Lent 2020

Hello friends ~

It is almost time for Lent 2020! I’m excited to share with you the pamphlet I will be using during my Lenten journey and I am inviting you along. Pamphlets are available through Amazon in kindle and paper formats, they are also available at Barnes & Noble. I hope you considering joining me as I immerse myself God’s Word by reading prepared daily devotionals written by Reverend Sam McGlothlin. He will be sharing 7 R’s:

• Repent

• Recover

• Remember

• Rest

• Release

• Rise

•Relive

The first day of Lent will be Wednesday, February 26, 2020! Thank you each for your continued support of my blog space. I truly appreciate each person and I pray that you are able to experience God in a new way and perhaps for the first time. I am so blessed and astonished every time I view my stats and see the different countries represented. The countries are places I can only dream of someday visiting. You all warm my heart! ❤️

Here’s just a snapshot of my most recent post and views around the world. God is good!

~Peace To You~ Charlotte

Forgiveness

Greetings my friends~

Forgiveness and it’s health benefits is something I have been aware of for a very long time. These benefits and my knowledge came from my Christian upbringing and from reading and studying about it. Many religions and cultures support forgiveness as part of healthy wholesomeness of body, mind and soul. Additionally, I would also be the first to suggest to you the healthy benefits of forgiving others and forgiving yourself. Unfortunately, I do not always followed my own advice.

Coincidentally, I was recently reminded of power of forgiveness, when I unexpectedly triggered a painful memory and chapter in my life. Although my life has progressed and in many ways I’ve moved on, I realized I was still hanging onto some things I simply need to let go of. I had to ask myself some difficult questions and they all started with “WHY?”

For those reading this and those who know me well, this next statement is probably not surprising. The truth is “I’m pretty stubborn.” The real truth is this…pain and mistakes are inevitable but the suffering of such things is optional. I have chosen the later far too often because I told myself, even convinced myself I deserved to suffer more because I should have known better or tried harder. Truth is if I had known better – I would have done better. Life is about learning and growing; most importantly no two individuals learn and grow at the same rate and there’s no magical date or age in which we are granted all wisdom. I have for a long time believed that “things happen for a reason” and “look for the silver-lining” for OTHERS. I would want to punish myself for the same things I would easily forgive others for…

If any of this resonates with you, my hope and prayer is that you forgive yourself as your forgive others. It has taken me a longtime but I think I’ve figured it out. I deserve forgiveness for no other reason that I am sorry and I hope to not repeat the same in the future. I deserve the same forgiveness that I easily extend to others. If this thought process is difficult for you and you believe you need to suffer more than others; PLEASE, I’m begging you reach out to someone so you can start the healing process. You are not your mistakes, they are stepping stones to a better you. You matter and you deserve forgiveness!

Here’s a few suggestions you can try if you need assistance or just have questions .

1. Google counseling services near you

2. Talking with an Educator or Clergy

3. Call a help hotline or a local hospital

4. Reach out to local law enforcement

I was encouraged by the pictures and quotes below and wanted to share them with you. Most of the material is from a website I found and I added a few pictures.

Here’s the link: https://raisingselfawareness.com/

The Bible, being one of the best-selling books of all time, provides a canonical verse that is short and simple. True enough, a common cause for an argument between and among people is how we tend to bring up past mistakes. Doing that will only aggravate the current situation. Stick to the present and resolve it as amicably as possible.

“One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.”

~Proverbs 17:9

The Quran, regarded as the finest work in classical Arabic literature, provides a divine message that translates to forgiveness being rewarded. Indeed, forgiving and being forgiven are rewarding in so many ways. For believers of the Quran, it means being rewarded by God and for the rest, it could mean differently, like receiving peace of mind.
More often than not, what holds us back from saying we’re sorry is pride. We feel like if we’re the ones to say it first, we lose. But it is a fallacy to believe that asking for forgiveness is a sign of weakness. As quoted from Mahatma Gandhi, it is in fact a brave thing to do.
Martin Luther King, Jr. shares a similar method with Mahatma Gandhi of encouraging people to ask for forgiveness and accept it. In this quote, he juxtaposed opposite concepts to drive his point. In other words, if you’re stuck in the dark holding grudges on yourself or on others, the best way to get out of it is to walk into the light and let go of all your pain and hatred.
Bruce Lee teaches us with this quote that the first step to forgiveness is to actually admit our fault. Though we’re not the ones to throw the first punch in some cases, it doesn’t mean we’re faultless. It’s almost always a two-way scenario where we could have done something to ease the tension. Own up to your mistake and everything else will follow.
The road to forgiveness may be long and hard. But once you are ready and able to forgive yourself and others, things become lighter and better. You start healing from the inside out and that’s the moment where you can say you’ve given yourself the best gift ever.
An issue isn’t always caused by something big or important. Sometimes, they’re pretty much small and simple. Case in point, you might dislike someone who has a different opinion than yours. Start by accepting the fact that each one of us is unique and has his or her own opinion we need to respect.
It is inevitable for us to make mistakes, perhaps some more than others. That is why we need to learn how to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings as well as forgive others for theirs. Otherwise, it is only going to end up as a vicious cycle where we keep hating and blaming each other for mistakes that are bound to happen anyway.
The Dalai Lama is often quoted and for good reason. That is, it somehow provides universal thoughts embraced across groups. This quote, for example, enumerates three essentials that we all should have on a daily basis: love, compassion, and forgiveness.

