Versatile Blogger Award 5.26.18

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”
– Isaiah 55:8 KJV

You surely have that right, Lord. I would have never thought You would use me this way, nor this blog, nor pour blessings all over me with so many blogger friends and blog awards! Your love comes in so many ways that delightfully surprise us. Just as You have surprised me with the blessing of a dear Brother in Your Son’s name as a blogger friend. You allowed Stu of Something to Stu Over to nominate me for the Versatile Blogger Award tonight. Bless him and his ministry, Lord. Be His strength and His protection.

Thank you, Stu, for your thoughtfulness in nominating me! May the Lord bless you as richly and as generously as He does me in reading your blog, and being blessed with your friendship in Christ! Family in Christ! 🙂
Me and God love you, Brother!


What is the Versatile Blogger Award?

• The versatile blogger award is given to bloggers by bloggers as a recognition of the uniqueness of their content and individuality.

• It is also a way to honor bloggers who bring something special to your life whether every day or now and then.

• The award is run by VBA. Check them out.versatile-blogger-awardRules!

• Thank the person who gave you this award.

• Include a link to their blog.

• Next select and nominate 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.

• Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.


Nominees:

Eclipsed Words recently wrote What If I Fly? and I loved it! ❤
Real as the Streets recently wrote Recovery Road. bravely personal and honest!
Carmen Leung recently wrote on her Hiking Zion National Park. Stunning pics!
Stumbling About Our World wrote a fun note caled 70 Random Facts About Me.
Justified and Redeemed recently wrote Why I Choose Modesty in an Immoralist Society.
Realistic Beginner recently wrote 31. What Next? We all ask it!
Bittersweet Diary recently wrote Musing on Quarter Night. Love loss is hard.
God’s Food Heals recently wrote Are You a Coeliac? Hop over and find out.
My God Speaks recently wrote Conquering Sin. Great post!
Dreamer’s Outlet last wrote Monday Mantra: You Are a Piece of Art. I reblogged.
Create in Me recently wrote Liebster Award. Surprising her with Versatile! 😉
December Rose recently wrote Sneakers on Half the Band. Nice poem!
God’s Heavenly Daughter last shared Psalm 3:3. Beautiful!
Riventures recently wrote To My Senior Friends... Sweet note.
Peacock Poetry recently wrote Celebrating Creating. So generous!


7 Facts About MySelf

  1. I love God!
  2. I love Jesus!
  3. I love the Holy Spirit!
  4. I love hymns.
  5. I love sermons.
  6. I love my son, my family.
  7. I always want you to know that God loves you!

Congrats to all the nominees and mentioned! 🙂 Please do not feel obligated to participate. If you decide to, no rush. Do it in your time, your way. God’s perfect time is just that… perfect! 🙂
God loves you!

Walking the Walk, #4 Smell Walk

OH how fabulously wonderful You are, Lord. Absolutely fabulous! In who You are! In where You are! In how You are! I am so blessed to have met You here in this new favorite place You have given me. You have been whispering this place to me for quite some time, and I have tried to research as much as possible on how to meet You here. Yet today, You have spoken clearly, and delightfully surprised me!

It’s known for its gardens, but this is winter, so it was “barren” of the flowers everyone brags about. Yet I feel like it’s an earthy wonderland! It’s so beautifully designed. A beautiful use of concrete and earth in perfect blend… if there can be such a thing. It’s outdoors and yet so clean! Pristine! You are beautiful… wonderful… in Your time… in Your place! ❤ I go inside.

You first catch my attention with heritage… and have me think.

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What is an important tradition in my family or community?
The only thing that comes to mind are family dinners we use to have at my grandmother’s house. My mom’s family use to have holiday dinners there. There was no certain time of day. Aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, spouses, grandchildren, great grandchildren and several family friends would come and go throughout the day. When my grandmother passed in February of 2000, we no longer saw each other much, unless it was a funeral.

What have I learned by being a part of it?
Family can be so precious… even dysfunctional families. Enjoy the time while you can. It won’t last. It makes me think of one of my favorite gospel songs every time I lose someone I love…. I’ve Got More to Go to Heaven For (Than I Did Yesterday).

