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Thursday, March 31, 2011

On Thankful Thursday.. I'm Forever Grateful

71. For a dead car battery that allowed me a whole day at home to offer to God.
72. Bonding time with each of my daughters.
73. Hot sunshine and balmy breezes drying my clothes on the line.
74. Walking in the park with my youngest.
75. Payday!
76. Midweek holiday!
77. An extra hour to lie in and have our youngest daughter romp on us.
78. For God's awesome and marvelous works in the lives of others and myself.
79. For being able to share in a friend's joyful thanksgiving.
80. For bittersweet memories and the grace of a new dawn.
81. For loving, healing words from my husband.
82. For the sweet security of strong arms to hold me and magic kisses that kiss it better.
83. For Grace that allows me to weep tears of healing, tears of release.
84. That sweet word "momma" from the lips of my college-gone daughter.
85. For Grace that turned bitter, angry words into loving ones.
86. For Inspiration and Counsel from the Holy Spirit.
87. For sweet 'I love you's' from my four year old.. fierce hugs and fighting for the middle spot.
88. For a darling husband who's willing to go out, even though he's tired, on a last-minute shopping errand.
89. For sales that allow me to buy shoes for my youngest without breaking my    budget... too much.;-)
90. For the excitement of a four year old on a school trip to the zoo! (hope I survive it lol!)

I have to stick this one in here: For my beloved husband who played around with my blog to try to fix the little 'bugs' in it and left a special little surprise (my very own button!) and who supports me and encourages me. Thank you my darling!

Heavenly Father, I give you all my praise and thanksgiving. You bless me with so many little gifts each and every day. Thank you for bringing me to a place where I am no longer spiritually blind to them. May I always appreciate, acknowledge and be grateful to You.

Tomorrow, I go to the throne of God on behalf of my friends and relatives. If you would like me to add your name or the name of a loved one to my prayer list, please leave a comment or you can email me at lo.supersunshine@gmail.com.

Have a blessed day!

This post linked to:


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Power of Prayer

This week, we complete our bible study of the book of James. I'm a little sad that its finished, but I'm eagerly awaiting what next exciting thing the Good Morning Girls will be studying.

This week we're studying the power of prayer. As usual, God in His wonderful way is applying this to my daily life. I have continued to be amazed at how the Holy Spirit is connecting all kinds of dots and creating a huge portrait of wisdom and knowledge of the Word and just causing me to actually LIVE the Word that I am studying.

James 5:14 tells us "Any one of you who is ill should send for the elders of the church and they must anoint the sick person with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him."

On Sunday my husband and I had the privilege of praying with two of our relatives who are in need of healing. They are like a mother and sister to me and I felt it placed on my heart that we should pray with them. The opportunity presented itself at a family gathering and my husband agreed that we should pray and so we did.

We are, neither of us 'elders of the church' but we adhere to this tradition of anointing the sick. Its a practice that brings comfort to them, emotional healing, if not physical healing. We have both received the anointing of the spirit and, though my husband is more active in the church and uses his gifts, God has reminded me that His gifts are for sharing. I know in my heart that I received this precious gift of healing, more than 18 years ago and I pray that I can use it for His Glory.

James 5:15 says "The prayer of faith will save the sick person and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins he will be forgiven"

About 10 years ago, my mother-in-law was ill. She was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney. I offered up prayers on her behalf and felt it placed on my heart that the Lord wanted to heal her for His glory. I was hesitant to speak of it, but my husband was the mouthpiece and he told his mother. I was convicted in my heart that this was God's will. My husband's faith in my conviction was also strong and together we prayed with his mother in the presence of the entire family.

My mother-in-law went on to have surgery and one of her kidneys was removed. Is this the end of the story? Does this mean she was not healed as God had said to me that she would be?

NO, THIS IS BUT THE BEGINNING! You see, the night we prayed with her, she became convicted herself. She BELIEVED she would be healed. A whole new woman was born that night. She became hungry and thirsty for God in a way she had not been before. So convinced was she that she was healed, she asked for another scan. While it came back saying nothing had changed, she went into that surgery with a different attitude.

Though her kidney was removed, the doctors said that the situation was not as bad as they had believed. Today, she does regular tests and she has remained cancer free. The true healing though is what was accomplished in her soul. Prayer with faith can accomplish miracles.

We have the example of Elijah, James tells us that he was but a frail human being, just as we are. Yet his faith-filled prayer was heard by God, who stopped the rain from falling and made it fall again on his command in order to turn people back to God.

It was this same prayer of Elijah's that entreated God to save the life of the son of the widow in whose home he was staying. 1 Kings 17:22 "Yahweh heard Elijah's prayer and the child's soul came back into his body and he revived"

This same prayer of Elijah's that caused God to let his fire fall and consume wet wood to discredit the false god Baal and to turn back people's hearts to Him. 1 Kings 18:37 "Answer me, oh God, answer me, so that this people may know that you, oh Lord, are God and are winning back their hearts"

Prayer is our open line of communication with the Lord. Its our Blackberry, instant-messaging, text-messaging with Him. When we pray constantly, truly pray with our heart and not just our lips, we are open to hearing His Spirit speak His Will into our hearts. We are open to His instruction, His counsel. Elijah knew God's will because of his deep connection through prayer. He had faith and conviction because of this connection. He obeyed God..

Now that is an important one.. the last part of James 5:15 says that if we have committed sins they will be forgiven through the anointing. 5:16 says "So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another to be cured; the heartfelt prayer of someone upright works very powerfully"

If we are to be in communion with God, we must be in a state of grace.. our hands must be clean, we must be upright. This is not to say that we will not sin at all.. that is impossible for a human being to do. What James is saying here is that we must try to avoid sin and when we do sin we are to confess those sins.. thereby coming once more into His Grace. A Grace which allows us to pray with faith.

Matt 21:21-22 says "Jesus answered, 'In truth I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt at all, not only will you do what I have done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, "Be pulled up and thrown into the sea," it will be done. And if you have faith, everything you ask for in prayer you will receive"

What powerful Word this is... and such a fitting way to end my bible study. With God's promise that faith shall not go unrewarded.

James does end with a reminder that we have a responsibility to bring the truth to others, especially those who are walking the wrong paths. I pray that we will have the courage to do so... even if it is simply by being His lights.. shining brightly to guide others to Him.. by the way we live and the way we treat others. May they know we are Christians.. by our love.

Shine brightly for Jesus!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

I just received this lovely award from Frances at http://workingonthesimplelife.blogspot.com/

Frances started blogging around the same time that I did and was actually my first follower. Thank you so much Frances! This is the second time I'm receiving an award and its very exciting!

Upon receiving this award I'm supposed to:

1. Accept the award and post it to my blog along with the link to the blog of the person who awarded it.

2. Pass it on to 15 other blogs that I have newly discovered.

3. Contact these bloggers to let them know that they have received the award.

So here goes...

Dawn @ http://livinglargewiththemanincharge.blogspot.com/
Kristin @ http://ponderingsbykris.blogspot.com/
Tara @ http://whenhecarriedme.blogspot.com/
Amie @ http://rosesalongtheway.blogspot.com/
Jenn @ http://newgrowthstartswithgod.blogspot.com/
Marsha @ http://marshacrocker.blogspot.com/
Jenny @ http://amothersheritage.wordpress.com/
Amanda @http://greenandfrugalhousewife.com/
Kelly @ http://www.imperfecthomemaking.com/
Donna @ http://simplethingssweetlife.blogspot.com/
Christin @ http://joyfulmothering.net/
Crystal @ http://happyhomeandheart.blogspot.com/
Tami @ http://tamiboesiger.blogspot.com/
Mrs White @ http://thelegacyofhome.blogspot.com/
Farmer's Wyfe @ http://pumpkinpiepainter.blogspot.com/

(I apologise, my links are still not working and hubby is working TOO much so he hasn't been able to help me fix the problem)

These are all beautiful women and awesome bloggers who inspire and challenge me. They're not necessarily new to blogging, but they are new to me.

