Monday, January 14, 2019

The Journey’s Weekly Check-up #4




Otherwise known as “A Journal of Reflection”

Share something that made you smile

Staying home all day! It worked out I could stay home all day long last Saturday (a rarity indeed). I was so thankful and happy as a clam!

Share something that made you think

I’ve run across a lot of good thought-provoking ideas this week! Here’s one I’m still chewing on:

I heard Tony Campolo the other day on television:

He said, "You're gonna die. They are going to put you in a hole and put dirt in your face and then go back to the church and eat potato salad."

That statement, shocking as it may be, is true for each and every one of us. We just don't know the date.

I’m not in agreement with everything Mr. Campolo says, and I'm not sure I even know his point he was making; but, I was so taken by those words that the thought I had was this, "It's time to quit playing around. If you are going to accomplish anything for God, now is the time.”


Share a win from this week

I managed to stay focused and accomplish everything on my list and walk out the door on time on Friday. (I’m notorious for doing “just one more thing,” on a Friday and being about an hour late to leave!)

Share a great quote

My pastor, Jack Oliver, asked the question,
 “Can you drink of the cup of your calling?”

He’d been preaching on the last supper and Jesus time of praying at Gethsemane. What he really meant was, “Can you handle all the pressures that come with your calling?”

When he said that, I was all, “Yes, I can! I’m excited about being called to teach. I’m willing to put the time in to study and to pray over the lesson.”

Then I thought, “Well, you say you are called to be a writer. Are you willing to get up early and put the time in to write every day?”

That was harder to say yes to … and then, the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. today, and what did I do? I hit the snooze button …

Mercy! I have issues to work on!

Share a song or a scripture that ministered to you

Speaking of mercy, I‘m still thinking about the message I received the other day:  “What if you believed, really believed that goodness and mercy are going to chase you down?” What if you REALLY believed Psalm 23:6 (NLT)?

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me    all the days of my life,and I will live in the house of the Lord    forever.

How would believing that impact my life? When troubles come, could I shake it off and say, His goodness and love is chasing me down, I don’t have to worry about this?

Share a favorite picture

I love this picture of the twins working intensely on making the family ornaments for our Christmas trees.



~~~

I just want you to know how highly I value those of you that make your way to the Journey to read my words! I believe encouraging others with the written word is a worthy calling. Thank you especially to those who respond. You make it worthwhile!

I don't want you to miss a post, so why not sign up to subscribe. It's easy-peasy. Just enter your email address in the sidebar right above my profile.

If a post resonates with you, please consider sharing by clicking one of the social media buttons at the bottom of this post.

I'm linking up today at Inspire Me Monday.

Friday, January 11, 2019

The first faves of 2019

It's been way too long since I joined in with the writers at Susanne's Friday's Fave Five!

I'm all about having an attitude of gratitude so I'm going to dive right in.


1. I love January! For a lover of new beginnings, there is no time like the first month of the year to revel in the newness. Fresh calendar pages, new planners, goals, choosing the yearly One Word 365, setting up current files and packing away the old - what's not to love for an organizing geek like me?


This year is especially exciting because after 14 years of dealing with a desk with drawer issues at my main job, I have me a new beautiful BIG desk with not one, but TWO hanging file drawers. Be still my heart!





2. Of course, my faves always include stories about my grandkids. Today's offering is a story about Brody, one of my 4-year old grand twins.



The other night, Brody and I were wrestling on the floor. He was getting too rough and I told him to quit; he needed to do that kind of stuff with his dad. He got this hurt look on his face and said, “What? You don’t love me no more?”

Oh my! He's only 4 and can twist the strings of my heart!

3. For those of you that read my What I learned in 2018 post, you saw that our church was trying something new by having twice-a-month Family Night services instead of midweek services. I'm happy to report that our first one was a resounding success! We had good attendance, and more importantly, good participation and feedback during our bible study. I can't wait for the next one.

By the way, I just wanted to clarify our Family Nights aren't just for families. It is for everyone who makes up our "church family," and is our way of doing life together.


4. I love when I receive a revelation from the Lord. During my devotional time at bedtime, this thought stood out to me: What if I focused in 2019 on believing, really believing, that goodness and mercy was going to chase me down? (Psalm 23:6)  I believe this thought was from the Lord because my devotional was on a different subject.


Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6 New Living Translation

Pursue can mean chase you down.

Really, what can upset you if you know goodness and mercy is going to show up any minute? And it is not just anyone's goodness and mercy, it's God's goodness and mercy!

So, my friend, I ask you the same question:

During 2019, what if you focused on believing, really believing, that His goodness and mercy was going to chase you down?

I'm imprinting that question on my brain. I believe it will make a stunning difference in my attitude and in my faith. Care to join me?

5. Last on my list today is thankfulness for an awesome present I received for Christmas  - phone case that charges your phone! So handy! When my phone charge dips below 20% I just push a button and my phone case starts charging up the phone. What will they think of next???

