Thursday, March 5, 2015

New Website

I've been blogging over at my main website for a few weeks now. This site will remain here, and I may update it on occasion, but my main focus will be on the other site. I hope you will join me at:
I do want to thank those who have emailed me and encouraged me to keep writing here. I truly appreciate your kind words. However, having my own site and domain name is important as I continue to expand my writing career. The writing and blogging world is always changing. The fact that many people read blogs on mobile devices makes it necessary to keep things simple and without a lot of distractions. Unlike this site, my new site is clean and simple with less distractions.
One thing won't change though. My purpose for blogging will still be to glorify God and encourage others, especially women, on the journey of life.
I hope to see you at my new site. Blessings to each of you for sharing my writing journey.

Friday, January 30, 2015


The hardest season can sometimes be the most poignantly beautiful-if you simply take the time to look. 

There's something magical about walking in freshly-fallen snow. I ventured out this morning to drink in the quiet beauty of a mountain winter. I was not disappointed. The only tracks in the snow were mine and the tiny tracks of birds and other mountain creatures. My cares slipped away as the snow crunched beneath my feet. 

Walking through the woods is something I will never take for granted after spending last winter in a wheelchair due to an accident. I often complain about the winter months and long for spring days and warm temperatures, but winter truly does have a beauty of its own. It's all in how I choose to perceive it. 

If I focus only on the cold winds and barren trees, I will miss the beauty of falling snow and the sun sparkling over the frozen landscape. I will miss the abundance of colorful birds at my feeders. I will miss the joy of sitting by the fireplace sipping a mug of hot chocolate while listening to the wind howling outside. I will miss the smell of homemade soup simmering on the stove and fresh-baked bread in the oven to ease the winter chill.

The same is true in my personal life. The last five years have been a long "winter" season of being abandoned by my husband, health problems, an accident, losing my job, financial hardships, and heartache within my family. 

If I choose to see only the bad, I will miss the beauty of the last five years. During this "winter" season, I was blessed with the birth of a new granddaughter and another new grandson who is expected to arrive in May. I was lovingly cared for by my family and friends who were always there for me. I have a new job working at home as a writer, which I love. I've seen God supply my needs in miraculous ways when things appeared hopeless, and I've learned more about trusting God than at any other time in my life. 

There truly is beauty in every season. We just need to look for it.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bear Family

This photo was taken in November of 2014. A bear family enjoyed visiting the deer feeder to feast on shelled corn. The bear population seems to be increasing in our area each year. I'm not sure if that's a good thing, but black bears are fascinating creatures to watch.
Life has been full and busy. Unfortunately, this blog gets pushed aside too often. Since losing my job last year due to my injury, I've been thrust into the crazy world of freelance writing. I love it, but it's hectic at times. If I'm not writing web content for clients, I'm searching for new job opportunities, tracking business expenses, and updating my main website. I'm almost done with the updates on my main site. I will be blogging there on a regular basis in the very near future. I plan to continue to update this blog as time allows, but the new website will be my primary focus.
I'm also doing transcription again part time. My physical therapist needed a medical transcriptionist and offered me a job typing his medical reports. He set things up for me to work from home. I write during the day and type his work at night, which leaves little time for anything else.
I'm so thankful I have work I can do from home. I'm still not back to 100% yet. Recovery has been a slow process for me, and working anywhere but from home is not an option at this point, which suits me fine. There's no place I would rather be than here at home in the mountains. 
Mornings are often spent working on my laptop at my desk in the kitchen while watching the birds outside my window. A work day doesn't get any better than that! There's been an abundance of woodpeckers here this winter, and it's not unusual for them to awaken me in the morning by pecking on my house.
God has truly provided for me during this season of transition. I'm the queen of worry at times. When I look back and see all the ways God intervened and provided what I needed, in just the right time, I feel ashamed for ever worrying. God's word says he will take care of us. It's so easy for doubt to creep in when we are faced with challenging situations in life, but God is always faithful.
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.  (Psalm 9:10)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Whatever is Lovely

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

It's discouraging to turn on the news and hear about all the things going wrong in the world every day. Reports of new cases of Ebola, more attacks by terrorist groups, mysterious illnesses, and violence across the world bombard television and radio news broadcasts constantly. 

