Joyful Friday ~Practice, Patience, Practice

Last year, I started painting again. Only this time I’m working with watercolor as opposed to oils. It started with sketches and drawings and then one day I noticed a watercolor painting and thought I’d give it a shot. After all it couldn’t be that hard right? Not as easy as I first thought. I started sketching what I wanted to paint to help me get a better feel for the painting. I tend to be harder on myself than I should be. (Some days I think I prefer my drawings over the paintings but that’s because I need to practice.) I’ll draw or paint something and I’ll ask my husband what he thinks of it. He can tell me it looks good and I’ll say something critical about it. He’s always reminding me not to be so hard on myself. He has encouraged me to take art lessons but I’ve declined ~ call me chicken~ no, truth is I’ve found some people on ~ yep, YouTube ~ that I follow and I have learned quite a bit. I find myself noticing things more often and I’ll say “God, teach me how to paint that”. I mean, He is after all the Master and His masterpieces are breathtakingly amazing. Take you for instance, you are His masterpiece and you were uniquely designed by Him for Him.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 139:13,14

One thing that is a given, practice. You have to practice if you want to improve. Patience. That’s something else you have to remember. Patience. It takes time to develop your talent. It takes time to improve your skills. I’ve had this particular post sitting on the shelf since mid March. At first I put it down to blogger’s block. Then recently while reading a devotional from Intouch Ministries, I had one of those “aha” moments.

Just as it takes practice and patience to learn a craft, if we really want to discover who God is through His Word, it takes practice and patience on our part. There are three things we need to do. Meditate. As we meditate on His word, we learn about who He is. Study. Studying His word gives us a better understanding of our Lord. Pray. Through meditation and study, our prayers are our response to what we learn about God. As we learn more about God our prayers will overflow into praise, gratitude, and petitions that align with His will. (Intouch Ministries paraphrased)

I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word.

Psalm 119:15,16
Practice and late nights. ๐Ÿ™‚

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

2 Peter 3:18

God bless!

Happy Friday ~The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

Happy Friday! How did your week go? Hopefully it was a wonderful and blessed week. I suppose depending on your view of what a wonderful and blessed week should look like, some might be thinking, Are you for real? Try having one of my days…. to which I would probably say, No thank you. However, take a step back and review.

Take my week. Monday started out with a bang. Things came up that put me behind schedule. Tuesday was catch up day, and by Wednesday things were shall I say “Can I go home and start over?” kind of day. A letter that I had sent to someone to proof for me and send back would not come back properly. It was the craziest thing. For whatever reason, her computer wouldn’t let her save it in the same format so, she had to send it back to me differently and I would only receive the first of four pages. But to look at it in her email where she had sent it to me all four pages were there. After multiple attempts, she finally ended up having to copy and paste it in order to send it to me. Throughout the week on the way to and from work, there were the usual crazy drivers out there and some downright dangerous ones. You know the ones that cut you off so close that you’re hitting the brakes hard to keep from running into them? Then yesterday, my husband received news that his nephew’s son, had to have emergency brain surgery. Just a little tike too. All that and I can still say, my week was a blessed and wonderful week. Why?

For each “negative” that you may encounter in life there is an opportunity to pray. There are times when I don’t want to pray. Instead I rather grumble and complain about a situation that I saw as a negative (probably did and repented afterwards). Did I stop to consider the reasons behind what may have been happening at the time? Probably not. But I’m learning. I’m learning to pray (and for the most part I do) for the person or situation right then instead of getting grumpy and having to repent later. The hardest thing for me is when I’m heading to and from work. When traffic is crazy and people cut you off nearly causing an accident by squeezing in where there is no room.

Prayer has the power to change things. It can change your outlook and how you see others. How you view the world ~ when you look through the eyes of Jesus you will see others the way He does, with forgiveness, compassion, and understanding. We may not understand what a person is going through but we can have forgiveness and compassion for them. And that my friend can turn that day into a wonderful day by seeing those negatives as positives. About my husband’s nephew’s son, we had sent out an urgent prayer request through our church, and today we learned his tumor is benign and treatable. He isn’t out of the woods yet because they still need to do a biopsy to confirm. Praise God! If you don’t mind please continue to keep him and his family in prayer. Thanks!

