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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 ...

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

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

“Vintage Book Treasure Hunt: A Book for Laura” by Kathryn Ross Tags: vintage books family literacy classic literature family reading

Vintage Book Treasure Hung #1Vintage books represent old lives. People from the past, who lived, loved, laughed, cried, and recorded the treasure of their minds and hearts in words on printed pages for posterity. Not just those who penned the words—but very often, those who read those words and subsequently responded to them. Perhaps with handwritten notes of their own compositions in the margins, or back pages.

I came into possession of a vintage book titled, Day After Day: A Manual of Devotions for Individual and Family Use, as compiled by 19th and early 20th century evangelist John Wilbur Chapman. It was published in 1919, at the end of the First World War. One of the first places I go when treasure hunting in a vintage or antique book, is inside, opening to the front page in the hopes of finding an inscription of its owner. I was not disappointed in this small navy-blue volume with gold embossed lettering.

Etched in pencil, in what appeared to be a hurried cursive handwriting, was the epitaph: “To Laura, with love from Emma & Sade.” An error in composition required erasing the original, “from with love,” for the edited, “with love from.”

My only disappointment was the absence of any more clues as to date and occasion. Was it Laura’s birthday? Confirmation? Marriage? Who were Emma and Sade? Best friends? Beloved sisters? With so many unanswered questions, my imagination kicked into high gear, fueled with inspiration. This is the stuff short stories are made of, I thought.

I found only one other clue on the end pages of the book to help me piece together who Laura might have been. A few poetic verses, roughly drawn, in need of an editor. The writer drafted it in pencil first, and then wrote over the pencil in tell-tale fountain pen ink as if to set it in stone. A poem. A prayer. Titled very simply: Peace.

Perhaps, she copied it from another source. Perhaps, she composed it herself. A prayer for peace in troubled times. A young woman living a hundred years ago. In 1919. At the close of a global war that reset both Europe and America. Those who survived would never be the same.

The loss of 126,000 American soldiers stripped the innocence and formality of the Victorian and Edwardian age from society. Fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers were not coming home to loved ones and the potential of a life lived. Add in the 245,000-wounded returned from French, German, and Italian battlefields, it was clear that the year 1919 would be fraught with exhilaration at the war’s end, equal to the anxiety of living in a physical and social landscape dramatically altered. In total, 11 million military personnel died and 7 million more were wounded. Civilian casualties were equally shocking.

Vintage Book Treasure Hunt #2

Laura, Emma, and Sade—how did World War I touch their lives? Did they suffer loss? Were they newly-minted war widows consoling each other with a book of devotional readings?

I imagine them in this setting, as we celebrate Independence Day this July 4th, and the first of many tragic wars Americans were forced to fight in the past 245 years to secure our liberties and sovereign borders.

Thumbing through the thirteen weeks’ worth of weekly Scripture readings and prayers in Day After Day, I came across specialized readings for select holidays.

Among them was Flag Day, where Chapman selects an interesting Scripture from James 1:25:

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

It is interesting to consider the application of this verse to the founding principles of our nation’s liberty—derived, and well documented as so, from the Bible. In years past, training in “religion” (meaning specifically, Christianity) was an integral part of American education, as Samuel Adams attests in these inspiring words dated in Boston, October 4, 1790:

Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity and universal philanthropy, and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country; of instructing them in the art of self-government, without which they never can act a wise part in the government of societies, great or small; in short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system . . .

Samuel Adams

Boston, October 4, 1790

Prayer and open discussion of the Bible, and how its principles applied to public life as a citizen, were a revered part of every school child’s academic years. Until 1961, that is—a mere forty years since the publication of this vintage family devotional, and only twenty years since the end of the nation’s second war on foreign shores. Not to mention Korea. And the contemporary threats a half century ago, of a Cold War.