We can't ignore the fact that these things are happening around us, but we can choose what we think about. If we choose to focus only on the bad stuff, we will miss the lovely things in life. The Bible verse above tells us to think about the things that are praiseworthy and admirable. 

Regardless of the turmoil in the world around us, we are still surrounded by God's amazing creation. We can still count our blessings daily and choose to reflect on God's grace and his gift of salvation to all who call upon his name. The fact that he saves us is praiseworthy enough apart from all the other blessings he provides. 

Fall is the most beautiful time of the year in the mountains. When I look out my window, I'm amazed at the brilliant colors and fall foliage. It's certainly one of the lovely things in my life right now, and I treasure the fact that I live in an area where I get to experience the changing of the seasons. No matter how discouraging life can be at times, pausing to observe the natural world outside is always the perfect remedy. 

Turn off the news, go outside, and inhale deeply of the lovely and beautiful things found in creation... then choose to think about such things. Nature is a great reminder that God is still in control of our world, no matter what happens next on the news.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Beauty of Storms

I don't just wish you rain, I wish you the beauty of storms ~John Geddes

I like rain. Some of my most productive days are those days when my office window is open, and I can hear the rhythm of rain falling over the trees outside. It's brings a peaceful feeling and a sense of calm that fuels creativity. 

I can't say I'm a big fan of storms, but they do hold a rare beauty of their own. It may be hard to see, especially if you are afraid of storms, but the beauty is there if you look beyond the dark clouds. One thing that always stood out to me when watching a storm is how powerful they are. We live in a time when technology has made great advances, but has anyone ever been able to stop a storm in its tracks? 

Storms are a reminder of how little control we have over the natural world. Storms should remind us of the power of God and how he is in full control of our universe. 

Natural storms and personal storms are similar

  • They can arrive suddenly with little warning
  • They bring darkness, uncertainty, and a sense of foreboding disaster
  • They do not last forever
  • At times they bring destruction and devastation requiring clean up 
  • We have no control over them
  • Sometimes they are followed by rainbows 

What lessons can we learn from storms? 

Nature's storms are a lot like the storms of life. It may be difficult to see anything but darkness, fear, and a foreboding sense of doom when we are faced with sudden and unexpected circumstances. Broken relationships, a health crisis, unemployment, and financial hardships can strike with no warning. They can leave behind a trail of destruction. Sometimes we have no control over them. Of course, there are exceptions. We can make choices that bring dire consequences, but often we are hit with unexpected things that are not any fault of our own. 

Thankfully, storms pass in time. They don't last forever. Some of the darkest moments of our lives happen just before we experience a breakthrough to better things.  It can be difficult to see any good in our personal storms when we are in the midst of them, but we can find comfort in knowing they will eventually end.  

Even if we are left with a long trail of devastation, requiring massive amounts of clean up, we can find renewed strength as we begin to rebuild our lives. New things begin to develop that would not have been possible previously. We learn and grow as survivors of storms.  

A brilliant "rainbow" may appear to remind us there is beauty to be found, even after the worst of life's storms. Never stop watching for your rainbow. God has a purpose and a plan for all things. Trust Him. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summertime Delights

Lisianthus adorned in purple, yellow, and white,
colorfully proclaim summer's delight

Petunias embellished in pink, red, and blue,
proudly display their colorful hues

Cardinals sing a mid-summer tune,
serenading the beauty of flowering blooms

Ruby-throated beauties dressed in hummingbird attire,
dance around the feeders for all to admire

Raspberries appear, a succulent treat,
plump, red, juicy, deliciously sweet

Tart lemonade, sweet glasses of tea,
sipped beneath the shade of a towering tree

I savor each summer memory made,
for soon summertime, into Autumn, will fade

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Early Morning Visitor

After working into the wee hours of the morning, I was groggy and didn't feel like moving when I woke up today. I went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, opened the curtains, and was greeted by this handsome young fellow outside my kitchen window. Life in the mountains never gets old! I was wide awake after seeing my special visitor. I'm so thankful for the blessing of nature in my backyard. 

And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds; livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. (Genesis 1: 24)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Think about it...

I've always liked this quote. It's a great reminder to take a leap of faith, embrace adventure, and discover something new.

