Thursday, December 31, 2015

Balance in Life

For each of the past 2 or 3 years, I have made time to sit down at the end of the calendar year, reflect on the last 12 months, and think about what I wanted for the next 12 months. From that, I select one single word that I use as my "Word for the Year". I think on that word throughout the year and allow it to help me make purposeful decisions.

This year I have spent at least three days thinking about what it was that I want for myself for the next year. What do I want to change? What do I need from God? What do I need to do in order to achieve my goals? Tonight..... my word finally came.

I was reading Ecclesiastes 3 and thinking about what God told us about time. I had always thought about this particular scripture as just explaining to us that life isn't always what we want. It isn't always laughing, happiness, searching, or love. Tonight I realized that for me, it means much more.

In recent years I have found myself devoting more and more time to career. It isn't just the usual 8 to 3 school day. I bring home lesson plans that need writing, papers that need graded, emails that need responses, and other things that I always think just HAVE to be done at the time.

As I entered into this, my 31st year, I also found myself thinking about and agonizing over whether I should go ahead and retire at the end of this year. After all, there are bills that will go on.... cars that will need repairs.... and one more child who still has 2 years of college and college debt.

As I read this passage I realized two things:

1. I need to create a more balanced use of my time. I need to allow myself to take personal time for my family and for myself. I have allowed myself to get off kilter- devoting too much time to work and being serious. I need to stop beating myself up over taking a bit of time to read a book, go out to eat with my husband, or just sit and watch a television show.

2. I don't have to worry about how retirement will affect me or my finances. If it is time for me to retire, God will provide. He has blessed me with a talent for crafting, crocheting, and sewing. In the past couple of years, he has shown me that I can create things and sell thing to supplement my income. Retirement could provide the opportunity for me to finally go ahead and turn that into a full time side business that can help if my retirement money runs a bit short of the financial need. It could also allow me to do something else that the Lord has in mind for me. He led me into teaching and he can help me to figure out what his plans are for me after retirement.

Because of these realizations, I have decided that my word for 2016 is BALANCE.

As I read the Bible, study, journal, and pray, I am sure that God will help me to find the personal balance that my life so badly needs. As a reminder, I added a small drawing in my journaling Bible, along with a short prayer.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

God Comes Through....... Yet again!

Boy, did I need that verse! I am definitely weary at this point in my week and at this point of the school year. I was just telling someone at school today that I really need what some of my friends call a "mental health day." Actually, what I told him was that I could really use an early snow day, an unexpected electrical outage, OR a mental health day. The only problem is that I am too stubborn to take it.

Everyone talks about how we teachers get sick days. My problem is that I get them and I don't use them. Unless I am so sick that I just can't teach, I am right there in my classroom: pocket full of cough drops, full box of Kleenex on the desk, and a back-up box of sinus medication by my side. A couple of weeks ago, my sweet hubby actually called a sub and scheduled him to come in the next day so I could stay home and recover from a sinus infection that had me under the weather. I texted him back and told him not to come. I wanted to be here for my students and I was willing to suffer through another day. To me, a sick day means that you have to be down and out and unable to do your job.

Right now, as I said, I am just tired. It is a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, we just finished posting midterm grades, and I still have my students' Halloween stories that need to be read and graded.  About a week ago, we repainted our living room and entry. I vowed that I would use this as an opportunity to weed through my baskets and baskets of papers and (mostly) unnecessary things. Each evening, I go home after my 10 hour day, walk in the door, and collapse on the couch, only to sit there and stare at the boxes and baskets that are still overflowing- too tired to do much constructive purging.

Just this morning I was saying, "I need some refreshing! I need to rest! I need to have an energy REBOOT!" Then tonight the Lord came through....

I was sitting in the computer lab with several students, completing my after school services with an enrichment program when I received an email. As I clicked on it, I was thinking, "Just what I need, another meeting, some student with a question, or maybe a parent who needs something." Much to my surprise, it was a notice that I had been selected to receive the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English Middle School Teacher of the Year award.

For several seconds I was skeptical. I searched online to verify that the organization existed, that the lady who had sent the email was with the organization, and that the recognition ceremony dates were accurate. Still being doubtful, I forwarded the email to an instructional leader in our district and asked if she knew anything about it. To my shock, she responded that she had nominated me.

