Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Best New Year’s Resolutions – Gratitude and Trusting God

partnersuche schwäbisch gmünd obstacle

here Christian Values and Goal Setting

My personality type constantly plans and sets goals, sometimes to excess, I admit.  Below are two good links about making goals and plans.  My two main goals for 2016 are to be more grateful and to trust God more.  (Along with trusting God, of  course, goes worrying less!)  I encourage myself often by remembering that nothing is impossible with God.   As Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit to the LORD whatever you do and your plans will succeed (New International Version.)

diclofenaco normon 50 mg para que sirve This fist link regarding goals is entitled “Personal Goal Setting:  Planning to Live Your Life Your Way.” Although this webpage is not about setting goals as a Christ follower, you can adapt it for goals related to your life with God.   http://bit.ly/1LabpRU

diclofenaco 500 mg para sirve The next link entitled “Five Tips for Setting Christian Goals” focuses specifically on spiritual goals.   I found it personally highly  useful and thought-provoking.  http://bit.ly/1Zw3B6P

atarax mg 25 And Have Fun Planning and Anticipating!

dog jumping obstacleIf you have ever watched the amazing things dogs do during obstacle course competition, one thing is clear:   the dogs are having a great time – doing what they are meant to do.  We, too, are made to be overcomers.  Let’s enjoy the journey!

Trusting God

azioni binarie come sapere se sale o scende un azione Dear Father in heaven,

http://www.ecoshelta.com/?kampys=opzioni-binarie-metodo-cabandela&5e6=61 I ask that You would graciously guide each of us, as You promise in James 1.   As we trust You, give us wisdom in setting goals for the next year.  Help us not to get  caught up in the process or  start depending upon ourselves.  Rather, keep reminding us that You are  in charge of our lives and that You have everything in control.  All we need to do is serve you with our whole heart, and soul and mind and trust You for the results.  We love You, Jesus!”

 

Trusting God – Easier Said Than Done!

Trusting God vs. Overplanning

planning papers 2015

This last week I’ve had extra time to work on my blogs because my teacher son-in-law has been home to help with childcare.  I confess I’ve gotten myself overwhelmed by too much planning.  How can I improve my blogs, how can I EVER get comfortable with Facebook and Twitter?  How can I find more time to write and do all the peripheral work related to blogging without sacrificing these next few  precious preschool years with my grandsons? The answer?  I cannot, of course.

Family First 

All my writing is about how to “focus on your family”, which is the God-directed duty of every parent.  I can reduce my family time and try to bulldoze my way to success. Or, I can choose to trust God and keep priorities in line.  Just as He has worked every single thing in my life out for my good (Romans 8:28!!) so He will continue to do so.

It Does Take Faith!

I admit it takes faith to spend hours with the family when I still have not done so much that the expert bloggers recommend.  But I know, day by day, God and I are taking huge steps, and I am learning to “build my  author platform” so that eventually  publishers will be interested.

God NEVER Leaves Us and He NEVER  Forsakes Us – NEVER!

I can no longer stay up late and get up early to do the writing, as I did when Sharon was little.  However, over the years God has graciously shown me the effectiveness of prayer and faith and  committing all that I do to Him.  God has no favorites.  And just as He enabled George Mueller to accomplish a lifetime of miracles through prayer alone, He will help me with the writer’s life to which He has called me.  Below is a link to a description of this amazing believer’s life.  I read an entire book about him years ago.  I have always remembered, that, as this link says:

 “God answered his prayers. The needs of the orphanage were met each day. Sometimes a wealthy person would send a large amount of money, or a child would give a small amount received as a gift or for doing chores. Many times food, supplies or money came at the last minute, but God always provided without George telling anyone about his needs. He just prayed and waited on God.”

http://bit.ly/1NIky6u

By God’s unfathomable grace, may we all spend more time in prayer about our work for God!  As the hymn at the link below says – He never fails, He yet prevails!  Have faith in God. . . have faith in God!”

http://yhoo.it/1QQqjW2

 

Merry Christmas – and Happy Birthday, Jesus!

