Sunday, November 25, 2018

"Beyond My Window", Recent Post for Bridging the Gap MN

Song of Solomon 7 says, “The feelings I get when I see the high mountain ranges—stirrings of desire, longings for the heights—Remind me of you… Your beauty, within and without, is absolute…” (MSG).

Find out what I learned about windows and "light-bringers" in our lives, from the curiosity sparked from an evening spent peering out my own back window...Click on the link below to check out my post for Bridging the Gap MN:

"Beyond My Window" Post

Blessings to your week and your Holiday Season to come! 


Monday, October 29, 2018

Broken yet Blessed

Sometimes it really feels like things might not be "Okay"...

Do you know the feeling that I am talking about? Those brief momentary lapses when your hope feels depleted and your faith is running low. 

I know I am not the only person who feels that way sometimes. 

Every once in a while, life just gets to be too much! The pace at which we live life these days is enough to overwhelm anyone. Add to that times of elevated worry, or health issues, or work problems, or lack of sleep, or feeling down about the elevated violence that seems so prevalent around us; and anyone could find themselves feeling broken. 

Today I was feeling depleted. Every required motion and thought throughout the day took extra effort. I was tired. Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Tired. 

And then, after I had wrote the opening sentence of this post on my lunch break, and began planning this topic, the sign pictured below came tumbling down from above my desk, and broke. 

My "Blessed" broke. 

I looked sadly down at the broken word that means so much to me, and I found myself creating new words from the pieces. Stressed. Obsessed. Pressed. Messed. 

As in "pressed" for time, "obsessed" with hurtful current events, "stressed" and too busy, and my whole sense of joy being "messed"-up!

I sat their in silence for a moment. 

I thought about the way I had been feeling all day. I pondered whether I could still feel blessed even when I'm broken (or when my sign is broken)...

I gu'essed' that I could find a way. 

I acc'essed' my Bible and decompr'essed'.

Psalm 34:18


The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. (NASB)






Alright, enough with the play on words (well, maybe only for a bit). 

But really, with faith the answer is "Yes", yes, you can be both broken and blessed! 

Remember, In this World we will have troubles, but He has overcome the World! 

God has never promised us a smooth ride through our life here on Earth.  The mess forces us to grow. The stress teaches us perseverance.  Feeling pressed and/or obsessed puts us in a position to put our trust in God, for only He can relieve our worries and take our burdens. 

So I was given a beautiful reminder today while pondering over that broken sign, that even though I may feel a little broken right now I am still blessed! 

Look at that picture again. As I see it, if we are standing in the broken part of it, and we look to either side, we can see our blessings right there! Just because there is a gap, does not mean it doesn't still spell BLESSED! 

So tonight, rest from your worry and focus on the things that make you blessed. Whether it be family or friends, or general good fortune; love, or community, or warmth, etc... 

Remind yourself that your many blessings are always on all sides of your brokenness, you just have to change your focus, and you will see them right there all along! 

BLESSED!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Words that hurt and words that heal

So many words are thrown at us each and every day. Words heard on the radio, words said by friends and loved ones, words just overheard, words read; so many words. 

Words all have meaning, some more than others, and some have deeper meaning to different people for different reasons. 

I have been bombarded by words this week, for several different reasons, and I also have been more aware of the words around me this week. 

The 1st reason that words are in the forefront of my mind right now is because I chose to participate in a women's group project in which we all wrote down the hurtful names that others have called us and that we have called ourselves, but we also wrote, separately, positive words that have been said about us or things/attributes that we feel are positive about ourselves. I wrote down a few of the most hurtful things that have ever been said to me. And by writing them down, letting them out, and later destroying them, I was finally able to release those internal stigmas about myself. I believe that the other women participating also had a very positive and transformational experience. 

It is certainly interesting that "words" spoken to each of us or "words" of self talk can stay in our hearts and minds for years. 

The 2nd reason that words are 'high on my radar' this week is because my 11 yr. old has been either asking me about, or speaking/repeating words heard in middle school, that are words that I was not yet mentally prepared to cover with him....

Words can make life difficult in so many ways! 

But then there was the sermon in church last weekend, about the immeasurable beauty that God sees in each and every one of His children.  The sermon centered very heavily on us owning and believing how beautiful each of us is to God. 

This brought me to reflecting on the positive words that I had written a few days before, at the women's event. 

What an impact words can have!  Now, it was the positive words that were filling my mind and heart, and brightening my day. 

You see, if each of us was able to focus more time on the positive "words" in our lives than on the negative "words", each day would be filled with more happiness than sadness, more self-love than defeat. 

And imagine if we made a point to spread positive words to and around others as well? 

What an amazing impact "words" can have!  Please ponder that and remember that in the weeks to come! 


Now, speak the bolded declarations out loud to yourself. The power of life and death is in the tongue, so it is vital that you only allow the Truth to come out of your mouth. It could be the difference in an amazing life and a disappointing one.       Proverbs 18:21

Peace to your week! 



Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Path to Trusting Him - Post for Bridging the Gap MN

"It can be very difficult to maintain a level of trust in someone else. Sometimes, it is even difficult to fully trust God. With the ever-changing life that we lead, in this drearily awkward world, it can be difficult to feel comfortable trusting anyone or anything."