While my body is still physically tired, my spirit is indeed rejuvenated! Knowing that there are actually people out there who see the effort that I put into my job inspires me to continue. God knew what my spirit needed. It wasn't chocolate or flowers. It was that little nudge to say..... You DO make a difference!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

3 John 1:4 

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Over the years, my children have brought me much joy. I have beamed with pride when they received awards for an academic or athletic achievement, laughed when they said or did something silly, and felt a mother's heart full of love as a dirty little hand delivered a fist full of wildflowers carefully picked just for me.

Yet, none of these can compare to the joy I feel when I see one of my children doing God's work. Today was one of those days. I sat in the wooden pew of our small country church watching as my daughter sang for the congregation. It was a simple little song that she had heard on the radio and requested, "Dad, can we learn this one? I would like to sing it at church sometime."

She arrived home late Saturday afternoon, after a particularly grueling day at college. She had just finished a placement test that will be used to determine her admission into the college of nursing. After the hour drive home, she sat down and ate a quick bite and then joined her dad to begin practicing. 2 or 3 times through was all it took. There was no doubt in my mind that she would be ready to sing at today's service.

Later last evening, she sat on the couch with me and introduced me to a blog that she has started. (Apparently, she was inspired by my attempts at a blog and created her own to share the woes of being a college student and her personal growth as a Christian.) As I read through some of her entries, I again felt my heart fill with the joy of knowing that my daughter is living her life for Christ and is already beginning to share with the world how he is blessing her. 

At this point I want to share a link to her blog. I have tried and tried to upload a video of her song, but it just isn't working. If I can get it to work at some point I will edit this post. Feel free to offer some comments and feedback on her blog to encourage her. If you know a college student who might be interested in following her blog, feel free to share the link with them.

Finally! Success!
Here is the video of Kari singing at church.
Hope you all enjoy it and find it a blessing!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Walking With God.... Literally

Deuteronomy 5:33
Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

A few weeks ago I went back to my doctor for a follow-up visit. Earlier in the summer he had been concerned because my blood pressure was a bit higher than it should be. The whole thing really surprised me since my blood pressure had always run a little low. The doctor had told me to return just before school started so we could see if there was any change.

The follow-up did not bring good news. My BP was still running high, so I was told to change my diet and exercise. The doctor recommended walking, something that I used to enjoy.

I racked my brain and tried to figure out HOW to fit walking into my daily schedule. I already get up far before the sun does and, with school starting, I would be there until late in the evening. I needed motivation and I needed help. 

Allow me to introduce you to the 2 (or 3) new friends that have helped me along my walking journey.

You thought I meant actual PEOPLE? Well..... there is one other person in that picture above. (An explanation will shortly follow.)

You see, I first needed some accountability. That is why I bought the FitBit. I knew that it would accurately track my steps each day as well as the amount of time I spent engaged in physical activity. It has worked wonders for me! 

I have worn the FitBit for 10 days now. On 9 of those days I actually met and slightly exceeded my goal of 10,000 steps per day. Even a sore ankle didn't stop me. I just wrapped the ankle in an ACE bandage and kept walking on.

The second thing I needed was some encouragement- some type of motivation to keep walking during those times when my body was tired and I felt like stopping. That is where the iPod comes in. I loaded a playlist with every gospel song that I could find on my computer. (Between my daughter and I, we had collected a LARGE number.) I added a good set of earphones that would allow the heavenly tunes to come straight to me- loud and clear.

That brings me to the other person on this journey with me. You can't see him in the picture above, but trust me.... he is there. GOD.... You see, while I walk I pray, I think, I listen to the music, and I allow God to speak to me. He never fails me. When I am feeling tired and my shins are beginning to ache, a tune will come on my random playlist that pushes me to keep on walking and not give up. When I am thinking of one of my children and the struggles they are having, a song will begin playing that lets me know that God is there for them AND for me.

This daily walking isn't always easy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It is my daily worship time, with God and whatever message he chooses to send me through my earphones. 

