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Monday, June 29, 2015

Ten Questions

My fellow blogger friend Ariella nominated me for the Liebster Award. It was a nice surprise. Ariella has posed some questions for me to answer. It looked like a fun thing to do. Also I thought I would give her some exposure. So check her out sometime just click here

1.What was the hardest thing you have ever done? Probably the day we drove my Mom up to Mayo clinic when she had a brain aneurysm. We weren't sure if she would live through it. It was removed, but she ended up disabled. 

2.Why are you blogging and how many times a week? I love to write, always have. I’ve kept journals, and wrote Bible studies and I even took a writing course. A year and a half ago, I was going through a tough season and I had so much to share. A year ago in July is when I started blogging. Just wanted to share what God was doing in my life. So glad I did. 
I post a encouraging blog every other Monday. Wednesdays, I post pictures that I have taken. Thursdays I post what I call Ramblings; light, funny writing that hopefully make you smile. 

3.What is your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? Writing, reading, and spending time with friends and family. Outside:Flower and veggie gardening. Walking, traveling, and sitting on my porch. 

4.What sound do you love, i.e. Waterfall, wind...? Voice of a loved one on the phone, birdsong, spring peepers, babbling brook, and my favorite songs. 

5.If you knew Jesus was coming back next year, what would you change in your lifestyle? Probably pray more passionately for some loved ones who aren’t believers. To be honest, I wish Jesus would come back tomorrow. Nothing is holding me back here on this earth. I long to be with Him. 

6.If you have a half hour of time of free time, how would you spend that free time? Go outside and enjoy my flowers and eventually my porch.

7.What movie or book made you cry? I just recently watched “Saving Sarah Cain.” I cried. Great movie. Sophie Hudson’s book, “A Little Salty to cut the Sweet” made me laugh so hard I cried. I’m rereading it, loved it so much. You’ll love her blog “BooMama.” 

8.What is your favorite ice cream or cake? I wrote a blog about cake about a month ago. Chocolate cake is it for me. I love mint chocolate ice cream or anything that has chocolate in it. Hey I just love ice cream in any form, combined with cake? Ohh Baby! Ok, deep breath, focus on the next question...

9.What did you do and play as a child? I lived on a farm so I played outside all the time. I had a sandbox, a treehouse and a long lane I rode my bike on. Woods to roam in and a barn to play in. Even in the winter, I was outside sledding and building forts. 

10.What touches you deeply in the history of your country? I love history and enjoy reading and watching shows about past events and people who were courageous and who made an impact. Real history is much more interesting than fiction. 

I just want to thank all of you who have taken the time to read my blogs and for leaving encouraging comments. I’ve loved blogging this past year. I was tempted a few times to quit, but the Lord kept pouring good stuff in me to share. It’s been great to connect with some of you. What a blessing you are! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Significant, not Inferior

I guess if I pinned down when it began, it would be in elementary school. I felt the sting of rejection then. The girls usually would shun me out of their groups, the boys constantly told me I was ugly. I heard their pointed laughter and sneers. 

It continued throughout the rest of my school years. I had very few people I considered friends. I usually hung out in the library, hidden away with my precious books until I had to go back to class. 

The only true friends I had were in my church which was in another town. It truly was the bright spot in my life. 

I’m not sharing this with you so I can gain your pity. I’m not a drama queen by any means. To be honest, I’ve never really shared this with anyone before. But, I heard a video blog recently from a friend who shared about struggles with inferiority. Her video stirred my heart.

When you face rejection like I did for a prolonged time, it can be like a burr stuck in your soul. You may pull it out, but there are still residual effects that leave us feeling inferior and worthless. 

I can still feel inferior sometimes, to other people and in my self. I’ve never been the type of person who is a social butterfly. Usually I will not reach out to people I don’t know. My train of thought is that, “They probably won’t like me anyway.” Or if I do reach out, then it’s, “They are just being polite, they don’t want to be my friend, because they don’t like me.” 

