First Tuesday • Advent 2022

November 29th, 2022

CHOOSING

“If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”

—Philippians 1:22-23

This verse is part of a larger group of verses where Paul the Apostle had sent a letter addressing the people of Philippi and greeting them. Paul goes on to tell of his prayers for them (verses 1-11), and starting with verse 12, he presents his circumstances “choosing” what to do. You may read it in its entirety here: https://biblia.com/bible/nasb95/Phil%201.1-30

Art/Photo By: Me

The choices we make every day leads us more times than not into unknown spaces. A favorite thing I like to (without navigation) is to take the unbeaten path when I’m driving with no immediate destination. I love choosing country roads that I’ve never noticed before. I have found some very cool things to photo over the years. I have also encountered road closures and detours. Once when I was taking pictures all alone on what seemed like an abandoned road, I was stopped and questioned by a police officer because my adventure had taken me very close to federalized land and they were searching for someone using a drone. After explaining who I was and what I was doing and offering to show my pictures I was let go without much fuss or delay. I have even managed to get pretty turned around while randomly choosing roads, that’s when I start reading road signs more carefully and align my directionality.

Some of our choices can be scary and cause us fear. Within that fear we can feel darkness coming upon us like a fog, all of a sudden our senses are chaotic and we are at least temporarily disoriented. I am pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I am not fond of darkness. I have overcome most of my fears as they relate to physically dark spaces. I can pretty much pinpoint the event that culminated my fear of darkness. I was probably somewhere between 6-9, mom and dad had been out for the evening and a babysitter stayed with me and my brother. I begged to sleep in my parents bed so I could see them when they got home. Sometime later in the night I woke up in the dark, thinking I was in my parents bed I tried to get up and see if they were home yet. As I tried to get out of bed and reach for the door, I could not find either…I was terrified, started crying and searching for the door and all I felt was wall. When the light came on, my mom at the door I soon realized I was in my own room in my own bed, (the moving me from one bed to another had not woken me from my sleep). My mom calmed me down and waited for me to fall back asleep. This event found a way into my very being and has stayed with me through most of my adult life. There came a time when facing this fear was no longer a choice but an opportunity to conquer it. Life might have been different if I had made the choice earlier in life but that’s just wishful thinking. I believe that my time for conquering was only possible after I had lived through some important life experiences. I also know that God has been with me every step of my journey, especially when I was doubting that He was. We, God’s children often see things with one way vision, it is never God leaving us…my friends it is us who forget that God is with us. God is not a magic fairy going around granting wishes, God is in a very real sense our Father, and loves us always. This is true, no matter how many choices or lack of them we make, before we finally make up our minds and return to Him. And, He’s always there to welcome us back home, to Him.

How about you? Choosing, how does this word fit into your life.

This week as we look to HOPE, are you choosing it for yourself as well as sharing it with others?

HOPE

• to cherish a desire with anticipation

• to want something to happen or to be true

• to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment

• to expect with confidence

• desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment

• someone or something on which hopes are centered

• something desired
Together, you and I can keep HOPE alive. I believe in hope, I have hope and I want to share hope…please join me!
Photo Credit: Me
December 16, 2017
Wallace, IN

Words below were written by Jan Richardson.

There are other senses, 

you tell us,

and when the darkness

obscures our choices,

we must turn

to the other ways of knowing

you have given us.

-Jan Richardson

Thank you for visiting my blog today, I hope you were blessed as you are a blessing to me.

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Phil.1.22,Phil.1.23&version=NRSVCE

(Re-Blog) The Advent Door • Website

http://adventdoor.com/

https://theadventdoor.wordpress.com

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

An Illuminated Advent – 2021

ILLUMINATED 2021An Online Journey into the Heart of ChristmasNovember 28 – December 27 Beloved friends, I am thrilled to share the news that …

An Illuminated Advent – 2021

First Monday of Advent • 2022

November 28th, 2022

Annunciation

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.”

Luke 1:26-38 (NRSVCE)

Hello & Welcome,

Today is the first Monday of Advent and I will be following the traditional focus which is HOPE. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where others are telling you to keep “hope” alive or think to yourself, “there’s no hope.” Life has many twists and turns that can often happen at the most inconvenient times. When they do “how do you react?” Do you find yourself drawn into dark places or negativity, with your head spinning out ideas that are so outlandish they could never be true? What about being scared or afraid of consequences? I have personally experienced these things and lived through some that I never thought I would.