Being a doer of the work of liberty—applying the principles of liberty, including a love country—brings blessing, indeed. But often after much loss. Sacrificial love secures liberty. Like that of Christ on the cross. Or a young man on a battlefield far from home.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 NLT

Peace in troubled times seems distant. Laura, Emma, and Sade may have grown up together in a one room classroom learning their American Christian heritage together. In the trauma and aftermath of a world war, they remembered that the anchor of the soul is to be found in stealing away to a quiet place for devotions, meeting in prayer with the Prince of Peace.

Losing a loved one in the defense of the nation might have spurred Emma and Sade’s gift of this little book of devotions to Laura. Perhaps the prayer chosen for the Flag Day meditation brought her some comfort:

Almighty God, Sovereign of the universe, we thank Thee that our flag has always stood for liberty, justice, and freedom, and that the banner of the Republic floated in the battle front across the seas. (Reference to WWI) Great God, may our flag never be dishonored. Grant that through the coming years its stars may continue to shine, and its colors stand for purity, devotion, and sacrifice. May all our citizens be loyal to it as the symbol of national sovereignty.  May there soon come to this weary world the morning of universal peace. This we ask in the Name of Thy Son, our Redeemer. Amen.

David G. Wylie, D.D.

Reprinted in Day by Day, 1919

This is the first of my treasure hunt finds in this particular volume. Next month I’ll explore more nuggets of inspiration from this old gold mine of beautiful words and wisdom—the legacy of past lives. The more I learn of the hearts and minds of those who have gone before us, the more I am challenged to pursue my own life’s legacy with purpose—seeds for growing on, rather than chaff for the wind.

Peace

Drop Thy still dews of quietness

Til all our strivings cease

Take from our souls the strain and stress

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the hearts of our desires

Thy coolness and Thy balm

Let sense be dumb—let flesh retire

Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire

A still small voice of calm

Our Father, Thy life opens fresh and new in my being this day. They love fills my soul and mind and presses me unto faithful service and high purpose. All darkness, all dimness or vision within or without is but a cloud which the lens of Thy reality will turn to light and clearness. My being rests in calm security in Thy love and knows the beginning and the end is peace. Amen.

To hear the dramatized audio version of this article by author/storyteller, Kathryn Ross, visit www.thewritersreverie.com/book-for-laura or click on the PODCASTS page for the link to this and more inspiring audio stories leading to all good things and beauty.

 

 

 

Kathryn Ross Image #4

 

Kathryn Ross

Kathryn Ross is a writer, speaker, dramatist, and independent publisher at Pageant Wagon Publishing with a mission to nurture the seeds of all good things, innocence, and beauty in the human heart. Her inspiring devotional books for journaling and discussion groups, theatrical scripts for church and school, and storybooks and speaking programs engage young and old with dramatic flair as discipleship tools for homeschool and Christian families, designed to minister to all ages—all at the same time. Visit her online where she blogs weekly and podcasts monthly at www.thewritersreverie.com and www.pageantwagonpublishing.com .

 

Visit Miss Kathy at Pageant Wagon Publishing for more inspiration for family literacy.

"The Art of Bullying" by Mary Dolan Flaherty Tags: bullying self-image personal growth self-worth self-care

The Art of BullyingApparently, I am a bully. I have learned the art of bullying quite well it seems.

Someone very close to me, someone I care a lot about told me this recently. I was a bit shocked. I had no idea.

She told me this:

Mary, for as long as we’ve known each other, you have belittled, ridiculed, mocked me, and called me names. You’ve told me I’m stupid and fat and ugly and weird. You’ve made me feel inferior and insignificant. I’ve often felt like I just can’t measure up to your standards and expectations, no matter how hard I try. You expect perfection, and I constantly fall short. Then, you lose your temper when I don’t come through. I feel like it’s my fault for everything that goes wrong in your life.

I felt my heart pound. I tried to defend myself, but she was on a roll.

