Tag Archive | encouragement

My one year anniversary! Time flies!

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Wow!  I just received a message from Word Press wishing me a happy one year anniversary!   The year has certainly flown by.  What a year it has been!

I started out a year ago with the thought that although I would never consider myself a writer, it might be fun to learn about blogging and would be a great way to put my random thoughts about my experiences and my walk with the Lord into a journal type setting.  My desire was that perhaps some of what I write might be helpful or be a blessing to someone.

Was I ever surprised, and still am, when others started following my blog, many of whom shared that they were helped or received a blessing from something I shared; that they could relate to things I’ve said. I feel blessed to have made acquaintances and developed friendships with fellow bloggers all over the world!  A great example is the wonderful feeling I had, and still have,  during my recent surgery and recovery in knowing that people, friends and family alike, were praying for me on FIVE continents!  That is just so awesome and mind-boggling!   I cannot thank you enough!  You all made a big difference in how the Lord helped me with my recovery.

God bless you all for caring so much and for making me feel like I am truly a part of this blogosphere we all share. I have learned so much and continue to learn from you all. So many of you have played a significant role in my growth as I grow ever closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank God for you every day.  So, Lord willing, here’s to another year of growth and many blessings for each of us.    You make me smile! As C.S. Lewis says “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”

I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers.  Philemon 4.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

 

 

Organizing a jumbled brain..impossible?

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Confusion surrounds me.  A jumble of thoughts on so many things I think I want to blog about.  But the words get away before I can write them.   A lot of ideas and notes in my journal but what do they mean?  My goodness, do I sound like a crazy woman who is losing her mind?  Wow I hope not.  Rather I hope my brain is just on overload.  So many things on my mind like impending knee replacement surgery, desires and plans to move by the end of the year and how to accomplish that, as well as my weight loss issues and so many different things I think about in regards to my walk with the Lord and what God is trying to teach me with the repetitious messages that keep coming my way via Bible reading and studies, reading other blogs, sermons and just everyday things that cross my path.

First things first.  I know that taking all of these issues to God in prayer has to be my first priority.  I know so well that He is a willing guide for all of us if we just ask.   Spending more time in His word and in prayer and just being quiet and listening for His wise answers will be the most important thing I can do. I know He loves me and His plans for me are the best.

As for my impending surgery, though there is the very normal fear of being under an anesthetic and having a major surgical procedure, I know that God is the great physician and the outcome is in His hands.  I actually look forward to having this procedure done.  Once I have recovered, I will be able to do so much more!  I will be able to walk more than a thousand feet without pain, be on my feet for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time before having to sit down and will be able to straighten my leg.  I consider myself fortunate to be able to improve my life in this way.  there are so many less fortunate than me. 

My move?  Well that will happen in God’s perfect timing if it is in His plan for me.  He knows best and I rest in that assurance.

All of the other jumbled up thoughts l have will, I pray, begin to make sense in good time and I can again begin to make sense in my blog posts.  Loving God gives me strength;  Mark 12:30.NIV  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.   Leaning on God I will not be tired.   Isaiah 40:31 NIV but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I hope I have not completely bored you with this and have not proven myself to just be a crazy woman!  😀 Thanks for listening dear friends.

Simplicity is a great word

Frozen thorn

Frozen thorn

Red at Christmas

Colour at Christmas

Both photos used with permission of photographer MeticulousMick   http://meticulousmick.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/iced-thorn/#comment-4712   and  http://meticulousmick.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/colour-at-christmas/

Simplicity is a great word to describe the above photos.  I used to like much busier photographs and art work when I was younger but of late simplicity has been the key for me–simple and peaceful,  just the way I would like my life to be.   When I said that in my comments on one of the photos, the thought occurred to me that it sounded like the beginning of a blog post!  Ideas come from everywhere!