A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are built for.
~Grace Hopper 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

God's Plans Will Prevail

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps(Proverbs 16:9)  

Last year at this time, I was working outside my home doing medical transcription. My life was pretty routine, and I had a schedule I was used to. What a difference a year makes! I never imagined I would have an accident, be in a wheelchair for several months, and lose my job and my health insurance due to the length of recovery time my injury required. 

Prior to my injury, I had been praying I would be able to quit my job and work from home full time as a writer. Many times I felt God leading me in that direction, but I was too afraid to get out of my comfort zone. Fear stopped me in my tracks, and I continued to remain in a work environment that suffocated my creativity. My journal entries during that time stated how convicted I felt as I left my mountain home for work each day. The birds would be singing, and I would imagine sitting by the pond with my notebook writing while surrounded by the sounds of nature. I had ideas for books and articles that got pushed aside, because I was too mentally exhausted after typing medical reports all day long to come home and write. 

While I enjoyed medical transcription, writing is what I'm passionate about. Several of my close friends urged me to make the break and go home and write. I was doing freelance writing on the side for nearly two years prior to my injury, but worried it would never work out if I gave up the security of my job and health insurance. 

Last November, when I fell and broke my ankle, I knew I would never be returning to my job again. This was weeks before I found out they would not hold my position until my recovery was complete. It was just a gut feeling I had. Two of my friends said the exact same thing when they heard about my fall: "Joni, I think this is God's way of getting you out of your comfort zone and sending you home to write." I had to agree. My friends can testify to the fact that I had been praying about this for a long time before I fell. I felt a sense of peace about things from the beginning of my accident. 

Around the beginning of January, I realized I was content and happier than I had been in a long time, even though I was housebound in my wheelchair. I was working on some writing projects each day, and found I was having less flare-ups of my chronic health conditions. I believe this was related to the reduction in stress that comes from doing something you love.

A few weeks later, when I found out my company was terminating my position, I once again felt okay about it. I remember getting off of the phone with my boss and picking up my Bible. I said, "Okay, God, show me what to do. It's just us now." A few days prior to learning my job was ending, I had a dream that I was walking hand-in-hand with God through the mountain. I had a sense of pure freedom, and he continued to impress this feeling of total release and freedom on my heart. In this dream flowers were blooming all around, and the scenery was beautiful. I sensed God telling me to write for him and to get all the things he had been placing on my heart for years written. I couldn't shake the feeling of freedom in this dream. It was a feeling of being released from some sort of bondage. Now, whether it was just a dream or a message from God, I can't be certain. However, I felt led to journal every detail of the dream as soon as I woke up, and I did. I've printed a copy out that I carry in my Bible. I read it when I start to feel fear creeping back into my life or when I begin to doubt my ability to make a living with my writing. 

I'm not saying it has been a walk in the park to start writing full time and deal with trying to find good health insurance. You have good and bad days with every line of work. It can be scary financially when you give up the security of a guaranteed paycheck. It can be unsettling to think that your entire livelihood depends on being able to secure enough writing work to pay the bills each month. I finally realized I needed to trust in God to provide my needs. If this is truly his will for me, and I think it is, he will open doors when needed for new writing opportunities, and he has. 

The benefits of working at home doing what I love outweigh the negative stuff. I have not set an alarm clock since last November. I set my own schedule every day. I can take a day off if I need to without getting points against me or an occurrence. I can work at a slower pace or go take a nap when health problems flare up. If the weather is nice, I can choose to work outside by the pond. I can work in the middle of the night if I can't sleep. I dress comfortably, and I enjoy the scent of dinner cooking in the slow cooker while I'm in my home office. I love working outdoors with the birds singing. Early mornings are often spent on the little dock by the pond with my tablet (photo above) jotting down ideas for a chapter in a book or an article I'm working on. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to experience this new adventure God has given me. 

Looking back over my journals, I realize how fearful I was to make the break out of my comfort zone and quit my job. I guess God knew I never would if he left it up to me. Throughout scripture we see God intervening when people needed a shove out of their comfort zones. Jonah is a good example of this. God wanted him to go to Nineveh, but he didn't want to go. Jonah tried to run the other way and ignore what God had told him. He ended up thrown overboard from a ship and spent three days in the belly of a great fish that God sent to swallow him. Later on, Jonah did indeed go to Nineveh when God asked him. Running from God can have uncomfortable consequences. 