Silly isn’t it? It seems like it anyway when I read it now. Thanks to the Lord’s gentle touch in my life I’ve come a long way.  I’ve learned not to be harsh with myself. Don’t beat myself up. Speak gently to myself. After all I wouldn’t dare talk to other people like that. 

In the video blog, my friend mentions that when you say inferiority, you hear the word fear. That’s the underlying problem isn’t it? It’s all about the fear. Fear of being hurt and rejected again. And when you fear, you shrink back. It paralyzes you. This has to be a great weapon the enemy welds to keep us from the abundant life God wants us to have.  We miss out because of lies! I’m not inferior and neither are you.

The opposite of feeling inferior is knowing I am significant. So do I seek after someone to love me and give me that significance? Will a human being give me that security? I’ve looked for that in many people and was found lacking. It wasn’t that they didn’t love me, but no human can sate my thirst, fill my emptiness. 

“The nobles send their servants for water; they go to the cisterns but find no water. They return with their jars unfilled; dismayed and despairing, they cover their heads.” Jeremiah 14:3

Anything or anyone other than Jesus is an empty cistern. Jesus is the Living Water. I drink of Him and I thirst no more. So I need to take my eyes off people and fix them on my Jesus. Also simply knowing the Truth has made a difference in the way I look at myself. 

I may digress at times when that old nettle sticks me. But not for long. The truth rises up within me and I say to myself, “This is not so. The Word says, I am this...” 

I am blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. I was chosen. I was adopted. I am an heir of God. God’s grace has been lavished on me...etc. And this is just in Ephesians chapter one! 

This is how you “encourage yourself in the Lord.” I guarantee that any feelings of inferiority will dissipate when you speak the Truth to yourself. 

Knowing I am significant, fixing my eyes on Jesus, not people, and getting the Word in my spirit. This has helped me to walk in confidence knowing who I am and Whose I am. Of course it’s a journey not a three day cruise! I’ve not arrived yet. I still struggle sometimes; perhaps I will still have remnants of that burr sticking to me till I leave this earth. 

Beloved, you are not inferior. You are a confident woman of God. Don’t believe those lies the enemy hisses in your ear. Nothing scares him more than a woman walking boldly with her God! 

2 Timothy 1:7  says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” Amplifed 

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rambling Thursdays

                                                                  John Ford's Point

Monument Valley was featured in two of John Wayne movies, “Stagecoach and The Searchers. 

Let me just say up front that John Wayne was my hero as a child. I loved him and watched all the movies that came on our TV. Now I have so many of his movies on DVD. 

When I think of westerns, usually the first picture that comes in my mind is Monument Valley. So when we realized we were going to the Southwest, the first place we wanted to see was of course Monument Valley.

We had high expectations, but wow, our expectations were blown out of the water!  I want to share our experience there, since it was so special.  

I was surprised to find out it is not a National Park. It is in the Navajo nation and they are caretakers of the area.  It is located on the Arizona/Utah state lines. It’s a scenic drive approximately 150 miles northeast of Grand Canyon. 

There is an entrance fee to get inside the park. ($20 per car.) This enables you to drive around the park if you wish. Now this is where I read other reviews to make sure our car was up to the task of driving around red dirt, pot filled roads. I decided that no, I wasn’t taking a chance. After all we still had three days left of our vacation and I didn’t want to spend those days repairing our car just so we could return home. 

Now, if you have a 4/4 SUV or a pickup you should be fine. We went with a guided Navajo 4/4 tour. There are a few of them to choose from. We went with Sandstone tours. It is pricey, but believe me it was worth every penny. 

We took the Sunrise tour which was about 3 1/2 hours. Our guide took us to a place where we could see the sun rise over the plain; it was amazing! 