If you are like me, Christmas brings back childhood memories and, so often, Currier and Ives pictures of Christmas, like the beautiful one below.

currier and ives christmas 1

However, I am sure that no one will have a completely perfect day today, like we long for when we see such happy, wholesome scenes.

We do have reality.   Kids (and adults!) will get cranky waiting on the Christmas dinner,  brothers and sisters will fight over the new toys, someone will say something hurtful, and on and on with our all too human imperfections.   That is reality.

The far greater reality is that Christmas is about Christ, the greatest gift  that has ever or will ever be given.  Reality is that God loved the world so much that He sent His son Jesus to be our Savior and our Redeemer, to show us the way to live as God would have us live.  (That’s the famous “John 3:16” verse.)

How wonderful if we cultivate a grateful heart — in the midst of Christmas day imperfections.   We can, if we choose, focus on thanking and praising our loving Heavenly Father for loving us so!

nativity

auto pozioni binarie com Dear Father in Heaven,

je suis contente de vous rencontrer en espagnol Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus into this broken world, to show by His example how we are to live.  Help me to be a channel of Your love to everyone I see.  Help me please You with the “words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart” on this, the most beautiful day.   Happy birthday, Jesus!  I love You!

Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (New International Version, 1973)

Cardinals on My Christmas Card – A Loving Pat on the Head

My daughter sent me the most beautiful Christmas card ever this year.  She knows I have loved cardinals for many years.

cardinal card 2012 from b

Inside the card was a photo of my daughter, her husband and my two darling grandsons, 2 and 4 years old.   Just getting them all together and looking good and sitting still for 10 seconds all at the same time and all together for that photo was a true labor of love, I know.

Her personal note (which is, uh, personal) was also beautiful and the kind that delights every Mother’s heart.  How blessed I am!   But just being reminded that she notices what I like and remembers and gets and does things to make me happy is a priceless gift in itself.  Again I say, how blessed I am!

So. . . why do I adore cardinals?   For two reasons – one, they always remind me of my earthly father, Fred Farmer (yes!  I was named after him : – )    He passed away many, many years ago,  creating a hole in my heart that only God could heal.    Daddy liked cardinals and always pointed them out to me.   Anything my father liked, I liked, too of course.

The Northern Cardinal is listed as one of the 100 common birds in Tennessee, my Dad’s native state.  So I’m sure he saw many growing up, just as I did growing up in Florida.

cardinals in snow male and female

Of course, the ones Daddy saw were possibly seen in snow, like the picture above.  And snow just hardly ever happened in Central Florida!

The second reason I love cardinals is that they remind me of my Heavenly Father’s unending love and presence and tender care.   I gave my heart to Jesus in 1981, and Daddy passed away in 1986.  I think somehow in my mind, the two thoughts and all the feelings associated with cardinals and Daddy and God were woven together in my heart.

All I know is that ever since I met Jesus, when I see a cardinal, even a fleeting glimpse, I feel like God has just given me a loving pat on my head and said, though not audibly, “I love you, Freda, and I am taking care of everything.  Everything is going to be okay. ”

It never, ever fails.  I can be in the bluest of moods or frustrated or stressed or whatever other negative thought pattern we humans so easily fall into, but the sight of a  cardinal works a true miracle in my heart.

Dear Father in heaven, thank You for loving me and reminding me in so many, little ways constantly of that love.  Thank You for such a wonderful earthly Daddy.  You know Daddy was a big and strong “man’s man” but he was so tender and gentle with me.    I know his love prepared a place in my heart for Your love, Father.  Thank You, Lord, for my father and for the way cardinals remind me of both of you.  I love You, Lord!”

cardinals

 

What the World Needs Now. . . A True Fortress

autumn leavesI

I was pondering what would be appropriate to say about Christmas in general, as the days of mid December fly by.  Here in central Texas, the golden and red-hued leaves are starting to fall off the trees, all at once it seems, as the wind blows, and sometimes blasts, through the branches.

