Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Glorious Shades of Green in Spring...

Ahhh......Spring! Isn't it grand? Isn't it wonderful? I love Spring!

As I have been driving back and forth to Ohio these past two weeks, searching for a new job, I have had the incredible experience and privilege of witnessing the many glorious shades of green that the Lord has created! From Kansas, to Missouri, to Illinois, to Indiana, and finally Ohio I have driven by various shades of green such as: Emerald green, apple green, chartreuse green, jade green, moss green, Nile green, olive green, Paris green, pea green (YUCK!), peacock green, sea green, shamrock green, verde green, and myrtle green. That is fourteen shades of GREEN! Wow! I had no idea there were so many shades!!!

Green is the color of growing grass, green plants, foliage on trees of every variety and green leafy vegetables!!! What particular shade or tint of green is your favorite??? Think of the big box of 64 crayons and try to remember one of those colors!!!

Many years ago as a Medical Sales rep I had Salina, KS in my territory and in the Spring, Salina had the most beautiful wheat fields I have even seen anywhere!!! They are truly the most exquisite color of green I have laid my eyes upon..........I miss those fields!!!

One of my favorite folk songs from the 1970's is called: Pass It On.
These words offer a beautiful rendition of tribute to Spring and to God which go in tandem to create the beauty that we witness every year!!!
If you don't know the tune, listen with your heart:

It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing;
That's how it is with God's love, once you've experienced it:
You spread His love to everyone, you want to pass it on.

What a wondrous time is Spring when all the trees are budding,
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming;
That's how it is with God's love, once you've experienced it:
You want to sing, it's fresh like Spring, you want to pass it on.

I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I've found,
You can depend on Him, it matters not where you're bound:
I'll shout it from the mountain tops: Hey World! I want my world to know:
The Lord of Love has come to me, I want to pass it on....”

The glorious shades of green.........look around and find your favorite shade and pass it on!!!




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Awareness and being awake to life!

I was talking with a friend the other day about how her life had changed in the last 6-7 years.  I asked:  "What has changed so much?"  Her response was that she loved being "awake" to what was truly going on in her life!  Awake in her relationships with her kids and family as well as being awake in her relationships with her co-workers and what made them "tick."  And, being awake to what  was happening in her life and why....

Think of it:  being awake means being aware - aware of your surroundings, your lifestyle, your choices, your gifts and talents, and your strengths and weaknesses.

I have learned over the past 17 years that awareness is an incredible concept!  Only if we are aware of a problem, can we solve it, resolve it and/or change it!  Only if we realize there is something we need to change can we change it!  Only if we know we have an issue, problem or concern can we do something about it!  Only if we are conscious of something can we make a different choice or  make a difference in our little corner of the world.

Imagine - if each person took responsibility for  being aware of their own issues and focused on overcoming them or resolving their own issues/problems - how different the world would be!

Let's take it one step further:
Awareness, Acceptance and Action are the three "A's" that improve our lives!
Once we become aware of an issue or concern, then as we accept it, we can simply acknowledge it as real, and finally we can we take action to change it!

The Serenity Prayer is one that is universal in nature - no matter what situation a person is dealing with, the Serenity Prayer can become the avenue that creates a change in our attitude and then, offers the potential resolution of a problem,  concern, or issue.  Awareness can bring healing and wholeness as well as forgiveness to our hearts and relationships.

If you don't know this Serenity Prayer, I hope you will write it down on an index card and scotch tape it to your bathroom  mirror until you memorize it!!!
Seriously:  Try it - it works!!!

God,
Grant me the Serenity to Accept things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And,Wisdom to know the difference.

Ahhh....what a difference this prayer would make in so many situations in my life!  In every person's life,
IF people were just aware of this prayer and the promise it holds for each of us - day after day, moment after moment.

What a difference it would make in  a person, in a family, in a school, in a church, in a city, in a state, in a society, in a government, in a country, in our world!!!
What a difference it would make if we were dedicated to pray it each day!!!

Do I see a glimmer of hope in your eye?  Create the awareness today in your own heart!!!

Monday, January 2, 2017

MAGNIFICENCE


MAGNIFICENCE

 

Have you ever experienced something magnificent or had a sense of magnificence???  Something so wonderful, so splendid, so grand that you stood in awe and wondered:  “How in the world has this come to be?”

 

Think of the all the magnificence of nature:  A one hundred year old Red Wood Tree in Muir Woods, CA, or the splendor of a Peacock tail fanned out so beautifully, or the stripes of a Zebra, the mystery of a Hummingbirds wings, a Rose unfolding its petals, Butterflies, Lady bugs, a Purple thistle in a wheat field, or a resplendent Rainbow in the midst of a thunderstorm!

