Sleepless in Shushan

Have you ever had a night when you just couldn’t sleep

because those little night gremlins

wormed their way into your head

and began gnawing on the edges of your mind?

Once in a while, night can become Satan’s playground. We may be unable to fall asleep or may be awakened out of a sound sleep, ripped away from resting and thrust into groundless fear that forgets faith for a frightening moment. But if we know and love the Lord, it’s only for a moment.

“The mind is a beautiful thing,” they say. But what if it refuses to settle down and sleep?

What if your lovely gray matter decides to take the night off?

What if it says, “Nope, we’re going to think about every little detail of the day and take over the night, whether the rest of you likes it or not?”

Now, right here, is the perfect spot to give you a magical list of six great ways to solve sleeplessness.

Really? Are there any?

Sure, there are ways to help, like count sheep, deep breaths, recite scripture, think lovely thoughts, sip warm milk, or just give up and get up. You know them all and have probably tried them all.

But, once in a while, there may be a good reason why you’re wakeful.

 In the Bible, in the Book of Esther, King Ahasuerus was sleepless in Shushan the citadel.

“That night the king could not sleep. So one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king” (Esther 6:1).

Queen Esther’s husband, King Ahasuerus was troubled with his wakefulness and called for someone to read him boring records so he’d fall asleep. But there were reasons for the king’s inability to sleep.

Good, sound reasons.

If the king had slept, he’d have missed what was written in those chronicles that ended up being instrumental in saving Queen Esther and her people from certain death.

God is in the details of why the King couldn’t sleep.

Could He be in the details of why we sometimes can’t sleep or wake up unexpectedly? Can that happen to us?

The king couldn’t get to sleep. But what about when you’re awakened from a deep sleep with a sense that something’s not right.

You get up and go directly to your child’s bedside–and discover a fever that needs your immediate attention. Or there’s an uneasiness, you can’t seem to go to sleep, and you rise. You’re drawn to turn on the TV and find there’s an overwhelming need for prayer. On the west coast, a gunman is holding many hostage—terrified people. And you’re certain they’re praying. They need prayer. And you pray.

Or what about the time you really wanted to watch the blood moon lunar eclipse but were just too bone weary from a difficult day. You tumble into bed and forget to set the alarm.

Then suddenly you’re wide awake. You glance at the blue digits on the clock. Three-thirty-two.

Did You do that, Lord?

And instantly, your bare feet are on the floor taking you to the front porch to feel the world move beneath you.

You stand in awe of the wake-up call and the sight of earth-shadow inching across the rugged face of the moon, the power and glory and mastery of God. An eclipse you would otherwise have slept right through.

But you know. You’ve been there too.

We love and serve an awesome God. There is nothing He cannot do. That includes the dearness of waking His child, whose little one needs her or whom He knows will pray for others or who has the desire to enjoy His creation, right on time.

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2 NKJV).

“Keep sound wisdom and discretion so . . . when you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:21, 24 NKJV).

Saint Teresa of Avila has the last word this week. I love this quote. Savor its depth and insight.

“God gave us faculties for our use; each of them will receive its proper reward. Then do not let us try to charm them to sleep, but permit them to do their work until divinely called to something higher.” Saint Teresa of Avila

Love,

Sally

Walk in Beauty

Oh Great Spirit, whose breath gives life to the world, and whose voice is heard in the soft breeze; we need your strength and wisdom.

Cause us to walk in beauty.

Give us eyes ever to behold the red and purple sunset.Make us wise so that we may understand what you have taught us.

Help us learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.Make us always ready to come to you with clean hands and steady eyes,

so when life fades, like the fading sunset, our spirits may come to you without shame.

Amen

A traditional Native American prayer, and my heart so easily turns to God as I repeat it. I found it in the back of an old hymnal a long time ago, and the words never fail to impart a sense of peace, serenity, and oneness with our Heavenly Father.

“Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the Lord is His treasure” (Isaiah 33:6 NKJV).

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17 NKJV)

Do you have any unusual prayers or blessings you enjoy? I’d love it if you’d share one in the comments.