I read someone else's blog recently which implied, by a disclaimer she put up, that not everyone likes to receive awards. I, personally, don't see why anyone wouldn't be thrilled to know that others appreciate their work, but in the event that anyone above feels this way, I chose you because I truly enjoy reading and learning from you.

May God's grace be with all of you and may He continue to empower you as you inspire others.

Shine brightly for Jesus!

Thumbprint Cookies a la Brittany

My daughter and I were looking for something delicious to make on Sunday. I'd just bought some Nutella on sale at the grocery. This is what we came up with. I was busy cooking so she did it all herself. Aren't they gorgeous?

Here's the original recipe:

1/2 cup butter (I used margarine)
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking pwder
3/4 cup finely chopped almonds

raspberry or apricot jam (We used Nutella)

Preheat oven to 350F

We didn't have any cream cheese or almonds so we omitted those, but the cookies were rich enough without them.

In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese with sugar. Add egg and blend well. Sift flour with baking powder. Stir in almonds and add to creamed mixture.

Knead dough gently until smooth and pull off pieces of dough to make 2 inch balls. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and make an indentation in center of each ball with thumb. Bake about 10-12 minutes and then remove from oven. If indentations have risen too much, press again and then place 1/2 tsp of Nutella in centers. Return to oven and bake another 12-15 minutes until golden . (The original recipe calls for jam in the centers)

My daughter, Brittany, then drizzled melted chocolate over the tops and we had a fabulous looking dessert.


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and at


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Homemakers With A Purpose

I wrote this post to link up with the Homemakers Challenge over at Joyful Mothering, but I missed the linky because I didn't do it in time. Nontheless, I thought I'd post it anyway.

I became a homemaker eighteen years ago. My purpose then remains very much the same as it is now... to fulfill the needs of my family and to create a home, a place that is a haven and retreat from the outside world.

Unfortunately that is easier said than done.. my family's needs are diverse. That's what happens when you have such a huge age gap.

My husband... he needs a peaceful, loving home, a loving partner, a prayer partner and exercise partner and healthy, nutritious meals.

My almost-20 year old.. she needs to be able to have long conversations with me on Skype whenever she wants ;), prayer support and advice

My 18 year old... she needs practical help sometimes, guidance, one-on-one time and for me to just listen

My 14 year old... needs lots of guidance, practical help and one-on one time

My 4 year old... needs less tv-more me! practical work, teaching of her faith, to learn chores, values and skills, exercise, play time, fun time

They all need love, healthy meals, downtime, family time and to have more fun together.

I have identified my most pressing need right now as the need to balance things properly so that everyone's needs are met and the house is organised, uncluttered, peaceful and inviting.

What gets in the way:

1. Low energy
2. Too much to do in a small amount of time
3. Lack of maintenance/help from others
4. A major lack of order and discipline

Tools needed:

1. Schedule - proper goals and strict discipline
2. Co-operation and assistance from the rest of the household.

First of all, I need to get a proper schedule and stick to it. Then, I must enlist my family's help. Too often in the past I have done up schedules and could not enforce them because of lack of support. Everyone is firmly entrenched in their habits and change doesn't come willingly or easily!

I also have to address my own health. My lack of energy probably stems from my poor eating habits, the fact that I don't take vitamins or exercise. Scheduling time to be my husband's exercise partner will benefit both of us. I need to start eating the healthy meals I make for my family, instead of skipping them to make sure I get everything done.

I have had to sit down and carefully work through the things I have no control over and those that I do. For instance, I cannot control the amount of time I have to spend outside of our home, picking up our children from school, or paying bills, in traffic etc. I also commit the first part of my day to the Lord, that cuts back on my time but I believe it is important. Therefore, I need to make sure that I use the time I do have in the home wisely.

My immediate goals are:

1. Sit down with my family and plan a schedule that will enable everyone's needs to be met (this is necessary because some things affect the others.. like asking them to babysit while I go walking with their father)

2. When everyone's happy with our schedule, I have to enlist my husband's help to enforce any new rules that are put into effect.

A couple of things we will discuss are the bringing forward of my 4 year old's bedtime so that I can have an extra hour at night to spend with my older girls and my husband and so that I can write. Her sleeping habits are changing and she's now rising at the same time as the rest of the household.. 5:30am! This means that I don't get quiet time to do anything until after I drop her to school.

Also, how everyone can chip in to help make things go smoothly... I need to do some delegating around here! I have to acknowledge that I cannot do everything and that its okay for my family to help with certain things. They are certainly old enough and capable enough.

Lastly, I need to be realistic in my goals because I do have a family whose needs are different enough that we sometimes have to go with the flow. Strict schedules may not be possible. For instance, sometimes my husband works on a Saturday and it means that I have to do the chauffeuring. Nothing can be completely written in rock around here.

Also, while my main goals are to create a more orderly household and to try to be more effective in meeting everyone else's needs, I have to acknowledge that I also have needs. For me to be truly joyful in my homemaking, I have to start taking better care of myself so that I can give the best of myself to my family.

I am blessed to have a husband who supports my blogging and anything else I do to witness for and glorify God. He doesn't mind me taking whatever time I need to minister to others because he says I am serving God. I do, however, believe that there must be a proper balance for all things and I know that I also serve God in the most important way by fulfilling my duties as a wife and mother.. this is my true purpose... one I hope to carry out with greater joy, love and skill in the future.

Thank you to Christin for hosting this awesome challenge, as well as the others. You are certainly encouraging others to better themselves in their vocations as homemakers.

Love & Blessings to all!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Be Exalted Oh God!

I wanted to share this with you. Today I exalt my God... I prostrate in His presence and acknowledge my unworthiness. I will make reparation to Him, honour Him with my sacrifices of praise. I will once again offer to Him my life as an oblation.. I am His to do as He pleases.

Today, I will offer prayers on behalf of those who are on the list on my prayer altar.

God bless you all my friends and may your weekend be wonderful and filled with love, laughter and family.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday and an Invitation

Today I'm linking up with two different Thankful Thursday sites.

Its such a grace to be aware of all these blessings that are all around me and I wouldn't have paid attention before I started my list:

51. For precious moments before my Lord where He heals and counsels and instructs.
52. For Grace.. which gives me the strength to persevere.
53. For an endless flow of healing tears.
54. For forgiveness.. the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
55. For a husband who knows what to say and do to bring comfort and restore peace.
56. For precious healing moments in a loved one's arms.
57. For the promises of a loving and compassionate God.
58. For God's potter's Hands which constantly reshape me.
59. For rebirth of the spirit after death in the desert.
60. for the beauty of loving words.
61. For acts of loving kindness.
62. For the unconditional love of a precious 4 year old.
63. For rain that is truly a blessing in what is supposed to be a dry season.
64. For wonderful and wise women from whom I learn so much.
65. For the beauty in God's creation.. everywhere I look.
66. For precious hugs and kisses.. a balm to my soul.
67. For laughter and loving... joy in my cup
68. For this crazy, hectic life that ensures I'll never have mid-life crisis!
69. For Divine Providence.. it aint luck baby!
70. For Grace, which saved my father's soul. RIP Daddy.. 12 years and his 82nd b'day today.

As I give thanks to God for yet more of his bountiful blessings, I want to extend an invitation to you to send in prayer requests today. For every Friday in Lent I will be offering fasting and prayer on behalf of whatever intentions are on my prayer list.

Would you like your intention to be prayed for? If so, just leave a comment with your intention or just a name you would like added. The Lord who sees and knows all will know what's in your heart and your intention will be on my prayer altar and offered up tomorrow.

Psalm 103:1 "Bless the Lord, my soul, from the depths of my being, his holy name; bless the Lord, my soul, never forget all his acts of kindness"

May you shine brightly for Jesus!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Letting Go and Letting God Provide

This week in the book of James, we're learning about how what we do with our money can make us righteous or unrighteous. Money is a sore issue with me... I never have any! After viewing the video that Angela posted.. I started wondering am I a poor righteous person or a poor unrighteous person... or am I rich? What category do I fit into exactly?

