Friday, March 30, 2012

God's Proud of His Children

Far too often, LIFE can just beat us down! We can end the week feeling physically worn out, emotionally exhausted and spiritually drained. At least I can be. My thoughts began racing during a recent meeting at work. One of my coworkers was giving a quarterly report of all the projects she'd been working on and at the end of sharing both the successful outcomes as well as the unsuccessful ones she simply stated, "And I'm proud of me." 

Let that sink in.

When was the last time you sat within a group of friends, gave a run down of your week stating both the positive and negative outcomes but finished by stating you were proud of all the strides you made? Because of the balance, this isn't prideful.

If we battle with giving ourselves a little pat on the back, then how much more must we endeavor to remember that God is proud of us too? Currently, I'm reading through the book of Isaiah. In the beginning it's full of woe, then all of a sudden God throws 3:10 in:

"Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds."

Then he goes back to his warnings to the wicked. As a woman in general, it can be easy to listen to the world and let it beat me down. Even as a baptized daughter into Christ, it also can be easy to read verses of warnings and think somehow I only disappoint God. But God is happy about his children!!

May these verses below comfort you into the weekend. Maybe afterwards you might do the desktop high-five above (if you have already who says you don't deserve it twice - ha), then state out loud, "God's proud of me and I'm proud of me too."

Psalm 35:27
May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.”

Psalm 147:11
the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Isaiah 66:2
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.

Psalm 117:2
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.

Psalm 146:8
the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.

Psalm 149:4
For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.

Deuteronomy 23:5
However, the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.


Desktop high-five from: http://www.wallpaperzzz.com/desktop-high-five-download/

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Simple living.

"I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society."
~ Henry David Thoreau

I have enjoyed in recent years the minimalist movement. I like reading about 'Tiny homes' and 'Low Density Living.' Being inspired by a cable channel focused on green living, I remember a time when I began simplifying. I began giving things away, donating items, and even setting things by the dumpster for people to pick up. I found life to be simpler - cleaning was easier because I didn't have so many things to dust (ha), my times with God became more deep since there weren't all those items or projects to distract me and my stress decreased. Yet even over my last vacation I saw how I should eat simpler meals and, trust me, I still continually look around my house at objects and say, "Why do I have this?" :)  

I'm not the only one trying to have a more simple life in American. My mom tries to practice cleaning out one drawer a week in her house. I have a friend that purges clothes during the seasons changing from hot to cold. There are websites to help us get organized, people to help us simplify, tv shows like 'Hoarders' to warn us to change. Why do we then still gather 'things' to us only to be overwhelmed by them?! Now that is a deep question. Simply put, I think it's like Thoreau is quoted as writing, "Men have become a tool of their tools." I find this to be profoundly true as I look around the world today and funny enough he wrote that way back in the 1800's!

Here's some other quotes for thought...

"Enough is as good as a feast" ~ not sure who originally said it but I heard Mary Poppins say it first. *grin*

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction." ~E.F. Schumacher

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." ~1 Timothy 6:6-8

I really enjoy Thoreau's quotes on this subject. Some make me laugh while some pierce my heart... so I'll share a few more.

"A lady once offered me a mat, but as I had no room to spare within the house, nor time to spare within or without to shake it, I declined it, preferring to wipe my feet on the sod before my door. It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil."

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone."

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

"One farmer says to me, "You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with"; and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle."

Simple living. May we each explore ways to have a more simple life and the benefits it can bring! Especially, when one benefit can be more peace and more time with God. :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Have a Protector

SHADOW
"There was a shadow at my bedroom door. I turn my eyes away…as girls are taught…
But his presence overwhelms me. I switch the light on, glance, but he’s gone.
'Of course he is,' I think, turning off the lamp. Again embalmed in darkness.
Yet he is there. I feel him. Fear stands as a shadow at my door.
A night stalker of my own creation."