We stopped at a few arches, drove through sand dunes, visited an indian hogan, and saw petroglyphs. We stopped at numerous places along the way to take pictures. 
A few vivid memories: The full moon perched above the buttes. A fox darting alongside our truck. Red rocks glowing in the sunrise. Gazing over John Ford’s point. The absolute stillness and remoteness deep within the valley. I’ll be pondering these memories this winter when I’m freezing to death.  Believe me, I’ll never forget it. 

Now on a more practical note...we stayed at The View Hotel there at the park. Again it is pricey for a hotel. But they don’t call it The View for nothing. Each room has a balcony that overlooks the valley. We sat on ours and watched the sunset. It was quite lovely. 

The room was very nice. The people are friendly and helpful. Be forewarned though, there is only one restaurant on the grounds. They don’t have a deli to speak of. We wanted to grab a snack and only $5 chicken salad sandwiches was available to choose from. For dinner, the restaurant was okay. We regretted not bringing our own food. 

There is a campground and cabins there. The cabins looked very nice. South at Kayenta there were a couple of hotels if you choose not to stay here. Also west is Goulding’s trading post which has a lodge. 

There is a gift shop which was nice, but I was disappointed to see some “made in China” type items. If you want to buy authentic items, the native indians do set up tables/booths here and there along the way. 

To sum up our experience, I would say the tour was amazing and we would do it again in a heartbeat! But we weren’t cracked up about the hotel. It just wasn’t worth the money we paid. 

If you come out west, you must take a tour. You will not regret it! Next time I watch a John Wayne movie I will certainly look at it in a new light. 

                               Scene from "The Searchers"

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thursday Ramblings

My Husband and I had the privilege to go see the Southwest on our vacation. We’ve never been and well, let me just say, we were blown out of the water! 

Words such as beautiful, pretty, even breathtaking doesn’t seem to explain how we felt at times. It felt like we were walking through a movie set sometimes, surreal, just dreamlike. 

Anyway...(I need to shake myself back into reality here, excuse me,) I wanted to share with you some great places to visit if you go there in the future. 

We visited many National Parks. Now I need to say up front that my Son whom I mentioned in a previous blog is a Park Ranger in Nebraska. More on that later.  So I am intensely interested in anything involving National Parks. But let me give you some tips. 

First let me tell you about the Park Passport book. My Son got me hooked on this. You can obtain it on Amazon or in any National Park. It has a cool map of all the parks and monuments. I bought the smaller version, (less than $10). There is a larger, more elaborate version also. Here is a pic:

Each visitors center at the parks have a place where you can place a cancellation stamp in your book. It’s free and it’s just a cool way to memorialize your visit. It would be a nice memento to leave to your kids or grandkids. 

We visited Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Navajo National Monument, Canyonlands, Arches, and Agate National Monument. Each one was unique and special. 

Petrified forest’s rocks and vistas were pretty. The old Route 66 also went through the park and there was a special display memorializing that. We only had time to do the Painted Desert portion of the park. It did not disappoint. 

Of course Grand Canyon was special. We entered in the East entrance which is less busier. We also went before the sun came up and watched the sunrise in the canyon. Wow! 

Now, on a side note...if you leave out the east entrance, the village of Cameron has a trading post that serves amazing food. We ate breakfast there and I still think about that meal today. You can get authentic Navajo fry bread there. It’s kind of like an elephant ear, but much better. 

Now, the next stop was Navajo National Monument. To be honest we didn’t have very high expectations. It was on the way and I wanted to get my book stamped. But it blew us out of the water let me tell ya! Beautiful, wide sweeping canyons and a great hike through the desert. The main attraction was at the end of our hike. An overlook into the canyon revealed a pueblo city carved into an arch. 

It’s a very remote park in the Navajo reservation. In fact goats walked across the road in front of us. It was surreal moment hearing their collared bells as they moved through the desert. I felt like I was in another country. 

 Next stop: Canyonlands which was otherworldly. If you go, check out the “Islands in the Sky” vista. We spent a few hours just in that section driving around to the lookouts.  

