What will you plant in your soul

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul”. ~ Thomas Merton

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Our days are filled with a series of moments and hours. Sometimes they fly by, sometimes they move slowly, and sometimes we want them to stand still. 1,440 minutes lie ahead of us, beginning at midnight. Some of that time is spent sleeping. The rest of those minutes can be full of promise, growth, learning, change, joy, tears, suffering, friendship, or even loneliness. Will we remember the roses, the thorns, the dewdrops on the roses, or the cardinal in the tree, in full song?

This week, I am determined to be hopeful. I do not want bitterness and fear to be planted in my soul; not today, and not ever. They need to be yanked out by the roots! I do not want poison and trauma to crowd out joy and hope. In order to plant joy and hope, I must be determined to view life through the lens of faith and optimism. Some days that seems like an impossible task. Some days we are whimpering pools of dashed hopes and dreams. But we must arise once again.

Remember Jesus falling repeatedly as He carried His cross to calvary? He got back up, each and every time. He is our example. We must prevail. If we try to prevail in our difficulties, our minds and hearts will get used to doing that. We will be stronger. With God’s promise, we are NEVER alone. Plant promise in your heart today. Hope and joy will be the result.You just watch and see.

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God Can Heal A Broken Heart, but He has to have all the pieces.

There are times in my life when it has felt like my heart did most definitely break. I know that is true for every single one of us. It can be hard to work through heartache and heartbreak. It takes time, and it is difficult to push through sorrow when you are quite certain that your heart may not recover.

difficultRoads

It is harder still to watch those we love go through heartache or hard times. You find yourself wishing you had a magic wand to make the sorrow and pain just go away. But there really are no wands for that. There is compassion. There is listening. There is prayer. God can heal our broken hearts, but we must give Him all of the pieces. If the person fights against the healing path, it is hard to hang in there.Giving Him all the pieces means to be willing to move on, it can mean the person must change. It can mean the person must forgive.

When I am lost or heartbroken I go to Him. sometimes I go reluctantly, or with shame. But I go. When I am full of fear and anxiety, I find myself saying “Lord, I am AFRAID, but I believe.” I know, I know…if we believe, why would we be afraid? For me, it is because my heart and head are out of synch! Circumstances that I am facing at the time might be scary, or sad, or even overwhelming. But I admit that to God, and tell Him that although I am having those human emotions that might be shaking me to my core, I still believe. I believe even though my logic and reason cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to resolve a situation, or how to determine what the right strategy may be, I know that HE knows.

Eventually, I release my cares to Him. I stop holding them tightly. Then I keep telling Him, EVERY time I am distraught or overwhelmed….I am OVERWHELMED….but I BELIEVE, Lord. You see, He knows our hearts, doesn’t He? His love endures, and He surrounds us. When we are going through a rough time, it feels as though it is taking forever. But, as our elders told us, “this, too shall pass.”

When we are downhearted, we must believe anyway. He told us “lo, I am with you always”. Yes, even on the rotten days. If a loved one is suffering, reach out to them. Reach out, even if they keep shutting you down.

Today and everyday, I challenge you to pray for the ones going through a hard time. Let’s try our best to connect with the ones who are suffering. Your hand extended to them may begin a chain of healing moments. Be patient. It takes time for the heartbroken to actively heal and make changes, if that is indicated.

I find myself returning to God and saying, “Oh, now I get it! If I had stopped running from you, and listened, I would have felt your peace flooding into my heart. I believe you will heal.” When I talk to God, it changes me. When I let Him change me, my soul sparkles.

As we move through these early days of January, I wish you a Sparkling soul and a heart filled with peace and hope.

 

 

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“If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view.”

I lift my eyes to the mountains from whence cometh my help

I lift my eyes to the mountains from whence cometh my help

Harvey Mackay wrote If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view.” Phoenix is completely surrounded by mountains. So as I drive about on any given day, those gorgeous mountains are right there. I might add to Mr. Mackay’s words that if you do not even notice the mountains, the gift of beauty and potential goals will completely elude you. Our days and nights are gifts to us all.

As we move through passages in our lives, it can get scary or it can be quite heady, can’t it? As we come around a curve after climbing a mountain, we fully expect a meadow and place to rest and enjoy the view. We expect to be able to say “Ah, that’s done. Now I can relax.” But, sometimes we have made it through THAT challenge, and now we are aware that there are so many more to deal with! It is kind of like that song we sang when we were kids (The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see). He finally gets over the mountain, and sees another mountain. The song then repeats, like a repeating decimal.