I love the peacefulness of simple art like much of the art of the Impressionists–Monet is a particular favorite of mine.  Depending on my mood, I will usually listen to more peaceful music of all kinds.  I found long ago that the more popular “rock” music of the last few years is mind jittering!  Now when I am in the mood for lively music,  give me that old rock music I grew up with in the 50’s and early 60’s and I’m happy as a clam at high tide!     Sometimes I just enjoy the peacefulness of no music or tv running when I am at home.  that’s not to say I don’t like to be around people.  I certainly do!   I love being in my church, visiting with friends in small groups.  I enjoy going out to eat even if it is by myself, wandering around a book store or a quilt shop (my budget shivers with fright when you let me loose in a place like that!)   A few days ago, one of my granddaughters asked me to go shopping with her while she chose fabrics for a quilt.  That was such fun!  She didn’t “need” me to be there with her–she has a great eye for color – but to be asked to go along and help just made my day!  A simple time of fun with a precious young lady and her Mom.

At one time in my life I thought that to be happy and to live well, I had to amass a lot of “things” as a way of showing others how successful I was in life.  If I didn’t have money in my pocket (which was often) I looked upon me as a failure.  I have to admit I still do like to have nice things and there isn’t anything wrong with that as long as those “things” don’t become the priority in my life–taking it over and keeping me from enjoying real living.

I found a quote which says it well.   “It is the sweet simple things in life which are the real ones after all.”   Laura Ingalls Wilder    When I saw the above photos, sweet and simple were the words that came to mind.  Don’t they just look like they are coated in sugar?  Sweetness and simple beauty in the midst of a stark winter background to remind us of the beauty of simplicity in our lives.

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Philippians.  Philippians 4:13 is a verse I cling to and has helped me through many things in my life, but leading up to that, Philippians 4:12 speaks to me also.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
(Philippians 4:12) NIV

The first part of the verse is true in my life as in many lives.  I strive for the last part of the verse-learning the secret of being content no matter the situation in my life at any given time.  Contentment –sometimes I feel it; often I do not a clue what real contentment is.  Definitely something to ponder and to work on improving in my life.  Proverbs 15:16
Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.  
  How very true!  After all, we can’t take it with us when we leave this earth so isn’t it better to spend our time learning to be happy and content with less and store up our treasures in heaven instead of on earth?     Lots to ponder on!

I feel like I kind of wandered around with Random Thoughts in this post and I hope it doesn’t bore anyone who reads it.  Perhaps I should change the name of my blog to Elaine’s RAMBLING Random Thoughts!   hahaha

Have a blessed day everyone!  Praying for a simple, happy day for all and for those of  you who are in the snowy areas of  the country, be safe if you are out on the roads.

I’ve Decided–today I will smile!

The above quote has a great deal of meaning to me because a dear friend sent it to me about a year ago, hoping to  cheer me up, make me smile again, and wipe away my tears.  I saved it and, in fact, printed it out and had it on my bulletin board for a while as a reminder to never let my smile get away from me because of the actions or words of someone else.  I’ve never forgotten it and recently I came across it again while going through some desk drawers.   It has been constantly on my mind since I rediscovered it and it has haunted me.   Why?  I’m sure sometimes that I know why.  Other times I am not so sure.

When my friend sent it to me, it did have the affect he had hoped for.  It did make me smile and obviously since I have never forgotten it, it has continued to do what it was meant to do.   When I find myself downhearted, unhappy, sure that I’m not good enough because things are not going exactly the way I want them to or relationships with others are not what I think they should be,  I think about this quote and it pushes me back into “real thinking”!

My life is not perfect nor is anyone else’s life perfect.  However I can choose to make my life a negative experience or a positive experience.  If I think in negative terms, my life will be exactly that–filled with negative experiences.  I know people who seem to begin each day with comments like “Today is just going to be another bad or miserable or awful (you fill in the blank) day.   At the end of the day those very people wonder why everything seemed to go wrong with their day.   I believe they call it a self-fulfilled prophesy, don’t they?

