Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Relaxing Holiday

Well, it's three days after Christmas, and all is well. We did get a white Christmas this year, though there wasn't much - maybe a few centimetres. That all changed yesterday. We ended up getting a snow storm - the very same one that moved up the eastern coast of the US.

It was still snowing today, though it had tapered off some yesterday, last night, and today (the snow was off and on). It was quite windy at times though, which caused drifting and blowing snow. I think there was a little rain mixed in as well, because when I was out cleaning the car off, I had to scrape and there was a little ice on the windshield.

The roads weren't too good today. I had to go to the grocery store for a few things, and then around supper time I had to drive my little nephew (he came to visit with us for awhile this afternoon) back over to his other grandparents, and the roads weren't plowed. There were bare tracks in places, but there was more snow than bareness. That was on the main road - the side streets didn't have bare patches or anything, so they were worse.

I haven't been doing a whole lot since Christmas - just relaxing and catching up on some knitting and reading. I'm going to hang out with my best friend tomorrow afternoon and evening. We're going to hang out, watch a movie, order pizza and do some crafty sorts of things (more than likely it will be knitting). She's went back to university for her bachelor of education, and the Christmas break will be the only time we will be able to really hang out, since during school she is super busy. 

I had a good Christmas. It was quiet - only me, my mom, my older brother and his wife. My other brother and his family didn't get up this year, and we definitely missed them! I think one of the best things about Christmas that I enjoy is having family over.

What do you enjoy about Christmas?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas


I would like to take this time to wish each and every one of you a very peaceful, joyous and blessed Christmas.

Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do Not Swear...

Several years ago, I accompanied my dad to the motor vehicle office with regard to giving him my car. I'm not exactly sure now what we had to do, but I do remember part of it involving the lady behind the counter pulling out a Bible and making us both place our hands on it and swearing (obviously not the vulgar swearing).

But above all, my brethern, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment. (James 5:12)
I remember feeling guilty afterwards (yes, I repented of it as well) and wishing I had the strength to have told her that I would not put my hand on the Bible and swear, and then quote (and even show her) the above scripture. I don't know how that would have gone over though.

I often wonder about people in court, when they are made to place their hands on the Bible and swear or take an oath - what would happen, or what would be done, if the person refused to do so and then quoted  James 5:12...would they get tossed out of court, would they get thrown in jail for causing problems, would they be forced to take the oath, or would the judge accept the denial and quote.

Have you ever refused to swear or take an oath by placing your hand on a Bible (as in situations above, or similar)? What has been the result? Or, are/were you like me and made the oath or swear and then feel guilty after?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Xmas?

I was going to do a post on the whole Xmas thing, but I just read Jim's post, and he pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter too. Why not head over there and check it out.

Would love you to come back and leave your thoughts on the matter (writing Xmas instead of Christmas) as well.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just Accept It - That's All You Need To Do

I remember when I visited Egypt. I spent the month of February, 2008, with three friends and we toured several places. I loved my time there, and it was such a surreal feeling to be standing in front of the pyramids, to visit the temples and tombs, and sail down the Nile.

One thing that is quite common over there, is the abundance of people (usually men) trying to sell you souvenirs, etc. The country is quite poor, so you can't fault them for trying to make a living. But, everywhere we went, someone was always shouting out for us to come and buy something from them. In several places, like at the pyramids, you would find men (and lots of times children as well), carrying around several items trying to sell them to make a pound (their currency is the Egyptian pound, but they also use and accept the American dollar).

While at the pyramids, one man approached us with cute little glass images (set of 3) of the pyramids - think paperweights. He approached T and said to her, "Here, it's a gift for you." She took it, thinking that is was really nice of him to offer her a gift for no reason. She started to walk on after thanking him, but he followed right along and tugged her arm. "It's a gift for you. Now you give me a gift. Maybe _____." (fill in the blank with a dollar amount). So, as it turns out, it really wasn't a gift. He was using that method to get the person to accept the item he wanted to sell, then once they had it in their possession, he would request to be paid for the item.

Thankfully, God is not like that. In Romans 6:23 we read, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (bold and italics are my addition).

Salvation is not earned. God has freely given it to us in the form of His Son - Jesus Christ. We don't have to pay (in actuality, we CAN'T do this) to be saved. All we need to do is believe and profess that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins (he sacrificed His life so we could live), and rose the third day.

God gives us His gift; He doesn't demand to be paid for it - not prior to giving it, not after giving it. All we need to do is accept His gift. He's not going to follow after us, tug at our arms and demand us to give him a "gift" in exchange for eternal life. The truth of the matter is, the price has already been paid in full - with Jesus' death and resurrection. Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross.

All you need to do, is just accept God's gift to you. That's it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Angry Birds, Eh?

I have a new addiction - thanks to Pete Wilson and others...



I've been playing this game since noonish. It's fun; it's cute, and I love it! So, thanks Pete and others who introduced me to this!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Biblical Humor

Here's a little repost of one of my posts from my first year ever of blogging. Enjoy!



Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, "Why is the bride dressed in white?" "Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life." The child thought about this for a moment, then said, "So why is the groom wearing black?"


A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, "Dear Lord, please don't let me be late! Dear Lord, please don't let me be late!" While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again. As she ran she once again began to pray, "Dear Lord, please don't let me be late...But please don't shove me either!"


Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, "My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem. They give him $50."


The second boy says, "That's nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song. They give him $100."


The third boy says, "I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon, and it takes eight people to collect all the money!"

An elderly woman died last month. Having never married, she requested no male pallbearers. In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, "They wouldn't take me out while I was alive, I don't want them to take me out when I'm dead.


A Sunday School teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem. A small child replied: "They couldn't get a baby sitter."

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to "honor thy father and thy mother," she asked "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?" Without missing a beat one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill."

At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam's ribs. Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and said, "Johnny, what is the matter?" Little Johnny responded, "I have pain in my side. I think I'm going to have a wife."

Two boys were walking home from Sunday school after hearing a strong preaching on the devil. One said to the other, "What do you think about all this Satan stuff?" The other boy replied, "Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It's probably just your Dad.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

Painting of Flanders Fields taken from this blog, but I don't have any idea from where he got it.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

- John McCrae

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Silence Is Golden

This week in Sunday school, we discussed being silent before the Lord in order to hear His voice. This is something we might find difficult to do, depending on our situation - like if you have small children (or any children) or a job that takes up a lot of time.

We tried to do this for a brief amount of time in class, and some of us had a difficult time, while others didn't seem to mind at all. For me, it was difficult.

I find it difficult to turn off my mind or stop it from wandering. Usually one thought leads to another, and that one to another, and so on. Or, I'll hear a noise or talking or whatnot in the distance (in this case it was coming from the class next door to ours, and from the kids music program down the hall), and seem to focus on that - even if I pray and ask the Lord to help me refocus on Him. It's not an easy situation!

Here are some guidelines we discussed prior to doing this exercise in the class:

1. Prayer (5 minutes) - settling into quietness and stillness, trust God with "to-dos" or jot them down in a quick note.

2. Read through your Bible passage once (in our case we tried this exercise using Matthew 5:1-12), then read it again, this time more slowly.

3. Pay attention to verses that stand out to you.

4. In what ways are you feeling plessed?

5. In what ways have you experienced the truth of these verses lately?

6. How do these verses intersect with your life right now?

7. Are there ways in which these verses seem odd to you? (It is totally OK if they do)

8. Are there ways you sense God is telling you to change? How do you react to this?

9. What do the verses tell us about God?


As I said, I didn't find myself successful with the attempt of being silent before the Lord in class. Not only did I find the noise around me (from other classes) distracting, but I wasn't sitting in a comfortable chair either. To me, that is one of the big factors - the need to be comfortable before I can concentrate or focus. I'm the same way if I'm studying something too; I need a comfortable chair.

