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College Edumacayshkun
Category: Member Blogs

College Edumacayshkun

 
 
My son is going to college. 

As a parent, I'm torn between "Oh, my sweet Baby is going out on his own!" and "Buh-bye All-Knowing-One- good luck in the real world!"

To some of you, that last statement might seem snarky, but there's good reason behind it. You see, according to our nineteen year-old son, my husband and I are morons. 

We had a huge discussion with him about grants vs, loans, what kind of dorm to pick, what he'll really need vs. what he wants, and other fascinating topics of disinterest, when he chimed in with the statement, "But Mom, you and Dad don't understand because you've never been to college."

Let me let you in on something, Seeker-Of-Expensive-Knowledge, neither have you.

So how is it that he thinks he knows more than we do? Just because we never went to college, doesn't mean we are unedumacated- it just means our grandchildren won't be incurring the debt of our non-existent student loans.

My mother's heart wants to find ways to make enough to pay his way no matter what, working myself to the bone to make sure he's fully funded. I want to send him to college with enough care packages that he will want for nothing, never be hungry or thirsty, have enough blankets to stay warm, and a fan to keep him cool. I want all the best tech at his disposal, so he can do what he needs to do to succeed.

But then my realist heart pipes in. How much as he done on his own so far? Ugh. Honestly, not as much as he could. And me 'following my mother's heart' would actually be detrimental to his growth into a productive human being. 
Why? 
Let me count the ways...as of right now:
He sleeps when he wants.
He eats when he wants.
He does chores when he feels like it, which mean he waits until we yell.
He hasn't earned any money because he doesn't work. Yet.

We trained him to be responsible. Really! This was a kid that at ten years of age, could do the laundry on his own. He even did it willingly! Now I can barely get him to clean himself, no less his own clothing.

Ick. 

He knows how to care for a home and keep things organized- he just doesn't doit. It's like trying to get an elephantine-sized sloth to run a marathon...it just ain't gonna happen, no matter how much prompting you do.

And after talking to the college staff, his is not the only case of All-Knowing-Do-Nothing Syndrome. In fact, colleges are loaded with peers like him, so he'll be in good company. At least for the first year. After that, I can see two things happening:

One, we parents will seem even more moronic than before, being mentally comparable to the amoebic gelatinous ooze of a fifth grade science project, because he can now claim a higher educational status.

Two, we parents will be genuinely revered and respected for the true Givers of Life Sustaining Food and Goods that we were, and hopefully will continue to be, because he ran out of snacks, money, and toilet paper. 

We also hope he'll think the second one without the addition of continual financial support, because he'll have a real job by then as a tutor and can pay his ownbills.

Alas, for now, we have ten days left before the sloth goes off to start his new life. And ten days to go through his things, list what he needs, then go out and get the rest. 

It almost sounds like the beginning of a bad joke- A sloth and an amoeba go to store for college supplies...

We've learned life through experience. He needs experience to get through life. Hopefully we can find a happy medium before his college season is over, and if not, the means to move before he finds us!
Distraction Traction!
Category: Member Blogs

Distraction Traction

 
 
 
I love to use that little red laser to play with my cats. They come running when they hear the soft scrape as I take it from the shelf, looking expectantly to the floor for the red dot that sends them running about the house as they try to catch it.
 
It's just a light. It's isn't something they can catch. Try telling one cat that, no less three
 
Unfortunately, I have my little red light too. Several, actually. I think everyone has at least one, maybe more. Mine are Facebook, emails, and videos. Facebook friends need to be spoken to, emails need sorting and deleting, and videos? 
 
Well, they need to be watched.
 
The sad part is, even if I had no internet, I'd still find other red laser lights to distract me. Like the crafty stuff I never put away. Or those piles of paperwork that need sorting, tossing and filing. And oh yes- books and magazines that need reading.
 
Don't get me wrong, Books and magazines are awesome things! I love to read. But when the story or how-to book distracts me from my work, then it becomes a problem.
 
Like this week.
 
I was supposed to write. In fact, I was supposed to write a lot. I have an agent interested in my book ideas, but he wants three of them finished and three ready to be done. I have one finished. Did I work on the other two? Nope. Not a single, solitary word. But I did start this great book on how to build your author platform.
I also had some health issues, but they required me to remain fairly still.Helloooo- writer here! Staying still is my job. My fingers were the only things that needed to really be running at top speed. 
 
