Friday, July 18, 2014

THIRD WEEK IN JULY 2014




OUT MY WINDOW:  Cloudy skies, trees blowing, clouds heavy with rain.

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE:  Ephesians 6:10-12, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (NIV)

FAVORITE SONG:  “WE BELIEVE” ~NEWSBOYS ~

BLESSINGS: Life changes, but the love of a child and the love a mom has for her child never does. No matter how old they get, they will always be our babies, and one day they will understand it themselves as they see firsthand the circle of life and how the mother/child bond of love truly is forever. 
 ~Tracie Miles ~

IN MY KITCHEN:  KEY LIME PIE IN MASON JARS
Ingredients:
    Crust
    1 cup crushed graham crackers
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons butter, melted
    Filling
    3 egg yolks
    14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
    1/2 cup key lime juice
Instructions
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.    In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with a fork. Divide mixture among eight 4 oz canning jars (about 2 tablespoons per jar). Press crumbs down into the bottom of the jar.    In medium bowl, combine egg yolks, milk, and juice. Beat on low, just until smooth. Spoon and divide mixture evenly into canning jars on top of the graham cracker crust (each jar will get a bit less than 1/4 cup).    Place jars on a baking sheet, about 2" apart from each other. Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30-40 minutes on counter top. Cover jars (with canning lids, foil, plastic wrap, etc) and place in refrigerator to chill.   When fully chilled and ready to serve, top with whipped cream and garnish with key lime zest and/or wedge (if desired).

WEEK IN REVIEW:  Bradford Pear tree fell next to our house. Luckily no damage, just a big mess to clean up! This is the third we have lost in two years. I love the blooms in the Spring and the vibrant color leaves in the fall, so these trees will be missed! Research shows that the splitting normally occurs when the trees reach the latter stages of maturity. While young, they maintain a beautiful pyramid shape. However, when they fully mature, the canopy will open up which then causes the branches to start hanging outward from the center of the tree. This is when the splitting usually occurs. The tree cannot hold the weight of the outwardly hanging branches, and the pressure causes the tree to split where it forks at the trunk. Sad!


WEEKEND PLANS:  Clean my house and my screen porch on Saturday and ride the Harley on Sunday. Maybe even get in a little fishing!!
PHOTO OF THE WEEK:  Makes me happy!!

 

Thursday, May 1, 2014



Posted: 27 Apr 2014 05:58 PM PDT
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For those of you who are just joining this series on the seasons of God’s silence, I want you to know I treasure your emails and comments. Your emails remind me there’s a reason this is one of the topics I speak on often.

It’s because we’ve all been baffled by those seasons of silence when our prayers seem to hit the ceiling and God feels so far away.

But God never allows us to experience His silence by mistake.

In Part 1, we discovered that sometimes God seems silent because our lives are just so loud. We allow ourselves to become so busy that our lives drown out the still small voice of God and then we wonder where He is.

In Part 2, we learned that sometimes God is allowing us to go through a season of silence (or maybe even causing us to walk through a season of silence) because our faith and our character is begin tested. 

And today, in Part 3, we are going to peel back another layer to some of the reason for those seasons of silence as we find that…

Sometimes God chooses to be silent right before He reveals Himself to us in a new and profound way.

From Malachi to Matthew there are 400 years of silence. They are known as the SILENT YEARS.
But oh ladies…when HE broke the silence…His voice was loud and clear…THE MESSIAH HAD COME TO THE EARTH to be the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD and NOTHING WOULD EVER BE THE SAME! 

In John 11, we get a glimpse of how God is sometimes silent before He is getting ready to reveal Himself.
You see, in the town of Bethany, a man named Lazarus was dying. He as a friend of Jesus’. Lazurus had 2 sisters. Mary and Martha…and they sent messengers to Jesus and said, “Master, the one you love so much is sick.” (Jn 11:2)

No I’m sure they were expecting Jesus to hurry to heal Lazurus…after all they knew He LOVED Lazurus. But the Bible goes on to say, So, when He heart that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.” (Jn 11:6)

Jesus didn’t start heading for Bethany for 2 days and by the time He arrived on the scenes, 4 days had passed. They were looking for Jesus to show up and heal their brother.

Now you can imagine how they must have felt. Jesus had healed others. They were well aware of what Jesus could do. But why wouldn’t He heal their brother? Didn’t Jesus care? Why didn’t He do something? Didn’t He LOVE Lazarus?

