A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

What is stone heart syndrome?  Well, a stone heart can come from many sources, and certainly in this world filled with mean people, it’s easy to see how a person can have stone heart syndrome.  How many times can a person be hurt before their heart turns to stone?  Well, as a wise person once said…  that is up to the individual.  You can choose to take the hurt and save it and let future hurts add to that one until they stack up and the heart turns to stone.  But the better choice is to let go of the hurt.  How?  Pray and cry out to God.  Tell Him everything, holding nothing back (He knows it all anyway).  Ask Him to take your hurt… every bit of it.  

They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.”   Acts 16:31

Once you’ve rid yourself of all the pain and the hurt, ask God to give you something much better.  He will because He loves you so much!  He wants to give you a longing for the things He longs for…  the fruits of HIS precious Holy Spirit.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  – Galatians 5:22-23  

Regardless of education or experience, it’s true that only God can change your heart – from a heart of stone that keeps others at arm’s length, to a heart of flesh that has genuine compassion and a sense of empathy for other people.  God loves people more than anything.  We should too.  It’s not a quality that comes easily for some of us.  I’ve found that there are ministries for we introverts too.  When I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do, just one word came to me.  Encourage.    

Do I have to encourage others in person?  Well…  no I don’t.  I can encourage through social media – in my groups and on my pages.  I can encourage with a card or a phone call.  I don’t skype, but that’s certainly another way to encourage someone.  We all need encouragement once in a while.  I’m just so thankful that God can use me in that way for His glory!

Let His truth transform you.  Let His words conform you.  Let His Spirit indwell you.  Let His love restore you.  Kick the hurt to the curb and allow the Lord to give you His joy, peace and love.  Find Him and hold Him close because He will never fail you.   🙂

 

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NATIONAL KALE DAY

tl-10-5-national-kale-dayKale is the perfect companion for bacon and cheese as part of a healthy low-carb salad.  Anytime a vegetable is cooked, it takes some of the nutrients out of it, but I prefer kale a little wilted so I fry it up with my bacon to make it taste better.images-46Kale chips are pretty good.  They do provide that crunch that chips used to.  Are there really health benefits to eating kale?  Does it really give you a boost of energy like people claim?  My research tells me the answer to both questions is YES.

Since a low-carb diet allows many foods that have low or no fiber content, kale helps with a need for fiber, much like other types of lettuce and spinach.  It also contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which lowers glucose levels, increases insulin sensitivity and prevents oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes!  My ears perked up when I read that!  It also decreases peripheral neuropathy and/or autonomic neuropathy in diabetics!  This is good news for diabetics!!!

My theory is, if you can put enough stuff that actually tastes good (bacon, cheese, salad dressing) with the kale in your salad – it really sort of masks it enough that you can eat it without choking it down.  I’m being honest.  Have you tried to eat a piece of raw kale with nothing on it?  I rest my case.

I don’t juice because juicing is not the best choice for diabetics.  We need to keep the fiber intact rather than squeezing the juice from the fruit or vegetable.  The sugar content is found in the juice – and why would I want to ditch the fiber and keep the sugar?  That doesn’t make sense in my brain.kale

Kale is a super veggie, with more vitamins and minerals than spinach.  If you are lacking energy and seem to be dragging along, maybe you should try a salad with kale.  Use plenty of dressing – not a sweet dressing, but a blue cheese or ranch type dressing.  Read the labels before using – I prefer blue cheese but once in a while I use ranch.

Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, kale, collards, Swiss chard, and spinach are the most nutrient-dense of all foods.  – Joel Fuhrman

My kale salad is not as “fancy” as most recipes you’ll find because I don’t eat dried cranberries or pour sweet vinaigrettes over it, but for what it is, I think it’s good.

Kale Salad

INGREDIENTS:

6-7 cups chopped fresh kale leaves

1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6-8 slices cooked bacon, chopped

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

INSTRUCTIONS:

Basically, just mix this all together, tossing with your hands.

Add your blue cheese dressing and you’re good to go!

