A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (15)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  – Philippians 4:6-7

Anxiety is something that many people struggle with – including me.  I’m not particularly depressed, but I have a black belt in anxiety.  God tells us what to do when we begin to have irrational thoughts and feel pressure as thoughts of the future seem to overwhelm us in the present.  We need to pray – be thankful to God and tell Him what we need.  If we will do that, He has promised to give us peace – the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.  It’s a peace that will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.2

I’m not boasting, but my doctor has asked me for years if I want some medication for anxiety – but I have said no.  I’m going to do what Dr. Jesus prescribes.  He has seen me through and has never let me down.  I want my heart to be less stressed, less worried, less overwhelmed and less uncertain about the future.  I want a healthy happy heart that prays and is thankful for the present.  God’s Holy Spirit is the present in my present.  He’s in control of today and tomorrow.  Yesterday doesn’t matter – it’s over.  No amount of thinking or praying, for that matter – can affect yesterday.

I’m also going to cut myself some slack about my anxiety issues.  I was reminded today that everyone has some degree of anxiety about the future – it’s a very human condition.  While I know the answer to anxiety is definitely prayer, I also realize I’m human – so human.  3

So…  I’m going to make a real effort to focus on RIGHT NOW.  Dr. Jesus says to lean on Him and not on my understanding.  He already knows about tomorrow and doesn’t think it’s necessary for me to know about future events.  I’ll tell you…  right now – I’m in a warm house with a computer that works.  I’m paying my bills on time and drinking a hot cup of coffee.  I’m saying a prayer of thanks to God…  I thank Him for right now.  He is good.  He’s always been so good to me.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)Wichita has had some dandy storms the past couple of days.  There’s been some damage to roofs and a couple of fences have blown over, but we’re not in the path of Hurricane Matthew!  Isn’t it strange how when it’s put into perspective, a fence being destroyed becomes small stuff?

Hurricane Matthew has killed more than 100 people in the Caribbean alone and portions of Florida have evacuated, while parts of South Carolina and Georgia still may need to evacuate.

Today’s post is a reminder to all of us to pray for those in this devastating hurricane’s path.  I want to share two poems that Lucinda wrote.

all-needs-in-all-places

how-to-sleep-through-a-stormTo be honest, I don’t sleep well during a storm, so this advice hits home with me.  We all remember the story, don’t we?  The story is shared in Matthew, Mark and Luke, but I like the account in Matthew the best.  That, and I like the irony that the hurricane’s been named Matthew.  😉

24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”  – Matthew 8:24-27

Let’s pray.

God Who not only created this world, but Who is in complete control of it,

You already know what lies ahead for each of us.  Father, You are aware of the loss of life, the loss of property, the devastation that folks in the Caribbean have suffered.  We pray for healing and for Your comfort to be with them at this time.  Lord, touch the survivors and give them an extra dose of Your peace and love, as shown by Your people.  We are Your workers, Your hands – guide us to do whatever it is that You’d have us do.  We cannot begin to know what it’s like to start all over again, building from scratch while hoping that what you build does not get destroyed.  We pray for the kind of strength and wisdom that only You can provide.  We pray for Your peace and love be showered on them as they rebuild.  Lord, hear our prayer, for we humbly ask these things in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

There’s another storm howling outside as I’m writing this.  The winds are strong, but not hurricane force.  I sit snuggly in my recliner, trying to see through my bifocals that need a serious cleaning – lol.  But, I’m safe.  I’m warm.  I’m dry.  My house is in one piece.  For all that, I am so grateful.

Take time in your busy day to pray for Hurricane Matthew victims.  May they find a supernatural strength to keep going forward.  May God bless those who lost loved ones especially.  May God bless those who lost property.  Many prayers being said for them today.  🙂

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDI know that it’s more difficult to get into Christmas because of the terrorists attacks.  Believe me, I’m very saddened that once again our country has been a target – a soft target.  In spite of these happenings, we as Christians have a HOPE – in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is worthy of our praise and worship.  He came to earth to save us and we celebrate that fact.

