Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy Merry Month of May~

This morning as I finished walking the sun was just peeking up over the eastern sky. It welcomed in the merry month of May. I just love May. There are so many reasons to celebrate this month. 

Today ~I will finish up planting my garden. The green beans are the last thing to get planted.  I waited until the temperatures were just right. I will plant them in the soil and water the tiny seeds. As soon as the water hits those seeds they will begin to soften and break open and soon sprout through the ground. It is best to plant beans in two week intervals because beans do not wait for anyone. When they are ready to be picked ~ they are ready. I almost can taste green beans and new potatoes as we speak. My garden takes attention. It will have to be watered and nurtured~but in the end it will be worth it.

That is just how our lives grow too. In God's perfect timing He brings new challenges into our lives so we will soften, break and begin to grow. In all things~ He longs for us to yield to His will and draw closer to Him. I remember when I was a young wife and mother and circumstances had the ability to paralyze me~ not so much any more. When we learn to climb up in the lap of our Heavenly Father we have peace that passes all understanding.  After time ~we learn that walking with Jesus brings us joy in our journey even in the midst of trials and troubles. No longer do broken dreams, losses, or  even addictions have the ability to plunge us into despair. 

Today~ on this first day of May we can rest in knowing that God's timing is always perfect and that He will take the struggles in life and use them to grow our faith. How about just climbing up in Father God's lap today and just rest in knowing His plan is perfect just for you.

 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, 

so are my ways higher than your ways,

 and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Unloved Wife

This morning my mind is going in all directions. I have an excuse ~ call it meno-brain fog. My heart has been heavy and asking questions. Many in our community are hurting right now. A Pastor whom many called friend has abandoned his wife, children and church for another woman. I have been a believer for a long time. I have been here before. I have felt the shaking of my faith and cried these tears. My heart is heavy for the left behind ~those feeling unloved and rejected. Those feeling like they are just not good enough. 

Maybe there is a reason this pain feels so familiar ~ my father was one of those who left his family behind. I knew somewhere down deep he loved me yet~ he chose others and a bottle over me~ over our  family. He had other priorities that called for his attention. (I just want to throw in a word here. My father passed away three years ago. He was a  broken man who never found healing. His biggest regret to the day he died( he would tell you) is throwing away his family. I made my peace with my dad and he had accepted Christ as his Saviour by his testimony. ) I have spent most of my life feeling less-than and never good enough. God has been healing me but there is a part that will always feel a little unloved. The littlest thing can bring back that rejection so quickly. 

I am doing the Seamless Bible Study with Angie Smith. I am camping right now on the unloved wife~Leah.  Jacob ~ a trickster who tricked his brother out of his birthright had to flee to avoid his brother's wrath. He sets out to Uncle Laban's house to seek shelter and falls head-over-heels in love with Rachel. She was a beauty. Yet~ Jacob has a little reaping and sowing to do here.  A little too much booze and poor lighting and the morning after he wakes up hoping to kiss beautiful Rachel but realizes he has been tricked.  Fair and tender- eyed Leah was there instead of her little sister. 

I say fair enough~ Jacob deserved it but my heart breaks for Leah. How in heaven's name did her father talk her into this. She entered into a loveless marriage with a man who is madly in love with her sister. We decided in our study group that it appears bearing children was more important than being the love of your man in those days. They did not have Pinterest back then ~ they measured their worth by how many children came from their womb. Oh MY!  If that didn't work they would give their maid servants to their  husbands to bear them children. You gotta be kidding me! There is something real wacked with these women of the Bible. 

How unloved Leah must have felt. Even her father thought she would never have a man who would love her and cherish her. She had to know rejection first from her father and now Jacob. Leah  by all accounts was a wonderful woman. We know she loved God. I think women who love God just glow. However ~ she was just chopped liver next to Rachel as Angie puts it in my workbook. 

Because she was so unloved ~ God sees her and blesses her in a special way. The unloved wife gets her heart's desire to be loved by God and her children. She kept producing children for Jacob and each time she had great hopes that it would cause her husband to love her.  My heart just hurts for Leah! 

Genesis 29~
31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.
34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

As you can see here she named each son a name that means ~ now my husband will love me. When she gets to her last son it all changes. She no longer craves to be the affection of Jacob but instead turns to her Heavenly Father for for His deep love and affection. She names that son Judah which means~ I will praise the Lord.  Somewhere along the way she stopped begging to be loved by a man and realizes that she is so very loved by God. I can just get giddy thinking about how that must have made her beautiful, confident and strong.