I’VE GOT MORE TO GO TO HEAVEN FOR
I’ve been on my way to Heaven… For a long, long time.
And many things have happened… That clouded up my mind.
But I am more determined… To walk the narrow way
For I’ve got more to go to Heaven for… Than I had yesterday.
CHORUS:
There’s a golden street to walk upon… A bell I’m gonna ring,
A brand-new angel in the choir… I wanna hear her sing.
There’ll be a lot of friends a-waiting… When I walk through the gate
I’ve got more to go to Heaven for… Than I had yesterday.
I’ve been through lonesome valleys… I’ve climbed the highest hill,
I’ve known the joy of living… In the center of God’s will.
I’ve watched the angels come and take… My loved ones home to stay
I’ve got more to go to Heaven for… Than I had yesterday.

You continue to have me think on family tradition.

Ar2

Banana Pudding was our family tradition…
for every holiday… sometimes every meal.
Banana Pudding and Sweet Tea! ❤
“O taste and see that the Lord is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

– Psalm 34:8 KJV

Now You turn my focus to water… Your gift to life.

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Seeing this makes me think of the struggle I have with dehydration, and this makes for a great motivator and reminder! It also reminds me of when I was doing Lovely A’s 21 Day Self Care Challenge on her Discovering Your Happiness website. My response was noted on Self Care Challenge Day 8: Water. I actually took the picture thinking of her! ❤

Chewing Gum comes from a tree! Wow! I did not know that! 🙂

Ar4

I love corn, beans, and squash! A tasty dinner to me, Lord! 🙂

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After hearing some Native Americans narrate different nature topics and traditional stories, I venture outside. I have no pictures. I started just enjoying things when I sat down for the stories. I’m walking where there are normally gardens and flowers, so says the guy when I came in and every touring person that passes me. Yet I am not the least bit disappointed. Perhaps because I have not come to see them. I have come to see You!

Again the place just seems like the most tenderly fabulous earthy wonderland! I find one of the many beautifully designed areas to sit in, and just take You in. The sun is so bright and beautiful on this winter day, and the wind just does what it wants with my hair. But it’s OK. It’s comforting… because it’s You… being playful… being tender… being loving… being personal… being You! This place reminds me of places people have introduced to me in the past. For some reason I start thinking of those special faces.

Counselors, teachers, friends who have taken moments out to sit and talk with me… knowing that I am claustrophobic… and very uncomfortable with talking inside closed walls… while a clock ticks… reminding of how unimportant my words are, so make it quick for the one who is listening. But not here. Outside in a warm sun… with no clock hovering over me. It makes me miss them so. I have so much I wish I could talk to them about. They broke protocols and rules to go out of their way to help save me from things in my life when I did not know I needed saving from anything. My heart aches for them. I miss them as much as I miss family… even if some them were dysfunctional as well.  How human we all are. Yet we are Your humans! Thank You, Lord, for going out of Your way today to meet me here. I will be back!

As I start to walk away from this area, a smell permeates my air. And I can smell how beautiful it is! So pleasant! So comforting! There’s just something about it that smells like… You! I see nothing but barrenness until suddenly I see a sign that says Lily of the Valley! *GASP* Oh dear Lord! My favorite song! My grandmother’s favorite flower, and a name sweetly referenced to You!

Lily of the Valley – hymn lyrics by Charles W. Fry
I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
He tells me every care on Him to roll. 
CHORUS:
He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.
He all my grief has taken, and all my sorrows borne;
In temptation He’s my strong and mighty tow’r;
I have all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn
From my heart and now He keeps me by His pow’r.
Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,
Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal.
[CHORUS]
He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
While I live by faith and do His blessed will;
A wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear,
From His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.
Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessed face,
Where rivers of delight shall ever roll.
[CHORUS]

It’s not visible, but I can smell despite the darkened earth. Praise Your name I can smell! I have been trying to do the Smell Walk, #3 of the 50 Walks within the Walking the Walk Challenge with Lovely A of Discovering Your Happiness, but have just not been able to smell! I had done Walking the Walk, #3 Delight Walk in its place. But I smelled that lovely Lily of the Valley! ❤ And this was before I had the occipital nerve block last week, of which I felt it opening my sinus within minutes.