Instead I used them to go through emails. Yes it had to be done. It had to be done for a long time! But I was supposed to be writing those stories. There goes that little red light again!
 
And here I sit on a Monday. It's Blog Day. It's also time for me to write my column and create a few puzzles for Ruby magazine- not to mention the puzzlebook I'm supposed to finish in the next few weeks.
 
I feel like I'm in Distraction Traction- so distracted I can't move because everything I need to do is piling up around me. That's like twenty little red lights going in all different directions- Yikes!
 
Do you ever feel like that? I'm going to have to knuckle-down and break free of my Tractions. 
 
I'll turn off the internet as soon as I'm done this post (um...okay, after I post and share it, I swear!) I'll put the book in my purse so I don't see it. I'll crack open those story files and work on them until my brain is tired, then I'll work on the puzzle book (which is not actual writing, but more like digital crafting and a nice change of pace for my brain.) 
 
will have at least one draft of one story finished and at least two others partially written- or have three story premises/outlines finished. And if I get done early, I'll continue writing instead of distracting myself. Maybe if I can do a little writing then do some puzzles I can entertain my brain long enough to get some projects finished!
 
Have you ever gotten stuck in Distraction Traction? I'd love to hear your stories of how you won free and pounced on those pesky projects!
Conference Capers
Category: Member Blogs

Conference Capers

 


 
Last week I attended the last (but not least!) Philly Christian Writer's conference. I was both an attendee and faculty, which I can tell you on these gimpy knees of mine, was a challenge!

Not only was I trying to sell my own work, I was helping others publish theirs in Ruby for Women Magazine. I'm the Assistant Editor, so I represented a lot of possibilities for new writers.

There was a lot of good stuff this year. One lady was so happy I was an 'Assistant' Editor, because I didn't seem so scary! I know that was meant as a compliment, so I took it as such. Full-blown editors can be scary to someone new to the pond.

My friend Christian Barbie was there (the post about her is here), and she also was faculty; she was a teacher as well as helping people find their place in the writing world. I wanted to talk with her at length but people kept coming up to me and wanting to talk.

We looked at each other after the fourth interruption and she said 'Wow- you're really popular today!" I especially was amazed, since I didn't do anything to gain notoriety- but someone must have read or said something about me, because people I didn't even know were approaching me like I was their long, lost sister. It was awesome. If this was a taste of popularity, I can see why someone could get carried away by it!

Part of it was because my husband and daughter provided the snacks for the faculty. My daughter baked cookies and my husband baked cakes and set out all kinds of goodies healthy and not-so healthy to keep our faculty from passing out from exhaustion. 

My daughter wasn't there this time, due to a snafu in her schedule, and I had a lot of people wondering where she was. We brought her the last day of the conference and she was delighted by all the people who wanted to talk to her.

My darling husband also played chauffeur to those that needed rides to and from the airport and train station, as well as the near cross-country trek across the quad to and from the cafeteria. Only I was allowed to tip him with kisses, but he took a few hugs on the side as well.

The only downer was I'd brought a lot of my self-published (now called indie-published) books to sell, and was encouraged to bring my handmade tote bags (some high-end quilted totes and some lower priced giant grocery totes) as well. I sold one grocery tote and no books. Now I have a box of books at home with nowhere to go...yet.

But I have ideas. You know I'll always have ideas!

Between classes, appointments, and moving to and from the cafeteria hall lines for meals, I was physically and mentally exhausted. But it was a goodexhaustion. I had appointments with two agents, and though one wasn't interested, but the other was. There was a catch- he wanted six books; three ready-to-print, and three almost ready and waiting in the wings. Only when I had those should I approach him again.

Six? It took me a year to polish the one I had! How was I going to...

Wait. I wrote that part-time. If I wrote full-time, I bet I could do a lot more. Looks like another lifestyle change is approaching! And let's not forget I have a book store interested in the puzzle book I'm writing- could this be the big turning point in my writing life? I'm so excited!

Lots to do. Lots to think about. and lots of new writers for Ruby for Women magazine. God is good! 

This week has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. Most of it really, really awesome!

As for this last big conference, the lady running the show decided that after thirty-four years (and a lot of work!) it would be a good thing to break a huge, costly conference into smaller, more reasonably priced conferences. There would be more of them, just smaller, cheaper, and more defined concerning genre. And that means she will reach a lot more Christian writers! Change is also good!