Click image to enlarge

Today’s goal is to take some photos of God’s beautiful creation.  I find photographs of beauty soothe my troubled soul.  Let’s take a moment today to thank God for all the beauty around us.

I need this flower in my hair - and matching gloves!
I need this flower in my hair – and matching gloves!
What a lovely shot of the sun with the snow!
What a lovely shot of the sun with the snow!
Awe... how cute are they???
Awe… how cute are they???
Will you walk toward the sun or away from it?
Will you walk toward the sun or away from it?
When was the last time you made a snow angel?
When was the last time you made a snow angel?
The allure of this photo should seem obvious... COFFEE!!!
The allure of this photo should seem obvious… COFFEE!!!
A frosty pine tree branch. Isn't that pretty?
A frosty pine tree branch. Isn’t that pretty?
Isn't this nice?
Isn’t this nice?
Alpine... wow!
Alpine… wow!
Do you ski??? Not me... I'm not even almost athletically inclined.
Do you ski??? Not me… I’m not even almost athletically inclined.
I don't know much about birds, but aren't they pretty?
I don’t know much about birds, but aren’t they pretty?
Covered bridges are so romantic - even in the snow!
Covered bridges are so romantic – even in the snow!
I like that fence - it looks better covered with snow.
I like that fence – it looks better covered with snow.
Isn't God's creation majestic?
Isn’t God’s creation majestic?
This looks so serene.
This looks so serene.

grand-canyon-981717 grand-canyon-956723Did you know it snows at the Grand Canyon???  I didn’t – but then, I’ve never been there – not even in good weather.  It’s on my bucket list to visit – and I’ll get there someday – sure hope to.

This forest is a wonderland of snow.
This forest is a wonderland of snow.
They look like crystal, don't they?
They look like crystal, don’t they?

The last ice storm we had here in Wichita was back in 1993.  I remember standing outside where it was so quiet – then suddenly there would be a loud CRACKLING noise – the sound of branches breaking off trees from the weight of the ice!  It’s a weird sound to be sure.  The folks just northwest of us had an ice storm over the Thanksgiving holiday – just in time to mess up their plans.  😦

Hopefully these photos have helped us focus on God and have reminded us that He is in control – of nature, the climate, man and the future of everyone.  May God richly bless you today.  🙂

 

OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

TL OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.  – Unknown

I had a unique opportunity to interview our favorite Christian poet, Lucinda Berry Hill about a very painful time in her life.  This post is a lesson for us because we never know the struggles that others have faced and overcome.  We don’t know why these circumstances have to be, but we most definitely know that God can and will work in our lives to help us through.  I appreciate Lucinda being so candid and opening up about this part of her life.  It’s our hope that someone will be helped or at least be assured that they are not traveling this road alone.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge
SURVIVOR FIRE

Whether you think you CAN or think you CAN’T – you’re probably RIGHT!  – Unknown

ME TOO

Q: When did you first realize your situation was not good?

A:  Well, of course he didn’t start hitting me until he had me far away from family and friends.  I was barely 18 when we started seeing each other.  I was too naïve to even notice the emotional and mental abuse.

Q:  Did he ever apologize after he hit you?

A:  Oh my gosh, no!

Q:  Did you notice any particular triggers that would set him off?

A:  My “long face”.  One time we were cleaning a machine shop.  I was sweeping the floor and I wasn’t smiling while doing it, so he put my arm in a vice grip attached to a work table.

Q:  Do you believe you ended up with Stockholm’s Syndrome?

A:  Absolutely!

Q:  Could you see the hand of God working in your life along the way at that time?

A:  Only in the fact that he didn’t kill me like he threatened so many times.  He used to tell me he’d chop me up and put me in the river.  No body…  no crime.

Q:  You were away from family and friends.  Were you allowed to make phone calls or write letters to them?

A:  Yes.  He never actually told me I couldn’t.

Q:  Can you pinpoint anything that helped you through this time?

A:  Nope.  I’d say my innocence, maybe.

Q:  In the ten years of domestic violence, did you ever leave and then come back?

A:  Yup!  Twice.  But I was trapped.  When I left, I went to my mom’s.

