Monday, January 8, 2018

The Journey of Wise Men - Then and Now

The Feast of Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th, the 12th Day of Christmas. As in any story, it impacts us most if we see ourselves in it, when we become one of the characters acting in the story itself.  When we read an ancient story {or any story for that matter}, we can imagine what it must have been like to be there, to experience it, to be faced with the circumstances those we read about faced, and to contemplate what our choice might have been if it had been us. 

For Epiphany, the story is found in Matthew 2:1-12.  This is my summary of the well loved and ancient text: Wise people - the curious, the seekers, the analytical ones, the intelligent ones, the spiritually sensitive ones - recognize the sign of an incredible event, and go on a journey to find the meaning.  They go prepared, they embarked on a journey, they remain alert, they find what they were looking for, these wise, intelligent, curious, scientists remain open to the supernatural, bow in worship, and return to their home, different than when they left.

What lessons can I learn by their story?*

1. Follow the star to where it leads

The story begins with the our travelers heeding the message that comes in the night.  Navigation in ancient times was largely by stars and constellations. Travelers had to know the night sky and trust the path through darkness and unknowing. Embracing mystery was a regular occurrence, a part of life.  So often we want exactness, assurances, predictability, to know the end before we begin or we won't begin.  This isn't living in the reality of the world we are a part of - it is trying to create fiction.  The wise men travel along on a journey with no set answers, but with knowledge and faith about what their destination will hold...this drives their preparation.
What journey are you being called to? What is your "map", your "guide"? Is there a path to follow, even if the endpoint is not directly known?  How will you know when you reach the end? What preparations do you need to make to go on the full journey?

2. Make the journey your own
We must act.  We must initiate the journey and travel the path.  If we stay "home" (where we are comfortable, where we are right now) we will never find that destination we are being stirred to seek out, we may not find that Hope, that Purpose, that Person who promises to be our Lord and Savior.  We cannot life on our parents' or friends' faith...we must make faith our own.  Herod and all Jerusalem see the signs, but will not travel 3 miles to find the Hope that awaits there.  They want to remain in control (granted it is an illusion, but it is what they know and are familiar with) 
Where are you content to allow other's opinions to shape yours?  Where are you telling yourself you are "OK where you are" and not making a journey to freedom, hope and stability?  Where are you reading and learning, but never stepping out in action yourself? How might you enter into your own journey of life more deeply this year?

3. Open your heart to joy by recognizing God's hand
The scriptures tell us that "When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” In the original language, the last 'joy' means "grace recognized".  The fullness of the verse indicates that they rejoiced abundantly because they recognized God's grace! A sign in the sky such as this star must have been could strike terror into men's hearts, or men might have been mostly indifferent like Herod and the religious leaders of their day.  Or, men can recognize God is doing something powerful and rejoice. 
What circumstances do you need to see "grace recognized"? In looking at the past, where has God's grace blossomed when you faced unknowns and journeys you didn't necessarily choose?  How can these times direct how you face they mystery and unknowns of a new year?

4. Look for holy encounters in humble places
The wise man find a humble baby in a home and they bow down and prostrate themselves in worship. Prostration is an act of humility and honor. 
As you encounter the holy in every ordinary place you move, how might the wise men's actions be adopted into your situation? How can you embrace the sovereignty of God in every situation, every moment, every day?

5. What if you haven't prepared to meet your King?
The wise men give baby Jesus the gifts they have brought of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. There is much rich teaching about these gifts and what they symbolize!  But for our purposes I want to focus on the fact that each gift represents one of Jesus' offices: 1) gold represents His Kingship and Deity, 2) frankincense acknowledges His High Priestly authority and position as Intercessor (corresponding to prayer - both his and ours), and 3) myrrh represents His position as Messiah - the Anointed One and His anointing.  The gifts show that the wise men acknowledged Jesus as the One prophesied to come.
In what ways can I show Jesus is my King? In what ways can I show that He is my High Priest?  In what ways can I show that He is my Messiah?

6. Listen to the voice of the Lord, in any way He talks to you
The wise men - in their intelligence and wisdom - remained open to the supernatural, and acknowledged that the Lord had led them thus far, and listened when He spoke to them through a dream.  God loves us and in that love communicates with us.  He will warn us, comfort us, lead us.  He speaks to us many ways, through dreams and visions, through the written Scriptures, and through gentle guidance and leadings of the heart.  In our culture, the supernatural tends to be frowned upon, even in Christian circles.  Belief in a personal God is relegated to superstition and simple mindedness.  But true science always points to an Intelligent Creator.  And He came to be "Emmanuel, God With Us".  His presence with us means He WILL speak to us!
How do you know when God is speaking to you? Do you act on it? Commit to following His voice, His communication with you this year and acting on it.  Again, keep a journal to document your journey.

7.  Be open to change
The wise men heed the message from God they received in a dream; they go home by a different way. When we encounter God, we are changed, our journey (or at least how we experience our journey in life) changes, it takes on a new meaning. 
How does hearing God change you? How does hearing God change how you approach life (or does it)?  Is there some area He is speaking to you that requires a change?  Spend some time allowing awareness of these areas to emerge.  Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to change you or are you resisting?  Have you ever had problems/trouble because you didn't heed the Lord's words - either generally in the Scripture or specifically through the ways He speaks to you?  Is there any place you are resisting His direction for you? Do you KNOW that you hear God speak to you? How can you develop an "ear to hear" if you don't already know (hint: ask someone whose spiritual walk you respect)? 
Spend some time every week this year to reflect on the story of the wise men and on your answers to these questions.  Document the journey you are on through journaling {written or art}
*Response from an article from

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"Mini" Feminine Encouragement Prints

7 little feminine messages to place around your home or send to a sweet soul that needs a little encouragement!

4" x 4" in size, these little photographic prints are perfect to brighten your day!

Scroll down to see life size versions and read the encouragements.

*** Just $12.00 and $3.00 shipping in the continental United States. If you live outside this area, contact me for shipping costs to your location!

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

60 Extra Minutes - What Will You Do With Yours?

{This blog post is via Dreama Tolle - it is her words - find it here:

I loved her list of 60 things to do with our extra hour today!}

Don’t rush by one single moment

Give everything the divine attention it deserves

In doing so you will unlock the gift held within  

For this is life

We thrive

in the grace of these moments

This week-end is the time we fall back—most of us in the US will gain a  whole extra hour in the day.
A few years back I decided to look at all the potential ways a fellow might ‘spend’ this bounty.
Revisiting the list I’m gonna say #56 would probably do all of us the most good in the long run.
And that #59 is something that would be worth doing every day

So here goes…

  1. making a fall bouquet of found items in your yard
  2. taking a walk or bicycle ride
  3. tell a ghost story to your hubby, grandkids or whomever you can corner
  4. dance to your favorite music, slow and fast
  5. savor a bottle of wine you’ve been saving back for a special occasion
  6. pamper your feet with a hot foot soak and a good massage with lotion
  7. look through old photos (remember the ones we had before digital came along?)
  8. watercolor remembrances of this Fall in your journal— doing your best to match the magical colors of the leaves—which is impossible but the JOY is in having a go at it!
  9. draw a single fallen leaf (or trace it) and paint it in your journal
  10. unplug…the phone, the computer, the tv
  11. begin a book that’s been tugging at your heart to read
  12. call someone you love that you haven’t spoken with in awhile
  13. write a letter to your _____ that has already passed and tell them what you’re up to these days…I’m pretty sure they’re listening:)
  14. skype or facetime a long distance friend and share a cup of tea together
  15. watch some old family videos and marvel at how pretty you were then and didn’t even know it:))
  16. find a swing and swing in it
  17. head out into the countryside far from the city lights and watch for falling stars
  18. make some lists of crazy things you’d like to do
  19. pick one and set a date to do it
  20. watch a classic movie with home made popcorn
  21. paint a petite painting
  22. make a pumpkin pie, then eat two slices with lots of whipped creme. and have a glass of cold milk while you’re at it
  23. create a playlist of your favorite upbeat, positive message music (Spotify app is perfect for this!)
  24. hang children’s art in your studio to remind you of the beauty that exists in all art
  25. place quotes, letters, photos, and keepsakes in your work area (office and studio) that help you to remember to follow your own North star
  26. buy an orchid to spend this winter with
  27. take a long bath in scented water with candlelight and spa music
  28. work on a vision board
  29. bake chocolate chip cookies
  30. daydream. like you did when you were a kid
  31. watch the sunrise. so simple. so special.
  32. write a love letter to yourself. take note of the big things, the small things that define who you are. write it from the outside looking in. you are a marvelous work of god
  33. plant spring bulbs. come spring, you’ll have new faces bringing color into your world.
  34. call your mother (or if she’s gone, write her a letter)
  35. write your significant other a love note.
  36. mail 5 postcards from your town to faraway family and friends (my sis Rhonda does this to me and I love it—I discover things about where she lives via her postcards)
  37. visit with your neighbor–share the chocolate chip cookies you baked. This is supposing there are some left to share 
  38. meditate in a new place
  39. get a pedicure with a new color
  40. eat some gelato (I suggest salted carmel flavor…yummmmm)
  41. watch Under the Tuscan Sun….again
  42. do something outside of your comfort zone
  43. go to a local antique/junk store. look for things that remind you of your childhood….and smile
  44. browse in your local book store…you never know what goodies are out there. (half price books in my area is one of my favorite haunts)
  45. go to the zoo or aquarium (if you are lucky enough to have one where you live)
  46. go to the flea market…you REALLY never know what you will discover, uncover, that you can’t live without
  47. get your hair done and maybe add some wild color. i’m thinking a streak of purple would be fun!
  48. go to the dollar movies. cheap thrills. big screen is always better
  49. read the cartoons or a joke book (I have several Scott Adams books, author of the Dilbert cartoons. Pointy Hair Boss and Catbert my fav’s)
  50. watch a funny movie (share your picks in the comment section)
  51. create stations for yourself on Pandora radio. (Spa, Yoga, Pink Martini, John Mayer, Jim Brickman are a few of my fav’s–please share some of yours in the comments below)
  52. head for the kids section in the library or bookstore. the images and stories are always so delightful!
  53. buy some colored gel pens and have a field day in your journal
  54. go to someplace new, a place you have never been before. a park. a cafe. a new (to you) street in an old neighborhood
  55. meet a friend at an outdoor cafe for coffee and smiles
  56. spend the hour in quietness
  57. pick out 10 great digital photos and print them out and post them in places sure to make you smile. your bathroom, refrigerator, taped to your easel, closet—all the unexpected places that you frequent ?
  58. take photos of yourself making goofy faces and mail them to others with the caption “wish you were here!!” (not that I know anyone who does this….)
  59. write 60 things you are grateful for
  60. this one is yours. fill in the blank__________________ ?