So, if you see me out there walking along the halls at school or along the roadside, seemingly lost to the rest of the world, with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step perhaps you can better understand WHY I am so happy amidst the sweat and pain. I strongly recommend this type of daily walk with God....... It has heart benefits in more than one way!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Many Hands Make Light Work

The school year has begun and with it comes many jobs that need to be completed: copying papers, learning how to implement new computer programs, clearing out and moving rooms, making schedule changes..... it all can seem too immense, if you allow it.

My Bible study this morning was from the book of Nehemiah. As I was reading the story in Chapter 3 about how the walls were rebuilt, I was hit with a brainstorm.

In that particular chapter, various groups took a personal responsibility for rebuilding one small portion of the wall. When looking at the whole wall that needed rebuilding, it would have been very easy for them to just throw their hands in the air and say, "It can't be done!" The task before them was immense, but they realized what I have often been told, "Many hands make light work."

It isn't easy to accomplish some tasks; it would be so easy for us to just give up and think that the job lying before us was too large or too difficult to actually be completed. Yet, when we stop and work together, great things can be accomplished: houses get built, documents get written, and programs are begun.

Working together also makes it less likely that you will give up and quit. When you know that other people are counting on you and supporting you, it is much more difficult to walk away from a task at hand. My husband and I have recently begun a diet/exercise plan to try to get a little more physically fit. One of the purchases that we really want to make is to buy Fit Bits for the two of us so that we can challenge one another and others to walk more. My sweet hubby said, "I think I have a better shot at actually doing it if others are doing it with me."

Do you have a personal task that seems overwhelming? Maybe you need to ask someone else to help you. If you can't think of one, try praying for God to send you someone. That might just do the trick!

Friday, July 31, 2015


Last night, I had a dream. In the dream I was driving down the road when I suddenly encountered water streaming across the surface. For some reason, I kept right on driving through, heedless to the danger.

I felt my car slip to the right and head off the road into the raging water. The car went down, down, down below the surface; yet, I did not feel fear. Instead, I was remarkable calm. It was at that point that I awakened.

I puzzled about the dream-  Why did I head straight on into the water rather than turning around, as I have been taught? Why was I so calm in the midst of danger?

Then, this afternoon, it all became clear.....

I was sitting at home reading some devotionals from my iPhone, when these verses popped out at me:

Isaiah 43: 1-2
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.

WOW! I felt like I had been shoved with an elbow in the ribs. This was so much like my dream. With further reading, I saw that the devotional was referring to fear and how it can overwhelm us, but for me, the verses held a different meaning.

This summer I have felt extremely overwhelmed. My father has been ill and has 2 different surgical procedures, my husband has been experiencing heart issues and has been undergoing several tests, and my son is experiencing some "about to enter adulthood" stress and indecision which has caused him to experience high blood pressure. Through it all, I have been trying to be the stalwart, the one who is there for everyone, to the point that I have ignored my own health issues. . At times I have felt like I was there, all alone, trying to be all and do all. This was my own personal flood..... my own raging waters.

Yet, here was God, telling me that he IS here with me. No matter how hard life gets, no matter how high the flood of stress gets, he IS there with me to help me through. I am NOT alone! I have no reason to fear. I am HIS and he will be there. I simply need to remember that and lean on him for strength and support.

Lord, please help me to remember to call on you when times get rough and I feel the floods of life's stresses pouring in on me. Help me to remember that I am not alone and that you will always be there for me. I am your child and you will be my life-vest when the storms begin to rage. As much as the stress weighs on me, you will keep my boat afloat on the waters of life.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Something New

It is hard to believe that a little over 6 weeks ago I was monitoring end of the school year testing. Each day I circled the classroom, almost endlessly, monitoring my students as they took assessments designed to show what they had learned this year. Each evening I would come home and collapse on the couch, resting my feet, my body, and my brain.

It was during one such rest that I discovered something new that I just HAD to try..... Bible art journaling.

What is it?- I could explain it, but I do not think I could do it justice. Instead I will refer you to some of the many websites I discovered via Pinterest and Google.

The first of these is written by Danica: Anatomy of a Bible Art Journal. She sounds a lot like me.

The second website is written by Kristin: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Bible Journaling. I found her blog entry to be a good introduction to the process that she uses when she journals, as well as to her supplies.

There are some beautiful examples of art journal creations online. Just go to Pinterest and do a search for Bible Art Journaling. You will find literally hundreds of BEAUTIFUL blessings! While I cannot see myself coming anywhere close to the techniques and art that these wonderful women have created, I do think that I can use the journaling to help me get closer to the Lord.

