His Voice

 

This is the last day of writing for 31 days straight!  The last prompt is “only” and I think about if only I had not accepted this challenge.  This past month has opened my eyes to the fact I can write without lamenting for hours on the perfect piece.  I can write from the heart and feel good about my message.  I hope you have enjoyed it too. I will be taking a small hiatus and will be back to my blog soon.  Thank you for indulging and supporting me in my writings.  Blessings!

//I looked out at the audience and shuttered.  I was holding my breath and praying my legs did not buckle.   I had been asked by my church to give my testimony to thousands of people over four services.  The church staff thought my story, about my relationship with God and our church after my husband’s passing, would be hope for others in their grief journey.  I had doubts.

If only I had practiced more.  If only I was not shaking.  If only I had more confidence.  If only.

I took a deep breath and prayed a silent plea, “Lord help me” and came out on stage to thunderous applause.  The lighting was in my eyes so I could never see the audience, but I could hear them.  The words flowed from my mouth uncontrollably.  I answered the questions confidently and shared my testimony.  And it quickly ended with a huge sigh of relief and accomplishment.  Now only three more times!

It was not me up on the stage speaking; it was God using me to communicate His story in my life.  I give Him the glory of the experience.  If I had succumbed to the “only’s” I would not have been able to share and let others following a similar path know they are not alone.  This is what God wanted me to share; if we turn to Him ONLY, He will never leave us.//

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?”-Romans 8:31

Taming The Tongue

 

The prompt today is “cut”.  I have chosen to “cut” the distractions out of my life which steals my joy and peace.  I am so thankful for God guiding me in this needed action.  Blessings!


//No more. I made my list of items and actions which needed to be removed from my life.  I could no longer continue with the toxic emotions inside of me when something made me angry.  And lately, it seemed everything made me mad.  It was time to cut and purge the negativity.

I loved to argue and have the last word.  In hindsight, I bet I was obnoxious at times when I felt I had to prove my point.  Years of living with this mentality wore me out and I could no longer thrive in this manner. One of the items for review was my interaction on social media.  So many of my “friends” would post completely ridiculous arguments and statements and I felt I NEEDED to respond. Nope.  I made the decision I would only post uplifting and encouraging items on my pages.  I would not fall into the negative trap of arguing and offering up snarky comments.

When I feel like snapping at someone, I give it to God.  I do feel a peace come over me and the anger subsides.  Spending time daily with Him has helped me immensely in this area.  I am learning to prioritize the important life happenings and not dwell on trivial and petty items.

I have learned to cut out the extra anxiety around circumstances which I have no control over.  This is what is beautiful about God and His plan.  He knows what is happening now and in the future so I will let Him handle it and I will live to honor and worship Him.//

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”-Proverbs 15:1-NIV

The Firsts

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The prompt for today is “date”.  The picture depicts a date between two people, but I wrote this before the picture was available.  As you read, I wrote about “date” differently.  Blessings!

//I remember dreading the “firsts” after my husband died.  In the initial year, as a significant date approached, I felt the ache in my heart, the uneasiness in my stomach, and a thousand thoughts flying around in my head.  I would take deep breaths and clear my mind because I was so fearful of the unknown.   The first date was his birthday, then our anniversary, kid’s birthdays, and then the holidays.

The good news is I survived.  But the anguish up to a particular date was the worst.  It was not the actual day, but the anticipation of the date.  I believe it is all a process and is something which has to be experienced by the individual during their grief journey.  When my pain became so unbearable, I would press into God for comfort and strength.

All of my “firsts” were stepping stones to equip me with patience, empathy, tolerance, and spiritual strength allowing me to support others in their grief journeys.  My losses ride along with me like baggage and move through this life as part of my journey.

I thank God for putting all the right people in my path the first couple of years  to support my kids and me as we experienced our “first” dates.  I like to share my story so others who have suffered a loss can turn to God and find hope and strength in His love.//

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”-Isaiah 40:31

Budget Foodie

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Today’s prompt is “eat.” My mouth is watering right now as I imagine some smoked brisket, hearty gumbo, or a ginormous pizza.  But I digress and instead will share my thoughts around food and family.

