April 19, 2017

Anne of Green Gables Is Coming!

Have you heard? Netflix is doing a remake of Anne of Green Gables (by LM Montgomery) and will be here on May 12. I just saw a trailer today and am so excited. I loved the old one, but this one looks fresh and funny.

The author has some fabulous lines in Anne of Green Gables.

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” 
“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
“Life is worth living as long as there's a laugh in it.” 
“I'm in the depths of despair!" 
“Red hair is my life long sorrow.”
“Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.”

Now here is a trailer for the new Anne of Green Gables.


Doesn't that look fun?

Have you read or seen Anne of Green Gables? What do you love about it?


April 16, 2017

Sunday Morning Hush

The air was still and the sun was just peeking over the horizon, bathing the sky in a lavender hue. She heaved a heavy sigh as she hugged her sack of spices to her chest, its pungent scent filling the air as they walked the dusty path.

The women with her were silent, which was a relief to her weary heart. What more could be said? He was dead. Their hopes and dreams dashed as his life gave way to death.

How would life ever be the same? How could she go on without the one who gave her such hope?

She stifled the sob that threatened to undo her. She must be strong like the other women. Though silent, none of them were wallowing in grief as she wanted to do. She kept her head down, eyes on the path in front of her.

They neared the tomb and she finally looked up. The stone! Someone had rolled the stone away! Lurching ahead of the women, she ran to the tomb.

Who would steal her Lord? Who would dare?

Heart hammering in her chest, she stopped at the opening of the tomb, dust billowing all around her, making it hard to see. She stepped forward, then gasped.

He was gone, just as she feared.

She was jostled further in as the other women strained to see as well. Their cries of anguish filled her ears and she tried to make sense of the empty tomb.

A shift in the shadows to the right sent a shiver down her spine. She looked and suddenly a man in a white robe, gleaming in radiance appeared, sitting to the right of where the body should be.

They all cried out and sank to their knees in fear.

"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you."

Just as suddenly as he appeared, the man disappeared from their sight. No one moved, and all was silent except for their labored breathing. She looked around at the faces of the women around her, their eyes wide, just as hers probably were.

He has risen!

A smile stole across her face. He has risen. She put her hands to her face, her grin unstoppable.

He was alive!

"Come on! Let's go tell the disciples!" She grabbed the hand of one of the women, pulling her from the tomb. "What good news we have to share. He is alive!"

She laughed, her heart full. Her hope restored.

Jesus is alive, the Giver of hope, the Teacher of all wisdom, the Bestower of peace. 

Have a blessed Easter.



April 05, 2017

Bat Appreciation Week

Did you know it was Bat Appreciation Week? I didn't. In some ways, I wish I didn't know, but as one of God's creatures, I suppose we should appreciate them at some point. So here are a few bat facts:

  • Bats are the only mammals that are capable of true flight.
  • Bats make up a quarter of all mammals.
  • They have 1 pup a year.
  • They can live up to 30 years. 
  • They can eat 1,200 mosquitos in 1 hour. 
  • They can live anywhere except polar regions and desert areas.

Did you know you can even Adopt A Bat?

Yeah, I don't want to either.

Happy Wednesday!




photo by jochemy @pixabay

April 03, 2017

The One Who Sees

Jesus was traveling through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem - the place where he would give up his life. He knew the plan and was focused on it.

But He looked up.

He looked up and saw Zacchaeus high in a tree.

Zacchaeus expected to be ignored. He usually was. It is ironic that the name Zacchaeus means innocent or pure. He was anything but innocent. He was a tax collector. A wealthy tax collector who most likely gained his wealth by extortion. No, he was not innocent by any stretch of the imagination. He was considered a bad man and was ignored.

Being a short man, he climbed the tree to see over the crowds while Jesus passed. In the branches of the tree, he would be hidden. He would be camouflaged. He could perch in the tree, get a good view of Jesus, and be hidden from those who would turn their backs on him.

But Jesus is the One who sees.

Jesus knows who we are and our value. He offers mercy and we won't find it in the trees we hide in.

Even though he was journeying to the cross, Jesus took the time to look up and see someone in need. Someone whose heart was open and receptive to His love.

The presence of Jesus changed Zacchaeus and He can change us too. His presence changes our mission in life.

His love becomes the heart of everything we say and do when we look up and see those in need around us.

Just like Jesus.

***Based on the John Ketchersid's sermon on 4/2/2017



Photo by Josch13 at Pixabay

February 27, 2017

Embracing the Holy Moment of Community

Photo by kyrasarin@pixabay.com
You know those times when you have planned, studied and prayed about a certain event and then God interrupts?

It's when our best-laid plans get derailed and sent to a better destination.

It's a holy moment.

That's what happened yesterday in our Ladies' Bible Study Class. We were going through the chapter, answering questions, and sharing our experiences with one another.

And then one sweet woman shared her struggle with being strong in a difficult season. We listened. We asked questions. We encouraged. We passed Kleenex. We hugged. And we prayed.

We experienced life in community.

God doesn't promise us an easy life and every one of us experiences difficult times. But so often we put on a smile and say we are fine. We're good, we say, when inside we are hurting...discouraged...depressed. We wear masks. We hide behind a smile. We keep it all to ourselves.

