: Do you have a "signature" scent? You know . . . a most favorite perfume that you always keep around?  A: Actually, I do not.  The simplest answer for this is, I have what is termed multiple chemical sensitivities, or in my wording, an allergy to chemicals and chemically-based fragrances.  I cannot use your typical cologne, or perfume, air fresheners, scented laundry products, scented shampoos, etc. due to this allergy.  I cannot actually thrive when exposed to any of them, either.  I live a mostly "unscented" and "all natural" lifestyle.  Which is actually just fine with me! However, I do utilize pure essential oils, some of which I wear on my person. A few favorites over the years have included rosemary, lavender, orange, lemon, and frankincense and myrrh.  :-)  You'd be amazed how green you can become when you have no other choice!  I like to think I'm leaving a smaller "carbon footprint" from being forced to live differently than most.  That's encouraging.

Q: When did you first come to know Christ?  A: When I was about six years old.  I don't know the exact date, but I am 99% certain I came to know Him when I was in church, the church where my family held membership.  I also re-dedicated my life to Christ at age 13 when I was having a "teenage crisis of faith" and wanted to be certain that what I had was "real."  And again, after another crisis of faith, at age 19, I turned my life and focus back onto Christ like it had been before!  Honestly, though I felt distant from God (far too distant I came to find) when I was 19 and that was one awful void that prompted me to return FULLY to Him at that point, I do not realize the extent of ever living without knowing Christ.  All I know is, I wouldn't want to live without Him . . . EVER.

Q: What inspires you to write?  A: Excellent inquiry!  Let's see . . . . as you may have concluded from reading my blog, my inspiration for writing is actually varied and voluminous!  It can be anything from one key phrase as I'm listening to our pastor on Sundays, to sunlight on a raindrop, to the encouragement of a friend, to glad happenings and devastating experiences.  I have to say, that just about anything can inspire me to write.  I think the biggest reason for this is, because a long time ago, I decided I would choose to be one of the most observant people one could come across in life . . . to never take anything for granted, to notice everything including the "little things" that are so often overlooked but speak of His majesty and the wonder of His creation.  I decided that writing was also therapeutic for me as an individual.  That even if I was the only person to set eyes on my writing, ever, it would be okay. Because it was like having a running dialogue between me and God all of my life . . . and it still proves to be a balm for my soul, today! ;-)

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?   A: Hmm. . . this question has been posed to me numerous times in my short life.  And to this day, I don't feel strongly about an answer for myself.  I have tried to figure it out.  If there was a someplace-in-between-owl option, I'd have to choose that I think.  I am not an early-morning type, so I suppose that rules me out where early bird is concerned.  And I certainly have never been able to stay up as late as my friends and acquaintances who are self-proclaimed night owls.  My eyelids weigh heavy usually by 10:30 pm if not earlier!  I get sleepy in the early afternoons.  So if I could be a late-morning-early-evening-owl then I would be set.  Those are the times I'm most awake I think!  How is that?  I just invented a new type of bird I guess.  haha

Q: What is the biggest change that "growing up" brought to you?  A: Oh my, if I were to answer this question fully it would take much, much more than a handful of blog posts and it would be much deeper than these fun Q&A sessions could delve into!  So I will choose a simpler response.  Obviously, a very big change was marriage.  Is marriage.  As every day brings its own joys as well as challenges.  And that is a big part of what growing up has brought to me.  The other change would likely be my perspective.  It's constantly shifting, changing, maturing as I live my life seeing everything around me through a slightly different filter . . . growing up and seeing things around you is a LOT different than being a child and seeing things around you, more often than not!

Q: What is your favorite memory from your childhood?  A: Oh my goodness! Can I narrow it down to just one?  I suppose I will have to choose one from many.  Going fishing with my Grandpa.  Some of my earliest memories were of spending time with him and my grandma.  And he taught me how to fish, along with making me the world's best blueberry pancakes when I'd visit him, and letting me ride "the bear" (ride on his back while he was on all fours) around the living room.  He photographed and videotaped my every move any chance he had, he thought I was the best little granddaughter ever as I recall! My own fan club.  And he would sing for me to dance for him and all my family, which I was more than willing to do.  So many good memories.  But those are a few, all clumped into "one" -- my Grandpa!  I miss him terribly!  Someday I will see him again and we can share laughter and smiles once more.

Q: How/why/when did you start blogging?   A: Very recently.  I have kept a journal since age 9 or so, and have engaged myself in other types of writing.  But blogging I didn't begin in earnest till last year and VERY earnest early this year!  I enjoy it!  It's a new world to me in many respects! I was prompted to start blogging by a dear friend of mine, MrsSouthernBride.  And I wanted to do it not only to get my name out there and connect with other people, because I am, after all, a "connective" sort of person, but to try to reach out and help folks who could be experiencing (good and bad) life as I am!

