The Old Man in his Pick-up with His Pipe.

The days are getting shorter, the moon was anxious to rise. But before the sun sat, the old man in his pick-up was buying flowers for his girl. He drove down the pebbled streets, his pipe securely clenched between his teeth.  The smoke slide out the window and the wind took him back…

To the porch,

where he stood

proud but still

with flowers freshly picked behind his back.

His hand clenched, talking himself out of

a knock, when  the door swung open.

Rose,

swayed back and forth in her newly stitched dress.

Her hair attempted to be pulled up,

but the wind took her back…

To the diner

where she first saw him.

Pouring coffee

on his lap.

She blushed and he winked.

The old man got the flowers on the corner. The leaves were falling, and they crunched under his footsteps. It was cool outside, and he had to turn on the heat quickly, as his hands gripped the wheel. The wind that pushed against the door, took him back…

To the sun setting and the harvest finished.

To his dusty left-footed boots

That made him trip and fall in love with,

Rose,

who sat on the back porch, held him close

against the wind,that took her back…

To that night, when she said I do,

and he did too.

Lasting 70 years of young love.

 

The old man in his pick up with his pipe,

the Autumn breeze so  cool and kind.

Taking him home, to his Rose.

~ i am blessed ~

I have been doing my thankful facebook friends, and I am not going to lie. It has been hard. Devoting almost a hour of my day to write truly thoughtful post, is difficult at times. I don’t want to sound selfish, I am just thankful of all those who have been so encouraging through this process. I am so thankful that God has walked through this, with me every step of the way. I am truly blessed by His love. He loves me, and that in itself is amazing, and I am speechless.

There have been times, I think why am I doing this? Is there are reason, or a purpose. No there isn’t a purpose or reason for my own desires. I truly wanted to do this to show others that they are good, and beautiful and loved. At times Satan likes to play with my head, tell me that they don’t deserve my words. But then I stop and think, I don’t deserve God’s love, and each day I wake up, saved from sin and death. So no Satan, they do deserve to know that they are loved. Not just by me, but though me I can show a small light of love that God has for each and everyone of them.

I got a little behind in my schedule. So with only a day left until thanksgiving I would loved your prayers that I can finish my little thankful facebook friend challenge. Thanksgiving  could be a cliche time, but to be it is one of the great times  to remember how blessed we are. Your family tradition might not include going around he table and saying one thing you are thankful for, and that is okay. I just hope that in this last day leading up to thanksgiving, the people that matter most in your life, know that you love them. I liked what my pastor said last week. He said that think of that one thing you are most thankful for and ask yourself, how are you showing that you are thankful?

This facebook challenge as been very nurturing from me as well. I just hope that through this all, through the thanksgiving feast, and the family and friends that YOU know that GOD LOVES YOU! No matter what you have done in the past, or what you are doing now, God sees you as his own child. That is what I am MOST thankful for. I have a faith in a God who LOVES me.

I am thankful for my friends….

I have around 250 Friends on Facebook. As we are in the month of thanksgiving, we tend to live more grateful lives. Not that this is a bad thing or a put  down. It is just an observation that I have noticed on social media. So I decided after searching on pintrest, that I could make my own Thankful/November/ gratitude challenge.

I like all my friends on facebook, so I just hope that I will appreciate my friends more, and the friendships I share. It will not be an easy challenge as I hope to cover all my friends. However, if I spend time on pintrest, scrolling through delicious pumpkin bread, and lattes and trying to find new clothes for my christmas lists; I hope I can invest time into the friends I have. I think it will test me, to ask myself the question…why am I friends with this person. Did I send a friend request or accept one because I truly like the person, or was I just doing it for  some facebook creeping? Though this challenge I hope that you look at you own Facebook Friend list, and really appreciate who they are. 🙂 

So with only 20 days till Thanksgiving, I have to write on roughly 13 people’s facebook wall. But I am up for the challenge. Once I start I am on a roll. 🙂 Then at night, before I go to bed I will say a prayer for each of them. Last night was a little difficult, because remembering all those names is hard. So today I made a list on my phone to remember. This way the names will be on my phone, as a constant reminder as the day goes on. I only ask my fellow followers that you pray for me. That I have the diligence to stick with it. That I can write meaningful messages, and that what I say can be a small fraction the love Christ has for all of them!

” Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~  1 Thessalonians 5:18 

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Second Corinthians 3:3 says, You show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not on tables of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

My throat was dry 

there was no moister

to coat around the sides.

I moved my head

but it only sent it in a dizzy. 

SPACE 

Someone said my name, and  I tired to flutter my eyelashes. 

The unfamiliar voice continued to say something.

I slowly and painfully swallowed my own spit

and then winced at the bright light

shining around me 

_

The room was light, gray walls, and big circular lights hung over me. 

It was also cold.

I don’t remember if my hand were at my side or if they were crossed over

but the room was cold.

There were people in masks hovering over me. 

The words they said, slowly formed sentence in my head.

the bed, that I  was on, started moving again. 

I was scared and I looked franticly for my parents.

“The surgery couldn’t have gone any better”

Mama said, the next day. She smiled over me,

but there were worried lines above her brow.

I guess my face was pretty swollen, and

I was in a lot of pain.

I remember the days that followed,  they showed me pictures of my spine. As I looked at the X-rays, I shook my head. It couldn’t be right. How can something so good, look so wrong. I stared at images of my spine.  Two long pieces of metal were fused with screws and the bone from my hip. It looked like set of braces on your teeth. But this was my spine, and it was permeant. My spine was  as straight as anyone else’s. Possibly straighter. But when somethings is you for so long, looking at an improved vision of yourself, it is scary. I was the girl with scoliosis. I was the girl who went to physical therapy. I was the girl who wore a body jacket. Now, I was a girl with a straight spine, and a pretty long scar. But through the imperfections and challenges I faced before the surgery, I adapted to a new normal after the surgery. I stayed at the hospital for about a week.  Close friends and family, know my story. But as the day arrives each year, I just like to always give thanks to those who were all so helpful and thoughtful to not jus me but also  and my family.

  My Mama never left my side. She was my rock. My Dad took care of everything, and together he and my mama held each other up.  My sister was there for me, when she had to help me get out of bed, get ready in the morning, little things, that were everything to me.  My family and close friends showered me with: words of inspiration, beautiful flowers, roses, and daisy, teddy bears and chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better.

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Thank you God, for everything you have given me, the support I had and still have.  And thank you, God. Through you all things have been possible. I close with a Psalm I found in my journal that my Mama wrote in. 

Oh Lord, how many are my pains. How many pains rise against Victoria. Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver her.” Selah

But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

To the Lord I cry aloud and he answers me from his holly hill. Selah. 

I lie down and sleep, I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

I will not fear the tens of thousands of pains drawn up against me within my body.

Arise, O Lord!

Deliver me, O my God!

Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance, May your blessings be on all your people. Selah

Psalm 3:1-8

Laughter is the Best Medicine!

Have you ever had a book, that you have read more than once?  The books that have such superb characters that you want to know them. Storylines so marvelous, you wish you could blink your eyes and live there. Books so wonderful, you smile even before you start reading; and can’t put it down, as if your fingers are glued to the pages of the book. If you know what I am taking about then, Jen Turano’s second book, In Good Company, is for you. 🙂  The majority of the books I have read, I like.  However, there are a selected few that I remember so much that I want to read over and over and over again. 🙂  Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers and Diamond of the Rockies series by Kristen Heitzman are two of my favorite series. After a Fashion and In Good Company are two that I would add to my list. 

In my personal opinion the characters are what makes this book, excellent. Millie Longfellow is back in her own spunky way. She is a delightful person, who really does have the best intentions in mind. Her methods as a nanny might not be accepted by others, however, you will be rooting for her halfway through the book. Everett Mulberry, the poor man doesn’t know the first thing about taking care of one child, much less three. He may make poor choices, but give him time, he is a man and he can’t help it.  There are the favorites from the last book such as Lucetta Plum, Abigail Hart, and the Reverend. I can’t say too much because you will just have to read the book for yourself. You will not be disappointed.

Please take the time to pick this book up, you will not regret it!

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Society’s Social Acceptance of Growing Up

People who grew up in smalls, who have a desire to leave, will. You don’t need to worry. If their passions are farther from home boundaries you won’t be able to stop them, and you shouldn’t. Just like you shouldn’t  stop those who want to stay. I grew up in a small town. It wasn’t so small that we know everyone’s life choices, but it was a good community. Guess what? I love it!  I love where I grew up and I don’t want to leave. I have dreams of my own that allow me to stay where I grew up. But why is it that my dreams don’t seem big enough or aren’t grand enough?

