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WORTH – Is Blogging Really Worth It?

16 Jun

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Is blogging really worth all the time I put into it, or don’t put into it?  That’s a question I have pondered many times.

I sit here and think why am I really here.  I started during some on-line Bible studies with Proverbs 31.Org because they had a weekly blog hop, and I loved writing about what I was learning.  At some point they did away with the weekly blog hop, and I continued to blog about life and studies and recipes and joined other hops like this one.

I have dreams of one day writing a children’s book.  I even have a few words written, but the subject I was writing about died, and so did those dreams.  I know that a book may never happen now with the busyness of life, and it has been hard to even think about writing because of the loss.

I don’t know how bloggers do it all.  Honestly I see so many in business, having books published and sometimes I feel so far behind.  I have occasionally wished I was as far along, because a woman in her mid sixties is thinking how much more time will I be able to continue.  But it is in these times I hear the Lord whisper to me and I know I am exactly where He planned for me to be, and this is all in His timing, not mine.

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TODAY I know why I continue to blog.  It’s not about me.  It’s not about fame.  It’s not about publishing a book.  It’s not about followers.  It’s all about Him.  It’s about me becoming to know and love Him more.  It’s an audience of one even if no one else ever clicks on my posts.  It’s about leaving a legacy so my kids, grandkids and future generations know a little more about who I am or was, and a whole lot more about Him.  It’s about maybe touching one heart here and there.  It’s about my friends and family coming to visit (maybe), and just perhaps they will receive a little encouragement exactly when they need it.

It is ALL about my my Lord.  It’s not about me, and where I want to be.  It’s why I blog and continue even in those drought times when the words don’t come.  I come here, open my laptop, and hope the words that He would have me share will come to life and touch my heart and others.

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May my story be HIS story!  Not unto me Lord, but unto you!

YES, YES, YES blogging really is WORTH it!

Welcome to Five-Minute Friday #FMF.  This week’s prompt provided by our host, Kate Motaung is worth.  This is a free-write – not editing, no over-thinking, just write for five minutes.

Thank you Kate Motaung.  Your prompts make it so much easier to blog.

 

 

 

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EXPECT MIRACLES- Five-Minute Friday

9 Jun

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Canva image – jill111cco

Joining Kate Matoung today with the Five-Minute Friday #FMF Girls, and the word is EXPECT.  We write for five minutes without editing and stop.

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Do you believe in miracles?  I do!   As I look at birth and all it entails, how can I not?

I’ve seen miracles over and over.  I am a miracle, and you are too.  Sometimes our God, though, chooses to show off big, and I have had the honor of watching Him do that in my family over and over.

You see for years I walked through miscarriages.  I was able to get pregnant, but just could not seem to carry a baby.  It took us ten years of marriage to finally have our miracle baby boy through toxemia, c-section because he was coming bottom first, and then later a baby girl who came nine weeks early because of toxemia and pre-eclampsia and she and I almost died.  You can read more about that here.

God always has a perfect plan doesn’t He.  We were so blessed to have the children He chose for us, and would go through that pain again to know how it would end up today.  But both our children and their spouses have walked through even more pain then we did.   Both have experienced infertility, a child born with a horrible disease, and miscarriages.

It is all because of this that we have watched God work His miracles.  Our 3-year old grandson has a horrible disease called EB, but God has chosen to lighten that disease for him.  He doesn’t go thru the pain that other children and adults are.  He has some issues, but we praise God they are light.  You can read more about that horrible disease here.

If you had asked us over a year ago about having grandchildren other than the two we had, we would have told you we were praying.  We were as the kids suffered miscarriage after miscarriage or especially our son and his wife.  One day last summer I prayed as I never had prayed.   Both girls were pregnant and we had all suffered so much.  I walked through this house in tears and actually bawling, reminding God of His promises.  In March He blessed us with twin grandsons and a granddaughter all who are now three-months old and smiling and talking jabber to us.  You can read more about our three grandchildren and our prayers here.

This year has been a wonderful year just as we expected.   We are so very thankful that with God all things truly are possible.

I am not sure why God has chosen pregnancy in our family to show us His love and power, but truly we continued to believe even when there was no hope that God would show His power, and He did.

I expected the year 2017 to be a great one, and it has been more than great.  We were expecting three grandchildren in March, and all of them arrived in time – twin boys and a little girl.  We now have five grandchildren – 4 boys and 1 girl

We have not been disappointed.  They are all three-months old and as I hold them and feed them they all stop sucking that bottle, look up at me, and smile and jabber.

