When your Mountain Tops look more like a Foothill – Write 31:Day 29

believeclick on this picture to download this free pdf

Sometimes it is difficult to believe, but if you ask for help and truly seek with all your heart, you will see the truth clearly. {Mark 9:24}

I am a writer

I am an artist

I am a creative

I can do this

These are the things that I tell myself every morning.

I have to.

If I don’t, the realities of the day can take me from a place of belief to the pits of skepticism in a blink. Life seems to have a way of eroding my resolve as though it were sand on a shoreline. It is my primary reason for getting up at the butt-crack of dawn; to do the things that are most important to me. They have to be done early. Otherwise, I can almost guarantee they won’t happen.

As daily tasks weary my brain and weaken my resolve, I begin to falter in my belief that I can do what I was created to do.  I’ve been given gifts. You’ve been given gifts. Good and perfect gifts from above. BELIEVE it! These things that we have been gifted with should not be taken lightly. They are what will propel us to great heights – to Mountain Top experiences.

But most days, I feel like I am wandering among the foothills instead, unable to find my way past the rocky outcroppings. Life can keep us in those foothills. It can keep us from seeing a way around the rocks. Our own feelings of inadequacy only serve to keep us there wandering.

But if we believe that we have gifts, if we believe that we were made for greatness, if we only BELIEVE that all things are possible through the Giver of those perfect gifts – then those foothills will break way toward the top, taking us ever higher with each step of faith that we take.

I’m ready. How about you?  

I don’t know what kind of gifts God has given you. Maybe you are a writer or an artist like me? Or possibly He has gifted you with a message, encouragement, hospitality or generosity. Whatever it is that has been placed in your life and on your heart, take hold of it. Cultivate it and find the time to share it with the world.

As your foothills break away toward the sloping path

your belief will flourish

and hope will rise

2believeDid you like this post? Please consider sharing it with a friend.  Post it on your facebook page, twitter feed, pinterest, or post your colored picture on instagram…where ever you think someone can use a little HOPE.

As a little added bonus: All comments on the write 31 days posts will be entered to win all of the colored cards for this series. These are colored by hand (by me :)and ready to give. Winner will be announced in November. Good luck 🙂

Don’t forget to click on the picture at the top of the page to download the pdf version of the BELIEVE picture.  Color it and share, or enjoy for yourself.

God bless your day!

 

The HOSPITALITY of HOPE – Write 31:Day 28

hospitalityclick on this picture to download the free pdf

Hospitality is about sharing your life with someone else. It involves investing time, effort, and yes – sometimes money to help make someone else’s life a bit more beautiful. {James 2:14}

Whenever I imagine  hospitality, I picture food, and tables, and people. Smiling. Giving. Sharing. But never have I thought about what the one who is giving, receives. That in that giving, what is accepted in return is a sense of wholeness, contentment, and hope that gives pause to days that would otherwise consist of self.

I’ve spent time with a friend over the last year and a half, learning what it is to hope. Seeing evidence of true gratitude and love. How it works, the living in tandem with pain and ultimate sacrifice. Her journey with cancer has shown me what hospitality is all about and how that exists between the true guest and host.

You see, I feel like a guest in her life’s journey; an outsider that is receiving but a glimpse of something that I might not ever experience otherwise.

I hear the stories of both family past and present, the love they have shared and do share, and the sacrifices that each is willing to make through the everyday experiences. Not only in the face of this pain and this trial that has become their reality, but also the setting aside of self in order to make the dreams and realities of the other just a little bit easier.

And I feel gratitude for the hospitality of this HOPE that she has imparted to me. This learning that I have been witness to, for it is with a generosity that she shares what truly belongs to only her: pain, love, truth, dreams, and hope…always hope.

I am thankful to have been a guest within the authenticity of her life and to have been witness to all the things that we, “the healthy” often miss in our busyness.  Sometimes we need to be derailed in order to hear and see and feel what we have been missing all along – the HOPE that HOSPITALITY can offer.

