Tag Archives: blessings

Joy in the Storm

088

A friend recently asked how I was managing with some challenges and all I could muster was that I was relying on God’s strength.  I said, “All I have is God … and He is more than enough!”  I also said that sometimes you simply keep placing one foot in front of the other.

Of course, my daily devotions spent in the Word of God and prayer are what sustain this weary heart on the difficult days.  Despite the storm clouds that surround, “My anchor holds within the vale.”  I have a deep, wellspring of joy on the inside that is not conditional on my circumstances but is a true gift from God.

It is possible to have peace and joy regardless of the dark clouds that rage.  This world is not our final destination.  During times of struggle, I especially love to listen to some praise and worship music and praise the Lord.  When we worship God, we are inviting His presence into our lives and our situation.  I firmly believe that.  And, how I need Him.

John 16:33 says, “In this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”

Life continually has its valleys and mountain tops.  We cannot prevent either from happening but we can control our responses to each.  We can determine in our hearts that no matter what happens, we will dig deep in His Word for wisdom, instruction, and comfort.  No matter what, we will pray and praise God for Who He is, not just for what He does for us.

When we focus on our blessings more than our problems, there is a shift in our attitude and perspective.  Whatever we focus on becomes bigger.  What would happen if we focused on God more than our difficulties?

What if we recall the countless times in the past that God has delivered us and answered prayer?  What if we praised Him in advance for all that He has planned for our lives?

What if, even through our storm, others could witness God’s strength and power demonstrated in our lives?

Joy is possible in the darkest of nights.

Peace is available too.

Faith is the seed that makes these a reality in our hearts.

…Instead of searching for the nearest exit during your storm, why not praise God for what He will teach you through the challenging circumstances?  Why not ask Him to shine through your darkness to be a blessing to others around you that they may glorify God?

When we are able to change our perspective, we are able to change our reality.

Trust God.  Pray.  Praise.  Watch Him work in your life as only He can.

Rinse.  Repeat.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Living

The Smell of Rain

The sliding glass door is open leading to the small balcony off the master bedroom.  Rain has been steadily falling since early this morning and the scent is refreshing.  Nothing like the smell of freshly fallen rain, except maybe crunching leaves in autumn up north.  But, today, it is Florida’s version of winter weather – although fairly mild, of course.

The showers not only replenish the earth but invigorate the senses.  This is not our typical rainy season that occurs during our hurricane season from June 1st through November 30th.  It has caused some dead tree limbs to be strewn across the lawn and our swimming pool to be pretty full.  The creek that runs behind our house has become rather full with water gushing as it makes its way over the large rocks, creating a small waterfall.  It’s always so peaceful to look out at the waterfall.

Water is so soothing, isn’t it?  I think of the ocean with its waves that ebb and flow.  Visitors flock to it and find relaxation.  I also think of a warm bath to calm the mind and body.  Waterfalls in the mountains.  People will hike miles just to catch a glimpse of the beauty of majestic waterfalls.  Perhaps the most famous of falls, Niagara Falls, is the destination of thousands of visitors each year.

God certainly knew water would bring mankind peace and nourishment against life’s stresses.

Although it’s very overcast and rainy today, I am thankful for the precipitation.  Everything has a season and today’s season is rain.

Some complain when the weather prevents them from participating in outdoor activities or dulls their mood.  Instead, why not take advantage of a rainy day to do something indoors that you’ve been putting off?  I like to turn on the lights and play some cheerful music on days like these.  It sends a signal to the mind that we still have cause to be happy, despite the weather.

So, today I will enjoy the fresh scent of the rain.  Tomorrow it will be gone.  The sun will be out along with a few clouds, but the rain will be over.

Ah, to breathe in this invigorating fragrance is a beautiful blessing!  You see, there is beauty in the rain.  Yes, unpleasantness too.  Like when you step into a deep puddle.  Isn’t that life?  You take the good and the bad, mix it all together and it is a beautiful gift.

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous

Before & After ~ House Transformation

Isn’t it amazing what a little (or a lot) of paint will do?  We purchased this house in April and have been doing major renovations ever since.  The painters just finished with the exterior last week and we absolutely love the transformation!!  The color before was a very tired and dull blue/gray, which we think did the house a disservice.  We chose: Behr Palomino Tan as the body color, Safari Brown as the accent color, Classic Taupe for window trim, Espresso for front steps and Allure (dark red) for front door.  The painters color matched our sample selections with Sherwin Williams’ “Resilience” paint.

The color palette we chose resembles some we saw in a Ralph Lauren paint brochure.  We think it suits the house well and was a much needed face lift.

We also had the painters spray fifty corbels in Espresso and my husband will install them under the soffits in sets of two several feet apart.  I’ll have to take a picture of them now that they’ve been painted.  They look so good!  They’re a neat architectural accent and will add a lot of interest to the front of the house.  (By the way, if you’re ever interested in any type of architectural trim/molding/accents, Architecturaldepot.com is worth checking out.  They were just under $9 each whereas Home Depot sells them for $25 each!  Huge savings!

189

Our house is definitely not your typical Florida style home, but that’s what makes it so refreshingly unique.  In subsequent posts, I will share some of the distinct features of our house and other renovations we’ve done. You’ll be able to see just how very “one of a kind” it is.