It’s a difficult thing not to live in fear. Especially, when there is a threat to your peace of mind or physical security. Understatement. Personally, I’ve had my own battles with fear and anxiousness. These battles have reminded me that danger can be very real. Unfortunately, all of us have a stalker. However, he’s not out to destroy our bodies but what is most precious, our soul. But don't get discouraged...We have a Protector! Here are some verses I searched for that reminded me that my true enemy may lurk BUT ultimately, God is victor! (and so are we)

Problem:
1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Response:
James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Problem:
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 “…Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”

Response:
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

Problem:
Zechariah 3:1-2 “Then he showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. “

Response:
Revelation 12:10-11 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

Our true enemy prowls around and accuses us daily BUT we don't have to be fearful because we can submit to God and resist the devil, we can put on the full armor of God and remember with confidence that our Saviour has overcome!

For another post related to this topic, please read: "When Satan Attacks"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kick that Day Planner to the Curb

Many of us live our lives according to a calendar. Personally, I had a moment in 2010, and a vacation to a country where they are much more easy going, that totally convinced me..."I DON'T have to live that way, even as a Christian." (and neither do you.)

Let's talk about being free spirited. What does this mean? Well, it might just mean kicking your day planner, wall or ipad calendar to the curb and breaking out sometimes.

It's hard to be free spirited. Not only have we trained ourselves to schedule, schedule, schedule but we are also very self conscious. Yet, it's our free spirited moments that make us embrace life and have joyful fun sometimes. My point, even though I'm about to give examples, is not necessarily to do these specific things but to be open to having something fun come to mind and acting on it.


Some illustrations:  
  • Take a walk during a work break and don't plan your path...just walk.
  • Great song come on the radio in the car? Sing out loud & dance around in the seat. (this is sure to make people smile)
  • Take a morning drive on Saturday and stop at a random shop you've always seen but never been into.
  • Try to mimick the call of the next bird you hear singing. Bobwhite quails are some of my favorites. (video of their call)
  • When you stand up out of bed in the morning do a Snoopy dance.
  • Create your own holiday.
  • Adventurously pick out a new recipe and make it for dinner.
  • Wave at people in the cars you meet while going down small roads.
  • Give the kid'os a list of options for places to go one Saturday morning and let them pick. Then just go!
  • Go spend time relaxing in a hammock. I knew a guy who had one in his bedroom just because it was relaxing.
  • Wear a color of clothing unlike what you'd normally wear.
  • Can one thing on your calendar for next week be removed? Do it and give yourself that open time to be a free spirit.
  • Skip! Yeah, you read right. http://iskip.com/blog/ 
  • Stop one morning before walking into work and appreciate the sunrise or stop for a moment while leaving work and take in the sunset.

    Basically, to be free spirited you have to live in the present moment. We are often thinking of what's next on our calendar but as you live in the moment, the free spirit in you will walk out.

    Talk about kicking the 'planned' life to the curb..check out this free spirit. Just a fun video: Watch the video called 'the Longest Way'

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    All Night Prayers

    "...Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray,
    and spent the night praying to God."

    I remember being at church camp a few years ago when I really noticed this verse. I was challenged that Jesus spent all night praying to God. All night! My heart was moved and so I decided that I would stay up that night and pray too. The camp had a dining facility that stayed lit so at first I stayed in there and prayed. Next, I walked around outside and prayed looking up at the stars. Then I went inside and prayed through scriptures I found and wrote prayers in my journal. I prayed that night until the call for breakfast the next day. And I was exhausted but talk about still feeling great! It was as though Jesus had been with me all night, encouraging me...and I was inspired and changed because in some way I was walking as Jesus walked.

    Another time, my small group at church decided we'd put together an all night prayer night at a local building. We set up different rooms for different 'ways' of praying. One was a room full of praise music, there was a section where you could take prayer walks, one room was just for silent meditation while in another you could go on stage and have loud prayers to God. By the morning, people gathered together and we had group prayers. It was a stirring night...and although again I was exhausted as I drove home, my heart felt light because of all the time I'd spent praying.

    What about you? Have you ever prayed all night? Maybe it's time you stretched yourself a bit? You can pray alone all night or ask someone if they want to spend all night praying too. The motive isn't just to accomplish it though...the heart is out of a longing to connect with God in a way you might not have before. Jesus prayed all night then selected the twelve apostles. If you have a big decision to make then maybe it's time to spend the night praying with Jesus? Maybe so much is going on in your life right now that having a night full of prayer could be a great way to pour it all out! If, like me, your health doesn't allow you all night prayers right now...how about 3 hours? When was the last time you prayed for even 3 hours? I just picked a random number but you get the point.

