4/12/21

LETTING GO OF MY DISAPPOINTMENT


It was a beautiful day today, and my daughter suggested an outing to Franklin Park, with a quick stop at Chapman DeMary Trail on the way home. 

For the first time in a long while, I felt inspired to take my camera along, instead of just my cell phone.

Once home, I eagerly downloaded the 60 plus photos I'd taken to my computer, and was in the process of editing them when the mouse froze. Unable to get it moving again, or escape from the program, I rebooted the computer.

Imagine my dismay when I went back to PHOTOS to continue editing, and discovered that all the pictures, except these six which had already been edited, were gone. Where? I have no idea. Unfortunately, they had already been deleted from my camera as well. 
























There were a couple of "beauty in the eye of the beholder" type shots that I am most disappointed to have lost. One of them I was in the process of editing when the mouse froze. But I won't lose the memory of precious time spent outdoors with a loving, thoughtful daughter, who is one of my greatest blessings.

4/5/21

BEFORE, AFTER, AND IN BETWEEN


In the early spring of 2013, a pair of ravens flew into town and built a nest near the top of the water tower across from my balcony.


Before long, there were three little fledglings learning how to fly, and the many shots I took of them in the weeks that followed became the inspiration for my first children's picture
book, THE WATER TOWER RAVENS.


Every spring for the next five years, I looked forward to seeing the new brood, but that fifth year I missed them because I was in the hospital. When I came home, an unexpected sight greeted me--a strange looking structure behind the water tower, which I was told was a temporary cell tower.


The fledglings, now grown, were out and about, and a crew of men were prepping the water tower for renovations and a long overdue paint job. I watched them dismantle antennas and move them over to their temporary quarters. Watching those workers suspended so high was an amazing sight. (If you are interested in seeing pictures of the process, you can click here--Sprucing Up The Tower.)  

The following spring, when it was time for a new brood, the ravens built a nest in a corner of the temporary tower, and I learned some important lessons, which I posted about in Lessons from the Ravens. Not only was it more spacious and sheltered than the spot where their original nest had been, but the secluded area below it was a safer place for the fledglings to land on when learning to fly than the road below the water tower had been.

Here they stayed for two more breeding seasons, until the work on the water tower had been completed and it was time to move the antennas back. 

Unawares that they were about to be evicted once again, the ravens seemed unperturbed. They watched the goings on from a safe distance during the day, and settled back into their corner for the night once the workers were gone.























After the antennas had all been moved, there was an almost two month hiatus before the workers returned to dismantle the temporary tower. I had been keeping careful vigil so as not to miss the event, but the top was removed the one day I was out. I hear it was lifted off in one piece. What a great shot that would have been, and I was so disappointed to have missed it. I did, however, make it back home in time to see the rest of the tower being taken apart section by section.


























The ravens had very short notice to find a new place to lay their eggs, but they must have, because it was suddenly very quiet. Given a little more time, they probably would have built a nest on the water tower again. I really miss them. 

3/29/21

14 YEARS OF RANDOM THOUGHTS

I'm a mom, grandma, and great-granny, who enjoys
encouraging others by sharing the message of 
God's love for them, as well as the awesome ways 
He has worked in my life. Despite my age, I am
still a work in progress.

That was how I introduced myself 14 years ago when I ventured into blogland with high hopes of bringing a little sunshine into the lives of my readers. Fourteen years! How fast they have flown by. 

As I tried to come up with a special anniversary post, all that came to mind were questions. Has anyone actually been encouraged by something I wrote?  Have any of my words been of any consequence in the eternal scheme of things? 

This then is not an original post. It's a slightly modified version of something I wrote several years ago, something I hoped would make a meaningful difference in someone's life. My prayer is that it really did do that back then, and that it will do so again.

-----------------------

When I was young, I dreamed of falling in love and getting married to someone I would grow old with. I dreamed of having a close-knit family that enjoyed each other's company and did things together. And I did fall in love and get married and have a family, but my husband and I did not grow old together, and the many mistakes I made as a single mom pretty much killed any chance for the strong, bonded family I had yearned for.