Let me ask you something. After high school it is more of the “norm” to leave the home front. But not just leave, but change zip codes and states. Far distances away. Because that is more socialy acceptable than me, going to college two blocks from my home. However, lets move on because after college you have your job. Your brilliant job that you think you want. So you move even farther from your parents because that is part of growing up, spreading your wings. Flying away from traditions, and family get togethers. You start to miss your brother’s graduation, and your Dad’s 50th birthday party. And even if you go to work and you get your pay check and you have a semi- ok apartment, you’ve done it! You have done exactly what is acceptable of you, from society.

But what if that isn’t anything you want?  Some people live those lives and they love it. It is all great, but some people don’t want it. What if you just want to live in the same state and even zip code of your family? Would that be such a bad thing?

I have a very tight- knit family. If you asked me how big my family was? I would probably say around 15, as my immediate family. Not because I have lot and lots of siblings but because my family lives close. My Aunt and Uncle live two blocks from my house, along with their five kids, my cousins. So they are seven and my family is six, so that is thirteen and then my grandparents live an hour and a half from Seward, Nebraska.  It is more than the fact that we physically live close. My parents have brought us up on good morals, lots of love and the faith of Jesus Christ. So yeah we are very close. Everyone of my cousins went to Concordia. My older sister went and I attend there. But you don’t hear much about that. When you meet someone and start asking about their family it is difficult  to keep track of them on the map. But that is more accepted in today’s world than saying, my family mostly lives in the same state.

I might be ranting a little bit, but only because there are hopefully others that feel the same way. I just want to say my peace and hope others know that they aren’t the only ones out there.

Happy First Day of Summer! Remember that your family is always there for you, and remember to say Happy Father’s day to your Dad! 🙂

National Day of Prayer

Fold Your Hands with Me

“Our Father who art in heaven,  hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us,

and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory,

forever and ever.  Amen.”

I have been a mind that has become so tired, it doesn’t seem to grasp much information. I have been two eyes that haven’t seen far enough and I have been a heart that has carried way too much. I lie to myself and say that I am bored but in reality I am restless for answers. I have grown and diminished, in my faith. I have reached so far for things, but once I found an answer it was to difficult to decipher. So I stopped. I stopped flooding my brain with theologian books. I stopped scouring the bible looking for my answers, and they trying to decode them. I took a deep breath and I waited. I listened to my own heart beat slow down and after awhile, I feel. I dropped  to the ground, I folded my hands tightly, and I prayed. “God, take it away, the pain, the restlessness and when it is gone just hold me.”

I had written this essay for one of my classes, I was reading over it and I ended up  pressing delete. Because I realized that I needed to be honest with myself, and the previous paper was just a cheep imitation of what was happening. I am in a state of wondering. If there was ever a time to be a Nomad, I would choose right now. Because that is exactly what my mind feels like at the moment. I am still in a process of really listening for the Lord. However, I would like to think that as the days, and months and eventually years go by I will hear the Lord’s voice more and more. I use to scoff at those who would say that “God talked to me” or “I heard the Lord’s voice”. But if I don’t have faith in God, then what are my prayers?  Far it be from me that I would just want God to answer me, and do what I want. Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I think that those around me, have given up on that leap of faith. That courage the disciples took to follow Christ. Sure they had Jesus with them physically, they could put their arm around him, and I might not be able to. However, if God tells us that all things are possible then why couldn’t hearing his voice in prayer be possible. So many people in this world, are lost and confused. But if our lives as christian’s starts to look similar to everyone are we any better? If we shy away from the thought of God speaking to us, then we are no better then the unbeliever.

So what does it look like to pray to our Heavenly Father? To be different from others, so that instead of looking like everyone else we stand out. Standing out so much others will questions and then we can give the glory to the Lord.  John 17:20-23 says, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Our prayers are also in for that one-on-one time with the Lord, with our Father.  Matthew 6:5-15 gives a excellent portray of what that all means. So that how we live in time with the Lord will be seen in our hearts and on our faces.  Matthew 6:5-6 says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” At the time I don’t know what the reward means however, in a different translations it might help. From The Message bible, verse six says, “The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” Instead of knowing the reward we will get from God after doing something right, it is shifted to developing a better understanding and a stronger relationship with God.