I wrote last week about my life verse (Luke 12:22-32) and the covenant that God formed with me when I had decided to become a homemaker. From that day my dependence has been totally on Him. Money became His business not mine.

My wealth became my family, my home and all that He has blessed me with. My savings are my children's future.. my future is securely in His hands. There are some who may say that it is foolish not to consider provision for those autumn/winter years, but I am being obedient to the One who IS Wisdom. Can I be wiser than He?

I remember the day that I felt called to make the decision to give up my life insurance policy. I turned to the Lord with the same question, "Should I not be concerned with my future and save?" I felt Him speak deep within me "I am the only insurance you will ever need. Trust me to look after you. Your future is in My hands."

In obedience, I gave up the policy, but I am human and there are times, especially in dire financial struggle, when I have wistfully thought of what a nice little nest egg it would have been.

No matter how bleak things look, we make sure to give of our first fruits to Him. We trust in Him and He ALWAYS provides our needs.. sometimes He even provides a bountiful surplus that enables us to have something that we want, but don't need.

There have been times I have not even expressed it aloud, just thought of something and the Lord would bless my request. Psalm 139:4 "A word is not yet on my tongue before you, Oh God, know all about it"

I consider myself rich, because my Lord supplies my need, what's more I know that my treasures are in Heaven ...could I ask for anything more?

James 5:11 "remember it is those who had perseverance that we say are the blessed ones. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and understood the Lord's purpose, realising that the Lord is kind and compassionate."

I consider myself blessed, for the Lord has given me the grace to persevere.

James 5:7 urges us to be patient, as a farmer who plants and must wait for his crop to mature, after being nourished by the summer and autumn rains.

It is hard to be patient.. I pray for patience constantly. I surrender this weakness to God so many times. To wait on the Lord is not easy.. but oh how He rewards patience!

As He gently nourishes me with the rains of His grace and His mercy and Provision... I am strengthened and empowered. All He asks of me is obedience and love. How he blesses that obedience!

Psalm 103:7 "But God's faithful love for those who fear him is from eternity and forever; and His saving justice to their children's children, as long as they keep his covenant and faithfully obey his precepts."

The Lord assures me that my obedience, patience and perseverance shall not go unrewarded - in fact my children and future descendants shall reap the benefits of what I sow now.

What an awesome promise from an awesome God!!

This is my journey with the Lord.. this is His covenant with me and mine with Him. I am called to trust completely.. to let go and surrender my life into His hands. Is it always easy? No, in fact, it is VERY hard, but He gives strength and grace.. there is nothing that He commands us to do that He will not empower us to do.

I pray that as you journey with the Lord, on your own path and with your own covenant, God will continue to shower you with the gentle rain of His mercy, blessings and graces.

Also linked to 'The Practice of Letting Go' at

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You are fearfully and wonderfully made!

This post is linked to

I wrote a post on Sunday.. well actually very early on Monday morning. When I wrote it, I was in a very dark place. I know that what I wrote was the TRUTH, but I didn't accept it for myself.

For days the enemy of my soul has been whispering his lies into my ears. I've been down this road before and I thought I was strong enough to withstand... and I did.. for a while, but then I slipped.

Let me explain, in my post of Monday I told you that I sometimes slip into the trap of comparing myself to others in a not so favourable way. For a few days I'd been sort of bombarded with the images and thoughts of others on beautifying yourself, your home etc. In comparison, I felt dis-organised, shabby, frumpy.. ugly. Here were all these wonderful people talking about how to keep yourself attractive for your husband, how to make your home a haven and I had zilch going on in any of those areas.

I went back down that awful path of second-guessing my attractions, abilities and accomplishments. I allowed myself to be dragged down a dark hole where all my fears and insecurities dwell.

Can I keep my husband's interest when I never have the time to take care of myself? I have a hard time balancing things as it is.. I stare at my chipped toe-nail polish every day and think.. nah, I have more important things to do....and I do! There are hardly enough hours in the day. Some days, no matter how hard I try, I cannot greet him at the door with a sweet smelling body and a smile.

I did the whole pity-party thing. 'It's not my fault that I can't look good for him, we don't exactly have a maid.. that would be ME'. and 'The girls need things.. I can hardly go buy myself something new and pretty.. no matter how much I may want to...and I DO!' I do want to be pretty for my husband.

Do my husband and my family look around and think that our home is a haven? Are they happy to come home? Most days its all I can do to get a meal on the table and maybe run a couple of loads of laundry through. Its a challenge to keep a clean house with a four year old, even if I don't count in the time I spend running errands and chauffeuring the children. Let's face it, by the time I've faced the traffic to get them home from school.. I'm frazzled and low on energy. I'm barely keeping it clean but I do, I DO want a pretty well-kept home!

The truth is.. I had a melt down... I ended up a crying heap of flesh, pouring out my woes to my husband. Want to know how his words ministered to me?

First of all, he said to me, yet again, that he doesn't care how the house looks... he's just glad to be home. (I happen to believe this because after 21 years he still doesn't quarrel with anyone about their untidiness.. I'm the nag around here!) This house, as crazy, messy and noisy as it is.. is home, his haven from the outside world.

Secondly, he said to me, yet again, that he doesn't care about whether or not I'm clean and pretty when he gets home. He does care about the smile though.. he's just glad to have me greet him and to be coming home to me. Its really tough to believe sometimes that he thinks I'm beautiful.. not when I look at what I've allowed myself to become, not when other people constantly remind me of how important it is to keep myself attractive to him and that men are visual. MEN ARE VISUAL.. what a vision I am most days. Yet, he says that it doesn't matter to him.

He also said, in response to me saying that I had to stop the blog because I couldn't balance things, that what I do here is important because I am witnessing to God and ministering to others and that he doesn't want me to stop doing it. He even offered to help me with whatever he could so that I could have the time to write. Don't I have a wonderful husband? How truly blessed I am.

I feel a lot better now, especially since my Lord has also ministered to me and convicted me with the TRUTH and not the lies I've been blinded with.. yet again. Isn't it strange how our old weaknesses remain.. hidden in the shadows.. with the enemy waiting for us to have a weak moment to pounce on them and drag them out? I plan on writing more on this in another blog.

I mentioned in another post about the weekly biblical passage my husband and I use to meditate on and that this week we got Psalms 138 and 139. Each time I read them I get something pertinent to my current situation and this was no different. As I read it again, this jumped out at me..

Psalm 139:14 "For so many marvels I thank you; a wonder am I, and all your works are wonders". This is from the New Jerusalem bible. Other bibles phrase it differently but it means the same:

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God doesn't make anything that isn't good. He further reminded me that I cannot give of myself and believe that self to be unworthy.

With all this going on, with trepidation, I opened a blog by my friend Traci Michele entitled '26 ways to feel pretty A to Z'. I wasn't sure I wanted more reminders of what I'm NOT doing. I thought it was a repost of something she's done before but I was so pleasantly surprised to find a whole new twist. This isn't about looking pretty, but feeling pretty. I so need that right now!

So, head on over to Traci's at:

Look up her post entitled '26 ways to feel pretty A to Z'. I'm sorry my links just don't seem to be working.. my hubby's promised to look at it.

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with all that's going on around you? Do you sometimes question your value or the value of your purpose? If you have any insecurities (and who doesn't?).. this word is for you.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. As Traci Michele points out.. do not compare yourself to others. Do not fall into the trap of feeling that you are less because you cannot do more, or that you should be doing it better. You have to work with what you have and do the best you can.. leave the rest up to Him.

Today I'm praising God for words of wisdom from a wonderful husband and inspiring friends and I'm once more committed to shining right where I'm planted, using just what I have.

God's blessings to you and yours!

Do you Have Trials?