After my husband's untimely death, I went on a search for roots and purpose that led me to become heavily involved in New Age and occult doctrines. Astrology, metaphysics, and the concept of karma and reincarnation, seemed to provide answers  to everything that had heretofore eluded me. I embraced these new ideologies with a passion, eventually becoming a published numerologist sought out for my expertise. For the first time ever, I felt significant and fulfilled.  

How I got from there to here is not really what this post is about.  If you are interested in that part, you can check out the My Testimony link on my sidebar or click here.  This post is about how my vulnerability led to my believing a lie, and how that led to my misleading other people and getting them to buy into that lie as well. It was never my intent to deceive anyone. I was just sincerely wrong.
The past cannot be undone, but my heart's desire is for this post to reach at least one person living under the same kind of deception I was back then, and help them see the light. 

If I were to see you headed towards some imminent danger, such as a gaping hole in the sidewalk ahead of you, it would be unconscionable of me not to warn you of what lay ahead, and I would not hesitate to do so--even yanking you aside if necessary.  So why the hesitation when the danger is spiritual, and therefore invisible?  I guess, in my case, it's fear of rejection, of being judged, all the things I struggled with at the beginning of my life, but I know that I can't let those things stop me any longer.  There's too much at stake.

Don't be deceived, as I was, into thinking that there are many paths to God, or that we get to Heaven by being 'good.'  Although we were created to have fellowship with God, Adam and Eve's sin caused us to be born into a fallen world.   The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," and "The wages of sin is death."  Because of sin there is a great gulf that separates us from God, and there is no way we can cross it through our own efforts.  There is only one path that can lead us to eternal life, and that is Jesus, "the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through [Him]" (John 14:6).

The good news is that "God so loved the world (you and me included) that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).  In fact, God loves you so much that even if you were the only person on this Earth, He would still have sent Jesus to die for your sins so you could be set free.

This gift of salvation that is being handed to you can only be received by grace, through faith.  It cannot be earned by good works (Ephesians 2:8-9).  And as much as it is not God's will for anyone to perish, He will not impose His will on you or force you to accept it.  The choice is yours.

Jesus stands at the door of your heart, knocking and waiting for you to answer (Revelation 3:20).  I pray that you would open the door before it is too late, and accept His invitation to enter your life, forgive your sins, and make you a new creation.

3/6/21

GREEN

        This post was written for Five Minute Friday 
                                           Word prompt--GREEN 
                                           Five minutes to free write about it 
                                                 -----------------------

Green is my granddaughter's favorite color

Green is the color of spring

Green makes me think of hope and new beginnings

Green is the color commonly attributed to frogs (although not all frogs are green)

Kermit didn't think it was easy being Green

3/2/21

FEELING PERPLEXED


When the temperature outside is in the sixties or seventies, it feels almost balmy to me, and I would never think of wearing a jacket. A sweatshirt or long sleeves, perhaps, but nothing more than that.

So why does it feel different indoors? Or am I the only one who has this perplexing experience?

About a week ago my heat pump had to be replaced.










There was quite a bit of soldering that needed to be done, and we had to turn on all the fans and open my balcony door in order to get rid of the fumes.




Although it was cold outside, the temperature in my apartment only went down to 62 degrees, and yet I felt so chilled, I wound up working in my winter jacket and cap. 

(The mask was only because there were people in the apartment, and it was required protocol.)

2/27/21

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?

This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--ENABLE 
Five minutes to free write about it.
------------------------

Eons ago when computers first came into being, I worked as a programmer on a large IBM 360/20 that required a whole room to stand in. I loved my job and wished they made a computer small enough to have at home.

Who would have thought that down the pike not only would we have desktops and laptops, but with the advent of cell phones, a computer small enough to fit in one's pocket?