//Food.  God did it perfect when He blessed us with this delicacy.  I could be referred to as a “foodie” because  I love to try new recipes, restaurants, and flavors.  But I am definitely a “foodie” on a budget.  So we cook A LOT.

I love fresh ingredients and watching the cooking channels to learn new concepts, mixtures of flavors, and of course, PRESENTATION!  Who does not like a pretty plate of food?

When I sit down to a meal, I love to take a big bite and savor the taste.  Another big part of eating for our family is sitting down together.  Most of the enjoyment of a good meal is the company.  Presently it is three of us for dinner, and it is a great way to take a break from the hectic world (even if it is only thirty minutes) to say grace, enjoy the food, and connect with one another.

Eating together is not only nourishment for the body but it is also nourishment for the soul.  We will talk about current events, our busy agendas, and funny experiences which happened to us when we are not together.  I remember growing up and mom generally had dinner ready on the table when dad came home and we sat down as a family to eat and talk.   It was a way to re-connect with each other, especially as we grew up and were involved in more outside activities.

It is such a simple gesture  but I believe family style eating is a way to build relationships and traditions to be passed on to the next generation.  It warms my heart to eat a big bowl of gumbo and re-connect with the ones I love.

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”-Acts 2:46-47

Beautiful Arrangement

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//Looking at the beautiful arrangement brought a huge smile to my face.  Who does not like fresh cut flowers?  The little bouquet was arranged perfectly to allow each flower to shine in its glory.  I wonder if God looks at us as a big beautiful bouquet.

I personally like an arrangement of different types, colors, and heights of flowers.  Each flower is unique and different from the other because of its color, petals, fragrance, and stamina.  Some cut flowers will last a week or so, others will wilt and shrivel up after a few days.

The human population is like a bouquet.  Each of us is unique and different from our color, stamina, height, and fragrance.  When gathered together in a group setting, we look as a beautiful as a floral arrangement.

I think God wants us to recognize how beautifully He has created us and when we work together how we complement one another.  I like being part of the arrangement which Jesus prunes and God admires us daily.//

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalms 139:14-NIV

Peacefully Disagree

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The prompt for today is “confront”.  It has taken many years to figure out the difference between confrontation and peaceful disagreement.

//In my younger years, I liked to boast my opinions and challenge those who did not think similar to me.  At work, I would challenge co-worker’s ideas and suggestions and list the many reasons why they would fail.  I would anticipate objections and have my rebuttals ready and able.

I had developed a reputation of not being flexible or a team player.  I enjoyed and thrived on confrontation.  I was and still am an extremely competitive person.  I learned some hard lessons in my early adulthood.

I have learned it is not about pushing my agenda, being right, or winning the argument.  I believe God has humbled me in certain situations and the discipline has made a lasting impression. He is in charge, not me.

Some of my inner circle may not agree, but I feel I have grown and mellowed.  I think in my current stage of life, I am looked upon more for wisdom, decision-making, and leadership.  I try to handle these particular requirements with grace and empathy and hope my family and friends see this in earnest.  My intent is to coach and not dominate others’ thoughts and opinions.

Confronting others is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is the way in which I approach it. I pray God directs me and guides me so I can be a blessing to others.//

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”-Ephesians 4:2-NIV

Exit Here

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The prompt for today is “sign.”  It would have been easy to write about signs I have received in my walk with God.  So I decided to share one of my “areas of opportunity.”  Blessings!

//One might describe me as directionally challenged.  Okay, I just heard my husband laugh.  Yes, I admit it.  Road signs and I don’t mesh.  I remember one of my first times driving from Houston to Dallas on I45, I was told to look for the BIG sign which said exit for DFW airport.  I saw it but figured there would be another exit after this one for those of us who were cautious in taking the first exit seen.

Driving to my parents’ house in Brenham from Grapevine Texas was always a story in the making.  Dad would generally ask me “Which way did you take this time?”  I was not lost, but chose a different scenic route each trip and guess what?  I always made it to their doorstep.

Not sure why I don’t do well with street signs either.  It is best to give me the visual landmarks such as “turn right at the McDonald’s and make a left once you pass the big purple shrub.”  I can guarantee I will be there pronto with no turnarounds.