So, because this didn't work for me on Sunday, does that mean I won't try it again? Of course not! I will try this again and see how it works for me then - and of course, I'll make sure I have myself a nice, comfortable chair!

Have you tried being silent before the Lord? Have you heard him speak to you this way? I'd love to hear your experiences with it!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

To Fast Or Not To Fast...

Recently in Sunday school class, we discussed the topic of fasting.

Usually when we talk about fasting, it is from food and eating. According to dictionary.com, fasting means to cause to abstain entirely or limit food. However, there are many kinds of fasts that we can do, and not just from food.

In class, one woman talked about having an "addiction" to caffeinated beverages, so she had chosen to fast from those for a certain amount of time (I believe she decided to do this during Lent, even though it wasn't something practiced in our church). Another woman talked about fasting from electronics, particularly the computer. Other fasts you can do is to abstain from food and only drink water and/or fruit juice; another would be to fast from all meat and just eat fruits and vegetables. The list goes on, really.

The idea of fasting is to remove some form of comfort from our lives and use that time to focus more on spiritual things. It should be noted that when fasting, the enemy is going to do whatever he can to break the fast. For example, you fast from food and only drink water and/or fruit juice and, of course, you will get hungry. Your stomach will growl, and the enemy is right there helping to put thoughts in your mind, like, "Wouldn't a nice, juicy hambuger taste good right about now? Or how about going out to your favourite restaurant - it's Tuesday and they have that awesome special on..."  However, when those hunger pangs do strike, you can use those as reminders to stop and pray and focus on the Lord.

The Bible is filled with verses on fasting - Daniel was on a sort of vegetable fast (he fasted from eating the king's food, and only ate fruits and vegetables), Jesus tells the disciples, who had inquired about not being able to drive out evil spirits from someone, that those spirits could only be removed through prayer and fasting.

I remember one time several years ago being in a Christian chat room and discussing this very topic with some people from around the world. A few of us had decided that evening that we were going to fast for a twelve hour period. Well, for one woman, the day was just beginning and she had eaten breakfast. She decided from that time she would fast for the next 12 hours. A man, who was about an hour behind my time (putting it about 10pm for him) decided that since he was going in to work on the night shift, he would fast during that time (and a few hours afterwards). That was great for them, but it was about 11pm for me and it was time for bed. They told me that didn't matter and that I could still fast and it would "count".

Now, to me, that is not fasting. I would be asleep and not able to focus on spiritual matters or pray - not exactly something you can do when you are sleeping. I told them my thoughts on this and that I would have to wait until the next day if I were to fast, but they were adament that my sleeping through the fast would still
count". However, as I said earlier on, fasting is designed to remove some of our comforts in order to focus on spiritual matters. Now, I could have fasted from sleep and spent the time praying and reading my Bible, but I didn't. I slept. And, I still believe that that sort of situation is not fasting.


To my recollection, I have only ever fasted once (for about 12 hours), and it was several years ago so I don't recall the outcome or how it was. I am thinking of trying a fast regarding a couple of thoughts/situations that I have been mulling over lately, but I have no current idea as to when I'll actually do it.

What are your thoughts on fasting? Have you ever fasted? I would love to hear your responses in the comment section.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Words Are Powerful. Try Journaling

Yesterday in Sunday school, we talked about journaling, and how useful it is in our walk. We learned three basic ideas:

Writing is a record and a reminder.By keeping a journal, we are able to look back and see where we have been, where we have come from. It's also a good way to see just how God has worked in our lives - a nice little reminder for those times we are feeling down or feeling like God isn't or hasn't worked in our lives (you know those times, it's when the enemy gets hold of our thoughts and tells us that we are such a bad person and how can we call ourselves Christian because we've done such and such and if that's the case, why would God love us or work in our lives). In other words, journaling can help us grow in our walk.


Some people keep prayer journals. Back when I felt such fire for the Lord, felt passionate about my gifts and talents and what I wanted to do, back when I was in the first year of my first degree in university (way back in 2002), I kept a prayer journal. I would record the date, the person I was praying for and the situation. I would write a notation at the bottom such as "Answered: (insert date answered here). There were times I wasn't sure if a prayer had been answered, but I did my best to keep up with the journal and recording the dates they were answered.

I came across that journal a couple of months ago, and I had a quick glance through it. I remembered many of the situations I had prayed about, the people I had prayed for (several were people from school), and was able to see just how many answered prayers there were.

 The type of journal I'm writing about today is more of a day to day (or if not daily, then frequently), journaling our thoughts, etc. of what we have read in our devotions or Bible reading.



Writing is a retreat - the secret places of our heart and mind (our ups and downs). We did a "practice" journal entry in class with a limited amount of time. When that time was up, many people agreed that the time seemed to go by quickly. It's a good way of voicing (in print) our thoughts, feelings, questions, etc. about our walk, about what the Lord may have revealed to us in the Word, how the reading applies to us, what we may fear.


I know some people have a difficult time talking with others about matters of their heart (with regard to their walk with the Lord). For me, there are times when I don't want to talk to someone because I know tears will be involved, and I don't like crying in front of people. Journaling gives an outlet to express our fears, thoughts, etc. in a safe environment. We can record the times we've failed, the times God has brought us out of the "depths of despair" (to borrow a phrase from Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables).

Several of the Psalms, Chronicles and Job examples of recordings of times when people have had ups and downs in their lives. We don't just want to focus on the good things (the ups), because we all know life is not made up of just good times. We will have struggles and troubles along the way, and it's also good to record those as well as the good times.

Connection with God. Journaling can connect us with God. It can be another form of prayer - written as opposed to spoken. Sometimes God will give us a revelation and we can record that in our journal. Look at Revelation 1:1, for example: "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him (John)..." We can also see in the Old Testament that the revelations given to the prophets were recorded (2 Chronicles 33:19) "...all are written in the records of the seers".

So, you've decided you want to try journaling. Here is a good "formula" (for lack of a better word) when you sit down to write:

 1. Always start with prayer
2. Use a passage or verse
3. Write it out
4. Summarize it
5. Write your responses to it (good, bad, questions, etc.)

If you haven't tried journaling, go ahead and try it. Let your thoughts and prayers go out through your fingers!

Have you journaled? What as your experience been? If you haven't, is this something you would be willing to try? Let me know in the comments section!

*** Edited to add: Seems I somehow lost a big paragraph I had before the questions (in green). Not sure what happened with that, but if I can remember what I wrote, I will go back and add it later.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wake Up Call

I'm sitting here this morning, in the living room. I'm on the couch, and the cat is sleeping in the chair across the room, occassionally snoring (or what sounds like a snore). It's quiet except for the fishtank in the dining room.

I've been trying to come up with a something to write about here, but not much was coming to mind. I surfed some other blogs, reading and hoping to spark some ideas along the way.

I just finished reading Michael's post and had a thought. I has totally nothing to do with what he wrote about though.

If you've been reading this blog for the last while, you'll know that I've been in a valley with a lot aspects in my life (I'll spare you the details). While writing my comment for on Michael's post, something popped into my mind.  Here's my thought process, however weird and jumbled it might be:

1. I need to learn to just "be" with God in those times, just "feel" His presence, and know that He's there - and then turn off my thoughts...or give them to Him. (this is part of my comment from Michael's post)

2. I seem to have been going through this valley for some time now. Why?

3. Maybe this is a test - I'm supposed to be learning how to rely on God, not myself or others to fill me up.

4. I think I might have a great photo to go with part of the verses I read in the Bible this morning. I should upload it in Elements and add the scripture to it ("As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer." Psalm 103:15-16).