“There are many benefits of forgiveness. It is rewarding in so many ways, it gives you peace of mind and helps you move forward, beyond your past. Yet, you have to remember that it is not only about extending forgiveness but also about accepting it. Forgive yourself. Forgive everybody.” -https://raisingselfawareness.com/forgiveness-scriptures/

Forgiveness is for you, it releases the heavy burden of carrying it everywhere you go. It is also true that it benefits the other person if they accept it. Remember, you can only take responsibility for you actions and responses.


Forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships.
  • Improved mental health.
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Fewer symptoms of depression.
  • A stronger immune system.
  • Improved heart health.
  • Improved self-esteem.

In closing, I want to let you know that healing is possible and you are worthy. A simple conversation with a friend provided light to shine through the protective wall I had surrounded myself with.

~Peace~Love~Hope~ Charlotte

References

https://raisingselfawareness.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692

Grateful, It Is Good… ❣️

Dearest friends! I am writing to share with you good news about the “Good News!”

Lately, I have been in a dark place and I tell you this not for pity or excuses. I am sharing life’s challenges in hopes to help others navigate life. I was diagnosed with depression many years ago, I try to keep it in the lower case “d” whenever possible but that is not always easily managed. I recently discovered that just a year ago I was also struggling, thanks to FB sharing posts from 1 year ago, I saw a correlation with my state of mind. On February 6, 2019, I wrote the following and posted it on Twitter & FB on February 19, 2019.

The good news I want to share with you is, you are never alone and you do not need to fear. God is always with you. Below are some of my favorite verses, I hope you find comfort and strength in them as I do.

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.” ~Luke 2:10

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:20b

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”~Romans 8:38-39

“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” ~Isaiah 41:10

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4:13

Today, and everyday but most especially today I give thanks to God for His love, His grace, His mercy and His forgiveness. Over the past few days I have been blessed time and again. I tell you God is real and His love is real and unconditional. I pray you know Him is a personal way and have accepted Him as your Lord and Savior! Amen!

I have had several friends reach out to me, checking on me and asking how I’m doing. A couple of days ago, I went to see a movie and had dinner with a friend, we had great conversation over dinner. It felt good to be “alive and participating in life!” Yesterday, two very dear friends invited me to dinner and I had a wonderful time sharing in a meal and in conversation with them as well as with our waitress, “thanks Madison!” It felt good to be “alive and participating in life!” Yesterday morning, “morning” is relative only to the fact I got up and out of bed! I decided to be productive and doing some things around the house I had been neglecting for far too long. I did laundry, dishes, vacuumed, dusted, rearranged furniture…busy, busy, busy!!! It felt good to be “alive and participating in life!” As I was cleaning I ran across a steno pad, I thought nothing of it at first thinking it was one I had used for calculating my budget and spending but it was rather thin. Upon closer examination, I discovered it contained a note that I had written back in 2009. 2009 was a very difficult time in my life, second only to losing my mom. I had just been informed by the person I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, no longer felt the same. My world, as I knew it ceased to be and I was devastated and I lashed out. I sat at my dining room table and read the few pages. It immediately transported me back in time to a place and feelings I had neatly tucked away. I simply sat with my thoughts but really needed to process what had just happened. I had not seen that notepad probably since 2009, and how did it end up on my dining room table. I still don’t know for sure but my guess is I had placed it with some of my Christmas stuff, maybe it had been in the drawer with old cards or ribbons and I just didn’t notice. The how it surfaced is really irrelevant to me, I believe that God wanted me to see those words I had written so long ago to remind me that I’m not the same person today. I wrote some hurtful things but they were how I felt at the time. I also noticed something else after reading my note, the response I received. At the time, I was so hurt I could not see past my own feelings. Today, I realized that it took a lot of strength and courage to say the things that were told to me. I am just so sorry it took me so long to recognize it. We have both moved on and we remain friends and the bond of our friendship continues to grow with each passing year.