 

Then, contemplate the magnificence of architecture:  The Egyptian Pyramids, Petra in Jordan, Rio De Janeiro Statue of Jesus in Brazil, The Famous Landmark in Taiwan, The San Francisco Bridge, The Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island, The Rome Coloseeum, or The Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany!  How many more categories can you think of that are magnificent?

 

Magnificence is grandeur, brilliance, splendor, luster, majesty, nobility, royalty – in some ways magnificence places a Halo around the thing of beauty that our eyes behold!!!

 

Today, I was reading a devotion called the Gift of Life by Fr. Kenneth Grabner, C.S.C. in the Living Faith devotional magazine.  This is what he wrote based on

I John 2:25:  “And this is the promise that He made us:  Eternal Life.”

 

“Life is God’s precious, loving gift to us.  It begins in the womb of our mothers and then goes through a marvelous transformation when we are born into the world.  Then we grow in our ability to give and receive love and to appreciate the magnificence of all that God has created.  We learn how to appreciate beauty, and we discover how to develop the gifts and talents God has given us.

We have many reasons to be grateful for this gift.  But it is only the beginning of what is to come.  God’s promise is that we will be born from the womb of this world into eternal life, where we will go through another marvelous transformation.  Our experience of a love relationship with God and His creation will be ecstatic and will grow without end.  God’s promise is always a deeper life.  We are in for one joyful ride!”

 

One JOYFUL Ride!!!  Imagine that!  God has so many beautiful things planned for us – so many surprises along the way!!!  Magnificence is all around us…..how can we notice it?  How may we partake in it? 

I think the key is exactly what Fr. Grabner said:  “To discover how to develop the gifts and talents God has given us!” 

 

And, our Pastor Brad Fogo gave us wonderful ideas on New Year’s Day to imagine what God wants to do in our lives in 2017:

 

Imagine if you and I each started looking for ways to grow in our ability to give our talents away and do what we do best in the year 2017?

Imagine what good we could do to help others!

Imagine what needs we could supply for those less fortunate than we are!

Imagine what we could learn to appreciate….

Imagine what relationships we could make better!

Imagine if we did our job better than we ever have before?   

Imagine if all people who claim to love God shared that with their neighbors?

Imagine making your personal walk with Jesus more faithful, more obedient, more true?

 

Imagine the Magnificence of glorifying God in everything we think, in everything we do, in everything we say….Wow!  That would be MAGNIFICENT!!!

 

Monday, December 19, 2016

TheTwelve Days of Christmas defined...

Here is something I came across from an old email from my mom....from a Christmas long ago......she loved this song and loved this definition of each of the verses!!!

"There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.  What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas???  This week, I found out! 
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly.  Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.  It has two levels of meaning:  the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.


The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testament
Three French hens stood for Faith, Hope and Love
Four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament
Six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation
Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit - Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhorting, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy
Eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes
Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit - Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control
Ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments
Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples
Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostle's Creed."


So, there is your history lesson for today!  This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening.  Now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol - so pass it on if you wish!  The composer is unknown yet it is considered a "Traditional" carol.


Merry Christmas to Everyone!!!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Longings of our heart....

Longings of the heart.  Do you have one?  A yearning that won't go away?  A craving that won't be fulfilled?  A desire for something you cannot quite put your finger on?   Most of us do.
This time of year has all the festivities spreading out like wild fire!  The seeming happiness all around us seems to glow!!!  Yet, is our heart longing for something?  Yearning?  Thirsting?  Aching for something more?


Joni Eareckson Tada wrote a beautiful book years ago called: "A Christmas Longing."  Joni is a quadriplegic who writes with a pen in her mouth.  I hope you will look up her book and read it.  Absorb it's wisdom.  Cherish the thoughts that she shares.
She touches on what our hearts are missing....longing for...a plan behind the pain that is in our lives.  A way to fill that hole right smack dab in the middle of our hearts.  In the middle of the holidays.  In the middle of the festivities. 


Yesterday,  we celebrated Thanksgiving with our families and friends.  I hope you felt gratitude swell up from deep within for all the blessings we have!!!  It is such a wonderful, heart-warming tradition here in the USA and I hope that each of you had someone to celebrate and give thanks with and for in our life.  Could you relate like the Pilgrims in 1620 who stood on the shore and celebrated the bounty they had?  Again, I hope so!!!


Yet, with all that wonderful - did you have a longing that couldn't be quenched?  Is there something deeper that you are longing for to fulfill?  What pilgrimage are you on right now?  Are you missing someone who is gone from this earth?  Are you wishing you had a someone special in your life?  Are you struggling with a job or a boss that you cannot stand?  Are you running from something you don't want to face???  Are you concerned about our country and the world so much that your heart hurts?  Is fear fueling your thoughts?  Does despair have a hold on you?


