Monday, November 26, 2012

IMAGERY IN THE BIBLE

Sometimes the imagery used in the bible tells me more than the words themselves. The first two verses of Genesis are a perfect example. As God began to create the world we now call home the Spirit of God is described as “hovering over”. Over the unformed and unruly mass much as a mother bird fluttering over her brood. The picture I envision is the very careful and loving attention God gives to us, his creation. He is protecting, shaping and guiding our development. There is no room for chance or randomness. Everything is under his control. As God’s Spirit hovers he extracts from our chaos perfect order, boundaries and purpose. This appears to be the job description of the Holy Spirit. He continually hovers over all our disorder (our pain, uncertainty, betrayal, financial issues, deceit, fear, anger, greed, laziness, pride, lust, jealousy, unforgiveness, isolation) and brings us the design, the blueprint that he wants for us and that he intended from the beginning. If there is any short message or basic summary I can extract from the bible’s story of creation, it’s this. God is in charge. He is in charge of everything, all the time and for all time. What greater comfort could there be for us. Let’s hold on to the promise that he will rescue and save us.

Monday, September 3, 2012

THRIVING THE DANCE WITH JESUS

There are times when I don't listen to God's music because I'm too distracted by the noise of my life, especially during dark uncertain situations. If I remember to take just a moment to focus on God I begin to year the soft hum. When I take the time to read the bible and study notes I begin to discern the melody. When I speak and pray to God directly, in a personal relationship, I begin to distinguish the chorus and when I surrender to Christ completely I hear the glorious band in all it's magnificence, every note distinct and clear. I want to spend my life dancing with Jesus so I might better know the steps through practice. I don't just want to survive the dance, but I want to thrive because of the dance. ********** This weekend I was asked to serve God in a way I didn't want to. I was hesitant and made it known. However, I chose to surrender to God fully and accept the challenge he placed in front of me. Only after I had done this did the situation work out and my desires were met. Had I chosen to not serve, or compalined longer, I might not have rewarded with the chance to thrive because of the dance.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

JOY OR HAPPINESS?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  Against such thing there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23


Whats the difference between joy and happiness?  I am a happy person, but not always filled with joy.  Happiness for me personally is feeling at peace with my life, contentment, patience for God's plan, fulfillment, and love for the people in my life.  Joy is an exhuberant feeling of knowing I am a child of God and loved and protected like no other.  He guards my life, my heart and my mind.  This is the kind of joy that makes me strong.  Anything is possible if I trust in God.  This has served we so well over the years, especially this year.

Monday, August 13, 2012

BIBLE INFORMATION

What I learned in SALT class today about the OT. 

The bible is unique in a few ways I never gave much thought to.  It's in total harmony.  It is God breathed (2 Tim 3:16).  The people who wrote it were moved by God to do so (2 Peter 1:21).  The Holy Spirit allowed people to remember the Word (John 14:26).

The opposition to the bible is so vast, more than any other published work, it makes me wonder exactly why people are so scared of its circulation.  Because they are afraid their belief will be proven wrong?

The suffering endured by Christians over the centuries has numbers too high to count.  Is any other group in the world persecuted as much?

The bible has something to say to every generation, not just ancient civilizations.  The word is current and everlasting.

It occured to me years ago that I had never given much thought to the actual bible.  It's just always been there for me and I never questioned it's authenticity or reliability.  Then my belief was shaken over a particular issue and I ran to the bible for answers.  I found my answers, and they contradicted what my church at the time was teaching.  I realized that this particular denomination was skewed in more ways than one.  I investigated and interviewed and finally came to the realization that the bible alone is my church, not someones interpretation of it.  I belong to a non-denominational Christian church now that is awesome.  I have never once heard a teaching that goes against the bible's teaching.  This is such a comfort to me.  The bible is total truth, not just opinion.  The bible is accurate, no need to have doubt.  The bible is complete, every aspect of our lives is covered.

As I am reading the bible through to the end this year I pray that God will continue to open my eyes to what he wants me to learn.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

EXODUS SUMMARY/OUTLINE FOR SALT CLASS

Summary of each chapter in EXODUS

1. Jacobs family goes to Egypt but become slaves when their number increase too much according
to the king, Pharoh orders baby boys to be killed
2. Moses is placed in the Nile and Pharoh's daughter finds him & raises him, Moses kills an
Egyptian beating a Hebrew, flees to the wilderness, marries
3. God speaks to Moses through a burning bush, God commands Moses to return to Egypt
to bring the Israelites out of Egypt
4. Miraculous signs, Moses staff into snake, leprous hand, his brother Aaron is appointed as
helper, Moses leaves for Egypt in obedience
5. Moses asks Pharoh to free Israelites, slaves have to build bricks without being given
straw, 
6. God has heard Israelites groaning and renews a covenant with them, promising to free
and redeem them
7. Moses & Aaron warn Pharoh, Aaron's staff into snake, Pharoh's sorcerers do the same,
Aaron's staff swallows their staffs, First Plague: water to blood
8. Second Plague:  the country is filled with frogs, Third Plague: dust will become gnats,
Fourth Plague: swarm of flies
9. Fifth Plague: all Egyptian livestock struck dead, but Israelites livestock untouched,
Sixth Plague: festering boils, Seventh Plague: hailstorm causing death
10. Eighth Plague:  locusts, Pharoh's officials tell he should let the slaves go, Ninth  
Plague: darkness for three days
11. Tenth Plague: first born sons die, 
12. Mark the doors with lamb's blood, passover, exodus of Israelites gold and silver in
hand
13. First borns belong to God, Israelites led by pillar of cloud and fire
14. Pharoh chases Israelites, Moses parts the Red Sea, Pharoh's army is dead
15. Moses sings a song glorifying God and all he has done, makes bitter water sweet and
God tells them to be good to avoid punishment
16. Exiles are hungry in Desert of Sin and God rains down food from Heaven, they are
greedy but eat manna for 40 years
17. Exiles leave Desert of Sin, Moses brings water from a rock, they are attacked but
Moses holds his hands up during battle and they win, he builds an altar
18. Jethro, Moses father in law comes to the dessert with Moses' family, Moses appoints
 judges over the people
19. Arrive in Mt. Sinai, Moses called to mountain, Go descended and met with Moses &
Aaron, no one else allowed
20. God gives Moses the 10 commandments, mountain shakes, thunder, lightening,
smoke, people fear God
21. Laws to obey regarding slaves' freedom and fighting and injuries.
22. Laws regarding personal property, and how to treat others
23. Laws regarding how to behave, rest, celebrate.  An angel (Jesus?) is coming to guard
the Israelites, we must do what he says and not worship other gods
24. Moses called to Mt. Sinai again, wrote down what God said, build an alter of 12
stones
25. Offerings from each man as propted to give, then he commanded a tabernacle be
built
26. Requirements of the curtains in the tabernacle
27. Requirements for altar, courtyard, oil lamps
28. Requirements for garments for Aaron, called to be a priest
29. Requirements for ordaining Aaron, and daily offering
30. God commands building an alter for incense, outlines giving, bronze basin for washing, annointing oil and incense
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40

