A Life Road Map


productivity-treasure-map

Genesis 12:1

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

Deuteronomy 31: 8

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

 

God opened up a new opportunity for my family. It was a call to move to a new place, to leave everything that was familiar. Now we’re here. In an unfamiliar city. We’re in a rental house. My children aren’t happy, and I haven’t found my purpose either. I have too much time on my hands. So what do we do now that we’re here?

For the Christian, the predictable answer is to turn to the Lord, but that’s easy to say and hard to do. During my quiet time I have found my mind wandering. I think about not having a job yet, that my children are unhappy, and I am lonely. I think about my friends back home, and the things I would be doing if I was still there. I turn to Facebook. I think about everything but God.

It occurred to me that God just wants me for Himself for a little while. I need to spend more time just loving Him. I need to let Him feed and strengthen me in preparation for what He has planned next. That “next” may be tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Now is the time to prepare. To do that I need to separate myself from the distractions of this world and focus on God. But how?

I’ve been reading a series of books by James Bryan Smith. I finished reading The Good and Beautiful God (I highly recommend this book.) I’ve just started the second book in his series, The Good and Beautiful Life. In an early chapter, Smith suggests an exercise – to write a letter to God about what you want your life to look like. This takes some thought – it’s an exercise that requires you to think about God, and His plans for you, not just your own desires. Psalm 37:4 tells us, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” So what are those heart’s desires?” I trust God will let me know.

As Smith suggested, I wanted to write a letter to God about what I want my life to look like, but it was an overwhelming thought. I avoided the exercise for several days. Finally, I realized I had to break it up into more manageable pieces. So I thought about all the aspects of my life and wrote to God about what I want in these areas: Spiritual, Family, Marriage, Friendships, Financial, Health, Work, Hobbies, and Relaxation. It was easier to focus on just one aspect of who I am, then move on to the next. As I finished my letter, a familiar verse came to mind.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I trust that God does have a bright future in store for me, but I’m impatient. I want to know what it is. Now. Jeremiah 29:11 is a frequently quoted verse, but do we really think about it fully? The verses that follow verse 11 are perhaps more important to understanding verse the verse itself.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the Lord’s declaration.  (Emphasis mine).

So that’s the key. It’s time to search for God with my whole heart, and no preconceived ideas. It was time to rewrite my letter to God, this time praying for the Holy Spirit to guide my prayer. The end result is a more than a letter; it is a road map for my life, blessed by God. As you look at the life before you, consider talking to God about how he created you and what he created you for. You may find God has actually given you a treasure map. After all, He only wants the best for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psalm 32:8

 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Blessings on your day.

Image: google images

Scripture:  www. openbible.info

Last Times


last time quote

This year has been full of “the Last Times” for my family. A lot of it is that we’ve moved across country and likely won’t go see certain friends again or go back to our favorite restaurant. My kids won’t go back to their schools, or play with close friends. There’s the last time I was with my Bible Study sisters before we moved, and last time I was with the friends I made at my job. Driving to our new home Florida I realized there had been many more “last times” but at the time I didn’t know that it would be the last time for that particular activity.

How long ago was it that my kids snuggled in bed with us on Saturday morning? Or when I was helping my daughter learn to ride her bike? What about the times my son was learning to cook and he needed my help in the kitchen? Or when we taught him to drive? There was the last Christmas my kids believed in Santa and the last time they went on an Easter Egg Hunt. There was the last time I saw my grandparents before they died. I’m no longer on active duty. I’m no longer a kid, or a young mother just trying to make it through the day. I look at my husband and wonder – “when did we get so gray?”

Life isn’t just about waiting for special events like birthdays, reunions, and holidays. We get so rushed trying to live our lives and move on to the next thing that we forget to savor the moments that are life. I pray for help to be more aware of what’s going on right now, and savor the special moments God has given to me. It may be the last time for that particular event.

Take some time to savor life today, because today will never come again.

Ecclesiastes 3

The Mystery of Time

There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;[a]
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

Moving On


1

 Isaiah 43: 18-19

“Do not remember the past events; pay no attention to things of old.
Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

I’ve been absent from this blog for several weeks because I needed time to contemplate a life changing decision. My husband was offered a job in a different state. But is it the right decision? Moving across country is a big deal. Leaving everything familiar and starting a new life is challenging, to say the least. The thought of saying goodbye to everyone we know has made us all apprehensive. We have deep roots in the community, my son is starting his senior year in High School, and I love my job. What should we do?

To make the decision, we turned to God, to the Scriptures. God called Abraham to move on from his home and blessed him for his obedience.  Our Lord led the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land. He returned the exiles to Israel. Paul went on many journeys. Throughout the Scriptures God’s people move.