Maybe your week had more trials than mine but as you step back and take a look through the eyes of Jesus, maybe you can see where those trials were blessings instead. As you head into the weekend be blessed, refresh, and gear up for another joy filled week! God bless!

Happy Friday ~ The Ring

With love, Mom

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful week. It has been an interesting week. I want to share something that happened to me this week. Once upon a time….(Kidding! So not writing a children’s book!๐Ÿ˜„)

Years ago, my mother received the opened heart shaped ring above. Not long after my son was born, during one of our visits home to see her, she asked if I like the ring. I said yes and she gave it to me. She said “You’re a mom now, I want you to have it.” I asked if she was sure and she said yes, so I accepted it and wore it for a few years. This week I decided to wear my “mom’s jewelry” things that she had given to me throughout the years. I put on my earrings, put on my “mom” ring, and off to work I went. The ring didn’t fit on my ring finger, but it did fit on my pinky finger albeit a tad loosely. I thought I’ll be careful and it should be alright.

Walking to the mailbox at church to send off some mail, walking through the church building, sitting at my desk working. I did all theses things and managed to keep my ring on. As I sat at my desk working, I didn’t give it a thought. It was later on when I went to wash my hands that I noticed it missing. I thought, NO, not my ring from my mother! I’ve had this ring for over 23 years! I retraced my steps, I went to the mailbox, walked through the building, checked my laptop bag, checked my purse, but all to no avail. It was gone. I had lost the ring. The whole time I was praying asking the Lord to help me find the ring. I backtrack again all the while praying and talking to the Lord. I’m telling Him that it wasn’t the ring itself, but it was the sentiment, it had come from my mom. I tell Him that I know I shouldn’t be worried about material things but…it was a gift from my mom. I ask if it were possible, could I find it. Then I’m saying “I know its stupid to worry about it, it’s just a ring, but my mom gave it to me, if it is possible can I please find it. Please show me.” So I retrace my steps once more, still no ring, so I start going through my laptop bag taking stuff out one at time. No ring. I go through my purse taking everything out, and there at the bottom tucked in a corner, lay my ring.

I started crying, thanking, and praising the Lord. And I sat in awe of the magnitude of finding my ring. It wasn’t the fact that I found it. But what it meant to find it. Of how much I am loved and because He cares so much, He showed me where to find it. I thought about what that meant to me to lose a ring that had sentimental value, to find it, and in that moment, I thought about how far Jesus goes to find His lost sheep. He doesn’t quit. He doesn’t say I give up. He keeps searching until He finds them.

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

Luke 15:4

Jesus says in Matthew…

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

Matthew 18:11

Have you had a similar experience where you asked the Lord to help you locate something and He has? How did it make you feel? I’d love to hear about your experience.

God bless and have a wonderful weekend.

Good Eats

Recently while talking with a friend of mine we got on the topic of cooking. She’s one of those people that thinks outside the box and comes up with some really amazing dishes. She has this book that tells you all about the health benefits both good and bad of different foods and spices. This led to a Q & A session since I like to try new things.

I shared about a recent recipe I had tried that didn’t turn out as well as I hoped. It came under the category of it was okay but not something to make again. It was one of those easy, under thirty minute type meals that just didn’t have the flavor to it. That led to a conversation about how nowadays we don’t cook our foods the way they used to cook, you know (or maybe you don’t), letting it simmer all day so that the spices and juices of the foods have time to blend together making the flavor pop in your mouth with every bite. Listening as she talked about the old days when her mother would cook letting it simmer all day on the stove, a thought popped in my head about preparing a meal and God.

Much like the meal that simmers all day on the stove, with the spices blending together and the flavor exploding in your mouth when you sit down to eat, so is our relationship with the Lord. It takes time to nurture a relationship. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our relationship with Him isn’t a quick ~ okay I know everything I need to know. It’s one that, similar to the meal simmering all day, you nurture it and spend time in the Word getting to know Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.

Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk, of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation

1 Peter 2:2 (NAS)

As we learn more about this Man who died for us, we learn about love, compassion, patience, endurance, and the blessings that come from obedience to the Father. Before ascending into heaven, Jesus left His disciples with a promise from the Father…

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:8

There are many promises, blessings, and teachings found throughout the Bible. The Holy Spirit of promise… the blessing of being chosen by God before the foundation of the world.

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 1:13,14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

Ephesians 1:3-5

Predestined to adoption by Jesus Christ Himself…oh how He loves us! God bless.

Road Block

A peculiar thing recently happened…

Fading away while waiting for car tag…

We all face road blocks from time to time. Sometimes its a bump in the road of life. Other times it seems as though you’ll never reach the end of the road block. My mother-in-law was in the process of moving to assisted living. She had been in the hospital and would go straight into assisted living upon her discharge if a place could be found. At the time it was uncertain if she’d go straight into an assisted living facility or if she would be at home for a short period of time. So my husband and his siblings got together and start going through her belongings separating the things that would go with her, the things that they wanted, things to donate, and things to throw away. Now this process would take more than a day or two to get done. My sister-in-law drove down with plans to stay until everything was taken care of. My husband had work so he drove back and forth for a few weeks and his brother, well he lives there so he didn’t have to worry about traveling.

One such item to decide upon was her car. She still had car payments and needed to sell it. In the beginning we were asked if we wanted it and we had declined. Yes, we were looking for a vehicle but it wasn’t something we needed right away and we had decided to save up for a year and then get a car. But it turned out her car had low mileage and the balance due on her loan was less than we thought and within our budget. We took out a loan and then….

Then the road blocks began…

Our bank cut a check for the payoff of the loan and gave us the paperwork needed to go pick up the car because it didn’t have a tag. A few weeks go by and we hadn’t heard anything about getting the tag for the car. My husband calls them and they tell him the check hadn’t cleared. Okay…so what are you going to do about it? Our bank contacted the bank holding the title to the car and gets met with -I’m sorry I can’t give you that information. Excuse me?!?!? ๐ŸคจYou gave it to us before. After about a week of that run around they finally get the information needed and cut a second check. In the meantime, we wait a few more weeks and nothing.

During this time of waiting, my husband had asked around at the office if anyone knew of someone that might be interested in a truck for sale. That same day someone came to him and said they might be interested. He let them take it home to test drive and the NEXT day my husband gets a cashier’s check for the sale of the truck. So now we have two vehicles sitting in our drive. One with a car tag and one with a cardboard handwritten “tag applied for” sign. I’m driving this “tag applied for” car back and forth to work waiting for news that we can go get a tag for it. Several more weeks go by and during this time my husband is trying to find out any news as to when we could get a tag. I offered to call and he shut me down. I mean he said NO before I finished my sentence. ๐Ÿ˜… Something about me not keeping my cool. Okay, so he is way more patient when dealing with stuff like that. I doubt I would have been as patient as he was. You know the person who can be aggravated with a situation and still be polite? He’s that guy. I’m just saying, oh and by the way? This all began in December and here we are in and February and we FINALLY got a tag!

As we went through the craziness of trying to purchase the car tag so that I could properly drive it, (we found out you aren’t supposed to drive with a makeshift tag.) I was reminded of how the devil will throw road block after road block up in order to distract you from God. To blame God for all the “road blocks” in our lives. When the truth is it’s the devil playing havoc with our lives and while he is busy trying to blame God, God is standing in the wings waiting for you and me to go to Him and let Him walk us through it. Can He make it go away? Yes, He can. But sometimes He will use those road blocks to get our attention. To hit pause so that He can refresh our spirits, renew our faith, and trust in Him.

O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!

Psalm 71:12

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:2

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 46:1

When going through the trials and when the road blocks seem to get in the way, look to the Lord for your source of strength to get you through. And remember the reason for the road blocks is because God has great plans for you and the devil is trying to distract you from the things God wants for you. God bless!