Now if I decide each day is a new beginning and that my day will be a good one, despite what transpires, at the end of the day I will be feeling a lot more positive and able to smile and tell myself that even if the day was not perfect, it was still good.  My day was not a failure because the only failure is in not doing anything.  Starting my day with a positive thought of its outcome keeps me from giving up and doing nothing.  It keeps me motivated to do my very best or certainly pushes me in the right direction.

Of course I have to be realistic about it.  There may be someone or more than one someone who will say or do something that disappoints me or makes me feel bad, unloved, unwanted.  Should I let that totally ruin my day because they think differently of me than I would want them to?  It’s very hard not to react in that way but think about it.  Who of us always likes everyone, can give everyone what they need or want in this life?  None of us!  So why should I feel like it is the end of my world when someone does not give me what I wish or does not feel the way I would want them to?  Is it the most awful thing that could happen to me?  Unfortunate perhaps, but definitely not awful; not even close to awful!  It’s all in how I choose to react to any given circumstance.  I have decided to do my best to react in a positive way and to keep my smile.

To my friend who helped me see the light and encouraged me to keep my smile, I thank you!  I appreciate you!

Goals and Inspirations

It's Not Who You Know That Matters, But Who You Are Inside

An inspirational quote I came across a while back that I really like.  Nice reminder to each of us I believe.  So many times we seem to get caught up in worrying about how successful we “should” be and how to get there.  We set a lot of goals and perhaps, at times, they are unrealistic goals personally.  For instance it would be incredibly silly of me to shoot for a goal of running 5 miles when I can rarely walk 1 mile.  (I am great for setting those unrealistic goals!)  And don’t we all just love being around the “name-droppers”!  NOT.  What does it matter who we know, or what we have, how much money we have?

My goal is to change those personality traits in me that are just taking up wasted space in my brain.  Can I do it all at once? No and I am not even going to try.  One step at a time, one trait at a time,   My goals are, as the above quote says, to see how high my faith in God can climb, to see how many hearts I can touch as I live my life.  When the day comes that the Lord calls me home, will anyone remember whether I was wealthy, had many possessions, lived in the biggest, most expensive house, or knew all the so-called “important people” ?  No, of course they won’t.  But will I be remembered for the way I made someone feel, for smiles I gave to someone who needed to see a smile?  Will I be remembered as a loyal friend,  or a loving mother/grandmother, as an encouragement to another person?    My wish is that I leave behind many more good things to remember than bad things.  I believe all of us want to be remembered for what is inside our hearts and inside our minds.

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I “Wanna-be”

I came across this poem I saved while I was sorting through some things in my desk yesterday.  I had forgotten I even had it!  I got it when I purchased a piece of fabric that it was printed on.  I used the fabric in a wall hanging I made for my son when he earned his Master’s degree at Bible  college.

We all are “wanna-be’s” in some way or another–I wanna be rich, famous, beautiful, loved by everyone and on and on. You fill in the blank.  This poem is filled with different things to “wanna be”; wonderful things to be. These are the things that I wanna-be.  I know most of us wanna-be this person.   Nobody will ever remember if we attained wealth, beauty (in the world’s definition) or fame. They will remember what kind of person we were and the things we did to help others.  That is the legacy I wish to leave behind when the Lord calls me home one day.

I “Wanna-be”

by Raine Hunt

In the world a Wanna-be

is a materialistic person-

wanting fame, riches or beauty.

I want to be a “Wanna-be”,

but not of this world.

Of His world.

I “Wanna-be”

clay in his hands when He needs a new vessel

chaff in the wind when he needs me there

calm in the midst of someone’s storm.

I “Wanna-be”

A whisper when someone needs a gentle word

A fragrant flower when someone needs

repose in His garden

A tissue that dries a tear,

I “Wanna-be” strong arms gently around

someone’s loneliness

A soothing lullaby for a hurting soul.