I'm looking forward to the changes coming this next year- I can't wait to see what happens and how God is going to move!
The Art of the Ear: When God Speaks Tags: Christian blog Christian devotional Christian Writers Creation encouragement God God's voice help horses Inspiration listening love

But whoever listens to Me will dwell safely and will be secure, without fear of evil”—Proverbs 1:33.

                                                                                                     

Giving God our ear. Hmmmmm. What does that look like? How does God speak to us? Many ask this.

For me, His voice has different “sounds”: He gives a strong impression in my spirit about a particular situation ... a gut feeling, if you will; The truths in His Word will come alive as I read and revelation hits me right between the eyes; He will move on someone to be His voice, giving me an encouraging word; He’ll give me a dream while I’m sleeping; Or, He may use pictures in His amazing Creation to illustrate His character.

When He speaks to me through His Creation, that’s incredibly cool. One time, I was out feeding the horses trying to work through some stuff in my head. I glanced up and saw the most magnificent full rainbow I’d ever seen— and a double one to boot. The colors were so vibrant and alive. I ran to the trailer and grabbed my camera. As I stared at that rainbow, profound thoughts eased my mind: Our Creator created incredible beauty out of mere mist; Every rainbow from the very first one is the same—the same colors, the same lines, the same form. They don’t change. He doesn’t change. His promises never change. In this world, we can’t count on anything. But we can count on Him—encouragement I needed right then and a word in due season. (Isaiah 52:7)

He used a gentle breeze to encourage an acquaintance of mine. She was reading her Bible outside, troubled by a circumstance she faced. The breeze kept blowing the pages to a certain scripture. Every time she tried to turn back to the previous spot where she was reading, the breeze would flip the pages right back to that other place. She finally looked down where the breeze stopped—there she found the answer to her problem.

He likes to speak through people to give His encouraging words. Years ago I was asked to sing at a trail ride in Texas. When I pulled up on the ranch, my heart was heavy. I had a new truck, two beautiful horses and looked as though I hadn’t a care in the world. But on the inside, I was hurting and scared. I had two jobs: one in an office, one on a ranch. A “friend” betrayed me and stole the ranch job—the one I had based my truck payment on. Single, with no other means of extra support, I was afraid of losing everything.

A few days before I drove to the trail ride, I prayed, “Lord, please make yourself real to me.” Until then, I did not believe the Lord really knew I existed—unless I hung out with people I thought were spiritual. Let me tell ya, the devil had deceived me good!

I parked my rig and made my way over to a big oak tree. I leaned against it, quietly watching the other singers on the stage. A man and his wife, whom I had never met, walked up. “I have a word for you from the Lord,” he said. That man “read my mail.” He told me, “The Lord said, ‘all your needs are already taken care of.’” I was floored. I had not told a soul what I was going through, not even my closest friends. How in the world did this guy know my situation?

One week later, I received some cleaning jobs that perfectly dovetailed with my day job at the office. The wages from the cleaning jobs covered my old ranch wages to the dollar.

Two months later, the same man gave me another word from the Lord: I would be given one job that would take care of all my needs. Within three months, I quit my cleaning jobs because the office I worked for offered me a higher position in another department with a lot more pay.

I have learned that He is always directing us with that still small voice of His ... or trying to. I’ve blown right over the top of it— more than once, I’m afraid. One time, He impressed on Bruce, my husband and me to clean up the pine needles under the high-line our horses were tethered to. We didn’t, getting distracted with some other project. Our “Hoover”-horse, Rocky, decided he very much liked the taste of pine needles, proceeding to suck up every strand in the area. He promptly colicked. We were way out in the National Forest with no phone service. Prayer and the painkiller Banamine played veterinarian. He was pooping pine needles for the next day and a half, but he pulled through.

In all my years with horses in the mountains, I have never seen them eat pine needles. I never, ever imagined that Rocky would do that. But it didn’t matter what I thought or what my experience was. The Lord told us to rake up the pine needles ... period. He knew what would happen. Lesson learned ... again!

Fine-tuning the art of the ear takes practice. Sometimes total resurrection. But it’s an art worth bringing back to life. It means laying down our own desires and agendas. It takes not just being hearers of the Word of God, but doers of what He’s asked us to do. (James 1:22-25)

And the reward? We can live a life of victory and peace, encouraging others in the same. (John 15:12-13)

Listen ... Listen ... Listen ...

The Bride of Christ
Category: Member Blogs

With August being women's month, I feel stirred to share one of my poems “Let faith lift you.”