Q: Favorite summer outfit?  A: Something cool that breathes!  haha  Seriously though, our summers are very, very, VERY and did I say VEEEEERRRRRY hot!  And humid!  And anything that isn't made of cotton can be pure torture.  I love skirts and dresses.  Or a comfy pair of bermuda shorts or capris.  Some of what my "favorite" outfit is depends upon what I can fit, too!  My wardrobe is not always vast because of that.  LOL

Thank you again for all your great questions, friends!  Hope you enjoyed reading my answers as much as I enjoyed typing them up!  That is, if you're with me yet at the end of this loooong blog post!  :)  TTFN!  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What Would You Ask Me? An Invitation to Ask Whatever You'd Like . . .

Okay, I couldn't resist.  But I was inspired to do this after following the posts my blogger friend, LeAnna from Thoughts and Whatnots made in response to so many questions her blog followers asked her when invited!

I thought, what a great idea!  I realized that while I've had my blog, I haven't really invited any of my followers to ask me anything they wanted about me!  So, here goes.....putting myself out there for you all to ask me anything and everything you want, and I promise I will answer with the only exception being if I am concerned with privacy!  Have a great day, ask away and I look forward to answering your questions! :)

Books and Summer Go Together Like Hand and Glove

Hello Friends!

Let me start by saying how very much I have missed you all in the blog-o-sphere over the past week and then some!  It seems as if I just haven't had the time to make any blog posts of my own.  Which I will tell you, does bug me.  I have had the chance to stop in, albeit briefly, at a couple of the blogs I follow.  Literally a couple.  And literally only a couple posts on those couple blogs.  So . . . is there such a thing as "blog deprivation"?  Because I think I've suffered from the same for the past 10 days at least!  haha

Though I haven't had much time outside of my full time summer job and all the other things I have to try to get around to that are just a part of life and keeping a house, etc. I have had a bit of time to read over my lunch breaks at work.  You might notice I posted a review on one short book I recently finished, "A Place Called Blessing."  Well, I also recently finished. . . . *drumroll* "Mockingjay"!  Yes, I have officially completed the riveting Hunger Games trilogy!  I think I actually finished the aforementioned novel days ago, maybe almost a week, just haven't had the time to write about it.  But it was excellent!  Took me a little longer to get into it than books 1 and 2, but by longer I mean nothing more than the first chapter or so.  And I loved the book!  It was engaging and my, how the plot thickened and took some unexpected turns and the ending was awesome but also might find a few of you who choose to read the trilogy at a loss for words!  I don't know.  Depends on how good you are at guesstimating how a novel with so many twists and turns and such raw emotion and courageous rebellion might turn out in the end!  haha  Have I piqued your interest, yet?  I would be running to the local bookstore or library now if it were me reading this short and compelling review!  ;-)

Other than some reading, like I said, I have been busy working outside the home.  Also working on some things to help me with home organization and homemaking skills.  Yes, yes, I am a work in progress.  I am pretty certain I shall always be a work in progress, and not the least where homemaking is concerned! My husband and I are working on a chore chart this very weekend.  Visual aides can be a major . . . well, aide!  Somehow having a "list" or chart for household duties makes sense.  We are going to attempt it.  Hardcore here people.  Chore chart experience 101!

So, here are my questions for you all today: what have you experimented with in homemaking, housekeeping, organization, etc. that was really a "flop" for you?  And what have you tested that was a success?  I love to hear other people's ideas because it helps me to re-evaluate and improve my own!  And as you probably all know, the person next to you may not think of organization in the same light and their way of keeping up with life and all the messes it throws into our path could be entirely oppositional to your own, yet work just as well!  Please, dish it out! I love comments from you all!  And have an amazing week! 

A Place Called Blessing by John Trent, PhD with Annette Smith

A wounded boy grows up to become a distrusting, self-critical, despondent young man.  A boy facing unfortunate life events grows up to become a model of character, selflessness, hope and real friendship.  A girl, sweet and kind but burdened with a past she manages to carry into her future. What do these three have in common? A place called blessing.

I recently read a short book entitled "A Place Called Blessing." Within the pages we follow the life of a young man who is haunted by the solitary event in his broken childhood that led him to believe things about himself and his future that were not true.  He encounters others along this journey who press him, over time, to re-evaluate all that he had held onto for so long -- both true and untrue -- through the ways they choose to treat him and pour themselves into his life.

I would say, honestly, that the novel wasn't a difficult read by any means.  It took me very little time to finish it.  And I probably would have liked it more if it had been a little more interesting; it was realistic but not entirely "meaty" or always thoroughly "engaging" in my opinion.  Just the same, I enjoyed it and appreciated what it was meant to get across! It presented some very strong points.

This novel, though fiction, is very realistic.  It is that type of novel that will leave you feeling your heartstrings tugged, your eyes tearing and your hope rising. It just might leave you wanting to make "A Place Called Blessing" a place you can also call your home!

Please note:  I received a free and complimentary copy of this book to read and review from BookSneeze. All opinions expressed are honest and are my own.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Seems to be Blog Day

At least, for me. The only time I've gotten from this past week, is now in which to blog!