 

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MATTHEW 6:15 ON 6/15

TL 6-15 MATTHEW 6-15 ON 6-15

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  – Matthew 6:15

It would be good for all of us to remember that our Father will judge us with the same mercy, or lack thereof, that we judge others.  Ouch!  The greatest commandment we’re given is to love God and love each other.  We’re to be quick to forgive and that’s not always easy to do.  I believe God wants us to learn forgiveness not for the other person, but for ourselves – to maintain our peace of mind.

As we get older it becomes easier to forgive because we realize that it’s just not worth it to carry the burden around.  We quickly give it to God because we know He can surely handle it better than we can.  Once we forgive, we move on and we don’t turn around.  Just keep walking…

If we harbor a spirit of unforgiveness, it complicates and compromises our daily walk with God.  We need to be released from inner anguish and anger in order to receive the healing we need from God – and the only way that can happen is through forgiveness.  God doesn’t want anything to stand between us and Him.  Inner anguish and anger certainly qualifies as something that would get in the way of our relationship, don’t you think?FORGIVENESS

God loves us more than we can begin to comprehend, and He has a wonderful plan for us, but if we continue to let unforgiveness get in the way, He can’t work in our lives like He wants to.  I want to be forgiving so God can work in my life.

In our world, forgiveness is seen as weakness.  To forgive another person for wronging you is probably the most difficult thing to do and is, in my mind, a sign of great strength.  Some people think that you have to let the person back into your life after forgiving them – and again…  no, you don’t.  You forgive, but you’re not a fool – just keep walking.  Actually, there are some situations where you do need to allow people back in your life – but in those cases you need to set some ground rules with them so they don’t mess with you again.  An example would be family members.  You really can’t walk away from them, but they can hurt you badly.  Make it clear that you won’t tolerate it again.  Of course, we know that we are to forgive as often as necessary, but making sure they know the rules will hopefully be enough to take care of the problem.FORGIVING AND MOVING ON

God didn’t create doormats.  We’re not on planet earth to be walked on by others.  Being taken advantage of for our kind nature is not what God had in mind for any of us.  By the same token, God didn’t create us to walk around with a chip on our shoulder either – just waiting for the next person to come along and knock it off and start a fight.

There is an in-between there, and it’s found in a solid relationship with God.  If we understand our purpose for living – to share Christ with others – then we understand that no matter what happens in life, our Lord will provide a way of escape from it, and we have to be ready to face it, work through it, walk away from it and let it go.  Some of us don’t get much practice, and some of us get a great deal of practice.  Regardless, we need to know how to forgive and by God’s grace – forget it.  If we don’t, God can’t forgive us.  If you needed to find motivation to forgive, there it is.

Today and every day this is my prayer:

Father, please help me to forgive completely so that You can forgive me completely.  Help me to embrace all the good stuff and the good people You have placed in my life, and completely release the ones who have caused pain in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (22)I joined a gym.  I didn’t want to go to a gym where Barbie and Ken dolls strut their stuff all over the place and make people like me feel like a fat speed bump.  After careful and prayerful consideration, my husband and I landed at Planet Fitness.  I like the NO CRITICS signs and especially the LUNK sign that says if you drop weights or judge another person, you are a LUNK.  There are also signs around that say THIS IS A NO JUDGMENT ZONE.  Other signs say YOU BELONG.  Please LIKE their facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/Planet.Fitness.Wichita.KS.Maize/?fref=ts

Even though I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin quite yet, I feel comfortable there – I know I will reach my goals in that kind of environment.

We have been consistent so far, and I’ve not gotten discouraged at all, so I plan to continue this lifestyle for the long haul.  For the first time in such a long time, I feel hopeful about weight loss and finally FINALLY getting my health back!  I have hit the wall…  I have no choice.  It’s either get healthy or pay over $400 a month for the rest of my life to take insulin.  I’d rather pay the gym and do the work.  I can do this – I WILL do this!  I have to do this. 