5. My past is that flower in the field and the wind has passed over it. It's no more, and I'm at a point where I can start over again. At least that's how I feel. Everything I've learned and done (regarding my walk, my  ministries, etc.) reached a point in time where it needed to rest, to learn to trust - to start over.

6. I need to start over. Sure things went well in the past, but that's just it. They are in the past, and I need to stop living there and let God take me into the future - and more importantly, the present. If I keep holding onto the past, onto what was, how can I experience the present and the future?

7. I need to start over. I need to start from scratch (if that's possible) and relearn the basics. Maybe that's what I need to get me out of this valley. Start from the beginning, start with the cross.


So, that's where I am. I do know I need to put more focus on the Lord in my life. I guess I've let other things become more "important" than I should have. I guess I've replaced what is most important to me - and that is so sad. Hmm, maybe that is the source of my problem! I've created other gods (little 'g') in my life and gave them God's (big 'G') place.  Unlike Daniel (from a couple posts ago), I have defiled myself by eating at the king's table (not the King of Kings)...

Wow, what a wake up call!

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Canadian Thanksgiving

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We have so much to be thankful for. So many in the world go without the basics: food, shelter, clothing, clean water. Others live in awful conditions. Still, others don't have the things we have. And many in the world don't have Jesus. What are you giving thanks for?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Not Crossing The Line

Monday night we had our weekly Bible study group, and we began delving into the book of Daniel. We started it briefly last week, and this week looked at verses 8 to 16.


One of the things we talked about was Daniel's resolve to not defile himself by eating the king's food, and drinking his wine. In order to be defiled, the act must be in regard to a moral situation - something that comes from God.

Since Daniel was a Jew, he would have followed laws with regard to they types of food he would eat, and the way it would have been prepared. Since Nebuchadnezzar was not Jewish, he would not have had the same requirements for eating or the preparations for meals.

In verse 9, we can see that God is at work in the situation - He granted Daniel favour and compassion in the eyes of Nebuchadnezzar's chief official. Daniel asks to just be served only vegetables and water, but the official is scared of having his head cut off because he thinks Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah are going to wither away to nothing, compared to those who would be eating from the kings bounty.

Daniel asks for ten days, a trial period of sorts. At the end of that time, the four boys were actually in better health and appearance (my version says fatter), than the others who had been eating the kings' food.

Daniel trusted God. He held fast to his beliefs about not eating the king's food. That was simply a line he would not cross. We can also see that when Daniel was presented with the problem (of being fed the king's food and wine), he did not rebel against the situation - he didn't fight it, but merely asked permission to try it his way first. We can see the trust Daniel has for God in this situation; he doesn't even give a condition - there is no "let's try it this way first, and if it doesn't work I'll eat the king's food". Eating the king's food just wasn't an option for Daniel.

We are often faced with situations and temptations which can ultimately defile us, and we have a choice to make - give in to the temptation and defile ourselves, or not give in, not cross the line. We are called to be holy, to be set apart. As Christians, we are different from others, and that is OK. We are to be different in the way of Jesus - be in the world, but not of the world. 

We need to be wise and make choices for the right reasons, to not rebel simply because we want to, but because we follow God. When we wisely stick to what is right in holiness and for the right reason (following God), we are not being different (or rebelling) simply because we want to. We are doing it because we follow God. Daniel didn't decide to not eat the kings food or drink his wine simply because he (Daniel) wanted to or felt like it, He resolved to do this because he followed God's laws. He wanted to be obedient to God.

Daniel was different from the others, and he stayed true to who he was by continuing to be obedient to God. He wouldn't cross the line, wouldn't give into the temptation, wouldn't defile himself. He stayed true to his beliefs.

How are you different from your non-Christian friends and co-workers, and what lines would you not cross when you are with them (even if it means you will be chastised for your beliefs)? What do you do in order to not defile yourself?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Felt Free

I went to church this morning. Not much different than the Sundays in the past. I had decided over the summer that I would take a break from teaching Sunday school this year - I felt I need to get myself back in tune, in touch, with learning again.

Last week, one of the teachers (from the class I had helped with last year) sent me a message on facebook to let me know she felt overwhelmed. There is another young lady in with her, helping to teach, but the class is bigger by about five or six kids. I told her that we would look into finding another adult to go into the class with them for "crowd control". I should insert here that I am the Sunday school coordinator for the elementary ages, under the head of the "main" Sunday school coordinator.

So, this morning, I went to the class with them to see how things went and to help with the kids. It didn't seem to bad to me, but then not everyone was there either. Both ladies did great - one teaches one week, and the next they switch so that they are not teaching 2 weeks in a row.

Things went well, but I said I'd still go in and help until we could find someone else to be the third person. I talked with the main coordinator before church this morning, and said that it might be a good idea to see if we could get a man in the classroom - someone to be the male influence. So often (at least in our church) it seems that women are the Sunday school teachers (though there is one man who helps his wife in one class). I thought of someone we might ask. The other coordinator approached this man, and he agreed to help. He will be in there just to help out and be the male influence - the girls will continue to teach.

During church, I must say that I felt great. It had been a long time since I sat in a church service and could focus on what was being said. It had been a long time since I "felt" like while I was singing, that I was actually worshiping. It had been a long time since I felt I "got anything" from the sermon. It had been a long time since I wasn't focusing on me and my problems during service.

Today, I enjoyed the sermon. Today, I felt like God was whispering to me, letting me subtly know that I've probably been feeling the way I have (with regard to my walk) because I am not spending enough time with Him! Sure, I read my Bible everyday (though some days I might forget or not get a chance), and I pray (but in all honesty, my prayers have been short and infrequent). But in all reality, I don't spend as much time with Jesus as I need to.

I have been focused so long on me. I have been worrying about my problems, my situations, my lack of things (i.e. husband, children, job, finances) and I haven't been focused on Jesus and following Him, or being like Him. If I want things to change in myself, I need to take the focus off ME and put it back on JESUS, where it belongs.

Today was a great day at church. I felt serenity. I felt some peace. Today, I felt free.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Have A Bad Memory

As you may know from a previous post, my Bible study/small group is working on memorizing Romans 12.

I had been under the assumption that we were just memorizing the first eight verses, but I guess it's the entire chapter! My pastor sent me an email yesterday (he's in the group), encouraging me and seeing how I was doing with memorizing Romans 12. Not Romans 12:1-8, but Romans 12.

After reading the e-mail, I checked the chapter, gulped and shivered. Ok, so it's not really that bad. There are only 21 verses in the chapter. It's not like it's Psalm 119, for Pete's sake! Mind you, it is a little intimidating to me. I know I'll definitely NOT have the entire chapter memorized for this Monday, but then I don't think we actually have to have it all by then. We just need to keep working on it with the goal to have it all memorized at some point.  I guess the point is to keep working at it, and not give up.

My progress isn't the best (we have one man in the group who has it pretty much all memorized - and by last Saturday no less). I have the first two verses totally memorized, the third is pretty much memorized, but I forget a few words from time to time. I've added verses 4 and 5 to memorize since they go together (verse 4 ends in the middle of a sentence). Those two aren't sticking in my memory so much.

Seems like it's going to take forever to memorize scripture. It's not something that comes easy for me - no matter how long I spend with it. Granted, in all honesty, I'm not spending a lot of time with it, I do work at it for a short time each day (though I didn't look at it yesterday). I guess it all comes in time.

I'm not going to give up, though. I want to prove that I can memorize the chapter, but in all reality, it's not going to happen overnight. I need to persevere in this, and keep at it every day until I get it memorized.