Q:  Did he ever come to your mom’s house to take you back?

A:  Sort of.  One time he was in the area stalking me.  He left a present in my car while I was working.  I guess that was his way of letting me know he was still in charge.  The second time he came, I’m not sure what his intentions were, but I wasn’t there.

Q:  Did your mom say anything to you that made you rethink the situation?

A:  Nope.  My mom didn’t believe me when I finally told her.  We were in counseling after the fact, and she told them she thought I was the crazy one.  That’s how charming abusers can be.  No one would ever know.

Q:  What finally made you decide to get away?

A:  When I started envisioning me killing myself or him.

Q:  Would more support from friends and family have made much of a difference?

A:  Probably not much because he had me under his control.

Q:  Describe the day you escaped from him.

A:  I don’t remember the first time.  Isn’t that odd?  The second one, he was literally holding me hostage!  His sister came to pick me up while he was gone and met my step-dad halfway where she dropped me off.

Q:  At that point you were finally free from him once and for all?

A:  Yup!  Because he ended up in jail!  I’m not sure what I would have done if that had not happened.

Q:  What would you say to a woman in similar circumstances?

A:  You’ve got to leave before something happens that can’t be fixed!  He doesn’t deserve that kind of control of your life!  There is nothing out there in the world…  not loneliness, not lack of job or education, nothing that can hurt you more than he can!

Click image to enlarge

Did you catch the common word throughout the interview?  I caught it as I was asking questions…  CONTROL.  It may begin with small things.  If a man will not let you leave the house, for instance.  If he is a control freak by nature, then the tendency to want to hold you on a tight lead may come naturally.  Don’t be afraid to let him know you are uncomfortable with it.

A couple should be a team – equal partners.  Both need to feel free to speak, to think for his / herself.  When one begins to exude CONTROL – either mentally, emotionally or physically – it’s time to reassess the situation.

We love Lucinda, and we are so thankful for her testimony!  She loves God with her whole heart and writes of His faithfulness, His goodness and His grace every day!  We’re thankful that God gave her survivor fire along with His Holy Spirit.

HE MADE ME TOUGHER

I want to post a couple of websites for you today.  If you or someone you know needs help, please call these fine folks.

http://www.thehotline.org/

http://www.wordoflifecounselingcenter.com/

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

Paint your ring finger purple.
Paint your ring finger purple.

What can you do to help?

By painting your left ring fingernail purple, the color of the anti-domestic violence movement, you will show the world your vow to end domestic violence and support Safe Horizon and the survivors it serves. In addition to painting your left ring fingernail purple, you can also show your support by spreading the word on social media with #PutTheNailinIt or, most importantly, by donating at safehorizon.org to help victims safely become survivors.

Be blessed and well today – and peace be unto you and your household.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (22)

11402971_488529517977505_6034322053657196928_n

It’s difficult to erase years of conditioning – but now at age 54, I’m learning an important truth:  SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH.  It’s not a sin to take care of this one and only body that God gave me!  There is a difference between taking care of yourself and being completely wrapped up in your own needs while excluding others.

I think a lot of baby boomers struggle with this same issue.  We were raised in church and learned that everybody’s needs come before our own.  To a degree I guess that’s true, but I’ve finally learned that you cannot care for anyone until you care for yourself.

Winning at weight loss taught me that I have control over my looks and my life.  – Diane Gurden

I SUCCEED IN YOU

With 12 pounds gone comes less body fat and yes, more confidence, I am still not comfortable with the idea of control – I want to always be careful to give God the glory for any of my successes.  Left to my own devices, I might fail – but when I give Him the glory, I remember to lean fully on His love and power – and especially His wisdom, which hello – is better than mine!

An important lesson I’ve learned is that carbohydrates matter.  It’s not only about the grams of sugar in food – in fact, I’ve eaten more fruit lately than snack crackers.  Even though fruit has natural sugar, it is just that – natural.  It counts, of course – but carbohydrates do more damage than natural sugar.