I know that some people might feel hesitant about doing some of the artwork in the BIBLE.... I am still struggling a bit myself. As an English teacher, I love communicating with the book that I am reading by underlining or making notes in the margin. Over the past year I have given myself permission to do that in my Bible as well. There aren't many notes yet, but the ones that are written down help document my relationship with God, his promises, and his desire for my life. This quote says it better than I can.....

Think about it..... of all the books that I read, the Bible will be the one that holds the most importance for me and for my life. There is no other author that I would rather have a conversation with than God himself. These art journals can help with that.

I also think that my Bible and all of its entries will be a wonderful legacy to leave behind for my children and whatever grandchildren I may one day have. Through its words and drawings they will surely be able to catch a glimpse into my devotion to God and the role that he played in my life.

Mission number one for me is to find the ideal Journal Bible to begin my journey..... More on that to come soon. Keep watching!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Half Marathon Update

I wanted to take a minute to update you on my daughter's half marathon.

We traveled to Williamson, Kentucky where the Hatfield-McCoy Marathons would begin. The night before our daughter's race we took the opportunity to drive the course. It was then that we got our first glimpse of "Blackberry Mountain", the nemesis of the first half of the course.  (Take a look at the elevation map below. That BIG spike about mile 6 and 7 is Blackberry Mountain.)

A quick run to the grocery store to pick up some bagels for the next morning's breakfast and then we were off to slumber for the night.

We dropped Kari off at the race start just before 7 AM Saturday morning and she still had a bit of a smile on her face, though she was nervous.

Glenn and I drove the 30 minute ride around curvy country roads to park in Matewan, West Virginia where the half marathon would end. We sat a while, looked at some of the historical sites, and then scoped out a spot close to the bridge entering town. Runner after runner came down the hill and turned the curve toward the bridge. Glenn and I waited.... and waited... looking at our watch and trying to gauge when Kari might come into view. Finally, about 2 hours and 30 minutes into the run we glimpsed her bright orange outfit coming toward us.

Kari had made some running pals as she ran; she later would tell us that they had discussed it being her first marathon and how she was feeling. No doubt, their encouragement helped her keep walking and running toward her goal.

Meanwhile at the finish line, Glenn had created a make shift sign using papers and crayons he had found in the back of the car. We had also told several others who were watching the race about Kari and her determination to finish this, her first half marathon. By the time she crossed the bridge there were several people yelling her name and encouraging her as she continued the brief run through downtown toward the finish line.

Kari crossed the line and learned that, not only had she finished the half marathon, but she had also placed 2nd in her age category!

Kari does not really consider this half marathon to be much of an achievement. "I am a runner, Mom. They expect us to do things like this." As for me, I consider it a GREAT achievement. I feel so blessed to have a daughter like her: one who sets goals, works toward them, and makes it her purpose to achieve them. She may be younger than the other runners on her college team; she may be younger than the classmates in her college classes, but she does not let that prevent her from achieving what any other college sophomore might achieve. 

I also feel blessed to have a daughter who is so God centered. As I listen to her sing solos in church my heart swells with pride and I often find tears welling up in my eyes. Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go; when he is old, he will not depart from it." Glenn and I have attempted to do that, and I am so blessed to see that Kari has accepted God and his guiding hand into her heart and her life. 

Friday, May 29, 2015


I should have learned by now that God always knows when I need a little push or lesson. A couple of days ago God chose to send me just such a nudge.

I have been a little discontented with my waistline. Since turning 45 several years ago it has become increasingly difficult for me to maintain a size that I like. Weight loss commercials blame it on hormones; I sometimes blame it on my tendency to stress eat and rushing lunches at school. Whatever the reason, let's just say that I do NOT like what I see in the mirror most days.

As we neared the end of the school year I made a promise to myself that I would get back in a walking routine, in an effort to burn more calories and get a bit more physically fit. I have been adding steps into my daily schedule and my children even purchased me one of those step counters to wear on my wrist as part of my Mother's Day present. Yet, somehow things have been getting in the way- first weather and then my shins.