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For these little ones we prayed as their Moms walked through trials of infertility and/or miscarriage.  It was a very long journey that I prayed and prayed would one day end in grandchildren.

Remember all He has done.   Give thanks for all the miracles you see each day.

 

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FUTURE (Five-Minute Friday)

2 Jun

It’s time for Five-Minute Friday.  That means no edits, set the timer and go. Today’s prompt is Future, and let’s see where this goes in five minutes.

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I am not sure what my future holds, but God does, and I have learned to trust Him in the bad times and the good.   You know the Bible reminds us that tomorrow is not promised (Proverbs 27:1) so I am making the most of every single day.   I will be turning 67 next week.  It seems impossible.  I still feel like that little nineteen year old girl that married her high-school sweetheart.  This August we will be celebrating our 47th anniversary.  The days are going so very fast.

When I retired five years ago I was not sure of my future.  Still not really.  At that time I had spent a career working for the Department of Defense for over 43 years right out of high school working my way up through the ranks as a female in a male world, finished college right after my daughter.  Mom was still alive so I was spending a lot of time with her at the nursing home.  I also became involved in on-line Bible studies becoming a leader, then I became a substitute teacher (both dreams I had had of leading women and being in the public school system to show Christ to students). Mom died in February one year, our dog died on Mother’s Day, and then in August our first grandson was born with a horrible disease.  It was a tough year, but because I had retired and was spending so much time in the Word and in prayer that helped me get through it all.

I’ve raised two children who are in their thirties, and we now have five grandchildren (3 of which were born this March).  Our kids live close so we get to see them a lot. In fact some weeks I see them most days.   Next week I’ll be keeping the twins four days so life is busy.

What does my future hold?  I have no clue, but the more I study my Bible and participate in studies, I know my future holds more of Him and less of me.  My one word for 2017 is intentional.  I wrote about that here.  I have been very busy this year with school and family and overjoyed to do all that I am able to do – blessed with good health to do it all.

My prayer for my future is that God will allow my husband and I  to see these grandkids grow up, and that we will be healthy enough to continue to do things with our adult children and grandkids, as well as continue to be able to write and participate in my Bible studies to reach others to Christ.

I read something today that I want to remember and be reminded of.  Coach John Wooden shared a 7-point creed his dad (Joshua Wooden) wrote and gave him and his brothers when they graduated from elementary school.   Here are those points which I believe would benefit each of us in our future, and they go so well with my one word – intentional for 2017:

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Make each day your masterpiece.
  • Help others
  • Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  • Make friendship a fine art.
  • Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  • Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

May every day be a masterpiece, giving thanks, being true, helping others, drinking deeply of good books and my Bible, making friendships like fine art, and building a shelter for when those rainy days come.

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Listen, Love, Repeat – Week 3 – Chapter 5 – My Bible Study Notes

26 May

CHAPTER 5 – THE SICK AT HEART – What To Say or Do When You Don’t Know What to Say Or Do

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Do you rejoice with those who rejoice or weep with those who weep?  I know I do.  I think sometimes in this modern society of ours we want to keep up with the neighbors.  We can be envious of what others have.  I can honestly say that, for me personally, God has stripped all that.  I don’t have to have the best shoes, the best purses, the best clothes, house, or car.  I have learned that to be the best that I can be that can only be obtained by spending time in His Word and learning to be more like Him.

Jesus shared in others sorrow.  He weeped with those who weeped.  Karen shared how a german lady at church had often said to her, “A sorrow shared is but half a trouble, but joy that’s shared is a joy made double.”  My husband quotes something similar out of the Bible that I love.

My husband uses a similar phrase in weddings.  He says something like, “When a joy is shared it is doubled, but when a sorrow is shared it is halved.”  I see how true that is in life just watching our grandchildren together and all the joy, and when we lose a family member or friend how that sorrow is halved comforting each other.

Karen shared how it is sometimes hard to know what to say or do so she had reached out to blog readers to share what had helped them.  Here are a few:

  • Miscarriage – Good friends called and took them out to dinner.  It was the last thing they wanted to do, but they were picked up by their friends and when they laughed the friends laughed, when they cried the friends gently and lovingly held the and cried with them.
  • Grief – A friend shared Bible verses.