These days I do not use the word CAN’T.  I never say I can’t eat (fill in the blank).  I either say I don’t want it (if I think the nutritional price is too high) or I may eat that later – (and then don’t.)  Sometimes I have to psych myself into thinking I’ll revisit a food – and make myself get involved in something else to take my mind off of it.  I celebrate small victories, like when I manage to pass on a high-carbohydrate snack.

I’ve learned the importance of hydration and the early to bed advantage!  Drinking enough water helps diabetes stay in check.  For years I did not recognize the signs of dehydration, but now I know if I feel dizzy or weak – I probably need some water.  The way to combat those late night cravings is to go to bed early – then it’s easier to get up earlier and get my workout finished first thing – what’s the second thing?  COFFEE…  of course!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (14)

Today I want to share a praise report with you!  I’m so excited and grateful to God that my Hemoglobin A1c is 6.4!!!  I’m so grateful for His loving kindness and guidance on this journey!

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  – William Arthur Ward

This is an actual surgery using the di Vinci robot.  Using a single port, it’s an outpatient procedure.  I was in surgery at 11am and going home by 3pm.  Amazing!

I think I had such a sick gallbladder for such a long time – it was really messing with me.  Now that it’s gone, the struggle to maintain control of my type 2 diabetes seems to be so much easier!

Since surgery I’ve very easily lost 12 pounds and a few inches from my waist.  It’s not about looks with me – but hey, nice side effect anyway.  The best news was my lab report – I never thought I’d be considered a controlled diabetic!  My blood pressure also went back to normal after surgery.

The surgeon said my gallbladder was red, swollen and angry.  I probably waited too long to get it removed.  I wish I had gone in for surgery sooner.  If I had known then what I know now, I surely would have!

I still have to eat right and exercise every day, but I refuse to look at the long-term – I choose to look at the moment and take it one moment, one food choice, one exercise choice, one hydration choice – at a time.  I want and need to be smarter – and keep asking God for help when temptation comes my way.

The most impressive part of this journey has been the incredible amount of energy I have now!  I feel so much better – it’s hard to explain, but every time I think about how much better I feel – it makes me cry because I was blaming so much on age.

I SEEK YOUR WISDOM

Diabetes will always be with me, but it sure is a great feeling to know it’s finally under control!  I’m not saying that everyone with a high A1c has a malfunctioning gallbladder, but in my case – it seems that was part of the problem.

Who knew?  Wink!  😉

 

THANKS LIVING DAY 4

TL THANKSGIVING

PRAYER FOR AMERICA

 

 

Today I want to say GOD BLESS AMERICA and I am so very thankful for my freedom! I have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Those are not to be taken lightly and not to be taken for granted. I pray that our country will wake up before it’s too late. Obviously I have some very strong right-wing opinions. I don’t think anything should be taken away from Americans. When you start taking freedoms away from us, you do not strengthen us as a people, but make us more dependent on government. I do not wish to be dependent on the government.

There’s a post I’ve seen on facebook that reads “No matter who is president, Jesus is King!” I smile and shout GLORY every time I see it. That’s the bottom line – we know these things have to take place in the last days. I’ve read the back of the BOOK – Christians – we do win in Jesus’ Name! Praise Him today. God has kept every promise He’s made, hasn’t He? Why would He not keep this one too?

I don’t mean to get all “preachy” today, but I get emotional and opinionated when my freedom in America is threatened. Freedom is not free. Men and women have died so that I might enjoy the freedoms I have. It’s time to wake up, America! Think about what is going on in our country now. Step out of your little world and see the big picture. Is this the direction you really want to see us go?

Jesus will come back for His own – and He doesn’t even know when that will be. God alone knows when it will happen – but my Bible tells me it will happen. We are told of some signs to look for – and from the look of things now – it could happen any time. I know people have preached the second coming of Christ for a long time and it hasn’t happened yet, but think about it this way: we are closer to that day today than we were yesterday, right???

Thank God for the way of the cross – for without the cross there would be no hope of salvation for any of us. Thank God for America and the freedoms we enjoy here. I pray we stay on a path that reinforces the freedom that our founders envisioned from the beginning.  🙂