I am actually starting to wind down for the night!  It's past my usual bedtime. ;)  But really, I just wanted to stop in and let you all know that I am indeed still alive and present!

I also wanted to make a short post about something that was really great for me this past week.  I had to take a major, major exam.  No, being forced to take a major, major exam was NOT the great part of my week! *snort*snicker*laugh  HA  Who are we kidding?!?  But, the results were great.  And so was the process, though more looking back upon it than during the process! Because I understood, yet again, how very much God loves me . . . . how He really does listen when I pray . . . . how marvelous it is to know that in my weakness (and trust me, I was feeling VERY weak especially in math a certain part of the exam!!) He is able to show Himself strong.  Let me tell you friends, the power of God's Word in your mind and heart is beyond description.  I can personally testify.  I knew better than to ever doubt that fact, anyhow, and even better than to doubt myself if I had maintained full focus on God the entire time instead of mostly the day of my exam. Yet, He was patient with me.  And when I chose to start recalling and speaking aloud those precious scriptures I knew applied to my situation (sort of like a mantra, except no mantra could ever begin to compare to reciting God's Word to yourself and really, truly taking it in!), to my anxiety, to my nervousness, to my fear of failing the exam and having to pay all that money again and study even more and let myself and others down, it changed everything.  I not only prayed.  I meditated on His Word.  His Word was hidden in my heart, and it didn't go out to return void!

I told God that morning before the exam, I knew He could see me through it.  I knew I could pass with His help.  And I told Him that when I did, I wanted to give Him the brunt of the credit.  Sure, I did my part at least to a certain extent.  But I am more than willing to say, "Thank You, God!  I couldn't have done this without You!"  And I say it with sincerity.  After the exam, after passing so I never, EVER have to take it again (squeal!) and being so excited about it, after thanking God, I wanted to share it with you all because I believe we are to share our experiences of God's faithfulness!  And I wanted to be able to encourage you today . . . .

So, are you facing a test of any sort?  A trial? A temptation? Call on the name of the Lord, and you shall be saved, His Word says so!  It also says for us to write His Word upon our hearts, our minds, our foreheads even . . . . so that we never forget His multitude of beautiful, true, real promises!  Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Once Again!

Hello Friends!

So sorry if it seemed I'd disappeared off the face of the earth this past week!  I realize my last post was on Sunday when I was feeling profound and contemplative and pondering all that I pondered in that blog post!  But here I am, again at Friday when it seems to me I just posted about Friday (really it was a couple weeks ago), in Friday is Fun Day!  Yet there have been several posts since that Friday and now I find I am facing the First of July! Already?  Please tell me if you know, where has the time flown?  I have no idea.  Seems I never really do.  :)  Yet I try to make the most of it!  Happy First of July everyone!

I wanted to let you know that I may not be able to post with great frequency over the course of the coming 6 weeks.  But I will do my best to post as often as I can!  I love blogging!  It's so fun and it's good for me, too. I truly hope it's "good" for you to read my blog!  That would be such a wonderful bonus.  Anyhow, segue there.  LOL  I was going to say, I just started a Full Time Temporary summer job for the next 6 weeks! This is wonderful for me, after having been unemployed except for a short two-week stint of a very enjoyable time working as a floral designer in February!  It's been a LONG time since I held a job lasting more than those two weeks, a job that is full time and outside of the home!  So if you think of it, send warm thoughts and prayers my way!  I am excited.  It's a job related to music, and for me, that is a plus!

Also, I just finished "Catching Fire," the 2nd book in the Hunger Games Trilogy a couple days ago.  Excellent read, just as it's predecessor was!  I started the third book, "Mockingjay" but am only a few pages in since I haven't had a great deal of time to read for any reason let alone fun in the past week.  However, I am sure I will enjoy this third and final book of the trilogy as much as the first two!  Will let you know once I'm done!

To wrap up for today, I want to give a shout out to two people.  First off, to my wonderful husband and best friend, Joe!  You can read Joe's blog at Portraits and Perceptions.  Joe is a recent blogger, but he's got some interesting contributions including a recent 3 or 4 part series of posts on the topic of Love!  Yes, Love!  Great topic for anyone and everyone alive today! :)  I also wanted to shout out to Sarah Elizabeth over at Daughter of the King. I have truly enjoyed following her at her blog, and though I recently joined, she was kind and welcoming and has even made me a beautiful blog button so that I can be amongst her list of blog sponsors or something like that!  haha I am SO new at all this!  Anyhow, I have a button on the right side of her blog.  And it is beautiful and creative.  Hope to have a button for her on my blog soon, right Sarah Elizabeth?  :)  Thanks!

Have a lovely Friday, everyone! Stop in and tell me whatever you want today, be it what you've read lately and loved or hated, either one (LOL) or what you plan to read or if you stopped in at Joe's blog or Sarah Elizabeth's blog due to my shout-out or if you're working a summer job you love or any job you love, etc!  You know how much I enjoy hearing from you and your comments brighten my day!  Each and every one!