+This post is linked to:

This week I linked up with e-Mom and her friends at Chrysalis Cafe http://www.chrysaliscafe.com/
for Marriage Monday. My post was on what advice I could give to newlyweds or engaged couples.

You can read it here http://shinebrightlyforjesus.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-little-secrets-to-making-marriage.html)

As I dug deep to find what my life experiences had taught me to share, I reflected on all the trials that God had taken us through in our marriage and how He gave us strength when we needed it, gave us wisdom when we asked for it.

Looking back I can see how, even when we didn't have a clue, He was preparing us for all that would come... good and bad. I could see how He used every situation to teach us, to purify us, to bring us to greater heights of faith and greater depths of love.

Every Sunday my husband and I pray together for the needs of our family and others and for counsel and wisdom and we seek in the Word a bible passage to guide us and teach us for the week.

This week we got Psalms 138 and 139. These are beautiful Psalms that speak of God's faithful love and provision and His promises. I read them over each day and can find a new verse that applies to my current situation.

Are you going through trials right now? This is what God's Word says to you:

Psalm 138:1 "I thank you, God, with all my heart for you have listened to the cry I uttered."

Psalm 138:2 "You heard me on the day when I called and you gave new strength to my heart."

Psalm 139:1-2 "Lord, you examine me and know me, you know when I sit, when I rise, you understand my thoughts from afar."

Psalm 139:4 "A word is not yet on my tongue before you, oh God, know all about it"

Our loving and compassionate God knows our every need. He listens to our prayers, every word.

Psalm 138:7-8 "Though I live surrounded by trouble you give me life - to my enemies' fury. You stretch out your right hand and save me. My God will do all things for me. Your faithful love endures forever, do not abandon what you have made."

Are you surrounded by trouble? Daily, life throws challenges at us.. financial, health, relationships. God knows this and He gives us the grace to withstand. He gives us the wisdom to know how to deal with each thing, if we ask Him. His love is everlasting and we can trust Him with all our problems.. big or small.

If you are enduring trials, I want to extend to you an invitation. Every Thursday I will be posting a Prayer Request to which you can add your name. You don't have to tell me what its for but your name will be added to a Prayer List and all your intentions will be offered on the Friday. I will be doing this every Friday in Lent.

I also want to mention that a new friend of mine, Kristin, has also extended this offer.. she prays on a Tuesday. You can find her at http://ponderingsbykris.blogspot.com/2011/03/hunger-and-filling.html.

May our great God fill your home, marriage, family and your life with all His graces and blessings.

Shine on for Jesus!

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Little Secrets to Making Marriage Meaningful

Today I'm linking up with Marriage Monday at Chrysalis. This is my first time and I'm lucky because the topic is open so I get to write on whatever I want.

I wondered what would I say on marriage if I had an open forum. If I had to talk about marriage to a young couple what would I tell them?

First of all, I've been married for 21 years and I want to say, right from the start, that these are all things I learned from my own experience.. some not so long ago too! I want to emphasize that you never, ever stop learning and growing in your marriage.. no matter how long you've been married.. so I'm still in the classroom. So, from one student to another.. here's some of my little thoughts and secrets on marriage:

When I was getting married, I thought that this was the love of my life.. there could never be any love greater. I bet every young girl feels the same.. she'll never love anyone more.


Wrong.... you may not believe it but the love you feel now is not going to compare to the love you will feel 20 or 30 years from now. That love is going to grow, mature and be honed by life's trials and all that you share and it will become more perfect, pure and deep as the years go by.

When I was getting married, I thought that I knew my beloved like I knew myself, and I would be spending the rest of my life with him, the way he was.


Sorry to burst your bubble.. but you don't really know him and he doesn't know you. It will take a lifetime of learning and growing, facing trials together and really LIVING with each other. Even after that you will always find something new to discover in each other, because nobody stays the same forever. We all change and grow as we go through life, our situations change, our lifestyle may change. We have to learn to adapt to flow with the tidal changes of life and there will be many a metamorphasis in your relationship - hopefully positive ones!

When I was getting married I thought 'We'll never get like those older couples... we're not going to let the passion die on us. We'll keep things alive and exciting'. We all think the honeymoon will never be over.


The intense emotions don't last. Life tries to steal your joy and the practical side of marital life, raising children etc. makes it virtually impossible to keep those fires burning. Trials come and go, we have highs and lows, joy and pain, success and failure.Its hard enough to keep a balance on things, sometimes the last thing on your mind is romance. All spontaneity gets thrown out the window as you deal with what life is throwing at you.

The good news is that you CAN work at keeping passion and romance alive. With a little effort you can make sure to build a defense against settling into a comfortable place where you take each other for granted. Its not the same as it was in the beginning.. but in some ways its better. The awkwardness is gone.. you are more comfortable with each other. You have history and memories and a deeper, purer love.

Do newly weds or betrothed couples think 'We'll always be happy. We'll never hurt or disappoint each other because we are so in love'? I was young enough once to believe that.


Reality hits you square in the eyes, the first time you experience disappointment. The first time you feel hurt by your darling husband's actions or lack thereof. The truth is, the more you love someone, the more power they have to hurt you. The truth is we all go into marriage with expectations. They are formed from our own parents' marriages or from ideals we've set up in our minds. One day we realise that 'Prince Charming' isn't so perfect, that the pedestal we've set up is crumbling. Likewise he learns that we aren't always perfect princesses too.

That's why true love is unconditional. We learn to love our spouses just the way that they are, bad habits and all. We learn to forgive what they do because true love forgives and does not harbour resentment. What you feel when you first get married isn't really true love. That develops over time.. that's why in the early days its easy to hold on to things, to feel hurt and it isn't easy to forgive. That comes with years of practicing forgiveness and tolerance and denying selfish desires and surrendering the things that bind us.

Marriage is a 50/50 proposition.


No Way! In order for marriage to be all that its meant to be, you both have to give 100% of yourselves, your love and your commitment and passion. There shouldn't be any measuring of what's given or comparison done either. True love is not selfish or self-servicing, rather it is concerned only with the welfare of the other and is, in fact, self-sacrificing.

There's no room in a marriage for a third party...

Surprise!... yes, there is... GOD must be the center of your marriage. Without Him, the tidal waves of life are just going to turn your little love boat right over. You have to turn to Him in prayer constantly. When you need counsel, when you need comfort, when you need answers in your marriage... turn to God. Don't seek your answers in the world.. a world which doesn't support marriage.. a world where Satan rules and we all know that he is the mortal enemy of marriage and family life. Commit your marriage to Him right from the start and you will already have an advantage over other couples.

I'm no expert and I will repeat that even though I've been married for 21 years.. I am still growing, still learning, still being perfected. For a younger couple though who may ask 'What's the secret to your long marriage?' Here are some of my 'secrets'...

1) My secret tool for handling conflicts is "This issue is not more important than my husband and my marriage (works for when you're sweating the small stuff i.e. clothes left on the floor, petty arguments) I tend to use the visual.. I'd rather have my husband than have xyz. It even works on bigger issues too... it helps to put things into perspective. Is anything so important that I would rather not have him in my life?

2)Hold yourself accountable for maintaining your core values and your vows and commitment. (This means examine your motives constantly and be honest with yourself about where your actions take you.) If you recognise something threatening the integrity of your marital vows.. beat a hasty retreat out of there!

3)Always be open and honest... telling even small lies can catch up with you. Honesty is really important in building trust in a marriage. If your husband cant trust you in little things, he'll not want to trust you in the big ones.

4) Never keep secrets... there should be nothing about you or that you do that you cannot share with your spouse. If there is something, its very likely that it has the potential to undermine your relationship. Warning lights should be going off in your mind.

5) Dialogue is VERY important. Proper communication is necessary for a healthy relationship. You can't expect your husband to read your mind or guess your needs.. neither should he expect you to do the same. I learned this lesson the hard way and spent many years 'suffering in silence' when I should have spoken out about what I wanted and needed. Bear in mind that 'proper' means that there is a right way and a wrong way to have dialogue. You can come across as needy and demanding or disrespectful if done the wrong way.. which causes the man to shut down and shut out (another lesson learned the hard way!)