Question: How are you with memorizing Scripture? Does it come easily for you, or do you struggle like I do? What "tricks" do you have, if any, to aid in memorizing? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

JusJesus

Yesterday I travelled to Fredericton with a friend. Along the way, we were passed by several cars (I was doing the speed limit, or a tad bit over, and they were all going at least 15-20 km over). I had been a little tired as we were on the road early, and I hadn't slept too well the night before.  Before leaving, a quick stop at the gas station to top up the tank was followed by the drive-thru for Tim Horton's. I needed coffee.

Probably about 45 minutes into the drive, one of the above cars (from out of province) passed me. My friend and I had spent a little time talking about God, faith, Christianity, and he mentioned some struggles/problems he's been going through lately. While it's not my place to go into details of his situation, I will say it has been hard on him. As for myself, I was thinking of my own situation, thoughts, feelings, and what I've been going through for awhile.

Recently, I read the five part series J.C. Wert had on his blog. He finished it a couple of days ago. The prologue can be reached by clicking here. You can continue reading about his adventures after that post, as he has them one after the other (with maybe one other post in between the 4th and 5th posts of the series). I wanted to have a similar drive as J.C. mentions. I wanted to hear God speak to me.

So, as we were driving along, I tried to keep my own thoughts on God, trying to see things in a new light, trying to listen for God to speak.  In some lower areas, or off in a distant field, or even on some lakes and rivers, there was some fog hanging around. It reminded me of myself. I had seemed in a bit of a fog that morning. I had an unsettled feeling that I couldn't put my finger on. It might have been left over from a dream I'd had before waking yesterday morning, but I'm not entirely sure. I really wanted to get out of this "fog" I was in, and tried so hard not to let it affect what I said or thought.

As I mentioned, probably about 45 minutes into the nearly two hour drive, one of the many cars that passed me was from out of our province. About the same time my friend noticed, I had as well. The plate was one of those personalized kind. It said: "JusJesus".

It might have been nothing, but to me, the little reminder was nice. It really made my day - and brought me out of my fog.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Return of Bible Study, aka Small Group

It was so great to be able to start back up with Bible Study (aka Small Group) on Monday evening. We were a small group - only six - but one couple stayed home because of illness, one woman is now babysitting her grandaughter on Monday evenings, and one family (three people plus a baby) may now only be able to come every so often due to new jobs for two of them.

Since it's the beginning of a new "year", Pastor J (who is part of the group but not always leading us as several people take turns) decided that we should sit down and figure out what we wanted to do or accomplish as a group. We had some suggestions of topics to discuss, as well as what we can do in the community as a group (i.e. helping each other, helping seniors, helping out at a food bank or soup kitchen, etc.).

Not only did we look at the needs of others, but also the needs within the group. So often people are willing to help others, but find it difficult to accept help themselves. We took a few minutes to reflect on our lives and where we could use help - and it didn't matter what it was for. One couple decided that the man's garage could use some serious cleaning and organizing, so that's what we decided to do first. We decided, as a group, that we will take one evening per month and help others in the group or community.

Next Monday (unless it rains and then we'll do Bible study instead), we will spend the normal time from Bible study/small group and help them with the garage - and it doesn't matter how much we get done. We will be working together as a group, and helping someone in need.

Monday night, we also focused on Romans 12:1-8, and talked about how we can live it out. We are also aiming to memorize these verses. I have verse 1 memorized already, from about 8-10 years ago. The only "problem" is that it is from the NIV and I now use NASB. I figure I'll just keep verse 1 the way I have it momorized (so I won't get myself confused...which I can do so easily), and then use NASB for the rest of it. So far, I have the first 2 verses pretty much memorized, and will try to get one done per day for next week.

Question: Are you in a Bible study or small group? What are you doing with your group (topics or books of the Bible you might be studying, or working together in your community)? Leave a comment and let me know! We are always looking for new ideas.

Monday, September 13, 2010

More Beginnings

Yesterday was the kickoff to the new year of Sunday school at church. We've been on hiatus since the end of June when the programs typically end for summer vacation.

This year, I'm the co-ordinator for the elementary section of Sunday school (nursery to grade 5). I don't feel called to this position; I don't feel like it's my thing. But I agreed to the position anyway - mostly because I felt guilty. I will, however, be telling them soon that I won't continue this position in the New Year, and they'll have to find someone else. It's just not my gifting.

So, we had Rally Day yesterday, and that went well. The man who is the main co-ordinator for Sunday School was in charge of that, so I didn't have to worry about anything with regard to that. We also had a ministry fair yesterday, and I was in charge of setting up our booth.

The ministry fair is a time when all the different ministries in the church - everything from audio/visual, to greeters, to the kid's mid-week program, to the prayer chain, and lots more - set up little booths in the church gym and the congregation (and any visitors) go through to see what the different ministries are, and whether or not there is something there that they are interested in and would love to help with. We have the fair once a year.

There were a few people who stopped at the Sunday school booth, but no one signed up. They came and looked at the pictures on display, took a pamphlet that outlined the fall classes offered (from the nursery all the way up to seniors), took our candy...and left. Not one person signed up to help in some capacity. Oh well.  The problem is, it seems to be the same people involved in all the ministries - lots of crossover. For example, there are several of our Sunday school teachers who are involved in the children's church program and/or the mid-week program. It makes it difficult when we all are trying to recruit people to help out. I know, for myself, I don't like asking others to help out if I know they are involved in other ministries...and those who aren't involved don't seem to want to help at all. It's tough. I suppose it's something that could be added to prayer requests for our church...

Tonight is the first night of Bible study, a.k.a. small group, and I'm looking forward to it. We stopped having it at some point in July because most people were going to be away or busy for the summer. So, we decided to wait until the fall to restart. We left off discussing the book of Revelation, and had got to about chapter 4 or 5...we had been discussing the letters to the churches. Not sure if we will continue with Revelation, or if we'll start something new. I guess I'll see tonight!

I've been realizing (though I think I've known all along, and just "overlooking" it), that my attitude about things - particularly church and God related. I'm praying that God will help me change my attitude, help me see things the way He does, and not the way the world does. Something definitely has to change, because I can't keep going on like this - I'm becoming jaded, angry, bitter, and I feel like I've lost my passion for doing His work, for what I felt called to do. It feels like the flame has died back to a little ember.  And I want it back.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

First Day of School and Other Stuff

This past Tuesday was the first day of school for the kids in our province. For me,  however, the first day was yesterday.  For a few days I was feeling nervous about going back - probably because of not having to teach over the summer. But, when I got into the class, there was no nervousness or anything. The class I was teaching was one that I had supplied in the previous spring when the kids were in the previous grade. They are a good bunch of kids, and I had no problems with them at all. I even had one little girl come up to me and say, "Ms. S., hi! It's so good to see you again!" Even though it had been about five or six months since she'd seen me, and even though it was once, she remembered me. That felt good.

I was rather tired when I got home after school. I hadn't had a lot of sleep the night before (it took me awhile to get to sleep, but once I did, I didn't wake up until the alarm went off), and I've also been having a hard time sleeping the last few weeks. Also, not being used to working for a few months (I didn't work over the summer at all), and being on my feet all day, more than likely contributed to the tiredness as well.  Last night was a little bit of a struggle to get to sleep again, but I don't think I woke up until the alarm went off again this morning. I think I might have managed about five to five and a half hours of sleep. I'm a little tired as I sit here writing this as well...I think I'll  need another cup of coffe this morning!

* * * * *

I've been giving thought, lately, to spiritual attacks again. I have to wonder if some of the problems or situations we face and "blame" on the enemy are really caused by him. I know there are some things that are the result of his attacks (or his minions), but some things are our own creation or consequences to our actions. I guess I've been trying to figure out how to determine if something is because of us (and we put the blame on the enemy because that's what we've been taught to do, or we don't want to take the blame ourselves), or if it's an actual spiritual attack. I'm not talking about the obvious attacks because we are doing God's work and the enemy is doing what he can to stop it. I'm talking about the more subtle things - doubting we can be used by God, feeling like we aren't good enough, fear..and the list goes on.