In the last post, I included a link to a video by Christy Nockels and Janna Long.  I think the best thoughts I can offer you today about Christmas are in the link below.  In it, Christy Nockels sings a beautiful rendition of the classic hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God’, which is based on Psalm 94:22.

In the middle of this stress-filled world we live in, at this time of year when so many are troubled by what they do not and cannot possess, what better thought can there be than this simple unalterable fact:   the God Who created the universe is with and tenderly watches over His children?  He truly is our fortress, no matter what comes.

Let this video help you keep your eyes and your heart on our loving Creator during times of personal unrest and distress.  And remember the comforting words of Jesus to those who have decided to follow Him:

follow link “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; http://nakedracer.com.au/prostoiew/11248 no one can snatch them out of my hand. [emphasis added]”   (John 10:27-28, New International Version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRQp1bUJkBE

Expectations . . . Blessing or Affliction? Part 2 of 2

The sadness I so often felt at Christmas I knew was in large part because of unrealistic expectations.  It had been that way since my childhood.  It was time to stop that habit of mind!

I now understand and deeply appreciate all that both my parents did for their three children.  They both sacrificed and gave selflessly of their time, energy, and resources so that their children could have advantages they did not.  Through just plain hard work and common sense and thrift, they raised our family’s standard of living year by year.

When I was two years old, we moved to the lovely little antebellum town I grew up in.  My parents had to really pinch pennies at first but by the time I was in elementary school (back then that was fourth through sixth grades), our family was well established and respected in our little community.

However, about that same time I began to notice differences – in cars, clothes, houses – all the trappings of wealth or lack thereof.  My family was working class, and I always wanted more and better toys then clothes, radio or whatever at Christmas than I got.

I never knew, until late in high school, that the parents of some of my classmates – the very ones who wore the “groovy” Villager skirts and penny loafers and flaunted Gucci purses and every other gadget and gizmo that was advertised – did not pay their bills.  Some of them also had other, more serious financial problems created by excessive spending.

My family was working class but our bills were always paid, we always had an abundance of good, healthy food to eat and all the clothes we needed and then some.  I learned even later that some of the small business owners in town had been forced to close their shops because the folks who appeared in the society page owed thousands to the plumber, the contractor, etc.

Once I became a parent, then a single parent, I understood the sacrifices my parents had made.  However, for all these years, even with all the writing about gratitude, this little poison of jealousy at Christmas time has been hiding in the dark corners of my heart.

Dear Father in heaven,  I can only ask for Your forgiveness.  Forgive me for this sin of coveting, or desiring, what other people have.  Forgive me of being ungrateful – after You have been so very gracious and faithful each day of my life to provide so generously for my every need and those of my family.  Thank You, for shining the light of truth into my heart and freeing me from the bondage of jealousy. During this season, when we celebrate the greatest gift ever given – Jesus, Your very own Son, help me keep my mind on You.

follow link May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalms 19:14, New International Version)

Below is a link to a video by Christy Nockels and Janna Long  that embedded this attitude even deeper in my heart.  May it do the same for you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKfhlHoemPI

 

 

Expectations . . . Blessing or Affliction? Part 1 of 2

christmas wreath and star 2015

I looked at the glittering star and wreath my four-year-old grandson Ben had delightedly helped me hang on the wall.  I felt a twinge of sadness and knew I had to get to the root of it.  Ben and I had had a delightful time decorating a few days ago.  Why was remembering it now making me sad?

My first thought was that all the decorations were from the Dollar Store.   Such a contrast with the pricey items lining the aisles in every store!  Next, I realized I had subconsciously envisioned covering every available surface of my tiny apartment with glittering tinsel and garland and bells and wreaths.   Ben and I had made two trips to the Dollar Store and had quickly spent the ten dollars I had allocated, which was all my budget allowed.   However, the ten decorations looked few and far between to my adult eye.