• I have lied, knowing it was wrong.

• I’ve cheated while in a relationship, knowing it was wrong.

• I have made very poor decisions that could have forever altered my life.

• I have believed I was not deserving of forgiveness or second chances.

• I have taken myself down some very dark paths.

• I’ve been so broken-hearted that I wanted to rip my heart right out of my chest. Grief that was seemed unbearable.

I now know the truth, the truth has set me free. I am, and so are you … a created being, created uniquely but God Himself. God has a plan for each of us and a purpose. We are human and we will mess up, but my friends there is hope, these is always hope. Our hope is in Christ alone. Sincerely seek God and His forgiveness and start over, again and again if that’s what it takes. You are so very loved!

What About Mary?

Can you even imagine the things that might have entered Mary’s mind when she encountered Gabriel and his message from God. Did she feel dark shadows surrounding her as her mind wondered what others would say? Did she fear for her life? Would Joseph believe her, becoming pregnant through the Holy Spirit? I am not sure I would have responded with Mary’s confidence but I can honestly say, I want to be like Mary.

Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

Luke 1:38a

Today look for moments of HOPE! See it for yourself, share it with others and provide opportunities to plant seeds of HOPE. I have a favorite sweatshirt that I wear often that simply says “Share Hope” with a background of the world on it.

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

First Sunday of Advent • 2022

Hello & Welcome —

Advent season is upon us and I must admit I am looking forward to spending time in God’s Word allowing my anticipation of the journey to overwhelm me. In past seasons, I have been much more prepared as to what I would be reading and blogging about, not so much this year. I do have a book, “ Night Vision” written by Jan Richardson. I am reading it. My goal is not so much to regurgitate it back to you but to share myself with you as authentically as possible. So I hope you continue to follow me as I navigate my way through my unknown, my darkness because I know there is something on the horizon.

Advent is a season of preparation and anticipation of the birth of Jesus, as foretold in Scripture.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Isaiah 7:14

This Scripture points to the manner in which Jesus will be born, and also to one of the names given to him; Immanuel, meaning God with us. This was pointing to both his human birth and his divine nature. This scripture was written over 700 years before Christ was born.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Micah 5:2

We know Jesus was born in Bethlehem and this Scripture tells us in advance the place Jesus would be born. This prophecy was written by Micah approximately 800 years before Christ was born.

It was the title of Jan Richardson’s book “Night Visions” that originally caught my attention. Back in January 2022, I decided that this year was going to be about “me” taking more time to focus on my interest and doing things I wanted to do as well as things that were out of my comfort zone. I have no regrets, God blessed me with some wonderful adventures that helped me to grow in directions I was not even fully aware of.

In January, I was able to travel to New Orleans, LA on a girls trip celebrating my friends 60th birthday.

In February, I traveled alone to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. Celebrated my baptism anniversary on February 28th (1982).

In March, I celebrated seventeen years of employment at a job I love.

In April thru June, I began searching for a new place to live and packing to move. Found a place, friends helped me move and yes, I’m still unpacking.

July was my birthday month of celebration and August was quiet and calm spending time with friends and family.

In September, I went to St. Louis, MO where I met several new friends. I had joined a team of women promoting breast cancer awareness and celebrating cancer survivors. BEST DECISION! Our team name is Team Boo Bees and we are part of a bigger group of amazing women’s organization called “ Pledge The Pink!” My life is forever changed since meeting them in September.

In October, I traveled to Fripp Island, S.C. along with 1499 other members of Pledge The Pink to walk 10 miles a day for 3 days, all to celebrating survivors, recognize and grieve those who were no longer with us. No one walks alone in this organization.

Here we are at November, it has been a tough month to navigate as inflation is still on the rise, holidays are in full tilt season. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, my heart is filled with memories of past holiday experiences. I still get that edgy feeling of excitement in my stomach around all the festivities of Christmas.

In many ways, it is looking back where I see the light. The unknown of the present and future can feel dark or at the very least difficult to navigate with squinting eyes. I want to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to get there I must move forward through what seems like utter darkness. This is advent to me, I know where the tunnel ends and that there will be light, Jesus is waiting there with open arms for me. He is there for everyone who accepts the journey.