Technology has made some pretty incredible advances, for which I am truly thankful--especially during this pandemic. Thanks to Zoom, I can have face to face contact with family and friends, continue to participate in groups I used to be a part of before isolation, and even have in-person telemed visits with my doctor. 

As for Livestream, I am grateful beyond words for the doors it has opened for me. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine there would come a day when distance would no longer be a barrier, and I would be able to attend live church services, concerts, graduations, or any other event around the globe, in the comfort of my own home.  Who would have thought?

2/12/21

ONCE


This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--ONCE 
Five minutes to free write about it.
------------------------

I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see...

These words from Amazing Grace by John Newton popped into my mind the moment I saw this week's FMF prompt. They are the story of my life.

Throughout my early years I felt a desperate need to feel significant, and after my husband's untimely death, went on a search for roots and purpose that led me to become steeped in New Age and occult doctrines. My vulnerability led me to believe in a lie that I persuaded others to believe in as well. But the LORD, in His infinite mercy, did not leave me there.

At a time when I was convinced that I had all the answers and was no longer seeking, He used a very improbable journey to rescue me from out of the darkness and lead me into the light.

1/29/21

BY DESIGN

This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--DESIGN 
Five minutes to free write about it.
---------------------------

Maybe the timing of when Carol Kent's book, When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakeable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances crossed my radar wasn't so good, or maybe it was perfect. 

Since the beginning of the year I have been battling fear, and listening to this audio book brought feelings to the surface I didn't want to face. Hearing how God turned what seemed like the worst, most unthinkable thing that could happen to someone into an amazing ministry gave perspective as to why He allowed it to occur, but it was not comforting. 

I know each one of us has been created, by design, for a special purpose in God's plan. That this tiny blip of time spent in our earthly bodies cannot compare to eternal life with Jesus where there will be no more death, or sorrow, or tears (Revelation 21:4). However, I have such an irrational fear of physical pain, becoming incapacitated, and/or being a burden to my family, that it can blind me to anything else. This kind of fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7).

If I really trust God as much as I think I do, why the struggle to relinquish control? And if I truly believe His promise to never leave me or forsake me (e.g. Joshua 1:9; Psalm 23:4; Isaiah 41:10,13; Isaiah 43:2), why should I be afraid of where He might be leading me? Especially since He has proved Himself over and over again in my life, always being there for me, always taking care of me, no matter how dark the valley.

These are the things I need to focus on. His goodness, His faithfulness, His unconditional love, and that He never gives up on me.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the
strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:26 ESV)

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I
shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will
be a light to me.
(Micah 7:8)



1/15/21

FRESH

This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--FRESH 
Five minutes to free write about it.
-----------------------------
There's nothing like catching sight of the rising sun ushering in a new day -- a blank page to write on -- a fresh chance to get it right. Gloomy thoughts gave way to praise as the masterpiece unfolded. Despair turned into hope.

















But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; 
his mercies never come to an end; they are new
every morning; great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:21-23 ESV)

1/3/21

QUIETING MY ANXIOUS THOUGHTS

Welcoming in a new year and the opportunity for a fresh start is something I've always looked forward to. On this New Year's Eve, however, hopeful anticipation was replaced by guilt over my many blessings, apprehension that things had been good for too long and were about to change, and an irrational fear that 2021 was going to be a stormy year of tests and tribulations.

But then, God...

My very first devotion of the year, Unchartered Waters (in Our Daily Bread), addressed my fears with a reminder that even though none of us knows the future or what storms it may hold, whatever we face, God will be with us, and He has the power to calm the waves.

Later, I decided to listen to a sermon from a series I've been listening to, and the one that came up was a message by Pastor Gary Hamrick of Cornerstone Chapel, entitled Don't Be Afraid. No coincidence here. After quoting several verses found in Isaiah, chapters 41-43 that confirmed the message from my devotional, he ended with a powerful acronym: 

F -- (My) Father
E -- Eternal
A -- Almighty
R -- Reigns