My first book!

My first book!

So I wrote a book…a devotional…and actually published it! My writings usually sit hidden in a drawer, but while living in Ukraine last year, my friend, Sarah, encouraged me to join her in her publishing company, The Thinking Tree Publishing Company, LLC, and put some of them in print. Sarah is a fabulous illustrator! Oh how I wish I had Sarah’s artistic talent…but then again, God gave me my own talents to use. The difference is…she has used hers greatly while mine have sat hidden in a drawer. But is that what God wants for us? According to Matthew 25 he doesn’t…

Since this is the 14th day of the month, here is an excerpt of the 14th devotional. First though, read the actual Proverb from the bible before reading the devotional. Then, if you have a copy of the book, you will enjoy doodling on Sarah’s illustrations! I hope you like it…

If you want to see some of the actual inside, go to Amazon here: Proverbs Devotional & Doodles You can also order direct from CreateSpace: Proverbs Devotional & Doodles. The proceeds help support the mission work in Ukraine!

 

Day 14 ~ Proverbs 14

“The heart knows its own bitterness,
And a stranger does not share its joy.” ~Proverbs 14:10

How can we truly know another person, except by what we see and hear? Sometimes it’s easy to assess what is in a person’s heart by their countenance. We can assume a person is joyful at that given second by the belly laugh filling the air. We can assume a person is sad, hurt, or bitter when we see buckets of tears flowing down their cheeks. But, can we presume to know the reasons or the source? All too common, seemingly happy people (such as actor Robin Williams) take their own life out of deep depression. We are often too quick to make assumptions about a person or situation before we see all sides of a matter (see Proverbs 18:17 & 25:8). Yet, in our pride, it’s so very easy to assume we know what another person is thinking or feeling. Most of the time, our pride prevents us from simply asking, and therefore our reactions to that person will be unfitting.

“A faithful witness does not lie,
But a false witness will utter lies.” ~Proverbs 14:5

What happens when we assume to know the heart of another and treat them accordingly? If I see someone come through the door with a scowl across their forehead, should I assume they are angry with someone? And then, to top that off, they complain about the blue skies. Should I assume they are bitter or nit-picking? How do we not know that they simply woke up with a migraine headache or have recently suffered great loss? In our humanness, we are all occasionally guilty of these kinds of assumptions. When we fail to seek truth, we are uttering lies. The old Indian Proverb holds true: “Just walk a mile in his moccasins, before you abuse, criticize and accuse.” (taken from the poem Judge Softly, written by Mary T. Lathrap in 1895). Yet, if we walk the same path, even then, do we deeply understand the heart of another?

“A sound heart is life to the body,
but envy is rottenness to the bones.” ~Proverbs 14:30

On the flip side, making assumptions on another person’s joy is just as harmful. How often do we reject people because we believe their lives to be ideal? We become envious of their happiness while not being concerned with knowing the road they traveled to live in their joy. Often times, we are shocked upon hearing a mild-mannered sweet Christian’s testimony to find she has a shockingly checkered past. Jesus says in Luke 7:47, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little, loves little.” (NIV) Do we rejoice with those who rejoice? Or do we allow our own self-centeredness to prevent us from being genuinely happy for other people’s success and joy.

Our heart knows our own bitterness. We deeply feel emotion when we have loved another. People are fallible beings. When we place expectations on another based on our own desires, we will be hurt. People will always at one time or another let us down. But we are not alone in our bitterness, or our joy. Jesus says in Matthew 6:8, “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Why expect strangers, or even those we know, to share in our joys and/or sorrows when we have a God who knows every deep hurt, feeling, and thought we’ve ever had? A sound heart comes when we let go of our expectations of others and place our hope and trust in God, the one who most knows our heart.

“Those who fear the Lord are secure;   
 he will be a refuge for their children.” ~Proverbs 14:26

 

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New Year, New Country, New Beginnings

Wow! It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything for this blog…only one post in all of 2016. What do you think…time to revive the blog??

It’s not like I’ve not written anything at all. I’m actually in the process of editing, creating, and writing books. A couple of books I’ve worked on have been published, but not any that I’ve authored…yet. I’ll post the details when it happens. It’s all in God’s timing.

So much has happened this last year! My husband and I left the States in March and have been on mission, living in Ukraine for the past 10 months! We are due to return to the States in a couple of weeks and I am not looking forward to jet-lag, but I am excited to walk on familiar ground once again! I have so much material for posts about this trip that I don’t know where to begin! Maybe in my next post…

Mukachevo, Ukraine... sitting in the middle is The Palanok Castle or Mukachevo Castle, a historic castle in the city of Mukacheve in the western Ukrainian oblast of Zakarpattia. The Palanok Castle is delicately preserved, and is located on a former 68 metre high volcanic hill.