Looking back over the journal entry below, I see I was like Jonah, trying to run from what God was telling me to do.  

I realize I'm in my fifties now, and I'm beginning to see just how short life really is. I wonder why I continue to get up at 4:00 each morning and rush off to a stuffy office building to spend eight hours tied to a computer screen typing medical reports. I hate the stress of production, as we have to meet a certain line count every hour. I feel like a bird in a cage. I feel like I am wasting my time. I feel like a robot, just going through the motions each day. And I wonder just how close we are to the end times. According to Bible prophecy, we are close. People need to hear the gospel or be encouraged in their Christian walk, and here I sit typing medical reports. I long to be at home writing for God. So many stories and ideas rush through my mind during the work day. I jot them down in my notebook, always distracted by where my heart is telling me I should be. Yet, I am scared. Afraid of all the "what ifs" that nag at me. Change is a scary thing. I wonder how many people die, secure in their comfort zones, driven by fear, doing jobs they hate. I wonder if I will.

I'm thankful God's plans prevail over our human emotions of fear and insecurity. Had God not intervened, instead of working outdoors by the pond, I would still be stuck in a stuffy office building. Fear is the opposite of faith. When we know God is impressing something on our hearts, but we continue to stay in our comfort zones, we are not trusting God. I truly believe my "accident" was no accident at all. I believe it was a divinely inspired intervention to take me where God wanted me to go. He had given me many warnings and I ignored them all. 

What is God telling you to do? Are you trusting him with your life or running the other way? 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Legacy of a Godly Mother

Give her the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:31)

As women, the concluding words of Proverbs 31 gives us something to ponder. What does the fruit of our hands look like? Will it bring praise when our time here on this earth is over? Will the legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and family be a beautiful legacy of a faithful and fruitful life? 

I often think about the legacy my own dear mother left behind. Her example is still teaching me things 22 years after she left this world. We've all heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words." My mom's life was a perfect example of this. She never preached to us, but her example spoke volumes. 

Mom never had a job outside our home, never pursued a career, or went back to school. She didn’t belong to any clubs or Bible study groups outside the home. She didn’t even attend church on Sunday. Dad did not go to church, and mom did not want to go without him. I found it rather ironic, after mom's death, when a neighbor commented that my mother was more of a Christian than anyone else she had ever known. Several other people in our small town made the same statement in the months following her death - all part of mom’s legacy of faith she left behind. 

Mom’s entire life revolved around her home and family, period. In light of the world’s way of thinking, mom would've been thought of as unsuccessful, wasting her time, not making anything of herself, or perhaps even looked down on as someone without a life. The opposite was true. Mom had something few women, who are considered successful according to the world’s standards today, will ever experience - real happiness and true contentment. 

 The reason mom never pursued activities outside the home was she had no need for them. She was happy and content to accept her calling as wife, mother, and homemaker. Her family and home were enough. We never wondered what place we held in mom’s life, and we never had to compete with a career or outside activities for mom’s affection and attention.

We didn’t have structured family devotions either. She taught us about God as we walked beside her and picked flowers on warm summer days, as we worked beside her in the garden and kitchen, and as we fed newborn calves and helped with farm chores. We learned how to treat neighbors and loved ones, how to have compassion on other people, and even how to love our enemies at mom’s side - all by the example she set. She taught us how to find joy in the simple things in life, and she always found good in every person, even those who at times were difficult and unloving. 

The journals she kept faithfully during her years as a young wife and mother are another reminder of how much she loved her family and home. Beautifully handwritten in dime-store notebooks, they are a joy to read - filled with the wisdom of a Godly woman.

And, it’s not just my mom. I’ve heard other women share similar stories about their mothers and grandmothers. All women who left behind priceless legacies of faithful lives lived out before their children and grandchildren. It makes me wonder what legacy our generation will leave behind.

The amount of discontentment among women today is astounding. It seems we are always busy, seeking more, searching for more things to become involved with, rushing from one place to another, never satisfied, never content. Feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed out have taken up residence where quietness and gentleness were meant to live.