So, after some contemplating, I reached out to a very trusted friend. I shared most of the above information and felt relief after sharing. I decide I wanted to share this story with the other individual in my story but was not sure if I should talk with my counselor about it first…so, I had decided to wait…… waiting…… my phone rings, it is my friend and ex. It was a call to check in on me to make sure I was doing ok. I thought to myself, this is a window of opportunity sent by God. So I shared, I cried, I felt relief as I shared my thoughts and insight. The relief was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. My friend was so supportive and reassuring, such grace and compassion. It felt good to be “alive and participating in life!” I am so Blessed!! All praise and glory are to God alone. I am very hardheaded and stubborn, to put it mildly. I am really good at forgiving others, not so much with myself. Today, I learned (again) by refusing to forgive myself, doesn’t just hurt me but it also hurts my ability to feel alive and to participate in life. It’s not easy and if you struggle with forgiveness as I do, I pray you begin to see the benefits of unloading some old baggage you’ve been carrying for way too long. I wish you much peace, joy and love…”It is good to be alive and participating in life!”

Special thanks to all my readers and supporters! God is working miracles through you!

Special thanks to those I’ve hurt in the past, please forgive me and I pray for your happiness. It bring me joy to know you have joy! You are loved! ❣️

~Peace~ Charlotte

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Angry: Trust & Obey

Dear friends,

I have been experiencing moments of extreme anger lately when I leave my home. My anger is fueled by people! People who are irresponsible and selfish. My first and biggest issue is “trash” almost everywhere I go there is some kind of littering. I walk out my door and careless individuals leave trails of items from there doors to the trash dumpsters. The parking lots have cups and cans and bags to bottle caps. The roadways are littered on all sides. I see fast food containers and bags, furniture and tires. I personally do not litter and when possible I pick up things and dispose of them properly and that too angers me.

The second thing that irritates me is parking, rather parking in places that are clearly posted “NO PARKING!” I do not understand why people feel entitled to park in front of a store, they cannot be in any more of a rush than anyone else. No enforcement to make people abide by the rules that the other 99% of us have to do. By turning a blind-eye to this behavior the stores and establishments are basically giving their stamp of approval for it to continue. And, another thing about these places of business, most have made accommodations for shopping carts to be placed for the convenience of the stores in retrieving the carts and to protect the consumers from damage from carts. People are so lazy they just leave them pretty much where they emptied them in the parking lot. I try to take the cart back into the store when possible or at least to the designated spaces in the lot. If I see abandon carts when entering a store I typically grab a cart or two as I enter the store!

Number #3 on my list of complaints is lazy people in the grocery/department stores when they decide they no longer want to purchase an item, they just place it at the spot they are at! “Decided not to purchase fresh chicken, but you’re now in the toy isle, oh well…someone gets paid to put this back!” 😡🤬🤯. Really…to make things worse, that item most likely gets put back on the shelf after sitting in the toy isle for who knows how long! Attention: yes workers get paid to stock the shelves, their job was not designed around shoppers inability to be responsible for their own actions.

It is literally a chore for me to leave my home, my sanctuary! I don’t like to feel angry all the time, I find it difficult to express care and concern for others when I see them displaying some of these things I’ve listed. My patience is thin and short, which in turns fuels my opinions and cynicism. I don’t like myself very much when that happens, I know I am not judge and jury and may God forgive me for this behavior. I simply felt compelled to share my thoughts and give rise to my voice. I do not want to merely complain and add to the problem, I sincerely want to help. For now and until God leads me to do otherwise, I will continue to do my part in being a responsible person and take responsibility for my actions. And in reality I simply expect the same in return. I need to remind myself that I cannot make people care. “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink!”

May the love of God surround you and fill you! I love this song and when I hear it, it takes me back to when I was a child. I am immediately transported to the church I grew up in. I’m standing in front of the wooden pews, holding a hymnal and singing this song. I can see my Sunday school teacher, Birdie Smith…and she’s smiling! This, I find comfort in.