“Prayer is simply communication with God who loves us and invites our prayer. it is important part of the Christian life, and a great blessing. Our gracious God invites us to talk with him-to share our joys and sorrows, our need and desires. He promises to hear us and he promise to answer,” Called to Believe, Teach and Confess by Steven Muller. Yet, prayer seems like the most intimidating action to do with others. I was so nervous to pray in class in high school. It had nothing to do with God. Sadly, he was the furthest thing from my mind. It was my own fears about if I would mess up. Satan can even use something as wonderful as a special connection with God to leak sin in. I allow these fears to corrupt my time in prayer with God.  I am very blessed to have a godly people in my life. I look up to my grandpa. When my family is around he and my grandma, he always prays. It is this wonderful prayer. He always thanks those who have prepared the food, and then the food itself. He also remembers to thank God for his sacrifice. My grandpa is wonderful at prayer. I have come to realize he, like so many others in my life always remember to be very thankful and humble in their prayers. They also are very true to who they are. They don’t embellish their prayers to sound like someone they are not. They just pray to the Lord through Jesus Christ. As stated in John 14:6, “ I am the way the truth and the life. No one come to the Father except through me.” This continuous relationship with the Lord is rooted in prayer.

When I was younger I was given a beautiful form of, “Prayer Hands,” as a music box. It was shaped as two hands in all white and there are pretty pink flowers around the border. You twist the nob on the bottom and it sings, “The Lord’s Prayer. I have always like that visual representation of prayer. I was curious to see  if there was more to the story, and there was.

There were these two brothers, who lived in a small village near Nuremberg They grew up with may siblings and their father worked long hours. The two were aspiring artist. They flipped a coin to see who would work in the mines and who would go and study art. Albrecht won and went away to school for his art. Albert worked in the mines for almost four years paying for his brother tuition. When the brothers were reunited, Albrecht  had all the teaching he needed  so he wanted to give that same opportunity  to Albert go to school. However, the toll of working in the mines had taken everything out of him and he could not even hold his hand up. So to show the sacrifice of one brother to another, Albrecht  drew his brother’s hands together. It was originally called “Hands, however later it was called, “Prayer Hands.”

This world isn’t easy. There are so many struggles and challenges in the world. It is very easy to get swept up in the pain and problems. However, in hope we can pray to the Lord and know that he is listening. In today’s society a person can really wonder if someone is there for them. But no one should worry that the Lord isn’t. So my prayer for you, is that you know a few things. 1) You are a Child of God  2) The Lord of the entire universe, not only knows you by name but loves you unconditionally. 3) Even though you and everyone else in the world, including me  should receive eternal punishment and death, God called down at your baptism and said, “You Are Mine.” Just three things, like my grandma always says, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Prayer has a funny way of sneaking through our defense. I think it is God’s gentle way of saying, I am your God, I love you and I will be with your through, everything.

Amen

Cookies = Life? Right? :)

“The best way to be in a better mood is to stop thinking about yourself and do something for others.” ~ Victoria Kenow

The other day I was tired, un-motivated and just going to class and class and class. I didn’t really realize everything around me. All I could think was that I was so tired.  I joked with my friends saying I wanted to fall asleep and not wake up till summer. I just wasn’t motivated. I was talking to some of my friends and they were cheering me up. Telling me I could get through these last few days, and it finally clicked. I knew what I was going to do today. Sure  my homework would be there for me later but at the moment that wasn’t going to make me motivated. I could have taken a nap…I probably should have. But instead I made cookies. 

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As I was making them, I realized it was very similar to life. To make cookies you have to first cream together the sugars and butter. This is always my favorite part. You get to use your hand and just squish it all together.

IMG_2174 And just butter and brown sugar and regular sugar taste so good….Wait! What was I talking about? Oh that is right cookies=life.

So next you add two eggs. With a wooden spoon you start to stir. Now at this point it doesn’t always look right.

