“DRAPE” Yourselves

Sometimes it’s necessary to establish a process when we want to move forward. Moving forward in our lives means establishing a game plan. A decision has been made, then you get stuck. Well, I came up with this acronym as a process to help you. Short and sweet because the details are yours.

DECIDE– Make a decision. It propels you forward. Once you decide, you have started the first level of commitment. A timeline is necessary here that you can determine at the evaluation stage if you need to move to a next level of achieving your goal.

RESEARCHResearch is necessary. You need relevant, current and correct information to move forward in the right direction. The legwork will either keep you moving forward or once you get started make you choose something different.

ACTION – When you have the correct information, take the necessary action steps. Outline the steps and get busy. This is pretty cut and dry.

PURSUE – This is relative to the timeline as well. You need to pursue your goal. It is part of the commitment you made to yourself but also a necessary part of the focus.

EVALUATE – Here is where your timeline is important. Where are you on reaching that goal? Evaluate where you are. Start on the next phase if you need to.

Wednesday 12.16.21

Hi, everyone. I am bringing to you my thoughts for today. Things have been changing much since I retired from the corporate world on October 14th, 2021. I am glad to finally make that move and spend more time growing in grace, writing, taking pictures, coaching, etc. A lot has changed already in these last two years for me.

My retirement so far has been bitter sweet as I have had to lay to rest my oldest son. It has been a sad occasion but at the same time has inspired me to share with you that each day is truly a gift. I speak on gratitude a lot and am totally grateful for the last couple years I had with him. We didn’t always agree but that was okay. Each of us have the right to make our own choices. When he died on November 10th, it was somewhat of a shock because it always seemed that he had more time. Not. Truly, life needs to be lived in the moment. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Since that time, I have made peace with his passing. Sure, I will miss him, even the challenging moments. However, my life has changed forever. I am more geared to saying what’s on my heart, spending time with my daughters and grandkids as well as telling those I love that I love them.

I would like to state that when you bring a child into this world, your life changes forever. When your child leaves this world before you, your life changes forever. A part of you is laid to rest. It is so surreal.

I encourage you to share your love with those you say you love. Say it, mean it, spend time breaking bread and enjoying them. Time is precious. It is the only commodity that truly makes everyone equal. We all have the same twenty-four hours. Make yours count.

Seize the Day!

Today I come humbly before you asking for your prayers for my family. I just retired and now have to bury my oldest son. As of this moment, retirement is bittersweet. He was 37 years old and died of a heart attack.

This post is entitled Seize the Day because all we really have is today. Many of us do not accept that we do not have unending time on this earth. One day we are here and the next we may be gone. The pandemic has been surefire in reminding us of this. However, not everyone accepts that every breath is a gift from God. He deserves the praise and glory for our very lives.

It is a very surreal time for me right now. I never anticipated burying my oldest at the start of my retirement. I do have a beautiful granddaughter to keep his legacy alive and look forward to getting to know her as an adult. Although, I am looking forward to her becoming a young woman, I am not taking for granted that I might be here.

I want to encourage everyone reading this page to not take for granted those you say you love. No one is perfect. But God’s grace and mercy is here for all. Salvation is important. Let your loved ones know that you love them but God loves them more. Even more in this trying emotional time, the urgency increases to share the Gospel.

I know I am not the first to lose a loved one and certainly won’t be the last. Our time on this earth is not eternal. But our souls are eternal. Where are you going when you die? Where are your loved ones going? I know, it is a somber moment for me. I do hope that you can appreciate things on this earth are temporal.

For those who don’t believe in heaven and hell, my heart goes out to you. I do respect that you have the free will and choice to believe what you want. For me, I choose to believe while I am here on earth. I would rather take the opportunity to believe now rather than later lest I end up some place I don’t want to be for eternity.

Blessings and peace to all,

Sincerely,

Time to invest in intimate fellowship.

