Slowing Life Down

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A New Journey

A new journey will soon begin in our lives, one where we are deeply seeking to leave the fast paced world behind us and seek a slower life where we can connect with God’s beautiful creation on a daily basis.  We are both excited and nervous about what the future holds.  Yet, we know that God wants us to want less and seek him more.  So, we are on a mission to have and need less in our lives.  (FYI- Everything is for sale).  The next phase of our lives will be to let more of the worldly things go and seek God in his creation.  “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” 1 Colossians 1:16.

Why?

Why?  Some people do ask us about our decision to explore God’s world.  We feel a deep calling to let the hustle and bustle of this world go and seek the beauty while we are able.  There will always be time to work and we will continue to world remotely as we can, but we know that this is the time for us to go.  We have watched God work over the past several months to ensure our decision is the right one.  We have followed the path God laid before us when we were young and we have been blessed. Our careers have been fulfilling, our children are grown and independent and moving on with their lives.  We are proud of the young women they have become and their hearts for the Lord.  We have followed the path God laid before us so long ago when we met back in 1986.  “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’”  Acts 2:28.

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Peaceful/Slower Life

Today we feel a calling to a more peaceful life where we are in control of our destiny and day to day life.  Where we can seek the peace of God more diligently each and every day.  “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”  1 Timothy 2:1-2.  Although, we have made the decision to this by traveling either by water or land, each of us can slow down and live a life that is more focused on God and less on the worldly things of this world.  Dive into prayer and seek your Father.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.

Closing Verse:  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

Challenge: Seek a slower more peaceful life and don’t miss out on God each and every day.

Sunsets

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Easter Sunsets

The week after Easter this year is my Spring Break, and my husband and I were able to take a few days and enjoy the warm Florida sunshine and gulf coast beaches.  This is one of my happy places.  The best part is watching the sunset.  As the sun descents down into the gulf waters the colors and sites are like no other and I am sure there is a God.  “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11.  God shares beautiful sunsets to remind me of his majestic presences so I have no excuse but to turn my heart and mind back to relationship with him.  “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”  Psalms 145:5

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Knowing God Through a Sunset

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1: 19-20

Just as I watch the beauty of a sunset and am reminded of God, I am also reminded of his creation of the light out of darkness.  His handiwork not mine is what I see  in nature and in my own life.  “When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,” Proverbs 8:27.

I think if I am really honest the sunset does remind me of life and its shortness.  The sun will set.  The end will come.  I hope that I have left behind happiness and not strife.  This is my reminder when I see the sunset.  I am not promised tomorrow.  “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1.  Carpe Diem – Seize the Day!  Live for Christ today not tomorrow because we do not know what tomorrow brings.

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Anger and Sunsets

The reminder of how short life is comes this scripture that also reminds me to not hold onto grudges and anger – from Ephesians 4: 26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”  Just one more reminder that sunset could be our last one so do not leave anything undone.  Do not let your angry and the devil win.  Make amends with others before the sunsets.  Live a life of Psalms 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

Closing Verse: “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!” Psalm 113:3
Challenge:  Prepare for the Sunset.

My Linus Blanket

Conversation with Friends

Recently, while hanging out with friends and having some life conversations that lead to one discussion about what is one thing that could make our life better right now, and second what are the security blankets that keep us from really reaching for our dreams and making our life better.  While eating wings, watching some football and having this discussion my friend turned and said this may be your next post… and so here I am exploring the path of God’s plan for me and how I hold onto my security blanket that can hinder God’s plan for my life.  My challenge to you as you continue to read is to think about what your security blanket is? What hinders you from living out God’s plan for your life.