    ...last Friday, I came home from work, had dinner, and went to my art/sun room to pray. It had been a hard, emotional week and I needed to share my heart with God deeply. The week had just been too crazy to provide me enough time. My prayers had seemed 'choppy.' So, I turned off the phone then wrote in my journal all the subjects I wanted to pray about and the people I wanted to pray for as well. Next, I just started praying...2 1/2 hours later I finished. What a great time I had with God! And what a special time that warms my heart when I think about it. My friend, as I encourage all the women around me in my personal ministry I want to encourage you, build memories with God now! Especially build a life full of deep prayers with your Lord. There is no substitute for that genuine relationship. Sometimes we just need to spur and awaken our heart, mind, and spirit with prayer...lots of it.

    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    Subscribe by Email

    A reader asked if there was a way to receive Silver Trumpet posts by email. I did some research and am able to add a ' Subscribe by email gadget' that allows that option. I've placed it on the side bar.

    Often I read over my posts again. If I find errors and correct them I have to 're-post' it. This is a seamless process for the average reader but I don't know if it will send you the same post in email again. I'm testing it out so if you receive the same blog twice because I made a correction/edit...opps. :)

    As always, thanks for reading!

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Kneeling Before My God

    "Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;" ~ Psalm 95:6

    In a play called "Slingshot" that tells the story of David and Goliath, there is a song that the character Samuel sings. Within its very moving lyrics, two specific lines often run through my mind. They are:

    To stay near your God, you must stay near the ground. Never stand when you can kneel. Never sit when you can bow.

    To stay near your God, you must stay near the fight. Never stop when you can charge. Never fear when you are right.

    It's lyrics like these and certain scriptures I've read, like the one above, which move me to make sure there are times that I'm humbling myself before God with my body as well as my heart. Sometimes I find if my heart is slow to be humble that the position I'm praying in can help. I often take communion on my knees. I feel strongly that since I'm focusing on Jesus, his sacrifice for me, and his ultimate victory that it's very appropriate to humble myself in this way. It wasn't easy the first time I decided to get down on my knees when everyone else does not but I pushed past my pride because I knew God's Spirit was calling me to be humble. Now, this has become a very personal and public way to praise God. God's also blessed this into becoming a very private way for me to commune with him.

    When I was a young girl, my dad use to come into my room each night and we would pray together. He'd always get beside the bed on his knees. How impacting that was and is now when I reflect back. This past New Years there was also a moment after worshiping God at the strike of midnight, where I literally fell to my knees to sing to God. I am convinced...I must kneel more before God in my times with him because I'm praying and worshiping the living God!

    Here are some other verses I think of when I kneel or bow to God:

    Phillippians 2:9-11
    9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

     Isaiah 45: 22-24
    22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.24 They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.’”

    Deuteronomy:33-2-3
    “He [Moses] said: The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes.3 Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction,"

    Luke 22:41 "He [Jesus] withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,"

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Celebrating Spring!

    Passion flower in my garden
    
    How do you celebrate Spring? The first day of Spring this year was on March 20th. "Springtime" refers to not only the season but broadly to ideas of renewal and growth. I've also heard some say that Spring is God's reminder of the resurrection of Christ. Just another way that God is continually drawing us back to Him. Have you ever considered that the coming of Spring could be a chance for you to get excited about something new?  God is amazing in His creativity...let's join Him!

    • Have you ever taken an art class? Maybe you've want to create pottery or paint your own design on a plate? There are tons of places that give inexpensive classes for these projects. Low on funds? Come on, you know there is someone around you who is an artist. Ask them if they would give you a lesson or two! Not only could you learn a few tips but they will probably be encouraged that you've asked a 'starving artist' for help. :)

    • What about music? Perhaps you can take some lessons on how to play a certain instrument or voice lessons? Sometimes there are local groups who simply enjoy getting together to sing a certain style of music. You can go support the local school band, high school play troupe, or see kinder garden musicals. Who says you have to have your own kids out there to do this?

    • Now is the time when you can enjoy the little beauties life has to offer. One idea is to take a nature photography class. How about bird watching? With the Internet you don't even need to find a class...just go online and start looking in the park. Get out there and start noticing all the wonderful things God has created and how quickly he makes things grow. In the spring, many local schools and parks begin planting gardens so if bird watching sounds boring then find a community looking for volunteers and go get your hands dirty!