As I continue to walk, I smell another familiar aroma… Spruce… everywhere! It smells so good! And just as I think of touching out of curiosity, You remind me of my allergies and sensitivities. I’ll never forget Scratch and Sniff 203! That was my Botany class. In lab exercises we walked the college campus scratching and sniffing twigs, flowers, branches (that we were warned not to touch because of chemicals to protect them). I had the worst allergic reaction I have had involving a fever. A high fever that did not break until the 9th day of a 10 day antibiotic course. No more Scratch and Sniff, Professors! 😉

All of this beautiful smell within a seemingly lifeless foliage makes me think on how filthy I must have looked to You underneath all of my sin when my soul laid beneath the dead and broken leaves, the barren dark branches, and this uninviting view. Yet You saw beauty in me. You saw You in me! Again I think of my counselors and teachers You used to save me, to clean and toil the surface, to dig out the roots and choking weeds, to rid me of that one dark blot…. multiplied by a thousand. Thank You for coming for me! Thank You for the souls You blessed me with. Help me to thankful for those I still have!

One last sign on the way out… is a Fabulous answer to prayer!

Ar7

I continue to walk around and then find this sign telling me of several small trails! Could this be answer to prayer, and a guide for the 50 Walks in the Walking the Walk Challenge! Absolutely! Thank You for this day! For this intoxicating scent! For these fond memories of people I miss so much! Thank You for just being You! As Always! ❤

 

“NEW” Series, #2 Music Playlist

How lovely You are, Lord, to give us such delights as music! You allowed music through fellow believers, and even dear friends. Coming into Christmas You already had friends sharing music and videos that became favorites. This is new in many ways because for quite a few years now music has just been… music. Even if I happened to love or enjoy something, it was just that moment. I didn’t have the time or desire to feel anything to take with me.  But You have renewed a joy and a comfort in music.

How perfect is the message in Hayley’s song “Called By Love” by Red Letters. You used a dear friend to remind me that when the devil tries to tell me I have no right to listen to or sing with Your music that I am called by love to worship You. I need to worship You to keep my strength up against the one who hates me to have any… especially in You!

You used my dear friend Aney to introduce me to “The True Love of God” by The Church of Almighty God to remind me the “It’s [Your] tender words that water and nourish me to grow up. It’s [Your] stern words that encourage me to stand up again.” That is the truth of Your love. The music lifts my spirit with its light beat.

You surprised me with a new favorite video “You Are More” by Tenth Avenue North. You used Life With Jesus to introduce me to this reminder that I am more than the choices that I have made because I have been remade. It’s not about what I have done, but about what You have done for me. It’s not about how I feel, but what You felt to forgive me, and how You felt to make me loved.

“All The Way in Your Company” by The Church of Almighty God was so cute, and so me and You. The video story and message is a theme song for us. It is a great theme song for our Walking the Walk journey! I would love to be able to run, but as long as I am walking with You, whether on the Parkway, the ball field, running errands, or the days that will leave me in my bed. If I am with You, I am exactly where I need to be!

You used Hayley again to remind me with “He Has Freed Us” by RedLetters that [You] will carry us through every trial in life, that [Your] love is perfect, and [Your] ways are right. [You] have freed us.

And oh how You continue to amaze me through Hayley even more! When she told me of her song “I Choose Life” by RedLetters after she read my post Choose Life as a theme for this year, I was so excitedly in awe of You! You had used Deuteronomy 30:19-20 to inspire her, myself, and so many others at the same time. I will ever be so grateful for Your bringing Hayley into my life, and for allowing me to hear Caralyn’s podcast on A Jew & A Gentile Walk Into a Bar… Mitzvah. I am eagerly awaiting Hayley’s CD. 🙂

I can’t remember how You brought me to “Sleeping At Last” by Saturn. It’s not even Christian music. But You had me pay attention to the message. “How rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist.” It was You and me again… more You speaking to me. So I listen… again and again… and again. ❤

So then You give me “Old Church Choir” by Zach Williams. I LOVE this song. You help me get to a place where I put aside all the noise and voices in my head, and just enjoy You! You let me know that when I do that…“There ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy!” Praise Your Holy name! This is definitely a motivating and strengthening song, all wrapped up in a delightful joy! ❤

Lastly, You used Kristi Ann to just steal my heart again. “Still” by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family. How do I never stop falling in love with You!! You know that all I need is to be still and know that You are parting waters, and moving mountains that I don’t even see. All You need is for me to be still.