With clean hands and steady eyes, may the Lord cause you to walk in beauty, strength, wisdom, and understanding with Him, every day.

Distinctively Different

It’s an honor this week to have as my guest, Noelle Brani. Noelle is a senior in college, majoring in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Christian Counseling. I’m sure you’ll find Noelle’s post as interesting and thought-provoking as I did.

Noelle writes:

As I grew up, I realized some of the ways I’m different from others. I was raised in a single parent family, I’ve always been petite, and I was home schooled in a town where being home schooled was a little uncommon. Along with those differences, I was adopted. My mom made a different, bold move and chose to adopt me from Russia when I was six months old. Today, I’m still called “little one” at five feet tall, I still live in a single parent family, and I’m no longer a home schooled kid, but I’m thankful that I was.

Have you noticed the many photos young girls have posted on social media of themselves that have the hashtag “#basic” printed beside their photo? The hashtag is there to indicate how the girls feel about themselves—and/or how they want others to feel about them. They don’t want to be pointed out as being different, as in unusual or unique, only that they are “basic,” or “normal.” Being different is something that many people, young or old, seem to fear. I think it’s a sad statement that they feel they must tell the world that they are not different, that they are just like everyone else.

It’s amazing to me how our culture has changed. When I was a little girl, everyone seemed more relaxed in just being individual—being themselves. Sure, the fads and trends came and went, but people loved being themselves—you could see their individuality. And I remember being a teen and looking around me, wondering, Why is someone’s social status dependent upon the brand of jeans they wear? 

How shallow our world seems to have become. I think one reason we see so much of the same type of style, whether it be shoes, or clothing, or name-brand items when we walk into a school or even a church, is because many of us, no matter our age, are genuinely afraid of being “on the outside,” or that more sensitive label, “different.”

I sit here writing this and smile, thinking back on how I’ve always been the shortest person in the group, whether in dance class or church or school activities. Even now, at twenty-one, my friends and I joke around that I’m the oldest, but the shortest person in the room. In Psalm 139:14, the Bible says, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your Works are wonderful, I know that full well.” What a blessing! To know that God not only loves us, but He designed us. All we have to do is know it and believe it.

Everywhere I go, every single day, I’m proud of girls who dare to be different. I’m proud of them because they’re accepting themselves as individuals, and thriving. They’re finding the unique qualities that make them who they are. I will forever be joining them and walking alongside them because being different is nothing to be ashamed of! Perhaps we’re not basic; maybe we all just share a little basic insecurity. Truth is, we’re all different and we’re all unique.

I’m thankful that I’ve embraced being different, and I hope you will accept being your unique self, too. God created us to be so much more than basic.

Celebrate and embrace being you!

Are you accepting yourself as you are?

Noelle and I would love to have your input! Please leave a comment for us.

A little about Noelle Brani:

Noelle Brani

Noelle Brani has always enjoyed school and her dream of attending college at Liberty University began when she was five years old. Now a senior at Liberty, she’s working toward her major in Early Childhood Education and recently started her career in her minor, Christian Counseling. Noelle couldn’t be happier. Being with children is a favorite way of spending many hours of Noelle’s spare time. She has always loved to write and is excited about sharing her first post on Everyone Has A Story blog. She hopes to continue in her journey as a young writer by doing more blog posting in the future. Noelle cherishes her relationships with her friends, and is devoted to her Lord Jesus, calling Him “the most loyal Friend I have.” It says something about Noelle’s heart to include that her favorite movie is The Lion King and its memorable quote, “Remember who you are.”

Thank you, Noelle. I’ve loved working with you on your post and having you join my list of honored guest posters! May God abundantly bless you as you finish college and launch your new career in Christian Counseling.

And those of you who follow Everyone Has A Story might recognize that Noelle is the daughter of my friend and fellow writer, Sharon Brani, who was a guest here last December. It’s been a joy to have both mother and daughter as my guests.

Have a great week!