Wednesdays Wonder

Today I just thought I would just share a part of my journey in this retirement transition. I love taking my own photos for this blog. This picture I finally captured in trying to get the depth of field right. Been on the training and working with my camera a good portion of the day. It may not be perfect, but it was closer than I have been before. I wonder how close we have to be to perfect before we accept God’s love for us. In my devotion, as I get closer to Him, I see more wonder in God loving us as we are. (“…While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 BSB)

I think about the images captured when photographing. Just as they are at that moment. Then, as photographers, we go to Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. to perfect the image. God works in us by His Holy Spirit through Christ Jesus to perfect us to the image He wants.

Have a Grateful Heart

Gratitude is important to God. Getting up with a grateful heart sets my mind that no matter what happens, there is something to be grateful for. Just the thought of the goodness of God, brings a spirit of gratitude. I didn’t have to be here today. Reflection of the many times that the enemy tried to take me out and he couldn’t because God was in charge. “What then shall we say in response to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 (BSB)

That said, gratitude helps with contentment and the Bible says godliness with contentment is great gain. My heart is filled with gratitude as I make the transition from the corporate world to God’s purpose for me full time. Teaching, writing and photography are now my focal points. There are learning curves in all of these things but I am excited. The new leg of my journey is for real.

Today, I just want to offer encoragement to you to keep your eyes open for what God wants to do in your life. I believe that gratitude keeps us grounded. In that gratitude to God, there is an escape from the traps of the world when it comes to our dreams. God has not forgotten you. No matter your age you have not been forgotten.

Trees…Growing in Grace

On Wednesday last week on my way to work, I read John 17. This chapter of John talks about Jesus. He prayed for all of us believers before we ever came to be. I appreciated that. I looked around me at the trees. I found my source of inspiration.

On the block walking to work, there are many trees. Each tree has its own individual look and story. As I captured the pictures of these trees, what I noticed is that each tree and its branches told a story. Some were bent, some were straight, some went to the right and some went to the left.

As I became engrossed in the nature of these trees, I realized that we are to be like those trees, planted by the living waters, rooted and grounded. Looking at the various shades of green and the distortion of the branches, I concluded that trees grow regardless of the storm. They may begin to look funny. Sometimes the branches become broken. They get all tangled up. Sometimes the tree loses a limb. But, when it’s all said and done, the trees grow in grace. They weather the storms, whether rain, sleet, hail, snow, cold, wind or heat. Whatever comes, they continue to grow. I also realized that trees are only replaced when they are dug up by the roots. I came to see even more how important our roots in God and His word have to be for us to be “like a tree, planted by the rivers of water.”

Psalm 1:3 – “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither.”

How cool is it to know that Jesus holds the rivers of water. That a tree is a real symbol of growing in grace. No matter what happens, the tree is still standing. Even when the weather may break the trunk, guess what? The tree will continue to grow until roots are pulled up. When you are nurtured by the Word of God, you have no choice but to grow in grace, like the tree planted by rivers of water.


Processing the Journey

Phases 2Processing our journey. Enjoy the process. What do those things really mean? As I have pondered the discussion of this topic, I do concede that I do not have all the answers. Barely any of them. But I will share what I have concluded from my own journey. Processing to me means evaluating the events that you are experiencing. How what’s happening is affecting you. Why what’s happening affects you. What do you do with those answers?
When trauma, hurt and pain is the bulk of what you know, how can you process that? Why me? What am I doing wrong? Well, life throws us all curveballs. Some low, some high. But we all have to accept the events that are out of our control. Processing is learning how to not let those events overwhelm and control you. On the journey, we are told to enjoy the process. Enjoy pain, hurt, loss?

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Sometimes you are between a rock and hard place.

I believe that the enjoy means being grateful for the lessons learned, the growth, the self-awareness gained as we process life events. Becoming whole as we process what happens to us in a healthy way. Our emotional health is a very “high trending” topic these days. What with the fallout from the pandemic. Although our emotional health has always been a part of our wholeness, it has risen on the priority list.

Perfection 4The prcoessing is dealing with the emotions the events leave at the forefront of our lives when things happen. Are you dealing with high emotions at this point in your life? You can and should acknowledge your emotions. You just can’t wallow in them. Take the steps neceassary to move forward. How do you do that? First, accept that you have been hurt, have loss or betrayal. Second, forgive the other person (and in some cases it may be yourself) so that you don’t feed the hurt and pain. That causes development of the ugliness of losing control of our emotions. Third, replace this event wiith something that causes gratitude. In spite of what has happened, I am grateful for…
Forgiveness is proabably the hardest part. It shouldn’t be because Jesus forgave you.