What normally would have taken the painters one week to finish, wound up taking a month just about to complete due to the unusual rain pattern we’ve had!  June 1st through November 30 is Florida’s typical hurricane season with daily rains around 4p.m.  However, the pattern we’ve been experiencing has been intermittent torrential downpours throughout the day that seem to come out of no where!  Very unpredictable.  We are thrilled at the job they did and especially the transformation of our formerly pink steps!  Yes, you read that right.  They were 80’s pink tile and a poor welcome to visitors in 2015.  So, we are very pleased with the Espresso facelift.  It just adds such a rich and welcoming tone.  And, to think, painting the front steps were kind of an afterthought.  It was worth every dime.  🙂  They were an afterthought because initially we planned to replace them (eventually at least).  But, the more we considered our options, we arrived at the brilliant (if we do say so ourselves! Haha!) decision of painting them!

385

They also painted our pool deck and back patio, which really refreshed the back of the house!  (Sorry I don’t have a better shot, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.  Haha)

446

Stay tuned for more “before and after” renovation pictures!

We are so grateful to God for blessing us with this house and plan to enjoy it for many years.  We lived in Florida before for nearly eleven years, moved back up north for five years and now, are back home!  We’re ecstatic to live close to our grown son once again.  We just celebrated his birthday for the first time in person in five years!  It was extra special, needless to say!  Things are nice, but they’re just “things”.  There is no price tag on family relationships and the friendships God blesses us with!

I hope you enjoy seeing our renovation pictures and coming along for the ride during our house transformation!  We did most of the demolition work ourselves to save some money but hired contractors to do the majority of the renovations.  The kids and I painted the entire interior (3,400 square feet) prior to moving in!  And most of it was done in 90+ degree weather with no A/C.  (One of our A/C units decided to give up the ghost shortly after we closed on the house.)  Somehow, we managed.  We replaced that unit right before we moved in, which was an expense we did not anticipate right away.  We had to wait until some of the work (like sanding textured ceilings and spraying texture on the walls) was completed before we could replace it.  We’ve worked really hard and are slowly, but surely making it our own.

Let me know what you think.  🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Renovations

Blessings & Curses … Choose Life

038

The Old Testament is replete with stories of the children of Israel worshipping idols, living in direct opposition to God’s plan and then returning to God once again.  It is a vicious cycle.  Reading the accounts of many hundreds of years can leave one a little befuddled as to why they never seemed to learn their lesson.  Even as Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments inscribed by God, the people were building an idol.  (Exodus 31) What were they thinking?  And what in the world was Aaron, Moses’ right hand man, thinking?

Every word of the Bible is there for a reason and stands as a lesson for the ages.  The sinful plight of man remains today.  It is easy for us to observe and critique how the Israelites, God’s chosen people, failed Him and messed up at every turn.  But the truth is, is that you and I are not that different from the Israelites in that we have the propensity to sin as well.  The option is there.  And many times we take it.  There’s an old saying that goes like this:

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go; keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”

Isn’t that the truth, my friend?  Some choices we have made have cost a great price, much more than we ever dreamed.  They were seemingly harmless decisions at the time, but little did we realize their consequences.

“The pleasures of sin are but for a season, and in the end destruction comes.”

“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”  ~ Romans 6:23

The only thing that can separate you or I from God is sin.  God cannot look on sin.  It is the chasm that disconnects us from the perfect will of God.  We see in John 3:16-18 what His will is:

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”  (The Message Bible)

God’s will is that all (that’s you and me) would turn to Him and accept His love and plan for our lives.  God’s love is unending, never failing and unconditional.  There is nothing you or I can do to earn His love.  It is a gift.  It is the very essence of Who He is.

There is nothing you or I can do to make God love us any more or any less.  That’s a freeing thought, isn’t it?  There are no hopeless cases with God.  If you think you’ve messed up too badly to accept the gift of His love, think again.  You are not beyond the scope of the grace He offers.  He’s reaching out to you today, friend.

Will you receive God’s love today?  If you’ve already made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, will you choose life and blessing in every area of your life today?

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” ~ Deuteronomy 30:19

Read Deuteronomy 28 to see all the benefits of obeying God and choosing life:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deuteronomy+28&version=NLT

Blessings and curses … Choose Life.  Choose wisely, my friend, because eternity is hanging in the balance.  Life on this earth is so temporary.  The Bible describes our lives as a mere vapor – here today, gone tomorrow.  Or as a flower in the field which fades quickly.  It’s true.  We think we’re somehow these invincible creatures, but the truth is, our time in this fleshly condition is indeed fading.  We fight it with endless anti-aging treatments, exercise, nutrition (all of which can be good); but the fact remains, this mortal body will die at the appointed time.  It is our souls that will live forever.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” ~ Romans 10:9-10  NLT

It is the single most important decision you will ever make in your entire life.  Choose wisely.  Choose life.  Choose the God who took your place so that you may live eternally with Him.  He loves you so, my friend.

Prayer:  “Dear God, please forgive me of all my sins.  I’m turning my back on them today.  Make me new.  I receive Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior this day.  Help me to live for you, I pray.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

It’s that simple.  Get in the Word of God.  Read and study it.  The Gospel of John is an excellent place to begin:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+1&version=NLT

It’s also important to get in a Bible believing church that preaches the salvation message loud and clear, and one that can disciple and help you to grow in your walk with the Lord.  Many blessings, my friend!  And, if you’ve just prayed that prayer, welcome to the family of God!

And, if you’ve prayed that prayer before and you’re walking with the Lord, I challenge you to choose life every day so that you will reap all the blessings God has for you! (Deut. 28)

Lastly, if you’re not sure about anything you’ve read here and this is all completely new to you, I challenge you to give God a try.  Talk to him like you would a friend sitting next to you.  Ask Him to make Himself real to you.  I know He will.  He loves you so.

“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.” ~ Anna Bartlett Warner, 1860

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Living