GENESIS SUMMARY/OUTLINE FOR SALT CLASS

My computer just crashed and I lost some homework for my SALT class, so I'm going to post what I have so far so I have a permanent place to access this information.

Summary of each chapter in GENESIS
1.  Creation
2.  Day of rest, Adam & Eve
3.  Serpent deceives Eve, Adam & Eve outcast
4.  Cain kills Abel, has to flee
5.  Adam's life to Noah's
6.  God is greived he created man, Noah builds ark
7.  Noah enters ark
8.  Land found, Noah exits ark, God promises to never destray mankind again
9.  New life, beasts, birds, fish can now be eaten, rainbow establishes God's covenant, Noah drunk and curses Ham, father of Canaan, Noah dies
10.  Noah's son's lives and families
11.  Tower of Babel built, people disperse, Shem's family to Abram
12.  Abram leaves Haran to Egypt, deceives Pharoh claiming Sarai is his sister, they are sent away
13.  Abram & Lot separate, Abram to Canaan, Lot to Sodom
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41.  Joseph tells Pharoh what his dreams mean (abundance/famine), and puts him in charge of everything, 7 years of abundance ended, famine began
42.  Joseph's brothers come to buy grain, he sends for his youngest bother Benjamin, leaving one of his brothers in prison
43.  His brothers return with Benamin, and the feast with Joseph, still not knowing who he is
44.  Joseph sets Benjamin up to be a slave, and his brothers plea for mercy
45.  Joseph reveals who he is, then tells his brothers to go get Jacob, his father
46
48
48
49
50

Thursday, July 26, 2012

GENESIS 41-45

So I've read the bible completely through about 7 times, and some books even more, but...rereading the book more directly for my SALT program is really getting me going. I love reading the bible. As I finish each chapter I write a sentence or two about what I've read. Today's five chapters? Genesis 41-45 -

41. Joseph tells Pharoh what his dreams mean (abundance/famine), and puts him in ch...arge of everything, 7 years of abundance ended, famine began
42. Joseph's brothers come to buy grain, he sends for his youngest bother Benjamin, leaving one of his brothers in prison 

 43. His brothers return with Benamin, and the feast with Joseph, still not knowing who he is

44. Joseph sets Benjamin up to be a slave, and his brothers plea for mercy

 45. Joseph reveals who he is, then tells his brothers to go get Jacob, his father and their familes so they can share in Joseph's wealth

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

WHAT ELSE IS THERE?

I enjoy love in my life. I strive for order in my life. I feel happiness in my life. I discern beauty in my life. There is abundance in my life. I value peace in my life. I'm grateful for health in my life. I love God in my life and all the blessings he provides my little family.

Waking up VERY grateful this morning that I have beautiful kids on the inside, and as a bonus they're pretty good looking on the outside to. I have a beautiful home, an excellent car, food at arm's length, a right to have a bible in my home, sunsine coming through the window, change in my wallet and two les to stand on.

What else is there?

Monday, July 16, 2012

READING THE BIBLE IN 10 MONTHS

While in SALT I will be required to read the bible in it's completion by April 14, 2013, only 10 months away.  While I've read the bible many times over, I haven't read it this quickly.  I also am uncertain how much I will retain while reading at least 5 chapters a day and trying to concentrate enough on the word to study it.  I can read fast.  I could probably read the bible in a week if I wanted to, but at what cost.  Reading alone won't allow me to drink it all in.

Lord, I understand that it is essential for me to gain wisdom and knowledge of your Word by reading and concentrating on it's meaning.  I ask you to allow me to approach your Word with desire, faith and an open heart so that you will bring to light any concepts you want me to understand.  I am determined to follow the SALT reading schedule and I ask you to remove obstacles, both within my own heart, and those outside influences I have no control over.  Help me to apply your Word to my personal life and be the example you want me to be to others.  Slowly sculpt me into the image you want to see.  I also ask you, fervently, to fight evil influences around me and my family and not allow them to touch oru lives.  Calm the stormy waters we have been riding lately so that I may be able to concentrate fully on your Word and the changes you want to see in me and my life.  Make me bold enough to say "No" to requests of my time that will take me away from you and my commitment to study your word this school year.  Allow me to persevere to the end of the SALT program and to the end in which I have pleased you by my actions and words.  Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings you have rained down upon my family during the past 7 difficult months.  I thank you for bringing us to our new home and for protecting us.  I thank you for calming my heart and bringing me closer to you.  I will forever endeavor to follow you and please you.  Amen

SAGEBRUSH ACADEMY for LEADERSHIP TRAINING (SALT)

For three years now I've wanted to take the SALT prgram at my church.  I've been prevented from doing so for various reasons.  This year I prayed about it again and was again called to apply for the program.  Orientation class was yesterday.

I'm excited to get started.  We were asked why we wanted to participate in this program.  I answered it was because I'm not very good at witnessing to people.  I want to have enough knowledge about my own faith to be able to have a loving and intelligent conversation with others about my faith and about their own.  I shy away from discussing religious matters with friends and family.  I want that to change.