At times we can all feel unloved and rejected~ un-noticed.  Yet~ when we realize that God knows our name. He hears our cries. He is affectionate for us~ we are chosen~ freed and forgiven we can celebrate and be confident in His perfect love. He strives for us. He seeks us out. He longs to spend time with us. He calls us ~ HIS. 

Oh my~ that is something to celebrate today. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Henry Hodges Needs A Friend" Book Review

 Several years back I had the privilege of hearing Andy Andrews speak and I have never forgotten it. What an amazing man who loves God and has been gifted with so much talent. When I discovered a children's book written by Andy ~I just knew I had to get this book for my grandchildren. 

Oh my stars~ it is just adorable. Henry Hodges is a lonely little boy who lives on a dead-end street. He has no friends who live on his street and he longs for a friend. After dreaming of many little friends he may someday meet he gets a true friend ~ a dog named Hap. In this sweet little story Andy teaches the importance of how much we need friends and that they need us. 

It is beautifully illustrated! I loved this book and can't wait to share it with my grand babies. 

This book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Description

From New York Times bestselling author Andy Andrews, this hilarious rhyming story, complete with charming art, offers comfort to children who feel left out or are in need of a good friend.
At some point, almost every child struggles with feeling like they don't fit in or are left out-just like Henry Hodges. Henry is a lonely little boy on a lonely little street who longs for a friend. One day, his mother and father take him to a pet rescue shelter and his lonely world is changed! Told in a playful rhyme with adorable illustrations, this book will be a favorite among children and parents who love dogs and, ultimately, will comfort and encourage children who struggle with feeling accepted and finding friends.
Kids will want to read this whimsical and imaginative story again and again!
About the Author
Hailed by a New York Times reporter as "someone who has quietly become one of the most influential people in America," Andy Andrews is a best-selling novelist, speaker, and consultant for the world's largest corporations and organizations. He has spoken at the request of four different United States presidents and recently addressed members of Congress and their spouses. Andy is the author of three New York Times bestsellers. He and his wife, Polly, have two sons.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting~ OH SO GOOD! ~Semi-Homemade Cupcakes

I love fresh strawberries so when I saw this recipe I just had to try it.
Something about it tastes like the strawberry sundaes from Dairy Queen 
 I liked to eat when I was a young girl.
It is just Heavenly!

Start by washing and removing the stems from 5 strawberries.
Then smash them up with your fingers.

 Homemade Fresh Strawberry Frosting
Here is the cast of characters~

5 medium size berries
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon real vanilla
2 lbs. of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place berries, butter, vanilla and lemon juice into your mixer bowl~then slowly add powered sugar until all blended smooth. So easy but oh so good!

Semi-Homemade Strawberry Cupcakes~

1 box strawberry cake mix
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup lemon lime pop
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Mix thoroughly and place in cupcake holders. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

"God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea"~ Devotional Review

I feel like I have met a new friend. Rose sent me this sweet book wrapped in lovely tissue with a personal little note. What a sweet surprise it was to unwrap this book. Unwrapping it was just the first blessing. Wow~ who could not love a devotional named~ "God, Me and Sweet Iced Tea?" The title just screams southern hospitality and charm and this author does not disappoint.

 Each devotion is full of sound Godly advice steeped in everyday occurrences that we all face each and every day. It truly is all about experiencing God in the everyday moments. After all ~ that is what walking with God looks like. At the end of each devotion is a list of additional scriptures to read along with journal questions. 

 Life gets so busy and we find so many things that pull us away from spending time with God. This devotional just calls to me each morning to spend some time connecting with my God. I really enjoyed this devotional and rate it 5 plus stars. 

Rose ~ thank you for the amazing devotion and your sweet note and wrapping. I love your book! What a blessing it will be to many. God Bless You!

This book was provide to me in exchange for my honest opinion. 

God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, July 2013)
In the South, nothing is more refreshing than a glass of sweet iced tea. Nothing, that is, except experiencing God in those small, everyday moments.
God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is a deeply personal collection of spiritual treasures designed to help readers experience new mercies each morning. Seasoned with insight and grace, this tender devotional points to the divine presence of God in everyday moments. God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea will help readers develop a daily habit of turning to God in those quiet moments of reflection.

Rose Chandler Johnson's devotions, poems, and articles have appeared in numerous Christian publications. She enjoys writing for her popular blog, Write Moments with God, and engaging with her readers. Rose is from a tiny Georgia town, and has lived near Augusta, GA for the last twenty-eight years. For the last twenty years, Rose has been a French and English teacher. She's also worked as a counselor, librarian, and ESOL teacher. Rose enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their families.

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