I “Wanna-be”

a light that shows the way.

I “Wanna-be”

His.

God is My Strength – Helping a Friend

I came across this verse tonight while reading another person’s blog post  which listed multiple encouraging Bible verses, every one a real blessing as always.   This verse, however, particularly got my attention because of a conversation with a friend who came knocking on my door earlier this evening asking me to pray with her.  My friend was visibly distressed, in tears and just looked so forlorn. My heart was breaking for her.

She and i spent a little time talking about what was troubling her.  I won’t get into that out of respect for her privacy, but needless to say, it was not good at all.  She is just totally distraught, unhappy and wondering why she is even alive and has had thoughts of changing that status.  Wow!  What do I say?  How do I respond to her besides the obvious–telling her NO she cannot do that!  I reminded her of my experience with losing my son to suicide and how it feels for those of us left behind.  i told her she cannot do that to her family and those of us who love her.

As we talked I reminded her several times to lean on the Lord, to trust him; bring her trials to him; that he is her strength if she allows him to be.   He is our salvation and we need not be afraid.  He will not turn us away and in fact, will welcome us with open arms when we come to him. She assured me that she has done that; however, I also hear in her words that like the rest of us, she gives her problems to God and then takes them back again thinking she can do better.     She said she is a believer and that she is trying to live God’s plan for her but fails all the time and then punishes herself.   She is her own worse enemy (her words).

We prayed together and made sure to thank God for the blessings he has given to each of us as well as asking Him to put a hedge of protection around her, to show her the way back out of the darkness and into the light. to let her know she IS loved not just by her family and friends but more importantly, the Lord.

I know he heard the prayer and is ready and willing to take on her burdens if she will let him.   I pray that she does give it to him and lets him in.   I have been in her shoes, (not suicidal) and I know that when I turn to God and give Him  my  burdens that he has given me rest.  He has sent people into my life to be an encouragement; he has helped me to get back on the right track and He will do the same for her.

So friends I am asking tonight that you pray for my friend.  I wont give her name, again to protect her privacy but God knows who she is and what is troubling her.    l also  request, if I may, prayer for me that I can be a good friend and a good witness to her and not say or do the wrong things.   I am trying to encourage her to go to  church with me and I hope one day she will do that.  I would love for her to meet the wonderful people at my church and to know that despite any issues that she thinks  would not make her welcome , she would be very much welcomed!   My church family is full of love and kindness and loves to share it!

Edited.  note to self–Do not stay up so late writing a post!  lol   Forgot to give it a title and my proofreading was terrible!

The Seeds We Plant

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A day or two ago, I was reading a post on another blog–(The Devotion Cafe–  http://desirayl.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/social-networking-sites/ ) entitled Social Networking Sites.  It talked about how we use them.  Are we using them to bring glory to God?  She shared a testimony of something wonderful that occurred on a site that was a real blessing to her and another person.  A seed was planted.  The seed began to grow and flourish.  I encourage you to read that post.  I am sure it will be a blessing to you as it was to me.

The post got me to thinking about the things I write, the things I say, the things I do.  What kind of effect do they have on those who read my posts and those who hear me or see my actions?    Are my words and deeds a blessing to someone or an encouragement to another?   Are my words bringing glory to God?  What kind of a seed am I sowing?

I am always hoping that, though my words are very simple, my thoughts very simple,  someone will be blesseed by them or that a good seed may be planted through the words I write.    I believe that sometimes the simplest of words or ideas may just be the seed that begins to grow and brings a person closer to the Lord.   In Matthew 17:20  it says   If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.    I get a lot of encouragement from His words. With God all things ARE possible.

None of us may ever know what grows from the seeds we plant but that should not discourage us from continuing to plant them.     There is a quote that I read recently that simply says   With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.   Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

As Henry David Thoreau said,  The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.