I've been feeling weary for a long time. I know - or at least I've been told - that when it feels like God isn't doing something or working in our lives, or we aren't getting our prayers answered, not to give up, not to stop doing what we've been doing...that we should keep on "trucking along" until God tells us otherwise.  But quite honestly, I've really been feeling inadequate in so many areas of my life; I've been feeling like I'm not good enough, or just not good at something that I've been told for so long that I am good at (I guess more like self-doubt)...it's hard to explain. I feel like I've lost the fire, like I've lost my passion for so much...and I can't get out of it. It's like I'm stuck in a deep pit and can't get out.

And, quite honestly, I'm sick of the pat Christian/Biblical answers...the "oh, I'll pray for you" or "trust God" or whatever they happen to be. They don't help; they don't make me feel better, and those answers typically make me feel that the person saying them really doesn't give a rat's.....well, you know. It feels like the ones saying those things just want to sound pious or they only want to hear "I'm fine" when they ask how you are...they don't really want to know, nor do they really care. 

Sure, there are some who do care, some who are well meaning, but it seems from my experience that those people are few and far between. So many are concerned with looking and sounding Christian, that if you tell them you are struggling or doubting or fearing, or whatever, they think you are less of a Christian and act shocked that things aren't all "peachy keen" - especially if things are going well for them.

I'm just so frustrated, and have been for a long time. I feel like I'm floating in water with a heavy weight on top of my head and it's pushing me under. And while I flounder around and silently scream for help...those in the distance who are watching are more concerned with looking and sounding good, they don't want to get their feet wet to help. No, they'll stand on the shore and pray for me or tell me not to worry about drowning because God is with me and He'll help me.

Yeah, I know part of the problem is me...I don't always ask for help. That's because I've been burned and hurt so much in the past that I've pretty much lost trust in most people. I do have one friend I trust, and she knows a lot of what I've been feeling, etc., and I have another relatively new friend I've been able to build trust with, but that's about it (and of course the pat Christian/Bible answer for this is "oh, but you can trust Jesus".... I'm really sick and tired of getting hurt, feeling like people just don't care, and of feeling like I can't let others "in" because they'll probably hurt me in the end anyway.

I'm not losing my faith in God, I'm not doubting anything about Jesus...nothing like that. I'm just venting, I guess. Maybe I'm a little depressed too. Whatever it is, I'm really sick of feeling this way. I want the fire back; I want the passion back; I want to be able to trust...but, I'm struggling with the weight on my head, floundering in the water, and wondering why I just can't walk on the water and not be afraid.

That's it. Venting over. Off to try and be positive and not think these negative thoughts.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Week In Review

It's been another hot week, and I've actually enjoyed it. On Tuesday I went to Halifax and Peggy's Cove again. We'd mainly gone there to Queensland beach (about a half hour outside Halifax) to cool off. Peggy's Cove had a few crashing waves this time (last time the ocean had been rather calm), and was able to get a couple of nice shots of the waves hitting against the rocks. I really enjoy Halifax - it's such a great city.

Yesterday (Friday), I went to another beach. This time it was in New Brunswick. Normally it costs $5 to get in/park, but I think because beach season is pretty much over, they weren't charging. There was a number of people there, but I was quite surprised there weren't more. It wasn't the popular beach in this area though, so I'm sure if we'd gone and paid the $10 to get into that beach, there would have been a huge crowd there.

I was expecting the water at both beaches (the one from yesterday, and the one from Tuesday) to be cold, but they really weren't. Mind you, when you first go in it's a little chilly, but you quickly get used to it. There was also a few waves at both beaches - nothing major - and that was fun to lie on my back and bob up and down in the waves.

Today, we are expecting a visit from Tropical Storm Earl. It's been downgraded sometime over night, but had been a category 1 hurricane while it pounded the New England states. It's still expected to have strong winds and some rain (which could amount to quite a bit), and can still do damage. Hopefully it won't be as bad as they were expecting. I've been awake for nearly two hours now (it's 5:35 am) and I looked out the window to see what it was like outside. There was no wind at all, which seems eerie - probably the calm before the storm. I just looked out now (it's a little lighter out, but still dark), and there is the gentlest of breezes blowing, though it's not consistent. I'll update later on with regard to the storm.

In work related news, I got a call the other night to supply on the second day of school, which is next Wednesday. I was quite surprised to get called in so quickly in the school year. From what I've heard, the first few weeks of school is pretty quiet for supply teachers. However, I do know this teacher as she used to go to my church, and she has been having some medical issues for a little while, so that could be why she's going to be away the second day of school. I'm not expecting too much to be going on that soon, but hopefully it'll go well. I actually had this class once this past spring when I filled in for another girl who used to go to  my church. They were grade three, and now they'll be in grade four. If they haven't changed too much, they will be a great class to teach. There were only about eleven or twelve of them, so if no one new has come to the class, it will still be small - which is good.

Well, I am getting tired again, and the yawning is happening a little more frequently. I am trying to decide if I should stay up for awhile (and get myself used to getting up early for the school year again), or go back to bed. I'm starting to get hungry, so I might just have some breakfast and see how I feel after that. Regardless of my decision, I will end here for now.

My closing question for you is this: What did you do this last week of summer?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why Does Everything I Desire Cost Money - Even If It Is Not Materialistic...


Today I'm feeling tired. Although I was able to get a pretty good night's sleep, and I did feel awake a little while ago, I'm now feeling tired again. Might have to take a little cat nap.

I think my tiredness is on many levels - physical (I haven't been sleeping the last two or three nights), mental, emotional, and spiritual. It's hard to focus on the directions I want to take, or think I need to take. I am starting to feel overwhelmed with a lot decisions and situations, but I know that is just stemming from being exhausted.



Yesterday I was looking into a few things and felt a little depressed and...I don'r want to say hopeless, but that is how it felt...everything takes money to get or accomplish, something I don`t have right now. My job is supply teaching, and this past year I didn't get a lot of work, and what I did get was inconsistent. I am hoping and praying I get more this year, but still, it is not going to give me the amount I need for what I want to do and/or accomplish. I also feel like my age is starting to get in the way, but maybe that's all in my head.

I don't want to get into what I`ve been looking into on here (nothing illegal or immoral), but it is something that means a lot to me. Well, there are many things I want that require money, and not all are materialistic - they're things that require money in order to be accomplished or fulfilled.

I guess it is not meant to be - maybe not right now, maybe not ever. I know God is in control and if what I'm wanting and looking into is what He wants, then it will happen - no matter what. I guess for now I need to just forget about all of this and put my focus on God and follow His guidance, His direction, His will. It is hard to do, but it is what I need to do - even though in all honesty, I don't really know what to do or how to do that. Yes, it is something I need to do, no matter how painful it feels - the letting go and obeying God.

Friday, August 27, 2010

New Additions

Just as an FYI, I added some new blogs to the blog list on the left sidebar. Why not check them out? They are:

1. O Me of Little Faith
2. Untitled
3. There is A Time
4. J. C. Wert

There are a couple more that I tried to add, but for some reason blogger wouldn't let me. I might have to add them under "links" instead.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Doubt the Contradictions

Do you struggle with the truth of the Bible, and the contradictions that appear in it? You're not the only one - Jason does too. Check out his blog post here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Failure

I recently started getting the In Touch magazine again. I love reading it, and I love listening to Dr. Charles Stanley - he's one of my favourites.

