Music Feeds My Soul!

I have been in a funk lately, for many reasons (or so I justify,) but there is one thing that snaps me out of my inward despair, and that is MUSIC! Now I am very hard of hearing, so I am not one to put on headphones and listen to my favorite playlist (I could do that, but don’t often take advantage of this option.) What stirs my soul is sitting down at my new baby grand piano, opening my favorite music, and playing until the worries of the world slip away. It is there that I am transported by the beauty and complexity of sounds molded together which creates a sense of satisfaction that nothing else can match right now.

I am not the best player in the world, but I have pieces that I learned when I was young and had practiced a lot, and it seems that my fingers just remember the notes, and sail through these pieces with ease. I still make mistakes, but they don’t seem to matter, because the melodies, harmonies and rhythms combine together to transport me to another realm, and my heart smiles.

When I pull out some of the old praise songs that I used to play, I honestly can feel the tensions in my shoulders ease, and I begin to worship as the music unfolds. I am reminded that I am not alone. I have a God who loves me, and He is worthy to be praised. When I get in my sad stupor and feel paralyzed and immobile because of the circumstances I have allowed to influence my moods in a negative way, I pull out my trusty piano bench, thumb through the books in front of me, and just begin to play. It is the best medicine that I can think of, and I need to take advantage of what is right in front of me, in order to refresh and rekindle my sullen self!

So, if you are in a funk too, and may not have the ability or opportunity to play a piano – find a source of music that touches your heart. It can transport you to another place, and take you out of your sad one, as you feed your soul with beauty and the magic that is music!

 

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The Simplicity of Christmas Love – Part 4

If you have been with me for the last three days, I have been sharing about the simplicity of Christmas love.  This love story has taken us to creation, to places then and now and to our relationships with people. What’s left – God’s promises, as we see His love come to life in the promises for us in His Word.

Psalm 145:13 says, “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does.”

Read the last part again: “The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does.”

I Corinthians 1:20-2220 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. (It all happens because of Jesus!) And so, through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing (or promising) what is to come.

We can have hope today, because of the promise of what is to come in this love story. God sent His Son to be fully man and fully God, so that we might know Him and have a relationship with Him.

In Genesis 12, God promised to make a great nation out of Abraham; to bless those who blessed Him and curse those cursed Him; to bless all people on the planet through Him and His offspring. When Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, she recognized that this was the moment God was making good on His promise to Abraham—not only to the Jewish people, but to all people. Through her Son, Jesus, God finally fulfilled this promise. In Luke 1:54-55 as part of Mary’s song (called “the Magnificat”) She says this: “He (God) has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as He promised our ancestors.”

Because God is a never-forgetting, always promise-keeping God, we have forgiveness from sins, release from shame and guilt, and all the blessings of this life and the next. There are so many verses in Scripture that tell us of all God promises to us, His children. This great love story is still being told, for we wait for the Prince of Peace to return for us to complete our final salvation. We can trust God’s promises, even today!

In 2006 I had brain surgery that did not go well. There were complications, and I ended up having 4 surgeries in just 6 weeks, spent a total of 9 weeks in the hospital, (through all of the holidays too! – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) much of that time in the ICU, and in a lot of pain, with life-threatening events taking place. During that time, my husband and I had a long discussion about how we felt about what was going on, and did we trust God with the results. We came to the conclusion that God was faithful to us – and had been throughout our lives so far, and whether I lived or died, God would still be Lord of our lives. His promises gave us hope, whatever the outcome.

You may not see God’s promises coming to fruition in your life right now. Things may be difficult, and circumstances hard. But God does see you and know you, and has promised to bring you through this tough time. It may not look like you expect it to, but neither was the birth of the Messiah what people expected. This Christmas, put your hope in God’s promise of salvation – of the eternal life you will have with Him, as an heir of His Kingdom promises. He is with you right now, and will continue to be with you as you live out your life.

So, the simplicity of Christmas love comes to us in a love story from before time. It was fulfilled with the birth of Jesus, and then in the ultimate act of sacrificial love, taken to the cross for us. It continues as we wait for Him to return!