Every time I start walking for an extended period of time my shins begin burning and hurting. My daughter (the runner in the family) informed me that I must have a problem with shin splints. That didn't help solve the problem though.

On Wednesday I decided that I would get up early, get dressed, and be ready to walk while my daughter did her morning run. We drove to the designated parking area and got out. She took off running and I set out walking. Sure enough, two tenths of a mile into my walk, the burning began, but I kept walking.

I set my eyes on the horizon where I could see an orange shape growing smaller and smaller as my daughter ran into the distance. I kept thinking to myself, "If she can attempt to train for a half marathon, surely I can walk a mile." I pushed the button on my watch and found that I still had not reached the half mile marker. I kept walking, glancing up once more to see that my daughter was no longer there. She had run out of my line of vision, determined to run her designated length and speed.

God wants that same determination for us, in our daily lives. In Hebrews 12, verses 1 and 2 we find the following:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

God wants us to keep running the race of Christian faith, never giving up, never ceasing to trust him and the fact that he will be there- our greatest cheerleader! He has set a path for us and he wants us to stay on that path, ridding our lives of things and people who prevent us from achieving the goal he has set for us. We simply need to keep our eyes focused on that finish line- with Jesus standing there, arms outstretched ready to congratulate us for a race well run and to nourish us with the refreshing cool water of life that only he can give.

I may not shed the inches around my middle that bug me so much- but...... I plan to keep walking, exercising, and making the best me that I can. I also plan to keep delving into God's word and sharing what I have learned with others. I WILL keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. I WILL run this Christian race with perseverance!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Back on Track

Wow! Has it really been months sit I sat down and actually shared my thoughts on this blog? I feel a bit guilty about it actually. I had good intentions, but sometimes life just got in the way and I felt too tired, too busy, or too stressed.

The wonderful thing is ..... it is never too late.

I can get back on track........

I think back to the parable of the Prodigal son. He had wandered away from home, being gone so long that some people might have even forgotten about him. Then he returned home- to find himself welcomed back with open arms, a feast, and a father's heart filled with love.

I can return to a routine, trying to post at least once a week, sharing my heart, my thoughts, and God's message with all of you. I know that God will gladly welcome that- hopefully you will too.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Are You TOO Comfortable?

If you are anything like me, comfort means a lot.

My two kids hate to go shopping for clothes with me. They complain that I dress for comfort too much and constantly try to convince me that it is possible to be BOTH comfortable and stylish. Well, they may be right, but I just haven't found the right mix yet. I will take a good soft pair of well-worn jogging pants and a pullover shirt over a "stylish" outfit any day!

Shoes are another really big hangup of mine. Being a teacher, I am on my feet most of the day. My shoes have to fit me JUST RIGHT.....and they have to have enough support and cushion to help me making it through what is sometimes a 10 hour day. Even then, the first thing I do after walking in the door at home, setting my bag down, and taking my coat off is to kick off whatever shoes I wore that day. When I do find a "good" pair of shoes I will wear them every day until I practically wear them out.

What can I say? Comfort is big for me.....


Can we as Christians get TOO comfortable?

Sometimes we allow ourselves to get into a routine: Sunday morning, dress for church, sit through the sermon, sing the same songs, put the same amount of tithe in the offering each week, read our Bible (when we allow it to fit our routine), and tell a friend, "I'll keep you in my prayers."

It is comfortable; it feels good. We become used to it and we like it because it is what we are used to.

Then comes the Sunday when the sermon touches a bit too close to home, we feel that little tug in our heart telling us that we need to speak with someone about God, or someone asks us to do something for the church that we just aren't sure we are ready to try. These things make us uncomfortable. We sometimes try to ignore those feelings or whatever we are being called to do and just slip back into that comfortable, cushy Christian life that we have been used to.

When we do that, we are not only ignoring the voice of God, but we are also turning our backs on an opportunity for growth. Think about it.... When you were a teenager you may have had those occasional aches or pains in your legs like I did. My mom always called them "growing pains". My muscles were growing, lengthening, and stretching and it caused a little bit of pain. I learned to live with it. It was just a part of growth.

Our Christian life is like that. We have to experience a bit of discomfort if we are to grow as Christians. We have to hear messages that make us think, that cause us to reflect on our own life and where we are in our Christian journey. We have to be willing to accept new leadership roles within the church or step out on faith and share our talents without worrying about our possible feelings of discomfort.