The two bible verses I am to reflect on during my SALT class:

Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.  1 Timothy 4:12

Well...I'm certainly not young any longer, but I am young at heart.  I don't think I do a very good job of being an example for others in what I say, but certainly in what I do.  I try to live my life loving others and being true to my faith.  As for purity.  The program requires I don't wantch R-rated movies or publically drink (among other things).  I can handle that, however, I love watching horror films with my son and most of them are R-rated.  I also love my wine.  I'm good at keeping rules when I have to, but I'm also known to break a few societal rules.  Other rules that won't be such an issue to deal with are; being honest and not stealing church resources, using this program dishonest personal gain, dating or being alone with someone currently in this program, or using inappropriate language or being unkind to others.  I do curse when I stub my toe, doesn't everyone?  I guess thats the point.  Does everyone who is truly following God's commandments?  I hope to see a change in myself not only in knowledge, but personal attitude and behavior.

Work hard so you can present yourself o God and receive his approval.  Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15 

Our instructor spoke about whether or not we would be ashamed to face God.  Would we be called a good worker and receive his approval?  Would we be able to stand before God and state that we shared his word of truth faithfully with others?  I would not be able to do so.  I would be ashamed to admit that I shy away from sharing God's word and I didn't apply myself to this command.  I speak with neutral parties; teenagers I work with at church, strangers I come across, other adults with like beliefs and writing on my blog.  However, I shy away from from discussing God's word from my close friends and family who are not believers.  I truly want to see them saved, but don't feel it is my gift to bring them to Christ.  Perhaps this class with give me the confidence to reach out to others in a more formal way with knowledge to back up my love and desire to share God's word.

6146

Friday, July 13, 2012

OPEN YOUR FRONT DOOR

The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me".  Matt 25:40

I find myself again helping a young man during a hard time in his life.  I love helping those who need shelter and food and a place to call home.  I wish I could build houses or fix cars for them, but those are not my gifts.  There are so many stories of abuse and neglect out there, and of violence touching the lives of God's faithful.  I'm grateful for helping this young man from a great family whose parents have placed conditions on him which he was unable to meet.  He is getting there and doing a fine job in the process.  I know he will be home soon to his loving family.

God comes to me in quiet times, watching a mother stroll with her child along a sidewalk, the homeless man on Central Ave, the woman who flees an unhealthy relationship, the addict who stumbles once again, the man who has lost his job, the old widow sitting in church alone....

We all tend to water down the realities of life, but the words of Christ bang on my heart, "Whatever you do for the least of these..."  I realize that not doing anything IS doing something, it's turning the other cheek and ignoring the need.  Thats the truth for most of us.  I will never become a missionary, I will never help out with Habitat for Humanity, etc.  I will continue, however, to feed, shelter and clothe those God's allows me to provide for.  I will donate time, money and energy when and where I can. 

Jesus Christ walks among us, now!  The mother strolling with her child does so because she might not have a car, the homeless man on Central Ave might have been abused, the woman who flees her husband might be protecting her children as well, the addict needs love and understanding, not judgment, the widow is just lonely and a simple smile or "hello" might make his day.  God commands us to "do for the least of these".  Jesus disguises himself as a poor mother, a homeless man, an abused woman, an addict and a lonely widow.  God doesn't need to speak to me because I already know what he is saying.  "Will you help me, please?"

I have been on the receiving end of mercies untold an countless blessings when I needed them in the past 7 months.  I open my heart and my door to shelter, feed and clothe those in need.  I have had doors opened for me in my time of need BECAUSE I have been there for others in their time of need.  God calls all of us to serve, to love to help where and when we can, NOT IF we can.  We can all help in some way, even if its just praying for everyone you know who is in need. 

God enters the world through the truth of how Christians live their lives.  We are not called to help Christians who are clean, loyal, honest and wealthy.  We are called to help the down and out, the homeless, the lonely, the abused and all the children of the world.  Oh wait...we are ALL children of the world!

For the sake of the least of these, please find a place to serve God by honoring his command to go out and serve those in need. 

I have an abundant life, not because of money, but because I have loved those God has entrusted to my care.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

STABILITY

Oh how I wish I could dwell in the comfort of stability right now in my personal life.  However Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

I used to think that the best way for my husband and I to show our children stabilty was for them to witness the love and affectionate devotion we had for each other.  We always kissed and hugged in front of our kids.  With so many broken marriages these days I wanted them to be secure in the fact that their little family was safe now, tomorrow and forever.  I wanted them to go to sleep every night without worries, knowing tomorrow our family was still safe and sound and they were loved and protected.

I never expected this marriage to end.  However, I am continuing to show my kids that they are in a stable and secure family and they are loved and protected.  I want them to trust that even though some things change, their mother will always be there for them.  I want them to feel confident as they venture out into the world, believing that our famiy is still here and always will be.  I want them to trust in God to find a perfect spouse for them, even though a happy future cannot be guaranteed. 

In a moment's notice my children will be gone to live their lives alone or with spouses.  I pray they will continue the tradition of making their children feel stable and secure, loved and protected.  I want my grandchildren to count of their parents in every situation and have the confidence to one day find their own spouses, without guarantee of a happy future.

What I want most is for my children and their legacy to love, trust and call upon Jesus at every moment; during times of triumph as well as at times of turmoil.  I want them to know that when life throws them a curveball, they just have to adjust a little to make sure they catch it.  Life is hard but it's a blast.  Life without Jesus is not an option.  I could not have gotten through the past 6 months without my love for Christ and my reliance on Him to make sure the path God wants me on is the one I'm walking.  I don't know where my path will lead me, or where the path may lead my children, but I am confident, after watching how strong my children have been that they will continue to love and obey Christ.  It's all a mother can ask for.

SOME OF MY BIBICAL HEROS

These men showed faith in very interesting times and ways.