I have to share what happened on June 3rd.  As I said, there are signs all over the place.  They also have TV’s mounted in the center of the gym so you can watch any station you choose.  There is a PF TV that shows music videos and the PF advertisements in-between videos.

As I was walking on the treadmill I looked up at a sign on the PF TV that I knew should have said, DON’T FORGET TO SPRAY DOWN THE EQUIPMENT.  I know you’re going to think I’m off my rocker, but I promise you, when I looked up at it today, it said, DON’T FORGET TO PRAY.  That’s all – the “S” was too far to the left of the screen to be seen, and the rest of the message was too far down and off the screen completely.DON'T FORGET TO PRAY

Did anyone else see it?  I don’t know.  Did God mean for anyone to see it but me?  I don’t know.  I saw it though and obviously He meant for me to see it.  All I know for sure is my God is so good and so creative!  If He wants to remind you to pray, He’s gonna find a way and do it.

Tears came to my eyes.  If I had been among my own kind – my own “tribe”, I would have said, “HEY, LOOK YOU GUYS!!!”  Obviously, I was not among my own kind, so I showed great restraint and kept walking, wiping tears that rolled down my face (maybe others thought it was sweat).  I had to look up and smile, because for whatever reason, my God cared enough for me to remind me to talk with Him today.

It’s not a hassle, it’s not too time-consuming, it’s not a problem to converse with Him.  Call me crazy (go ahead, I’ve been called worse, believe me) – but at the moment I saw that sign, it was like God was letting me know He really looked forward to our daily conversation, and He would miss me if I didn’t show up.  I love that He loves me and wants my company!  Remember the song that Larnelle Harris sang called “I Miss My Time With You” – ???  Yeah – like that.  ❤

I’m loved, I’m protected and I’m heard by Him!  How many people on this ol’ earth can you say that about?  Most people just wanna talk and never listen.  God hears me – He always listens because He is a gentleman.  When I’m done talking, it’s His turn to talk to me.  I gladly listen, study His Word and look for signs everywhere I go – even the signs at the gym!  🙂

 

JANUARY IS NATIONAL HOT TEA MONTH

JANUARY IS NATIONAL HOT TEA MONTH

There are stresses associated with winter, starting with the commute to work over ice and snow!  Some people don’t mind driving on ice, but I’m not in that club!  If I turn a corner and just keep turning – well, let’s just say I don’t find it amusing.  Then once you get where you’re going, there are unique stress factors depending on the day.  Stress is just a part of life, isn’t it?  How do you de-stress?SOMETHING ABOUT TEAChelmsford Tea is a wonderful place to rekindle friendships.  Just a quaint little shop, they have hundreds of blends to choose from.  They brew up a little cup of heaven – and it just melts the stress away.

https://www.facebook.com/ChelmsfordTea/

tea-party-1001654_1920

tea-party-1001653_1920

My mother’s favorite tea was Earl Grey.  I don’t particularly care for it – my tastes gravitate toward more sweet flavors, as did my Granny LaVella’s.  Right now I’m enjoying a cup of Sweet Cinnamon Orange from my favorite tea store, The Spice Merchant, in downtown Wichita.  Sweet Cinnamon Orange tastes like Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Sunset.  I’m sure Granny would share it with me…  oh if only!

http://www.thespicemerchant.com/cgi-bin/store/commerce.cgi

https://www.harney.com/harney-teas.html

When I was younger I hosted casual tea parties.  I put the kettle on and had various flavors to choose from.  Everyone picked their favorite and made their tea.  We’d sit around enjoying our tea as we talked about life in general – literature, work, family.  There was never a moment of silence, but so much laughter in my house…  making sweet memories with my friends!

Here’s my favorite poem from Lucinda Berry Hill, author of “Coffee with Jesus” & “A Second Cup with Jesus”.  A SIP, A PRAYER, A PEACE

12511717_1709602952617501_1918896943_n12507081_1709602795950850_1982825311_nPEACE

I knew my friend, Judy Janowski, author of Life is a Garden Party, would have some beautiful tea cups and teapots to share today.  Look at these – aren’t they pretty?