OSWALD CHAMBERS once said that many times, “His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into a marvelous understanding of Himself.”

Had they not experienced the Lord’s silence for 4 days, they would have never experienced the miraculous hand of God.

Sometimes, God is silent right before He reveals Himself in ways that would not be possible if He had shown up earlier. 

They wanted Jesus to show up and be the Great Physician…but Jesus wanted to reveal Himself to them as the Resurrection and the Life. 

Sometimes God is silent right before He reveals Himself in ways we would have never been able to see before.

The waiting is worth it, sweet sister and it is for your good!

ARE YOU IN THE WAITING ROOM BECAUSE HE IS GETTING READY TO PULL BACK THE CURTAIN ON SOMETHING EXCEEDINGLY, ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL YOU COULD ASK OR THINK?
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To invite Steph to speak at your upcoming event, please click this link. She’d love to connect with you and pray about partnering with you for your next event!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

When God Is Silent ~ Part 2

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I mentioned in the last post that this is one of the talks I’m asked to speak on frequently because it is where we all live. It also seems to be one of the top five posts I’ve ever written in terms of hits. 
That speaks so loudly to my heart about where people are… wondering where God is… wondering if He cares.

My heart hurts with each one who feels far from God or is in a desperate place ~ longing to hear from God yet can’t seem to hear His voice.

There are times when it seems like God is silent because our lives are just too loud. But sometimes God chooses to be silent in our livesBecause He is Testing Us. 

Did you know that anything of value must be tested in order to determine 3 things?
  1. Authenticity – is it the real deal
  2. Value – what is it really worth
  3. Is it flawed – does it have flaws or imperfections
In 1 Peter 1:6-7 we’re told we will all go through times of testing. “ In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,”

Those tests come in many sizes, shapes and colors, but sometimes those tests come in Divinely decreed SEASONS OF SILENCE

That’s exactly what happened to Hezekiah.
Hezekiah was described as a king that trusted the Lord, kept the Lords commands and did not cease to follow God. The Bible goes on to state that out of all the kings of Judah – (those who came before him and those who came after him) – there was NO KING LIKE HEZEKIAH.

He wasn’t a perfect man, but the Bible says the Lord was with him and he prospered him.

As time passed, Hezekiah came down with a terminal illness. (2 Kings 20 gives a bit more detail of the same account than 2 Chronicles 32) God sent Isaiah to tell him it was time to get his house in order because he was going to die. But Hezekiah began praying and crying out to God for mercy and before Isaiah could reach the middle court the Lord told him to turn around and got tell Hezekiah that He heard his prayer and was going to give him 15 more years.

But Hezekiah had a propensity for pride. And it wasn’t long after God healed Him that he decided it was time to flaunt his stuff.

So, God decided to send him a season of silence in a specific area of his life to show Hezekiah what he was made of:

2 Chronicles 32:31 ~ “However, regarding the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.”

The test wasn’t so that God could see what was in Hezekiah’s heart. The test was so that Hezekiah could get a good look at his own heart. 

One day I asked a older man at church why he thought God allowed us to go through some of the stuff we go through…and he said, “SO WE CAN SEE WHAT WE’RE MADE OF.”

You see, sometimes the Lord chooses to step back and let us see ourselves as we really are…what we’re made of?

We are flawed, fallible people who mess up along the way. Sometimes we need to remember that. It keeps us from thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. It keeps us from taking God’s blessings from granted and it helps us minister to others when we come through that thing to the praise and glory of God. So we can comfort others with the comfort we’ve been given.

When we walk through seasons of silence as a result of being tested like Hezekiah was, we demonstrate 3 things.
  1. Authenticity – is our faith really real
  2. Value – how valuable is our faith to us
  3. Is it flawed – what areas of our faith are flawed
REMEMBER, FAITH BY ITS VERY NATURE MUST BE TESTED and sometimes God chooses to test us by His silence.
Today, sweet friend, are you being tested by God’s silence? What are you made of?
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To invite Steph to speak at your upcoming event, please click this link. She’d love to connect with you and pray about partnering with you for your next event!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When God Is Silent ~ Part 1

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This is one of the messages I’m asked to speak on often because it’s a season we have all faced at one time or another. Maybe you’re there now.We’ve all been there. 