Are we diligently working on our legacy of faith for future generations? Life is short, and we only have a limited amount of time to build our legacy. The choices we make daily will be part of our legacy, whether good or bad. 

When our time on this earth is over, will the fruit of our hands bring us praise, or will our legacy be marred with discontentment and selfishness?

Pictures on the Wall

In honor of Mother's Day, I would like to share a poem I wrote 16 years ago, in 1998, when I was busy being a stay-at-home mom to my four children. Money was tight, and I was stressing about paying bills when I looked at the pictures of my kids hanging on the wall. It helped me to see what was truly important. Never take for granted the amazing blessing of being a mom. There is no other job in the world as rewarding! 

Pictures on the Wall 

At times I feel so very poor,
the moneys just not there, 
and then I look upon the wall, 
and see their faces there. 

Four precious children smile at me, 
oh how the years have flown. 
From dimpled babies through the teens, 
how quickly they have grown. 

Their photos tell a story, 
of childhood days gone by.
It puts things in perspective, 
and makes me wonder why...
I find it so easy to complain, to worry, and to fret,.
But Lord, please help me from now on
never to forget...

you blessed me with four children, 
I'm very rich indeed, 
you allowed me to be their mother, 
that's all I'll ever need. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.   (Genesis 1:21)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Different Kind of Christmas

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means God with us. (Matthew 1:23)

Back in November, I was telling my friends how busy the month of December was going to be. Every weekend was crammed full of plans, parties, events, etc. There were cards to address, cookies to bake, and numerous church services to attend. 

An accident the night before Thanksgiving cleared my calender in an instant. I was going to attend church service Thanksgiving Eve when I slipped on snow-covered porch steps, broke my ankle, and severely damaged the ligaments in my right foot and leg. Instead of enjoying the church service, I was headed to the hospital by ambulance. Upon arrival at the ER, I was told I would need surgery Thanksgiving morning to repair the damage.

After five days in the hospital, I was discharged home to begin three months of recovery. I can't drive or bear weight on my leg for 12 weeks, so my main way to move around is by wheelchair. I have been housebound for the past month. It's a different kind of Christmas this year, but one that has been filled with more blessings than I can count. My children and family worked hard to get things set up so I could recover at home rather than in a rehab facility. In just a few days, they set my home up to be wheelchair friendly which included installing a bathroom downstairs. The offers of help, visits, and acts of kindness that have been lavished on me are too numerous to mention. I am blessed!

If I looked only at the external circumstances in my life at this time, this would be a dismal Christmas indeed. After another year of praying for my marriage to be healed, my husband continues to choose to live with his girlfriend in another state away from me, his children, and grandchildren. This is the fourth Christmas without him. It's always hard this time of the year, but I am still so incredibly blessed to have my children and grandchildren living nearby and to be able to spend time with them. I can't imagine life without them. Even more, I can't imagine life without God. Again, God has sustained me in ways too numerous to list.

Last week, exactly one week before Christmas, my pastor committed suicide which shocked our church congregation and those who knew him. Nobody saw it coming. He was 30 years old and left behind a wife and little daughter. It makes no sense, but is one of those things I need to leave in God's hands.  Again, this is hard stuff to cope with, but I was thinking about how fortunate I was to have known him during his short time here on this earth. His life impacted mine in a very positive way. I will never forget his kindness during my accident and recovery. He visited me in the hospital and at home, and during those times I was blessed by his encouragement and prayers.

The same day my pastor took his life, I received a letter from my place of employment  informing me that they will not hold my position after February 4th, even though my physician sent a note stating I cannot drive and need to be off work for 12 weeks. I need to have a second surgery on my foot mid February. A day later, I received two more opportunities for freelance writing to add to an already pretty full plate of writing opportunities. I've been praying about being able to transition to writing full time at home. Could this be God's open door for yet another blessing? God works in amazing and mysterious ways. I'm not sure how all of this will play out, but I'm going to trust God. 

In spite of all the changes in my life this Christmas season, I continue to be amazed at how much I have to be thankful for. God has allowed me to see life differently. I now know the importance of living one day at a time. We can plan for the future, but our plans can be changed in a second. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Tomorrow it may be too late.