12511666_10206676656628829_705696226_n

12483700_10206676656708831_1855491165_n12498718_10206676656668830_2065899192_n12506928_10206676656748832_422857281_nThat last photo looks like she’s about ready to sit down and write her next book, doesn’t it???  Hint, hint, Judy!  

God has blessed me with author friends!  Deanna Stalnaker, author of Tea with Grandy Dee and Jesus, Me & Afternoon Tea, has been quite busy lately.  She’s in the process of writing a series of books called Women of God:  Lancaster County.  The first two books are complete.  More…  we want more.  ❤

Check out Deanna’s facebook pages:

https://www.facebook.com/deanna.stalnaker?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/teatimewithjesus/

https://www.facebook.com/KardeesAngels/?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/grandydeesjournal/?fref=ts

11828622_445582042288986_2918859347990320449_nThese days, my husband and I enjoy tea and blueberry scones together.  It’s a quiet pleasure, but one that seems to make all the cares of the day just melt away…  there’s just something about tea!  We are in no danger of running out of teapots or teacups around here!  There’s always time for tea, scones, smiles and laughter.  I can’t speak for others, but in my mind, the table setting at a tea party is just as important as the tea you choose to serve.  I enjoy our own Hall Autumn Leaf Jewel Tea antique dishes.  They set a very pretty table and are particularly nice for an Autumn Spice themed tea party.

1 JANUARY IS NATIONAL HOT TEA MONTH (WITH SCONES)

2 JANUARY IS NATIONAL HOT TEA MONTH (WITH SCONES)

Tea combined with prayer help you establish a positive state of mind:

If you think you are beaten, you are.  If you think you dare not, you won’t.

If you like to win, but don’t think you can It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.  For out in the world you find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will It’s all in a state of mind.

For many a game is lost ‘ere even a play is run,

And many a coward fails ‘ere even his work is begun.

Think big and your deeds will grow.  Think small and you’ll fall behind.

Think that you can and you will.  It’s all a state of mind.

If you think you are out-classed, you are.  You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win a prize.

Life battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man.

But sooner or later, the man who wins is the fellow who thinks he can.

Sometimes I like to enjoy tea in a present from a friend.  This mug and tea bag holder remind me of her belief in my abilities, which makes it easier to believe in myself!  I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!  🙂IMG_0005It’s a whimsical mug and tea bag holder made by GANTZ.  I was hoping you could read it from the photo, but apparently it’s too far away – or at least it is for me, so I’ll just write it here:

CREATIVI-TEA:

YOUR WONDERFUL IMAGINATION MAKES THE ORDINARY SPECIAL.  YOUR STYLE AND ARTISTRY SHINE THROUGH IN ALL THAT YOU DO.

Every time I use this mug, I’m reminded of her encouragement as well as her daily prayers for me.  It means so much!  It also inspired this poem:

POTENTIAL I TEA

CHRISTIAN AUTHOR'S VIRTUAL TEA PARTY & BOOK EXTRAVAGANZA 2016Enjoy tea time today and pray…  know that God loves you each and every day!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON

I don’t pay attention to how many people follow this blog, but if you are reading this post today, I humbly ask for your prayers on behalf of my talented friend, Lucinda Berry Hill.  We don’t know what the problem is, but we most definitely know WHO the Great Physician is…  Amen!

I want to share this bit of writing with you today.  I read it and had two thoughts:

(1) This is a long piece, and (2) I must share this even if it’s not in the form of a design.

Please read and pray.  Thank you!

MY FIRST NIGHT IN THE HOSPITAL

Lucinda Berry Hill, author of “Coffee with Jesus”& “A Second Cup with Jesus” © 2015

I’m sitting in this hospital bed looking for a pen.

I asked for my phone, some number, and oh yes,

My glasses.

But how could I forget a pen and some paper?

I am a writer, after all!

So I pray.

I pray that God will help my daughter sleep.

That she won’t feel tears in her eyes like I am,

And wonder where they’re coming from.