2hospitalityDid you like this post? Please consider sharing it with a friend.  Post it on your facebook page, twitter feed, pinterest, or post your colored picture on instagram…where ever you think someone can use a little HOPE.

As a little added bonus: All comments on the write 31 days posts will be entered to win all of the colored cards for this series. These are colored by hand (by me :)and ready to give. Winner will be announced in November. Good luck 🙂

Don’t forget to click on the picture at the top of the page to download the pdf version of the HOSPITALITY picture.  Color it and share, or enjoy for yourself.

God bless your day!

you ARE a Creative- Write 31:Day 27

faithFaith is just about knowing something unknowable. It is acting upon that belief to affect the outcome of each and every moment of your life. {2 Peter 1:5-6}

I love beautiful things

I’ll bet you do too

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to be an artist, to create beauty in my little corner of creation. My younger self had no problem saying it: I want to be an artist.  But as I “grew up” the expectations of others squelched that desire; that dream.

Reflecting back now, I see that everything I chose to do from raising kids,  day jobs, hobbies and even holidays, was filled with creativity. That longing to be an artist that I thought I left behind?  It simply manifested itself in other ways.

Creativity is foundational to life. We are made in the Creator’s image – it is who we are.

This means you too!

Painting a picture may not be your thing, or sculpting, or any of those other “artsy” activities that people relate with being an artist.

But I’ll bet you have had to stretch time creatively in order to spend an extra moment with a friend. Or maybe you have had to be creative with the budget or groceries in your cabinet just to make ends meet and feed your family.  You can even creatively manage your to-do list so that the most important things in life don’t get left in the dust.

Whether you realize it or not,

you ARE a creative

I’ll bet you’re saying: “But today’s picture is about Faith. What does that have to do with creativity?”

FAITH is about knowing something unknowable.

But it isn’t just that. It is acting upon that belief. Taking it from knowing to doing. You can have faith in an unseen God, but until you step out the door and discover something about what He has created, you will never really know His heart.

As you put feet to the floor every morning, the reality of His creativity is all around you.

Everything you touch.

Everything you see.

All that you encounter with each step forward.

 

It is all a window into seeing the heart of God – experiencing His goodness: all that He has prepared for you to see and touch and do.

Thinking creatively about faith is about exploring the heart of God, stepping into His process of forming beauty, and then loving what has come from it. He created you, and me, and life, and all the beauty that we see in the world. And it is there, that beauty. Can you see it?

It can be difficult I admit. But it is a choice that we each have to make. The process of seeing beauty in everything connects us to the heart of the Creator. It brings us closer to seeing what He sees, and loving what He loves. It is in that precise moment, the moment that you see beauty in something otherwise not, that His heart is revealed.

Then you will see HOPE.

Then you will see love.

Then you will see a FAITH that is bound by something real and knowable.

Do you want to affect each and every moment of your life? Start by looking at your FAITH creatively. Do something new. Take a picture of anything, and find the beauty in it. Step out of your door and explore the world created for you, and respond with your own form of creativity.

I’ll be walking too.

And hopefully, one day, we will meet along that path to share what we have learned with each other.

2faithDid you like this post? Please consider sharing it with a friend.  Post it on your facebook page, twitter feed, pinterest, or post your colored picture on instagram…where ever you think someone can use a little HOPE.

As a little added bonus: All comments on the write 31 days posts will be entered to win all of the colored cards for this series. These are colored by hand (by me :)and ready to give. Winner will be announced in November. Good luck 🙂

Don’t forget to click on the picture at the top of the page to download the pdf version of the CHOICES picture.  Color it and share, or enjoy for yourself.

God bless your day!

When a CHOICE looks a whole lot like pain – Write 31:Day 26

choicesclick on the picture to download this free coloring page

The Choices that we face each day are boundless. God sets before us the good and bad, the moral and immoral. It is up to us to use wisdom in all of our decisions. {Deuteronomy 30:19-20}

A migraine greeted my weary brain this morning.