If so, there is a well that is SO deep that it never runs dry.  Never.  Would you like to know where
you can find that living water?  John 4:14 says:  "Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks from this well will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."  Think about that!!! Never thirsty again....that's the kind of well I want to drink out of!!!


Would you like to know where your soul can yearn and pine, your heart and flesh can cry out and be fulfilled?  Read Psalm 84.  It flows with the river of life!  "How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord, Almighty!  M soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord;  my heart and my flesh cry out to the Living God!  Even the sparrow has found a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young...."  Wow - how beautiful!!!


Take a long, slow walk through the woods this weekend and be consumed with nature.  Creation.  Beauty all around.  There are no words needed because the God of the Universe is the ONE who created all that beauty.  He created  that hole in each of our hearts!  The shape and depth is exactly the size of God's incredible love!!! He longs to have you turn to Him.  Trust Him.  Rely on Him.  Depend on Him.


That longing in your heart is God calling your name.  Isaiah 40:26 says:  "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens; Who created all these?  He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name."   I have a note in my Bible next to this verse for my dad.  He was so very lonely after my parents divorced in 1973.  I watched him pine away.  He longed for relationships with all four of us kids, yet never quite could bridge that gap once the divorce happened.  He had a God-shaped hole in his heart and did not even realize it!  He longed for that hole to be filled every day.  Reflecting back on his life, I don't know if he ever asked God into his heart.  He was raised Catholic, so I know he knew who God was, but asking God into your  heart and relying on Him is completely different than knowing there is a God.  I pray each of you reading this will ask God into your heart and don't allow that longing to linger....


God knows your name.  Believe it. Relish in the fact that the God of the Universe loves YOU! 
Yes, even you.  With all your scars, flaws, hopelessness, despair and discomfort, He loves  you.  Reveres you.  Cherishes you.  And longs to be a part of your life!  To fill that hole in your heart...


I am convinced that the longing in our hearts is the hole in so many people's hearts and lives today.
They do not realize how much they are loved.  I believe it because I have seen it in so many people around me and even the people I love in my family who are floundering....they long to be loved, to be understood, to matter to others.  My dad was like that - he was a wonderful man who had so much love in his heart and yet he did not feel loved after my parents divorced.  How about you?  Do you feel loved? 


Fill that longing in your heart with God.  Fill it with love.  Ask for His love to swell in your heart so deeply that you cannot contain it!!!  Allow yourself to be loved in the fullest way possible!!!  God's love is real.  It is incredible.  It is overwhelming.  And, it is yours for the asking!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

From Sorrow to Surprise....

Our world seems to be spinning out of control these days....many people are afraid, lonely, scared and bewildered due to several types of disasters that keep re-appearing in our society:  gun violence, natural disasters such as the raging fires in California, tornadoes, hurricanes, loss of jobs, loss of income, tragic diagnoses with so many types of horrendous cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, lung disease, Parkinson's, etc. etc. etc.

Sorrow seems to invade our world and displace our peace with fear.  Sorrow is the mental suffering or anguish caused by loss, disappointment and grief.  Sadness comes in waves after the loss of a loved one.  Woe threatens to carry us out to sea.  Regret and remorse fill our heart when we can't "fix" a situation for someone close to us.

How can we deal with all this sorrow, all this pain, all this loss, all this worry?
Well, the Scriptures tell us to "Cast all our cares on Him who loves us."  When was the last time you cast your care to the Lord???  And, just how do we do that?
On our knees....a friend of mine calls them "Knee Prints."  I love that!  My grandfather would never get his knees replaced with implants back in the 60's and 70's because he would not be able to knee to pray at night.  Wow.....his dedication to prayer was and is quite an inspiration to me and have been all of my life.

Prayer, supplication and an old word hardly ever used anymore:  Repentance.  Yep, you got it!  Repent means to turn 180 degrees from the way  we have been doing things and "turning it all over to the Lord."  He is the only one who can "fix" it.
It's a tall order.  How do we admit we have turned from all the good, right and holy things God created for us in the beginning?  How do we admit we forgotten The One who gives us all things?  How do we carry on in the face of all these tragedies?  On our knees.  Humbly and with reverence to a God who loves us and wants so desperately for us to know Him.

One of my favorite devotional books is called Jesus Calling.  Many of my prayer warriors read it on a daily basis.  It hits to the core every single day.  Today's reading for July 25 was beautiful!  I am a bird lover!!!  I feed my birds in the backyard and delight in watching them come to the multiple feeders I have acquired over the years.  It is so amazing to watch these little creatures come to fill their tummies.

Listen to what the author Sarah Young says:

"As you listen to the birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-song to you.  I speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, scriptures.  There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you.  Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come.  When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence. (Vibrantly!) You can find Me not only in beauty and birdcalls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief.  I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a pattern for good.
Search for Me and My messages as you go through this day.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole being."