We stayed in Moab, Utah which sits in between Canyonlands and Arches. It’s a cool little town with neat shops and great restaurants. We stayed in a “Mom and Pop” hotel which was much cheaper than the chains. 

Once again we rose before sunrise to enjoy Arches. It’s a great time to enjoy the beauty of the rocks glowing and lack of crowds. We only had half a day, so we went to the Windows section. What a wonderful hike we had! There are numerous arches in this area. The snow covered Manti La Sal Mountains were in the background. 

Let me just insert here that this area is Hot! If you intend to do any hiking, early morning and evening is a must. 

Our last stop was Agate Fossil Beds in the Nebraska panhandle where my Son works. Now I’ve only been through Nebraska one time and it was on I-80. Off the interstate, wow! This is beautiful country. Sweeping vistas, with buttes here and there. 

Agate sits in a very remote area. The visitors center is special. There were mammal fossils found in the park, and they have them set up to look at. Also, there are Indiana artifacts in a separate room. We were impressed! I hiked both trails and loved the bird watching there. The Niobrara river runs through the park. 

Of course the highlight was seeing our son again. If you are in the area, or passing through, stop in and check out the park. You won’t regret it! 

I know I skimmed through a lot of details, but for the sake of boring you, I cut it short. If you have any questions, leave it in the comments. Next Thursday I’ll share about our visit in Monument Valley which is a blog all to itself. 

Have a good weekend!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Got a Second?

I heard great news for those of us longing for more time. On June 30th a second will be added to make sure the atomic clocks stays in sync with the Earth’s rotational time. It’s called a leap second. Kind of like a leap year from what I gather.

This news caused me to ponder about time in our lives. We live in the grip of time. We wake up with an alarm clock, we punch in and out at work and we rush to make appointments. 

Some days seem like an eternity, (like the day before vacation.) Other days, we wonder where the time went? Then you have the Daylight savings time issue! I call it an issue because here in Indiana it is!

For years we didn’t reset our clocks in the Spring and Fall. One season we were on Eastern and on the other, we were in Central. And we were all content with that. Then our state government, God have mercy on their souls, decided we needed to change. The “Spring ahead” is a killer let me tell you. It can take weeks for my body to adjust. But I love the “Fall back”, because I gain an hour. least it feels that way okay? 

It reminds me of Hezekiah when he lay on his deathbed and pleaded in prayer to live. God answered his plea and told him fifteen years would be added to his life. And then proved it by making the shadow go backwards on the sundial. 

Nevertheless, you and I can’t change anything about time. We can’t go back and change anything. We can’t look into tomorrow and see what’s ahead. Only God who, “one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 

Our God transcends time. And what’s so comforting is that He’s the “Same, yesterday, today and forever.” And, My times are in Your hands”. 

I remember a really tough season years ago. My precious Grandma had died, my Mom was crippled with a brain aneurism, and I was struggling with a hurtful marriage. One day I was sitting on my bed trying to pray. Trying is the key word, as praying didn’t come easy during that time. I couldn’t get past the pain and to be honest I just didn’t want to try. 

I sat there quietly with my Bible and gazed out the window at our bird feeder. It was a rather nasty day, cold and rainy. There on the feeder was a ragamuffin sparrow snuggled closely to the feeder. I thought it was dead, but as I drew closer to the window I saw it move. 

It sat there in the wind, rain and cold, it’s feathers all fluffed up. In that moment I heard my Jesus say, “I see that sparrow. I am aware of it. And I see you. I know your hurts and pains. I’m taking care of that sparrow and I’m taking care of you.” 

The tears ran down my face. I felt His sweet presence enter the room and envelop me. I never forgot this moment He met me in my need. 

Beloved, let me remind you of what Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Did you see that? We can’t add a single hour or even a second to our lives by worrying about it, or wringing our hands in anxiety. The God who transcends time can redeem our past, and provide Grace for what is ahead. 

Trust Him to take care of you. “From everlasting to everlasting, He is your God.”