Lord I pray that my words and deeds will always be Christ-honoring and always be a blessing to others.  I pray for your guidance as I write or speak  and that seeds may be planted and bring others closer to you Lord, just as I was brought to a closer relationship with you because of the words that I have heard and read from others.   Amen.  

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The Joy and Benefits in Losing Weight

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Just about 13 months ago, I embarked on a mission to lose a large amount of weight and get healthier.   I have been trying to do this for decades, trying many different fad diets, etc,  I would lose 10 lbs or so and very quickly gain it back, getting more and more discouraged over the years.

Last year, right after I turned 66 years old and was semi-retired, I made up my mind that once and for all I was going to lose this weight if it killed me–not literally, lol.     Over the past year I am proud to say that I have lost a total of 57 lbs so far.   I started out with a couple of different goals.  The first was to lose 50 lbs by my 67th birthday–I made that goal 2 weeks before my birthday which was on May 10th.  Secondly I chose two weight goals; one realistic one that I should be able to reach and then one 15 lbs lighter that is what I apparently should weigh according to the charts.  I am happy to say that I am only 1 lb away from reaching the realistic goal and 16 lbs from the the lighter weight!

How did I do it after decades of trying unsuccessfully?   First I prayed and gave it to God, just as I did when I quit smoking.  I asked Him to provide me the encouragement to keep at it.  Second, I started watching portion sizes, cut back on my carb intake and also substituted unhealthy carbs with healthy carbs.   A lot of vegetables of all varieties  and of course my proper amount of proteins from many different sources and I took a multivitamin every day. Basically I was loosely following the diabetic diet.   In addition I have been making sure I get enough water intake the last few months at the suggestion of a friend.  Yes, it is true that eight 8-oz. glasses of water is what we all need daily and I have found it is not as hard to do that as I thought.

The outcome of all of this has been beyond what I expected!   God gave me the encouragement by way of placing many people on my path who were cheering me on, motivating me and making suggestions on exercise, another friend who took the time to go over all of my medications and their side effects, etc. and make suggestions. On his advice I took all my medications first to my pharmacist to review for possible negative interactions, etc.  The pharmacist was pretty much in agreement with my friend.  I then took all the information to my doctor and she spent a great deal of time going over all the suggestions and also was in agreement with the suggestions.

A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with type II diabetes–my blood sugars are now within the normal range so a medication for that was cut back to just a preventive dose.  One of my heart medications had been increased to help with another issue besides the heart disease, 6 months ago that dose was cut in half because  the other issue resolved itself with the weight loss and exercise, and just this week it was cut in half again to a lower dose than I have taken in over 20 years!  And for the past 6 months my cholesterol values are well within normal range, enough so that my medication for that was first cut in half and now has been eliminated altogether.   Hallellulia!!

One of the suggestions made by my friend and approved by my doctor was to have a Vitamin D test done.  That was done and as he suspected, I do I have a deficiency so I have added a Vitamin D tablet to my regimen.  With the addition of the Vitamin D there should soon be some other noticeable changes as well.

I know this sounds kind of boring  but I shared it with you so you can see what wonderful changes take place with the alterations in eating habits, loss of weight and more exercise!  The changes so far are amazing! It is so exciting and, in fact, it is a wonderful feeling when my kids say to me–“Mom I have never seen you this size ever!” and they are right, they never have!
I know I should have taken all these steps many years ago but it is NEVER TOO LATE!   At age 67 I am back to where I was when I started high school!

I encourage everyone who is trying to lose weight and get healthier to keep up the good work!   I am here for you 100% to encourage you and help you move forward.  I thank everyone who played a role in keeping me on the right path and who are still keeping me there.   I thank God for placing all these angels on earth on my path as I journeyed to my goals.   I couldn’t have done it otherwise!!!! I hope within a few days to lose that last pound to make it to my first goal and hopefully  fairly soon to be able to report I made my final goal as well!