In the September issue, there is an article called, "The Aftermath of Failure" by Erin Gieschen. It's a great article. There is a quote from the article that says, "failure isn't how God defines you; He defines you by your heart." It's definitely something I needed to hear/read. I needed that reminder - and I think I need it often.

So often, I am afraid of failure and it often prevents me from doing something. And when I do fail, I tend to beat myself up pretty good. And, when I do that, I tend to think that others, and God too, will think less of me.

Reading this article helped me to remember that failure doesn't define me. The problem is, I need to remember that; I need to not focus on the failures in my life. It's hard though. I suppose it's part of my "perfectionist" personality - I need to be good at everything I do or try, I need to be successful, I need to not fail.

I know, I'm not perfect and I make mistakes and I fail. I'm human, and as long as I live I will continue to make mistakes and fail. But, I need to focus more on God and realize that He doesn't see me as a failure. I need to realize and focus on the fact that He loves me, no matter what.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Waiting

So, by reading my previous post (and some of the other ones as of late) you know that I've mentioned how I don't feel that God has been speaking to me, or working in my life.

Yesterday, Sunday, I woke up still in a bad mood, still a little depressed. The evening before I was driving home and had the radio on the local Christian station. They were playing one of those count-down/request type shows and the DJ (do they still call them that?) was telling about a girl who had been suicidal and that if God loved her and cared about, He'd have to tell her. The next morning she woke up and turned the radio on and there was a song playing (they mentioned which one it was, but it's unfamiliar to me) that talked about God loving someone. I told God that if He cared at all about my situation, and that He hadn't forgotten about me and was still working in my life, then He'd have to do something than other than having a song play on the radio.

Yesterday at church was a little difficult for me. It was a great service, but I found it hard to focus and concentrate. I don't want to say I scoffed at the message, but I was annoyed with it because it seemed like the pastor kept talking about things that don't concern me (i.e. marriage, kids, etc.).  I'll even go so far as to say I was a little emotional during the service. I've had a hard several days prior to the service, and I think I was just stressed out and it came out in emotions I hate expressing in public. 

So, to make a long story short, I realized that God was using Pastor J's sermon to speak to me - to tell me to keep waiting on Him, and even though it might take longer than I would like, He is sill with me and I need to wait for His perfect timing. To be honest, I even "felt" like something is going to happen soon. I hope it does - but if it doesn't, I hope that I don't sink back into the funk I was in lately.

Everything in the sermon yesterday, as well as the verse from Psalms that I mention previously, are all pointing to me to just put my hope in God and not in the world, to wait on Him. So, that is what I'm am really going to try and do...but I do know, I can't do it on my own - I need the Lord to help me!

Thank you God for still caring about me, for still loving me, and for still having a plan for my life - even when I don't feel you do.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Frustrated Yet Again

Why does it always seem like everyone around me gets what they want, especially when they don't follow the Lord (or they used to and have back slided a great deal and purposefully go against what He commands)? And why, when I am trying and trying to improve my relationship with God, do I not get what I want or my prayers answered?


I am so frustrated, jealous, angry - you name it. It just doesn't seem fair! Last night I talked to God and told him how I feel and why. I listened to some Christian music before I went to bed, and I started feeling a little better. But, this morning it has all returned - not quite as much as last night, but it's still there.


All I can see is my current situation and how it seems like (and feels) like God is ignoring me. I see Him working in everyone's life around me, but He seems to have pushed me to the back and would rather bless everyone else - even those who have fallen away. Honestly, I am quite discouraged.


I guess there is a sliver of hope in it all. When I did my Bible reading this morning, I opened to the book of Psalms (that's where I'm reading currently). I had a verse that was highlighted from a previous time, and it jumped out at me. This is the verse:


Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the LORD.
(Psalm 31:24)
So, I am going to try to follow that advice. I am going to try to be strong. I am going to try to let my heart take courage. And I am going to try to hope in the LORD.

I don't know if I'm being tested or if I'm under a spiritual attack, but I'm really tired of feeling like nothing in my life is working out. Maybe God is trying to break me, I don't know. But I'm pretty much at my breaking point now.
Ok, I think my rant and pity party is over. Time to try to stay positive.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

For Your Goodness' Sake

As I was reading my Bible this morning, I came across Psalm 25. I had verses 4-7 highlighted and circled. As I read it over again (don't remember when I had marked theses verses), I remember that I had chose to make this my prayer to God, and I continue to have these verses as my prayer to God:


Make me know Your ways, O LORD,
teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.
Remember, O LORD; Your compassion
and your lovingkindnesses,
For they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
or my transgressions;
According to Your lovingkindness
remember me,
For Your goodness' sake, O LORD.
         (Psalm 25: 4-7)

So tell me, what is your prayer to God?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Bit of This and That

1. I've been trying to come up with some good blog posts, but every time I start one, it seems to fizzle pretty quickly - I don't know why. Guess I'll keep plugging at them and use them in the future.

2. Over the weekend, I was able to go to Halifax and Peggy's Cove (both in the province of Nova Scotia). I haven't been to Halifax in probably 20 years; I've never been to Peggy's Cove. L-O-V-E-D both places! Over on my photography blog, Shutter Bug, I've got a couple of photos posted and will be posting more over the next several days. Hope you'll stop by and leave me a comment (love comments here too)!  I definitely want to go back to both of these places again - hopefully soon!

3. Yesterday I received a photo of my new sponsor child from World Vision. I have been sponsoring a little girl from Tanzania for about 10 years now. Yesterday's mail stated that the community in which this little girl lives, has now become self-sufficient (yay, God!) so I will not be sponsoring her anymore. 
                                                                                                                                                 
I now have a new little girl in the same country, but different community now. From the little bit of info (I get more in about a month) stated with this child's picture, I was told she is nearly 3 years old, neither of her parents work and can't take care of their family well (probably because of not having jobs), and the community is quite poor. Please pray for this little girl, her family, and community (don't worry about specifics, God knows who and where they are).

4. My best friend found out that she will, in fact, be able to attend the B.Ed. program she'd applied for earlier this year (the same one I graduated from last November). Just a week ago, it seemed that even though she had been accepted into the program, she wouldn't be able to attend because of her financial situation. Just the other day, however, she found out that she WILL be able to attend. God is definitely working in her situation, opening doors for her, while shutting others. My friend has been trusting God all along to work out the details, and even when it was looking as though she wouldn't be able to go, she said that if God didn't want her in the program, then she was alright with that, and accepted the outcome.

I am so thrilled for her! She is an awesome woman, fabulous teacher (she works with 4 year olds all day, every day), and an excellent mother. I know that she will make one of the best teachers in the public school system when she graduates the program.

It's awesome to see how God has been working in her life - in the past, and in the present. He has big plans for her, I know it!

5. I wish I could see God working in my life. To be honest, it feels like He's taking a break from me. I really don't see Him doing anything in my life. I'm sure He is - after all, that's what "they" say, that God is always at work, even when it seems like He's not. I'm sure there's a reason why I never got an interview for a full-time teaching position (I applied for elementary teaching and ESL - though I would prefer to teach K-4), I'm sure there's a reason why I didn't get all that many calls to do supply work this past year. I'm sure there's a reason, but it's so hard not being able to see the results. I guess this is what faith is all about. Trusting God, even though we don't know what's going to happen. But, in all honesty, I really don't see Him working in my life, and that makes it hard. Sigh.

6. I am back to wanting to make changes in my life - so many changes to make! Earlier in the summer/late spring, I was working on losing weight and exercising, trying to get closer to the Lord (that is an ongoing thing for me - 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Well, when my sciatic problem began to get more and more intense, I pretty much gave up trying. I could barely move, was in pain, and couldn't focus on doing what I should do - nor did I feel like doing anything.