Sally

Count the Stars

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things”
(Philippians 4:8 NIV). Paul of TarsusAngelic guardian of Time

Thinking about things excellent and praiseworthy:

“In the beginning . . .”
When our time began . . .
God divided the light and dark to carve out day and night—the framework of our time.
“So the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:5
And we began to count.
God’s first arithmetic challenge for mankind.

“Count the stars if you are able to number them.” Genesis 15:5
The amazing and beautiful image above is by my friend, Mike Sherick from the IMSM Observatory, Mayhill, New Mexico.

Click on the image to enlarge and enjoy it and to read the inscription. Click your back button to return to this page.

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ~Marcus Aurelius

I’m thinking a lot about time, counting the years as they glide by in quickening succession. Right up there in the mind-boggling realm of counting the stars, is knowing God listens and answers our prayers with infinite love, fulfilling His eternal promises.

Let the Lord be your Anchor as you think about the wonder of Time and Prayer.
In the chapter “Time and Beyond Time” in his book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis’s writes:

“Almost certainly, God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another.”
“Ten-thirty—and every other moment from the beginning of the world—is always the Present for Him.”

A saying from the Blackfoot Nation makes me think, “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely.”

“What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”


And the truths that Jesus spoke, “whatever is true, whatever is excellent”

“Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.” Luke 12:23
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“Ah, Lord God! Behold,
You have made the heavens and the earth
by Your great power and outstretched arm.
There is nothing too hard for You.
Jeremiah 32:17

“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3:1


Does what you think about help shape the story of your life?

What are your thoughts on Time or God’s attentiveness to our every prayer?

You are so loved by God. May the Lord lift you up and bless your thoughts today and every day.

Love,

Sally

 

 

 

Timeless

December. Another year is fast sliding by us to take its place in the lived-in past of eternity.

God says the plans He has for us are carefully shaped to prosper us, give us hope and a future. I’m praying and looking and trusting Him for ideas, things to trigger memories, subjects to write about in 2015.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

As I browse through an online photo gallery, the above photo jumps out. I can’t get past it, so I stop, fascinated. Usually, I don’t care for rooms as busy as this one. But as my eyes roam over the rich and varied woods, a well-used leather loveseat, golden lighting that seems to spread mysteriously throughout the room from a single floor lamp, and dozens of books, I want to be there. After all, there are books. ☺

So maybe that’s what pulls me in. Or is it that I can almost smell the pungent scent of old paper, ink, and a little of the dust and mustiness from leather book covers? There are thick, heavy tomes, tall, slender books, textbooks, some old, some new, maybe a series of fiction or a set of encyclopedias. I’m guessing. I can’t really see the titles.

Something begins to bother me, but I can’t put my finger on what.

Where is this place? I look for a painting of an English fox hunting scene, but the two lovable dogs work just as well, and the room doesn’t really feel English anyway. A tea set sits ready, as if someone is about to enjoy a cup of hot tea with friends. I’m curious about why there’s one big empty square in the bookcase. Did the stack of books on the table come from there?

I want to curl up in the far corner of the couch and hear the leather creak beneath me. I want to tuck my feet up under me with a book in my lap and hold a cup of sugar-sweetened tea with cream between my palms. I want to revel in ambiance of the room, all the details of it.

But the sense of something not quite right persists.

I push it out of my mind and press in closer to study the photo, loving the shades of red everywhere, the dash of green in the blotter on the writing desk, the walls a soft, pastel blue or maybe green, I can’t quite tell. There are figurines, a globe, statuary and another lamp. Is this a library in someone’s mansion?

My imagination is no longer content to sit and gaze, I want to stop time and walk through this room, to examine everything in it. It speaks of someone’s life, the one who put this room together, its creator.

Things aren’t always what they seem.

I finally see what has been niggling at me. A couple of little white rectangles that don’t fit in, dangle from two lamps. Tags. I’d been drawn into an illusion and I have to smile. I dig deeper and learn that the photograph is of a shop in Madrid, not of a private library in someone’s mansion. Still, I’d like to go there! Of course, I’ve seen plenty of displays of furniture in stores and shops arranged as if in homes, but not quite like this one in a photo where sales tags are nearly invisible.