But life lived in emotional isolation is not part of God's plan for us. Even Jesus had his circle of companions and modeled the art of friendship.

We need friends we can share with. We need people we can be real with. For when we are transparent, others are enabled to be genuine and free.

So when you are planning out your next event or study or whatever...allow room for God to interrupt.

Embrace the holy moment.



January 16, 2017

How to Thrive

Thrive is my One Word for 2017, but how do I go about thriving in all areas of my life? We all know how to make plants grow and thrive. Plant in soil, fertilize, water, and make sure the plants gets sunlight. But how do we make ourselves grow and thrive?

Psalm 1 from The Voice says:

God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn:    when you don’t follow the advice of those who delight in wicked schemes,When you avoid sin’s highway,    when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse.For you, the Eternal’s Word is your happiness.    It is your focus—from dusk to dawn.You are like a tree,    planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry.Your fruit ripens in its time;    your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun.No matter what you do, you prosper.

In order to thrive, there is something to AVOID. We all know we should flee from temptation, but we usually think of that murder, adultery, stealing, etc. It is saying here avoid sin's highway. Judgement and sarcasm. What? I have loved sarcasm because it uses irony and is a play on words, but really it is just a form of mockery and contempt. What about judgement? How many times do we talk bad about others, adding "Bless their heart" to make it sound like we are concerned for their best interest. It's wrong. We need to avoid biting others with our words and even with our thoughts. Where our thoughts are, our tongues will follow.

In order to thrive, we need to plant ourselves near things that give life. Like the tree planted by water where its roots could grow deep and tap into the nourishment of the stream, we need to tap into things that nourishes us and helps us to grow strong and fruitful.

The prescription is for our focus to be on God's word, from morning until night. Our focus is on Him and the love He has for the world. This transforming book permeates all areas of our lives. It gives wisdom. It gives hope. It gives grace and mercy.

So what does this look like for me as I seek to thrive this year? Well, here are some practical things I am putting into place to aid me in my quest.

GROW:

  • Read scripture every day and try to journal a truth that God points out to me in my new Journaling Bible.
  • Blog 2 times a week about what God is teaching me about thriving and how I am growing in different areas. 
  • Read 2 books a month, whether it is for spiritual growth, for knowledge about writing, or to refresh myself with fiction.
  • I joined Weight Watchers and am trying to eat healthier. Maybe exercise will come into play later, but if I try too much, then I will give up on everything. Yes, I know this all-too-well.
  • Have people over for a meal and fun once a month...or every other month. 
  • I started having my nails done every 3 weeks. I've never had them done before, so it is my "treat".  I decided to gray naturally and not dye my hair, but I am going to have pretty nails. 
  • Try and get 8 hours of sleep every day. This is not always easy since I get up at 5 am, but I am going to try, as I find I tend to wear cranky pants if I am sleep deprived.
AVOID:
  • Grumbling and complaining. People don't like being around "Debbie Downers".
  • Bad company - this includes things I watch and things I read. 
  • Too many sweets. I know I will never be able to give them up, but I can limit them.
  • Laziness - I am not going to sit down when I get home from work until I have gotten my chores done. (Once I sit down after a long day at work, it is all over.)
  • Fear - fear that I am not doing enough; that I'm not good enough; that I am too old, etc
Part of me wants to erase everything I've just written. I've written down goals before and know the embarrassment and regret of not accomplishing those goals. But that is just fear of failure. I should keep trying. At least trying is doing something, right?

There you go: my plan on thriving. What is your plan for this year?



January 10, 2017

Without Rival...One of A Kind

I have been a member of Goodreads for awhile, but haven't really kept up with it. Since my word for the year is thrive, I decided to challenge myself to read 2 books a month for a total of 24 books this year. I will also track my progress through Goodreads (HERE) to keep myself accountable, as well as keep a running list of the books I read.

Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, is the first book on my list. The first half of this book was really good and talked about identity and purpose of women. We are loved uniquely, because we are one of a kind, created uniquely by God for a unique purpose. To me, this message was just what I needed and worth the money spent...even if the last half of the book lagged a bit.

It's so easy to get caught up in the comparison game on social media to where your value comes from how many likes you get. Well, that is just crazy. Our worth comes from our Creator. We are made to give Him glory and seek His approval, not the approval of man. Yes, social media is a way to encourage others and share God's message, but we need to be careful not compare our gifts with the gifts of other people. Our gifts are to share, regardless of the talents of others.

And yes, I am preaching to me.

Why am I preaching to myself? Because I want to thrive in the gifts that God has given me and not shy away from sharing just because I think there are millions out there better than me. Of course there are people better than me! But that doesn't mean I shouldn't share what God has put on my heart to give. I need to be brave and surrender to His will for me. (You see how God uses my past year's words to speak???) I need to step out in faith in what God is leading me to do.

We all need to quit thinking we don't have anything to offer to the world. Because we are uniquely created by an amazing God, we have gifts to share with those around us that nobody else has. You are one of kind and the things you do aren't like what anyone else can do. You have something to offer. Are you willing to share?

You should.

You are one of a kind. You are without rival.

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