My darkness may be entirely different from yours, no one persons darkness outweighs another. We all have different paths to travel and we all have something on the horizon, Jesus Christ.

Advent, as with salvation you simply come as you are, Jesus is waiting. There are no prerequisites for this advent journey, you just begin…

My prayer for you and me, Lord open our eyes and hearts to the darkness that scares us and frightens us. Help us to use all of our senses to discover the gifts of this advent season that only you can provide. Open our hearts to the mysteries of your divine presence in our lives. Amen.

This first week of advent is traditionally focused on Hope and Faith. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for,” we contemplate both hope and faith as we spiritually prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas … Think of it as a hope-faith continuum.

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

Hebrews 11:1

Below are the lyrics to a song referenced in Jan Richardson’s book, Night Visions.

Night Vision/Lyrics


By day give thanks
By night beware
Half the world in sweetness
The other in fear

When the darkness takes you
With her hand across your face
Don't give in too quickly
Find the thing she's erased

Find the line, find the shape
Through the grain
Find the outline, things will
Tell you their name

The table. the guitar
The empty glass

All will blend together when
Daylight has passed

Find the line, find the shape
Through the grain
Find the outline, things will
Tell you their name

Now I watch you falling into sleep
Watch your fist curl against the sheet
Watch your lips fall open and your eyes dim
In blind faith

I would shelter you
Keep you in light
But I can only teach you
Night vision
Night vision
Night vision

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Anton Sanko/Suzanne Vega
Night Vision lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/times-the-old-testament-predicts-jesus-birth-and-death.html

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Heb.11.1&version=NRSVCE

The Struggle is Real • Part II

November 25th, 2022

Friends, I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving Day. There is always something to be thankful for. 🍁🌾🍂

Let me start this conversation by saying it is possible to have a thankful heart while also admitting that life is and can be a struggle from time to time. I truly believe that God is good, God is always good.

A single thing that scares me the most in life is to not be able to financially take care of myself and my family. This morning I woke to read an alert on my phone that my bank account was over drawn by $3.66, now that may not seem like a big deal to most but to me it seemed like $1,000. I may be exaggerating a bit but $3.66 is a lot of money when there’s none. But I digress…So I jumped up, showered and found all the loose change in my house, I found $5.00 in rolled pennies that I kept forgetting to take to the bank and a plastic cup with loose change in it. In total I found $9.60. I went to the bank and breathed a breath of relief. Then about 6 hours later; I kid you not, I got another alert that my account was overdrawn by $0.05. I certainly hope this does not reflect too negatively on my account or financial standing. Thank God, I should get my paycheck by tomorrow morning. I did happen to have $0.25 in unused money in my investment account that is currently pending to transfer to my overdrawn account. All in all, my heart is still thankful that God is in control and that through various resources I was able to cover my account.

Video Created: Me

There’s nothing special about my situation because many are enduring the same kind of crisis in their lives. What I believe to be the underlining issue is the way in which countries care for there own. It’s no secret I am a citizen of the United States and I believe in humanitarianism, caring for others in need but at the same time I believe in helping on the home front, your own citizens who have put elected officials in positions of authority to make decisions on our behalf. My experience has been that these individuals at least many have forgotten why they were elected and to whom their allegiance should be placed.

I have a good job, the pay could be better but that’s not the issue, the issue is that inflation is hurting so many people. I carefully watch my spending because I live on a budget, I help my elderly father and his extremely tight budget. I have personally seen my grocery budget double over the past several weeks. Everything is more expensive, spending comes down to need verses, can’t live without.

I can’t leave you with gloom and doom, at the end of the day this truth remains…God is good, God Is Always GOOD! Trust in His Plan for your life. A favorite passage of mine is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;

A time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time of war, and a time of peace.

May God be with you and continue to bless you. Thank you for visiting my blog. I am thankful for you!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths.”

—Proverbs 3:5-6

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

Advent 2022 • Coming Soon

Below is a picture of the book I will be reading during Advent and sharing my thoughts with you daily. It is titled, “Night Visions — searching the shadows of advent and christmas.

Written by Jan L. Richardson.

I invite you to journey along side me through Advent and together we will

“Wait…Something is on the horizon.”

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.