I trust God to lead us where He wants us to go. So we are moving on to a new home, a new community, and will establish new roots. There’s a song that has meant a lot to me as we’ve made this decision – Oceans by Hillsong. I’ve linked it below. I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed us.

Happy Father’s Day to My Dad


Originally posted on follow the light:

I posted this last year on Father’s Day. I can’t think of anything better to say about him. He’s a great man, a great example, and always there for me, my sisters and my family.  Love you Dad!

He’s more than the “bread winner.” A daddy is someone very special. In a daughter’s eyes her father will always be about 10 feet tall. Here are some of the reasons why my sisters and I love our Dad:

  1.  He loves our Mom.
  2.  And he told us to listen to her.
  3.  He could fix just about anything.
  4.  He took so many pictures of us.
  5.  And home movies too.
  6.  He taught us how to ride a bike.
  7.  And to play nice with the other kids.
  8.  And share.
  9.  To love our siblings and get along with them, no matter what.
  10.  And clean our room.
  11.  He helped us with our homework, especially math.
  12.  He taught…

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It’s Science Fair Time


science fair

Graduation season is in full swing, but for younger students it’s Science Fair time. Last week my daughter presented the experiment she has been working on.

Elianna had a simple idea and set out to prove it. Her project required that she grow plants. She grew two different types of plants from seeds, and used another plant already established. She started by planting two different types of seeds. The seeds were tiny, and though they were for two different types of plants they looked very similar. We waited several days for the seeds to sprout. Once they did it was easy to tell the difference between plants.

How creative our God is. The genetic code for all living things is housed in a tiny seed, or egg. Curiosity got the best of me, so I looked up some scientific facts about plants. Botanists say there are approximately 400,000 different species of plants.[i] Can we wrap our head around that number?

There’s more. God didn’t stop with plants, he created animals too. Zoologists estimate the number of animal species on the planet to be 50,000.[ii] There are also nearly 1 million species of insects.[iii] And then there is man. There are currently over 7 billion people on the planet and each of them is unique. But that is a small number in comparison to the number of people who have ever lived – approximately 107 billion![iv]

Perhaps these numbers will help us see how powerful and creative our God is. Once we understand this, we can begin to let Him work in our lives in amazing ways.

Have a blessed day.

Genesis 1:11

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.

Genesis 1:20-21

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:24-25

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds:the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

[i] https://www.bgci.org/ourwork/1521/

[ii] http://www.worldstory.net/en/species.html

[iii] http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0934288.html

[iv] http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2002/HowManyPeopleHaveEverLivedonEarth.aspx

Why I Served


United-States-Navy

Young people join the military for various reasons. I loved my country, but I had ulterior motives for joining the Navy – a free education and the opportunity to travel. Many join the military to take advantage of such benefits. However, once in boot camp I was immediately introduced to the military mindset. I was immersed in a new lifestyle of honor, integrity, and courage. I emerged from an eight-week training cocoon not only proud to have the opportunity serve, but feeling blessed to have the privilege to serve with people of honor. It changed me – forever.

Throughout my first tour my love for this country deepened, and so did my love for my fellow service men and women. I wanted to give back to the country that took a chance on me. I proudly reenlisted several times and celebrated with others who chose to do the same. I served with people who have the highest level of integrity. They were also the kindest, bravest and most loving people I will ever know. There is a certain camaraderie that the military and first responders share. It’s a brotherhood that deepens every day as we inspire, encourage, honor, and love each other. Being a part of the military made me more than I ever could have been otherwise.

Although I chose to retire, I miss military life. I miss serving with incredible men and women who encouraged me to strive for excellence. I may not see them every day, but I will pray for them, and honor them by living the life they taught me.

We can honor our military and remember our dead by living a life of integrity and honor, and by praying for them everyday.

100 Reasons We Love Our Mom


mothersday

I’m reblogging this post from May, 2013. Enjoy.

Most of us rarely consider the influence and impact our families have on us, and in particular, our Mothers. We start to realize that when we have a child or a loved one becomes ill, or they are gone. Our Mom’s impact us more that we really know (or want to admit). We are who we are largely because of our Moms. (For brothers, moms are critically important, but in a different way, but that’s another story.) My sisters and I decided to come up with a list of all the different ways our Mom has impacted us.  We believe most women will identify with these examples and come up with more for their own Mom.