6)We all have hot points in our relationships.. you know, those things most likely to start a cold war in your house. Know your enemy... arm yourself with knowledge about those weak areas and learn how to keep them from taking control.

7) There is no place for pride in your marriage. It makes a cold bedfellow too. I don't know about you but I find it very difficult to ignore the voice inside me that urges me to make the first move to resolve a conflict. I find it impossible to go to bed angry.. unresolved issues keep me up all night (usually in a pathetic heap of crying flesh on the floor).

8) Be the change you want to see. You might be surprised to know that when you start giving what you want to receive.. somehow you actually start to receive those things. Removing our focus from what we want for ourselves to how much more we can give to our loved ones, somehow effects a change in them to want to please us as well.

9) Marriage is like a plant. It wont flourish unless you feed it with unconditional love, patience and tolerance, water it with sacrifice, forgiveness and trust and fertilize it with much prayer and faith.

10) You are the heart of the home. Your husband is the head. Your job is to nurture, support and love unconditionally. Your care is what makes the house a home, your love is the heartbeat of the family. Never forget the special role you play and how much your husband depends upon your gentle love to create a haven for him from the fierce gales of the outside world.

So, there is my rather long piece of advice to newlyweds or betrothed couples. There wasn't room for details, but I hope its of benefit to someone.

Writing it all down has served as re-affirmation for myself for tough days when I question my value to my family, my husband, the world at large. Here it is.. in black and white.. the truths of what a wife really is or should be. An ideal I keep on striving for.. its a journey not yet done.

God's blessings to everyone!

Would you go back in time, if you could?

I once took part in a survey that asked the question 'If you could go back in time, would you?' I thought long and hard about that. Wouldn't we all like to have the long, lustrous (grey-free) hair again, the slim figures, the free time? (Music playing.... images rolling by in a soft mist of flowing hair and laughter... freeze frame...fast forward...)

In all honesty, I have gone through times when I've looked at myself in the mirror and thought 'I wish I wasn't losing hair' or 'I wish I wasn't so flabby', 'I wish I didn't have all these stretch marks', 'I wish I could look the way I did 20 or 22 years ago'. Who hasn't?

This world puts so much emphasis on beauty and its version of what that is. You're only beautiful to the world if you have perfect skin, hair, wear a size 5 (?) and all your teeth are white and straight. You're only beautiful if you have the latest fashions, accessories and hairstyles.

Its easy to get caught up in the hype. You kiss your husband goodbye in your nightclothes and send him off into a world where he's surrounded by the secular and 'beautiful', where he is bombarded with images on billboards, newspapers, magazines, the computer screen, the office television, of what he should believe is 'beautiful'. There may even be 'beauty' all around him where he works.

As a homemaker, I've made sacrifices to be able to be at home. One of which is, I don't ever have the spare cash to run to the hair stylist for the latest style. Over the years, I've let my hair grow out, not coloured it or styled it for long, long periods of time. I haven't kept up with fashion because, firstly, I dress to please myself and not others, secondly, because we never have the extra money for me to go shoppping regularly. I'm too practical to spend money doing manicures and pedicures that I can give myself and which don't last anyway with my hands in everything they have to go in (can't see myself kneading bread dough with long red polished nails!)

Honestly, I have spent so much time in the past, worrying about whether or not I could measure up to the 'beautiful' standards of the world. That old adage that wisdom comes with age... its absolutely true! If I could go back, I would go back just simply to have the wisdom and knowledge I have now.

In my weak moments, I sometimes still feel a bit insecure about how I look, especially in relation to keeping myself attractive for my husband. Most of the time though, this is what I feel:

I've earned every single grey hair in my head, they are evidence that I'm growing in wisdom...

.....my stretch marks and c-section scar are evidence of the fruit of my womb.. 4 beautiful daughters

......................I may not dress like the 'beautiful' women in magazines and tv shows, but I know I don't embarass my teenaged daughters by trying to look as if I'm the same age as they are.(and believe me, they talk all the time about the parents of their peers!)

....................I could lose 20 pounds and I hope to, but when my husband holds me, he's loving all of me and my soft curves fit perfectly to him. His words, not mine ;-)

What is 'beauty' anyway?

Maybe, its what your husband sees in your heart.

Perhaps, when he looks at you in your nightclothes, kissing him goodbye, he's leaving with that image to warm his heart and the memory of the way you felt in his arms before he got out of bed.

Maybe, its what he sees when he strokes back the hair from your forehead and the shadows under your eyes tell him of the hours you spent awake with your sick child and he's thinking what a wonderful, caring mother his children have.

Maybe, its what he feels in the softness of your body when he holds you close, glad to be home and out of the pressures the world places on him.

Or, is it the love he sees in your eyes every single day. The way you 'kiss him like you mean it' (Courtney Joseph's words ;-). The sweet way you love him, hold him, support his dreams and goals.

What makes us beautiful to our husbands? Maybe we should ask them one day, but I know for sure, in my case, its definitely not what the world considers 'beautiful'.

Putting aside this rather shallow and vain reason to go back in time... I wouldn't want to be the person that I used to be. The woman that I am now has learned hard life lessons, been purified in the fires of trial and tribulation, molded and shaped by long-suffering endurance. She's shed self-centredness and vanity, learnt that you never stop learning and growing. Above all, she's received, by God's Grace, a new heart that continues to expand its capacity to love, forgive and nurture.

So, in answer to that question........

No, I wouldn't go back.. every single thing that I've gone through in my life has brought me to this point, has created me as I am. Is God done molding me? NO WAY, daily I see how much He's still working on me, on my marriage and wifehood, on my motherhood and on my relationships with others.

Growing older in God's grace is a wonderful privilege. I hope someday to be like the older couple I saw in my church a short time ago. Every morning, for about a week, they would sit in front of me and I marvelled at them. He looked ancient.. at least in his late 80's, yet his back was straight and he knelt reverently whenever he was required to. He held his wife's hand all the time. He touched her constantly, put his arm around her and assisted her to and from her seat, even though she looked much younger than he was and didn't appear to need any help.

His caring was evident in his body language as was his obvious reverence for God. I couldn't help but wonder how many years these people had been married. I wondered if God would also give my husband and I the grace to grow old together, if He would continue to bless our union and our love for each other and take us to newer heights each year.

So, as I go through each new season of life, I pray that I will embrace them and grow older gracefully and with wisdom to impart to the children of my children. And I pray that God will see fit to have my husband right there alongside me, holding my hand and giving me his love and support.

I wouldn't go back... would you?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This Blessing is For You

I wanted to share this Blessing with you..


(For some reason my links are not working... but please type in the url and view.. its well worth it, I promise)

God's beautiful creation is a blessing in itself. Whatever part of the world you are in.. whether you are already enjoying spring, still enduring winter, or like me, living in tropical splendour, I pray that you can worship Him and count your blessings right where you are!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I missed this last week because I had been ill with the flu, but here's my list for this week:

31. That His Grace IS sufficient!
32. That He loves me, even though I'm imperfect
33. That when I fall, He picks me up like a loving Father and kisses it better
34. For His angels who guard and protect us
35. For the cross of my Saviour
36. For the Precious Blood He shed to redeem us
37. For the Eucharist
38. For Eucharistic Adoration
39. For Eucharistic Healing
40. For a dear sweet priest who devotes himself to serving God's people (God bless him!)
41. For the 2 little birds that hopped around the church this morning, reminding me of God's covenant with me.
42. For Skype calls from a daughter in college, who tells me she still values my advice
43. For text messages from my sweet husband who tells me he's still in love with me
44. For technology that transmits my words all over the world
45. For beautiful bloggers who inspire and challenge me
46. For talented, inspired musicians and music that lifts my soul
47. For sweet comments and compliments
48. For a sweet 14 year old who babysits her sister and tells me she's never going to leave home ;-)
49. For a sleeping 4 year old and quiet time
50. For the rain which is gently cooling down a really hot day

In the midst of the crazy, hectic life and all the trials and all the little conflicts, looking deeper I can find so much to be thankful for. I've been walking around with a little notebook and writing as I go. I find this exercise is helping me to see the bigger picture... to look beyond the negative to see the hidden gold all around.