The place where we are desperate to hear from God or to see Him move in our circumstances, but it seems as though our prayers are hitting the ceiling. At times like that, it’s easy to feel like God doesn’t see us or like He doesn’t really care.

I hear from women who feel stuck. Like they can’t hear from God. Like He isn’t there or He doesn’t care. SO, for the next 4 posts, I will be sharing a bit about what I speak on that I hope will encourage your heart.

You…the sweet lady who is in the middle of a season of silence and is wondering why.
We’ve all lived long enough to know that life isn’t always easy. We’ve all walked through some difficult places in our lives….those times when life is hard and you feel like God is far.

You pray for God to show up and do something, but you feel like He isn’t listening…times when God is silent.

Maybe you feel like you’re walking through a season of God’s silence in the area of…
YOUR FINANCES – you take one step forward & at least 2 back. One financial need after the other with no end in sight. You’re in debt up to your eyeballs, you don’t even know what a savings account is and you’re wondering where God is…why He isn’t doing anything…Does He care?
YOUR MARRIAGE – you’ve done all you can to be a good wife and make your marriage work, but nothing has changed. You still have the same problems you did a year ago…a decade ago and you’ve grown weary. You’re tired of being hurt, tired of trying and your heart for your husband is growing cold.
YOUR PARENTING - you’ve raised them the best you could, you’re doing everything you can as a parent. You’ve taken them to counselors, you’ve soaked your pillow with tears and worn holes in the carpet beside your bed where plant your knees night after night as you cry out to God for your kids, but they keep making one destructive decision after another.

I don’t know where you are or what you’re going through, but I believe the Lord has me sharing this for a reason and I believe many of you are feeling broken by God’s silence. You’re wondering where God is, why He doesn’t do something. Wondering if He sees what you’re going through and if He really cares?

I have to share something with you…As I was praying over you all and praying for our time together, the Lord lead me to Isaiah 40:1 which says, “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”

I don’t know what you are going through, sweet friends, but I know God wants to comfort your heart.

You may feel like you are broken…you may feel like God is silent, but I want you to know…based on the WORD OF GOD and the CHARACTER of GOD…that – God’s silence does not equal God’s absence…nor does it equal His inactivity. You may not see Him doing anything – you may not hear Him, but I assure you, He is with you and He is working behind the scenes of your life…oh yes…He is very much at work in your present circumstances.
Most of us have experienced ‘the wait’ that takes place in a doctor’s office. It seems like forever between the time you sign up and the time they finally call you back. And then you have to wait some more.

It’s all so awkward. Even frustrating.
Maybe you feel like you’re in God’s waiting room. But I want you to know if you’re in a season of silence, you’re actually in good company. Abraham, Moses, Job, Joseph, David, Asaph, the Sons of Korah, Jonah, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, Mary, Martha and a host of others who have gone before us, have all experienced their own seasons when they felt broken by God’s silence.
And if you’re like me, the first thing you tend to think when you’re feeling broken by God’s silence is that you’ve done something wrong…like there must be some sin you’ve committed, something you’re holding on to that has put a divider up between you and God.

And to be honest, sometimes that’s true. 
But when that happens, the Spirit of God makes us keenly aware of what it is we need to deal with, and it is God’s goodness that leads us to repentance. So, we confess it, forsake it and move forward in our fellowship with the Living God.

But if we choose to hold on to it, we are choosing to keep the dividing wall up and we can’t really expect to hear from God. (Isaiah 59:2)

BUT, sin is only ONE REASON that God may choose to be silent in our lives. God is God…and His ways are higher than ours – so to be honest, we may not always know all the reasons for the season’s of silence we go through. But threaded throughout the Word of God are many examples that can help us better understand our own seasons of silence and how to handle it when we feel like God is silent.

Sometimes God is silent…Because our lives are just too loud. 

Let’s face it, we’re all busy…maybe too busy. We’ve got distractions coming at us from every direction. We’re constantly on the go. Playing taxi drivers, running errands and moving at warp speed trying to get it all done.

We’ve got laundry, cooking, cleaning, homework, shopping…oh, and let’s not forget the full time job. We’ve got a cell phone in one hand and a steering wheel in the other and we’re taking care of business on the fly.

We get SO wrapped up and distracted by our dailies that we leave God out and then wonder where He is. 

Our lives have become so loud that we drown out the still small voice of God and at times, He may choose to be silent in order to get our attention.