Well, since my sciatic hasn't been bothering me as of late (there is still a bit of tightness in my muscles, a little "pain" once in awhile (though nothing bad or requiring pain relievers), and half of my leg and foot is still numb), I've been itching to get out and try jogging/running again. I might give it a try soon, and see how it goes. I should be going out for walks now, since I can actually move again without pain, and should try and see how it goes on the eliptical machine (I tried several weeks ago, but it hurt my back a little).  And, I need to start watching what I eat and cut back again. I'm at the biggest I've ever been again, and I certainly don't want to get any bigger!!

Ok, well, I guess that's all for now. May you all have a blessed, and Christ-filled day!

*** Top picture of the Halifax, Nova Scotia waterfront; bottom photo is the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

God's Creativity

Last night, I was thinking about how creative God is, and when I think about that, I always think about flowers. To me, those are one of His most creative things (sure, there is the platypus, which is pretty darn creative if you ask me, but, I did say "one of" :o) ).

Flowers come in all shapes, colours, sizes, and varieties. There are roses, daisies, purple cone flowers, irises, orchids, and the list goes on and on and on, and...

One flower that has become a favourite of mine in recent years is the dahlia. My mom has been growing many dahlias for the last several years (maybe close to ten years). Her and Dad used to work together to prepare the garden, tilling it, adding fertilizer, weeding, etc., but Mom was the one who started growing them in the beginning. Dad died nearly two years ago, but mom continues to grow and take care of the dahlias and other flower in her gardens.

The two flowers in this post are both dahlias. The first one is a small ball or pompon type...I'm not entirely sure. It's not fully opened yet, but I think it's an amazing looking flower. Just look at those petals, how they are curled into little tubes! This same flower looks amazing in other colours too (but then don't most flowers?), with purple being my favourite. I'm not usually drawn to the colour orange, but I really like this flower.

The second flower, below, is a collarette type. It also comes in other colours, and the little collar (the smaller petals around the center) can come in other colours as well, so even if the larger petals remain the same colour, you can have a different look because the collar isn't the same.

I am always amazed with God when I look at flowers. I love to take floral photos to capture the beauty of God's creation. I'm not the best photographer, but I do my try to do my best. I have several other flower photos over on my photography blog, Shutter Bug. I'd love for you to visit me over there as well, and let me know what you think of the photos, the flowers, and the subjects I've photographed (it's a family friendly site, so no need to worry).

I am thankful that God gave us these beautiful creations to enjoy and take care of. I'm also thankful that my mom is into gardening, because it provides me with the opportunity to take photos of her flowers. I really need take up that hobby, so I can continue to have beautiful flowers after mom's gone (which I pray isn't any time soon!).

So, thank you Father for your wonderfully, beautiful floral creations!

My question for you: What is your favourite of God's creations?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Best Time To Pray

Is there a best time of the day to pray? Well, I think we all know the answer to that question is "any time". There is no magical time of day to come before God; He is available to talk 24/7 (do people still say that?).

There is something, however, satisfying about praying in the morning - specifically when  you first get up, before getting involved in the business of the day. Spending time with God is important. If we get up and go about our lives, getting involved in the kids' after school activities, homework, housework, paying the bills, getting supper ready, our jobs, etc., there is a great chance at forgetting to spend time with God by the end of the day.

I''m not saying it's wrong if you do spend time in prayer at the end of the day. For some people, that is their preferred time to be in prayer, and that's perfectly fine. I used to do this, myself - read my Bible and pray before going to bed. After awhile, I would read my Bible and then lay down in bed to begin praying, only to find out a short time later that I had been dozing in the middle of what I was saying  (most times I would fall asleep before making it half way through my prayers. For me, at the end of the day I was tired and couldn't focus and just wanted to go to sleep. It didn't seem to work well for me. If it does for you, that's great.

Since becoming a teacher last year, I have switched my routine to the morning. I get up at pretty much the same time every morning and get ready in case I get a call for work (currently I do supply work, so if I don't get a call to work in the evening, there is a chance I'll get a call between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. to go in that day). I take my shower, do my hair, and put my make-up on so that if I get a call to come in ASAP, I am ready. Once I have that done, I make my way to the living room (where I do my devotions) and read my Bible chapter(s) and pray. I will also add here, that if I do get called to work and don't get a chance to do my devotions and pray, I try to remember to do them at night - but that doesn't always work out, and I end up forgetting.

The day just seems to go a little better and I am a little more able to handle situations when I pray in the morning. Does this mean that my day will go perfectly, that nothing bad will happen, or that I won't get angry or sin? Of course not. But I have heard many people who also pray and do devotions in the morning say their day seems to go a little better, and they feel they can handle whatever comes their way in a more Christian manner (if that makes sense), than if they start their day without God.

Praying in the morning is in the Bible - we read in Psalm 5:3, "In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch." We even read about Jesus getting up early in the morning before everyone else to pray to God. This can be found in Mark 1:35, "In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there." Does that mean that the morning is the only time to pray? Of course not! Jesus prayed ALL THE TIME. There is no real or specific time to pray, but there is just something about praying in the morning that helps you get through the day.

So, I challenge you to this. If you are not someone who prays in the morning, why not try it - even if it means going to bed a little early and setting your alarm to get up 30-60 minutes earlier. Try doing your devotions and praying in the morning and see how it works. And of course, feel free to come back and let me know what you thought about it (both good and bad aspects).

That all being said, the best time of the day to pray is whatever works for you. The important thing is to spend the time with God, and pray.

What time of day do you find is the best time for you to pray? If you do pray in the morning, do you think it helps you throughout the day? Do you notice a difference in your day, or in how you act/react during the day if you pray in the morning as opposed to praying in the evening or at night? Let me know in the comment section.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Link For "Seven Actions For the Times God Is Silent by Ron Edmonson

Ron Edmonson has a great post called, "Seven Actions For the Times God Is Silent". Something I definitely needed to read...and more importantly, do.  Check it out; you might be glad you did.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Update

I guess I haven't written here in a little while. I didn't want to keep focusing on myself; I wanted to get back to the types of posts I made originally when I first started this blog. However, that has been on hold...mostly because I am having difficulty creating good and interesting posts. I also wanted to take the bulk of focus off me, but sadly this post is going to be about me again.

As I've mentioned before, I've been having problems with my sciatic for some time now.  A couple of months ago I went for an X-ray, but that didn't reveal anything much so I continued to take the Advil (which helped some). The pain eventually got more frequent and I wasn't too keen on having to take so many pills to help ease the pain...though the Advil would help get rid of any inflammation that was happening.

Nearly two weeks ago, the pain was still a little worse so I made another appointment with my doctor (which he told me to do) to see about being sent for an MRI. Well, I talked to him again and he examined my mobility (how far I could bend and lift my legs until the pain came), and he could tell it was worse than before.  I inquired about physiotherapy because a lot of people were telling me to try that. My doctor said he didn't want to send me to physio and didn't think chiropractors would work (well, he said they chiropractor might help some but then I could do something such as sneeze or cough again and have the same problem all over). So, he scheduled me for an MRI and is going to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon who would have more knowledge and know more of what to do about my situation.

This past Friday, the pain had greatly increased and I could barely get around...no fun! The only thing that I seemed to be able to do was lay down. Everything else gave me pain. The next day I woke up and made it out to the living room to sit for a short while. That was very difficult to do, as walking was painful at this point as well. I managed to make it back to my room, and I remained there the rest of the day!

I didn't want to stay in bed, but I was in excrutiating pain and I could barely move at all. Keep in mind that during all of this I have had a cough which had not helped matters any (still have the cough somewhat). Every time I coughed I was in agony! The ibuprophen (either Advil or Motrin) didn't seem to be helping much, and neither was the Robax Platinum I was taking at times either (it seemed like my muscles were stiff and tight).