Mukachevo, Ukraine… sitting in the middle is Palanok Castle or Mukachevo Castle, a historic castle in the city of Mukacheve in the western Ukrainian oblast of Zakarpattia. The Palanok Castle is delicately preserved, and is located on a former 68 metre high volcanic hill.

As I looked back through this blog today, I was reminded of the reasons I created it. I want to help people who are hurting. I want to let people who have been rejected know they are not alone. My desire is to lead hurting people to the One who can heal…the One in whom I found healing. Does this mean that God will take away all the drama in life? No. Unfortunately, no. For we live in a fallen world. But, God’s love can help you bloom. Our God-given DNA was created to produce beauty. Our fragrance will enhance the atmosphere around us. But…oh, there’s that word again. But. But, under the beauty of the rose lie stems which hold the thorns of life. Thorns are painful. They are scars on our base. But God is in the restoration business. He takes our ashes and turns them into beauty. He uses our experiences, our thorns, and helps us to grow through the pain. Finally, we learn to rest in His love and bloom where he plants us. Those thorns? Well, they never go away. But, God uses them to protect us from the world we live in. Just as the thorns on a bush will protect the flower or berry from predators, God will put His armor on us as we face our everyday trials.

What scars do you hold? Do you hold scars of regret, lost relationships, or rejection? God can create in all of us a new heart. Though some of our old relationships may never be restored, those scars can be healed and in Him we can move into a new life with a heart of peace.

How can you use your experiences to encourage others? 1st Peter 3:13-17 says, “…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” We want to give Hope. For without hope, we have no desire for life. Why do we point people to God? Because we are fallible humans. We fail. People will fail you. They fail us because we fail to keep our eyes on the Lord. When we place expectations on people that only God can fill, we set ourselves up for failure. What then do we tell people? We tell them what God has given us. 2nd Corinthians 1:3-7 says, “…God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God…” People remember personal accounts so much more than a textbook. I guess that goes for me too. I’ve only been slightly personal on this blog. :/

Let’s start the New Year by taking off our masks.

Life is messy.

Relationships are hard.

Rejection hurts.

But…God’s love brings healing.

I still want to help you embrace your thorns. I want to help you put on God’s armor. Time is short. Let’s change our world!

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Who is able…who is worthy?

Short post…just thinking…

If G.K. Chesterton, one of the most prolific writers in the 20th century, was educated at St. Paul’s, but never went to college. He went to art school…

And if Louis L’Amour, one of the world’s most popular writers, only had eight years of formal schooling…

Maybe…just maybe…

I can do anything!

I can do anything!

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ~Louis L’Amour

“Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.” ~G.K. Chesterton

 

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Football or Sunrises? Hard choice…

I’m in nostalgia tonight. Weird…after last night’s “serious” post. 😉 Our sunset had some color, but not many clouds to make it spectacular.

It’s getting colder out…beach. Ahhh…the beach. It’s been way too long.

Believe it or not, I actually caught a sunrise a few weeks ago. I know, strange. The world does not turn before my second pot of coffee. But with the days getting shorter, the sun rose one day during the roasting…giving just enough time for my half opened eyes to grab my camera.

I just thought I would share…while watching Eli getting hit by Freeman. Love the great acting in his commercial. 🙂

Red sky in the morning,

     Sailors take warning…

Sunrise (1)

Sunrise (3)

Sunrise (4)

Sunrise (7)

“…to give knowledge of salvation to his people
           in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
      whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
           to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

~Luke 1:77-79

 

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Diaries, Journals, Poetry, & Secrets

I love poetry. But unless you’re one of those sweetie pie buttercups or deep dark depressing kind of people, you’re generally not going to sit and read a novel of poetry in your alone time. On the rare occasions that time comes, I’d rather curl up in my afghan with Louis L’Amour or Max Brand on a snowy night in my rocker by an open fire. Now that’s heaven!

But, occasionally, I’ll pop open something with meter and rhyme. That’s my journal. It’s safe. I only kept a “Diary” once as a kid. I began writing poetry notes after my sister found my diary and blabbed to the world how infatuated I was with what’s-his-name. Humph. (Oh yes, everyone has one of those relatives.) With poetry, one can write deep dark secrets in code…poetry code. Not many “get it”. But to those who do…one can hop into a whole ‘nother world. So, I thought I’d go out on a limb in this post and give you a smidgeon…

Like the leaves that grow
on a tree in spring,
words from a poet,
joy to our hearts bring.

When winter is past,
silent words inside,
come out in full bloom,
sing poetry’s pride.