If you, like me, have felt that way before; check out this post written for Bridging the Gap MN. 

The Path to Trusting Him
            Click Here 

"Today, may you have the wisdom to trust God’s plan fully, and feel comfort in his divine direction for each moment of your life!"

Blessings to you all! 

Friday, August 31, 2018

New Beginnings

What a week it has been!


I mean, honestly, the last 7 days have held so many new beginnings that I cannot even soak it all in....


Have you ever had a week like that? That was full of excitement and new beginnings;whether planned or unplanned?


What fun it is to sit back and enjoy the rollercoaster ride that God puts us on sometimes, right!?


Just to give you a brief insight, in the past 7 days, I have had:
  *My youngest start middle school, making me a fully middle
    school mama
  *Started a new position (job) within my dept. of government
  *Had a devotional accepted into another book to be
    published (yea!!!)
  *Started Seminary studies at Luther Theological Seminary


All of this has led me to wonder, why did God bless me with so much all at once? And, at the same time, why did God give me so many changes to adjust to at the same time?


If you have ever felt overwhelmed by change, you are not alone.


Life is ever-changing, and sometimes it can be almost too much to handle.


When sadness overcomes you because your babies are growing up too fast.


When you are both excited and terrified about starting a new job.


When you go back to school in mid-life.


When illness touches your family.


When a financial situation suddenly changes.


When a valued relationship breaks away from your life.


So many things can stack up and take us by surprise!


The most important thing to remember is that God's goal is not overwhelm you, but rather to bless you!


He has the best interests of you and your loved ones at heart, and is aiming to give you the future full of hope; which you deserve as a Child of God.


So, try to "roll with it" and take each new beginning as it comes! Even if they come in large quantities, the new beginnings are exciting times for transformation and for putting your faith in God and His plan!


Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Pleasant Surprises

If we will keep God first place, if we will walk in His ways, all these blessings will overtake us.
Deuteronomy 28:1
  
In that verse, the word “overtake” is translated to mean “to catch by surprise.” God wants to bless us, and He is continuously good to His children. God wants to surprise you. He wants you to be amazed at the blessings He lays upon your life. When we begin to trust Him, and rely on Him as we sometimes struggle through life we will begin to relax as we learn to wait upon the Lord.
 
Our Heavenly Father enjoys surprising us with His goodness, and I experienced that with great joy last weekend!


Those of you that know me, know how much I LOVE singing, and how important music is to me. I was invited, at the last minute, to go to a local dancing bar, that I have only been to once, in the last 12 years... Since there would be good company there, I decided, "what the heck"...


When I arrived at this country bar, on the weekend of the local Rodeo, it was packed! As I asked questions about the band, and spoke with them on their break, I found out that they were from Nashville, and had come up that weekend, especially for the Rodeo crowd! And boy was that a good move, as this particular country bar was PACKED that night!
 
When chatting with the band, I proceeded to say "If you need a female backup for any songs tonight, I would be more than happy to get on stage and give it a try!" They courteously said OK.
 
About an hour later, as the band was taking another break, the lead singer came over to me and said "Hey, you can sing the first song of the next set if you would like." To which I said sure! 


He asked if I knew the tune, and I said yes! It is one of the country classics that my band performed in Medora that summer.....
 
So, a bit later, there I was, center stage, right in the most energizing place that I ever get to be, SINGING! And this Nashville band was GOOD. The lead singer then stepped back from his microphone and said "You just take it, you got it!"    I was immediately overwhelmed with gratitude! To be standing center stage in this packed bar, singing a country classic that is such a GREAT song, to a room full of people and a packed dance floor was amazing!
  
I walked off of that stage on cloud 9 for certain!   This was a night full of adrenaline and surprises.
 
The Lord gave me such a pleasant surprise that weekend! 


I am still in awe of His grace, and of the ways that He places us right where we need to be for him to bless us! Thank you Lord!
 
As the night went on, I sang with them a few more times, and once the evening was coming to an end, the lead singer asked me for my band business card. I had never given my card to someone from Nashville before, but that night I did, and it felt like a long awaited blessing, like a dream come true, to have completely unexpectedly encountered a band that loves my voice, and wants to contact me in the future!
 
Thank you Lord for ALL of life's surprises, big or small, as they are the sunshine of our days, weeks, years, and lives!
 
God will always surprise us with His goodness even when we misstep. We may get off course, but His direction is always right on target.
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Finding our way through life is possible, only with His guidance. This is God's plan for our lives!



Thursday, July 12, 2018

"Proving a Point, Poolside" My recent post of Bridging the Gap

Hi everyone! 

This post is a bit different than what you are used to seeing from me....

It was written for the "Just for Laughs" section of a Blog that I am a regular contributor for.  

Please enjoy this piece whenever you need a good laugh! 

Proving a Point, Poolside
         Click Here

My embarrassment is laid out here for your enjoyment! :) hahaha!


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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Share your Stories

Be open with your life experiences and share your stories!
The things that we learn along the road of life may be invaluable to someone else who is in the midst of a struggle or trial, which we have already journeyed through.