Clever photographer to capture a scene that captures me as well? Or clever shopkeeper to create such an atmosphere for sales? Maybe both?

Your turn to lean in. You can click on the photo to get a better view (and ‘back’ to return to the blog). Look carefully, and you’ll see there are tags on many items, even on a dog’s ear in the painting.

I’d love it if you’d leave your ideas and thoughts about this little illusion!

Things are not always what they seem. “‘Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’ says the Lord; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24 NKJV).

There are two things, maybe more, that come to mind as I write this blog.

First, If you’re waiting for something in your life, don’t give up. It may seem as if the Lord will never bring your heart’s desire to pass, but wait. Things are not always what they seem. We don’t have eyes to see or hearts to perceive everything that goes into how God answers our prayers. Our job is having faith, believing in Him, not in the request, not in ourselves, not in anything else but Him.

And then, there is the tempter, Satan, who roams this fallen world. In any guise he needs to use, he creates the illusion of something you must have or must do. He assures you that it’s all good until you are ensnared, trapped in sin so deep there seems no way out. But there is nothing too deep or impossible for God. God is greater than any sin. You are loved whether you feel lovable or not. There is hope. And that hope lies in God’s greatest gift to us, His only Son, Jesus. Believe in Him.     ♥     But I’m not here to preach, though I do want to point to the Way out of our troubles, trials, and temptations. So when things are in shades of black all around you, breathe His name. Jesus. That’s the beginning. Find a Bible and begin reading in the back half, in the Book of John. Listen. Watch. God will lead you to someone to talk to. and with.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).

Love,

Sally

 

 

 

 

Little Things

Multitasking as a wife and mom, starting a new job, and keeping a household in some semblance of order was a challenge.

There were mornings when I’d end up on my hands and knees, maneuvering in a business suit, wiping up spills when my six-year-old tested the effects of gravity and let his nearly full cup of juice do the Jersey Bounce off the kitchen floor.

Then before I could breathe again, “Mommy, the dog got out!” from my frantic ten-year-old daughter—wearing exactly what I’d said she couldn’t only five minutes ago. You know—the times when you could just grab a pillow and scream into it.

There was always that choice—

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, there was always hope I’d find the dog, deal with the dressing disaster, get them to school on time, and make it to work without wearing some of the juice—

And prayer. There were times I’d be mopping up mess and praying  “And while I am down here, Lord . . .” and the prayers would spill like the juice had, with splashes of complaining, and pleas for help with patience, and wishes for more time and energy to cope.

It helped to come across little things like Klara’s poetic prayer and how Brother Lawrence turned work into worship.

And while I am down here . . .

Lord of all the pots and pans and things
Since I’ve not time to be
A saint by doing lovely things or
Watching late with Thee
Or dreaming in the dawn light or
Storming Heaven’s gates
Make me a saint by getting meals and
Washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha’s hands,
I have a Mary mind,
And when I black the boots and shoes,
Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth,
What times I scrub the floor.
Accept this meditation Lord,
I haven’t time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love,
And light it with Thy peace,
Forgive me all my worrying and make
My grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food,
In room or by the sea,
Accept this service that I do,
I do it unto Thee.

Poem by Klara Munkres

 

 

 

“We can do little things for God. I turn the cake that is frying on the pan, for love of him; and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king.”
Brother Lawrence, from The Practice of the Presence of God

When have you tugged on the Father’s robe with your most earnest prayers?

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13 NKJV).

“Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand” (Psalm 73:23 NKJV).

“The LORD is a shelter right by your side”  (Psalm 121:5b  HCSB).

Popcorn Memories

I’m honored to have author, speaker, singer, Ann Cooper McCauley, posting on the blog today! I know you’ll love her warmth and humor as much as I do. Enjoy Ann’s . . .

