August 14, 2017

Blogging Consistently and Eclectically

When you are writing with the hopes of publication, there is so much more to the dream than just putting words on a page. These days writers are expected to have an online presence before they are even published. It's a lot of pressure and takes up time that could be better spent writing, but if we are serious about publishing, we need to learn to go public.

I've had this blog for quite awhile and have been fairly consistent until the last couple of years. Now that I'm writing again, I need to blog more consistently. The thing is, I don't remember what made it so easy before.

Maybe it's because I just wrote what I was interested in, what I was doing at the time, or maybe I just did a book review. No pressure. Just me. Not what I thought people expected.

So I'm going to attempt to do that again. It will be an eclectic collection of posts, so if you are following me because of the summaries of John's excellent sermons that I post, then I apologize. Please feel free to unfollow me if you don't care for the new regimen. I promise it won't hurt my feelings!

Now....to think of something to blog about this week. ;)


July 13, 2017

Hallelujah: A Call to Praise

The last psalm in the Bible, Psalm 150, ends with one word.

Hallelujah

This word means 'God be praised'. It is a call to praise.

Through this psalm we can learn much about the praise of God.

PRAISE IS BEYOND US

Praise the Lord. (Hallelujah)
Praise God in his sanctuary;

    praise him in his mighty heavens.


Praise him for his acts of power;

    praise him for his surpassing greatness. (vs. 1-2)

Praise is other worldly. The psalm talks of God's sanctuary and His might heavens. There is praise there. It speaks of His surpassing greatness and His might acts of power. He is supreme.

He is a God who can do more than we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20-22) He is beyond our scope of understanding, scope of knowledge, and scope of imagination.

He's a mysterious God, this otherworldly God of ours. He is deserving of our hallelujahs.

Activity: Look for the thing that is awesome to you. A sunrise, a flower, a mountain. Let it draw you into His presence.

PRAISE IS CREATIVE

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals. (vs. 3-6)

Just as the vast array of instruments listed here to praise the Lord, so is the body of Christ in its variety of gifts. We are all unique and bring a different facet of creativity to the body, His church.

God accepts each and every one's differences. He desires and loves your unique abilities. He delights in the special way you serve and glorify Him.

God delights in your unique hallelujahs.

Activity: Look for the creative ability God has given you to glorify Him. Can you sing? Draw? Count change? Organize? Encourage? Give a hug?

PRAISE IS SPIRIT-FILLED

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord. (vs 6)

The praise we lift to the Lord is spirit-filled because it is our breath that speaks of His glory and sings of His love.

You see, the word used for breath is Spirit. His Spirit. The two are interchangeable. When God breathed into Adam, it was with His very own Spirit. That very Spirit is the One inside of us.

We commit every breath to praising God and breathe Him out into the world.

The world needs your hallelujahs.

Activity: Breathe. Inhale, knowing we breathe in God. Exhale, knowing we share God with the world by who we are and what we do.

Hallelujah!

How are you praising the Lord today?


***Taken from John Ketchersid's sermon July 9, 2017***


July 05, 2017

People Watching At The 4th of July Fireworks Show

As an introvert at heart, I do not like crowds. But when I am in a situation where I am in the middle of a mass of people, I watch and listen. It is a great place for creative writers to use their imagination and make up stories. I took my camera with me and used my long lens to capture interesting people. Let's see who I found.

Now here's a closet superhero buff. He has hordes of comic books stuffed under the bed and in his closet. He secretly daydreams about being a caped superhero, saving pretty girls and making the world a better place.

Ah...here are two friends that are total opposites. The one on the right is a free spirit. She has some short shorts on with some wild socks and high tops. Her friend on the left is a bit more subdued. She wishes she could be more "out there", but just can't quite make it. She settles for a navy skirt with flowers and some denim high tops. Hey...at least she mixed the skirt and high tops!


Well....words aren't coming. Strange, I know. These friends like to stand out. I think they've tried mixing Halloween with Game of Thrones. The only thing I can think is....courage in numbers???
Okay, now I get it. The last girl has a bunch of flyers in her hand. After being handed one, I found out they are out advertising for the musical Pippin being shown at the Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch, Texas. Their shows are amazing!
Some people aren't very brave and settle for sticking a flag in their hat. This guy doesn't really care. He didn't want to be there anyway. See the tinge of gray? He is in the throes of mid-life crisis and just wants to do what he wants. 
  
This guy is ready for the sun to go down and get the fireworks going. Why must he sit in the heat just to save a seat close to the display? Ugh...the band is sooooo loud. 
 
This momma is tired. She has her cute bandana tied around her head, with her hair twisted around it. It was all she could manage with 3 little ones running circles around her.

This sweet lady loves the 4th! She even dyes her hair to match all her July 4th paraphernalia. If only she had some sparkly red earrings to go with her outfit. 

Dude!!!! Check me out. I got spirit. 
 
Ah, the sad lonely chair...all decked out by mom, and abandoned by the energetic 3 year that should be sitting there. 

Okay, no story here. I just want to say this band was amazing. They play cover songs and are incredible. They could sound like the original! All the music was upbeat and there were lots of people dancing. Just a great concert!
Check out Inside Out on Facebook.
 All I have left are a few fireworks. Farmers Branch puts on the best low-level fireworks show around.