I feel guilty all the time. Whenever I mess up, I feel like an idiot, because that’s what you’ve told me for years. I see how you encourage and accept others. I watch how you seem to convey to them that it’s okay to have flaws. I listen to you tell them that God loves them no matter what. Regardless of how they view themselves, you always try to explain how God’s love overrides what they think. You allow others to be who they are, but you ignore me. I look at you and see a hypocrite.
Why are you so hard on me? Why do I feel as though you’ve never been able to love me, really love me, just the way I am?

Again, I opened my mouth to defend myself, but she went on.

All I want is to be treated with the same respect and dignity that you give to everyone else. Don’t you think we all deserve that?

My heart beat wildly in shame. The more she went on, the more ashamed I felt. I couldn’t believe how I’d wounded this special woman, this soul so dear to me. How had I allowed this beautiful child of God to feel so worthless? How had I not seen it?

Shame on me!

was more important that I make it right. This wasn’t about me. But it was.

I’m so sorry, I said. I had no idea I was treating you so badly.

Actually, she said, I believe you did know and chose to continue, because I’m just not as important as everyone else.

Oh, that’s not true! I insisted. Of course you are!

It is true, Mary, she said quietly. And then, so quietly, that I almost didn’t hear her:
You’ve been bullying me for as long as I can remember. It needs to stop.

Silence ensued. We stared at one another, she strangely confident for someone who felt so abused; me in an awkwardly dawning revelation, feeling more convicted the longer I met her knowing eyes.

Until I could no longer deny it. She was right.

I’m sorry, so sorry. You’re right. I have bullied you into thinking that you’re not good enough. I’ve focused on your flaws instead of your beauty. I’ve compared you to every supermodel, every icon, and even every mother. Instead of helping you and understanding your difficulty in remembering certain things, I’ve made fun of you and called you a ditz and a scatterbrain. I’ve even allowed others to make fun of you and never stepped in to your defense.

Instead of building up your confidence, I’ve attempted to tear you down every time you mess up. Instead of allowing you to make mistakes, I’ve kept a tally of everything you’ve done wrong.

Instead of treating you with dignity, I’ve called you stupid. I’ve ridiculed you in public and scolded you worse in private. I’ve been a bully and you’ve been my scapegoat.

The truth is, when I look at you, I see a beautiful, confident, and smart woman who loves to make people laugh. You use humor to diffuse an awkward or a potentially unstable situation.

I remember how you used to rage at the world, and now you don’t let anger dominate your circumstances.

You’re no longer that sad, angry, and lonely girl who was filled with self-pity and insecurity. By the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, and through many years of life lessons, you have overcome and you’ve never let anything keep you down. You’ve become a pretty cool person who I’m really proud to call my friend.

As I continued to speak life into her, I watched her stature and her smile grow. It matched my own.
It had felt a bit odd to talk to myself in the mirror. Watching my own reaction had been difficult too, but that was the catalyst to change. I needed to face my wounded self as well as my bully self.

You’re right, Mary, we haven’t been very kind to one another over the years, have we? I think it’s time to call a truce, to reconcile.

Accept yourself. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Treat yourself with dignity and respect. Do unto yourself as you do unto others. Celebrate who God made you to be, what you’ve overcome and who you’ve become. You’re pretty awesome.

My bullied-self and my bully-self made a pact in the mirror. I suppose if my other self wasn’t two dimensional we may have shaken on it or hugged, but that borders on insanity. And that’s a story for another day.

What–or who–do you see when you look in the mirror? It might be time to have a serious discussion with yourself.

Mary Dolan Flaherty

Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit.  She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.com.

Patriotic Craft Collection from Vintage Mama’s Cottage Tags: patriotic crafts Fourth of July crafts Patriotic DIY

Patriotic Craft Collection from Vintage Mama’s Cottage

Here’s a fun collection of patriotic craft ideas from Vintage Mama’s Cottage. July is the month to celebrate not only our nation’s birthday, but all month long is a time to remember and appreciate all those who have sacrificed so much that we might live in the home of the free because of the brave. Happy Independence Day!