Then, thankfully, common sense and a grateful attitude prevailed.   Ben could not yet perceive the difference between our decorations and those in the mall windows.

Not only that, for a solid hour last Tuesday, Ben had been in charge of the decorating project, which satisfied his emerging leadership qualities..  As we opened the packaging, we discussed the best placement for the wreath, the star, the bell door knocker, the huge red bow, the two soldiers, the two red skates and the  “candy sticks”, to which we tied the jingle bells.  But Ben made the decisions, with confidence and big smiles each time.

As I had done with his Mom, I had taken the little I had and make it seem much to his innocent eyes.  As we celebrated our decorating with some shared crackers, Ben’s eyes sparkled as he looked around.  He said things like, “I really like the shiney star, Nana” and  “I have a soldier and stocking and Allen has a soldier and a stocking.  Thank you, Nana.”

If you look at the picture again, you will see the star hangs next to the plague that says “Enjoy the little things in life. . . for one day you will realize that they enter site were the BIG THINGS.”  Truth was literally, written on the wall.

I had to face the fact that I had had unrealistic – and materialistic – expectations.   Aye, there was the rub!  And, I reflected, it had been a problem ever since childhood.   How had I let it go on this long?  And how much joy had been stolen each year?  I knew I had more mental cleaning house to do.

 

 

 

“We have nothing to fear. . . ” – Part Two

That’s become the SOP when I take my Barny back for visits to the veterinarian.  The receptionist smiles “Welcome back, Mr. Houdini!” and off we go, directly to a quiet exam room to wait for Dr. Smith.  No more noisy big back room for Barny.  He is in my arms, or in his carrier with my arms firmly around the carrier, the entire time.

God speaks unceasingly to His children, all day, every day, if we have ears to listen.  That first day and every day since when I take my fearful little Barny for his nail-trimming, God reminds me, yet again, that I do not need to worry.  I only need to actively trust Him.  I may still feel fearful, like my little cat, but so long as I stay in God’s arms—in the path of obedience—I am completely and totally safe.  And, eventually, my fear fades as I relax into God’s calming, loving presence.

Our Heavenly Father whose love for us is greater than the height of the heavens above the earth (Psalm 103), who is all-knowing, all-wise and, all-powerful has promised never, no never, to leave His children   He daily carries us close to his heart, like a shepherd with an injured lamb.

In His infinite, boundless wisdom He gives us the ability to think on one thing at a time, if we choose to focus.  He promises to keep us in complete peace IF we fix our hearts on Him.  (Isaiah 26:3)  That is often a challenging “if” for my type of personality but I usually get my mind where it should be, sooner rather than later now.

He also soothingly tells us we will face trouble each day but not to worry for He HAS ALREADY overcome the world.  By His grace, I am learning to take a light-hearted approach to problems and to see them as chances to stay close to my beloved Father.  I am learning to sense His nearness and hear His soothing whispers of love, right in the middle of my storms, just like my darling Barny.

One of the many places God promises to be with us and to take care of us always is Deuteronomy 31: 6.  In this passage, God is reassuring Joshua, who is soon to succeed Moses, who led God’s people for forty years.  The Israelites are about to enter the land promised to them, but it is a land occupied by their enemies.

Each and every day, if we are following Christ with all our heart, we can confidently face whatever fear or danger lies ahead.   We have this promise from God. And He is oh so faithful, oh so trustworthy!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them [the enemy – explanation added], for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6 (New International Version)

“We have nothing to fear. . . ” – Part One

1 Barny summer 2015

(Isn’t my Barny gorgeous???  This is his favorite “observation post” by the porch window.)

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

For 19 years, I had a beloved Tonkinese cat named Thellie.  He passed away shortly before I moved from Florida to Texas in 2012.   My darling little shadow, Thellie, lies at rest in my neighbor’s back yard, with a little marker I made just for him.