He knows that His silence is deafening to our hearts. He knows that His silence will speak very loudly to our souls.

Today, if you’ve allowed your life to be so loud that you’ve drowned out the still small voice of God, I want to encourage you to take some time and just bask in the beauty of knowing Him.

Be STILL and KNOW that HE IS GOD. Press into Him. Delight in Him. Make Him the object of your affection. 

When my hubby and I went to adopt our puppy, we sat in the middle of the cute little litter of precious pups trying to figure out which one would become ours. One little guy managed to waddle his way up into my hubby’s lap and when he pulled him up to his chest, that cutie patootie tucked his head down and pressed his little puppy head against my husband’s chest as hard has he could.
Needless to say, he won our hearts and we took him home.

We named him Wilson (after the soccer ball on Castaway…yeah…we’re goofy like that) and even at 130 pounds, he pressed his gargantuan Dobbie head against up just like he did the day we sat sat among the litter looking for a the puppy we would be able to take up.

We loved how he PRESSED IN! And how he never stopped pressing in until the day he died ten years later.

When our lives are loud and we long to hear from the Living God, we have to press in!

PRESS IN…be still and know that He is God. Don’t allow your life to be so loud that you drown out the still small voice of God.

Is YOUR life too loud?

Beautifully written by Stephanie Shott


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

GOD IS GOOD



As many of you know, on April 22, 2013, I had bi-lateral hip(s) replacement surgery. Not quite knowing what to expect during the recovery process, except a lot of therapy, I struggled trying to stay positive and not letting negative thoughts set in. While doing this I began making a list of what I saw from my bed during my recovery.

1. God – everyday all during the day, I prayed for a peaceful night and less pain the next day, and everyday as I began to heal, I saw that He was answering my prayers!

2. I saw a wonderful husband, my caregiver that was very patient and was asked to do things for me I would have never imagined! Anyone can love you when the sun is shinning, but it takes that special love to love you when life is a little bit on the stormy side!

3. I saw flowers and cards sent to me from loving friends offering support and encouragement.
Prayers – never have I seen so many people praying for me, especially on Facebook, high school friends I have not seen in decades! Prayer works! A big thank you to each and every one of you!

4. I saw my family making sure I had everything I needed to make me comfortable and sacrificing their time to come take care of me.

5. I experienced as I got stronger that with prayer comes strength and power to overcome my weaknesses. All part of God’s plan!

6. I learned not to be ashamed of my tears. I read in one of my devotional books that just as we should laugh, we should cry, they both are therapeutic, and help us to make sense of a world that at times gets overwhelming.

7. I know sleep is good the healing body, but I felt like I lost months of my life. I learned that life is much too short to waste. I am struggling where I am in life, not due to my surgery or my wonderful marriage, but I am praying constantly that I will see the direction that God has planned for me for the remainder of my life.

8. I realized that I should never stop dreaming just because a recent dream did not materialize.

9. You are never too old to set another dream. There is no way of knowing what tomorrow may bring, so I still dream of one day living the life of my dream. Life is much too short not to.

10. And I learned that in order to enjoy life you have to work hard at it. Work daily at making the best decisions to get your life where you want it to be.

Now, I am back at work, physically feeling better than I can even remember! People ask me if it was worth the pain, and my answer is always yes! I believe it was part of God’s master plan for me to enjoy a better quality of life for me and my husband.

We never know what the next journey will be or what the future holds for us, only our Savior knows, but I hope to make the best of each day. I believe that the best day of my life, with my husband, will be when our life is our own. No one to lean on but God, no one to rely on but God and each other and no one to blame but ourselves. The gift is ours, one we have worked hard for and I know it will be an amazing journey.

This is the day our life really begins.

Blessings to all!

Kelly

Thursday, March 7, 2013

DO WHAT YOU FEEL IN YOUR HEART

     

Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

As age creeps upon me, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Thinking can be good and it can be dangerous! Within the past year, I’ve been asking myself “what is life all about”?

What I have come to realize is that life is not about wishing to be in some other place or in some other time.

Life is about what I really want. I want to embrace what life I have left with open arms. Embrace Christ as my Father; embrace my husband, my children, and all my beautiful grandchildren. I want to take the time to feel the sun on my face as well as the rain, to feel the cold outside without dreading it. To really feel Love and appreciate it!