My mother typically complained that no one ever did anything for her. I have pictures from the early 90’s showing lots of people gathered in the Shaffer’s neighborhood clubhouse, decorated with balloons, candles, streamers, and 50 candles on the cake (all at my expense). However, the only thing you will hear from her is how everyone forgot her half-century birthday. **Sigh**

I remember one Mother’s Day back in the same time frame, I was asked to take part in the proverbial church program. I don’t recall the name of the song the director picked for my solo, but it was about a mother’s love, and I was surrounded with the kids on the platform. My vocal chords were in full swing that morning, which is strange since most mornings I’m lucky to get out a gurgle. Along with that song, I wrote and recited this poem expressing my vision of motherhood:

A Mother’s Legacy

A visit long ago,
memories deep in my mind.
Peach cobbler, apple pie,
made with hands old and kind.

Asleep in her bosom,
Grandma would slowly rock,
humming, “My child love on”
not a thought of the clock.

My mother’s loving care,
for each button to sew,
deep in the night she worked,
that I might steal the show.

So proud of each success,
as if it were her own.
When failure would descend,
she then made her love known.

With children of my own,
this legacy to pass.
Careers, sitters, day care!
Button up! Off to class!

No time for soft moments.
precious time we misuse.
Society’s pressure,
priorities to choose.

Will children call me blessed?
The Lord’s ways have I taught?
Did I take out the time
to instruct as I ought?

Asleep on my bosom,
my grandchild I now rock,
humming, “My child love on”
not a thought of the clock.

The “code”?? Can you feel the security in a grandma’s care? Can you see the love of a mother who is available to help make costumes for her child’s 1st grade school play? Can you feel the frustration of not having the same experience with her own children for the busyness of modern life? Can you sense the pendulum swing back around as she loves on her own grandchild? Did you catch the codes?

Poetry can be reflections of our realities…more often; poetry is a reflection of our dreams.

On that Mother’s Day…church was overflowing with mothers everywhere…

Except mine…she didn’t show up that Sunday…

 Poetry Journal

My Rambling Mind…

Browsing today, I saw a picture of my family when I was probably about eight years old. Boy was I an ugly child. For some reason, my mother always had me in short funky 60’s hair styles, while my sister was left to longer hair. I don’t know if it was because mother thought we each looked better in the differing styles, to which I beg to differ, or if she simply did not cut my sister’s hair because of her blood curdling screams to anyone who came close to her with a brush.

I’m not sure what that paragraph has to do with anything…just my evening thoughts.

Yesterday, I took the q-tip jar and dropped it on a candle in a shell tin on the bathroom sink. It was a granddaddy long leg. I trapped it between the two…smashing it flat. After my shower, quite frankly, I forgot about it…until tonight. At first, I could not remember why the q-tip jar was on the candle tin, but recalling the monstrous beast, I decided it was high time I disposed of its carcass. Upon lifting the q-tip jar, the growing monster revived itself. I don’t know if I am more upset that the spider lived a whole 24 hours trapped between two deadly boulders, or that the q-tips were jostled out of position when I dropped the jar upon the spider’s revival. I immediately grabbed a tissue to squash it, which inevitably pulled out every last one in the box, thereby wasting precious time, allowing the monstrous spider to escape.

I cannot find the dastardly beast anywhere. I don’t know if I will be visiting that bathroom any time soon…

Poor Sammy…she is trying her best to lounge on my lap. Unfortunately, my lap is taken with my laptop. Rejected, she is pouting from across the room…staring at me with the best dejected look she can muster up. Kitty…I know the feeling…

Sammy

The game is on. Now…they don’t just play on Sunday’s. We get to see overly sized men in tight pants running around on fake grass chasing a little blown up piece of leather on Monday’s and Thursday’s too! My husband calls me a “fair-weather” fan. I believe I am a true fan. Just because I am bored when the team plays like crap or “my” team is not playing…

But I do enjoy the acrobatics…did you see the guy who made a touchdown with a somersault?? Classic!

I’m not sure what all these thoughts are collectively expressing. Probably nothing. Just like the commercial I just saw where the girl was talking a mile a minute. Obviously, no one was impressed. I know a few people like that. Just a lot of absolutely nothing. I’m sure it’s the same with this blog. We saw a movie last May with the perfect analogy of my blog; I’m so excited, today I have three followers! Which is good because yesterday I had four!

It’s been suggested that I use my blog as my journal. That sounded like a great idea! Until…flashbacks of my childhood ran through my mind…my sister would inevitably find my diary and blab its contents to the whole world. Nope. I don’t journal.

I do write…sometimes. In code. Everyone needs an outlet. I started with poetry. Start somewhere. Roses are red…violets are…you get the gist. Release. Even if no one sees except God…who sees everything whether you like it or not. But if He still accepts you no matter what you write…then write. Just write…