Abel had a strong faith and honored God.  He gave forth his bet flock.  Hebrews 11:4 and Genesis 4:1-8

Enoch had faith and pleased God.  He walked with God.  Hebrews 11:5-6 and Genesis 5:21-24

Noah had faith and obeyed God.  He did everything God commanded.  Hebrews 11:7 and Genesis 6:5-22

Abraham had faith and trusted and obeyed God.  He followed God to a new land.  Hebrews 11:8-19 and Genesis 12:1-5

Isaac had faith and blessed his son.  He was almost sacrificed by Abraham.  Hebrews 11:20 and Genesis 22:1-14

Jacob had faith and blessed Joseph's sons.  He wrestled with God and wonn.  Hebrews 11:21 and Genesis 32:22-32

Joseph had faith and gave instructions to Israelites.  He was sold into slavery.  He forgave his brothers.  Hebrews 11:22 and Genesis 37:23-28; 50:15-21

Moses had faith and refused to be called King.  Hebrews 11:24-28 and Exodus 4:1-12

Joshua had faith and marched around the walls of Jericho.  Hebrews 11:30 and Joshua 3:1-8, 10, 14

JESUS CALLS ME TO HIS SIDE

Day to day responsibilities
                            unsettling effect
     burdened on the inside.

Jesus
      understanding
             emotional
                   spiritual
                        physical
                                 needs

Come with me
       draw beside Him

Monday, June 4, 2012

DANCING WITH JESUS

I am 48 years old.  What have I accomplished in my life?  Don't get me wrong.  I don't consider myself a failure.  I had a good marriage of 24 years which is ending in divorce.  I have raised 3 fabulous kids and taken in a few extra kids.  I taught special ed kids for a while and have lead youth groups, been a girl scout leader, meal taker to those in need, invited countless people into my home for food and a safe place to hang out, written dozens of Christian devotions and helped as many people as I can.

However, when I think about what Jesus accomplished in 33 years, I feel so inadequate.  Jesus lived with us in this valley called life.  He completed his work on a barren hillside surrounded by two criminals.  Even then love spilled from him and he forgave the criminal who asked for help.  Even then the wind blew a beautiful whistle, the leaves from the trees fell to the ground in a choreographed manner, the birds sang a lovely song and the heavens broke forth in song at the receiving of it's own son back.  I have been fortunate enough to find solitude in the mountains while listening to the song God sings on a daily basis.  Even the rippling of a stream or the buzz of a bee is a song sung by God.  Have you ever been in an awesome rain or snow storm?  Have you taken the time to listen to the storm?  Listen carefully next time and you'll hear the majesty of God's music.

There are times when I don't listen to the music because I'm too distracted by the noise of my life, especially during dark uncertain situations.  If I remember to take just a moment to focus on God I begin to year the soft hum.  When I take the time to read the bible and study notes I begin to discern the melody.  When I speak and pray to God directly, in a personal relationship, I begin to distinguish the chorus and when I surrender to Christ completely I hear the glorious band in all it's magnificence, every note distinct and clear.  I want to spend my life dancing with Jesus so I might better know the steps through practice.  I don't just want to survive the dance, but I want to thrive because of the dance.

My goal this week is to get back on track and devote a substantial amount of my time reading the bible and my study notes.  I find that when I concentrate on the music I begin to learn to dance in the valley of my life.  The muddiness of my every day life is not a strong enough excuse to stay away from God's word.  God knows every dance, not just the good and prosperous ones.  He knows the dark and ugly steps of my daily life.

What have I done with my life?  I am taking every opportunity to be surrounded by the splendor of Jesus so that I can be ready to do his work when I am called upon.  You see, it's not what I do with my life, but what Jesus asks me to do with my life that matters.  I miss helping people.  It's time I get out of this funk and start focusing on those in more need than I am.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WHO HOLDS ME WHEN I STUMBLE?

Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have strengthened the feeble knees.  Job 4:4
I certainly have not endured the pain and sorrow Job did, let alone what Jesus went through.  However, every stumbl or fall along my life's path gets me to feeling I'm inadequate and not strong enough to recover or survive.  One thing I do well, though, is to uphold God's holy word in my times of heavy storm.  I refuse to falter in my walk towards his light and comfort.  I have 2 choices.  I can curl up in the fetal position and wallow in my self pity of darkness and despair.  My other choice is to keep going.  Job was strong throughout his every storm and praised God for all he had given Job.  Job understood that God gave gifts to Job, and he had the authority to allow Satan to take away those gifts.  Sometimes as parents we have to let our children fall in order to learn a lesson.  Well...God has been teaching me quite a few lessons these past 6 months.  I am learning what it means to be real.  I'm working each day to recognize and appreciate the unique person God created me to be.  I'm learning to see myself through God's eyes.  Just a few years ago, these storms would have had me curling up in the corner hoping to die.  Now?  I praise God for every day, pleasure or turmoil, and I accept the life he is leading me to.  I look toward him daily, in every moment, and am grateful for the gifts he is bestowing on my daily.  I may stumble and my knees may be feeble, but with God by my side, I can overcome these set backs and rise above it all in the days to come.

Lord, I thank you for the storms you've allowed to pass through my life and the lessons I continue to learn through your word.  I ask you, Jesus, to continue to bring me strength for the narrow walk ahead of me, wisdom to make positive changes in my life, and patience to endure the suffering.  Amen

Monday, May 21, 2012

CHALLENGES

Each day I face many challenges. I don't want to consider these endless opportunities to worry, stress out, feel regret or heartache. I wish I could easily see the overflowing blessings in my life. I struggle to do so just as much as the normal person does. I'm not prone to depression but I do feel anxiety at times when things are out of my control and in the hands of people I no longer trust. I challenge myself daily to change my perspective for just a moment of reflection so joy can push away the pain and usher me closer to the loving arms of God. For he knows the plan he has for my life and he does not wish any harm to come to me. His gift of grace and mercy is a daily gift, available to me constantly, every morning and each night, present in every moment of my life. I don't deserve it but God gives it to me anyway. I want to spend the next 365 days counting my blessings. I know most people start at the beginning of each year, but this is a cornerstone for me. I've made it 6 months without my husband at my side. I didn't thinkI could make it 1 day. I will make it the rest of my life as long as I look ahead and don't dwell on past mistakes, pain and heartache. I need to remember to laugh out loud at the absurdities in life and allow my moments of pain to transform into memories of pleasure. Each pain I experience will bring me closer to the pleasure God has planned for my future. I'm almost 50 so I'm no spring chicken, but I will endeavor to hope that upon my last breath I will have lived a happy life. I have no regrets in marrying the man I married. It just wasn't meant to last forever. I thank God for my new life's beginning. I hope my stories from this point on be filled with wisdom, forgiveness, mercy, hope and humor. Every day is a gift, directly from God. I don't want to waste his time any longer.