    • If you want to 'bloom' at public speaking, then look for a group who encourages and inspires you to practice. This could help you to be more comfortable sharing your faith. Go to the local bookstore when they are having a poetry reading or get a book club together in your home, start reading, and sharing.

    Basically, what inspires you?! Maybe you want to learn to whittle wood? Learn to shoot a bow & arrow? Rock climbing? Start training for a 5 or 10k race? Learn how to sail a boat or maybe some magic tricks, create a scrapbook, make kites to give to a lower income elementary school, become a mentor, take a new college class, learn to meditate, start an organic garden, play the harmonica, read a book series, or build a blog? :) The options are endless! May God inspire your heart through the Spring He's just sprung on you. *hug*

    Need some other ideas? Check out http://www.findmeahobby.com/ 

    So, how am I going to celebrate Spring this year? Well, as a single woman who owns my own home, I'm bewildered to think that in the past women weren't allowed to own a home, go to college or vote (along with many other things). One reason I can live the life I have today is because there were women who fought for me. So, I've decided to study out the beginnings of the Women's Rights Movement. :) All thanks to School House Rock & Mary Poppins for beginning my passion as a little girl. Click these links to see what I'm talking about: Sufferin' till Suffrage & Sister Suffragette.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Gift Ideas: decorative boxes

    Here are two more ideas of gifts you can make with decorative boxes.

    Memory Box: This is a great gift that allows someone to know all the special memories you have with them.

    • Find a box that will hold an estimated 30-50 strips of paper and has a matching lid.
    • Decorate this box to reflect the personality of your special person
    • In some way, label the container as “Memory Box.”
    • On a sheet of paper, write or type fond memories you have of your special person 
    • Cut the memories in strips of paper. You can use either straight cuts or using scrapbook scissors.
    • Fold each strip in half and place them in the box.

          ** Variation: jars and bowls make great containers as well.


    Trust Box: We all need reminders to trust God. This little box can be just the reminder for a friend's desk or home office.

    • Find a box that is at least the length of a pen and decorate it. For a nice touch, stencil the box to read one of the following declarations or a variation that suits your purpose:
      • Trust Box
      • Let Go and Let God
      • I surrender…
    • Take nice pieces of stationary paper and cut them into strips.
    • Place a pen inside and give your special person one note card explaining that they are to write worries, prayer requests, and troubling situations on the pieces of paper whenever they are feeling stressed and place them in the box. Usually, I suggest that once they place something in this box they are to remember to let go of it in their hearts and minds. Whenever they are tempted to 'think and worry' about it they should remember, "Nope! It's in the box." 

    Currently, I'm searching for a box to use as my trust box. :) For additional ideas see the previous post: Gift Ideas: little boxes

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    Mount St. Helens - Conquering your Volcano


    Mount St. Helens

    I decided last minute to take a detour on my journey back to Seattle and visit Mount St. Helens. I didn't realize when I was planning the trip that it would be so close! After praying and doing some research I decided, "Why not?" So I set off early from Camas and an hour later I had ventured off onto the roads to lead me there.

    Unfortunately, a sign on the way said the observatory I wanted to see 45 minutes away was closed. I missed that on the website. So I turned into the original observatory and saw it...the picture above doesn't do it justice really. I was in awe. I said to myself, "Just because the observatory center is closed doesn't mean you can't go up there and look!" Inspired, I continued driving. I drove about twenty more minutes down the two lane, no shoulder road. The only other souls I saw where logging truckers. Then the roads got a bit icy, then I noticed signs saying I was passing the last place for auto help, and then I lost my cell phone signal. I pulled over to pray about whether I should continue at a little place by the river.

    Then something happened that my family describes as meeting Jacques. As a child visiting Six Flags, there was a ride where the guide 'warned' us about the adventure ahead. They had an animated guy off to the side and the guide would say, "There's Jacques, shaking his head no!" And sure enough the animated robot, Jacque would be shaking his head not to go further. HA - of course in the kiddy ride at Six Flags you always continued but in my heart it was almost like I had met Jacque again and he was shaking his head - no.