Do you love to people-watch? Have you ever made up stories about the people you see?


June 29, 2017

Strength for the Journey

I spent a lot more time in my Bible today. Some days, well, you just need more. I am going through Psalms in my daily readings and was in Psalm 84. Verse 5 really resonated with me as I feel like I've been going through my days relying on my own strength. Ugh...that gets so tiring!

Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey.   From the Voice 

When we rely on our own strength, our own path, our own abilities, we grow weary. It's hard to do it all alone. The thing is, we aren't created to do it all alone. God gave Adam a helper, Eve. He Himself walked with them each day. We were not meant to live in isolation.

We have godly people all around us who can carry the weight for us. They can pray you through, encourage you to lean not on your own understand, and love on you to bring you peace.

We have God and His strength to lean on. When we can remove the burden of isolation. We can push off the load of having to be strong in our own right. We can enjoy the journey and treasure every step of it!

Are you leaning on God's strength or taking it all on yourself?


June 23, 2017

Is God Jealous?

We talk a lot about God's love and his faithfulness. We talk about his goodness and compassion. But we don't often bring up the fact that He gets jealous. Even angry.

We don't like to talk about that kind of God, because then we would have to look into why He would ever be that way. What would make the God of love so angry?

In my reading of Psalm 78, I was asking God to speak, to show me the verse that He wanted me to dwell on. That is how I find scripture to journal and meditate on. But Psalm 78 is not an encouraging Psalm. There isn't much in it that speaks of love, compassion, and encouragement.

After reading over it a few times, I kept coming back to verse 58.

"They angered him with their high places; 
they aroused his jealousy with their idols."

They aroused his jealousy with their idols. We don't have physical idols today - no stone monuments we pray to. But an idol can be anything we prioritize over God. The Oxford Dictionary says it like this:  "a person or thing that is greatly loved, admired, or revered."

Sleep can be an idol when you keep hitting the snooze button instead of spending time with Him.

Sports can be an idol when you choose to stay home and watch a game over going to church to worship Him.

Work can be an idol when you give it priority over your relationship with God.

Anything can become an idol when it takes precedence over your love for God.

So while God is a God of love and compassion, He is also a jealous God. One not to ignore. He wants us to love Him above all else. He wants your heart, your love, and your time.

I've been guilty of making God jealous. Time and time again. It's just a matter of getting my priorities back into focus....and focus on Him.

How are you doing with your priorities? Does He come first in your life?



June 22, 2017

Review: A Tailor-Made Husband

Review of A Tailor-Made Husband by Winnie Griggs

Backcover Copy:
Tired of pining for handsome sheriff Ward Gleason, seamstress Hazel Andrews plans to head East for a fresh start—until Ward finds an abandoned child. Hazel can't turn down his request that she watch the little girl while he investigates a spate of crimes. But spending time with Ward is sending local gossips—and Hazel's heart—into turmoil. 
Nothing in Ward's world is the same since he took charge of orphaned Meg…and that includes his growing feelings for Hazel. A fake engagement will allow them to care for the child together until Hazel moves away and finds someone more worthy. But with little Meg convinced she's already found her forever family, can Ward and Hazel dare to make her dreams come true, along with their own?

My Thoughts:
I enjoy stories of love developing between friends, and this was no exception. Hazel Andrews, the town seamstress, has loved Ward Gleason, the town sheriff, from afar. But she has waited long enough for Ward to notice her and decides to leave town, making a new life taking over her aunt's business. But Ward needs her help when he returns from a trip with an abandoned little girl named Meg, so how can she say no?

I enjoyed the town and friendship between Hazel and Ward. They had an easy relationship, which made for conflict in and of itself. Hazel is a strong woman who knows what she wants and doesn't mind standing her ground to get what she wants, even if it means walking away. I love that about her - tough love! Throw in a fake engagement and a town mystery and you have a fun story!

This was a sweet story with some twists and turns that will entertain all those who love a good romance.


June 19, 2017

Taking The Dad To The Museum of Biblical Arts


 We were given tickets to the Museum of Biblical Arts in Dallas by some dear friends from church. (Thank you, Eric and Megan!) Since Father's Day was nearing, we thought it would be a good idea to take my dad and mom. You see, Dad is an artist. He has drawn and painted all his life. He is now a writer and editor, but art is in his blood. So last Friday we met for lunch and toured the museum.

I was blown away by the quality and variety of the art there. There were works dating back to the 1100's. There were pieces from all over the world. There were works done in paint, ink, pencil, mixed media, oil, and even markers. It was fascinating to see the various mediums and the creative way in which they were used.

There was an exhibit by an artist that honored women who had served and made a difference during World War II and the Holocaust. I learned about so many brave women who stepped up, risked their lives, and changed history by their efforts. Just incredible.

I think my favorite part was all the statutes. There was such a variety of materials used to create them: bronze, wood, steel, plaster, and even drill bits! Such beauty. Such creativity.







I thoroughly enjoyed the day and I think Dad did too!

What is the most fun thing you have done with or for your Dad for Father's Day?


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