It doesn’t happen a lot, but often enough that I shrink back into myself knowing what I will face the remainder of the day. Pain. My hearing is acute in those moments. Every sound amplified as though a clanging cymbal. And I hear puppy whines.

I choose retreat. RETREAT!

But retreat only means temporary relief, and then only if I am able to fall back asleep. Attending to their little puppy needs this morning will be hard at first, but ultimately they will settle, and I can go back to feeling sorry for myself J This I reason with myself, eyes half closed and head slowly emerging from beneath the covers.

Sighing resolutely, my feet find carpet and I begin the long trek down with nothing more than a HOPE that the clanging symbols would resume their quiet countenance. After a flurry of activity I finally fling my body down into a chair like a wrung out rag drained of everything that gives life. Too early to be feeling this way, but I had made my choice.

Every moment of every day comes with choices.

Some are insignificant and don’t require a whole lot of thought, like waking up in the morning.  (Unless of course it is with a migraine 🙂 But others can require wisdom- and often the kind that we are not readily privy to, or don’t consider when making those choices. Each season comes with its own challenges, some physical, but more so emotional/spiritual.

We have to choose what to believe, who to listen to, how to react. And it isn’t always easy –these choices. Sometimes doing what’s right is the hardest thing you will ever do. The thing is, life is full of difficult choices.  One’s that we don’t necessarily want to make because we know that they will be painful.

Are they the right ones? That can only be decided by you and God.

Making these choices alone certainly eases the burden we can feel to do what is right, we simply follow our emotions. But in doing that, there will always be a question mark at the end. Did I make the right decision?

Trusting how we feel about something can be dangerous

– for me anyway.

My red-headedness has gotten me into trouble more than once, and I have learned way too many lessons the hard way. So – being determined to stop having to learn them, I don’t trust my emotions any longer.

I ask for help.

The God of infinite wisdom sees the result of every choice before they have even been made. He knows what will happen from the beginning to the end, and He can clearly see the best pathway to take. Asking to see through His worldwide lens gives us the best perspective. One that sees through the ages.

And you certainly can’t argue with that!

2choicesDid you like this post? Please consider sharing it with a friend.  Post it on your facebook page, twitter feed, pinterest, or post your colored picture on instagram…where ever you think someone can use a little HOPE.

As a little added bonus: All comments on the write 31 days posts will be entered to win all of the colored cards for this series. These are colored by hand (by me :)and ready to give. Winner will be announced in November. Good luck 🙂

Don’t forget to click on the picture at the top of the page to download the pdf version of the CHOICES picture.  Color it and share, or enjoy for yourself.

God bless your day!

It’s a Bittersweet Symphony -this LIFE Write 31:Day 25

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links at the bottom

Joy is often the result of a difficult experience. Without adversity, would we truly know the goodness of God? {Psalm 51:8}

My ankle throbs as it sits upon a pillow.

This rude interruption of life

I glance at a list sitting on the side table and shake my head. Nope, not today.  And I sigh. I had so many plans, things that needed to get done, orders that had to be sent out. All the things that I had procrastinated about now shifted to the back burner. Now there is a different plan, one that includes a sore butt to go with the sore ankle.

Consider it pure joy

I roll my eyes as the words flash quickly through my inner vision. Joy and pain. Do they really exist in tandem? My heart catches on the word consider. Consider. Not: it is, or you must – simply:consider it.

A little word research reveals this:

Think carefully about, typically before making a decision

Think about and be drawn toward a course of action

Regard something as having a specified quality

It isn’t demanding. Consider is a verb, a course of action. Something that we have a choice about and must decide which way to take.

Pain

Joy

Given just the two words I would choose joy, but the joy cannot be given, in this instance, without the pain.

They come as a package deal.

And doesn’t so much of life?  Our first instinct is to only feel the pain, but it is in the midst of pain that we can choose the response, to choose differently than the rest of the world. To set ourselves apart from the thrum of society, that takes and dishes, moans and complains and gnashes their teeth. We can choose to live in the immediate hell, or the joy of a Holy God before us.