NOT HOW BUT WHO

Many things in my life are going well, some not so great. There are a few areas in which hopelessness tries to creep in. I need to constantly remind myself that God will deliver me. His spirit is unmistakable. I often ask how God will deliver me. But how is a riduculous notion for God. He is the Great I Am. All God asks of me is to receive his promise. Nothing more. He doesn't ask me to say a set of routine prayers, or to make a sacrifice or even to go to church. God just asks me to trust him. He doesn't offer just a quick fix that may again fray or break. He is offering me a whole new way to live. I may not have the stamina for the journey and more pain may lie ahead of me. Even so, the choice to follow God is painfully clear. I can continue to struggle all alone, pushing myself through one more day, or I can take God at his word and let go. I look at my circumstances with despair at times. I wonder if and when God can deliver me. When will he change my circumstances? He can deliver me into a place of peace, grace and mercy because it is my birthright as a child of God. How? What a riduculous notion for God!

ECSTATIC

Don't I wish I could always feel this way. It's all about my attitude. I love Mondays so today I have a pretty good attitude. How can I be ecstatic when I've a long to do list? I do have things in my life I'm looking forward to, but ecstatic? Maybe I'll just play some music while doing some chores and feel content. I've always felt happiness is being content with your life. As for the divine intoxication? I do love my wine. I don't think that's what Henry Miller was speaking of. I have been forcing myself to have a zest for life that was missing, but I think "ecstatic" is too strong a word. It implies nothing goes wrong or you cloud your feelings or thoughts that are negative and don't actually deal with them. I don't welcome pain, but I don't ignore it. I don't intoxicate myself in a neglectful way. I face my fears and my pain and I attempt to work through to sunnier days. While I like this quote, and it reminds me to live positively, I guess I have a more realistic view of life.

http://pinterest.com/pin/250723904225399352/

DAILY CLOSENESS TO GOD

I remember the days of hiking in the mountains; first as a child with my parents and siblings then as an adult with my husband and children. I miss our cabin. My ex is keeping it in the divorce. That's okay, I'm keeping the house. I miss having a "place" to escape from this rocky world. I loved the scent of the forest and the serenity. Every summer I would leave my children and husband behind for a week of solitude at our little cabin in the mountains. I would take my bible studies, books, art supplies, my case of cd's and plenty of food to last a week so I would have no need to to run for rations 40 minutes away. When I got there I would forget my troubles and shake off the dust from my daily existence. I would get closer to God during my hikes and my quiet times. I would cook and work on art projects. I would dance like no one was watching. I would sit on my front porch in a rocking chair and gaze upon the valley in front of me. I would look upon God's creation. I would sleep under the stars.

Then I would return home to the valley of my life; a pile of dishes, weeds that hadn't been pulled, laundry still wet in the washer, dust creating a extra layer on the furniture, shoes and socks strew in every room. I would realize that my time away was just that, time away from the daily-ness of my life.
Time away might have allowed me to rest and find peace in my days for a week, but the breath stopping truth is that I'm called to live most of my life in the daily-ness of it, not just during my time away. I should be excited about living in my daily-ness, not just my mountain days. I might find respite in the mountains but I should also remember to find joy and glory in every moment of every day. While my mountains days made me feel like I was on top of the trees, in this daily-ness of my life is where I can sit in their shade and eat of their fruit. In the mountains the rainstorms were magnificent, each droplet giving life to God's green earth. Here in my daily-ness the rain pools into puddles I can splash in. In the mountains of my solitude I found exhilaration in my aloneness, in my valley I find the comfort of my family. The mountains can be distant, treacherous and full of obstacles, but my daily-ness is abundant.

I give thanks to my God. "Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth". Psalm 8:9

Thank you Lord for your daily majesty, for watching over my daily-ness and for giving blessings so abundant I cannot begin to count them. I pray that you will help me to continue to see the blessings in my daily life. Allow me to see your daily glory in every moment of my day. Allow my montains to become bumps. Help me to discern what you want me to learn during my valley days. Teach me to share what I've learned. Guide me towards the path you want me to walk. Keep me from feeling lost and frustrated in my daily-ness and allow me to see your comforting hand on my shoulder at every moment. Lord, I ask that you diminish my sorrows and lessen my heartache. Bring me to a place of comfort and rest. Allow me to be content with my new life.

GOD'S COMFORT AND SECURITY

"Oh God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water". Psalm 63:1
 
I think we all have a craving for comfort and security. Perhaps I more than the norm, at this time in my life. I would love to be “beamed up” to a time of greater innocence and away from this world of military threats and lack of respect. I think my desire for security began with Adam and Eve. For only a brief history in time was this world consumed by love and without fear for anything. Then, they had to eat that darn apple.
 
I don’t remember being fearful as a child. My parents were divorced but my mother took good care of us. I never considered how food made it to the table or where the funds came from for me to purchase a prom dress. My mother gave me the comfort and security I needed and I wasn’t even aware of it. I never found the need to find comfort outside my home. I wasn’t a completely obedient teenager, but I turn to drugs or sex for comfort. I thank my mother for keeping me reigned in just tight enough that I didn’t stray, though at the time I thought she was mean and controlling.
 
I would love to retreat back into the simple pleasure of being a teenager, along with all the difficulties I lived through. What I felt were demanding requirements then, now would bring me comfort.
 
I believe I can find such comfort now. I can feel secure in this life without worry that my security will be yanked from me. God has clearly stated promises in the bible that are intended to produce security in us in spite of our circumstances.
“Those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, O Lord, have not forgotten those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10
 
I think comfort is only a prayer away. I endeavor to seek God daily, and some days I accomplish such a monumental feat. Some days, like yesterday, I fall short due to my own faults. Just like comfort food brings a warm feeling to our body, I believe reading the bible and “being” in his word constantly brings comfort to our souls.
 