    At that point, I decided to turn around. The interesting thing was that my inner voice began accusing me for the next 10 miles! "It would have probably been fine. I can't believe you are missing Mount St. Helens." and "Don't be a chicken." I had to pray alot for God to secure in my heart the difference between being a scaredy cat and wisdom. Honestly, it was the wisest thing for me to turn around! I was traveling solo, on slick roads, with few people around to help me and no cell phone signal. But I think it's interesting that my mind was so willing to belittle wisdom. I came to a section of the road while going back toward the highway (a different way than I came) that read, "Warning Motor Vehicles - Slide Zone Ahead"

    "Oh gee, great! How are you ever going to do this?" I thought as I held the steering wheel tightly and went over a snowy road that dropped off on both sides. Right after I passed over the warning area to safe road, I realized that the volcano I really needed to conquer was my inner thought attack! We can be TOO hard on ourselves. How is your thought life? Are you kind to yourself or harsh? Often we have placed expectations on ourselves and if we don't happen to meet them instead of encouraging ourselves about our willingness to try we end up erupting in thought, pouring lava, ash and negativity all over, destroying beautiful things...like our spirit and peace.

    I read a great quote that reminds me to be daring...and yet that it's okay to turn around and go the other direction. I hope it encourages you as well.

    "Take a daring leap. Begin to pave your own trail. Listen to the whispers within your heart. Take micro-actions. Commit to change. Take responsibility for how you live your life. Embrace joy & release sorrow. Accept that within this moment, you can rewrite you story by taking one step in a different direction, followed by another step...one action at a time." Carolyn Rubenstein

    For another short post with scriptures on this topic click here: "Your Thought Life"




    The original observatory
    To protect cars from falling rocks! :/

    Right before I turned the corner and saw the 'Slide Zone'

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Rest in God's Hands

    "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?"
    ~Luke 12:24 & 25


    This was a beautiful embroidered pillow resting on the luxury bed of the Camas Hotel and it reminds me of that scripture. Instead of driving 5+ miles from the cottage back to Seattle, I drove half way and rested. This hotel is over 100 yrs old and has been nicely remodeled. Below are ten random saftey & travel wisdoms to use while on the road. Please remember though, that you are in God's hands. Yes, travel safe and then rest in God's protection.

    1. Look for a place that locks the front doors at night and simply give guests a key for access. This provides extra safety so that no one can randomly walk in off the street. Many B&B's practice this as well.

    2. Know your surroundings in a new place. I don't care if you need to walk the halls 5 times to get the path down because if there IS ever an emergency this will serve you well!

    3. Empty your car so nothing is in there to tempt others.

    4. Put all your important phone numbers on a list in your suitcase in case your phone stops working - this includes the numbers of the places you are visiting.

    5. Go ahead and print all your maps even if you have GPS in the car/phone (I was happy I did because I lost cell phone service many times).

    6. Take your own medicines - it's terrible to try to find a store that sells medicine when you are already sick and don't know your way around.

    7. Check in with someone daily so that people know you are okay, even if it's by text.

    8. Look people in the eyes when you meet them on the street or in resturants and then don't look down! After making eye contact, simply look away to the side. Practice. This is hard for women to do but it's worth it. Not only does it give you confidence but self-denfense studies show this makes you less of a target. This article link is for personal safety & disabilities but I think it works well in all situations. http://www.kidpower.org/resources/articles/challenges.html

    9. I set up simple door blocks for safety in hotel rooms that share a door. While on vacation, I ran into the guy from Canada who was staying in the room next to me. Our rooms were connected with a door. The type of door made so parents can rent both rooms and have their kids next door without going through the hall. So what do I do when there is a joining door in a hotel room? I set up door blocks. I leaned the suitcase stand up against his door and placed a book on top. If for some reason he tried to use his key to enter my room, then at least it'd make a racket.

    10. Take ear plugs & a small radio. I mention my strange hotel neighbor not only for the door block safety but because one downfall of such an old hotel, even though it's cozy, is there is almost no insulation between the walls. Since my trip to Iceland, I've always traveled with ear plugs and a little clock radio to use it for white noise. By placing the radio on static instead of a station, I can normally drown out any disruptive sounds. Except, at this hotel even with ear plugs in and my white noise, I could STILL hear my Canadian neighbor's whole phone conversation. In fact, I heard several of them before I called to the front desk to ask them to take care of it.