It is written for the Bride of Christ. To accompany it, a personal word study: “Change your view.” It focuses on the relationship between the Bride and Groom (Jesus Christ).

Let faith lift you

Find your value...your place value!”

Sometimes I am, may be, still unaware and unconscious of Christ's

love for me...

But the Lord wakes me up from my sleep and I am stirred to remember...

O, how this ignorance keeps me from putting my faith into His wonderful Love!

I hear a melody that warms my heart...

Let faith lift you...”

O, how the Lord knows me, He knows me so well!

 

Let Your love O, Father flood my soul, fill my whole being

Let faith lift me to find my value...my place value!

You have paid with Your life to ransom me,

this is more than what words could ever say...

You have fixed Your attention on me and with eyes of Love

You have Stretched out Your arms and died for me,

Who can love me like this?

You showed me pictures and photographs of time and beginning,

Your story and plans for my life woven together in a glorious unfolding!

 

The Lord will carry me all my days

with melodies of His love, I will sing His praise.

I am wrapped in the safety of His arms, nestled close to His Heart.

This is the beginning of the beginning until all eternity!

My place value, with You, I have found!

You have counted me worthy of Your Love

and I am filled with Your new wine, the joy of our Love!

Let faith lift me to Your side!

My value You have decided,

and You left it for me to find...

This treasure of Your Love is mine,

the cup of joy is in my hand and

I lift the Cup of my Salvation high as in Your Love I abide,

I am the bride, chosen and appointed to be at Your side!

Our story has just begun...

The beginning of the beginning until all eternity...

 

Word study: Change your view

 

Luke 11:34 KJV

The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

Another translation of this verse reads as follows:

Luke 11:34 (NIV)

A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul

From these verses we see a vivid picture:

when thine eye is single = a pure eye

thy whole body is full of light = lets sunshine into your soul

Sunshine makes you think of hope/life. To feel the warmth of this sunshine, this hope, this light... your eye must be pure, your eye must be single.

How do we get our eyes to be pure and single? Let us look for more clues in the Word of God. Song of Solomon describes the relationship between the bride and the groom.

Song of Solomon 1:15

(This is said about the bride)

Behold, you are beautiful, my love!
Behold, you are beautiful! You have doves' eyes.

Song of Solomon 5:12
(This is said about the groom)
His eyes are like doves beside the water brooks,
bathed in milk and fitly set.
Both the eyes of the bride and groom are compared to doves. Why doves? One interesting fact about doves eyes is that they can only focus on one object at a time. They have singular focus. Their eyes can't move around and they literally have to turn their heads to directly look at something. Their focus is only on its mate.
Our eye must therefore only have singular focus. Where should our focus be? It should be on our groom, Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. That's how the sunshine comes in. That's how the groom embraces you with love and warmth. That is how hope enters your soul.
Let us look at this verse, the groom is saying something very beautiful to the bride in this verse:
Solomon 4:9
You have ravished my heart and given me courage, my sister, my (promised) bride;
you have ravished my heart and given me courage with one look from your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.
There is something in her eyes that he sees that ravishes his heart. That delights his heart. We already saw he described them as dove's eyes. Eyes that are singularly focused on Him, but there is something else He sees that is connected with doves...When He looks at her, He sees the Holy Spirit in her eyes and it ravishes his heart. a Dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:17
But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.
She commits herself to only one love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and everything that is in you. Her eye is singular....pure....
We also see the eyes of the bride and groom reflecting one another like in a mirror. They both have dove's eyes. They both reflect the Holy Spirit...
We see a wonderful thing happening in this verse.
2 Corinthians 3:18
The Glory of the New Covenant

2 Corinthians 3:18Amplified Bible (AMP)

18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.

We (she) are continually growing and being transformed into His image.
When your eye is singularly focused on Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. The very essence of His whole being, the Holy Spirit gets infused into your life. You are raised up into life and hope! Your body is full of light.
When you are raised up, where will you be? I would say on the highest mountaintop.
Look at this verse:
Song of Solomon 6:9 Amplified Bible (AMP)
But my dove, my perfect one, stands alone [above them all];
She is her mother’s only daughter;
She is the pure child of the one who bore her.
The maidens saw her and called her blessed and happy,
The queens and the concubines also, and they praised her.
Look at this translation:
Song of Solomon 6:9 (NIV)
But my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The young women saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her.