POPCORN MEMORIES

One night, a few years ago now, my body as always longed for rest, but the alarm jolted me awake at midnight’s blue, when the kids would be fast asleep. What?!? Then I remembered. I slipped from beneath flannel sheets and electric blanket into the still cold of our ancient house, looking back with longing at my soft pillow. The century-old stairs creaked as I scaled them in cloak of darkness, a tight fist about a one-dollar bill. I tiptoed through the upstairs maze, my feet dodging dressers, cast-aside shoes, and prickly, little carpet tacks at every portal. As I shivered, I smiled to myself; my mission would soon be accomplished. A baby tooth awaited me in a snack-sized Ziploc tucked under my second-born’s pillow.

Carefully, carefully, I inched toward Jarred’s bunk. Five feet… Four feet… Three feet away from his wee, slumbering snore… Faint moonlight softened his little face into a deceiving sweetness. Two feet… I reached out… And the world plunged from its axis! My legs went sprawling in mid-air; the breath I’d been holding burst into a wild, squeal of terror. The room shifted, rocked, rolled, and I landed in a bruising heap among more than a thousand glass marbles.

Looking up at the ceiling, I knew with icy certainty— my favorite red-haired mischief-maker had booby-trapped the tooth fairy! Every scene from The Ransom of Red Chief went flying through my head, as I turned red with fury.

That night carried the real potential to send me over the proverbial edge, though I forgave my repentant son, toothless grin and all. The next day, black-and-blue and sleep deprived, I needed a vacation, but there was no money for such a luxury. I calculated the cost of a sitter for the day and decided I was worth it, but none were available. Randy will watch the kids this evening, and I can escape. But events conspired against me, and of course, he had to work late.

I was stuck. Stuck! Stuck! Stuck! And in the midst of my stomping about with no glamorous place to hide from this exasperating day, memories began skipping through my brain like popcorn. Pop! Pop! Pop!

POP! The time my creative toddlers destroyed their room. No, I really mean destroyed. As in every toy out, every stitch of clothing strewn. Have you ever stood at the door to that room? Well, I knew they couldn’t clean up their mess alone – but I simply took one look, turned and walked away, shaking my head like a lunatic and babbling, “Just – clean it up.” When I returned, they had cleaned it all right. Around the baseboards in perfect rows marched a baseball, a shoe, a Big Bird bank, a sock, a soldier, another shoe, baby lotion, a Fisher-Price tape player, another sock, and on, and on, all the way around the room. I sipped my iced tea and studied the two-man clean-up crew, now chasing their squealing younger sister.

POP! The morning my son, Joshua, decided to take down the chain link fence. I had never analyzed how a chain link fence is put together, much less taken down, but my son visualized a fort built from that section of fencing. Not only did he dismantle the section screw by screw, he also took the garden shears and cut an ingenious doorway through the middle of it. Would you think dull garden shears could cut through chain? I stared at the gaping hole, thinking, My head is actually going to explode this time.

I had two choices: I could have an aneurysm, or not. Making the obvious choice, I looked at my son and said – teeth clenched – voice low, “Put. It. Back.” By sunset that evening, the section was back in place, the center bound together with wire like a great incision.

I learned from each catastrophe. When did each shenanigan my children pulled, transition in my mind to an endearing memory? Finally, I sat wilting on the back stoop, watching my kids romping in the yard, and with memories came bubbles of laughter.

I sipped my iced tea and reflected on my life with children. Hadn’t God been good to me, after my first child was stillborn? Hadn’t He whispered to me that I would have children? Me. The mom of six blessings. My heart softened. Despite my annoyance, He refreshed me. From that night forward, the tooth fairy never again retrieved teeth from under children’s pillows—making the exchange instead at the downstairs’ bookcase.

But I learned that survival is about clinging to God’s merciful gift of humor, gracing me with the perspective to laugh at, and occasionally even with, my children’s hoodlum ways. Sometimes a restorative vacation is just a step backwards into a few blessed minutes of hysterical laughter.

So, pop back in time, and tell me your funny. When did humor help you survive?

Previously published on anncoopermccauley.com shared with permission.

Thank you, Ann for sharing your post with us!  Be sure and visit Ann’s blog and enjoy her delightful sense of humor as she shares her many stories. Here’s a little about Ann.