~Peace To You, My Friends~

“Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” ~Psalm 33:18-22

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Feeling Sad, It’s a Place Not a Destination

Friends and Family ~ Greetings!

My Morning View

I am thankful for this medium in which I can share my thoughts. I have found much comfort in your support of my blog space, in return it is my sincere hope to do the same in return. I have found and continue to find many writers that enlighten me to things and places I have only dream about. I have had the opportunity to meet individuals and read of their adventures, joys, struggles and ideologies of the world; all with mutual respect for one another. This is a world I so wish could exist beyond this space. I have not tried to hide my feelings when I share with my readers through this platform. I do; however, attempt to do so in many of my one on one relationships for a list of unfounded reasons. All of those reasons, are absolutely unfounded in any type of truth. At some point in my life I learned a lesson that has not served me well, yet it remains like a natural reflex. The idea that to share deep pain and frustration with people who care about you is wrong and is a character flaw. Nothing could be further from the truth! It is with those individuals that love us and care for us that we should be most comfortable sharing these struggles. I cannot quote you statistics or scientific studies for why some individuals feel this way, I can only speak from my own personal experiences. I could spend the time researching it and could provide such things but I do not see its relevance in assisting me at this juncture in my life. I believe this chiefly because I know the benefits of trusting and sharing, I just do not always rise to the occasion.

I know myself pretty well and accept that I struggle with depression and that my control of the disease is not always a choice. I like being in charge and when that option is not available it is uncomfortable. Depression is a part of my life, I can do things to help elevate the depths of its grasp on me such as eating healthy, exercising, restful sleep, engage in hobbies, attend social gatherings, spent time with friends and family, listen to music, journal, pray, attend church…these are things I have tried and continue to use. Depression is not something to be ashamed of or something to hide, it is also not to be used as an excuse. Depression does not dominate my life, I can go long periods of time and rarely give it a second thought. There are also times when I can sense change coming and I am able to walk with my depression with little interruptions to my day to day activities. And then, there are times it hits me like walking into a brick wall. I feel attacked and defenseless, taken by surprise and it feels like the wind has been knocked out of me, literally. I feel numb and things appear to be in slow motion. It’s terrifying and inviting all wrapped up together. I’m learning to rely on my friends and family during these times, and it’s not easy but it’s the right thing to do. I urge you to have a plan if any of this resonates with you, confide in someone and trust them with your truth. I promise you that you have more people who love you than you realize. I believe with all my heart that we do not meet people by accident. Our interactions with people make a difference whether we know it or not. I love the plant analogy used where our interactions with others is as if we are planting seeds everywhere we go. Sometimes, we get to see it grow and mature and other times we must trust that once the seed is planted it will be watered and nurtured by someone else. God is the Great Creator and works all things together for good! We must trust God, the Great Gardener of the Universe.

Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

I recently attended a “Suicide Awareness” training class for my job, and it evoked a lot of emotions. In the short time I have been employed at my current job, at least three people I’ve personally known have committed suicide. I was surprised by each one, questioned myself about missing signs and could I have done something. The training was beneficial though none of the information was anything radically new, other than the rising statistics. “Suicide is a permanent solution to a short term problem.” I’ve never attempted suicide but I have thought about it many times and imagined numerous scenarios in my mind. When I was in my twenties I was is a terrible car accident, I can still remember it happening and thinking to myself “I don’t want to die.” At that time in my life, I was struggling with a bad breakup and thinking to myself, “I’ll never get over this, my life is over. I can’t move past this.” I thank God for His protection and enormous amount of patience with me. I survived the accident with only a few scratches, my car was not as fortunate. Since then I have experienced time and again “things I never thought I would get past but here I am and I did!” I can say with confidence that I’m thankful for all the tough things I’ve endured because they helped me grow in ways I never imagined or expected. God used those seemingly unbearable things as opportunities for self-reflection so that I can now share with you. Things are replaceable, people are not. We are not guaranteed a lifetime with people, cherish your loved ones so that when they pass they will remain in your hearts. I lost my mom in 2012, I still think of her everyday and miss her dearly but mostly I’m thankful for who she was and the legacy she left with everyone who ever met her. She planted a lot of seeds and I’m seeing those seeds grow and mature. I love that!