Love & Blessings

Do You Have Prayer Requests?

Good Morning Everyone!

Today is the day I hope to have a whole bunch of prayer requests to storm heaven with tomorrow.

God has placed it on my heart to pray for those who are hurting or in need of direction. There is so much to pray for. As I said in my blog of Monday, I read so many people's testimonies. I have been part of forums, in my own search for healing and connection with others. I even know some personally, as I'm sure most of you do as well. It is not only women who are hurting, so if you know of men, please include them.

Of course, we also continue to pray for the people of Japan. My mind cannot wrap itself around the level of destruction and the depth of suffering and pain they must be enduring.

Please leave a comment with what you would like us to pray for and it will be added to the list on my prayer altar and to the intentions we pray for together on Friday.

It was absolutely heart-warming and amazing to see the chain of prayer going out and covering so many thousands of miles. It made me wish I had a bigger blog and more followers.. how we would have stormed heaven then!

Scripture tells us in Matt 18:19-20 "In truth I tell you once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in Heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them."

I hope that you will join me tomorrow and every Friday in Lent to be a prayer warrior for those brothers and sisters who are in need of support. We may not actually be "meeting" in person, but I'm sure our prayers will gather together to rise like incense to Heaven.

Please let your friends and family know that we are praying so that they can join in too.. the more prayer warriors the better.

Thank you again, my friends, you have really stepped up to the plate and bat one for Jesus!

Keep shining! You are all such a blessing to me!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Aligning our will with the Lord's

This week in our study of the book of James, we see St James warning against making plans without without seeking God's will first.

James 4:13 "Well now, you who say, today or tomorrow, we are off to this or that town; we are going to spend a year there trading and making some money'" He is supposedly speaking to rich, arrogant people, but is he not also speaking to all of us?

I'm big on planning. I make lists, I keep notes, budget books. I hold on to old lists to help me remember to write new lists... sound familiar to anyone?

I don't like when the unexpected happens. I've never been an impulsive, "lets just do it" kind of person. That would describe my younger sister.. guess who was the one that had more fun growing up and made the rest of us get in trouble with her? ;-)

If I have to go somewhere, I need notice to pack everything we might need. I'm the girl who is most likely to have that thing you want cause I plan so much that I would pack a first aid kit just to go to the beach with everything including stuff in case somebody got stung by a jelly fish. I spend more time planning for a holiday and stressing the small stuff than anticipating the holiday itself.

James 4:14 "You never know what will happen tomorrow; you are no more than a mist that appears for a little while and then disappears"

Ah, the fragility of life... perhaps that's what makes some of us so cautious, careful... UPTIGHT!!

We're afraid to go and do things on impulse without planning for unexpected situations. We go everywhere with an umbrella.. even if the skies are blue. We wont leave the house without our credit cards or our cell phones.. just in case. We always need a safety net.. a back-up plan.

James 4:15 "Instead of this you should say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we shall be alive to do this or that'"

Do we really surrender to God? Do we really say "your will be done" in every aspect of our lives? When we have major decisions to make or have a problem? Sometimes we feel afraid to leave it all up to God, we feel that we must DO something or be prepared and have a back-up plan. I don't know about you, but there are times when I can't seem to let go and let God do His work and I gnaw on the problem like a dog with a bone.

Proverbs 16:3 tells us "Commend what you do to God and what you plan will be achieved" and in Proverbs 16:9 "The human heart may plan the course but it is Yahweh who makes the steps secure"

When we plan, do we acknowledge that God alone has charge of our futures? Do we accept that what we want and the way we want it may not be what His will is for us?

Oh, its been a long, hard road of purifying and being molded and shaped by our Creator. We all know what the fires of purification feel like.. when God is trying to take the dross from the silver so he can actually work with us, but....

.....s-l-o-w-l-y, God has been transforming me...

to rely not on my own human strength and intelligence but on Him...

not to plan for every eventuality but to trust in Him to take care of me and my family as well.

Praise God! He never does anything by half measure. He is taking my husband along for the ride too!

My testimony is this... two people who could be considered to be stuck in their ways, since they are both in their forties... are now becoming "let's just do it" people!

Not because we're going through middle-age crisis ha! ha!..

... but because we know that if He takes us to it, He'll take us through it! We know our Lord has got our backs, we know that He is in charge.

Of course its not always easy because we have our human natures to deal with, our weaknesses and the shadows of our old ways of thinking and acting, which tend to want to peek out in times of stress or when we're weak because we have not nourished ourselves enough with His Spirit and His Word.

I mean, I still make lists, I still plan.. and there are times when I still want to be in control and to DO something.. yet it has become easier to surrender. When it gets tough I get on my knees, I ask my husband to pray with me, I turn to God for strength.. He NEVER, EVER, disappoints!

The sweetness of surrendering to Him is unlike anything else in this world! What freedom there is in letting Him take the wheel and knowing that our destination is pre-ordained and crafted by a loving God who desires what is best for us. No more gnawing at bones, killing ourselves with worry.

One of my favourite bible passages is to be found in Luke 12:22-32 where we are told that we are not to worry... that God, who takes care of all His creation, will take care of us too, whom He has made in His own image and likeness. This has actually been my life verse these past 18 years or so. It was through this passage that I surrendered my life into His hands.

Having given up my job to become a homemaker and struggling to make ends meet, God formed a covenant with me one day, using a bird outside my bedroom window to remind me that he takes care of all things and if I am obedient to Him and do His will, He will do the same for me. "Luke 12:31 "No, set your hearts on his kingdom and these other things will be given you as well"


Want some examples of how our God repays our trust in Him?

Grace #1

My eldest daughter is at university in her 2nd year. We did not have the money to send her, yet we prayed and trusted that if God wanted her to go, somehow she would. After exhausting our savings in college applications and different fees, she narrowed down her choice to one university that had given her two scholarships. We still did not have the money.

As the day drew nearer for the deadline, her father and I just kept on praying, trusting that God would do what was best for our girl. Just a few days before the deadline to get everything organised, God placed it on the heart of one of our relatives and he offered to pay her first year! Oh, what a flurry of last-minute planning and purchasing! God even made it possible for me to accompany them as my husband was supposed to take her up alone. A tremendous grace from God as this involved airline tickets and a hotel room and rental car.

As the first year drew to a close, we had a little money in the bank... not enough to pay for the new school year. We knew that if God wanted her to continue.. he would provide. She was chosen, miraculously, out of a large number of students, to become an RA, which pays room and board. She also got another job (which in itself is a miracle) and has since earned another scholarship which reduced her fees and that is how she is still at university. We don't know how she's going back next year.. but we know that God wants her there and He'll make a way!

Grace #2

Recently, we made a snap decision to not send our youngest daughter to the school she's been registered for since birth (that's how its done here unfortunately, if you want to have a spot kept for you). I felt it placed on my heart that we should try another school. We, miraculously, got her name put on the registration list for this school at the last minute.

I was afraid to give up the spot at the first school because of the last-minute attempt to get her into the other. It was when I surrendered my fear to Jesus that clarity came.. I felt Him say that I had to trust Him and let go of that place. We talked it over and my husband agreed it was the right thing to do. When he called the first school to tell them that we were not going to accept the space, he was told that they would keep it for her anyway and if we changed our minds we could send her. Talk about an awesome God!!

We then found out that someone else who had registered before us for the new school was told that they were full, but we were called to attend registration! We registered her and, barring her passing an assessment (which is in God's hands.. totally!) she will attend this school come September, where she will be taught about her faith as part of the curriculum.

What a mighty God we serve!!