We can choose the way of Jesus.

Joy is pure emotion – and aren’t we emotional beings?

A bit more word search tells me that it is the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

What if the joy that James was talking about is something that is available to us? Not a demand, but a request to seek what you desire instead of wallowing in what you’ve been given. To seek well-being, success, good fortune. We all have desires, but will they come to anything if we choose instead misery?

Trials will come. Jesus said it – but did He even need to?  I don’t know about you but I feel it. Sometimes every day. And there are times that I wallow in that misery. But all that accomplishes is to make everyone else around me miserable (misery loves company – yes?) And then their misery makes me even more so. Do you see the pattern?

JOY on the other hand, has the power to uplift and inspire HOPE.

James knew what he was talking about when his request was to consider joy. A trial faced with an attitude of joy encourages perseverance which will ultimately lead to fullness of life. The waves will still crash, but our heads will stay above the waterline. Life is found above those waves, and in their breaking, so are we. And what is left is what we should have looked for all along.

But it all begins with considering JOY, and then living it through.

2joyDid you like this post? Please consider sharing it with a friend.  Post it on your facebook page, twitter feed, pinterest, or post your colored picture on instagram…where ever you think someone can use a little HOPE.

As a little added bonus: All comments on the write 31 days posts will be entered to win all of the colored cards for this series. These are colored by hand (by me :)and ready to give. Winner will be announced in November. Good luck 🙂

Don’t forget to click on the picture at the top of the page to download the pdf version of the JOY picture.  Color it and share, or enjoy for yourself.

God bless your day!

Conversations with my FUTURE self – Write 31 Day 24

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You have a glorious Future – Believe it! It has been written since the beginning, you simply need to embrace it. {Jeremiah 29:11}

At any given moment in my day, you can witness a sometimes disconcerting event: me talking to myself

It is the result I’m sure, of working alone all day. I hold extensive conversations, both asking and answering the questions at hand. Who says I don’t have friends? Wink wink …

Sometimes the conversations include me chastising hair-brained ideas I had in moments of weakness, and sometimes they are pep talks to get me thinking more creatively about the day at hand. But most often I find my thoughts and words to be focused on what I want to see from the future me.

Whether you think every one of your days has been written out since the beginning of time, or you see each step you take as forming your reality, your thoughts and words can have a huge impact on the journey there: especially the ones spoken to yourself. The negative impact of a careless word can be the end of a promising start.

For instance, if you have decided to sign up for a class that will help to propel you into a life of something you love to do, but then tell yourself that it’s too hard or you just aren’t smart enough, you have spoken failure into that situation before ever even getting started. The words we say, whether they are to others or ourselves, have the power to harm, maim and kill the best-laid plans.

The behind-the-scenes good news is that God will not be thwarted.

Even if you effectively talk yourself out of every idea you ever have, there is already a plan for your life. You will become, one way or another, exactly what you were always meant to be.  The difference your words will make today,  is how you get there.  Will it be with positivity, or will you always be second-guessing the process?  Negative words will dull the experience into something tedious and unsure, while positive words will launch you into heights known only to the truly purposeful.

Believe me, I have spent my time in the trenches. My whole life is an example of not feeling like I am good enough. But I am finally having that talk with my future self. Finally accepting that I have a promising future, instead of just getting by right where I am.

And it all starts with words

So here is my list of words/phrases that could help to propel your dreams to new heights – and then some others to avoid like the plague. Add to them if you know of some others, but try to build the propel list with words that will mean something to you.

Propel

  • I can do this
  • I am good enough
  • I was made to do this
  • I am creative

Trenches

  • I don’t have time
  • I’m not good enough
  • This isn’t my forte
  • She/he is better than me
  • I’m not smart enough
  • People don’t like me
  • I can’t
  • I’m not
  • I won’t

Have you noticed that there are many more negatives than positives here? The enemy of your dreams is very creative. By sheer number, the negatives seek to infiltrate your thoughts, words, and actions. Why not cross some of these off your list today? Refuse to entertain their allure. Outright banish them even!