This Advent, be glad as you see His love in creation. Gaze into the sky and experience His presence in nature. Then, see His love displayed all around you, with your heart decorated with His love and grace, as you enjoy the places He has given you to live. See His love in your relationships as you look at the people in your life and reach out to the people around you, to offer an encouraging word, a smile to a stranger, and forgiveness as much as you are able. Ultimately, put your hope in God’s promises. They are trustworthy and dependable. See His love for you as you remember the promises from His Word. If you have not experienced God’s love and salvation before today, it is not too late. You can  put your faith in Jesus just by asking Him to be Lord of your life today, recognizing that He is the only one who deserves God’s favor, but His death paid the price for all we have done wrong, and we can be heirs of His promises – getting all the benefits of eternal life with Him in return! A great deal for all of us, for no one is without flaws.

For all of us this day, I want to share the words from this Christmas song by Charles Wesley:

“Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free.                                                 From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee.                                             Israel’s Strength and Consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art;                                              Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart.”

“The Simplicity of Christmas Love” is here right now, and this love story is one that we can pass on and celebrate with gladness today, and in all our days to come. See it in creation, in your places, through people and in God’s promises to you today. Be glad, and ravished with wonder this Christmas, my friends! Merry Christmas to you all!

 

 

 

 

The Simplicity of Christmas Love – Pt. 3

The past two posts have introduced the concept of the simplicity of Christmas love, and helped us see it in creation and show it in the places where we live. 

As we continue our love story, today I want to talk about seeing and sharing God’s love in and through people, in our relationships.

We all know the Christmas characters in the Nativity story from the gospel of Luke. The love story that we are looking at shows us how much God loves us as we see how He spoke to His people from long ago. He still speaks to us today. People are important to God. You are important to God.

Remember how He spoke through the Old Testament prophets who foretold of Jesus’s birth. He spoke through an angel who told Mary she would be with child. He spoke through the unborn child of Elizabeth, (John the Baptist) who leaped in her womb when Mary, carrying Jesus, came near to her. He spoke through an angel in a dream who told Joseph it was ok to marry Mary, even though she was already pregnant. He spoke to the shepherds through a host of heavenly angels proclaiming the baby’s birth. And he spoke through a star to the wise men who traveled from the east to honor the newborn King. I want to remember the mysterious way God spoke to His people back then, and look for ways that He still speaks to us today. For we, His people, continue to be vitally important to Him!

God spoke to simple, ordinary people, whose lives were forever changed by the coming of Jesus. He was not what they expected. God’s simple Christmas love was brought to them and to us, and revealed ultimately to redeem all people who looked to Him for their salvation. 1 John 4:9 “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.”

Has your life been forever changed because of Jesus? If you can say yes to this question, then you know that even though we live among people who are not perfect, we have an example from the perfect life of Jesus as we discover His character in Scripture on how to deal with people. The love story that began before time was personified in Jesus’ life – as He showed us what was important – two things: to love God and love others. Now most of us don’t have too much trouble loving God – He is so lovable, powerful and glorious! But people – that’s a different story. As we gather together in various places with co-workers, neighbors, friends and family this Christmas, we need to remember how Jesus would treat them – with grace, mercy and love. That isn’t always easy when there are difficult people to deal with, or those who rub us the wrong way. We may have a long-standing conflict with someone, and until that is resolved, every encounter is unpleasant and awkward.

What if this Christmas, we put aside our personal hurts and quit playing back the ugly scenes that may have transpired between us and someone else? What if this Christmas we decided that we would extend the olive branch and offer grace to the ones who were mean or betrayed us?  I am not saying that all will be perfectly solved by this attitude, but it might make others stop dreading the family meal or party, and rekindle that Christmas spirit of generosity and joy. Who do you need to reach out to this Christmas, and share God’s love and grace with? Can you put aside your grudges and pouting and ask God to give you His heart for those people who are hard to be with in your life? (I am not saying stay with someone who abuses you – I am saying try to get along with those who are difficult). For Jesus, it was all about the people. For us – we need to be salt and light to a materialistic and lost world during this tumultuous time in our history. We will be the ones to continue this love story, as we pass it on to others by our words and our actions as we humble ourselves in love.