GOD'S GLORY

There are times when I feel the burden of raising my children as a single mom. How much more must God feel the burden of raising billions of unruly children? There are so many influences in our lives; smut called entertainment, women and children trafficking, obscene language in every sentence spoken, environmental concerns, even household disagreements. I don’t know whether to crawl into a cave or shout from a mountain top. I feel overwhelmed by the angry faces I see in the world. I have been brought to anger by the casual attitude others have towards God’s gift of life. I know God requires me to provide my own elbow grease to reach the lost souls in this world. Just a smidgen of love will often sweeten a bitter relationship. A morsel of mercy can soften the most callous offender. A teaspoon of biblical truth has the power to enlighten those who have been duped by society into thinking they don’t need God.
I don’t want to forget that when God handed humanity the authority to manage his creation he didn’t intend for us to rule the masses with an iron fist. He showed us love and mercy, we must do the same. We won’t change society for good through bullying, showing disapproval or announcing our protest. Instead we can permeate our world with God’s glory by engaging in the culture we find ourselves. Say hello to a stranger, share a meal with a Muslim, clean up a non-believer’s yard, encourage the elderly to share their stories, respect the Jewish religion, provide dinner for a family in need, pray with someone in turmoil, run an errand for a sick friend.
I may lead the way God intended when I begin to love the other messy image-bearers he weaves into my life. The neighbor who drives me crazy? Make them some of G’s famous scones. The friend who ignores me but is in need of help? Make the phone calls to agencies that might be able to help her. My ex who is a lost soul? Pray for him to find his way back to God.
I cannot change the world alone. I cannot change my city alone. I cannot change my neighborhood alone. I cannot change my household alone. I cannot change my attitude alone. But, I can do all things with Christ by my side. I need to learn to share God’s glory with everyone.
*This story was inspired by my friend who has come to love a teenage girl she met through a church retreat. She is a hard person to like, let alone love. My friend has shown her compassion and acceptance and been a shining light in this young girl’s life. I admire my friend and strive to be like her in many ways. The love she pours out to people is amazing. Thanks friend.

CHRISTIAN FORGIVENESS

When I became a child of Christ I never knew I'd experience some of what he went through. I know people who do not care for me because of my faith, I have been hurt by those who call God's house their own, I have been betrayed and deeply pained. Forgiving those who have hurt me is a step towards walking in the shoes of Christ. When someone I love hurts me I tend to forgive quickly in order to keep the peace and my life running as smoothly as possible. I don't expect to be hurt by other "Christians". Are we not all walking the same path, that to live a life resembling the life Christ led. Jesus certainly knew his enemies yet he still loved those who hurt him. He knew the miracles and felt the wonder of God and bestowed it upon all people, not just his friends. I'm not sure I have really forgiven people for past hurts, as much as just forgotten about the situation that hurt me. I felt that simply forgiving them was enough. Then one day the hurt memory returns and I realize the pain is deeper than I thought. I feel God impressing on my heart that I truly need to forgive and then actually act out that forgiveness. I am called to help them or do something for them. Some hurts are little and I have long forgotten the act someone committed against me. Some pain is so deep I don't know if I'll ever get over it. I have been trying to forgive and forget but all I've been doing is forgetting.

Now God is calling me to actually forgive like Jesus would. Treat my enemies like the precious children of God they are. A man in my Divorce Care class said "forgiveness is ducking so God can hit them for you". I have to remember that. Tonight in class we talked about how forgiveness is an essential necessity of healing. Though I don’t know if I can truly forgive me ex for the devastation and pain he caused our family, I can try to love him through the eyes of Christ. I don’t wish him harm in any way, but the wound is still too fresh to begin healing is a measurable manner. I know one day I will be able to stand or sit beside him and not feel the emotions of contempt and bitterness. Until that day comes I will continue to pray for him and his lost soul. I will be grateful to God for the freedom of will to slowly travel the road to forgiveness. I know I have to completely forgive him in order for complete healing to happen.

As Jesus loved Judas so I must also love my enemies. Lord, please help me to feel ready to forgive and prepare my heart for the emotions I must endure in order to reach a place of peace and forgiveness. Please show me how to accomplish this and guide me along the way. Hold my tongue when you see me straying from words that would bring you honor. Banish the bitter thoughts that enter my mind at times. Free me from fear and give me strength to endure this battle. Bring lightness to my step and return laughter in my life. Pave the path before me and make it clear. I tell myself that through your son all things are possible and yet I hold back giving Christ total control of my life. Teach me Lord, how to let go and allow your precious light to shine through my life for all to see the change it makes in me. Make me an example for others and continue to make our home a lighthouse for others to retreat to. Amen

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DESIRE

IF WE DISCOVER A DESIRE WITHIN US THAT NOTHING IN THIS WORLD CAN SATISFY, ALSO WE SHOULD BEGIN TO WONDER IF PERHAPS WE WERE CREATED FOR ANOTHER WORLD.

                   C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) Mere Christianity


I was definately made for another world!  My deepest desires cannot be fulfilled here on this planet nor in this universe.  Only once I am home with my heavenly father will I be satisfied.  I can't wait to dance with God in praise.
 

HOW I HAVE TRIED TO SERVE GOD IN A LITTLE WAY

When I became a Christian I was lucky enough to have like minded people around me. As my children grew we became surrounded by multiple populations of different peoples with different religions, thoughts, beliefs, negativity and hope. I started inviting people over for dinner. It began simply by saying blessing before our meal and having a "normal" conversation. More people were invited. Our conversations opened up to all kinds of subjects, including religious beliefs. We now regularly host about 30 people, mostly teenagers, every Friday night at our home. We are Christian, Muslim, Ahtiest, non-committal, gay, promiscuous, holier than thou but we all have one thing in common. We have agreed to be in each other's lives without judgment or criticism. About 150 lives have been impacted by these simple dinners and many have converted to Christianity. The best compliment I ever received was, "You are the funnest, honest Christian to be around". I frown upon adults who don't share their broken pasts with youngsters. If we seem perfect in their eyes they can't understand how they can be imperfect and still loved by Jesus. We must live as Christ would like us to, but we will stumble and stand right back up because because that momentary slip, it was the blood of Jesus we stepped on without respect. When we realize that we stand right back up again and face Jesus with our apologies and comittment to try to get it right again. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

LIFE IS A STAGE

If the world is a stage, please Lord, I'd like to be the janitor who sweeps up after everyone leaves.  Put me behind the scenes with no makeup, no lines to follow, without too many chiefs and not enough indians.