Our true life as a Christian cannot begin until we accept the fact that we NEED to feel a bit of discomfort- it lets us know that we are in new territory, that we are learning something or experiencing something that will help us to continue our own personal growth. God cannot really use us if we allow ourselves to sit there in that same comfy old Christian recliner that we have been in for years. We must push ourselves to the edge of our comfort zone and be prepared to step out of that zone in order to grow and to truly experience the life that God wants us to have!

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Throw of Many Colors.....

Joseph had his coat of many colors.....

Genesis 37: 1-3 
1And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.
These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

Dolly Parton had her coat of many colors.....

And now.................
My daughter has her "Throw of many colors."

A little over a year ago, my sweet hubby brought home a HUGE yarn stash that he had purchased. There were literally bags and bags of yarn in every color and thickness. I have been trying to work my way through the stash, but I was not having a lot of luck.

Recently, on one of my Pinterest searches I found a pattern for this "scrap afghan". I knew I had found my answer. Over Christmas break I began working on it. The throw or afghan is worked with 3 different pieces of yarn at the same time and a very large hook. As one color of yarn ran out, I would join a new one and just keep crocheting. This causes the colors to blend rather than end abruptly.

Here's a close-up:

The only color that I used throughout the entire thing was the white or cream color. (I had plenty of that.)  My daughter had a great time selecting which color would go into the mix next. When she left home about a week ago to return to college, I had her pick out the next several colors so that I could finish it. Tonight I put in the final stitch and ended. I really should have kept track of just how many skeins or bundles of yarn went into the blanket. I know that it was a lot. With all of that yarn, the throw weighs a total of 6 pounds! 

I sent my daughter a picture of the finished throw, but it really did not do it justice. I can hardly wait to see her reaction when she sees the finished product in person. Hopefully she will know that, just as with Joseph's coat, this was made with love in every stitch. When she is laying under its warm layer, I hope that she can sense the hug that I have stitched within it as I crocheted each and every little loop. 

Oh..... by the way..... That yarn stash? Well, there is still lots left, so I will likely make other things for other people that I know and love.  

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Year

Isaiah 43: 18-19

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! 
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Here it is- a new year and new beginning. Rather than looking back on the old and what HAS been..... I choose to look forward on the new year.

I sit here with a smile on my face, ready and waiting for whatever the Lord allows to spring up. In Isaiah 43, God tells us, "I am doing a new thing". I trust that he will continue to do new things, here in 2015, thousands of years after he first made that promise.

I often find myself wondering about what choice I should make, what direction I should go, or what I should try to achieve- so I suppose you could say that I, too, find myself wandering in the wilderness. I trust that God will guide me, if I ask him and listen to him. He will make a way for me......

I know that God also told us not to dwell on the past, but I feel that he will understand that I must glance back in order to see from whence I came.....

The last year was often filled with stress, trouble, and turmoil. There were health issues for my family, as well as myself. I have often found myself overwhelmed with work, debt, and pressures of life. I have not had nearly as much time to create and relax as I would have hoped or liked.

Over the past month or so, I have felt that God might be telling me..... "Stella, you need to slow down. Rediscover the joys in life. Take more time for you, for your family, and for me."

Perhaps that is the "new thing"-  Perhaps I am meant to return to some of the joys that I have enjoyed in the past. I am open to that.

Won't you join me in my efforts to learn what God can make possible in this new year? If you, too, want to discover the "new things" that God has planned, would you pray with me?

Dear God,
I thank you for your continued love and guidance in my life. As I stand here, at the beginning of a new year, I am ready and willing for whatever you would have me to do. I know that I can be stubborn, and sometimes I try to make my own way. At those times I would ask you to gently remind me that YOU are there and you know what is best for me. I also know that I sometimes allow life and its pressures to blind me and to overtake my life. At those times I would ask you to do what you need in order to turn my vision back to you and your will. 

I do not know what the new year will bring- but I do know that it will certainly be filled with new experiences, enriched by your love and your presence. You WILL make a way for me in the wilderness of daily life and you WILL provide refreshing streams when I need them most.

Thank you Lord, for your love, your guidance, and your tender touch as I continue throughout this new year!