So this is the playlist You have given me. I love that You think of me, and whisper my name into someone’s ear. I am grateful You give us music. Thank You for renewing music for me! Thank You for reminding me of the weapon it is against the very one who hates me spending that quality time with You. I look forward to whatever You bring my way. As long as You are there… I’m ready.

“Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” – Psalm 33:3

“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” – Psalm 40:3 

“NEW” Series, Introduction

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
 – Isaiah 43:19 KJV

Lord, here we are… finally getting around to this “NEW” series You whispered into my ear in December to begin in January. Not necessarily to celebrate a New Year or as a resolution. But to give glory to You for new things… new blessings that You have sent my way… and will be sending yet. I have so much to thank You for… including this new year of life. Thank You for helping me to Choose Life and to continue to Look Up. ❤

Just coming into this week was challenging. On New Year’s Eve, unpredicted layers of black ice froze the roads over so quickly that the roads looked normal and clear. Though cars and people were unable to drive or walk without accidents, the radar was showing nothing. Two tractor trailers jackknifed making it 7 hours before my brother, brother-in-law, and family friend got off the local interstate. During that time, when the car idled the heat did not work. After getting off and getting gas, the car wouldn’t go into gear from idling in the cold so long. It took another 4 or 5 hours to get a tow and home.

During that time, our heat went out. We have propane heat, and a wood stove for back up, but the furnace stopped and we ran out of wood and coal. It took the week to get the furnace working, the ice out of the gas tank regulator, some wood and coal for the stove, as well as get the hot water back. So many souls You sent. And that stranger that said, “It’s a God thing. Don’t ask questions.” May You bless each one so richly!

During this whole time, You had so many WordPress friends praying and sending encouraging messages when they didn’t even know what was going on. How much their prayers were needed… and heard… and answered! Thank You for each one!

So what has the new year brought so far? New challenges, of course! Anyone who thinks they will be without struggles, falls, challenges (of a negative nature), or no problems at all are setting themselves up for that inevitable discouragement that follows an unrealistic outlook. But it also brought new reasons to pray, to exercise faith, to witness to strangers, to meet new fellow believers, to see that there are still people who do good.

Thank You for fixing the furnace, hot water heater, gas regulator, for wood and coal, names of reliable sources for the future, new friends, and a renewed sense of family seeing things through together. Thank You for safety. Thank You for the driver who towed family off the roads. I have so many praises to give You that I’m sure I’ll fail to remember them all. Likewise, I have many people to pray over. But I can trust You with each prayer and praise. Your answered prayers and mercies are new every morning.

I also trust You to help me remember those things that You had laid on my heart to include in this “NEW” Series. It’s not to be just January. Your newness in our lives is ongoing. Whenever You lead, I will thank and praise. So let’s get started because as the song says, “I’ve got so much to thank [You] for.” ❤

Gifts 2017 #23 Christmas Cards

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Christmas Countdown: Christmas Cards and notes are a gift! Christmas cards can cheer, encourage, lift a lonely soul, update, inform, or simply send a greeting. Praise the Lord for ones that explain the true meaning of Christ, or simply display the wonder of a Heavenly King coming as a manger baby to save a dying world.
I was blessed to receive 13 greetings… 6 by postal mail, 1 at church, 3 by email, 2 by Facebook Inbox, and one delightful international surprise phone call from my Australian daughter Andi! 🙂

Below are some of the cards. Some cannot be displayed or mentioned of sender or what country they serve as missionaries. But because they can see this post, I want to say, “Thank you! Merry Christmas! Praying for you! Me and God love you!”

From LeneinJapan (Wrestling with Faith – Dancing with Jesus, and Song of Virginity)

 

From a long time dear friend at my stepdad’s church friend

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From another dear church friend where our sons were in youth group together.

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From a long time family friend I know through my mom.

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From my Canadian friend of the Quill 😉 Sayer Teller of Oaken Wood

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I will be using this one to say Merry Christmas to each and every one of you! It’s a picture I took years ago of one I had but lost. I do not remember who sent it, but it is so beautiful! Happy Birthday to that little darling in the manger. ❤ I love you, Jesus!

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