My mom died in October of this past year, and this will be the first Christmas without her. We had a difficult relationship, but when she became ill in September, I went to Florida and spent a week with her. We talked a lot, and reminisced about our family and the life we had when I was a child. It was a good time, and I am going to miss her this Christmas – just as many of you will miss loved ones who are gone this year. What I am comforted by is the fact that I had those last days with her, and as I was unwrapping my Christmas decorations, there were many reminders of her there – The crocheted Christmas colored doily and mini-stockings that she made. The recipe for her to die for fudge. The many afghans she crocheted that hang over my sofas throughout the house. The ornaments that she passed down to me from my childhood and the silver that we use for holiday meals.

People – they are so important to us – don’t let your relationships falter or fade this year – heal the broken hearts with love, and be glad this Christmas. 1 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” See His love for people and give His love to others this Christmas.

 

 

 

The Simplicity of Christmas Love – Pt. 2

christmas-xmas-christmas-tree-decoration

Today I want to continue to share with you the simplicity of Christmas love, and talk about the places in this love story. (Read yesterday’s blog to see the intro to this series on the Simplicity of Christmas Love. )

Let’s start with the place where Jesus was born – in a small, unassuming town called Bethlehem, in a cow stall, with a feeding trough as His bed. He was in the humblest of places, but it set the stage for the rest of His life. He was not to come with pomp and parades and public acclaim. He came as a helpless infant, to be held, fed and cared for by His human parents, until the time was right for Him to fulfill His destiny. This place was predicted as part of the unfolding love story, foretold in Micah 5:2 

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,                                                                                                         though you are small among the clans of Judah,                                                                                  out of you will come for me                                                                                                                          one who will be ruler over Israel,                                                                                                         whose origins are from of old,                                                                                                                 from ancient times.”

This is talking about Jesus, and the humble place He was to come from. There were no fancy palaces for God’s Son, no gilded thrones or jeweled crowns. There was no orchestra playing “Hail to the Chief” or confetti being thrown His way. No – this entry was a demonstration of the simplicity of God’s love – with angels singing, a star to mark the way, and smelly shepherds coming in wonder and awe and probably a lot of curiosity. Not what most people would have expected for the arrival of the Son of God on this earth!!

Our places – where we live are important to each of us. Our homes are our havens where we find rest and safety and comfort. As we think about how much time and money we spend on making our homes welcoming and beautiful, especially at Christmas, we need to remember that outward appearances are not important to God. As we decorate and adorn every available space with sparkle and tinsel and lights, (and there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this,) think about what is going on inside of you, as you see what’s displayed from your heart this Advent.

The prophet Samuel, found out when he was looking for the next king of Israel, that it was not good looks and stature that God wanted in a king. When Samuel thought that Jesse’s eldest son, Eliab, looked ideal for this job, God rejected Him. In 1 Samuel 16:7 we read this: “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Ultimately, Samuel was led to Jesse’s son, David, who was young and ruddy and out working in the field. He is known as “A Man after God’s own Heart” – even though he was flawed and failed many times, and was not what was expected for a king. Jesus was not what people expected of the Messiah either. He was humble, He was unassuming and lived a simple life. The place He came from was not well known or famous. Yet as predicted, out of this place came the Savior of the World – showing God’s love to ordinary people like you and like me.

Don’t obsess about what your house looks like this Christmas. Decorate as you wish, but what is more important is how your heart is decorated. Is it full of love, compassion, and joy? Do you want people to notice your shining lights, or to see your generosity and kindness and grace-filled manners? Examine your heart this Advent, and be filled with God’s love for you as you see His love displayed in your heart as well as your home. 

An Aside…

I want to address the elephant in the room that appears each Christmas season – and that is for those of you who dread this time of year – because maybe you’ve lost a loved one or a job, or have had a bad diagnosis or a broken relationship. Maybe you have been disappointed, because your expectations of what this Christmas would be like isn’t going to happen, because someone won’t be there, or your finances are in dire straits, or you are alone for the first time. Maybe you are envious of what others are doing or what they have, and it is making you spend more than you want, do things you don’t want to do and putting you into a funk because things are not working out like you wanted them to. Let me encourage you to go back to the basics – the simplicity of Christmas love – and tell you that all the hoopla around this season is driven by the world – and not by God.

