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Life is like a camera.

What a great quote on Facebook. I copied the image and found myself looking at it over and over again.

It seemed wise and even sounded easy. Yet the more I thought about the words, I realized what was bothering me. The quote reminds me it’s often easier to come up with memorable little quips about how to do life well than it is to actually live the life you want.

But take heart; there’s hope.

While there is definitely some truth in the statements, the biggest Truth is missing: God. If we merely try to carry out the four directives completely on our own, without God, then we may still end up feeling empty, despite learning to focus on the important things, capturing the good, developing from the negatives, and having a do-over.

Life can be difficult. But God still encourages us to 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.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

And yes, we may experience lament and guilt over past mistakes but God reminds us to not let the past hinder that race. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

And finally.

When Jesus was speaking to His disciples about the difficulty of a rich man entering God’s kingdom, “The disciples were staggered. ‘Then who has any chance at all?’ Jesus looked hard at them and said, ‘No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.’” (Matthew 19:25-26 The Message)

So be encouraged. Today’s quote is trendy and indeed contains truth, but the words alone can’t accomplish anything. Yet with God, all things are possible. Second chances and do-overs abound. And remember, with God, we have every chance in the world of finishing our race if we trust God to do it.

Mimi

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If a little is good…then a lot is better. Right?

Wonder what you’re seeing in the picture? How about a HUGE miscalculation? A big mis-judgment? A plan gone awry?

They just didn’t look good.

The top washcloth is how my old towels used to look. They went with every paint color and were some of the nicest towels I have owned, as well as some of the prettiest to look at.

But over the years they have gotten dingy to the point that nothing was brightening up the white stripe any longer. They looked just as dirty coming out of the laundry as when they went in.

The initial plan.

Into the garage they went, becoming shop towels. They stayed there for months while I searched and searched for new, replacement towels. Didn’t like much of anything but finally settled on some plain blue ones.

But I wasn’t satisfied. The plain blue just didn’t have the wow factor the other towels had. So back to looking online and in stores. Yet I still couldn’t find anything that compared to the striped ones.

What to do?

I know; I’ll bleach them. People do it all the time. I knew they needed more than five minutes, but how long to let them sit in the bleach solution? Thankfully, online videos helped make the choice…about 25 minutes. Perfect.

Got the towels soaking and started doing some house cleaning. The 25 minutes came and went but I thought “Just a few more minutes would work even better.” Cleaning finished, it was time for some computer work.

An hour later I decided if 90 minutes was good, then certainly I should simply let them soak all afternoon. So, I did.

The Uh Oh Moment

Hours later I practically skipped to the washing machine and pulled the knob out to start the rinsing cycle. I waited with great joy for the wash cycle to complete so I could see my finished masterpiece.

But instead of brilliantly colored towels with nice white stripes, I now had what you see in the photo above…still dingy looking, but now yellowy, brownish towels that were no longer fit to dry any human body. (Glad I had one washcloth that never made it into the bleach so you could really see the difference.)

Lesson Learned

Directions are there for a reason. They often assist us in finding the best way to do something. They frequently save us time. And many times, they save us money, too.

As believers, we, too, have a need for directions: to navigate life, to learn about our Lord, to provide clarity and wisdom. And so much more.

Today, my prayer for myself and you as well, is that we will see our need to seek the Master Designer for His plan for our lives. And that we will completely trust Him, knowing His plans are to “prosper you and not to harm you…to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws.
I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments.
I have refused to walk on any even path, so that I may remain obedient to your word.
I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well.
How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.
Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.
(Psalm 119:97-105)

Love, Mimi

The majesty and glory of God.

Isn’t that a gorgeous sky? I took this pic with my cell phone a few weeks back, never really thinking the phone would be able to capture the wonder and majesty I was experiencing looking at it. But it sure did.

Why start off the year with such a picture? Because it serves to remind me that God is at work, always. Both when I’m aware of Him and even when I’m not particularly aware of Him.

The picture helps me realize our world is so much bigger than what I experience of it. And it reminds me that God is big, much bigger than I can comprehend.

It also reminds me that God’s “bigness” is there for me, to help me, to guide me, to grow me, to love me.