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      As you can see it is all disoriented and not at all mixed together. As I was stirring  I realized life is    like this. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. There are people who don’t always act like our friends…     family, who just gets on your nerves. As hard as you try to make it work….it doesn’t. It is complicated, un-attached and it just doesn’t feel right. Kind of like I was feeling this morning. However, you can’t just put the brakes on life right there. I always say you can’t give up if you have a little sped bump or detour. You have to keep going. Through our challenges there will be rewards. So I kept stirring and stirring. Soon the wet mixture was nice and smooth. Yes it took time, but in the end it looked good. It also tasted good! 🙂 But you really shouldn’t eat batter with raw eggs. 🙂 Once you add in your dry mixture you continue to stir and stir and stir. In time it will shape into a dough.

IMG_2176 My mama’s recipe says to have the cookies chill for about an hour. When I put the cookies in the fridge, I stopped and took time to think. Chill. Take some time for yourself to chill. Don’t do anything but just slow down. Unwind. Realize you can take time for yourself. So I had them chill for over in hour and in that time I went on a nice walk with my mama. It was such a beautiful day God had given to us all. It was sunny, it was a little breezy but it was beautiful. There is no better scent then freshly mowed grass. The daffodils were blooming, and the lilacs!  The lilacs smelled wonderful just so fresh and glorious! I could already tell my mood was improving, and you know why? Because I was doing something for others. I was making the cookies for my friends. 🙂 They were little gifts of, “YOU CAN DO IT!”

When I got back the cookies were ready. My Mama and I worked quickly and they were done baking after 8 minutes and 30 seconds. Careful you got to watch them so they don’t get burn. Sometimes life just happens to quickly and we don’t have to time help everyone. It is just a matter of life and sin. However, with God by our side we can do so much more than without him.

The cookies turned out perfect! They tasted so sweet and chewy! 🙂 But I wasn’t done yet. I made little notes for some of my friends. I put a few cookies into little mason jars…because I love mason jars, they are SUPER cute! 🙂 I made little labels with a template from avery.com/ print. Then with some Modge Podge,  my Mama and I made these little name tags. I have a picture below of the final project.

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At the end of the day there will always be things to do. However, it is our attitude that can change every situation. This life isn’t about ourselves, it is about others. People around us. How we can help and lift them up. I also posted the recipe to make these cookies if you want to! Enjoy 🙂

Snickerdoodles 

Ingredients: 

3/4 cup of butter -Make sure it is room temperature

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of brown sugar

2 eggs. – Make sure it is room temperature

Stift:

3 cups of flour

2 tablespoons of cream of tartar

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Directions: 

Cream together the butter and both sugars in a large bowl. Mix in with a wooden spoon eggs. Continue to stir until your batter is smooth.  Set aside. Sift your flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Then gradually add your dry mixture to the egg mixture. Continue to stir until all ingredients are mixed well.  Chill for one hour.

In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Shape dough into 1″ balls. Roll in the cinnamon sugar mix. Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper..or an un-greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes. Enjoy! 🙂

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The Gift

I did this paper for a class. I was surprised that the professor said it was excellent. So I decide to post this, because maybe it will mean something to someone else. 🙂

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch; like me!” We sang this song in chapel a few days ago. I will always remember the stillness that hovered over the chapel area. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit, I like to think that it was. Inasmuch the moment will stay with me forever.  The song is such beautiful poetry. The melody is soft in our ears and quick on our lips. I even  think that when we sing this song God is smiling from above. It is a sweet moment, I like to think of sharing moment with  God like that. You might not think of it like that, but if got me thinking about how we share these moment with God. How is it that sinful human beings are precious sights to God. Bottom line, I guess I am asking, how did we come across such  wonderful gift? This gift called grace.

In Called to Believe, Teach and Confess, Muller said, “Grace is delivered to and received  by individuals in certain way which are known as ‘the means of grace’, (p.312). Later it says that the means of grace are simply the Gospel. That is what is so wonderfully special about God. He never complicates anything. In past sections we talked about the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is “God, the agent who presents these facts to both my mind and my spiritual understanding so that they become both real and relative to me as an individual,” according to W. Philip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. So it only makes sense that “the Spirit conveys the grace of God to people,” (Muller. p. 312). Through the Holy Spirit we receive grace, even though we have done nothing to deserve it. Yet, how do we know we have such grace? It isn’t like the Holy Spirit knocks on our door and gives us a letter from God. The simplest way to explain  how we receive this grace is in Matthew chapter three. John the Baptist says, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”. We receive the grace at our baptism. When God claims us as his own, we are his. Through the water and his Word we are saved from all the sins we are going to do and have already done. “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”