Hope

Hope in God

On my way to work early one morning, I captured this picture of the rising sun. When I have moments like these, I am moved. I recognize that God created this moment just to bless me. Hope is the foundation of moving through all the fires, challenges, disappointments, betrayals, losses, griefs and every other emotional moment we have. Hope is also the joy, the fun, family, friends, strangers we meet, and other moments we can’t explain.

Hope, believing that things will get better. Hope, that God brings us through. He is always with us, contrary to popular belief. Just because He isn’t seen doesn’t mean He isn’t there. We can’t see the air we breathe.

Knowing God gives me hope. Knowing that my soul has an eternal resting place gives me hope. Knowing that the earth is not my home, it’s temporary. No matter how troublesome it gets (and this pandemic is very troublesome), I am destined for an eternal home. That gives me hope.

#hopewriterlife

God’s Handprint

Thought I would share this image I took walking to the bus stop going to work on September 18th at 6:38 am. I walked outside and saw this beautiful picture of the sun as soon as I walked outside. I immediately took the picture. There are times when I feel like I want to go take pictures and there are moments when the picture comes to me.

I know that things are still very chaotic. However, I would like to encourage you to take advantage of the moment. The distractions of the current state of affairs of this country can dampen anyone’s mood, positive thoughts and energy if given free reign.

What came to my mind in that moment is that God is still in control and an extreme artist. The sunrise was beautiful and it gave me peace. I have to say that this peace stayed with me all day. It was a reminder to savor the beauty that is still present. It reminded me to be in the moment and not caught up in what could happen. Not that I could do much about what could happen anyway. 

This is just a reminder not to let the beauty of nature slip past. Sure, there is chaos and natural disasters happening. But there are days when God reminds me “I AM here.”

Gratitude

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. This is synonymous with respect; acknowledgment; indebtedness which is a sense of obligation and appreciation; recognition; regard.

Happy 4th of July everyone. We can be thankful we are here to see another one.

The importance of this definition and these synonyms is understanding. It is all about our perspective of God and why He asks us to give thanks. Gratitude is about recognizing the bonus value for favorable things or positive life experiences for which we did not actively work towards or ask for (gifts outweighing exchange). This part speaks to God’s grace. Hebrews 12:28 – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

Giving thanks offers appreciation for what one has. It is recognition of values independent of monetary worth. It is affirmation of goodness. It is worth noting here a quote found that truly speaks to what thanks (gratitude) is all about. “It is not happiness that brings us gratitude, but gratitude that brings us happiness.” (Monterey Bay Holistic). Another quote found is “Gratitude teaches us to appreciate the rainbow and the storm.” This one is by Christina G. Hibbert, a psychologist. And last but not least, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

We can be thankful for the beauty of nature.

While these quotes are not from me, they speak to the topic at hand. Being grateful even in the midst of the storm, and yes we are in a storm, helps to keep us grounded. It points us toward what is truly important in this climate and any other. What is most important in this day and time is our relationship with Christ, the condition of our hearts and soul. If you are reading this, you have something to be grateful for. You have another day to honor and glorify God. Colossians has several different mentions of what to be thankful for. The following Scripture always moves me because I am so thankful not to be still walking in darkness and without God in this world. Colossans 1:12-13 – “12and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. 13For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

When you feel caught up in what’s wrong with your life, with what you don’t have and start to feel depressed or discouraged, look up. Give thanks for what you do have. If you are breathing, walking, talking, not in the hospitable, not overcome with medical issues, etc., you have something to be grateful for. If you have family and friends, distant and close, you have something to be grateful for. I just want to encourage you today that life is worth living. We don’t have control over everything that happens in our life. We only have control over ourselves. It is time that we exercise that control and give thanks to God Almighty in the name of Jesus Christ.

When we trust Him, we can be thankful.
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