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf.~Rabindranath Tagore

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time”
~Marthe Troly-Curtin

We didn’t realise we were making memories.
We just knew we were having fun.
~Winnie the Pooh


“Time is a game played beautifully by children.”


Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.
~Doe Zantamata




How will you spend yours?

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

16 Things Teens Need to Remember About Their Moms and Dads

I have talked to several moms {and teens as well!} lately...and I just want to encourage any of you - sweet teens as well as parents of the sweet ones -

Teenage "rebellion" isn't a given for the teen years!  That is a "lie" that the world system has created to justify its attempts to influence you away from your parents' sound teaching...

Yes, teens, you need to grow into responsibility and independence and sometimes parents don't 'let go' when they could/should, but try to remember that they are the same people who:
  1. have loved you since you were tiny
  2. guided you through all the bumps and scrapes of the elementary years,
  3. stayed with you when you were afraid at night,
  4. held you and comforted you when you were sick,
  5. answered all the questions about fairies and why that person was being mean today and that big one "what is sex, REALLY?"
  6. drilled spelling words and math facts
  7. worried when you went in a car with another friend's family
  8. prayed for your pet goldfish to come back to life
  9. stayed up till 3 a.m. to finish a costume {or even just last year to put the finishing touches on that perfect dress for your formal}
  10. hates 'butting heads' with you, but loves you enough to be firm with you
  11. prays for you to become the person God created you to be
  12. loves you through each mistake you have made and will make
  13. has loved you every moment of your life and will continue to love you into eternity...
  14. is fiercely protective over you every moment of every day...
  15. in the middle of their own flaws, desperately do their best to give you the character, skills, and opportunities needed to succeed
  16. would give their lives for you a thousand times over.

Teens, the world system WILL NOT give you this kind of love and relationship, and when your parents resist 'the world's' lies that pull on your soul and spirit, it is because they have seen that side of the world, and know it will hurt you and destroy you - if not soon, eventually...

Know I am praying for you, moms, and you, teens, for the fullness of God's hope, love and life to be poured out upon you tonight!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Healing is the Very Heart of God!

I was already in college, pursuing my counseling degree, when Joyce Meyers talked about "Inner Healing" on her radio show. "He [God] wants to heal you," she said. "After all, He is living in your heart where all this is." She shared three scriptures that to her were foundational to her understanding. I took notes in my journal.

Today, I cannot find that page (or even that journal!), but I do remember these two passages that she used:
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
 Isaiah 42:3

In this 2nd verse, the author is using metaphors to convey the idea is that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is very gentle, knowledgeable, and kind when it comes to our brokenness or mess ups.

“A bruised reed” is a reference to the reeds that were used to make musical instruments…a kind of flute or pipe. If a reed was bruised, it wasn’t chosen, or if it was bruised during the holes being drilled, it was worthless and only good to be thrown away…often being broken in two and tossed away because it was now useless for anything. 

 The "smoldering wick" is sort of self-explanatory – if a light – candle or lamp – is flickering and in danger of going out, He doesn’t just go ahead and help it go out…He helps fan the spark into a full flame.

So often, a person may feel that places that are already bruised, broken or smoldering are being crushed further…

The image of God that you carry within determines if you believe He will help you or destroy you.

The Bible is clear - God loves us:
And Paul, the writer of Romans, further explains:
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns?No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39 (NIV)

 There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God!

Healing is at the very heart of God. "I am the lord, who heals you" (Ex. 15:26). The healing theme runs throughout the meta narrative of the Bible: Creation to Fall to redemption to consummation. Every stage involves healing, restoration, reconciliation, and transformation of God's people in spirit, soul (mind, will, emotion), and body through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Christianity Today)

It is my hope that you know, without a shadow of doubt, that God's will is to heal you, to bring you to wholeness, to show you tenderness and love while you are on this journey, and that confidence and trust in His care for you will grow and flourish in your heart.

Till next time...