But that He’ll give her peace and help her sleep.

I pray that my husband will be comforted.

I know being in this hospital must bring back memories

Of the last time he saw his beautiful mother.

I pray for the person out in the hall.

Whoever works a mop at 12:00 at night needs prayers.

How do I know it’s a mop?

I’ve been professional cleaning for over 27 years.

I know a mop when I hear one.

And oh, those trash bags!!!

So, I pray for them.

Maybe they’re paying for college,

Maybe their little ones are home in bed.

Maybe they like the night shift.

Praying for all possibilities out in the hallway.

I hear someone nearby faintly crying.

I pray for their comfort

And the comfort of their loved ones at home.

I pray for my mom, 400 miles away;

I know as a mom now myself, she’s hurting.

I pray for her comfort.

I pray that maybe my night in the hospital

Will reunite some estranged family members.

I wonder what’s going on with me.

Is God gonna make me better than I was when I came in?

Will I have my strength back,

Being able to live a better and more vibrant life than before?

And then I wonder,

If it were my time to go,

(I’m sitting by myself in a hospital bed, of course I’m gonna go there)…

And I say yes!

My daughter is my main concern,

And if I don’t have her covered,

I can rest assured my God does!

She couldn’t be in better hands.

I know she will have a beautiful life.

Maybe not with beautiful things and people,

But with God’s beautiful,

With love, joy, peace and hope!

And then “she” enters;

A pretty young girl coming to draw more blood,

Part of an every 2 hour cycle.

And she asks,

“Do you need anything while I’m here?”

I said, with a giggle, “Do you have a pen?”

She did and said I could keep it.

Good thing, because I had a lot to write about and then

I prayed the Lord would keep her in His hands also.

I did a lot of praying that night

For so many people I didn’t even know;

And when in pain

I sang with Jesus.

**************************************************************

Lucinda, this is my favorite writing to date!  You are in my prayers, sweet friend!  May God richly bless you!  ❤

 

 

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.  –  Proverbs 14:26

We all know there are five stages of grief:

  1. DENIAL
  2. ANGER
  3. BARGAINING
  4. DEPRESSION
  5. ACCEPTANCE

WAITING WHILE I WAIT

I can’t forget the loss.  Am I supposed to forget???  I keep asking, “What’s next, Lord?”

Here’s the deal…  about the time I’ve reached acceptance and think, “I’m gonna be okay”, something happens and I’m suffering a setback of sorts.  Maybe this is God’s way of keeping me humble.

It may not help that I’m still living in the city I grew up in, but  I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.  If I were to leave Wichita, I think I’d feel like a fish out of water for a very long while.

Yesterday I was driving to the Walmart and had a little time to kill.  I decided to drive by my childhood home.

As I slowly crept down Charles Street, so many memories came to mind, starting with the street itself.  I remembered a dirt road.  For the first three or four years of my life, our street was dirt.  Then I noticed that the barbed wire fence around our neighbor’s field was gone.  John had 3 horses in there for years.  We had an apple tree in the back yard, so the horses got to eat apples once in a while.  I enjoyed feeding them!

Mom and dad had a non-fruit bearing, flowering crab apple tree in the front yard – only it DID bear fruit – and boy was it a mess; however, along with the messy crab apples were the most beautiful dark pink flowers!  I remember my mom in the yard with a rake picking up the crab apples every year.  The raking would begin around late August or early September.  I guess that struck a chord inside.

Then I lost it – I just lost it – again!  When does that stop happening???  The floodgates opened over a memory about crab apples???  Seriously???

The answer from God seems to be, “Bloom where you’re planted”.  So, here I am!

Am I stuck, or is the enemy trying to make me feel that way?  Is it bad to bounce from one stage to the other?  Some days I do just fine, but I guess I set myself up for a relapse.  How can I ignore the house where I grew up?  I was just a few blocks from it and decided to go visit some memories.  Maybe I need to visit so I don’t forget.  Yeah, like I could ever forget…  not gonna happen.  🙂