    All in all, do what you can to be safe and then place your vacations in God's hands. Learn to listen to his Spirit prompting you...it's so valuable! Enjoy the photos & a few comforting scriptures :)

    Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

    Psalm 121:7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
    Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
    Psalm 18:32 It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
    Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
    Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Attention coffee & tea drinkers!

    One of the things I like in the mornings when I spend time with God is to enjoy some great coffee! This is why I affectionately call my times with God "Coffee & Cozy Times." Usually, I have Seattle's Best #4 or I'll have some unsmoked Yerba Mate tea but while on vacation I had some incredible tea called Fire Light Chai (with ginger & clove).


    So this made me curious...what do others do to make their times with God more special? Do you have a certain drink you could recommend? Or maybe you light candles or sit in a special place. What sets apart your personal times of worship? Inquiring minds want to know and be inspired! :) 

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Be flexible. (especially with weather, cheetahs, & gas station attendants)

    Empty your mind: be formless, shapeless - like water.
    Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle,
    it becomes the bottle; you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
    Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. ~ Bruce Lee

    This trip had a lot of elements so I had to work to be flexible. One area of flexibility was with the weather. I had tons of 'Weather Worries.' The weather man predicted bad storms during my encounters. He said it would begin raining about the time I started out on my drive and by the time I arrived at the Wildlife Safari two hours later it was to turn to snow. I sent out an urgent text requesting prayers because it's not like cheetah encounters are cheap or that I could just simply reschedule if the weather was too bad since I lived half way across the country. I received back some encouraging responses and the Spirit in my heart kept saying, "God knows what he's doing." Ah, the lesson of being flexible hit me. So I needed to be okay with the fact that it might get cancelled or that I'd have a dangerous drive through mountains alone to get there, or even that I might be out in the driving rain or snow during the encounters which I can't imagine would make for anything but a grumpy cheetah...and do you really want to be close to a grumpy cheetah? aah, no. But, after much prayer, I slept peacefully. And God's reply at 7am the next morning?

    Sun.

    The sun came up that morning and my drive was completely dry. In fact, the sun was warm on my face during the cheetah encounters and those clouds didn't even think about sprinkling until I was ready to drive back to the cottage. About 15 minutes from the cottage the sky opened and flooded. The snow didn't even arrive until the next morning! Someone said never rely on a weather man...and true, they can be wrong...but I know that it was my God who organized the weather. He heard prayers and answered favorably or he simply had great weather planned the whole time. Man! We need to remind ourselves so often...God knows what he is doing! :) 

    There were other areas that I had to be flexible on the trip. For example, I didn't know you can't pump your own gas in Oregon because it's a right to work state. That's a random fact for if you ever travel there. It's kinda nice to know beforehand so that when all of a sudden some random guy runs up behind you at the pump you don't clock him like I almost did. *giggle* But instead my flexibility came into play and there were no injuries. ha. I guess that's why I like the quote above by Bruce Lee. It reminds me to be flexible and trusting...fluid like water as I go through life instead of like a wall. Below are some further pictures :)

    Taini

    Saigon

    Leah


    Sanurra

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Purging the Heart & Mind

    Vacations provide so many benefits! I find one specific thing seems to always take place. God takes the first day or so to help me purge my heart and mind. I already knew my next trip would be a challenge for me because I have hypersomnia (select the hypersomnia link to learn more about this chronic illness) so knowing that God would also use the time to clear out my heart and thinking would be another challenge in itself.

    After visiting with friends on my vacation, I headed out on the open road toward Eugene, OR to stay at an organic farm. They have a wonderful and eclectic cottage on the farm that would be perfect for unwinding. It was there that God began his work. The innkeeper of the cottage told me a story about having a business woman stay there. She had to encourage her guest to take time to rest even for just a little bit. She suggested to her that if she had to work on vacation then to at least go and do it in the hammock! That guest ended up sleeping for three hours rocking in the hammock and enjoying the outside air. When she woke she thanked the innkeeper and said she hadn't realized how tired she had been. Often we are going so habitually hard core that we don't even see the gas tank light of our body blinking that we are running low.