God has seen fit to leave that outlet for us, so that if she doesn't for some reason pass the assessment, she still has a place in the original school!

Sometimes it is only when we are willing to surrender the things that hold us, the things that we hold on to, that we allow God's grace to flow and only then can we see with clarity what His Divine Will is as everything begins to fall into place.

Grace #3

Our second daughter wants to go to university too.. where is that money coming from? Well, we just found out that she's been offered a scholarship at the university of her choice. We're not sure of the amount yet.. we'll find out tomorrow. Nevertheless, I think I see God's hand in this too.. another outpouring of His Grace upon us. I'll keep you posted!

These are just three examples... there are so many more I could share!

Surrendering our lives to God is the surest way to true peace. Planning but knowing that He knows best and His will is to be accomplished... accepting that Will and praying always, constantly for discernment of His will.

Lord, may my will always be in alignment with yours. Please grant me the wisdom and discernment to know your will and the grace and strength to accept it and to do what you ask me to do.

God's blessings be with all of you and thanks for reading this realllly looong blog! lol!

Shine on, shine strong for Jesus!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Update on Prayer Chain

Hi everyone!
I'm linking this post to Women Living Well Wednesdays in the hopes of getting more support in this prayer chain and to have others send in their prayer requests. Please view this blog for the details:


I just wanted to thank all of you for the wonderful support in the prayer chain started yesterday. I had so many responses and its been great to know that so many people joined in prayer.

Some of you had a late notice and may not have known if to do it seeing that it was really posted for one day and I realised I should have planned a little better and set it up so that we could all do it together on the same day.

With this in mind, I want to let you know that I am continuing to light my candle and pray as I have set up a list of names on my prayer altar to which I keep adding, so you can join in at any time.

On Thursday, however, I am going to set up a Prayer Request and you can leave comments with people's names or just what you would like to have prayers said for. Then on Friday, whoever wants to join in, we can all light our candles and pray for these requests.

Friday is a special day I set aside for the Lord in fasting and meditation and I know that any prayer made on that day is going to be powerful. I have decided that for the Lenten season I should do a little extra and this is a wonderful way to serve our Lord by being a prayer warrior for those who need the prayer support. I would really appreciate if you could help me to make it a really special sacrifice by sending in your prayer requests for others or yourselves.

Thank you for helping me to storm heaven with our prayers!

You are all shining brightly for Jesus and I know He's looking down and smiling at us. :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Keeping Our Bones From Becoming Dry

Week 9 Our Lives Are A Vapor

This post by Angela of Good Morning Girls really hit home today. We spent the weekend looking for updates on the disaster in Japan and praying for those afflicted. I was on medication for the flu and not too coherent most of the time. Today, I feel a little more clear-headed and looking at this video, plus reading a few other blogs suddenly awoke me from my stupor and cleared the fog that invaded my ability to write.

There are mothers out there grieving for their children today. There are people still in the limbo of not knowing if their loved ones are survivors or not... waiting for word, waiting with hope that may be quickly evaporating.There are those who are trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

Closer to home... I've read the blogs of women who are grieving for children who are lost to them because they have chosen to walk a different path, others who have lost children to heaven and a few who are going through trials with parenting, dealing with issues they are not sure they are prepared to handle.

There are women who are questioning their purpose, their choices, questioning whether they are good parents, wives.

There are women who are recovering from divorce or separation, or going through trials within their marriages.

Those who are grieving the loss of their spouses, trying to redirect their lives without the strong shoulders and arms to support them. What do you do when the "two become one" becomes one walking on his/her own? What overwhelming emptiness and grief must reside in the soul of one who has been separated from his/her soul mate.

So much pain, grief, anxiety and fear. What does one do when so much darkness seems to be descending, choking out the light of God's presence? We turn to Him for strength, we seek counsel and comfort in His Word. Even in the midst of our own personal 'deserts', we must search for the light or be strangled by the darkness. Brought low to our knees we have nothing and no one to turn to but our Creator, our Saviour and our Paraclete. Sadly, many people do the opposite, they turn inward to where resentment and bitterness dwells.

In Ecclesiasticus 3:1-3 we are told that there is a time and season for everything. We are further warned against despair in Eccl 38:16-24. In verse 18-19 ".. and then be comforted in your sorrow; for grief can lead to death, a grief-stricken heart undermines your strength."

Remaining buried in grief, leads to despair and weakens our Spirits to the enemy who preys on our weaknesses and uses them against us.

We are reminded that God has charge of our lives in Psalm 31:14-15 "But I put my trust in you, Lord, I say, 'You are my God.' My days are in your hands, rescue me from the hands of my enemies and persecutors" Sometimes those enemies and persecutors are our own thoughts and temptations.. like despair, lack of hope and trust in Him.. anger towards Him for allowing bad things to happen to us.

In worst case scenarios.. even turning from Him in our anger, grief and pain. We think, "Lord I'm a good person, I've done x,y,z. Why did this happen to me?" We then try to wrest control of our lives from Him and shut out the voice of the Spirit, cutting off our soul's life source, spiralling deeper and deeper into a pit of darkness.

We become like dry bones in the desert... Ezekiel 37:11 "..Our bones are dried up, our hope has gone; we are as good as dead."

Yet, He never gives up on us. He is always there, the Good Shepherd, coming after us, His lost sheep. We can take comfort in this word: Isaiah 58:11 "The Lord will always guide you, giving you relief in desert places. He will give strength to your bones and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never run dry."

Please join with me today..

Light a candle in your home and keep up a vigil of prayer for all of our sisters in Christ out there who are in desperate need of support. It is very easy, as I know from my own experience, to sink deep into grief and pain and end up like those dry bones.

Lord, we do not know them all by name.. but you do. All these mothers, sisters, daughters, wives who are in dark places of pain, fear, grief, hopelessness. You know each one's heart and each one's situation. We ask you to pour out your graces upon them now, give them strength and courage and the wisdom they need to deal with each aspect of their individual issues. We pray that they will turn to You and lean upon You and not upon their own understanding and human emotions. May their families and friends be sources of comfort and support to them and may you heal their broken hearts and fill all spaces with the healing light of your love.


May God's graces and blessings be with you all and thank you for participating... hopefully we will have one huge prayer chain of support for our sisters out there.. even ourselves in our own trials. Hope you all have a truly blessed day.

Keep on shining brightly for Jesus!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prayer Request

Hi everyone

I hope that you are having a better Friday than most. By now you will have heard of the disastrous earthquake in Japan and the subsequent tsunamis that have hit and are threatening several places including the west coast of America.

I humbly ask all of you to join with me in praying for those afflicted. We pray that God's mercies will be with everyone and that He will give the strength and courage to all who need it most at this time.

God bless

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In the Desert with My Saviour

I have been on a sabbatical, of sorts. It was a long holiday weekend in my country and we were at a house near the beach for a few days. It meant that I couldn't blog and I also couldn't keep up with my bible studies. I didn't have the peace or privacy to get quiet with God. As a result, my thoughts are all scrambled up and I feel disoriented and dis-organised. My spirit feels restless and strangely empty.

I know what is missing.. I am hungry! My spirit is hungering and thirsting for God himself. It acknowledges that it is nothing without Him. I have felt spiritually dry.. I've been in the desert . It has been my experience that sometimes God takes us to the desert to test us just as Jesus was in Matthew Chapter 4. In our weakness, as God tests us, the devil also comes to tempt us, just as he did with Jesus. Here, in this desert, I must find the strength I need to resist the evil, the temptations, to pray for God's will to be revealed, to pray for discernment. Here, in the desert, as I seek God, I feel the pain of my hunger and thirst. I reflect on how much I need Him and on how much I need His direction.. to have Him show me His way and His path.

Recently, I was meditating on the fact that it is not easy to choose God's ways and not the world's. It is painful to be different. I feel it... how much more so do my children feel it? Everyday I have to make that choice for God and it is never without some pull and tug from the world. We live in the world, it will always affect us, especially when the people around us are not living the same values, not living the Word. I am always at conflict, wondering how to not compromise my values in my parenting without driving my children to resentment... now that's a really hot topic for another blog!