I couldn't stand the pain any longer, so we ended up calling the ambulance to take me to the hospital. Like I said, I was in agony. couldn't move and the muscles in my were either having spasms or cramps. Once I got to the hospital, they took good care of me. The nurse I had, and the on-call doctor, were both great. I got three shots - one for pain, one for relaxing the muscles, and one to help inflammation. It took about half an hour to kick in, and then the got me up to see if I could walk and to see how much pain (if any) I had at this point.

I was never so thankful for medication! After getting those shots at the hospital, I was pretty well pain-free for the first time in awhile. The doctor sent me home with prescriptions for pain meds, an anti-inflammatory, and a muscle relaxer; I'm still taking these, and I believe I have enough pills to last for a week. They seem to be helping so far, but I still have some pain. I am thankful that I am back to being able to walk, I can sit up for awhile (though I tend to have to lay down again shortly after because my back still feels sore), and I can cough without pain...well, I do get a little bit now and then but nothing like before.

So, that's where I am at this point. I'm waiting to hear when I'll get an appointment for the MRI and an appointment for the orthopedic surgeon. Please pray that I can get both appointments ASAP because I want this taken care of before school starts in September (I'm a supply teacher), because that's when I will start back to work.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thank You For...

Thought it was time for a post about what I am thankful for. I haven't done one of those in a long time. So, here goes...Five things I am thankful for:

1. Sight - Yes, I wear glasses/contacts, but I can see with help. Even if my sight isn't the best, I have the ability to see with the help of my glasses/contacts. There is so much in this world to see, I want to enjoy it. I love seeing the beautiful colours, the flowers, rivers, mountains, etc. - all beautiful creations from God.

2. My mom - She's so strong, kind, gentle...I want to be more like her. I think since my dad died nearly two years ago, and it's just been us (I've got 2 brothers who both have families) mostly, and I think I've gotten closer to her, which I'm thankful for. I love my mom!

3. My small group - While I find it difficult to let people in and get close to them, last fall I joined a small group (Bible study). I'm still not that close to anyone in the group, but I have allowed myself to feel part of the group. They are a great bunch of men and women, and I learn so much from them. I hope I can grow closer to the people in my small group, and I'm sure that will happen with time and with God's help.

4. My cat - Sounds weird, but I am thankful for my cat. She loves me unconditionally, and helps me to relax and calm down when I'm upset. I think it's true what they say about pets helping to relieve stress. She's not the type of cat to curl up on my lap (or anyone's), but still she's loving and lets me scratch and pet her. I'm thankful that God created cats - they are my favourite pet (I do like dogs too, but I'm more of a cat person).

5. My city/province - I love the area where I live. We are pretty lucky that we don't deal with many of the situations over places in the country, continent, and world must deal with. We don't get the big earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. that others do. Mind you we can have some extremes in our weather, but nothing like other places.

Those are just a few brief things I'm thankful for. There is so much more I have to be thankful for, and hopefully I can share here to help remind myself just what I have to be thankful for. There is so much going on in the world - so much negativity, so much coveting/wanting/desiring to have, and I think it's important to remember what you do have and be thankful for it. You just never know when it might be taken away.

Your turn. What are you thankful for?

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Buzzing of the Bees in the Sycamore Trees

Ok, so we don't have any sycamore trees, but we definitely have the bees!

The rhododendron is out...well half of it, because the other half is pretty much dead. These blossoms attract several bees and when I was out taking some photos of them, I attempted to photograph the bees. I didn't have my zoom lens on, so I didn't want to get too close and end up getting stung.

Yesterday was beautiful outside, and in the early morning I had one of the living room windows open while I was sitting and reading my Bible. I could hear loud buzzing, and more than a few times I had to check to make sure the screen was on the window - I didn't want any bees flying into the living room! Thankfully the screen was on, so I was safe.

As I sat reading, the buzzing continued. A bee had found its way in between the open window and the screen, and was attempting to get out. I assume that it was seeing what was on the other side of the glass and thought it could get through it to get to its destination. The simple solution would have been for the bee to move three or four more inches to the right and it would have been free (eventually it found its way to freedom), however, it didn't do that; it kept attempting to fly through the glass.

So what does this have to do with anything, you ask? Well, I as I was sitting and thinking (after reading my Bible chapter), about how determined and persistent the bee was in trying to find its escape. No matter how many times it met with failure at flying through the glass, it kept trying - it didn't give up. This made me think of persevering in my walk - to not give up, but to keep seeking, and being persistent in following the Lord, no matter how many times I may fail.

I might not get what God has promised to me today, and maybe not tomorrow, but I can't just give up because things aren't going my way. If I give up, if I stop pursing, then I definitely won't receive what God wants to give me.

God wants to give us His blessings, but if we don't persevere through the trials, if we aren't persistent in our walk, how can we receive them? The book of Hebrews tells us this:
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persever so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36)
No matter how difficult things may seem or may get, we need to remember the importance of persevering until the end. Our ultimate reward will come at the end, when we will have eternal life with Jesus Christ, but along the way, God does give us blessings. If we give up, we won't receive what He wants to give us. If we don't accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we won't receive eternal life with Him.

Let me encourage you (and myself) to persever, to be persistent in our walks, to not give up along the way. Let's be like the bee that, no matter how hard he tried and failed, he did not give up - he was persistant in finding his way, and eventually he succeeded and received his reward (freedom).

Don't give up my friend, be persistant and persever, no matter what you may be facing.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

God Has A Plan

I am definitely not in a place I would have thought or expected I would be when I was a teenager. I had wanted to be a best selling author, married by 25 to an awesome man, have a two to four kids, have my own house, making a good living...you  name it. I had it all planned out.

But, here I sit and none of those dreams have been realized. None. I haven't been published because I haven't even finished any of the novels I have worked on since then. Ok, well, that's not entirely true...I did get a very short story published in an anthology (I don't think it was widely sold, and I most certainly didn't get paid for it...I had hoped it would give me exposure though). I'm not married, have no kids, and I feel like my time for that is running out quickly. I live in a house, but it's not mine - it's my mom's. Yes, I admit it, I am 41 years old and back to living with my mom. That's because I quit my job eight years ago to go back to school to get my B.A. and eventually my B.Ed. So, I'm not in any position to be out on my own.  Don't get me wrong, I've very thankful I have a place to live, food to eat, etc.

I've been blaming God for things not going as I had planned; I wonder why He's not allowed me a husband, or children, or a job (yes, I do have somewhat of a job - I supply teach, but I don't get a lot of work). Even though I feel like such a loser because of my current situation, deep down I know God has a plan. I have no idea what that plan is, but He does have one.

My prayer is that I would put my focus more on God and pleasing Him, instead of focusing on me and what I want. This is difficult for me (as I'm sure it is for anyone). I see everyone around me getting married, having babies (and this situation is for those in Christian relationships and those not in Christian relationships). It hurts me to the core. All I've ever wanted since I was little was to be married and have kids - and that hasn't happened and doesn't look like it is going to happen any time soon.

I know it's going to be hard to do, but I'm going to try to put my focus on God, on following Him, obeying Him, being more like Jesus than I have been lately. I certainly haven't been feeling the passion I once had, so I'm also praying that the Lord will reignite the passion and flame for being obedient, following Him, being more like Jesus, etc.

God has a plan for me and my life, but I need to seek Him and follow Him in order to fulfil it. And, in all honesty, I do hope this plan includes a husband and children...and that I get those soon (hey, I'm human and still have my desires, and I would be lying if I didn't say that I won't still hope and pray for those things).