I am so thankful for the legal U-turns.  Generally, there is a U-turn in most of my daily trips.  Inevitably, I pass up where I need to go and need to work my way back to my destination.  You know what?  There must be a lot more of us out there who drive similar, otherwise, why would they make so many legal U-turn options?  Things that make you go HMMMMMMM!//

Global Trot

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The prompt for today is “global”.  Sometimes it is hard to comprehend how big our world is and how we are such a small, but an important part, of God’s plan.  Blessings!

//I love to travel and explore new and exciting places.  There are so many countries I want to visit, I am afraid my life is not long enough (nor my wallet big enough) to accomplish this feat.  I want to experience other cultures, customs, and terrain to see what similarities we have in common.

Going global is also a way to experience God’s majestic beauty.  To see the diversity in the people, civilizations, and architecture continues to amaze me in how awesome is my God.  For Him to create so much beauty and uniqueness is beyond comprehension.  I want to emerge myself in learning and exploring this vast world and grow closer to Him.

In reality, there is no way I can accomplish my bucket list, but with technology, I can investigate and learn about some of the places which fascinate me.  A virtual global trek will be a good substitute for me and assist in expanding my traveling escapades.//

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”-Romans 1:20-NIV

Who I Am

 

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The prompt for today is “off”.  I have discovered if I try not to be who I was made to be, I feel off and discombobulated.  I am learning to embrace the real me and it is freeing!

My typical to do list looks something like this:

Milk

Pick up medicine

Check-in to Southwest

A Man Called Ove (for book club)

Dentist appointment @ 3PM

I admit it, I am a planner.  My family makes fun of me, but if I don’t make lists to organize my thoughts, delegate job responsibilities, and plan menus for holiday gatherings, I am at a loss.  To be specific, I am off my game.  I wish I could be spontaneous and jump in the car with my sunglasses and a smile and not know where I am going or what I am doing.  Sigh, it is not who I am.

I am in the zone if I have my to-do-list and arrive early for my appointments.  I have the ultimate purse stocked with any items which could be potentially needed.  In my “bag of tricks,” you can find a band-aid, ponytail holder, gum, snack, coupons, fingernail file, or the basic montage of medicines. If I am going to a nice dinner and need to carry a daintier bag, it takes me a while to figure out what I can leave behind, even if it is for only a few hours.

When I go to a sporting event, I carry an additional bag full of suntan lotion, reading material (between games or halftime), extra water, and bug spray.  I also make sure the teams have drinks and snacks so they can be on their A-game during competition.

Sometimes I grumble how my family turns to me to plan everything.  I sometimes wish someone else will pick up the slack, but alas, it is who I am.  I can’t turn off how God made me.  Blessings!

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”-Psalms 139:14 NIV

 

Nature Calls

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The prompt today is “park.”  I love the outdoors and have a magnificent recollection of the many hours spent in parks with the people I love.  Blessings!

//I have fond memories of visiting the park with my children.  When they were little, we could walk to the park and they would swing, slide, laugh, and play with others.  I loved watching them enjoy themselves and the added bonus of being exhausted when we returned home.  There is something magical about being outdoors and hearing the giggles, screams,  and laughter of children as they play.

When we moved from Texas to Louisiana, going to the park took on a whole different meaning.  The beauty of the swampy areas, huge cypress, and oak trees draped in moss, and the wildlife!  I have seen everything from alligators to snakes in the state parks in our area.  I love to watch the critters exist and survive in their natural habitat.

I can see why people love to take professional pictures with the beautiful, natural, scenery of the huge trees and the lush green background.  When I am outside and walking around a park, I feel closer to God.  I notice the tiny details of the wildflowers with the bees buzzing around them to the vast trails which will take me on exciting adventures.  I notice the large birds flying overhead to the slithering snakes in the grass and how they  all exist in perfect harmony on this beautiful day.   I am in awe He has made such beauty on this earth and I am so blessed to be able to soak it up in through my eyes, nose,  and ears and tuck it away in my brain and heart.

I feel a little giddy in imagining heaven will be the most beautiful park created.  I look forward to exploring the heavenly park with my Father for eternity.//

“And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’  And it was so.  God called the dry ground “land,’ and the gathered waters He called ‘seas.’  And God saw that it was good.”-Genesis 1:9-10-NIV