 
Why is she standing there? Because she is His dove. No other virtue, but the fact that she is born of the spirit and birthed by her mother.
Who is her mother?
Galatians 4:26 (KJV)
But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all
It is interesting to note that whenever the groom sings his praises to the bride, he repeats his words twice to her...how beautiful you are...how beautiful you are...you have ravished my heart and given me courage...you have ravished my heart and given me courage. I believe he is pouring a double portion of favour upon her every time.

Isaiah 61:7Amplified Bible (AMP)


Instead of your [former] shame you will have a [a]double portion;
And instead of humiliation your people will shout for joy over their portion.
Therefore in their land they will possess double [what they had forfeited];
Everlasting joy will be theirs.


 

Christ gave us new life and He pours a double portion on His bride.
Let us look at this very important part:

Song of Solomon 8:6-7Amplified Bible (AMP)

 (The Chorus)

5
“Who is this coming up from the wilderness
Leaning upon her beloved?”

 (The Shulammite Bride)

Under the apple tree I awakened you [to my love];
There your mother was in labor with you,
There she was in labor and gave you birth.
6
“Put me like a seal on your heart,
Like a seal on your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead).
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
[A most vehement flame] the very flame of the [
a]Lord!


 

The bride's request to her Beloved...put me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm...

The seal attests of us being an original, belonging to God.

Dictionary definition of seal: a device or substance that is used to join two things together so as to prevent them from coming apart or to prevent anything from passing between them.

An embossed emblem, figure, symbol, word, letter, etc., used as attestation or evidence of authenticity.

She is an original, not a counterfeit as we see in:

Isaiah 29:13

The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

She is the choice one of her who bore her. Her eyes is singularly focus on her Beloved. All of her heart belongs to him.

She is transformed from glory to glory into His Image. She has the seal of his affection and authenticity. She is His possession and He is jealous over her, protecting her with a most vehement flame, the very flame of the Lord.

Let us look at this flame of the Lord for His bride. When did the Lord specifically mention that in scripture? We find it in:

Deuteronomy 4:23

23 Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you.

24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.


 

Deuteronomy 4:15-19

15 Therefore take good heed to yourselves, since you saw no form of Him on the day the Lord spoke to you on Horeb out of the midst of the fire,

16 Beware lest you become corrupt by making for yourselves (to worship) a graven image in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female,

17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, or of any winged fowl that flies in the air.

18 The likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, or of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth.

19 And beware lest you lift up your eyes to the heavens, and when you see the sun, moon, and stars, even all the host of the heavens, you be drawn away and worship them and serve them, things which the Lord your God has allotted to all nations under the whole heaven.

20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be to Him a people of His own possession, as you are this day.

 

A Fire burns things away. And we see in the old testament instruction is always given to burn all idols.

For example:

Deuteronomy 7:5

"But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.”

1 Chronicles 14:11-12

11 So (Israel) came up to Baal-perazim, and David smote (the Philistines) there.

Then David said, God has broken my enemies by my hand, like the bursting forth of waters. Therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim (Lord of breaking through).

12 (The Philistines) left their gods there; David commanded and they were burned.


 

The Lord loves His bride and He burns away all the idols that might keep her separated from Him. Glory to God!

Let us go back to the golden calf episode. Why were they unfaithful?

Exodus 32:1 (Amplified)
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, they gathered together before Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a [a]god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

They became insecure and could no longer see Moses. And they almost made it sound that he was the man that rescued them. They could not see God, left alone having a relationship with God. That lead them into making themselves a god that they could see. Their focus was wrong, faith was absent, they became unfaithful.

 

John 20:29

Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Elon Gilad explains the meaning of the golden calf as follows:
This statue, the golden calf, is called masekha. In this and other biblical instances, masekha means a statue of molten metal. Its root is n-s-kh, which is related to pouring, as in pouring molten metal into a mold.
But in the Book of Isaiah we find another kind of masekha, formed from an unrelated n-s-kh root related to weaving: ״And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail [sic] that is spread over all nations.” (25:7) This veil is also called masekha. That is closer to its Modern Hebrew meaning.
In the 19th century the expression “to remove a veil (masekha) from their faces” appeared again and again (freeing people from their misconceptions).”
---
Both an idol or veil can separate you from the living God's presence, leaving you in darkness, unable to grasp the fullness of this life that God has given you. Unable to experience life as God has intended it for you.
The idols we burn. But how do we get rid of the veil?
This is what happened to the veil. Jesus Christ through His death tore it in two. The path is now open for you to enter. To be raised as a manifested son or daughter of God. To live in His presence, to experience this new life in Him.