Sadness is a place that we all travel through from time to time. Watch out for the caution signs as you travel, beware of dangerous intersections and whenever possible travel with a trusted friend. Be observant and alert, be careful of detours and trust your instincts. Remember to have fun on your journey and be kind to yourself. Life is not about having all the answers or about never making a mistake, it’s asking more questions, and learning new ways of doing things. Let the adventure begin…

When I began this post, I was at the corner of Sad/Wallow. I am happy to report that I am now at the intersection of Wonder/Opportunity. Thank you for joining me.

Numbers 6:24-26, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

~Faith~Peace~Renewal~Bold~Clarity

There Once was a Girl

There once was a girl, she cared a lot and gave a lot

There once was girl that fell in love, she loved a lot and gave a lot

There once was a girl that lost her love, she cried a lot and hurt a lot.

She tried and tried to move beyond the pain and the hurt.

There was once a girl, filled with wonder and cheer

There once was a girl she gave her heart away

There was once a girl, she had her heart returned and it hurt a lot

She cried and cried and tried to forget

She tried and tried to move beyond the pain, beyond the hurt

There was once a girl, she cared a lot, gave a lot, loved a lot …lost a lot

-C.A.Robinson ©️

August, 18, 2010 @ 1230

Updated: February 05, 2020 @ 1306

There is a girl, she cares a lot and she gives a lot.

There’s a girl who gives and cares a lot and received a lot more❣️ ~C.A.Robinson©️

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://maketheconnection.net/conditions/suicide

Home

My hope is in you. 1 Timothy 6:17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. Psalm 71:5 For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

Wants, Needs, Desires, Fears, Health, Illness…

I almost always start my blogs out with a salutation of “Friends-“. I do this because I do in fact count you as my friend. You have taken the time to read what I have written, some even follow my page and other leave comment…all are so appreciated. I have found WordPress to be an open and accepting community of writers and supporters of writers. I have found this space to be safe to share ideas and thoughts, not to persuade or coerce readers to believe in or endorse my ideas…simply expression of such. I thank each of you for providing this to me and I hope in return you have felt similar emotions.

I have been very forth right in my faith and belief in Jesus Christ and entrust my life to His service. “With that being said,” that’s a pun for my dearest of friend (BDC). Truly, I accept that I am fully human and I fail at things every single day even several times every day; however, through the grace of God I am forgiven and given new opportunities with every new sun rise. Being a Christian is not the picture that has been burnt into some of our minds as pretty, neat, orderly, calm, routine, simple…It is rough, very rough at times. It’s falling down, it’s asking for help, it’s humbling, it’s costly in ways that money could not even image, its chaotic, its loud, its confusing…and so much more. Do you know why? We live in a conditional world, we are sinful humans with a spirit that thirsts for more than what this temporal life offers. Our bodies will fail us and we them, our spirits will live on forever. I cannot explain forever and eternity, our minds cannot calculate beyond where time does not exist, at the very least, mine does not. My trust is in God and I hold onto those promises God gave us through the prophets and the writers of the books included in the Bible and in those books and manuscripts not included within the canonized Bible, why you may ask…because they too have value.

To my friends and family at ACC, I share these thoughts because I love you all dearly. I have missed connecting with you on Sunday mornings, Wednesday morning Bible Study and participating in the Women’s group (Esther’s Circle). I have been absent for a multitude of reasons, some worthy and some maybe not so much. My absence is not due to unhappiness or conflicts relating to the church and the congregation (my family). I am energized whenever I walk into the church, even when I’m the only person in the building. It’s home! It’s the smiles, the hugs, the laughs, the conversations…it’s connection. You see there’s only positivity when I am in the presence of ACC. You might be asking yourself, why in the world would you ever be absent from something that is so life-giving? Excellent question and observation.

I ask myself that question a lot! I often tell myself my excuses keep me from doing things. I blame myself sometimes for making bad decisions or poor choices. Life becomes a blaming game. That is a hole that can be very difficult to get out of once you jump in. Isn’t life about learning? How does one learn? Trial and error, practicing to do something correctly means we must have tried it and failed. I had a coach in college that used to say, “Practice does not make you perfect.” “Perfect practice can make you perfect.” If you practice a skill incorrectly you will never execute it perfectly. (Thanks Coach Shemwell).

My struggles are no more or less important than anyone else’s. This is a value statement, we all should tether it to ourselves, a life vest of sorts. I struggle with depression, it is often exaggerated in times of change and stress. Change is a funny word and can relate to so many things in life. I have a multitude of health concerns going on in my life at the moment, some could be greatly improved through better life choices and some just are. With medical concerns comes medical appointments followed by medical bills which usually causes increased stress. None of these are unique to me and I’m sure if everyone reading this were honest, you could say that you too can relate. Sure you can, because life can be difficult and unfair in our opinion but we are survivors and we see light at the end of a dark hallway. My light without a doubt is Jesus and His arms are stretched out reaching for me. I hope that is your vision too.