On days like that, we sometimes feel overwhelmed and feel like we cannot go on or do not want to go on. But, if we look around us, and back at the path we have just trod, we realize something. We can realize just how far we have traveled. That is a good thing. If we have handled that, we can handle more. God assures us of that, most definitely. But if you do not feel reassured by Him, there is another way to look at it.

Look at it the way we already look at both exercise, and achieving other goals—like fitness, or paying off debt bit by bit. You see, if you have made it up and down those treacherous paths to the new vista, you are strong. You are stronger than you were before that journey began. Since you survived that journey, and gained strength from it, you can handle the next challenge.

HandleTheJourneyPoster

If you do not yet feel excited about the next journey…tell yourself that you will be excited. As I tell my students, it’s just a bit of pre-game journeys. You have spent a lifetime preparing. You can do this. Take those first few steps.

What do you tell yourself when you are giving yourself a pep talk? What gets you going so that you take the next challenges and difficulties as guaranteed ways to give you strength and confidence if you just ‘give it a go’?

What challenges do you face today and this weekend? As for me, there are areas of my life where I need to have more faith in Him, and let go of my worries! Let’s carpe diem today and this weekend. A journey awaits each of us. We’ve GOT this.

i love to go a-wandering along the mountain paths, and as i go i love to sing, my backpack on my back

i love to go a-wandering along the mountain paths, and as i go i love to sing, my backpack on my back

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When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high

She looks as wiped out as I feel when i am swamped!

She looks as wiped out as I feel when i am swamped!

We all go through storms and glorious moments in our lives. Sometimes those moments are all in the same day. Sometimes we are going through so many different things in our lives ~ perhaps because of the stage of life we are in, that the weight of the burdens seems and feels downright crushing. It is hard, really hard, to hope in those times. It seems that every ounce of energy is used to just get through the day.

It is at those times that we sometimes forget to invite God into the fray with us. It is no wonder that our hearts and souls feel lonely. We get on that hamster exercise wheel and just go-go-go, don’t we? We end up depleted. We must plug in, plug into the source of all energy and love. He renews our strength. He sets our feet on high places. He restores our soul.

So if you are dealing with heartache, overwork, underwork, heartbreaking disappointment, or just plain too much (or too little) to do, plug into God. Feeling overwhelmed? Go ahead and cry out to Him. He will be there. He promised. Reach out to Him. Lately I have been feeling some heartache ~ but today I lifted my mind and heart to Him. I stopped trying to just be good old reliable me, taking care of business. I asked Him to “carry my bags” today. I told Him I need to detach from things a bit. By that I don’t mean to stop caring. Oh no, far from it. Instead, I asked Him to direct my priorities–and send His graces. I feel soothed already. How about that?

“The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of the pain, thanking God during the trials, trusting Him when we’re tempted to lose hope, and loving Him when He seems so distant and far away. At my lowest, God is my hope. At my darkest, God is my light. At my weakest, God is my strength. At my saddest, God is my comforter.”

So even in the figurative rain…..SING!

GeneKelly

 

 

 

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Gratitude

What fills you with gratitude today? Is it little tiny things? Is it a BIG answer to a prayer? Is it just having the stamina to have made it to the middle of the week?

Do you ever have weeks where you are almost paralyzed with worry? In old fashioned books, they sometimes describe that as being care-worn. My heart feels a little care worn today. I was thinking about that earlier today and grousing a bit. I thought about it some more and realized that when we obsess and worry, our stamina decreases. So today, though my heart might feel heavy laden, I am determined to continue to give each moment to God. You see, He truly knows my heart.

He knows my prayer requests ~ and will bless me through it. The love I have for my family drives me to want the best for them, and to always see them happy, fulfilled, rested, healthy, and all the rest of that. Of course, troubles come their way, as they do for everyone. When they do, my heart breaks for them as they struggle through it.

BUT—I rejoice when they come shining through the tough times. I am hope. I am a believer in rainbows….even though it may be raining. I am grateful for the promise of the day….

I am grateful that you stopped by today. Take heart ~ there are rainbows right around the bend!

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TGIM ~ Thank God It’s Monday

"Marmoset there'd be days like this"

“Marmoset there’d be days like this”

So here we are, my dears. It is Monday~ and we have the rest of the week in front of us. Does that fill you with joy, anxiety, or dread? For me, it varies. I am restored after a weekend without my work routine. I know that there will be challenges and responsibilities that fill my time. But this week, I want to keep my perspective and focus where it should be.