 

Patriotic Button Flag

Patriotic Button Flag

This is a wall hanging that was in an art exhibit (according to the information I could find), and I thought that it was a great idea to make on stretched canvas with painted stripes and blue behind the stars. It looks like the stars are cut-outs but if I actually get a chance to do this project, I would use white stars, either painted, or star buttons, or white star cut outs. What do you think?

Patriotic Painted Birdhouses

Patriotic Painted Birdhouses

from AllFreeHolidayCrafts

Well, how cute is this idea? I actually have several cute, but old, birdhouses sitting out in our garage and I had pretty much decided that I didn’t want my deck looking “junky” so I was going to toss them out . . . but now I think I’ve changed my mind! This is a project that I could actually do out in the garage on my hubby’s work bench (shhhh! Don’t tell him. I’ll be careful not to get paint all over the place) so maybe this afternoon after I get my other work finished I’ll give it a try. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Patriotic Ribbon Flag

Ribbon and Lace American Flag

from craftiments.com

This one is my absolute favorite! I’ve been wanting to make this Ribbon and Lace American Flag since last summer when I actually had so many other distractions in life that I didn’t accomplish much of anything all . . . I decided that’s not going to happen this summer! So this will probably be the first patriotic craft I do as soon as the paint dries! I love this beautiful, kind of vintage-looking, rather boho design and think it will be beautiful hanging on our deck in our little gazebo (which also needs to be painted, but that will just have to wait for another day).

Patriotic Mason Jar Lanterns

Patriotic Mason Jar Lanterns

from Addicted2DIY

Of course, I just had to include a Mason jar craft in this collection! When I came across this patriotic DIY project, I was actually looking for something to do with Mason jars that would be practical. There are lots of beautiful ideas for decorating Mason jars, and lots of them are practical, but many of them are for decoration only. Like the beautiful vases that are all lined up on a windowsill with summer blooms cascading down the sides of the jars. They are really beautiful, but I was hoping to find some inspiration to make some tea lights, or luminaries, or in this case Mason jar lanterns. The picture of these lanterns all lit up in the darkness is really pretty, too, but I wanted to capture the finished look so I chose this image. For the complete tutorial, please visit Addicted2DIY and you can make your own Patriotic Mason Jar Lanterns. I’m certainly going to be making some soon – hopefully yet this week!

Patriotic Ruffled Pillow

Patriotic Ruffled Pillow

found on Pinterest

I love this little patriotic ruffled pillow! Even though I did not find the tutorial, I think I can figure it out just by looking at the picture. I looks like the pillow top was created from navy and while polka dot fabric for the stars, and the stripes have been created from pre-made ruffles. Stitched all together onto fabric to make the top of the pillow, with perhaps a pillow form and a fabric backing, this could be a pretty easy project. I could also use fabric scraps to make my own ruffles, but I’m rather annoyed with my ruffler foot these days and I’m afraid I might need to replace it. Unfortunately they are quite expensive, so that probably isn’t going to happen before the Forth of July.

Patriotic Ruffled Flag

Here’s another creative way to make an American flag for the Forth of July, or really any day at all to display in your home. I found this idea on Pinterest, but I think it was originally posted on CraftsnCoffee.com but I wasn’t able to locate it. It looks similar to the ruffled pillow top, but it appears to be attached to a frame at the top to keep it straight. I’ll have to give it a try and see if I can figure it out. I love the vintage fabric and all the little vintage buttons for the stars. So many ideas, so little time!

Buttons and Scrap Flag Pillow

Vintage Buttons and Fabric Scrap Patriotic Pillow

Here’s another idea from Pinterest that incorporates two of my favorite things . . . . vintage buttons and fabric scraps! I love the mix of fabric strips, lace trim, top-stitching, and vintage buttons in various sizes and shapes. There’s a million more ideas, but I’ve narrowed my list down to these eight ideas. If I get a chance to make a couple of them, I’ll post pictures of the finished projects.