Exactly two weeks before I relocated from my daughter’s home (where I’d lived for two tender years as a live-in Nana when I moved from Florida), God sent my beloved Tonkinese, Barnabus Bartholomew Farmer, through a rescue shelter.  He was the only natural mink-Tonkinese listed for rescue in the entire state of Texas (which is fairly big, you know!).   His coat is, indeed, a luxuriantly rich mink color, just like my little Thellie was.  They could have been twins.

Typical of his breed, Barny is hypersensitive.  In addition, somewhere in his previous five years he was apparently traumatized about some things, like feeling pinned down.  I can hold and cuddle him a long time but the moment he feels squeezed or pinned down, he becomes the world’s best escape artist.  Clipping his nails by myself was out of the question.

His first two visits to the veterinarian with me, my little Houdini quickly escaped two different vet techicians who were trying to clip his nails.

“Cat on the loose!” I heard from the back room.   I had to go back to the big workroom and coax him out of the tiny corner he’d found, the dark underside of the desk in the very back of the workroom.  The technicians, smiling and laughing, put us both in an exam room to wait for the veterinarian.

When Dr. Smith came in, I was holding Barny lightly, but up close to my face, murmuring baby talk and rubbing my face over his fur, like we cuddled at home.   Dr. Smith paused and studied the two of us for a moment.  Then she smiled.

“He obviously trusts you so let’s see if I can do his nails while you hold him.”  Barny flinched a bit but never even tensed his muscles to leap out of my arms.  He did, indeed, trust me!

Trees By My Window . . . God’s Touch on My Heart

sketch back porch burleson rd

             When my daughter was eight and I was a new Christian, our second floor apartment at the back of the complex overlooked a home with a grandfather oak and a stand of four Florida pines in the back yard.  I wrote my first poem while watching God change the oak’s silhouette into the filigree of inky black lace one day at sunset.  And those tall, thin Florida pines swaying together, yet somehow alone, in a late night thunderstorm stirred me to start my first book.

                Our next apartment was a 900 square-foot one bedroom, where we lived in from my daughter’s fifth grade through her graduation.  Outside the bedroom window stood another grand old oak of a different sort.  This one had thinner branches that caught the slightest wind all day long.

                When Sharon was 16 and began taking the car to work on Saturdays, I sat in the rocker with a cup of coffee, staring at that tree and writing for most of the day.  The gentle movement of wind through that tree made the leaves reflect the bright sunlight like so many little diamonds.   Those Saturdays looking out at that tree were the first long days I had ever had to devote to uninterrupted writing.  Writing all day helped me get over missing Sharon and start accepting that she would one day leave home..

                When we finally had our own little townhome, after 15 years of apartment rent, we had our very own grandfather oak — that we owned!   My bedroom felt like a treehouse.  My view was through broad, far-reaching branches. I felt like I was in God’s own arms for the 19 years we lived there.

                Next came my daughter’s home in Austin—which I shared for two glorious years as a live-in Nana.  Sharon’s home was surrounded on all sides and as far as you could see by old, established trees.  I smiled as I rocked my grandsons and watched the seasons truly change the leaves, for the first time in my native Floridian life.  As I did so, God was dramatically changing my heart, preparing me for the next phase of our life together.

                Today, in my tiny one-bedroom apartment not far from my daughter’s home (and my grandsons!)  I again have a huge oak right outside my window and in the distance mature trees of all kinds.  As I write each day, He always reminds me that one reason He put trees on earth is because they are “pleasing to the eye.”

                “And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were soffiate opzioni binarie pleasing to the eye [emphasis added] and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9 NIV)

                Thank You, dear dear Father, for giving me eternal life, through loving and knowing Your Son Jesus.  And thank You, Father, for sending your Holy Spirit.  Thank You for the way He moves in my heart, just like the wind through the trees.  I like how You explained in John 3:8 that the Holy Spirit is like the wind.   I feel His gentle, loving touch, but I don’t understand where He comes from or where He goes.  I just know He is right here with me, as I look at this beautiful tree.  I love You, Lord!