Life is more than a race to see how much non-essential “stuff” you can own. I want to live a life of Grace instead of a rushed life of effort. I want take time to be a Wife, Mother, and Grandmother as well as a follower of Jesus Christ without being in a hurry! I feel as though I have rushed all my life and I’m ready to slow the pace down a little!

I’ve also come to realize that no one is ever really going to understand the journey I am on, because they have not walked the same path I have, no more than I could understand your journey. Once the decision is made in reference to the way you want to live the rest of your life, it is an exhilarating feeling. I want to be free to feel and grow the way God planned me to be and to appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.
Life is about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.

God is in control and to me that is a Win-Win situation!

To be continued . . . . . .

Monday, February 18, 2013

GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY .......

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.

If you let God, he will. God will impart into you his wisdom, if you let him. There are too many times as humans that we start to think that we know better than God knows. When we live life in an attempt to do as many works as possible to be righteous, we start to think about how we are in charge of our destiny, not remembering that God has a will in mind for us. We start to do things, and hear our conscience more than we can hear our spirit man, and confuse our thoughts with the beliefs and vision that God has sewn directly into our hearts.

Stop trying to live courageous through what you think is courage, live through God's courage. Stop trying to love, live through God's love, and learn how to really love through his wisdom.
Stop trying, and let God start doing in your life, only then will you know the difference.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

JUST BECAUSE. . . . BY LYSA TERKUERST

Grace looked up from the old, worn photo album to see Richard the postman making his way through the cold to her door. What a sweet young man, she thought.

Grace loved her walks to the mailbox in late spring and through the summer, but the cold winter air seemed to whip through her thin skin. Though in her heart she still felt like a young, energetic girl, her age was evident to her. Aches and pains made her careful and slow. As the air turned cooler, Richard made it a habit to deliver Grace's mail to her door.

Today was an especially lonely day for Grace. It was the seventeenth. No one but her Jim would have known what a special day this was. It wasn't her birthday or their anniversary. For forty-two years the seventeenth of every month was their unique day, as Jim would say, just because.

Though they never were rich with money, they were determined to be rich with love. For this reason, on the seventeenth Jim always found some special way to say it and live out

1 John 3:18, "Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions."

Over the years the gifts had been as simple as a scribbled note or as elaborate as a bouquet of store-bought flowers. But the message was always the same: "Just because." Once he'd secretly taken Grace's wedding band from her jewelry box and had it engraved with their special saying.

She found such comfort, confidence, and connection in those two simple words. To Grace it was more than a gesture of love, it was an outward symbol of much more.

When she'd gotten sick and couldn't keep up with the house, it meant I love you for who you are not what you do.

When they had an argument, it meant even when we don't see eye-to-eye I love you still.

When she started aging, it meant yours is a timeless beauty.

Though Jim had never been a man of many words, his just because was perfect and poetic to Grace.

Jim had passed away three weeks ago. It wasn't a sudden death; they both had known his end was near. They'd had a sweet time of reminiscing, hugging, crying, and then as quickly as he came into her life all those years ago, he was gone. She missed him terribly but had peace.
They'd had a wonderful life and left nothing unsaid.

Now Grace loved flipping through their old photo albums savoring pictures, but even more so she loved touching all the mementos from over the years written in his masculine handwriting.

Though she'd seen the postman coming, the doorbell startled Grace. Carefully, she made her way to the door. She graciously took the few letters he handed her and apologized for not having cookies. Maybe tomorrow. She then walked slowly to the kitchen to open her mail. A bill, another sympathy card, and something that made her heart jump and melt all at the same time.

Her eyes filled with tears and her hand trembled as she slid her finger underneath the envelope's back flap. It was a simple letter as they always were, delivered on the seventeenth as they always had been. Before his death, Jim had arranged for Richard to make one last special delivery. "Not even death shall stop my heart. Just because, Jim."

Sometimes a short story illustrates a point better than pages of instruction on how to have the perfect marriage. This kind of love — not flashy but forever; not commercial but committed — is truly honoring to the Lord and to your spouse.

I pray this story settles into your heart. That it reveals something to you about the heart of your loved one. Because even the smallest things can bring the greatest joys.

Dear Lord, I am so thankful for who You are – the Great Lover of our souls. Cultivate in me a heart of generosity and intentionality so Your love can shine through me into my relationships. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thank you Lysa!

Happy Valentine's Day and remember, it's not the flowers, the candy, the dinners, it is the "just because"!
Blessings!
Kelly




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