Patriotic Bunting Pillow

Patriotic Bunting Pillow

from The Ribbon Retreat

A little different take on the red, white, and blue theme . . . instead of flags, we’ve got a cute little bunting marching across the pillow top. This idea would make a fun wall hanging, banner, or even to embellish a t-shirt for the Fourth of July.

History of Hymns by Lucy Neeley Adams: “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” Tags: Christian hymns Jesus

Tell me the stories of Jesus

Summer days or school days, nothing to do, boring day, all were thoughts of my early years. In spite of much fun stuff, I began many pages in my fourth grade diary with the title, “Boring Day.”

My school friend of many years ago agrees. “Yes, those were my feelings too,” Sally remembered. “It was all slightly boring.” Then we often discuss our years of teaching and laugh when we wonder if we too had students who shared our same thoughts about their studies.

Those thoughts are of public school. Sunday school was quite different. I was blessed with great Christian leaders who were committed to children. Their lessons have often been remembered as I grow in my faith.

That was certainly true of a Sunday school class that Mr. William Parker taught. Sensing that the students were restless, he put away all the materials and began to tell them a story. It worked every time. Quickly they became quiet and attentive.

Later that afternoon after church, Parker thought about the countless times his students had said,

“Please tell us another story.” Suddenly an idea flashed into his mind, and he gathered his thoughts and arranged them in a poem: “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus.”

With those first words as a beginning, he continued to write with vivid description about many events in Jesus’ life. The verses explain what it must have felt like to be blessed at his knee, to sing glad hosannas while waving palm branches and to stand at the cross of bitter pain.

William H. Parker was born in Nottinghamshire, England, on March 4, 1845 and died there in 1929.

He worked for an insurance company and was a dedicated Christian layman in his home church, Chelsea Street Baptist.

A friend described him as a person who was “quiet in demeanor, kindly in disposition, always trying to see the best in others. He was one of God’s true gentlemen respected and loved by all.”

Parker’s poem, “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” was written to honor the devotion of the pupils he taught each Sunday. It was not used as a hymn for several years because it had no music. The beautiful melody, written by Frederick A. Challinor, was chosen as a result of a competition held by the Sunday School Union of the Church of England in 1903.

This hymn is dear to me because Sunday school thoughts flood my memory whenever I hear it. My teacher, Jane McDonald, was a petite woman who had a light of happiness on her face when she told us stories of Jesus. Reading them in the Bible was not as exciting as when she told them. She wanted us to feel what the people felt when they were with him.

Jesus told his disciples that the children who eagerly came to him were an example for all: “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:15).

That makes me wonder: When I was a child who attended Sunday school and eagerly listened to my teacher, was I receiving the kingdom of God? Yes, because I responded and received him as my Lord and Savior. As an adult, I continue to be eager to hear and obey all of the glorious stories of Jesus.


Parts of this story are from Lucy Adams’ book, 52 Hymn Story Devotions

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

“The Storm that Never Happened” by Nells Wasilewski Tags: Christian life Christian women online Christian women writers Christian women's magazine

“The Storm that Never Happened” by Nells WasilewskiIt was on a Wednesday, in the afternoon, when weather reports started flashing like lightening of the encroaching storm.  My friend Barbara and I were at our church, working on different projects.

We were on the second floor when another warning alarm sounded.  Weather warnings were furiously flashing on her phone to take cover immediately. We headed to the basement and suggested that others take the warning and go as well. No takers, so we went alone.

We ensconced ourselves in the ladies restroom, and together we rode out the storm. It was such a peaceful and calming experience to sit there with her and chat about inconsequential things that were happening in our lives. Barbara made a statement, while we were waiting, that will stay with me always.

She has the sweetest most soothing voice, and she said to me:  “If it gets really bad what better place to be than in our church?” After twenty or thirty minutes, Barbara received a notification that the worst had passed.