We are baptized because Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 23, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Go! That is what God tells us to do. My religion teacher in high school was once baby-sitting for this couple. As he and his wife were there, he turned to his her and said, this baby hasn’t  been baptized, do you think we should baptize him? At the time I honestly had no idea if they could actually do that. Because I have always seen a pastor baptize someone and so I just assumed it had to be a pastor. How I was so wrong. Jesus commands us to go out and baptize. We all have a right and duty to be like God to everyone. The promises that are fulfilled though baptism shouldn’t be limited if someone is not a pastor.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear.  The hour I first believed!” What a burden lifted, to know that no matter how many times we sin, and do wrongly by our neighbor or ourselves God forgives us all sins at baptism Not that this gives us a free ticket to sin boldly, but instead the reassurance that we can always come to him and ask for forgiveness. I remember in confirmation class one of the leaders spoke about baptism, and I loved his analogy. He said that baptism is like this beautiful gift given to us. He said that when you get a gift it means someone loves you and wants you to have it. No one normally rejects a gift, so why would you reject a gift from God.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Not only are we given the gift of baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit, and after reading that chapter in Muller about the Holy Spirit I know I would want him on my side. “The Lord hath promised good to me. His word my hope secures.” God always takes care of his children, because we are cherished object to the Lord.

He will my shield and portion be.  As long as life endures.” Grace is given to us, and just like any gift no one takes it away from you. God’s claim on you is forever.  John 10:10 reassures us of this, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God doesn’t back off on his promises. We can expect that from others and ourselves because we are not perfect. However, we never need to question how far and deep God’s love goes for us. There are prime examples in the bible of this, John 3:16, Zephaniah 3:17, Ephesians 2:4-5 and Romans 8:37-39 which says  “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,  neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.”  When I was little I was always afraid of death. It seemed like such a risk to just know you were going to go to Heaven. However, it is the faith that keeps us from worrying. I mean we are all going to die at some point. It is far better to live freely from fear and know that God has everything under control. Though my human body will die at some point in my life I will be with God in Heaven, not because I choose it but God did. Psalm 139 tells us that God, he knew us before we were born, so he totally knows what will happen to us when we die. God saved us through his blood, he called us his own at baptism, and we will be with him forever.

Amazing Grace is a beloved song, sung in church numerous times. John Newton wrote the beautiful piece. So I did a little digging to find out little bit more on the person who wrote it. He was a sailor and spent a lot of time at sea. He didn’t have much of a faith, and most of that had to do with the fact that his mother died when he was a child. He was in  a storm and he cried out to God to deliver him. He later became a minister and later in life he wrote, Amazing Grace. Though it wasn’t intended to be sung at the time, it is today in many churches and gives others a way to worship and thank God for all he has done.  I wanted to submerse the lyrics into the paper in various ways for two reason. One, it is just too beautiful of a song to be forgotten and only sung in church. The second reason, is because it truly reflects on how a Christian’s struggle is, and how the Lord intercedes and gives us such a wonderful gift. So to end I leave you with the last stanza. To hold these words close. Knowing that God loves you and that no matter what happens He will be by your side. Thank you Lord.  “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”

Amen.

Social Society Built Upon Stress.

Today  was such horrible day. First I overslept, so I was rushed getting out the door. On the way to work the traffic was a zoo, this idiot pulled out in front of me and my coffee spilled on the passengers seat.  What a mess. That stain isn’t going to come out. I went to turn right, when I looked up to see a sign saying, No Right on Red.  They must have just put that up, because  I have been turning right on red for years. Finally the light turns green and I have to wait because a person is taking their sweet time walking across. Oblivious to the world around them as he continues to listen to his music through his iPhone. I turn and make a bee line to work.When I get there my boss asked to see me in his office. I sigh frustrated, and walk into the room. He has a stack of folders that I have personally overseen. He slams them down, in which I ask, “Is there a problem?” He just shakes his head and says “I hope I see better next time.”  Defeated and hungry because I skipped breakfast I leave his office only to find a stack of fresh manuscripts ready to be read. Since when did my hobby become my job? How did I let this happen I ask myself.