~~~

I just want you to know how highly I value those of you that make your way to the Journey to read my words! I believe encouraging others with the written word is a worthy calling. Thank you especially to those who respond. You make it worthwhile!
I don't want you to miss a post, so why not sign up to subscribe. It's easy-peasy. Just enter your email address in the sidebar right above my profile.

If a post resonates with you, please consider sharing by clicking one of the social media buttons at the bottom of this post.

I'm linking up today at Living to Tell the Story and #FreshMarketFriday.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

What I learned in 2018

2018 was a momentous year in which many things happened, and I learned some things.




One thing I learned was not to say this, "Tomorrow will be summing up 2018 as I share what I learned." and then two days later actually write the post. (I thought I had learned to never mention a post unless I had already written it!)

As I reported on Thursday, my One Word for 2019 was consistency. So I then revealed on Friday, my lack of follow through. So now you know, I chose my word wisely.

Today is a new day; however, and I will press on.

When I look back on my life in 2018, three things stand out: our first ever full family vacation to Florida - with all grandkids; my joining virtual writing and Mastermind classes; and our decision as a church to close down midweek services in favor of bimonthly Family Nights.




I'm beyond glad we took that Family Vacation - although we learned some things NOT to do - because, unknown to us, that would be the last time to visit in that location. Mom began to feel her place was becoming too much for her budget and decided to put her house up for sale. She was hoping it would sell in the spring of 2019; but no, it sold and the closing date was three days after Christmas 2018!

We know it was God's will because we all prayed it would not sell if that was not His best for her.

Now, we will be visiting Mom in East Tennessee where my sister lives. I love it there and will be able to go more frequently than when she lived in Florida.

Still, it's good-bye to an era. My family moved to Florida about 50 years ago and I always thought of it as home.



For me personally, attending the virtual writing class and the subsequent Mastermind class, was a game changer. It gave me the courage to step out and publish a serial of my work of fiction, ANGEL ON ASSIGNMENT: The Book of Morgan. Although I have not seen the results, yet, that I hope to see from the project; I have high hopes of developing it into a series of books, chronicling the adventures of both the characters I've already created and ones still to be birthed. 


I have much to say about my study of the Mastermind class wherein we studied John Maxwell's 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth and that will be the subject of some posts down the road. For now; I can sum up the message in the book in three words:  DO IT NOW. 

Quit putting things off!

Truly, the most momentous event of all might well be the change in our church schedule. I've been attending midweek services for 48 years.

Our church board, of which I am a member, decided to think outside the box and take the plunge into a new schedule. Midweek services weren't working for our little church. Most of our members live a fair distance from the church and it was hard to be on time, driving there after work and other responsibilities. Attendance had been dwindling for years; yet we are growing and thriving in areas such as Sunday School and morning worship. We had an influx of families with elementary-aged kids. We decided Family Night twice a month, where we eat together, have a Children's Church-type service for the kids and a bible study for the adults might be the answer to building community. Our first one is tonight, and I'm excited!

With this change comes a rearranging of my schedule; and frankly I'm looking forward to one more night at home a week. I'm endeavoring to put things I've learned from Shelly Miller's book, Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, into practice. I don't want to waste this extra time I've been given.

What about you? Did your year fly by as quickly as mine? Did it bring you new visions and new ideas? I'd love to know! Leave a comment and share!


I'm linking this post up at the communities of Grace&Truth and #FreshMarketFriday.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Hello 2019

Today is part two of my year end posts. Part one dealt with the 2018 blog-posts, you can read it here. Today's post is about my One Word for 2019. Tomorrow will be summing up 2018 as I share what I learned.






Last night, I got a text from daughter #1, asking me my One Word for the year. She has killed all her One Word goals from past years and is at a loss for what is next. (Wish I had that problem!)  I don't think my best at night, but today, I know what I'm going to tell her.

Dream big, baby! Dream a big impossible dream; and hey! if you fall short? You'll still be a lot farther down the road than where you were.

I say that because I fell short. Last year, my One Word, Press, was all about persevering and keeping on trying to accomplish my two goals:


1,000 miles (in steps) in 2018
Write something everyday in 2018. (blog posts, and /or journaling) 


I later amended those goals to 500 words and 6,000 steps a day.

Did I make it? Nope. I counted up and actually got about halfway.

In other words, I dreamed a big dream. I'm further down the road than when I started, but I have a long way to go.

I know the problem. I'm not consistent. Oh, I've made great strides from where I used to be; but, I still have a long way to go.

So, the One Word for 2019 for me is ... consistent.

What is your One Word? Am I the only one that has to work on consistency?


I'm sharing this post at #TuneInThursday
 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Waving goodbye to 2018

Friends, 2018 has been a momentous year that flew by oh-so-quickly! So many lessons were learned - so many gifts and opportunities were savored; and to be honest, too many things trickled through my hands that should have been caught.

You, too?





At the end of each year, I love to use a very vital tool; reflection, which is one of the best ways I know to ingrain lessons learned on my psyche.


In other words, stop and ask questions. What worked? What bombed? What can I do more of to bring happiness to my life? What can I avoid to reduce stress? If I don't face these answers to these questions, I'm doomed to repeat over and over what has not worked.