Upon returning to the upper level of the church, we learned that the storm never happened. The worst of it was some high winds and a sprinkle or two. The storm may never have happened, but a beautiful thing happened that day. I have always loved Barbara, but, now, a new dimension has been introduced to our friendship–one of trust with new insights of who we are. I know in my heart that it was more than riding out a storm together; because, upon leaving the basement, my heart was full of God’s love.

Thought for the Day:  Colossians 3:12 (NIV)12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Prayer:  Elohei Chasdi – God of my goodness, kindness, and faithfulness, thank you for sending friends to ease us through difficult situations. Show us how to express our gratitude to each other and to You. In the name of our Savior and your Son, Amen.

 

Nells Wasilewski

Nells Wasilewski lives in a small southern town, seventy miles southeast of Nashville, Tennessee.  After retiring, she began pursuing her lifelong dream of writing.  Her writing has been greatly influenced by her faith in Jesus Christ, personal, experience and nature. She has been writing poems, prose and stories all her life. Nells has recently started writing devotionals. Her work has appeared in Haiku Journal, Barefoot Review, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, 50 Haikus, Dual Coast Magazine, High Coupe Journal, Ancient Paths, Tanka Journal, Hedgerow and Penned from the Heart https://nellswasilewski.blogspot.com

 

"Dad's Day Delights" Father's Day Recipes from Marilyn's Treats Tags: Father's Day family recipes Father's Day recipes Marilyn's Treats

Dad's Day Delights

If you are ever looking for new recipes for any occasion at all, be sure to visit Marilyn’s Treats! She is always sharing her favorite recipes for every holiday, every season, and for every event that you might be planning.

So the next time you are thinking about what you want to cook up for your family get-together, stop by Marilyn’s Treats and you’ll be sure to find a recipe that is just perfect! Here is her collection of Father’s Day recipes in the “Dad’s Day Delights” collection.

 

 

Coca Cola BBQ Sauce

Coca Cola BBQ Sauce

Coca Cola BBQ Sauce ~A unique basting sauce with a bit of spice and tempered with the sweetness of Coca Cola. It will liven up your meats when used as a marinade and give a flavor bloom to your BBQ dishes. A large flavor will kick your taste buds into the next course.

 

Grilled Pork and Sweet Potato Kabobs

Grilled Pork and Sweet Potato Kabobs

Grilled Pork and Sweet Potato Kabobs ~Rosemary infused marmalade gives great flavor to pretty sweet potatoes, zucchini and pork. These are delicious! I used onion & garlic marinated pork and added sweet onion pieces and green, red & yellow bell pepper pieces to the kabobs. The marinade tastes wonderful. These kabobs were a real kid-pleaser.

 

Chili Dog Pizza

Chili Dog Pizza

Believe me you are going to think I must be expecting to even think up this pizza. But Chili Dog Pizza is not just for kids, adults enjoy it too. When my husband ordered this from a nice family restaurant we frequent a lot, I thought he was crazy. When they brought it to the table, cheese running down when you took a piece, chili, hot dog pieces, onions and mustard swimming on top, it smelled sooooo good. This one offers an easy, fast, and different menu option for your family. You have to try it!

 

Grilled Parmesan Asparagus

Grilled Parmesan Asparagus

Do you get as excited as I do when grilling season comes around? With a working farm just down the street the first crop of the season is asparagus. This is the time when my prodigal son returns for the life of “eating at mom’s” every Sunday. This is my time to be able to cook the meals I love and set another plate or two at the table. The meals of sausage, salmon, hot dogs, chicken, burgers, fresh veggies, sautéed mushrooms and onions become common and the fresh summer sides overflow my counter.

Marilyn's Treats

Visit Marilyn’s Treats for all of the recipes in her “Dad’s Day Delights” collection. Marilyn’s Treats and RUBY magazine do not claim ownership of any recipe or image in this collection unless specifically indicated.