 HERE ARE A FEW OF THE REASONS WE LOVE YOU

  1. She gave birth to me.
  2. She is my sister’s mom.
  3. She loves my Dad.
  4. She always took me to church (whether I wanted to go or not).
  5. And Youth Group.
  6. She made sure I had a nice smile (braces).
  7. She made sure the Weddings were “over the top.”
  8. She was there (holding my hands) at the birth of that first grandchild (and      more).
  9. She loves all her grandchildren and treats them all “fairly”.
  10. She loves her son-in-laws
  11. She taught me to cook.
  12. She taught me manners.
  13. She told me to always act and look like a lady, and wear lipstick.
  14. There’s always a couple of dollars in every note/card she sends.
  15. She loved me even when I was a “pain in the butt” and endured my “teenage drama” years.
  16. She’s got great decorating advice.
  17. She always knew the families before I was allowed to play with the kids.
  18. When you really care about something she will also care about it.
  19. She will always tell you that you look very pretty / nice, etc.
  20. She taught me to always write thank you notes.
  21. She thinks I am creative.
  22. She still spoils us at Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
  23. She taught me to look for a bargain, or buy “on sale”.
  24. She taught us to always take a hot meal to a new neighbor and sick friend.
  25. She taught me how to entertain friends and do it well.
  26. There’s nothing like a home-cooked meal.
  27. It’s ok to have a glass of wine.
  28. She taught me to do laundry, correctly.
  29. She made me change the sheets every week and how to do “hospital”      corners.
  30. She taught me to set a pretty table for holiday meals.
  31. Having a family dinner together (almost) every night is wonderful.
  32. Say Grace.
  33. We always had handmade Easter dresses (they were usually matching).
  34. Our Easter baskets always had a Chocolate Rabbit and at least one toy.
  35. There was always a Hidden treasure in Christmas Stockings.
  36. Always save room for dessert.
  37. Fresh bread is always the best.
  38. A little prayer sure helps.
  39. Spoil your dog.
  40. She’ll send you a postcard when she goes on vacation.
  41. Wash your hands before you eat.
  42. Eat breakfast every day.
  43. Shopping is a sport.
  44. She told us to play nice with the other kids.
  45. Always told me to be nice person (period).
  46. She gave us piano & flute lessons
  47. Swimming and gymnastics lessons too.
  48. Shoes don’t have to match your purse.
  49. Wear clean underwear.
  50. You can do almost anything with a hot-glue gun.
  51. Brush and floss your teeth.
  52. Always take a jacket, and often an umbrella too.
  53. She never forgets a birthday/anniversary or other holiday.
  54. Took me to see grandparents quite often – the trip was across country.
  55. She told me to always keep a few dollars in my pocket for emergencies.
  56. She’s proud of us no matter what.
  57. Be sure to send Christmas cards.
  58. You can never have too many photos.
  59. She always made me try new foods, and made me eat my veggies.
  60. Have a hobby.
  61. Look for the good in everything and everyone.
  62. She passed down Grandma & Great Grandma keepsakes.
  63. She taught me to darn a sock and sew on a button.
  64. She taught me to share, especially ice cream cones and M & Ms.
  65. She always found ways to surprise us.
  66. A sack lunch is great.
  67. Always make the time to have lunch with friends.
  68. We always got a little gift when she returned from trips.
  69. Carry 2 pens, someone might need to borrow one.
  70. Carry lots of Kleenex, someone will need one.
  71. She cooked over an open campfire and can pitch a tent.
  72. She took me to a dermatologist.
  73. She picked great clothes and jewelry.
  74. Be sure to get your hair done, often.
  75. She still remembers my favorite dinner and dessert from childhood and still prepares it better than I do.
  76. Photos of my kids are on her fridge.
  77. Goes overboard when we come to town.
  78. She sends cards for all occasions
  79. Her fudge and pumpkin nut bread are “to die for.”
  80. She always makes my favorite pie.
  81. She always took a picture of us on the first day of school.
  82. She made me do things myself.
  83. Plan a get-away with your spouse at least once a year.
  84. Have a savings account and don’t break into it.
  85. Take care of your skin, even when you are young.
  86. Nurture your friendships; motherhood can be very lonely sometimes.
  87. Vote.
  88. She made sure we always got to see fireworks.
  89. She pumps her own gas
  90. Know what the organization really does before you donate to them.
  91. She sent really great care packages to me when I was stationed over seas.
  92. Don’t complain.
  93. She taught us how to make a decision, there are consequences to everything.
  94. You can have a good time without spending money.
  95. Use sunscreen and chap-stick.
  96. She doesn’t understand my jokes but she still laughs.
  97. She taught me to go above and beyond in my career.
  98. Visit the gravesite of loved ones when you are in town.
  99. She backed me up when I was blamed for something that I swore I didn’t do.
  100. She put up with all my childhood shenanigans and loves to tell everyone about them.

The list could go on and on, but we are stopping at 100.  Life is a constant learning experience. Some of us are fortunate enough to have our Moms with us for most of the ride. We still learn from our Mother and so do our children. We are who we are because of her. How would our lives have been different if our Mom was not a strong, compassionate and loving woman? We’re grateful that we will never know.

Blessings on your day.