Most of the time I fight my depression, I feel the cycle begin and sense the familiar. I have many people I can count on in times of difficulty, personal and professional. I thank God for all the wonderful individuals in my life, some are close and some miles away but always close in our hearts. I know that there are times in which I can make it very tough to love me!

And, then there are times I sink down into it, feel it cover my body like a deep, thick fog on a lake in the middle of the night with only a sliver of the moon glazing down upon it like glass. I close my eyes and imagine the glass sliding across my skin, making shallow cuts and streams of crimson cover my pale skin. I take a deep breathe and exhale, open my eyes, nothing broken, nothing hurt; only an emptiness that I desperately want to fill with something, with anything. I thank God for His protection and clarity during these times. I pray for those who suffer with these afflictions. I understand it and even at times yearn for it. I know it is not the answer I seek, filling a void with useless material is no different than the void itself. So, I am choosing to sit with the void, perhaps even make friends with it. It’s only my enemy because I allow it. I am even going to go out on a limb and say that the void is merely space that I have yet to grow into.

As I come to the each of this post, I pray for you. You have touched my life in ways that I may never be able to tell you or show you. Know that YOU matter and that YOU are loved!

~Peace~ Charlotte

References:

https://disciples.org/

Home 1

https://www.crisistextline.org/selfharm

Self-Harm hotlines

Home

https://www.mentalhelp.net/depression/hotline/

https://www.biblestudytools.com/

https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/stress-bible-verses/

https://www.christianity.com/bible/bible-verses-for-depression-38

The Sixth Happiness

Hello dear friends ~

I have been pondering this post for a few days, excited to share one of my most favorite movies with you and hopefully some insights that have been beneficial to me. The movie is called, “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.” It is loosely based upon the real true life story of Gladys Aylward. I’ve watched the movie at least a dozen times and have memorized some of the lines.

I have not read the book about her or watched the documentary, that is until yesterday. I watched the documentary on Amazon Prime and highly recommend it. She was a remarkable woman! She was born in 1902 and died in 1970, to my surprise I actually know someone who met her! I posted on my FB page yesterday that I had watched the documentary and liked the movie a friend of mine responded and told me she had met her in 1961! Amazing!!

Her story is one of courage, compassion and complete faith in God! So inspiring!!

“One happiness scatters a thousand sorrows”

According to traditional Chinese thought, the most important goals in life are the five happinesses – good luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness and wealth. These lie at the heart of all aspects of Chinese life and culture and are commonly depicted as various symbols or ideograms on everyday objects such as textiles, furniture, doors, ceramics and jewelry.

The sixth happiness as described in the movie is: “Each person must find out in his own heart what the sixth happiness is.”

*Internet reference listed below*

The pondering question on my mind the past few days has been, what is my sixth happiness? I am not certain I can actually single it out or down to one thing. I find myself very passionate about sharing life and sharing love. My heart overflows with gratitude for the abundant blessings God has given to me. I am passionate about literature and learning. I often ache to write down my thoughts and as the words flow out of my mind its as if a damn has been breached and my heart races as I try to write down every word. Often the words do not feel as if they are just merely my words but that the words are being funneled, directed and/or lead to me to share. I believe that God through the workings of the Holy Spirit are placing things on my heart to say. I don’t wish or want to alienate anyone with my words. I’ve learned over the past couple of years that our words are very powerful and we must be careful how we use them. I am not point any fingers towards anyone in particular, I myself have spoken words that were in anger, even false based upon my own interpretation of things. The truth is, we all have said things we wish we had not because we are human. We are sinful and are in need of saving, saving from ourselves and the wickedness of this world, we need a Savior, we need Jesus. When we start looking at and learning from those mistakes, we are humbled and we strengthen our resolve to be better human beings tomorrow, than the ones we are today. Being a Christian is not easy and definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s not simply saying the right things that people want to hear, it’s saying the words and living them day after day. God did not promise perfect days, riches, good health or prosperity; He did promise to always be with us.