    I continually need reminders not to get pulled into the world of being rushed and worried. So I decided to rest, journal and eat organic, simple food before falling asleep. Sometimes we need reminders that it's OK to take care of yourself and it's not OK or healthy to live your life completely by your calendar. As one of my favorite books says, "Even God rested." He did it to set an example because he knew we'd need it!

    When was the last time you had some real rest? Maybe it's time...God can use it to pull you close, purge some bad roots, and refresh you heart. You deserve it! Below are some photos from the organic farm & cottage for you to enjoy too.



    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Bury the Hatchet

    "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13

    Some of you may not know why my adventure suddenly presented itself. Well, it kind of started with the desire to knock something off my dream list. The last item from the original list I had created years ago included having a cheetah adventure. My hope was that for my 38th birthday this year I could cross off this dream, a dream I've had since 7th grade. Looking at the prices though for the cheetah adventure in Oregon, it became obvious this trip would be too expensive so I worked on getting resolved to try another time.

    A few days later, my best friend's husband called me one afternoon at work and I picked up immediately thinking something might be wrong. Her husband and I hadn't really been on the best terms. What happened, you ask? Well, let's just say that because we are so different in personalities, or most likely so alike, that we have never naturally click. So we talked. Since it's a private conversation, I'll spare the details but during this phone call we made peace and he asked if he could help fly me up to Washington state to surprise his wife for her birthday.

    I agreed and by the next day, I had booked the WHOLE trip! Well, I had already been doing research, after all. *grin* Because of all this, not only could I see my best friend, who I had not seen in over 2 years and get to see their new 6 month old baby girl but with the money it saved me, I could also have my cheetah adventure! Go God!!!

    Yet, my friends, let me tell you something. As exciting as it all was...I know what made God happiest about the whole situation. It wasn't the surprise for my best friend, or that I'd get to see the baby, or that I'd have a vacation or cheetah encounters. It was the reconciliation. This is what made God smile. You see, I am convinced God is thrilled about the forgiving hearts of others because we are acting as He does...merciful and forgiving.

    How about you? Anyone you need to 'bury the hatchet' with in your life? I am not even talking about a grievous sin here...maybe there is someone you are just not fully reconciled with because of something. I'm not promising you a trip of a lifetime because of it but I do know without a doubt it pleases God to have you carry a heart willing to forgive and be at peace with people.

    Here are some other verses to encourage you:
    Matthew 6:14 & Matthew 6:15
    Matthew 18:21-22

    Mark 11:25

    Luke 6:37

    Luke 11:4

    Luke 23:34


    Below are a few photos from my trip...may they also inspire you to be set free and forgive anywhere there's a need...


    Monday, March 12, 2012

    The God That Knows Us


    I have returned from my adventure...and what an exciting time it was for me! I encountered cheetahs, a strange man from Canada and over 864+ miles of road - all while traveling solo. Plus, I reconnected with distant friends, one of whom I met when I strayed off my original path. He was from my childhood and his name is Jacques. More about all those things in the days to come! Out of the many things God set into the fibers of my heart during this trip, one resonates deeply...God knows us. As I gather my thoughts and posts together, I wanted to start off with a poem I wrote on March 1st about why I travel. It was inspiring that I saw each line come to life as I journeyed! 

    I travel to encounter God in unique earthly locations & within my own uncharted interiors.
    I roam to bond with the biblical explorers I read about in the sheets of my bible.
    I journey for the sake of my spiritual, mental, and physical health.
    I voyage to remind myself that God created me heroic and resilient.
    I escape because I know we are mistaken in our worship of industry.

    I wander to gain wonder.


    Secondly, I wanted to share what I read for my time with God the morning I left for vacation. It just happened to be my birthday and I always read the same scripture each year. Psalm 139. This year, I read the NLT version and, as always, I can totally see God moving perfectly in what is going on in my life. It reads, "You (God) see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do... You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head...You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed...Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life."

    In the next few days, I'll be sharing stories with you about my trip and all that I've learned. I hope you will join me!

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    On an adventure!

    I'll be back soon & will write when I return.
    Now you have time to read through some of the older posts. :)
    Blessings to you!


    My newest adventure shirt.
    Wonder what this is all about? Check out these posts: