Memorial Day, again

Hey, folks. I guess I tend to follow holidays and special days. They give us landmarks in our lives that keep the days from slipping one into the other without distinction, I think. And as Memorial Day comes around again, I realize a few things: first, the year has gone by so quickly! And secondly, this for me personally is one of the more serious and important holidays that I solemnly want to be sure to recognize….and give back what I can. So first, read this re-blog. Then, help me do something special this weekend:

(original post, here) MAY 26, 2014

Have a Memorial Day…

                                Remember the Fallen…

                                                                                Remember their Families…

I was speaking with my dad at the end of the day; my husband, kids, and I had finished our day with a few tribute videos, standing to the National Anthem, and praying for the families who have lost loved ones. My husband can number friends among those fallen in the recent years, as can I. My dad almost said “Happy Memorial Day” then said, no that is not fitting. We talked about how it should be said: Respectful Memorial Day, Appreciate Memorial Day, Consider Memorial Day… and then we came to a thought at the same time. Have a Memorial Day. If you took time to consider the fallen, show respect for those who gave all, and made your gratitude and appreciation visible by either wearing a patriotic symbol, having a moment of silence, saying a prayer, or visiting a cemetery, you did just that….

Don’t ever stop standing. And thank you to the men and women who continue to do just that.

(present day)

So I had shared some other thoughts last year about the political temperature and how our media and even government seem to forget the importance of the men and women who give all. But this year I have a different focus, and I’m asking for your help.

soldiers-memoriesThere is a song I’ve written called SOLDIER’S MEMORIES. Here’s what you can do: over the weekend, every sale of this single on iTunes I will donate to The Green Beret Foundation. Also if you are a veteran who has lost dear friends or a family member, I want to give you the song for free. Just send me an email letting me know, and I’ll send you a free download. click HERE to email me directly for that. For everyone else, click HERE to purchase the song. And to all included, have a Memorial Day. God bless.

Thanks, Paul!

So, yesterday I took part in my second community event in the blog world. But it was done in such a wonderful unique way, that it felt like the first time I was connecting with fellow bloggers. You might have seen my post about a ‘Secret Santa Blog Day’ but if you didn’t, you can go read that re-blog from Just Me Being Curious. If you don’t have time right now, I’ll remind you briefly of the way this worked.

1) Paul set up a ‘gift exchange’ of blog posts, inviting whoever wanted to participate.

2) He distributed the gifts anonymously

3) All who participated posted on May 20th with the tag: Secret Santa Blog Day

But if you have a hard time finding all the posts, you can go visit Paul’s site here. Why was this so very special? Well, I want to just recognize the care and thought that was put into ‘wrapping’ and giving out these blog posts. I definitely sense he had God’s help as the words distributed to each blogger, I feel, were so appropriately shared. I know personally that “He Sang to Me” – which was my present – spoke volumes to me! As I continue working toward finishing a cd project, this was such a huge encouragement. My Lord is singing to me every step of the way, as He gave me each song we’re recording. And not only that, as I finished reading the rest of everyone’s unwrapped blog-gifts this morning, I realized a beautiful thing:

We all pointed to our Lord and Savior, to how much He loves us and is involved in our lives.

My friend, if you don’t know that truth, take the time to look at it described in each of the eight Secret Santa Blog gifts we shared with each other. And I hope you feel His love and grace today.

Thanks, Paul, for doing this. It was a true gift from our Heavenly Father!

He sang to me: Secret Santa Blog Day

Last night, I was praying that the Lord would lead me in what to write about for this blog. He often speaks to me in dreams. But last night in my dream, He did something a little different.  He sang to me.

In my dream, I sat as an audience of one as the Lord sang. It was like my own personal concert just Him and I.

At the time, I was not fully aware of what was taking place.  I remember feeling fortunate to be there and was enjoying singing along to some of my favorite Christian songs.  Interestingly enough, He looked and sounded like the lead singer from Third Day, but maybe I should vice versa that. If you have seen pictures of Mac Powell or heard his strong, rugged voice, it all seems a perfect fit.

So this morning, The Lord brought me to Zephaniah 3:17 that says,

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

Now, I grew up singing, “Jesus loves me,” but since He’s God, I have always believed His love to be a kind of job requirement.  Always my mind-set, He loves everyone.  He’s like a husband with a billion, needy wives.  -He’s busy-    If the truth be known, I have always been a little jealous of this woman, I once I read about, who memorized entire books of the Bible.  I have always thought, He must really like her.

A couple of years ago while praying, I heard in my spirit, as if two angels were talking amongst each other , “She doesn’t know how much He really Loves her.”  I think of that often.  If we really knew the truth of how much we mean to Him, I believe we would think and act differently. Eph 3:17-19 says,

..”And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the Love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

To truly be rooted and grounded in the Love of God. I believe, all our fears would fad away knowing that Almighty God is working on our behalf and providing for all our needs. We wouldn’t work so hard trying to be acceptable, because we would know we are already beautiful and accepted by the creator of the universe.  We would be filled with peace in all things and circumstances knowing we are not alone because our beloved will never leaves us or forsake us. – The fullness of God, can you imagine?