But the picture also reminds me that God is to be worshipped in majesty and holiness. Yes, He’s my counselor, yes, He’s my friend, yes, He’s my savior. But He is God. And He is God alone. And that means He is to be adored and revered. And obeyed.

He is not to be taken for granted or treated lightly. He deserves to be honored at all times…when life is good and when life is not so good. When I feel like honoring Him and when I don’t feel it. In fact, honoring Him has nothing to do with my feelings or how good I perceive my life is at any given moment.

Out of obedience and respect, I’m to honor God at all times and in all circumstances.

As I look back on 2017 I am so very grateful to God for provision, for breath each day, for healing and health, for family, and for relationship with Him.

But as I look ahead to 2018 I hope to add to this feeling of gratefulness a better understanding of who He is. I hope to grow closer to Him so I can know Him more. And I hope to become more like Him so when others look at me they don’t really see me, but instead see Him.

Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders? (Exodus 15:11).

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. (1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT)

Happy New Year everyone!

Mimi

Thankful, grateful, and truly blessed!

For months, maybe even closer to a year, I’ve been feeling very, very grateful. Just in general. For everything. So, when I came upon this piece of artwork, I knew it needed to be in my house… on a wall where Greg and I would see…it all day long.

I assume experiencing these feelings has to do with getting older and understanding more each day what’s really important.

I see pictures of my grandkids, and overcome with love for them, experience thankfulness to God for the blessing they are in my life.

At meals I’m so very grateful for food. For the ability to go to the store and just buy whatever I want. For having a full pantry. For not having to worry about where my next meal will come from or if I will even have one.

After Greg’s recent experience with blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, I feel blessed. Truly blessed. Blessed that despite having very few symptoms, the doctor so quickly got us to the hospital. Blessed that there was a procedure to help him recover quicker. And blessed that a medication taken regularly for the rest of his life will ensure these clots never again cause a threat to his health and life.

And, of course, there’s the stuff. I have stuff…some of it I need, some I think I need, and some I don’t need at all, but still I have it.

I have not one, but two cars in my driveway. I live in a house with heat and air conditioning. I have clothes in my closet. My attic has suitcases that are used to take trips to visit family and to see places I’ve never seen before.

Churches surround and offer me my own choice of where to worship my Lord.

And every day I wake to new possibilities.

Indeed… God has been good to me. So merciful. So kind.

But even without health, or stuff, or a nearby church, I would feel just as thankful, just as grateful, and just as truly blessed.

Why? Because I have Jesus but more importantly, because He has me. For all that He’s provided through His life, through His death, and through His resurrection…I am thankful. I am grateful. And I am indeed…truly, truly blessed.

How about you? What are you grateful for today?

Mimi

Finished…at last!

For the past few years, Greg and I have been trying to get more intentional about spending time together in God’s Word. Sometimes we have used a daily devotional with Bible readings and one time we even used a book dealing with depression and anxiety. Written from a Christian perspective, it had plenty of scripture along with suggested application of those verses.

We take turns reading out loud followed by joining hands for a time of prayer.

Beginning in January 2016, we decided to embark on a 61-day reading plan we downloaded from Bible Gateway. I’m happy to report we finally finished that 61-day plan…on June 19 THIS YEAR! Hmm, that’s 18 months, not 61 days.

What happened? Well, it turns out most of the days had up to 8 chapters assigned to them which we quickly discovered was simply too much. So, we worked at our own pace, allowing for the many interruptions life so readily provides. We even put it aside for a while and went back to reading a daily devotional.

But about a month ago we decided to hunker down and complete the task. At times, I was convinced it would be better to quit and find a new reading plan, yet somehow that didn’t seem right. So, we made the decision to finish strong and that’s just what we did. But I have to say, it sure felt good when we completed the task last night.

Over the years I’ve canvassed many fellow believers, especially married couples, as to how they delved into God’s Word. And the answers were as varied as the people. Dissatisfied with my own efforts, I think I was looking for one magic plan, thinking that whatever method most people used must surely be the right one.

What I discovered is that it doesn’t really matter how you spend time with in God’s Word, it’s just important that you do. Armed with that realization I could relax my efforts to “do it right” and instead enjoy time with my hubby and my Lord. We found what works for us and it’s been so enjoyable.