This Christmas I'm reflecting on the baby that was placed in a manager long ago. Immanuel, God with us. God is still with us. He is with us when life is filled with difficult circumstances. I find comfort in knowing that I'm never alone, no matter what. I've had more time this Christmas to reflect on the true meaning of the season. No hustle, no bustle, no rushing about shopping, no running from one event to the other, and I'm okay with that. It has been a different Christmas, but one I'm grateful to have experienced, because it has allowed me time to dwell on what really matters most.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Welcome Autumn

He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work. (Psalm 104: 13) 

I feel so thankful when I  look out my window and see the mountains bursting with hues of red, orange, and yellow. Fall has arrived on the scene once again. What a beautiful time of the year to reflect on our Heavenly Father and rejoice in the wonder of the world he created.

A walk outside reveals the faint aroma of wood smoke wafting through the valley. In the distance, I see smoke curling up from the chimneys of  homes snuggled in the mountainside. It conjures up images of families huddled in front of a fireplace warm and cozy.

And who can resist the flavors of fall? It's the season to savor the scent of vegetable soup, chili, or potato chowder simmering on the stove. I start thinking about pumpkin pies with whipped topping and thick slices of pumpkin bread spread thick with creamy frosting. It's the time of the year when the abundance of apples are transformed into apples pies, apple crisp, and plump apple dumplings drizzled with maple syrup. 

Aside from the tastes and scents of fall, it's beauty alone is a reason to celebrate the wonderful world God created. Autumn is only here for a short season before winter makes its appearance. If we aren't careful, we will miss it. This actually happened to me one year. I was busy with many things and did not slow down long enough to notice the changing of the leaves. One day I was driving home from work and the trees were bare. I felt sad, because I, somehow, had missed fall and all its splendor. 

I'm more careful now to savor each part of autumn and to thank God for the beauty surrounding me in the changing of the seasons.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Like a Tree Planted by Streams of Water

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. (Psalms 1:1-4)

When we meditate on the truth in the Bible and delight in it, we will be like a tree planted by streams of water. We will yield fruit in season and not wither. Whatever we do will prosper. What an encouraging promise from God!

Where do we start? By not seeking our guidance from the wicked. The world is full of those who are against God. We must make the choice to obey God's word, not the advice of man. In the above verses, mockers refer to those who have no regard for God's truth. They make fun of believers.  They laugh at sin and show no remorse for their own sin. Those who know God should not stand in the way of sinners. We don't take part in their sinfulness or spend our time hanging out with them on a regular basis.

To obey God's word we must know it. We can't delight in something we have no clue about. By reading the Bible and studying it, we learn truth and and know how much God loves us. We cling to his promises. We stand in awe of who he is. Meditating on it day and night doesn't mean we carry a Bible around and do nothing else. It means we have a constant habitual regard for the word of God. As we go about our daily routine, we strive to live according to God' principles. We desire to live in a way that pleases him, no matter how ungodly the culture around us is.

A person who is deeply rooted in the word of God is blessed. A blessed person is joyful and content, because she knows she is walking with God and following his plan for her life. God blesses those who follow him wholeheartedly.

Why does God use the metaphor of a tree to describe his people? A healthy tree is one that has deep roots that feed and stabilize it. The tree branches supply shade and shelter. A sturdy tree with solid roots can withstand storms. The leaves of certain trees contain healing properties. Fruit trees supply nourishment, vitamins, and minerals in the fruit they bear. The metaphor of leaves that do not wither is an image of vibrant life that is not marred by sin and decay. When we stay rooted in God, we still sin because of our human condition but we don't continue in that sin. We confess it to God and he forgives us. Sin that is not confessed weighs a person down. If left un-confessed, it will eventually lead to one being withered and destroyed. 

When we allow Jesus, who is described in scripture as the living water, to saturate our parched and weary roots, we gain renewed strength and hope. When our spiritual roots are deep, we are able to endure difficult circumstances. When we are strong and grounded in our faith, we can be a shelter for others who are facing challenging times. In time, we will bear fruit if we stay rooted in God. This may require several  seasons of being dormant and bring pruned. We require continuous nourishment from God's word during these times. Then, in due season, when it is most beautiful and useful in God's perfect timing, we will bear fruit.