The truth is you are not just one of the billions. In His eyes, you are one in infinity. Priceless –  A true one of a kind masterpiece.  – In Him, He has set you apart and made you His own!

And Jesus sings over each and every one of us. Our own personal concert or harmony where two hearts come together and rejoice (finding pure joy) in one another.  Jesus is our living water and bread of life. “May we be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”-  “grasping how wide and long and deep is the Love of Christ.”

Amen.

Perseverance can be broken down in First Steps

STEP 1: Identify the first obstacle.

blog step 1 photo

 

 

STEP 2: Face the fears that the obstacle brings up. How do you face fears? Well, the best way is biblically. For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Ps. 27:1)

perservere blog 2

 

STEP 3: Keep climbing over the obstacle, despite the difficulties.

unnamed-1

 

 

 

STEP 4: Do that again.

unnamed-3

 

 

See, Perseverance is all about ‘keeping on.’ I get knocked down, but I get up again, you know? Pressing on doesn’t mean victory every time. It means going through the wins and losses and moving ahead. By the way, you can’t keep going if you don’t know where you’re headed. Maybe I’ll write about that one day.

all photos were taken one day we spent up on White Wash in ABQ NM. great day with the family 🙂

Pressing On

This will be two-part, as I want to dive into the tie-in that this can have with my last post, Admitting Defeat. If you didn’t read that one, please do so either before or after you peruse these thoughts.

DSCN0303So the thoughts I’m going to share today might at first seem to be a retraction of what I wrote previously. They are not. This is simply the other side of the coin. But let me first define some words to help us be sure that what I wrote before still holds true in my thinking in light of what I have to say now…

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WORDS QUIT AND DEFEAT:

Quit mean to depart from, leave; to have done with, to forsake. This word is something we choose to do, it’s our reaction to situations.

to [be] Defeated: to [be] beat; victory won over [you]; to [be] prevented success. This word is something that happens to you. But notice with me something interesting: in order to experience defeat, it implies that a person would have to have been trying, fighting, and going for success. And trying against some kind of opposition. You usually aren’t defeated by nothing (that should be defined as quitting). And admitting defeat does not have to follow with quitting. The two can be separated.

So what do we do then after we’ve had to admit an area we’ve been defeated? We try again. We press on. And we do so in better ways: learning from the past lost victory, and moving forward.

Let me go back to that tiny incident that prompted me to write about defeat in the first place: my sprained ankle that is still not better (as I’ve heard is quite normal). What did I do the next day? Did I give up and sit on the couch all day long? No, I learned from it. I learned my limitations, and I tried again inside those limitations. I attempted a very small workout the next day, and it went well. When I had some swelling, I stopped and put my foot up for a few minutes with ice.

When we’ve been physically defeated, we need to admit it, evaluate it, and try again with gained knowledge how not to lose. When we’ve been mentally defeated, we need to take time to reflect, pray, and go at it again with a different mind-set. When we’ve been spiritually defeated – ah, that’s the tricky one! – we need to admit it to God, and try again, in HIS strength, not our own.

Press on, my friend, but not in a stubborn way that doesn’t change from the first time. Let the little defeats be admitted (that’s called humility) and learn how to try again (that’s called pressing on, or perseverance).

Admitting Defeat

I am not good at that at all. I will fight to the bitter end before I admit I am done. Nothing gets me down! I will not stop and say ‘okay, you’ve got me, I’m done in!’

Which can often be my un-doing. It’s probably better just to admit when I’ve been beat. Which is what I fought doing today…

I write tonight as I sit with my foot propped up and throbbing still from a five-week old sprain. I almost admitted the need to sit back and rest. At least, I told the dance teacher at Irish step dancing that I’d have to put my account on hold for a while. But then I came home, still not ready to throw in the towel and mowed the lawn. Yes, now it is throbbing.

Jacob was also a man who didn’t want to admit defeat (read more about that in Genesis 32). He had his fears, he had his moments of admitting many other things. But when he wrestled with the Angel of God, he just wouldn’t give up. “NOT UNTIL…” he said, as he clung to His feet.

What will it take for me to give up? Not until I’m dog-tired, broken, and incapacitated? Not until the argument is won even though the friendship is lost? Not until I break down and cry it out and realize I can’t do it all? Not until I’ve burned every bridge in an attempt to prove that I can do it myself?

It takes more than courage to come to the place where you say, okay I cannot. I’ve given it my best, and I am not adequate. Then, a door opens, and there is room for Someone to step in who is: is what? Is adequate, sufficient, capable, and kind. That moment that we ‘give up’ and let God, that’s a much better moment than any victory won at all costs.

DSCN0296

(took this photo at the Pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg October 2014)