Security Blankets 

Everyone remembers Linus in the Charlie Brown comic series.  He carries his blanket without fail everywhere he goes.  He doesn’t believe that he can do anything without the blanket.  Many times it appears the blanket gets in the way of what Linus wants to do but without fail he will only continue on within the safety of his blanket in tow.  When this question was asked in the conversation, I knew my security blanket was the safety of my hometown, where I have always lived,  and my career.   Over the years I have enjoyed lots of adventures in my life, but my desire to live a daily adventure, although great, is hindered by the safety of home.  I need to make my home within the Lord like Psalm 16:8 reads, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

Drop the Blanket

Over the Christmas holidays, I read an article about the only time Linus drops his security blanket is in A Charlie Brown Christmas when he begins to tell the Christmas Story and the real meaning of Christmas with these words, ‘And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”, Luke 2:10-11.  Linus found God’s security in his word – “Fear Not” and he no longer needed to hold the blanket.  I hear God’s word calling me to “Fear Not” and take the steps to release my security blanket and “Live Life”.  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14.  Go and find the beauty of his world, and explore the handiwork of his hands.  “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17.  Go and watch the dolphins jump and the sun set over the water.  Go and listen to the waves crash and smell the sand and salt.  Go and experience the simple and slower life that I hear him calling me towards.  I will need to seek God’s strength to drop the blanket.  The strength found in 1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”

Fear Not

I must walk in the words that Linus spoke when he dropped his blanket, “Fear Not, and know that God is with me.  As I open my eyes to my security blanket and seek the strength of the Lord to fulfill my life and allow me to let go and enjoy!   Psalm 34:4 encourages me to seek the Lord, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”  I have to unwrap myself from my blanket in order to feel the freedom that Christ can provide for my future.  I seek the freedom of John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Closing Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Challenge:  Find your blanket and let It go.

Charlie Brown pictures are courtesy of pixabay.com

A Simple Life

Be Awesome! Be You!

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New Year Resolutions

As the new year begins, so many of us make resolutions or promises to ourselves and our futures.  A resolution according to the Google Dictionary, is a firm decision to do or not to do something.  Many of these resolutions go unfulfilled each year, so I am struggling as this new begins to decide whether I will make any promises to myself for 2018.  Or, I could just choose to be happy, grow closer to my Father, and just Be Me!.  I am leaning toward the latter decision, but I stumble at Being Me because how easy will it be for me to actually be me.  Can I even be true to myself?

The Scale

I have to stop and be honest here.  Coming out of the New Year, I look in the mirror and struggle to find love for myself.  The holidays are not always physically nice to me, and especially on the scales, but as I work to make a decision on a resolution, keeping the ultimate resolution of weight loss also on my mind, I found this quote…

To be honest, after reading the quote, I added the Be Awesome, Be You, it seemed like a perfect ending.  I  believe that this quote means that if I can Be Me, then I will not have anything to really worry about from the scale.  If I put Me first, and work to bring deeper meaning to my life then the scale will take care of itself.  I know I need to be conscious of it, but not driven by it.  I need to stop the worry of the scale and Be Me!

Choosing Happiness

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 is a direct reminder to seek the Lord to find the happiness that my heart desires.  2018 will be a year for me to really work harder on my relationship with the Lord.  I seek his love and path for me, and will spend more time praying for his guidance in my life.

Relationship with the Lord

James 4:8 reads, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  This is a promise from scripture that if I want deeper relationship with the Lord then God will meet me.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing”.  As I enter the new year I will pray. My constant prayer will be to build a stronger relationship with the Lord and the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 will be more fruitful, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

New Me

This will be my new year resolution for 2018.  I will seek who I am.  I will stop allowing society and others to drive and determine who I am, but will turn inward and dig to find the scattered pieces inside that make me – ME.  I will seek the presence of my Father even more.  I pray for his guidance in walking a path of self discovery.  I have let the world create Me and somewhere along the way, I believe pieces of me have been lost. Psalm 139:13-14 reminds me that God is my creator, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  God knows my heart and he created me, so together we can find ME.  I believe the beginning of a new year is about reflection and moving forward and that is the path I am going to choose to Be Me.  Happy New Year.

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Closing Verse:  You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.  Song of Solomon 4:7

Challenge:  Seek Yourself!  Be Awesome!  Be You!

 

There is a God…

Without Excuse

Having the opportunity to see different places in this great country, I know there is a God (The World Around Me).  How can anyone see majestic mountains and crashing waves and not know there is a creator.  Romans 1:20 reminds me, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”  I am without excuse to know his name!  God has left his Word for us in all that he has created here on Earth so that all would know His Name and His Glory.