Matthew 28:20b, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I find most days difficult because there’s so much discourse happening around the world, in my country, in my state, in my city, in my neighborhood and even with my work environment. Discontent is being multiplied in every corner. People are afraid to speak their thoughts, feelings and opinions due to fear of retaliation or guilty of not being PC (Political correctness) enough. I feel at times surrounded by individuals who would rather blindly do or say what someone tells them to do instead of using their own brain and voice. We have politician promising things that will never come to fruition, at least in their lifetime, all for the sake of a few votes. Cable news shows attack other networks instead of presenting facts to help educate their viewers. I don’t care if your a democrat or a republican, a constitutionalist or a libertarian, it matters that you care about the country you represent and how you treat others. Mutual respect should be afforded to everyone. In a democracy such as the United States during elections there will be winners and losers, win graciously and accept defeat graciously. We vote every four years, if your party doesn’t win accept that we are all Americans and that we are free and that freedom came at a price. Life is ebb and flow, that includes government…as elected officials you serve the people (ALL PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES). We each are capable of doing great good or great harm.

“Say what you mean and mean what you say.” -Stephanie Lahart

I am sorry I got a bit political, I try to keep that stuff off my blog but it is increasingly becoming more and more difficult. I will definitely try and keep it to a minimum. My frustrations had reached a boiling point and I felt I had to share in order to stay authentic to myself and to my readers.

“…at 211 degrees, water is hot. at 212 degrees, it boils. and with boiling water, comes steam… and with steam, you can power a train. one degree. Applying one extra degree of temperature to water means the difference between something that is simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine.” -Sam Parker, 212 the extra degree

I am a Christian, not a shocker to anyone who knows me or follows my posts; I want to share another pressure point for me these days, Christians fighting and dividing humans into groups as if we are cattle off to market. A good reminder for all of us, pastors and congregations is that we are the created and the Creator is the final authority on all things. I have not been to seminary and the only authority I have is from God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I have attended church my whole life, raised in a Christian home, attended a Christian high school and college and the most important lesson I’ve ever learned from the Bible was spoken by Jesus and is in my opinion the foundation of all biblical teaching:

There you have it:

• Love God with all you are

• Love your neighbor as yourself

My One Word for 2020 is FAITH! I am seeking to live in and through my faith this year with intentionality. And, as I seek my sixth happiness I have a feeling it will include LOVE…giving, receiving and most importantly SHARING!

~Keep the Faith~ 2 Timothy 4:7

References:

https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/aylward-gladys-1902-1970

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051776/characters/nm0786780

https://www.amazon.com/Gladys-Aylward-Small-Woman-Great/dp/B002JE5BIQ/ref=nodl_

https://www.openbible.info/topics/i_will_always_be_with_you

Welcome to 2020

January 1, 2020

Hello friends!

2019 has come and gone; whether it was filled with good or challenging things I want to pause and thank God for the opportunities to be a part of the story and journey. I am sincerely grateful you joined me on my spiritual wondering in 2019 and I hope you are able to travel along in 2020.

I have spent the last month writing and talking about Advent and the anticipation of Jesus’ birth. It was a time of Hope~Peace~Joy~Love! It was also a time of Faith, faith in the prophecies foretold in the scriptures and faith in God fulfilling His promises.

A few days ago I received an email from One Word 365 (http://oneword365.com); it was asking if I had picked a word for 2020. I had not, so I began to pray about it and asking God for guidance and insight. On the morning of 12/31/2019, I awoke and the word on my heart was “FAITH.” I was not exactly sure and still do not know where this word will lead me, but I trust that God has a plan. As I began my day, looking around my home I was suddenly struck by something I have looked at nearly every day since August 2019, it is a beautiful frame that a dear friend had given to me as a birthday gift! I smiled and thought to myself, “It’s a God Thing!”

I’m thankful for my faithful friend and for this amazing gift and keeps giving long after the celebration. I purposely use the word faithful because my friendship with this person has lasted many decades and long periods of little contact and yet we I see her it is as if no time has passed. In many ways there’s a kindred sister like spirit between us, I’m so thankful for her caring and loving spirit. She is a blessing to me and to do many others.