Prospering in all we do does not mean prosperity as the world views it. It does not mean we will become rich and famous. God does at times bless people with wealth, etc., but God is more concerned about our soul prosperity. We will prosper and succeed at doing God's will for us when we conform to his laws. We have eternal life when we are believers in Jesus Christ. Nothing we have on earth will ever compare to what awaits us when we get to heaven. Now, that is true prosperity!

The wicked have nothing to look forward to. They are merely described as chaff that the wind blows away. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Billowing Clouds

The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet.  (Nahum 1: 3 NLT)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What Really Matters?

 As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1 NLT)

It's been a difficult couple of months health wise and emotionally for me, as this marks the fourth year since my husband left. Scripture and time with God have been a tremendous comfort for me, but I still find myself growing discouraged at times when I wake up with one more health issue to deal with. Thankfully, God continues to draw me near to Him through the trials of life.

Living in the mountain is a delicious blessing. I was sitting peacefully in my home office writing this afternoon, when I glanced out my window and saw a doe munching on grass and raspberries. After a heat wave last week, we were treated to cooler temperatures today and abundant sunshine. It's the type of day I normally would spend outside by the pond or walking in the mountain. However, I'm nursing a sprained back and spent the day indoors with heating pads and extra pillows for comfort. I was feeling rather dismayed at being stuck indoors on such a beautiful day. Yet, I was still able to enjoy nature while sitting comfortably in my chair. Thank you, God!

How easy it is to grumble about something so trivial as a sprained back. Though painful, it could be much worse. Recently, several young people died suddenly in our local community. Many of them were healthy with no idea their time here on earth was so short. It made me think about what really matters. Regardless of what life hands us, our time on this earth will eventually end. It doesn't matter if we are young, old, or in between. 

Our world today is busy, fast paced, and filled with the distractions of technology. How quickly we lose site of what is important. When our time here on earth is snuffed out, our relationship with God is the only thing that really makes a difference. Where we spend eternity depends on whether or not we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Nothing else matters at the moment of death. 

Yet, how often we rush about, stressed out, complaining about minor annoyances, striving to get ahead, worrying about tomorrow, feeling distraught over one more disappointment that's been dropped in our lap, acting as if this old sin-filled world is all we have. 

How different our life can be when we long for what really matters--a right relationship with God. My husband deserted me and it's been very hard. But, if I had not gone through this, would I have known what it means to cling to God in the midst of loneliness and heartache?  Would I have such a close relationship with God if things had gone smoothly in my life? Health issues wear me down, but it's been through these times of pain and suffering where I've learned to rely on God's strength, not my own.

If my life ended today, what would matter? Not the fact that I have health problems or that my husband left me for another woman.

In the midst of your busy day, I pray you also will take a few moments and reflect on what really matters. Are you longing for God? Are you seeking a relationship with Him? Nothing is more important.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Wild Flowers

I tell you not to worry about your life. Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing? Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds? Can worry make you live longer? 

Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of them. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith? 

Don't worry and ask yourselves, "Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have clothes to wear? Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. You Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. 
 (Matthew 6: 25-34) 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Are we Using our Talents?

  "No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent, work transforms talent into genius." 
Anna Pavlova ~ Russian ballerina

The quote above really is true. We usually know what talents God has blessed us with, but we often fail to follow through and use them. Our God-given talents won't get us very far if we don't put action to them.

This quote made me think about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25: 14-30. The first two servants invested their talents and gained more, but the third servant was afraid and hid his talent in the ground. The last servant was called lazy and wicked for not using what his master had entrusted to his care. 

How often we are like the lazy servant? I wonder how many things never get done for the kingdom of God because of wasted talents. Sometimes it's a matter of just being afraid to step out of our comfort zones and use what God gifted us with. Other times life gets in the way. We get busy and distracted by things that have little eternal value in the big scheme of things. With technology today consuming more and more of our time, I think we often spend hours doing things that really don't matter, such as checking facebook and responding to numerous text messages. While there's nothing wrong or sinful about these things, we need to ask ourselves if they are keeping us from using our time in wiser and more constructive ways.

 God indeed does give us our talent, but we have to move forward and do the work to make those talents accomplish what God desires to do in each of our lives. Being talented truly doesn't get us anywhere if we don't put forth the hard work and effort and use it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Hummingbirds are Back!

 O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.  
(Psalm 104: 24)

blogger templates | Make Money Online