I went to a memorial last week and heard several times words that Karen reminded us not to say and that is, “If there is anything I can do, please let me know.”  A reader named Aimee wrote that during difficult times the last thing we have energy for is figuring out what we need.  Ever been there?  Sometimes we just feel helpless and we do not know what we need at that moment.  Karen says to “show up, take over a task, and allow the person to concentrate on what they need to.”

Just show up.  Do whatever.  I remember the night a nephew died.  We went.  My husband and I got in the kitchen and just washed dishes at my sister-in-laws house.  When my Mom would be in the hospital or after long days at work and then visits to the nursing home I would come home and my husband would have dinner fixed and waiting for me, and usually he had washed a load of clothes.  I remember driving one of my sisters to her first cancer treatment.  She didn’t need me to.  She said she was okay, but something inside me urged me to go and be with her.

Karen reminds us of a good friend, Tammy who says during different stages of grief and loss she didn’t need friends to throw out Bible verses, but rather friends who stopped by with compassion and grace with coffee or food or who sent a text message or card.  She even had friends who stopped by and decorated her Christmas tree.  Can you remember a time you didn’t want to decorate a tree?  I sure can, and how so very hard it was to make myself do it.

One other thing shared in this book was that sometimes we do not need to say anything at all, but just sit there and listen.

One scenario Karen shares that could so be me, and where I find myself sometimes thinking about ME.  “You would love nothing more this weekend than a quiet Saturday morning all to yourself.  But you know that a friend across town is living with the fallout of a recent divorce – and for her, the Saturday morning quiet is deafening.  Could you kidnap her for the morning, take her out for coffee and a muffin and engage in some heartfelt conversation?  It will not only encourage her, but you will be blessed as well.”  OUCH!  Not just a recently divorced, but how about someone who has recently lost a loved one?

Here are some things I’ve done recently:

  • Cooked a meal for Mom’s with a new baby.
  • Babysit while a new Mommy took a nap.
  • Picked up at toddler at Mother’s Day Out for that Mom didn’t have to load up her new babies.
  • Mowed the yard for a neighbor who was in the hospital.
  • Took a meal to a grieving family.
  • Sent a card to our pastor’s wife with a little money for coffee, and invited her to coffee.
  • Painted an older ladies fingernails and toenails.
  • Kept children for couples could have date nights (mainly our son and daughter), but do you know someone locally or in your church who does not have family here.  Perhaps they need a night out.
  • Offered to do laundry for someone with a new baby
  • Picked up groceries for a neighbor while I was grocery shopping and I knew they could not get out.
  • Visited a friend who lost his wife.  My hubby and I walk down and just sit on the porch with him and visit.  Several times I’ve baked a favorite casserole or dessert and took it over and we invited him and his daughter over for a New Year’s meal and recently homemade ice cream.

Here are some great ideas Karen shared to use when we interact with the sick at heart:

  • Give them space
  • Remember their loved one out loud
  • Invite them along
  • Etch important dates on your calendar.  Make plans to reach out during the holidays and other special dates.
  • Frame a favorite picture or put it on a Christmas ornament.

Show up, look for something to do, and do whatever you can.  Do what matters TODAY!

I’m joining Kate Matoung and the “FMF girls today and the word is visit.  Love how it goes along with this study.

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Listen, Love, Repeat – Week 2 – Chapters 3 and 4 – My Bible Study Notes

18 May

CHAPTER 3 – IT’S ABOUT TIME – Giving of Yourself    

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“Because our day planners are full of activity, our lives are often void of time spent loving other people so when someone does clear his or her schedule in order to make time for a loving gesture, the impact of the gift is magnified.”   Karen Ehman

It’s all about time.  It truly is as I look over my planner, and see how I  rush about doing things – some of them things that don’t really matter in the Kingdom.  I do see that most of those days on my calendar are full of keeping grandkids helping to mold them, to love them, to show them Jesus, and spending quality time with them.  Other things that fill up my calendar are housework, volunteer Bible study work, blogging and things I know matter in the Kingdom.

Joy is not found in accumulating stuff.  Joy is found loving others and giving of yourself.

We are a nation striving/working our rear ends off  to have it all – a big house or houses, a nice car or cars or trucks, a job that pays well, closest full of clothes (yes, I have three of my own), our kids involved in everything at school, and just on and on and on.   How do we put on or clothe ourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, meekness (gentleness) and long-suffering (patience)?  How do we change that mindset to echo the heart of our Lord?

Karen shared this quote by Charles Spurgeon:

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 But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.”  Psalm 31:14-15 (KJV)

Our time is truly in His hands.  What we do with our time here on earth is what matters.  Giving of ourself matters.