I know how faith is described in the Bible but I also wanted to see other definitions of the word so I went to the Merriam Dictionary for additional meanings:

FAITH (NOUN)

• allegiance to duty or a person LOYALTY

fidelity to one’s promises

• sincerity of intentions

• belief and trust in and loyalty to God

• belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

• firm belief in something for which there is no proof

• complete trust

• something that is believed especially with strong conviction

• a system of religious beliefs

• without question

FAITH (VERB)

BELIEVE, TRUST

I am looking into 2020 with optimism, I am blessed to be on this journey and I’m seeking to serve God in the coming year. This past year had many challenges and most of them are still lingering around. Some days I see them more as obstacles rather than opportunities. I have found myself fighting systems that seem broken from my viewpoint, sadly not everyone else sees what I see. I have learned, although with much difficulties that my vantage point often only makes sense to me and in most if not all cases serve to benefit me. If I were in an individual environment all the time my viewpoint might be ok; however, that is not the case. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionists, I like to have a system and for it to be followed. I’m overbearing, I had to admit but my ex’s and friends don’t lie. I really do mean good but it does not always seem that way. I am hoping to improve upon some of my less attractive features in the coming year. Some days I amaze myself at my stubbornness. I grew up with friends and playing on team sports, sharing and carrying burdens as a group. Over the past decade I’ve been more reserved and have spent a lot of time alone, not excuses or even reasons why I’m different, simply facts.

This past decade I lost my mom to either an aneurysm or possible heart attack, went through a breakup of decade long committed relationship and reunited with an old relationship that ended nearly as quickly as it reignited. My job, which I love and find rewarding has brought disappointments from management and supervision, my work hours, days off and people I work with have changed several times. I’ve experienced hands-on management and no-hands management; I’ve seen my evaluation scores decrease every year since the current management changes and they do not correlate with actual performance. When employees feel valued they perform better.

With all that being said, I still love my job. I love the daily task that I do and some of the individuals I work with. I’ve learned a lot of things about myself through all these changes and challenges, as well as learning about others I work with and for. I’ve posted in previous blogs the lessons I learned about control and concern, I have many concerns and even ideas but I am not in control. My stubbornness has got me into some sticky situations when I assume control of things I am not, just because it’s a good idea and even logical and maybe time saving and did I say logical (?)…if you’re not the person with the control it is only a concern.

Romans 10:17

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

2 Corinthians 5:7

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

~Keep the Faith~ 2 Timothy 4:7

References:

#OneWord365

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://www.openbible.info/topics/faith

Advent: A Calendar of Devotions 12/25/2019

Dear Friends,

Thank you for joining my on this Advent journey. I am a day late in writing my final entry for Advent 2019. My excuse, if I may…I was up extremely late Christmas Eve, actually arriving home Christmas morning at about 1am after attending a beautiful Christmas Eve service. I had volunteered to work Christmas Day for a coworker, so he could enjoy the day with his family and son. I slept so peaceful, when I awoke I realized I had overslept!

I set my alarm the same as I always do but forgot it was my regular day off and the preset alarm is only for the days I work! I called in a panic and said I would be there as quickly as possible, I made it and was only 3 minutes late!

Thank you God for safe travels and living close to work. My day was relatively quiet except close to the end of my shift we had an incident that required attention and I ended up staying over for a couple of hours.

Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

John 1:1-14

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

Christ has been born, we celebrate his birth and with this knowledge we know life will never be the same. A great reminder that with each new day comes new opportunities to be the feet and hands of Jesus to those we meet. The manner in which God chose to have Jesus enter the world shows us the character and kingdom He has established. He could have chosen to enter the world as a mighty warrior king but instead, he chose to be born to loving and committed parents. The were not rich, rather quite poor in terms of wealth and society status. Mary and Joseph, believed and trusted God. They were faithful servants, not because it was easy but because it was the right thing to do to honor God.

No matter how or if you celebrated Christmas, I am here to tell you that you are loved, you are worthy and you matter. Start each new day knowing you will never be the person you were the day before, we are all changing each day and have the opportunity to do great things. The greatest thing we can do is be true to who we are, true to our creator and have a thankful heart for all that we have. Counting our blessings is far more rewarding than comparing ourselves to others and what they have.

I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing this season of Advent with each of you and do appreciate the “likes” and “comments.” Thank you ♥️🙏🏻🎄🌟

White Christmas is one of my favorite movies.

On this day after Christmas, step into the light, the light of Jesus and you will never be alone in the dark.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” ~1 Peter 2:9

“For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 4:6

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” ~John 8:12

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Emmanuel. May the light shining from the manger shine brightly in me. Let today be a new day in which I step out of the darkness of my own life and into the light of your grace. ~Amen.

~Hope-Peace-Joy-Love-Christ~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Count Your Blessings

https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/From-Darkness-To-Light