In the beginning was God.

Truth.

A plan.

I need to find the plan God wants for me.  What truth does he want me to find?  Above all, I need to find the God of 1st Corinthians 13.  That God!

Not the God that is plastered on the overhead screen on Sunday morning, not the God who is glued on the back of cars in the shape of a chrome-colored plastic fish, not the God who people use as a scape-goat or a king of their causes.

I want to discover the one who has walked beside me every second of my life waiting for me to turn and say hello without pretending, without a mask, without anything but me.

BILL'S PORCH

I found a great blog.

http://lvharvest.blogspot.com/

Saturday, March 10, 2012

BEING IN THE FRAME OF MIND FOR BIBLE STUDY

Psalm 109:4 / New Century Version (NCV)


4 They attacked me, even though I loved them and prayed for them.

I sat down a few hours ago to share some notes on discipleship I found going through some old bible devotions I had written. Alas, something interrupted me so I now I'm not in the frame of mind to finish typing that new post. It started me to thinking that I was in the perfect frame of mind to share these notes when Satan attacked.  I don't mean physically, but in a way that crept in slowly, through the actions of another person and my reaction to them.  Satan enjoys attacking us in any way he can, so he looks for moments when we let our guards down, and are weak, to strike us.  So as I write that I am not in the frame of mind to share a new post, here I am posting!  However, I am not able to focus on a post when I’m not completely surrendering to God and asking him to guide my hand.  My mind can’t go there right now.  I’m angry, frustrated and fearful.  The person who Satan used to “attack” me is always an easy target.  This person is not saved or guided by God.  So this post is not “God” centered or guided.  This is my anger and frustration talking.  Believe me I’m keeping it under control.  I could write 100 emotional pages full of woe, etc.  So, that’s why I’m going to walk away from the computer and take some quiet time to focus on God and get myself right with Him again before I call it a night and try to get some sleep.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

EVENING PASSED AND MORNING CAME - GENESIS

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  Psalm 30:5

GENESIS 1:
v. 5  …..  Evening passed, and morning came.  This was the FIRST day.
v. 8  …..  Evening passed, and morning came.  This was the SECOND day.
v. 13  Evening passed and morning came.  This was the THIRD day.
v. 19  Evening passed and morning came.  This was the FOURTH day.
v. 23  Evening passed and morning came.  This was the FIFTH day.
v. 31  God looked at everything he had made, and it was very good.  Evening passed and morning came.  This was the SIXTH day.

David got it right.  He didn’t look at the morning as the beginning of his day.  He thought upon the night as the beginning of his time with God.  If we could just meditate upon God’s word before going to sleep every night I truly believe God will bless our next day.  While we are sleeping he is free to work in our heart and mind to prepare us for accomplishing what needs to get done.  Too many of us think of night as the end of our day.  Actually it is the beginning of our day.  I truly believe if we all took the time to come to God in the evening before bed and pray for the next morning’s tasks and needs, we would see more fully what God can accomplish in us while we are restfully sleeping.  God wants to spend the evening protecting and preparing us for the morning, not just resting from the day we just lived.

God loves us so much, our eternal joy will come in the morning of Christ’s return.  God's love is with us at all times, he never fails us.  We need to see our mornings as the ending of an evening spent with God protecting us and allowing us to rest so we may forge the path he has paved for us. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoezWBPGRAc

Song Title:Your Love Never Fails
Artist / Band:Jesus Culture
Album:Your Love Never Fails

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

Chorus:
You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

Verse 2:
The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails

Bridge:
You make all things work together for my good

WORSHIP - WE ARE CALLED TO IT

I co-led a group of 6th grade girls from our church in a small group. Last night’s study was all about worship.  I’m posting it here because I really enjoyed the message.

Read Deut 6:1-9  New Century Version (NCV)
1 These are the commands, rules, and laws that the Lord your God told me to teach you to obey in the land you are crossing the Jordan River to take.2 You, your children, and your grandchildren must respect the Lord your God as long as you live. Obey all his rules and commands I give you so that you will live a long time.3 Listen, Israel, and carefully obey these laws. Then all will go well for you, and you will become a great nation in a fertile land, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.
4 Listen, people of Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord.5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.6 Always remember these commands I give you today.7 Teach them to your children, and talk about them when you sit at home and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.8 Write them down and tie them to your hands as a sign. Tie them on your forehead to remind you,9 and write them on your doors and gates.
What is worship?  Worship is about committing ourselves fully to God and living each day excited to see where he is going to lead us.  It means placing God at the center of our lives.  Other words for worship are devotion, admiration, deep respect, love without question, honor, or reverence

What does God call us to do? Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  We need to choose God daily.  Not as a religious duty, but because we want to.  Only then can we begin to see our lives unfold according to God’s plan.

 Read Psalm 138:1-8  New Century Version (NCV)

1 Lord, I will thank you with all my heart;
I will sing to you before the gods.
2 I will bow down facing your holy Temple,
and I will thank you for your love and loyalty.
You have made your name and your word
greater than anything.
3 On the day I called to you, you answered me.
You made me strong and brave.
4 Lord, let all the kings of the earth praise you
when they hear the words you speak.
5 They will sing about what the Lord has done,
because the Lord's glory is great.
6 Though the Lord is supreme,
he takes care of those who are humble,
but he stays away from the proud.
7 Lord, even when I have trouble all around me,
you will keep me alive.
When my enemies are angry,
you will reach down and save me by your power.
8 Lord, you do everything for me.
Lord, your love continues forever.
Do not leave us, whom you made.