We are so inundated with hype over gifts and decorations and food as social media feeds this as we post pictures of great family gatherings, perfectly posed Christmas card scenes and the fancy decorated tree to die for. We try to copy those meals and crafts and decorating tips on Pinterest. But behind those happy postings are broken people that have problems just like you and I. We need to be reaching out to those in need – and if we are one of them – we need to find someone to talk to and maybe walk alongside us as we struggle with Christmas today. Keep your places humble, just as Jesus came into this world in a barn. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into it’s mold – as Romans 12:2 tells us. Be transformed by the renewing of your minds. What you think, and the state of your heart are important to God. Talk to Him, and look for Him, and experience anew His love this Christmas, and be encouraged, even if you just want this all to be over.

I know as I have been decorating my new home for the first time this Christmas I could tend to go overboard. I admit I did buy a few new things to fill in spaces that I didn’t have in my former home, but I tried to use what I had and make them work in my new house. Don’t be overly concerned about appearances – but look for ways to share your heart and home with others this season. Keep it humble, following the example of God’s Son, and see His love in whatever place you are in this Christmas.

Stay tuned…tomorrow is about People!

 

The Simplicity of Christmas Love

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking at a women’s Christmas event, and their theme was “The Simplicity of Christmas Love.” I am going to publish my talk over 4 days and hope it blesses you and gives you some perspective on this Advent that will encourage you and help you sense God’s love and presence in a deeper way.

How many of you enjoy a good love story? You know, the Hallmark channel kind of love story that we see right now, the happily ever after love stories that put a longing in our hearts for that kind of relationship? Well, I want to talk about a love story that has been going on since before time began, and continues on even today, with every one of you taking part in it. We are going to see the culmination of that story sometime in the unknown future, but for right now, I want to walk you through some scenes in this tale of simple love, and hopefully give you some encouragement during this busy Christmas season. As I write about “The Simplicity of Christmas Love,” it is this very love, given to us over and over again each day that I want to bring to mind for you, and help you remember how very special and loved each one of you is by our great God today and in all your days to come.

Ann Voscamp in her devotional “The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas” puts it this way:

“God can’t stay away. This is the love story that has been coming for you since the beginning. The God who walked with us in the Garden in the cool of the evening before the Fall shattered our closeness with Him, is the God who came after His people in the pillar of cloud, of fire, because He couldn’t bear to let His people wander alone. He is the God who came to grieving Job as a whirlwind, a tornado, a hurricane, who covenanted to Abraham as a smoking furnace, who wildly pitched His tent with the Holy of Holies so somehow, in all His holy glory, He could get close enough again to live amid His people. He is the God who is so for us that He can’t stay away from us. The God who loves us and likes us and isn’t merely 50 percent or 72.3 percent for us, but the God who is always, unequivocally, 100 percent for us—the God who so likes us, the God who is so for us that He is the God who chooses to be with us.” He is the God who sent His Son, Jesus, to be Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Isn’t that good news for you and I today?

 

We call the season before Christmas “Advent” which means “time of expectation” or awaiting the appearance of something. What are you expecting this Christmas? How are you feeling on this December day, as you see “The Big Day” looming before you, with a million things to do until its arrival? What are your expectations? What are you anticipating as you prepare and decorate and bake and write cards and go to family gatherings? Is this truly “the most wonderful time of the year” or are you anxious to just get it over with and move on with your ordinary, everyday lives? Right now, I want to help you enjoy God’s presence this Advent season, this time of anticipation, with the possibility of thinking differently about Christmas. I want to help you focus on one very important idea – the simplicity of Christmas love.