Matthew 27: 51


…50 When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He yielded up His spirit. 51AT that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs broke open, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.

 

How do we do that?

2 Corinthians 3:12-18 Amplified Bible (AMP)

 12 Since we have such a [glorious] hope and confident expectation, we speak with great courage, 13 and we are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites would not gaze at the end of the glory which was fading away.

14 But [in fact] their minds were hardened [for they had lost the ability to understand]; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed [only] in Christ.

 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil [of blindness] lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns [in repentance and faith] to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.
 

There we have the answer: Whenever a person turns (in repentance and faith) to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

When a bride marries, her veil is lifted. She enters His presence.

She has doves eyes, He has doves eyes. a Singular focus on one another. Taking care of their sweet communion together. She is being transformed into His likeness. She is His possession and there is no division between them.

Let us look at this beautiful prayer of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians. Let it encourage and inspire us and draw us closer to the Lord.

Ephesians 1:17 &18

17 (For I always pray to) the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation (of insight into mysteries and secrets) in the (deep and intimate) knowledge of Him.


 

18 By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (his set-apart ones)
 

Amen

Blessings from my heart to yours!

As a seal upon your heart. Sung by Chris Dupre

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRwiyaKN1Mk

 


 

Coming Apart at the 'Seems'!
Category: Member Blogs

Coming Apart at the 'Seems'

 

Yes, we've all done it. We've all watched someone going about their day, and we come to our own conclusions. Many times those conclusions are wrong.

Sometimes they are really wrong.

We see the well-dressed neighbor and her well-behaved children piling into their brand-new vehicle, and we imagine their perfect life as they drive off; we look at our own rugrats (who are painting the cat purple and running around like rampant lion cubs) and gaze into the hallway mirror wondering how that tired-looking woman in the reflection lost control.

Or the guy who seems to have everything- a pretty wife, great kids, and he always seems to be working in the backyard or on the house with the latest and greatest tools and equipment, complete with a shiny new van.

We envy our neighbor sometimes. But we only see the outside of their lives, not what's actually going on. It seems as if all is well, but is it really?

Then we find out later on that the neighbor that was so well-dressed was taking her children to the courthouse to try to gain custody from a divorce gone bad. Looking good is the only thing she can do to cope, and she feels like there's no one else to talk to.
The guy that seems to have everything had his truck totalled when he lent it to a friend, lost his job as a result of the accident, and is using a rental van to get around, borrowing his friends tools to do odd jobs and working on the house in case they have to sell because he can't find work. He pours his frustrations into fixing what he can, because life is getting out of control.

People who 'seem' to have it all together, usually don't. Take a look at your life. Parts of it are probably a mess right now. Yet someone is looking at us and assuming all is well! I've had people assume things about me that are way off base; But those assumptions dissipate once they talk to me- and then we have a good laugh!

She's so creative! I bet her house is like a museum of art! Only if you consider dust bunnies and cat hair an art-form.

She's published so many books! I could never talk to her about writing- she's out of my league. All writers started our as new writers. And this writer loves to talk shop! 

Her kids are so polite and her husband is so nice! They probably never have family issues. You'd be wrong there on so many levels. Polite kids take a ton of work, and even then they aren't always at their best- just like the rest of us! As for my husband- he is nice, but we still argue on occasion!

She has the best marriage/kids/life/whatever! We've had our trials, issues and hardships. Just because we don't show them doesn't mean they don't exist. And when someone talks with us and those 'seems' are mended, that's when friendships are born!

Talk to your neighbors and church members, and engage in your community. Get involved with others and repair those ripped 'seems' with stitches of friendship! You never know how many lives you touch just by talking to someone- help them (and you!) from coming apart at the 'seems'!
Are you nice? Or are you kind?
Category: Member Blogs
Something I am working on myself because I tend to be unfriendly at times. I believe there is a difference in nice and being kind. I am not nice. I will flat out tell you this up front, but I am kind. I have compassion and because of that I know that being nice is fleeting, but kindness is forever. You can claim to be nice, but are you truly nice? Or are you nice until you get your way? <-- I tend to be this way often. I have a bad habit of using people to get what I want out of life. I don't do it often, but I do it enough for God to call it to my attention. What is He trying to call to your attention?
From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray-Elliott Tags: abortion forgiveness God's grace

Every second of every day a woman has an abortion. Every second of every day a woman has to live with the emotional turmoil of her decision. Forty years ago at the age of sixteen Debra had an abortion changing her forever.