H.A.L.T. Tags: angry blog Christian devotional encouragement God hungry Inspiration lonely self-control tired

I love acronyms. Whoever thought of this memory-jogger was a genius.

My husband, Bruce and I were introduced to one of these creative gems at a youth Bible study. But like other pieces of useful information that get crowded out by life, I needed a reminder of this helpful acronym during a situation we faced.

I figured it might come in handy for others too, so I’ll share it with y’all. So, here goes. H.A.L.T.: Halt if you are:

H: HUNGRY
Oh my. When I’m hungry, I fall into the “whatever” mood category: “I don’t care, just get it done.”; “Let’s just get there.”; or “I don’t care what we do, I just need a snack.”

And everyone knows to never go near a grocery store with a growling stomach. The junk food retailer’s stock skyrockets every time on this one!

*A: ANGRY: Stay tuned. I’ll come back to this one.

L: LONELY
I’ve made some pretty bonehead moves when I was lonely (I won’t elaborate).

T: TIRED
I figure I’d better not do anything while I’m tired. I may be convinced I’m coherent, but realize later…hmmmm, not so much. I’ve glanced at sent texts and emails and realized: Yeah, should have waited.

*A: ANGRY
I’ve left the “A” part for last. Being lonely, or tired, or hungry can drive us to make less than stellar decisions. But angry? This one might be the worst decision-driving emotion ever. For it’s with anger that words are said, actions are taken, and destinies determined that may never, except by the grace of God, ever be fixed.

A healthy dose of self-control curbs emotions and can be a handy little tool to douse the spark that could cause a potential wildfire—a wildfire that destroys a lot of ground and a lot of people.

Which brings me to the following “situation we faced,” and thankfully in this case, I listened and obeyed that Giver of self-control …

The wall our back was shoved against left indents in my shoulder blades. And the friend who could have helped us, betrayed us.

My hands shook as I pounded out a text message on my cell phone in response to one of her stunts. My thumb hovered over the send button when a still small voice cut through the flame, “Don’t do anything in anger.” I knew this to be true, but I so wanted to fire off that text!

However, I paused. I glanced over at Bruce who, not 15 minutes before, snapped, “That woman’s gonna push me too far!”

I read him my text, a little part of me hoping for validation and the confirmation to hit that little green button.  He looked around at me and to my surprise said calmly, “Don’t do anything in anger.”

Like cold water on a hot flame, I realized God was confirming His word to me. My phone fairly flew across the counter as I shoved it away. I knew one twitch out of me would have sent that text flyin’.

I cooled down, grateful I didn’t send this text. The day before, as I was ranting and flinging manure across my horse’s stall into the bin, the Lord gave me a serious command: “Hold your peace, vengeance is mine.” And then started chatting with me about forgiveness. It would not have been wise to ignite any fires with my message.
(“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:26-27).

God knows what He’s doing when He tells us to H.A.L.T. before making a decision. Take a breath, scarf an energy bar, take a nap. Whatever it takes that’s moral and decent with no side effects, we need to do it. Nothing is worse than having to undo an unwise move. I’d rather not spend the energy to apologize, lament over an excessive grocery bill, or explain why I sounded like a dork. I’d like to act right the first time and avoid cleaning up a mess.

So, the next time we face a challenge or a decision while we’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired … and we will … join me in implementing H.A.L.T.. Our lives will be much more peaceful and productive for it.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

God is Able Tags: Faith Christian Living & Spiritual Growth.
The scripture admonish us to delight ourselves in the Lord and He would fulfil the petition of your heart. Also trust in Him. He will bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4&5

Dear friends God expect his people to obey and trust Him ansolutely , because the chains of obedience is the antidote to access God's blessing.

It is´imprative therefore to anchor our faith on the Rock of Ages. He is the same Yesterday, Today and forever. Heb 13:8 Keep fit in the Lord . Shalom - Emmanuel
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