Even before anyone anticipated the coming of Jesus as Messiah, the love story was being formed in creation. John Calvin wrote that every human being is “formed to be a spectator of the created world and given eyes that he might be led to its author…first to cast our eyes upon the very beautiful fabric of the world in which God wishes to be seen by us…as soon as we acknowledge God to be the supreme architect, who has erected the beauteous fabric of the universe, our minds must necessarily be ravished with wonder at His infinite goodness, wisdom and power.

Are you “ravished with wonder” today? We sing of it in the carol “Joy to the World” …and wonders of His love… We need to run to our windows, go to the hills, the desert, the mountains, the oceans, and be ravished and taken and awed by the One who made us by His love, for His love and watch this Christmas for His love coming down specifically for you and for me. Ann Voscamp puts it this way – “be still and know and watch love come down. The answer to deep anxiety is the deep adoration of God. And the greatest gift we can give our great God is to let His love make us glad.” I want to be glad this season. I want to replace deep anxiety with deep adoration, and experience the love of God in a fresh way this year. Being ravished with wonder is the beginning of seeing the simplicity of Christmas love.

My husband and I recently moved back to Colorado after living in California for 22 years. We actually lived here before that, having all our children here and thinking we would always be in this beautiful state, but God had other plans for us. On moving back, I felt an immediate connection to the beauty of the mountains, and somehow I knew I had come home. One Sunday, thinking about going to a new church where we didn’t know anyone, I was compelled to say to my husband – let’s take a drive today instead. I want to worship God in His creation – so we headed to the up the Poudre River and I felt my soul being fed by the beauty of the autumn aspen, the roar of the rushing river and the majesty of the mountains. This is where my worship took place that day. (I am not saying skip church every week, but there are times when we just need to be out in creation and experience God’s presence in the wind and the sun and the landscape before us.) This Advent, don’t forget to look up and see God’s handiwork before you. Go play in the snow, and watch the sunset. Go outside, and spend a few minutes gazing at the mountains that we so often take for granted. See God’s love for you, and His presence in creation right before your eyes.

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Don’t miss God’s love poured out for you in creation this Christmas.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story….

 

Settling into our New Possibilities!

We are home! We moved into our new house a week ago, and are in the crazy chaos of unpacking boxes. It is the third move since March, and I am ready to settle down and begin living my life again! Phew! The journey from California to Colorado was quite remarkable for us, and we are still amazed at how everything fell into place and six weeks after leaving where we had lived for 21 years, we closed on a brand new home in the town of Timnath!

As I look back on all that has happened to us, I shake my head when I think of the speed at which events took place. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for all that has transpired. Selling our house in California in record time, for a great price, moving to Granite Bay and renting a house that took our big dog, and then my husband receiving an invitation to interview for a job in Colorado the day we moved in was not something I could have orchestrated. Getting that job and packing up again to travel to Colorado, into a fully furnished condo for a month and a half, then finding a house to buy one week after we arrived, and closing in 30 days is also something I could not have imagined happening. But I am not in charge here. I have a God who loves me and loves my husband, and He knew what we needed all along. Such an abundant blessing for us!

Our home is in the little town of Timnath – just east of Ft. Collins, and about an hour north of Denver. The day we found out our mortgage was approved for this house, I was reading from Joshua 19, verses 49-50 and it said this: When they had finished dividing the land into its allotted portions, the Israelites gave Joshua son of Nun an inheritance among them, as the Lord had commanded. They gave him the town he asked for—Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he built up the town and settled there.” I was stunned! Joshua had been faithful to God and when he finished dividing up the promised land among the twelve tribes of Israel, God blessed him with a place of his own – Timnath. It has a couple of significant meanings, two of which are land of abundance and land of the sun. As we “settle” into our new life, I intend to “build up” the place God has given us to live. I want to explore all the possibilities that He has for us, and flourish in our new space. God knew all along what would happen to us, and all the worry and anxiety about our future was unnecessary. I only needed to remember to trust in the One who is always faithful! To God be the glory, today and in all the days to come!!