 

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose brings emotionally charred women out of the pits of fire, through the ashes into the beauty of purpose. With the direction of God, hurting women weather through the painful journeys, become women of spiritual beauty, find God’s purpose, and learn to live again.

 

 

 

Debra Gray-ElliottDebra is a Christian author and inspirational speaker. Her published works include two personal poetry collections and inclusions in several Christian anthologies. Debra has been writing since the age of fifteen.

‘From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose‘ is Debra’s first non-fiction work that helps women overcome the negative emotions of abortion through direction, encouragement, and strength.

​Debra is currently working on her second book ‘Dancing through the Storms 365 Day Devotional: Surviving the Loss of a Child‘, which was born out of the devastating loss of her daughter Ashley.

Debra resides in Alabama with her husband and family.

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray-Elliott is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner

Half a Rainbow, the Morning after a Summer Storm by Joan Leotta Tags: summer rainbow Christian poetry Joan Leotta

Half a Rainbow

Half a Rainbow, the Morning after a Summer Storm

by Joan Leotta

Walking down to get my morning paper,

I glanced upward into a barely lit sky

still tremulous with dark

 

streaky clouds from the

previous night’s storm.

I spotted a rainbow

 

springing up from the river

running behind the neighbor’s

house across the street.

 

Bow of color bent over the marsh,

its tail end hidden by a still forming

new set of storm clouds.

 

I ran back into my house for a camera.

Padding back out still in robe and slippers

I spotted my neighbor across the street

 

her back to the awesome

sight, as she collected her newspaper

from her own driveway.

 

“A rainbow,” I cried out,” there’s a rainbow

behind you!”

“I know” she replied, frowning.

 

She  gestured toward my camera.

“Its’ only a half rainbow. Hardly worthy.”

Amazed, I shook my head and snapped away.

 

I chose and would choose again

to revel even in that small bit of color.

No beauty should be wasted.

 

Joan Leotta

Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She is a poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, and author of several books both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She is also a performer and gives one-woman shows on historic figures and spoken word folklore shows as well as teaching writing and storytelling.

Joan lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband, Joe. www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Author-and-Story-Performer/188479350973

Forgiveness 101
Category: Member Blogs

Forgiveness 101

 
 

Forgiveness...it's such an easy thing to do, right? Just say you forgive someone for something, then forget about it. It's so simple!

Or is it?

I had to forgive someone. Yet I had to be forgiven by this someone as well. To be honest, that rankled me. I'd done my best and messed up- but it wasn't on purpose! Why should I take any of the blame and be treated like that?

But there's the rub- I had to see things from the other person's perspective. Once I did that, I could see how my actions could be seen as something other than I intended. 

The Bible talks about how to forgive and be forgiven. I needed to go to that person and have a face-to-face talk (if possible- it's hard to do if your offender lives far away). In my case this was possible, so I called to plan a meeting. 

The person I wanted to speak to brushed me off. Twice. I almost took this as a sign. Maybe I didn't need to get forgiveness from this person because I had given it a decent try- I was vindicated! 
But no, God had other plans and kept poking me in the heart about it for the next year.

Yes, you read that right. A year. God is good, but He's also as persistent as a kid at Christmas. He kept poking me, asking "You going to talk to her now? How about now? Now?" Finally I'd decided to stop the phone tag and talk to this person face to face. I passed by their house, called and asked if they were home. They were. I told them I was coming to the door and to please let me in so we could discuss things. I slowly released my pent-up breath as I walked into one of the hardest talks I've had to do in ages.

It wasn't easy. This person was resistant. The TV was blaring, and they conceded to just turn it down instead of off. They wouldn't look me in the eyes. I could feel their invisible wall trying to push me away. A chainsaw wouldn't have cut the tension I'd felt in that room. The silence was truly deafening, and I almost walked out. But I had to do this. I needed forgiveness just as much as I needed to forgive this person.

The discussion didn't go as well as I'd hoped, but there were some bridges mended. All the while this person never even looked my way. One thing that was said stuck with me; "I can forgive you, but I'll never forget." 

I always thought the term 'Forgive and Forget' was in the Bible- after all, it sounds like it should be in there. But forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting- forgiveness is about holding no anger and resentment towards someone for something that happened between the two of you. 
It took me years to forgive my mother for some of the things she'd done; but once I truly forgave, I didn't forget- I just remembered without the anger and resentment that usually came with those memories. Instead there was an understanding- an empathy for her concerning what she was thinking and feeling at the time. My mother and I had made peace with each other before she passed away.