Ann McCauley married her sweetheart thirty-eight years ago. The McCauley’s have seven children, four internationally adopted. Ann’s first stories were published by Baker/Revell in the book, Loved by Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption. She led a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a national organization for grieving parents, and a grief counseling support group, Wellsprings. Ann, a songwriter for many years, has led praise and worship, shared her original music with churches, and performed in fundraising for Holt International Adoption Agency. Mrs. McCauley has shared her adoption and homeschooling experiences with churches, rotary clubs, women’s seminars, and homeschool support groups. She’s been a speaker and singer throughout Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Ann’s motivational speaker service, The Power Behind the Story, can be found on her website. She is now taking bookings for engagements. Having written three historical novels, Ann hopes one will be picked up by a publisher soon. Her agent is Diana L. Flegal of Hartline Literary Agency.
Website and Blogs: anncoopermccauley.com

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV).

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7 NKJV).

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 NKJV).

Has humor helped you survive? We’d love to have you leave a comment!

 

Random Rainbows

Rainbows and Ripples

My idea worked great!” says he.
Me? I just grin at my son the “Wizard” and look around for the Yellow Brick Road!

 

Early evening pulls me into my open-windowed corner, my favorite place to #relax a moment after a full and busy day. The rain has stopped, but water still pools and drips from countless leaves. Birds call their final notes before settling for the night in some mysterious, secret place.

The white paper I’m writing on turns to gold in the reflected sunset. Joking, laughing men talk in the driveway of a neighbor’s home. Noise and chatter fade from the voices of children as they wring out the last bit of fun before the inevitable call to bath and bedtime.

Little Lisa and her brother, the youngest of several children in a family who are new to the neighborhood, ride their tricycles in the deserted road. Son, Jim, has dubbed them the Munchkins. Lisa calls to her older friend. “Zinda, Zinda, come and see, we found a rainbow!” An excited little brother jumps from his trike as Lisa gazes in pure delight at a puddle beside the road. And, of course, in the puddle, an oily skim reflects a rainbow in the evening light.

 

Ragamuffin Rainbows

Early this morning, his dad asked Jim to flatten some ground where we’d removed some large plants. Planning to add a new room, we’ve begun to clear that area.

Later, since Jim took his job assignment very seriously, when he spotted the mob of “Munchkins” playing outside, he had an idea. He’d save himself some time and trouble–and have some fun. He’d ask them all to come over and tramp the area down. They’d have a great time and he’d get the job done. So it was “Follow me. Do what I do!”

Well, I totally missed it, but what a sight that must have been. Six or seven little kids and a great big boy, marching around, trooping up and down, leveling the all that dirt!

“Worked great, Mom!” he says, looking all satisfied, with a “job-well-done,” expression on his face.

Me? I just grinned at the “Wizard” and looked around for the Yellow Brick Road!

It’s been a good day, Father. Thank You for every moment of it.

[Glimpses from my Notebook]

“Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord” (Psalm 96:12 NKJV).

“Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it’” (Luke 18:15-17 NKJV).

“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 NKJV).

And within each day, there’ a story.

What are you rejoicing over and being glad for today?

PS: See that little cutie up there doing the puddle jumping? His dad titled the photo of him “Jack-in-the-puddle.”

Reflections, Ripples, and Hanna

 [Beautiful photo above is by David Morgan, courtesy Flickr CC]
Reflections

Reflections

Empty, alone, and exhausted, Hanna knelt in the grass beside the pool of satin-smooth blue water and gazed at the reflected clouds. What was she supposed to do now?

He was gone, yet he seemed to stand beside her, in her grief, in her turmoil—in her heart. And she remembered his words.

“Keep your mind on the Lord, sweetheart, and focus on your dream. You’ve set your heart on it, hoped, worked, and prayed for it. You’ve set goals and prepared yourself. Have faith. ‘Dreams are the stuff reality is made of.’”

Hanna reached to touch the shimmering water and watched the ripples transform the sapphire flatness into soft circular wrinkles moving ever outward . . .