I am constantly amazed at what happens when I share my life stories! 

Recently, at a speaking engagement at which I spoke to a group of about 150 women, about faith and trusting God’s plan, I experienced once again, the importance of women sharing their journey with other women in order to help each other.
Certain times in life can be scary and trying, and having other women to bounce ideas off of and to gain information and life experience from, is very important.


At the event mentioned above, I spoke about my son having been born with only 1 kidney, and his health struggles related to that. After the event, an upper-aged woman came up to talk with me, and thanked me with tear-filled eyes, for sharing my son’s story and how well he doing now.
She went on to explain that her daughter has a young child who was born with only 1 kidney, and her daughter is also expecting her second child. Fear was weighing heavy on this young mom’s mind, as she worried about both her unborn child and her young child’s life-long health, and the possible struggles related to having only 1 kidney.


This grandmother lovingly embraced me as she told me how grateful her daughter would be, to hear how well my son is doing now, even despite past struggles. This mother and grandmother had felt helpless and without information or knowledge to guide her daughter through this fear, but now she had some good news to share. She hoped to ease her daughters anxieties a bit by sharing my story.
The above encounter forced me to think about all of the words of wisdom that have been shared with me over the years, and the many times that other women have shared their stories and experiences with me, and my fears were depleted because of it.

Psalm 145:4 (ESV)
One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.

And so as women of faith before us have shared their stories, lessons, and experiences, we too shall share our God given victory stories, accounts of strife, and everything in-between, with other women, in order to encourage them through their rough times and assure them that the season will pass and God will work all things for good!
Share your stories, animate your life experiences and lessons, in order to guide the path and brighten the journey for another!
Have a blessed weekend! 



*This post 1st published on Daughters of the Deep 

Friday, June 8, 2018

"When Chaos Calls" - My Recent Post on "Bridging the Gap"

"From the moment our alarm clock goes off in the morning, we are rushing for deadlines and schedules: kids schedules, work schedules, exercise schedules, prayer schedules, church schedules, hobby schedules, and the list goes on…  And then, there’s all the events: parties, celebrations, sporting events, music events, and more. Even our social calendars these days are chaotic."

Click on the link below to Check out this post and read encouraging words about this chaos of our many callings in life, and learning to be peace-filled in the midst of the chaos!

My Post on Bridging the Gap: "When Chaos Calls"

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid,” John 14:27 (ESV).


Saturday, May 12, 2018

5 Simple Truths to Help Combat Defensiveness - Posted on Daughters of the Deep

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
Proverbs 12:15, NLT
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “… it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.” 1
Recently, I began to dig into scripture and books about self-understanding, in order to try and figure out why I have a growing issue with becoming defensive easily and way too often.
I have noticed an increase in my defensiveness, especially in my career, and that causes me to wonder why?
Sometimes, when I am corrected or given advice, I immediately feel as though the individual is degrading me or decreasing the value of my hard work. I get upset and feel as though I am being told that I am not competent to handle it.
I have self-confidence, and I believe that I am competent enough to figure out most things that come my way (with prayer and God on my side, of course!). But I don’t believe that I am prideful or boastful, except…in these moments that defensiveness takes over.
I recognize that it does not feel good when I act defensively, so why am I allowing this reaction to overtake my better judgment?
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense2
Wow, that is powerful! I have to agree with that statement! My current sense of contentment is lacking greatly!
Still I seek an answer to “Why?” I am experiencing such defensiveness…
In the midst of writing this blog post for Daughters of the Deep, I am also preparing to start teaching a new book study. Tonight as I was walking on the treadmill and thinking about this post, I am also reading the book for my upcoming study, and this is what I just read, “If we get so focused on our kingdom-call that we miss the daily call, we will be susceptible to selfish ambition, self-centeredness, and a self-important view of our role in God’s kingdom work.  And if…we miss the importance of the present moment, we may get a wrong picture of what faithfulness (and even success) looks like.3
That makes a lot of sense! I definitely think my view of “success” may have become skewed lately…
Having a right view of ourselves has a profound effect on everything. In Romans, Paul says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.” (Rom. 12:16).
And Paul later said to the Philippians, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3–4).
A single sentence summary of all this information that I have gathered is, that Pride is one of the devil’s most destructive tools. Pride can cause us to lose our true selves and become someone that we are not, even if for only a moment.
What beautiful thoughts and deeply helpful information God has put on my heart and mind as I have pondered and researched this topic!
The result, is these 5 simple truths to help combat defensiveness:
  1. The wise listen to others. (Proverbs 12:15)
  2. Pride can eat up contentment, and even common sense. (C.S. Lewis)
  3. If we miss the importance of the present moment, we may get a wrong picture of what success looks like. (Susie Larson)
  4. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
  5. Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:16)
I hope and pray that this information I have gathered and this list of truths, blesses your life as it has mine!
  1. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Simon & Schuster Touchstone edition, 1996), 109, 111.
  2. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 112.
  3. Susie Larson, Your Beautiful Purpose (Bethany House Publishers, 2013), 32.