Traveling North

My husband and I are once again moving our daughter.  As we traveled North to Syracuse, New York,  we spend the entire day with a view of majestic mountains and beautiful valleys.  Moving through CNY (Central New York), I was amazed at the continuous beauty and large farms across the countryside.  This is one of those moments when I think I know what to expect and it becomes apparent that I had no idea what to expect. Psalms 95:4-5 reads, “In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”  The rolling mountains are just breathtaking and were formed in his hands. Be sure to stop and linger in the awe of rising mountains each time the opportunity is given.

New Home

After moving her into her new home, the real adventure began when we explored the area.  The rolling hills of Syracuse, NY allow for beautiful views especially on campus.  Finding the unique little restaurants and shops in her neighborhood that are just a short walk from her house was for North Carolinians a real treat.  Meeting people with smiles on their faces who were more than happy to share about this city they love.  This college town is both large and small all wrapped into one.  Yes, the magnificence of the Carrier Dome is real!  You can’t miss it when you view the horizon of the city.  Exploring a new and beautiful area once again brings God’s creation to my thoughts.  “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”, Revelation 4:11.

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Water

Our final adventure was to one of the most beautiful waterfalls.  Although the tourism around it was more than I expected.  The beauty and power of Niagara Falls was stunning and breathtaking.  I stopped to try and view each detail.  The rocks below the American Falls, the openings in the mist around Niagara Falls.  The rock cliffs that linger over the falls on the American side.  I can not find the words to describe the breathtaking experience of watching the water fall. Even in the midst of the tourist and chaos, Niagara Falls radiates a peace as the water falls over the cliffs.  It is a creation of beauty from my Father. “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.” Psalm 42:7.

Closing Verse: Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”

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Challenge:  Seek Gods’ Beauty all around us and know that this is a gift to know his name.  My prayer for everyone who reads this is to stand in the beauty of our Lord one day.  How majestic that will be!  I know because I see the world around me he has created.  Stop and look at God’s beauty today.

 

The World Around Me

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Traveling NC

I have had a great opportunity to travel across the state of North Carolina over the last two weeks.  I have lived in just one area and worked in that same community, so I have forgotten how big just this state is and how beautiful.  Not just the natural beauty but the people.  Especially those teaching our students each and everyday.   What a life changing experience to see our state and engage with educators who care about the students they teach?  I wanted to pack so many in my suitcase and carry them back home to my students.  Learning with educators across the state reminds me of the verse in Isaiah 40:31, "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."  As educators we are on the front line for our students.

Educators in NC

These past weeks gave me the opportunity to meet such strong passionate people and reminds me of how God is working in the lives of people around me each day, but also people across the state, the country and around the world.  His guidance is evident when you talk to so many who just care so much about children.  Jesus was an example to us all on how to love children.  In Mark 10:16, "And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.", we read how Jesus take the children and changes their lives.  I met educators who with whatever they have they strive to give their students the best they can and in turn they are a blessing to their students.  This experience has been a reminder to me of not just why I do what I do but why so many have chosen to love all our children just as Christ has chosen to love us.

Natural Beauty of NC

Finally, as I drove across the state, I was blessed with seeing so much of God's beautiful creations.  Sometimes the Sun was shining and the breeze was awesome. Then the storm clouds would open on the fields and pastures.  I watched the sun rise between the mountains of NC one morning as I drove through the valley.  I saw the flatlands of eastern NC humid and dry and then drenched and wet.  I drove back roads I would have never known without this adventure and all of it was full of God's beauty.  I watched the sunset each evening in a new location and praised God for his beauty.  I was reminded of the verse in Ecclesiastes 3:11, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."  No matter what the circumstance be sure to take the time to see the grace and beauty of God all around you.

God's world is full of beautiful people and beautiful places.  Sometimes I just can't get enough!  Makes me want to find another adventure.  Maybe I will head to Syracuse, New York….Stay Tuned.

Closing Verse: Psalm 145:5, "On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate."

Challenge: Open your eyes to all the beauty God has given us.  Sometimes it is an unexpected blessing.

 

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