What’s next? We’re still figuring that out. We may do an organized Bible study or go back to a daily devotional. But until we decide, we’ll continue to hold hands and pray for ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors and friends, and our country. Together we’ll seek God to continue His work in us as He changes us into His image.

Maybe you’re like we were: floundering, unsure what the perfect method is, shy about reading or praying out loud with your spouse or someone else. My encouragement to you is to let all that go. Ask God to direct you and then enjoy the discovery process as you research various methods of study.

In the meantime, perhaps you’d like to visit this website and listen in on the God Speaking series with Anne Graham Lotz.

She has several 10-day series consisting of 40-minute lightly dramatized Bible readings. You can listen in each day for the entire 40 minutes or split it up like Greg and I did, taking about 15 days to complete it. I must say, it was excellent. The dramatized version was so engaging that we found ourselves hanging on every word as it was read.

Perhaps you have found other methods that work for you. If so, please hit reply and leave a comment. What you share just may be what someone else will connect with.

Love to all.

Mimi

It truly was a Good Friday.

I’m sharing a copy of a BC comic strip I saw on Facebook this morning. It was fantastic. And illustrated the truth beautifully.

I have to admit the other day I was wondering why we call the Friday before Resurrection Day, “Good Friday.” Then I saw this comic strip and went “Ah…that’s why.” See what you think.

There’s generally lots of fuss about Easter/Resurrection Day. For weeks the stores have been full of spring-type items and all things related to Easter: plastic eggs, chocolate bunnies, baskets, artificial grass, small toys, new clothing, etc. And though Easter is definitely a religious holiday the stores treat it like a commercial entity designed to bring in more business. Can’t blame them really. But it surely misses the point.

But Good Friday, now that day is almost entirely passed over. I don’t even think that many churches observe it anymore. But we found one near us that did, Quest Church in Ocoee. And I’m so glad we discovered it.

When we arrived last night, we entered into the sanctuary adorned with soft lighting and lots of candles. Soft, contemplative Christian piano music was playing and the chairs were arranged in a circular fashion so the stage area was in the middle. It was very intimate. Very personal.

The format of the presentation was contemplation as four different Bible figures took turns describing their own experiences with The Christ: Peter, Simon of Cyrene who carried Jesus’ cross, Mary Magdalen, and the Centurion. In between their recitations two woman sang some amazing songs that depicted what was taking part in the crucifixion and in the events leading up to it.

I wasn’t the only one dabbing my eyes.

At the end, we partook in communion then quietly left the sanctuary. From inside the foyer we could see that 50 or more luminaries had been lit up to light our way back to our cars. It was very moving indeed.

But before walking the lighted path, as we exited the building the four actors stood by the doors and placed a red dot in the middle of one of our palms…a reminder of what Good Friday was all about.

It’s quite visible—as I gesture, when I pick up something, when I look at it on purpose, and it most definitely serves its purpose as it truly does remind me of the great sacrifice made by my Savior for me.

So today I’m grateful for that reminder; and I’m grateful for the truth in the BC comic strip. Jesus took my place. He paid for my sin. And His sacrifice made it possible for me to enter into God’s family. So yes, it truly was a Good Friday.

Mimi

Fixing the broken pieces of our lives.

img_5881Getting mail in December is a lot of fun. But getting a thick envelope or package is an extra delight.

I recently received a thick envelope from our Ohio family. Eagerly tearing the paper, anticipating what I would find inside, my face lit up with a big smile when I saw the Lenox angel ornament. But within seconds I also noticed the angel had broken in transit.

No worries. A little hot glue and voila! The angel is good to go and now hanging on my tree. And the ornament now serves as a beautiful reminder that God heals the brokenhearted and bandages up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

We all endure wounds that often leave scars. Scars of hurt, scars of betrayal, scars of loss. Yet those scars tell the story of our lives and the glories of the One who intervenes and heals. “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT).

Interestingly, if you look at the angel on the left (you may need to zoom in), you can barely see the scars of hot glue while on the right they are clearly visible. Another reminder that while scars may remain, they often fade and become less noticeable over time. There is indeed hope that our own scars will eventually be less painful, too.

Bearing scars dear friend? Be encouraged and don’t be ashamed for they are producing a glory in you that points to God and His redemptive love and healing.

Mimi