Of course, that will involve taking care of my responsibilities. But so many times we forget to take care of ourselves. For me, that means to start and end my day with time spent with God.  I tend to hop out of bed and immediately start my chores. But as I do my chores I need to involve God. When I was a child, our teachers had us start the day with prayer, and we would offer our day and our efforts to God as our gift to Him. As I move through this week, I want to invite Him to walk closely with me and to work through me as He sees fit.

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I want to use my efforts as His ambassador. By so doing, my ego diminishes, and I know that I work for Him first. So as I think about this week, I know that I will be presented with so many opportunities. I mean opportunities to work tirelessly and cheerfully. There will be opportunities to have my patience and faith tested and strengthened.

Discouraging times can and will happen in our lives. But if we look at those times as chances to strengthen our faith and increase our steadfastness, perhaps it will give us the ability to gladly accept discouraging times, because on the other side of that can be a stronger Faith Muscle.

Life’s adventures and journeys lie in front of us. May our journey be exhilarating, heartwarming, lovely, comforting, and everything else that we need. The faith we have as we venture forth each day of our lives sustains us. His presence in our lives is our lighthouse, guidepost, and ever so much more.

Happy Monday ~ I wish you love.

BoldAndBraveChick

 

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Once there was a girl

difficultRoads

Once there was a girl. Her name wasn’t actually Hope; but the way she lived each day and looked at one and all, her name could have been Hope. For the sake of this post, we will call her Hope. She believed against all odds. She always believed that the world was full of love and possibilities. It never occurred to her to be jealous of anyone, because she already thought the best of them. She always believed that she was received with care and compassion. She clung tightly to her faith. She clung through all the ups and downs of life. She did not use her faith as a crutch. she used it as a guide, her companion, her ship to sail across the waters.

Max Sailing

Hope continued to believe the best about others. She prayed for them, and always wanted the best for them. She took note of the sacrifices others made on her and others’ behalf. She was an optimist. She felt at home with oh so many people. She assumed she was a part of things and that she fit in. Of course, in those awkward teen years, she felt out of place at places like the swimming pool. But throughout her days and years, she eagerly joined in with all sorts of efforts. She committed her time, talent, and treasure to all kinds of things. Her family expanded and contracted over the years. Her heart melted and broke through the gains and losses of life. She gained dreams and lost huge dreams….but she still believed.

She treasured her family ~ her parents and siblings, siblings spouses and children, aunts and uncles and cousins, and her husband. She cherished her husband and son, and her husband’s family, too. Through it all, she noticed the ones who took special care to cherish her right back. For years and years she did not notice if there were some who did not treasure her right back. It never occurred to her that that would be the case.

I lift my eyes to the mountains from whence cometh my help

I lift my eyes to the mountains from whence cometh my help

There came a day when she became painfully aware that there were some who did not treasure her. Now this set her back and broke her heart. Many readers will find this silly, since this is really just a part of life. But it shook her to her core, and made Hope doubt her own value and place in the world. It gave her pause and made her realize that there was nothing, absolutely nothing she could do about it. Multiple things happened that confirmed the fact for her. Hope… in a way…lost hope.

But then a curious thing happened. Hope realized that although there were those that did not have her back (and perhaps never did), that did not alter her worth as a woman. All it altered was her own view of herself and the world for a time. She decided that she could not give those people the key to her ship or her heart. Although she was somewhat less Gidget-y or starry eyed….she knows this. She is STILL God’s creation, and a part of His precious crown.

HandleTheJourneyPoster

Hope knew that the source of her glow, her hope, and her optimism, is and always will be God. Yes, it would be lovely if the Kumbayah world she sees still included everyone she knows. Perhaps it still will. But the chorus of love around her is good. Hope cannot lose hope anymore. It would say that those who broke her are more significant than God and the ones who restore her and love her everyday.

Naysayers’ hearts can change, too. Hope knows that she, too may have done something to cause the string of events to happen. For now, she knows that she must change focus. Rather than look at the torn knees in her jeans after the tumble into the doldrums, she must refocus on the mountains, the stars, the fields of gold, and the open arms of loving people and on the presence of the Lord.

Smiling Christ: Frances J. Hook

Smiling Christ: Frances J. Hook

Hope still hopes, she hopes because the King of Kings restores her heart. She hopes once again, because the gift of love through those who restore her help to renew her strength. Hope believes. Hope insists on choosing joy.

My name is Kate ~ and I am Hope.

Kate 09-2012

Kate 09-2012

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