Here’s a fun challenge for you: In the comments section add to or change the last paragraph of Hanna’s mini-story, or write an additional paragraph that finishes it–your way!

Do you have a dream that seems to be in limbo, just not going anywhere?

Here are a few thoughts to help you jump-start that dream.

1]  Let your God-given imagination flow freely as you picture yourself in vivid detail as having achieved your dream.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory . . . “ (Ephesians 3:20-21a NIV).

2]  Ask the Lord to walk with you through your journey, have faith that he will, and thank him for every milestone.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV).

3]  Use every available circumstance to practice and prepare.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV).

4]  Allow yourself to experience joy in the present as it becomes the future from the practices of the past.
“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11 NKJV).

 

Young Dreamer

What’s your story? Do you believe God is leading you in paths that are preparing you for your future, the fulfillment of your dreams and goals? Trust him to guide you in and through circumstances.

Yesterday I practiced for the dream that is becoming today, and today I joy in the practice for tomorrow—my future.

After many years of working through “all of the above” thoughts, a dream I had is fast becoming a reality!

I’d love it if you shared one of your dreams here.

Welcome to EVERYONE HAS A STORY blog!

[Beautiful photo above is by David Morgan, courtesy Flickr CC]

In the weeks to come, I’ll be posting about down-to-earth, everyday stories,about fun or funny or embarrassing or even scary things from life, mine and other guest bloggers. Check out About Me tab as well as the World of Words page. Enjoy the Photo and Poetry page of short poetry and photos that relate.

I hope you’ll join me as I count the days until the publication of The Stonekeepers,a suspense novel  laced with light romance written Young adults, “New” Adults–for women of all ages. Watch for updates in the Countdown box on the sidebar.

I’m thrilled you’ve stopped by my  blog and that you enjoy the first post on Everyone Has A Story!

Does your life holds close calls? Do you go through instant replays when you mess up? Do you panic at an incoming email?

. . . or am I the only one?

 

YOU’VE GOT MAIL!

Flickr - Image by Freddycat1 https://www.flickr.com/photos/15157516@N02/

Umm . . . You’ve got mail in here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flickr - Image by Derek Gavey

Yep, the cat’s right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A funny, or not so funny, tale to share . . .

So, I’m at my computer working, concentrating, minding my own business, my e-mail program up and running in the background as usual.

Earlier I’d sent a serious e-mail to a business acquaintance whose first name is Scott. The Subject line of the e-mail I sent him read: “A Question”. I’d hoped for a quick reply.

No problem.

Except, as my fingers flew over the computer keys, up came the announcement of a new e-mail—from Scott— Wonderful, I think. That was fast!

But—instead of the Subject line reading “RE: A Question,” it says “RE: Blessings and Love!” Gulp. What had I done?

Flickr - Image by Tambako The Jaguar https://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/

She did what?

Had I accidentally forwarded something I hadn’t meant to, to businessman, Scott? No way!

I instantly lose my breath, my composure, and nearly my lunch!

Until I remember that a week earlier, on a special occasion, I’d sent an e-mail to a dear friend who uses her husband’s e-mail address—one that comes into my Inbox showing his first name—Scott!

What had I put in the Subject line of my e-mail to her? “Blessings and Love.” And she was the one who had sent the reply.

Yep. I owned that snowy owl‘s expression for a minute today. It felt like a close call, a reminder to be careful, that sending an e-mail to the wrong person can happen.

And that woman, flat out on the bench on the beach is expressing exactly how I feel now, thinking of the what-ifs.

Flickr - Image by Britt-Knee https://www.flickr.com/photos/lsuchick142/

Whew!

This little event came along moments after fervent prayer over what in the world my very first blog post should be about.

And isn’t that how the Lord works in our lives when we pray and trust?

So, am I the only one who has a mini panic attack when something like that happens?

Or are you, like me, still learning and exploring the depths of the relationship between yourself and God, completely in awe of his patience and love?

What’s your story? Share your comments at the bottom of this post and join the conversation.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
 It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-8 NKJV