This post will be a two-parter since there is so much to consider. I'm hoping as I muse about the things in my life, you will think about the things in yours. Perhaps what I learn about myself will help you. Perhaps you'll see something pop out at you and you can share to help me. We're in this thing together.

Today's offering will discuss the Journey's top blog-posts of the year. I'm always conscious of the limited time everyone has for reading blogs. It's an honor anytime one of you stops by the Journey to read my humble offering. I don't take that lightly. I want to offer things people want to read.

In the past, I usually will show the two most viewed and commented posts for each month. This year, in order to not make the post too long (I've already rambled a bunch) I will just give you the post I think was most effective for each month.

In January, my most read post was about my One Word for 2018, Press.

February's post is actually a reflection piece, What I Learned this Winter.

March and April found me busily writing for the A-Z challenge. My theme was Amazing Love from A-Z examining the attributes of God's Love. The most popular posts from the series was on His Quieting, Victorious and Wonderful love.

All too soon, May dropped by. How appropriate my Mother's Day piece, Motherhood Molds You was the top post for the month.


Along came June and I had fun writing an old-school blogging post, Six Quirky Things. (How come we don't write posts like that anymore?)

In July, I introduced Morning Pick-Me-Ups.
 Morning pick-me-ups were my attempts to brighten your journey with uplifting thoughts based on scripture.

August saw me writing about the Anniversary of the day I gave my life to Christ.

In September, I wrote about Summer Lessons. I thing I had learned was I enjoyed writing fiction. Since I had considered myself a devotional writer, it was a surprise to me!

October was the month I participated in the Write 31 Days challenge and picked this time as a the perfect time to launch a fictional serial entitled Angel on Assignment:  The Book of Morgan. You can find links for the entire series here.


In November, I introduced Weekly Check-Ups since reflection-type posts seem to be helpful. I established an editorial calendar for the first time: Mondays:  Weekly Check-Ups, Wednesdays: Fictional piece, and Fridays: Either I would participate with the Five Minute Friday community, OR the Friday's Fave Five writers.

Then in December, I went on hiatus; but scheduled updated posts from my 2012 advent series, Because He Came. Short but sweet, these devotional thoughts pack a punch of scripture followed by the realization, "Hey! I only have this blessing because He came and dwelt among men!" He brought healing with Him seemed to be the most widely read of the devotions.

I will be featuring over in my side column, under "Blast from the Past" some of the other 2018 favorites.


Tomorrow will be part 2 of my end-of-the-year reflections. Hope you can join me!

~~~

What about you? What types of posts do you think are most needful? Did you enjoy 2018's posts?

Again, thanks so much to everyone who has visited the Journey. May your spiritual travels this year bring you much success!

I'm linking up with the community at Porch Stories.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Prophecy came true ... Advent Reflections

On this lovely morning when we celebrate when God put on flesh and moved into our neighborhood, I just wanted to take a moment to stop and thank my readers for being on the journey with me. 

I'm on a journey with my Forever Home being my destination, and becoming more Christlike along the way, thanks to His molding and shaping. (It's certainly not me!)

I'm praying all of you are on that same journey, and that perhaps God can use me to encourage you. Just as what God said all those thousands of years ago came true, so will His promise of coming again and taking His church to be with Him forever. 

Maranatha! (Come, our Lord!)

Merry Christmas!









BECAUSE HE CAME ... THE WORDS OF ISAIAH CAME TRUE.



Isaiah 61:1-2 Version (NKJV)

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who arebound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,

Isaiah spoke this approximately 700 years before the birth of Christ.

Luke 4:16-21 (NKJV)

So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:


“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

There are many stories in the New Testament that prove Jesus did what He came to do.  How could Isaiah have known 700 years before that Jesus would heal the blind and set free those that Satan had oppressed? He knew because the Holy Spirit revealed it.

On this Christmas morning, over two thousand years after He came, my prayer is that you have the faith to accept what a wonderful gift we received ... Because He Came! 
~~~



During the month of December, the Journey will be taking a hiatus. I'm adapting some of my 2012 series, "Because He Came" posts for your Advent reflections.


Short but sweet, these devotional thoughts pack a punch of scripture followed by the realization, "Hey! I only have this blessing because He came and dwelt among men!"





Monday, December 24, 2018

He brought abundance ... Advent Reflections




BECAUSE HE CAME ... I HAVE AN ABUNDANT LIFE.



John 10:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

This does not necessarily mean physical abundance, although sometimes God sees fit to bless in this manner. It means you have abundant life in the things that matter:  love, peace, joy and the calm assurance of knowing that you are never alone.  He walks with you in good times and bad.

Why would you want to live any other way?


~~~


During the month of December, the Journey will be taking a hiatus. I'm adapting some of my 2012 series, "Because He Came" posts for your Advent reflections.

Short but sweet, these devotional thoughts pack a punch of scripture followed by the realization, "Hey! I only have this blessing because He came and dwelt among men!"

Linking up with Inspire Me Monday.