How easy it is in the Sanctuary of God's presence to be all that He asks of us. I sit in the cool, quiet of the chapel and I pray...

Lord, I wish I didn't have to leave this place. Here it is easy to be who you call me to be. It is easy to feel your presence, to absorb your love, to be at peace. The minute I step out of this sanctuary, the world starts intruding... the noise and confusion of life invades my peace... steals it, shreds it. Inside your Sanctuary, where you shelter me in your Sacred Heart, I don't need to make choices.. YOU ARE everything. I don't need to guard my tongue or my thoughts or actions, for there in your presence I am surrounded by your beauty and light.

Yet, I have to go out... my God-given mission.. to be a light. I hear Him say "No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub" Matt 5:15 and I beg Him for strength to face the battering of the world. It takes more strength and courage than I could ever have on my own to walk the path of the righteous... and I slip.. so many times. I fail to guard my tongue, I fail to rein in my temper. I have bitter or jealous thoughts. Oh yes, my soul.. you are nothing without Him who created you, who nourishes you! I have to crawl back into the lap of His Grace and weep tears of shame and beg His forgiveness.

We learn in James 4:4 that to befriend the world makes us enemies of God..I will add that to serve God makes us enemies of the world. What a fitting way to begin the Season of Lent. Daily, we must make that choice, painful choices, choices that literally set us aside from others.. sometimes our own family, friends, neighbours.

James 4:7-8 tells us "Give in to God, then, resist the devil and he will run away from you. The nearer you go to God, the nearer God will come to you. Clean your hands you sinners and clear your minds, you waverers." What I learn here is that God Himself will give me the strength to resist the evil one and that the more I turn to Him, the stronger I will be. I must, however, repent of my sins to go before the Holy One. I must constantly make sure that I am in a state of grace so as to be worthy (as if we could ever really be worthy!) to go before Him.

I am indeed a wretched sinner, unworthy by my own efforts, yet by His Grace alone, accepted and loved for who I am, despite my weaknesses. In James 4:9-10 we are told to appreciate our wretchedness and weep for it in misery, that our laughter must be turned to grief and our happiness to gloom, that in humbling myself before Him he will raise me up. It is when I am brought to my knees through grief or pain, through the shame of my littleness, that I can see Him clearly, see His grace, see His mercy poured out as He raises me from the mire of my sinfulness and my weakness. There, on my knees, humble and repentant, I learn that my true joy is in serving Him, despite the difficulties of being His servant.

As I join my Saviour in the desert for the next forty days, I pray that I will be joyful in my sufferings and sacrifices for I must be grateful for every opportunity to unite my sufferings with His own and offer to Him my loving sacrifices in repentance and reparation, in thanksgiving.. for who can ever repay Him for His wonderful love and mercy, for the graces He pours out daily?

Thank you Lord, for you faithful love and mercy, for the strength you give to those who lean on you. I pray for my journey with you in the desert to be a fruitful one, worthy of being offered in reparation for the offences by which you are so greatly offended. May each of us be faithful to our Lenten promises and may you bless each one of my friends, especially those going through trials right now..may they find their strength and counsel in you. Amen

May God's graces and blessings be with you as you begin your own journey with our Saviour for a holy and fruitful season of Lent.

This post is linked to :

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Inspiring Women Series

Today I'm linking up with Cherie over at HeartandSoulReflections
for her Inspiring Women Series and I'm going to write about my grandmother.

My maternal grandmother, Violet, was 90 years old when she died. We often say that it was grief that ended her will to live. She had just lost her beloved son and just stopped eating and taking care of herself. We all grieved for the loss of one who was a true matriarch in our family.. but I should really start at the beginning.

My grandmother was a strong, resilient, resourceful woman. She had eight children, the youngest was two years old when her husband died and left her at the ripe old age of 45, a widow, with no true means of income. Ah, but Granny was such a resourceful woman. She didn't just sit by the window and cry like some of us might have done. She didn't even turn to the support of another man like others may have done (and from what I've heard she could have). She did everything she could to take care of her family. The older children chipped in to support her. My uncle, Kenneth, left school and took a job, my aunt left the nunnery and came home.

Granny raised chickens... all my life she had chickens (they'd come in through the back door if we left it open and mess on her floors and peck at her toes) They were more like pets than anything since Granny could never bring herself to eat one or even their eggs. She did, however, sell eggs to make ends meet back when my mother was a little girl. Mummy often talks about the lean years and how they used to eat whatever was growing in the garden.. sometimes they ate it for every single meal until that crop was finished. She also did cakes and actually made a few of the daughter's wedding cakes. (I believe my love of baking came from her ;-) There was no end to the resourcefulness that she employed to support her family.

Granny was one of the most frugal people you could ever meet. (I think I also inherited her frugal ways) She learned to save money, via the Credit Union and a form of savings called a sou-sou, which is basically an agreement based on honour whereby people pay into a fund and each one collects a 'hand', which is the total of all the payments put in. She actually sent 3 of her daughters to Catholic school, which was very expensive in those days. She saved and built some properties which she rented out to make money. Of course, this took many years to do and her children are the ones who benefited as they inherited the fruit of her labours.

She was devoted to her faith and heavily involved in her church. Granny would walk 6 blocks to church every day. She did that all the way into her 80's until her eyesight started to fade and it became dangerous for her. My memories of Granny picking out a bible verse for the day has never left me. I think she inspired a basic faith in me that sprouted and blossomed as I grew. One of my most vivid memories is from when I was about 9 years old and I had been accused of stealing by my teacher at school(if you knew how strict a disciplinarian my father was you wouldn't even think it!) I had been devastated and so afraid of what the repercussions would be, especially if nobody believed me, I would get punished by my father as well as the school. I remember telling my grandmother that nobody would believe me except God. That touched her and she immediately went to the bible.. I can't tell you what verse she got now, but she took it straight to the principal, who was a nun, and I was vindicated that day because of my Granny's faith.

Granny lovingly took care of us, my sisters and I, while my parents both worked. Her house was a hub of constant activity as all the grandchildren (and we were a huge bunch, at any time there would be at least 10 of us there) would meet there everyday and she would give us lunch and afternoon tea (school was right next door). She had a heart of gold and, even though she wasn't always verbal in her affections, she had so much compassion. She would constantly be helping others, even her grands who were struggling. She was always taking loans to help them out.

Every time I think of Granny, I think of running through the rain to get to her house and being stripped and given hot tea and a big old housecoat to put on and put into bed. We FELT her love.. even though she got grumpy sometimes and quarreled. It couldn't have been easy on her to have all these rowdy children making noise, writing on the walls of her house with chalk to play school etc. Yet, she was always there for us.. standing proudly at my wedding day, holding my babies, giving me little pieces of herself to cherish. There is so much I wish that I had taken the time to learn from her.. her knitting and crochet, her embroidery. I still cherish the pillowslips that she gave me for my hope chest, lovingly embroidered by her own hand and a dress that she had crocheted for me when I was a little girl is kept like an heirloom to pass down to my daughters, whichever one wants it.

She has left behind her a legacy of love and faith that has inspired so many of us and a huge family. I am so happy that at least two of my four children were able to know her before she passed on. Even the third child who was en utero knows stories of Granny and believes she 'knows' her. Perhaps Granny was in that spiritual realm where an unborn babe could hear and see her.

She taught me to be strong and independent. She never lost her independence and totally resented giving it up, even when she was ill. She lived on her own and did everything for herself, right up to her illness. I thank God for her wisdom and instruction in my youth and for the strength that she has passed on to me and my sisters and, indeed, all of her grandchildren.

I pray for her soul everyday and I know that I will see her in heaven. I thank God for the blessing and inspiration that she was to me.

Rest in peace Granny.. until we meet again... you live on in our hearts and memories