This was a bit different. I could still feel the anger from this person. My anger, however, was spent. I left with a mixed bag of emotions. The little stone of resentment in my heart was gone, but I was sad because this person was still holding anger towards me- and there was nothing else I could do to alleviate it. 

I've learned much about forgiveness these past few years. You forgive, and do your best to be forgiven. You have no control over how (or if!) someone forgives you, but if you do your best to make amends- that is all God asks of you. It's up to the other person to let go of their anger- not you.

Forgiveness is freeing. I never realized until I'd forgiven my mother just how much weight anger and resentment presses on your heart. But oh- when you let it go! Your entire spirit lifts, and the world is seen through more gracious and appreciative eyes.

I wanted to share this with you today, in case you have someone that needs to be forgiven, and you just can't. I'm going to tell you that you can- ask God for the strength not to falter or curl up in a ball of misery because of what happened. 
You can get rid of that unseen weight on your heart. Maybe you'll fight it for a year (or years) like I did. I'm quite stubborn! But in the end, forgiveness is what lifted my depressed heart and brightened my spirit so I could see God's grace all around me. 
And I want you, my Dear Readers, to feel that too!
AWESOME GOD Tags: CHRISTIAN

Hymn Stories by Lucy Neeley Adams: There’s Within My Heart a Melody Tags: Christian hymns Christiatn life Hymn stories

Hymn Stories by Lucy Neeley Adams: There's Within My Heart a MelodyHymn Stories by Lucy Neeley Adams:

There’s Within My Heart a Melody by Luther B. Bridgers

How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? Psalm 137:4

The news was devastating. It came to Luther Bridgers when he was preaching a revival in 1910 in Kentucky. His wife and three sons had stayed in Harrodsburg with her parents while he was away. But fire destroyed the home and his family perished.

When the young husband and father returned to Harrodsburg, he experienced grief he had never known before. His soul traveled into new territory – a dark valley of sorrow. How could he sing a song of faith with a broken heart – his “foreign land”?

Bridgers stood strong in his faith as he went to the Word of God. The Psalms were comforting because every human emotion is found there. The question in Psalm 137:4 echoed his own despair. The Israelites wept when they were forced from their homes into exile: “On the day I called, you answered me; you increased my strength of soul” (Psalm 138:3). Their hope was renewed.

So it was for Luther Bridgers. The process of healing began. Soon a song was born in which he expressed his bedrock faith. He was inspired to write the words and music for “There’s Within My Heart a Melody.” The melody seems to come from the “sweet and low whisper” of Jesus, who says: “Fear not, I am with thee, peace be still, in all of life’s ebb and flow.” Life has the ebb and flow of trials, but “though sometimes the path seems rough and steep, see his footprints all the way.”

I have seen the footprints of Jesus in the life of one who has been touched by deep sorrow. My friend Glenda knows the God who comforts, sustains, and heals the brokenhearted. When her husband, Paul Ray Troutt, was serving a church in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, a terrible tragedy occurred. On a hot August day in 1971, their car was hit by a drunk driver. Paul Ray and their two young sons were killed instantly. Glenda received severe injuries but she slowly recovered.

In the past years she has been a part of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In a recent letter she wrote: “I feel that God has been able to use the tragedy of my life to bring comfort to others who are experiencing the same devastation.”

Is my faith growing so that, if such a tragedy comes into my life, I am sustained in my grief? Will I hear the melody of God’s Love?

Lord, you are with me, and that is my security. Amen.

There’s within my heart a melody

Jesus whispers sweet and low:

Fear not, I am with thee, peace be still,

in all of life’s ebb and flow.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know,

fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.

Luther B. Bridgers, 1910

 

Hymn Stories by Lucy Adams

Lucy Adams In 1984 in Nashville, Tennessee I began to write answers for the question, “Why do people write songs?” Those stories first appeared on a radio program that I created: THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG aired on Christian radio station WWGM.

The program began as I sang six words, “I Love to Tell the Story” and said: “Hi friends, this is Lucy Adams and I tell the story behind the song.” I continued the show for five minutes with a message that answered … who, what, where and why of the hymn – plus a verse or two of the music. These programs continued to play for many years in various towns in Tennessee. Visit my blog to learn more about the stories of our favorite hymns at https://www.52hymns.com/about.htm

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