HOPE begins with changing your attitude. Say yes to your dreams. Have that talk with your FUTURE self and ensure success with words that propel. Write them on index cards and place them around to remind yourself that you have a FUTURE. It has been written since the beginning – and it is grand!

You simply need to embrace it

 

2futureDid you like this post? Please consider sharing it with a friend.  Post it on your facebook page, twitter feed, pinterest, or post your colored picture on instagram…where ever you think someone can use a little HOPE.

As a little added bonus: All comments on the write 31 days posts will be entered to win all of the colored cards for this series. These are colored by hand (by me :)and ready to give. Winner will be announced in November. Good luck 🙂

Don’t forget to click on the picture at the top of the page to download the pdf version of the FUTURE picture.  Color it and share, or enjoy yourself.

God bless your day!

Rubber Gloves, Paper Towel, and a Bottle Full of Bleach Write 31:Day 23

perseveranceclick to download pdf of this picture to print

Perseverance can be difficult, especially when faced with the troubles this world has to offer. But a crown is promised to those who are able to persist. Keep on! {2 Timothy 4:7}

I wanted to quit.

I’d had enough and the self-preservation part of me was beginning to kick in. I boldly announced – {okay – I screamed}… “I’m leaving home!” Everyone just stopped and stared at me like I had completely lost my mind.

And I had.

Weeks of poop patrol for Lambda – aka the liquid puppy – had driven me to the edge. You know that edge don’t you? The one where you stand there looking over and think “hmmm, maybe it’s not so far down after all.”

I noticed a change in everyone’s behavior after that. Temporarily anyway. Maybe it was the desperate look on my face? In any case, I don’t think the bleach bottle found its way into my hands again – that day. I had been persevering up to that point with the thought that eventually this plague puppy would get better – yes?

NO

We are on week 7 of copious diarrhea, and although there have been small windows of relief for both me and the puppy, I still find myself most days on my knees scrubbing our now bleachy wood floors. {SIGHS}

And I have to wonder: Is there a lesson here?  One I’m not learning? Because, Lord help me, I need to learn it so we can all move on.

Paul says in 2Timothy that for the one who is able to persevere, there will be awarded a crown. The word that sticks out to me most here is ABLE.

I want that crown, the one that is promised.

I want to sit with it perched high on my head, a sign of successfully completing my work here. But I have to tell you, I am faltering. The troubles of my life are proving to be a bit much these days.  I know, I know…it’s just a little poo, right? But that little bit of “poo” spread out over all of our days can serve to wear us down, to weaken our resolve and cause us to abandon what we know is right.

And I have discovered this:

I am not able

I can’t do this anymore, the cleaning up of messes, both mine and those that occur around me. I am just not able.

The good news is that I don’t have to do this alone.

I’m not able, but God is

So, I breathe deeply, steady my nerves, ask for God’s assistance in restoring my resolve. Then arm myself with rubber gloves, paper towel, and a bottle full of bleach.

As I slump into my chair at night, exhausted from the flurry of the day, the liquid puppy comes to sit by my feet, beautiful face sweetly gazing up at me. Her expressive eyes acknowledge her gratitude, and I begin to feel the not so distant impression of a circular weight upon my head. I pat the top of hers and smile my thanks to God – for getting me through yet another day.

2perseveranceDid you like this post? Please consider sharing it with a friend.  Post it on your facebook page, twitter feed, pinterest, or post your colored picture on instagram…where ever you think someone can use a little HOPE.

As a little added bonus: All comments on the write 31 days posts will be entered to win all of the colored cards for this series. These are colored by hand (by me :)and ready to give. Winner will be announced in November. Good luck 🙂

Don’t forget to click on the picture at the top of the page to download the pdf version of the PERSEVERENCE picture.  Color it and share, or enjoy yourself.

God bless your day!

author of short stories, poetry, & prose