The day continues just how it started, rushed with too many mistakes. Co- workers are looking to me for answers and my boss keeps looking over, as if saying, “you haven’t even started have you?”  I decided to skip lunch because I didn’t bring any food and what is the point, when I have all this stuff to do. I leave the work day at 5:30, only to see that I have a flat tire. Of course.  I call my friend to pick me up, she does and all the way home she tells me how stressed she is, with work, and her kids, and her husband. By the time she drops me off I couldn’t listen to another word. I thank her, and she drives away. I find a note from my neighbor asking me to watch her fish and I look down to see a bowl filled with water and fish looking up at me.  I grab the bowl, in which the water splashes on me. I am wound so tight, and then I remember that stack of files I forgot at the office.  My feet are killing me. I kick off my heels, knowing I couldn’t walk another hour in them. I don’t know what to do. I am just about ready to eat, because I am starving. I grab a box of Nilla Wafers, I think I am suppose to make something with them for my niece birthday but that is just going to have to wait. Later I get ready for bed, I turn my lights off but then I hear a distant sound. The college students who moved in last month two houses down are rehearsing some sort of skit for the upcoming play.  They are loud and obnoxious, and I realize it is going to be just as long of a night as it way day.

That is a pretty horrible day right? This person could relate to you. This person could be  you? I am sure at some point I am a version of this person.  I get stressed with school work, projects papers, people, friends, sometimes family. Do you ever find yourself asking this qustion, “What am I suppose to do?”  If you ask anyone in my family, I don’t handle stress well. I am cranky and anxious, and until the stressful period ends I am not someone you want to talk to. But that is just it, it doesn’t end. Something else come up and the cycle starts all over again. If you have NEVER been stressed in your life, congratulations.  But if you are like me, stressful situations just happen…or do they?

Originally stress happens because of an instinct. Ever heard of  FIGHT or FLIGHT? Kind of like that. We use to stress over things that mattered. Now we stress over the fact if we can get our coffee drink before class starts. Or like I said before, se get stressed and upset while driving and the “stupid, annoying drivers” around us. Sometimes it is also how much we stress over something. Instead of stressing over something and then once the problem was resolved we don’t let it go… Let is GO! Let it GO…. like Frozen?  HA HA okay maybe that was only funny for me.  ANY who..… Instead we drive through to the next situation. Is that healthy probably not. But why is it that we admire the people who are juggling a job, and kids, and family and friends. People who have a million things going at once, and on the inside they are stressed to the max. Why don’t we admire the people that take life at a slower pace. Like the person walking, oblivious to the world, listen to their music? Or maybe we do, but we tell ourselves that can’t and won’t be us.

I admire my mom. But I don’t admire her because she is doing everything at once. I admire her beaches she is a strong and independent person, and yet she has a wonderful husband who let her know she doesn’t have to do everything at once. I am very blessed to have the parents I do. My mom does a lot in a day, but she knows that she has to take breaks, and she doesn’t have to get everything done at once. Because I think a lot of Moms think that, because they want to take care of us, but what happen to taking care of ourselves?

When did our social society put so much effort into showing everyone else how stressed they were? Probably because we didn’t know we were actually doing it. One thing that helps me, it just happen today actually. I was just stressed about silly things that aren’t going to happen for awhile, but they were consuming me. I went to chapel, and the professor giving the message asked us what we needed to hear today. He said phrases such as, “I forgive you. You are not a failure.” And then he said do you need to hear, “I’ve got this, so don’t worry.” It stopped me where I was at. I am not saying that because God has everything under control you will never be stressful, because I know I will. But in those moments when I stress over little things, I will remember that God has a plan for everything, and maybe there was a reason I overslept one day. Or my car wouldn’t start, and I had to walk. Hopefully this puts it in perceptive. I actually learned about components of stress in a class, and then I heard this phrase in chapel, and so I felt inclined to share.  Another things, something that was taught in  class. about stress..real quick.  You should work somewhere you feel valued and important. My Grandpa always told me, that you should love where you are working. If you don’t love it,  you won’t have the motivation to get past those little patches of stressful time.

I posted the link below to the video we watched in class about stress. I don’t agree with all of it, but there are some very valid points. It is pretty long, like I said we listen to it for class, but I would recommend giving it a try.  I also leave you  with some bible verse, that I agree with, 100%.

Matthew 6:25- 27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Philippians 4:6,7.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Stress:  Portait for a Killer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG0ZuTv5rs