So, what is worship?  It’s a lifestyle of honoring God through conversation, every decision and every moment of our lives.  It’s not just a task.
Read Romans 12:1-2  New Century Version (NCV)

1 So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. 2 Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.

When can we worship?  We are not limited in the ways or places we can show God how much we love him.  Worship should become a part of who we are, not just what we do.  If we truly want to live a life that pleases God, then we can’t live according to the world’s standards.  We need to change from people who are selfish and materialistic to someone who is focused on pleasing God.  In order for that to happen, we need to make God a part of our daily life, every moment.

Worshiping God doesn’t have to be a big production.  It simply means including him in all the parts of your day and the way you live your life.  Worship doesn’t have to happen in a church or fuel group.  It really takes place in our heart and the choices we make and the lifestyle we lead.

We can worship God by:

Knowing God - reading our bible, growing closer to him, gaining understanding

Making sacrifices – make choices that are pleasing to God, let our heart and character reflect him, letting go of worldly things

Loving others – put others first, help the needy, love our enemies

Waiting on God – take time to listen to God, spend quiet time with God,

Talking to God – pray to God, express our thoughts, needs and our love for him, thank God for what he has given you, seek forgiveness for sin, surrender yourself to God’s will, cry out to God or praise him through song

God has given us so much.  The way we choose to worship him daily can be our expression of gratefulness and love back to him.  There is no formula to the way we worship.  Worship is not about checking things off a to-do list.  It is including God in every corner of our life so that we can experience life to the fullest in the way God intended for us.

Other verses:
John 4:23
Ephesians 5:19-20

Saturday, March 3, 2012

F.R.O.G. FULLY RELY ON GOD NAME CHANGE?

When I started this blog a few years ago it was just for me.  I didn't share the address with anyone or make a big deal out of it.  It was a place for me to voice my opinion and for my kids to see and eventually have a record of my lifetime thoughts on Christianity.  My close friends knew about it.  They understood the name because I've been collecting frogs ever since I met my husband 26 years ago.  Eventually I was asked to allow followers, so I did.  My visits are high so I know people are coming here to read my little glimmers into the bible.  Now, the husband is on the way to being history and I would like very much to disassociate myself with frogs in any way.  I had a collection of frogs I've packed up to give to a teen girl who loves frogs. 

I was told I souldn't change the name of this blog because its what people are accustomed to seeing.  I'd like to find another name, but F.R.O.G. really does describe me, not just my collection.  I do fully rely on God for everything, he is my non-earthly husband.  My Heavenly Father, Husband, Provider, Protector, Comforter, etc.  So, F.R.O.G. it will stay and fully relying on God I will stay.  My husband may have decided to abandon me, but my God never will.

I will pray for a new name to come to me.  Until then, F.R.O.G. it will stay.

CRY OUT TO THE LORD FOR STRENGTH

I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.  Psalm 142:1
I pray quietly each morning and evening in my own space, and sometimes during the day I use my audible voice to pray directly for a  circumstance or need for myself or others.  I'm thinking that when I sing in worship, I am crying out my need to the Lord.  Ever notice that the songs that most likely make us get up and dance and sing out loud are the ones that touch our hearts in some way?  I play K-Love all day in my house and there are times a song moves me to get up and sing and dance, like no one is watching.  I hope there are no hidden cameras in my house, someone is getting a laugh.  But God is rejoicing at each horrible and off key note I sing.

I think that when I verbalize my feelings to God it is a little more like actually having a conversation with him.  I seem to be able to open up more and get to the "reveal" as you will of my issues because I don't have distractions.  Can you audibly speak to someone and still let your mind wander?  Not if you're really interested in what they have to say.  The depth of my heart can only be found when I get down and dirty with God and dig it all out.  Nothing can surprise or shock him, so why not tell it ALL to Him, who loves us unconditionally?  How are we to "cry" silently?  Can we?  Not realistically.  We must cry out to the Lord, audibly, because that's what he is asking us to do.  Why would he ask us to do it if he didn't care for us.  Does he want us to cry out because he wants to know our feelings?  No!  He already knows them; but do we?  Do we really know what we are feeling if we don't spend time figuring it out?  We need clarity and definition so we can be better prepared to make decisions, instead of being confused and fearful and make rash choices that don't honor God. 

So, CRY out to the Lord.  Sing, dance, praise.  Oh, and don't forget he wants us to scream and cry it all out also.  Our mind, body and heart need to get it out so our strength can shine through.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

OKAY, I'M BACK!

I'll start trying to post all those devotionals I wrote this past summer and I'll try to keep up with my BSF notes too.  I will just try to chime in once in a while.  Thanks everyone for your personal e-mails.  I started this blog for myself and my kids so I'd never lose my thoughts on certain subjects, and they'd have a record of our life.  I was amazed when you all started visiting.  Be patient, I'll find my way again.  God has been so present in my life since all this turmoil started I can't believe I ever lived a life not fully devoted to Him.  Now when I worship I WORSHIP.  When I praise, I PRAISE.  When I pray, I PRAY.  When I am silent before Him, I am SILENT and I LISTEN instead of telling Him what I want.  Glory and praise for all the blessings He has placed in my life the past six weeks.  Has it really been six weeks?  Wow!  Time flies even when you are NOT having fun.  Yes, I still have a sense of humor.  Gotta or else life would be miserable.  Life without my husband is hard to get used to, but I'm doing pretty well, considering. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

WHY I'VE BEEN GONE

I'm so sorry I haven't responded to anyone who has e-mailed me. Thank you for wondering where I went. The complete and honest truth is that I was in my own little cave lately. My husand of 24 years is having an affair and left our house on Dec. 9th. Needless to say, all else has taken a back seat. I know we are headed for divorce, but we haven't entered any negotiations yet. Please pray I get through this quickly so I can get on with my life with my kids by my side and free from worry and stress.

The other day I told my son I hadn't done any artwork for three weeks and he said, "That's not good, you need art". He too is an artist so understands. My dabbling with art supplies has always been my retreat from the worries and stress of life. I vow to get into my studio at least one day this week and start feeling the sense of peace and restoration I usually feel after a few hours of escape from the world.

My time with God has been waning, but I will step that up too.