Lessons from Lloyd

IMG_2369I have a 170 pound “blue” great dane named Lloyd. He is a big boy, and as we have traveled with him across the country, and are now temporarily housed in a small condominium, I have learned a few things from my gentle giant! I was concerned at how he would travel and adapt to all the changes in his life, but I am pleasantly surprised to report that as long as he is with my husband and I, everything in his world is fine. What does this teach me? I am not great with change and not knowing what will happen next. But I have a God who is with me all the time. He knows my every move and thought, and if I rely on Him for guidance and trust Him with all the new things in my life, my world can also be “fine!” I try too hard to try to manipulate all the circumstances in my life, but if I can learn to just be happy to be in the presence of the One who created me, who has my life in His hands, I can be content wherever I am. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”  This is a promise I can count on, and move confidently into the future as I see His plans for my life unfold.

Despite having no yard and a strange place to sleep, Lloyd is still genuinely good-natured and seems to “go with the flow.” He patiently waits for me to take him outside, and we have daily jaunts to the local dog park. He lets me know that he is ready to go play, by placing his very large head directly in front of my face as I read or work on my computer. He is hard to ignore, and I am happy to go with him as he runs free in the beautiful foothills of Colorado. How hard is it to “go with the flow” when life is unsettled and you don’t know what’s next? Taking each day as it comes, and only being concerned for what is right in front of me for today is a good lesson to learn. As it says in Matthew 6:33-34, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Our sweet boy doesn’t worry about tomorrow. He knows I will take care of him, and he trusts me. I want to have that same trust in God, and seek His kingdom and the ways He wants me to live my life one day at a time. I don’t want to miss today because I am wrapped up in worry about tomorrow. I want to make my life count right now, and be intentional about living what I am called to do in this life. 

So even a dog can teach us lessons about life. Lloyd doesn’t need much – a soft bed, food in his dish and water in his bowl. He needs to go on walks and run free once in a while. But when I take him to the dog park, he has to wear a muzzle because he has twice swallowed tennis balls whole, and has had to have surgery to remove them. I can’t risk that happening again, so he is muzzled for his own protection. He knows that when I put the muzzle on him that he gets to go play in the park. He doesn’t really like it, but lets me put it on him because his experience has taught him that it means I am taking him out. Sometimes we have to face hard things in life, but often it is for our own good. We may need to be uncomfortable or inconvenienced for a while. But in the end, the lessons we learn and the growth we experience help us mature and expand our faith. We can still trust God, even in hard times. I am grateful that I have some time to reflect on these things right now, and can glean lessons from our crazy dog. I can be happy just to be in God’s presence every day. I need to live in the moment, and not worry about what might happen next. When hard times come and I don’t like them or understand why they are happening to me, I can be reassured that God is on my side and will help me through every struggle. 1 Peter 5:10 tells me this: “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” To God be the glory today my friends! And thanks for giving me a big dopey dog to teach me about You, Lord!!

Possibility through change!

Sudden turns in life, unexpected events, and surprises that sneak up on us are all chances for growth, new insights, and the opportunity to take advantage of new possibilities. Life has been topsy-turvy over the past few months, and in looking back over what has transpired, I can’t help but be grateful for all that has taken place.

We all make plans, and expect to carry out those plans. But what happens when circumstances change our well-intentioned ideas so nothing we thought would happen actually takes place? Unexpected changes can lead us to new possibilities and take us to unknown places that may just turn out to be a huge blessing!!

We moved twice in the last four months, and are still waiting to move into our permanent home sometime in June. In all the chaos, we purged our garage and closets of unnecessary “stuff” and pared down what we brought with us to our new place of residence in Colorado. In all of the craziness, we have seen God’s hand leading us every step of the way. Our house sold in record time and for a ridiculous price. We found a rental that took our big great dane dog, and moved closer to two of our grandkids. On the day we moved into our new place, my husband was invited to interview for his dream job. Upon getting an offer for this job, we were able to get out of our lease, and move halfway across the United States within a couple of weeks. Phew!

I never expected all of these things to happen, yet here I am, living in Colorful Colorado, and starting over after 21 years in California. If anyone had told me six months ago that I would be here, I would have laughed. Yet it feels exactly right. This is where I/we are meant to be right now, and I am going to embrace this new adventure with joy and excitement for all that can happen from here on out.