Karen shared how a friend drove several hours to her father-in-laws funeral.  Why did that matter?  Karen says because “it cost her something that is very dear to all of us these days time.  Have you stopped what you were doing to bless a life, touch a heart?

It’s hard sometimes with our schedules to stop and amend them, but amend we must if we are giving of ourselves.

Just this week I had kept my two-month old granddaughter and her 2 year old brother, and then picked up my 3 year old grandson.  I learned that day of a former supervisor who lost his 23-year old son, and well the memorial was that evening.  I pondered over going up there in the rush hour traffic – about an hour away and rushing to get dressed after the kids left leaving me only an hour and a half to shower, dress, and drive in whatever the traffic might send.

I decided to go, and my husband called and he was going to the hospital to visit a guy who worked for him who is dying – only 53 years old.  So rather than our normal doing things that matter as a couple, we parted in two different directions.

What a blessing to hear my former boss speak!  All though years I worked for him, I had not really known him and his love of God.   I sit there and listened to young men speak about not staying in touch and I sit there a little guilty because I am so busy and I have lost touch with some wonderful people I used to work with.  I am retired and as all my retired friends said that evening their calendars are full.  Mine is packed full of “good stuff” and some days there is not any wiggle room.

As I was leaving that evening and hugged Mr. Flowers goodbye, he said, “you will never know how much it means to me for you to come.”  I pray it truly was a gift to him to see so many of us there stopping our lives to touch his families hearts.

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Here are some ways that Karen shares how we can carry one another’s burden or just share our busy lives with others:

  • Check off something on their to-do list.  For me here are some simple things I’ve done. Right  now I pick up my toddler grandson from Mother’s Day Out, while my daughter-in-law is at home not having to load up twins to go pick him up, and sometimes the five grandkids might stay over for my daughter or daughter-in-law can pick up some groceries or take a nap.  It can be something like painting an older woman’s toenails/fingernails – yes my mother-in-law asked me last week, mowing a yard for a neighbor – especially one that is in the hospital or who has had surgery
  • Lighten a domestic load.  Show up with a few laundry baskets and kidnap laundry.  Do some housecleaning.  For me, I have gone over and allowed my daughter to work or clean while I watch the baby and toddler.
  • Spend a little of your time helping someone else save some of theirs.  Running errands can help a shut-in.  I use my shopping time to sometimes pick up things for my mother-in-law or the kids like trips to Costco.
  • Think in multiples of two.  Cook once.  Eat twice.  Karen suggests making a habit of doubling and freezing.  I am not good about that.  I did recently cook three meals at once to take my daughter and daughter-in-law when they both had three new babies in March a week apart.
  • Speak the powerful words of “me too”.   Karen quoted C. S. Lewis “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too?  I thought I was the only one.'”
  • Listen For Those Heart Drops and Respond.  Take inventory.  Live alert listening for heart drops.  Who is the Lord calling you to bless today?

Last year on my birthday I wrote about being a gift, and some random acts of kindness that I did on that day.  You can read about those ideas here.

In this chapter, Karen shares a story about a neighbor nine doors down.  It is sad.  She had seen a lady during her morning walks who would be out watering.  Karen would smile and say hi, and pop her headphones back  on, and keep walking.  One day she was driving home and saw flashing lights.  Her neighbor had died – no more waves and no more smiles.

That story resonated with me because I walk, but unless it is neighbors I know it’s hard for me to say anything much less hi, but my next walk I am going to see what happens.  Karen reminds us to give a “how are you” rather than a “hurried hi.”

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  Mark 12:31 (KJV)

“When God knocks on our hearts, we can knock on their doors.”  Karen Ehman

CHAPTER 4 – WHO MAKES YOUR DAY – Noticing The Necessary People   

This chapter teaches us how to show people we love them, and reminds us to love the necessary people – our mailman, school teachers, garbage men, hail stylist, grocery checker and sacker, etc..

One of my favorite paragraphs in this chapter reminds us who they are in God.  Karen said, “every day and every week, our lives naturally intersect with many people, all of whom bear the image of God.  When we look beyond ourselves-and beyond the flaws and quirks of others-we see God.  We have an opportunity not only to greet these necessary people face-to-face but to witness God’s very image in them.

WOW!  How often have I forgotten that when looking at others.  When I look at others do I see Jesus.  When others look at me, do they see Jesus.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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