Yes, that's with your whole heart!  God has surprises planted along the way for us each and every day if only we are attentive to His calling.  Look up John 10:27 in your Bible.  Even if you haven't read it for 20 years.  Look up Romans 8:28 in the Amplified Bible.  Wow!  It is amazing!  And, don't forget Jeremiah 29:11-13:  "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.  Then, you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord."

We have a loving, living vivacious God who wants nothing more than to comfort that sorrow in your heart and in your life.  Will He "fix" it and make it go away?  No, not most of the time.  He works in mysterious ways and sometimes He works through the sorrow in such a way that we never would have imagined.  He weaves a pattern so incredibly good and beautiful from the deepest pain.  We cry.  We despair.  Our hearts our flooded with anguish.  We want to give up or just go away.  And then, something unexpected happens.  A light shines on  that dark cave we've been hiding in.  We come us for air.  We grow.  We learn.  We feel love flooding that cave where we never thought we could come out of.  We remember our loved ones smile.  Their laughter.  Their habits that we start to do now.  Their way of making our life better. We remember the happiness they brought to our life and want to pass that on to others.

How can He create something good out of something horrendous?  Because He is God.  He loves us so deeply.  He cares for us.  He created us.  He provides a way in the desert for us.  He parts the Red Sea. He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death and takes us to life everlasting.  He sets Eternity in our hearts.

Knee prints.  Ever try them?  If not, try it and pray!  He is listening and has been all along.
Then, watch what happens to your heart and the heart of those you pray for when you truly give it all to Him. The surprises will amaze you.  Sometimes they are in the tiniest things that are almost overlooked.  A smile.  A hug.  A card.  An text or email sent at just the right time.  Laughter with a friend or a sister or brother.  A phone call when you thought you were/are totally forgotten.  A book.  A cup of coffee with someone you haven't seen in a long time.  A neighbor who touches your life and leaves her footprints on your heart.

Knee prints.  From sorrow to surprises.  Every day.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Witnessing young love...

Have you ever been in love?  Has your heart ever felt like it was shooting stars?  Have you ever walked on air or felt like you were dreaming?  Have you ever touched the moonlight and felt like you were holding heaven in your arms?  I have.  And, I just witnessed it this past weekend with my nephew and his new bride in Ohio....

There is a beautiful song that Celine Dion sang back in the 1990's or in early 2000 called:  "Have you ever been in love."  I used to listen to it over and over and over again as I drove down Shawnee Mission Parkway to the Plaza while my hand reached up through my moon roof on my car.  I felt like I was touching the moon and stars....I was in love.  A rare kind of love that only happens once in a lifetime as the fairy tales tell of and yet it was real.  A kind of love that makes your heart sing and you really do feel like you are walking on air!

Way back in the 1950's musical world, Rogers and Hammerstein composed a song from The King and I production called:  "Hello, Young Lovers."  It's all about a person who witnesses a young couple whose parents don't believe they should be in love and yet, their love is unstoppable.  And, reflecting on his/her own experience of love, they knew that kind of love in their life.  Here are a few of the words from that song:
"Hello, young lovers, whoever you are, I hope your troubles are few;
All my good wishes go with you tonight, I've been in love like you.

Be brave, young lovers, and follow your star,
Be brave and faithful and true.
Cling very close to each other tonight, I've been in love like you.

I know how it feels to have wings on your heals, and to fly down a street in a trance.
You fly down the street on a chance that you'll meet, and you meet not really by chance.

Don't cry young lovers, whatever you do,
don't cry because I'm alone.

All of my memories are happy tonight, I've had a love of my own,
I've had a love of my own like yours, I've had a love of my own."

Ahhh....yes, the hopeless romantic in me is alive and well!  And, I hope somewhere down deep in your heart and soul that you have experienced this deep, abiding kind of love for someone.  It is truly amazing!!!

My prayers are that Devin and Danielle will continue to deepen their love for one another through the years and grow stronger together every day.  I pray that they will ask the Lord to help them each day to love, honor and cherish one another and to keep the precious love that they just committed to in marriage on June 25, 2016.  I pray that they will rely on the Lord to hold them together for the next 50-60 years so that they will never let the cares of this world or the trials and tribulations they will encounter tear them apart.  Ever.

Weddings are a sacred occasion, a joining together of two lives being witnessed by all who attend.  As this summer rolls along, if you have an opportunity to attend a wedding, I hope you will pray for that couple and their love.  Pray that they will indeed ask the Lord to be the third cord or strand between them that will hold them together forever.  It is a sacred love.  One worth holding on to and fighting for....all the days of your life!!!  Congratulations, Devin and Danielle!!!