I like things stable and predictable, but I am beginning to see that change can be good. When things stay the same all the time, I get too complacent and maybe even too satisfied with the status quo. Shaking things up a bit causes me to re-evaluate my priorities, and to take stock in what it is I should be focusing on each day.

So I am looking at all the new possibilities ahead for my life – new friendships, new places to use my gifts and abilities, and new chances to make a difference in this world. Change can be good, and for me, right now, it is the catalyst to new possibilities that I never imagined! I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, but I know who holds my future. My hope is in God alone, and I will rely on Him as I forge ahead in this new place! To God be the glory! Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”

Unplanned Possibilities

It has been two weeks since we arrived in Colorful Colorado, and I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be. We have already found a house, and things have fallen into place with remarkable speed. It is not a coincidence. I firmly believe that God had a plan for us, and has paved the way for our future here. It has been such an easy transition, and I am so grateful for this.

When we think about our lives and what we imagine them to look like from one day to the next, if you are like me, we all struggle with trying to plan and make things happen the way we want them to turn out. But sometimes, when we have no control over our situations, and we allow events to play out in ways we have not thought of or orchestrated, we find ourselves in the middle of God’s real purposes for us, and it is spectacular! I find this to be true of my life right now.

We lived in Colorado for 18 years – from 1976-1994. My kids were born there, and it is the place where I first lived my “adult” life after college. When we left in 1994 for a job in California, I was devastated. I loved Colorado and our life there, and was not prepared to uproot and start over. I was deeply depressed for many months, and it wasn’t until I got involved with a church community and started using my abilities to help others that I started to feel better and settled into our new life.

Now we are back, in a new city, with new possibilities and many unknowns. Where will we fit in? What friendships will we cultivate? How will we spend our time, and where can we make a difference? Is there someone who needs what we have to offer? I am eagerly anticipating what is ahead, even though I don’t know what that looks like. I am not going to try to figure it out, but to walk through each day asking God what He wants me to do to bring honor and glory to His name. It might not look like what I imagine, but if it brings blessing to Him and I can show love and kindness to others, then I am content. I feel like we have come full circle, and I am now back home.

estes-park-600x400Don’t waste time trying to make things work for you. Rest in the assurance that God has your back and knows what is best for your life. Spend time instead in His Word and in seeking what He wants you to be doing. The peace of Christ will guard your heart as you trust in Him. You can be content in any situation, with all the unplanned possibilities at your feet! With gratitude for all God is and does, let’s live our lives for His purposes, and enjoy every moment. To God be the glory!

Colorado Possibilites!

We have safely arrived in Colorado from California! We were welcomed with snow flurries and a bristling cold, and it is absolutely fabulous! I love seeing snow fall from the sky! It has been many years since I have lived in snow country, and the big fluffy flakes that we are seeing remind me of childhood fun in the snow in New York.

But I digress. We lived in Colorado for 18 years, but that was 21 years ago! I was reminded of some things as we traveled across the country, and saw the majestic vistas of snow-covered mountains and scenery that looked like a post card for the west. I had forgotten about pronghorns and prairie dogs. They seem to litter the countryside from Utah on, as well as the crazy black and white magpies that pop up everywhere along the way. I love these reminders of our past here, and it causes me to think that there is so much possibility ahead as we explore this beautiful state once again, and find our way around new, exciting places.

What is going through my mind right now? Questions about how I will find my niche here, and where I will plug in and join others in community. What friends will I make and where can I make a difference are high on that list of questions. I have been in the same place for quite a while, and change is not always easy for me. I know that this is where God has us for the next season of our lives, and I don’t want to waste it. As we step out in faith into all the new experiences that lie ahead, I am grateful for God’s provision for us, and for all the possibilities to intentionally live every day. No matter where we are, our lives can reflect what we believe. I want to be the woman God made me to be, and to live out the purposes He has created for me to fulfill. The place doesn’t matter, but my character does! This is my opportunity to step into all the possibilities that lie ahead and embrace this new adventure with positive energy and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Each day is a gift, and I want to live life to the fullest with every moment I am given here. “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24