Blog Bash Speed Meet

Let’s just make this a speed meet, OK?
So, here is a fascinatingly, fun list of random things about me!
Aren’t you excited you stopped by my blog?
*I started blogging at the end of May of this year- I am a newbie.
*I blog primarily about my Faith and the things I feel the Lord is leading me to share. 
* Tonight I just FINALLY “launched” my second blog, dedicated to Fitness.
*I have been in the field of Fitness (Personal Trainer & Group Exercise Instructor)
 for almost 30 years.
* Apparently I am really almost getting old!
* I have written for my whole life BUT refused to share,
I like to say blogging has helped me “come out of the closet” with my writing.
*I have competed in both power lifting and bodybuilding.
*I love to work with children!
* I teach Sunday School and love it.
*I am a “Domestic Diva” wanna be, but so NOT there!
*I lead a Moms In Touch group at my daughter’s private school and
am grateful to be able to pray with a few faithful moms weekly.
*Words swim through my mind all the time. It might be part of my ADHD, but writing is like breathing to me AND my very close connection with God.
 I guess you could say it’s my Love Language with God.
I am married to my BFF and just so happen to have a beautiful 11 year old daughter
 who knows everything (or at least more than me)!
*I enjoy writing poetry
These are some of my journals
*My writing is a reflection of what is going on “Beneath The Surface”,
the unseen realm of my hidden life with Christ, hence the name.
Here is my Blog place! I really want a laptop!
This is where I sometimes have quiet time.
But sometimes the desk kind of, um, well…
explodes and then I have it somewhere else…

Sometimes I will catch the sunrise and walk and talk with my
Lord along the shore…
we are @ 2 minutes from the beach!

Banjo is my “other man”. I wuv, this Rescue from Arkansas!

Aurora is my quiet time protege and she does not like me to stray
from my morning routine. In the Summer when I had QT on the back patio,
she would rebuke me from the kitchen window, with loud cries.

Buddy is my daughter’s Bunny, but he is part of the family, after all.

Ashley, (Aurora’s sister)  is posing as a lamb here,
see the resemblance?
Well, thanks for stopping by, leave a comment and I will be sure to visit you, real soon!
Happy Blogging!
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Book Review: Jesus Calling By Sarah Young

Sharpening my reviewing skills and sharing my passionate,
personal opinion on this popular read!

      I felt led to share my thoughts with all of you on a very popular devotional book of our day written by Sarah Young and published by Thomas Nelson.

      I did not come easily to the place of receptivity with this book, initially. You see, although I periodically perused it a number of times at the local bookstore, included it on my “wish list” on Amazon and even came close to buying it outright on more than one occasion, I held back… for almost 4 years. Why, would a bookaholic hold back on buying a book, you wonder. Well, I will tell you, dear friend. Prior to my acceptance of the Glorious Lord of All, Jesus Christ, I read a number of new-age writings and quite honestly, as I debated about reading this devotional, I felt my inner alarm mechanism kick into high gear. This “be very careful here” alarm, which has been born from a love of Truth and a healthy skepticism toward anything that might be alluring at first but an impostor in the end. That being said, I am always on the look out for true seekers of The Way, that acknowledge His ultimate authority, yet share their own unique perspective, in turning out a gifted word, that draws others closer to His authenticity, grace and truth. To know Jesus better through the written word is not an easy undertaking.The thought of someone speaking for Him sent chills down my spine. He is after all The Living Word. He is the Author of all Truth and The One who will, after all, hold us accountable for every word we speak. He is the ultimate Judge of Truth. Yet, this God, allows His humble servants, friends, children to be used mightily when they yield themselves to Him. He is willing to meet those who will offer themselves to Him as living sacrifices to pour out Living Water and multiply and strengthen His Kingdom. I believe Sarah Young is this kind of servant. I believe she has done a good thing, for this day, to speak truth to those who are seeking truth amidst a myriad of voices calling out from the bookstore shelves, Internet, television and every corner.

     I finally broke down and made the decision to actually buy the book for my Kindle, after listening to K-Love (a local Christian Radio station) and hearing them share a reading from the book. It was a day in June and I was driving – I remember the DJ reading the day’s offering and it was based on a scripture in Romans. I am not kidding, I ordered the book that same day! As I began to read Sarah’s devotions, I was impressed by the scriptural integrity which was evident throughout her writing. I also was relieved, when I read in her introduction, “The Bible is of course, the only inerrant Word of God; my writings must be consistent with that unchanging standard.” Also, after reading more about her own personal perspective and journey, I started to realize that this person might be a valid, authentic, down to earth seeker, who  happened to be a gifted writer and why shouldn’t the God who created her meet her there, right where she was willing to surrender and listen. I started to feel that Sarah Young might have something valid and I understood this, as it resonated close to home for me, since I have experienced His presence in similar ways, as she has described and desire to live in close communion with Him as opposed to the compartmentalized, fragmented experience I see in the Christian community at times. Of her own writing of this devotional she admits, “I knew these writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but they were helping me grow closer to God.” I think for someone who wants to know God and share Him there is nothing better than to know that what you have written(or spoken) has helped another see Him more clearly, drawn them closer to Him, or sparked the flame for them to pursue Him more passionately than before. This is my own heart’s desire as I write. And God meets me there, with my own pen in hand and finger tips to keys in this place. I believe He has met Sarah Young there as well and she has been able to have the privilege to touch many more than I am sure she ever imagined with this writing, inspired by His Word, love, grace and truth. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and have already bought a half dozen copies as gifts. One is sitting right by me waiting to be mailed off to a friend for her birthday as I write this review. I was hesitant to put this book into a certain category of favorites due to the popularity and newness of it. But I confess, I put it right by the side of my two faves “My Utmost For His Highest” and “Morning and Evening”. Sarah, is in pretty good company with Chambers and Spurgeon. Historical, I’d say. That is my personal opinion and I am sticking to it. Oh, I have also purchased a hard copy that I currently keep in my purse! I just shared a reading with a friend at a school event. I refrained from giving her my copy as I just bought it, recently! However, I probably will eventually give it to the person God prompts at the moment! Additionally, I am considering purchasing the Children’s Version for the Sunday School Class I teach as Christmas gifts – since I only have two boys, it is a realistic possibility! I have been stalking that copy and got a peak at it, at the school book fair just last night. I love the lay out, look and readability of it as well. My daughter’s classmate was purchasing it and we checked it against the adult copy (remember, the copy in my purse) and I loved the pages, presentation of scripture and prompt to look up “on your own” some of the verses. It IS on my wish list, even as an adult! Perfect for sharing with a class, small group or for bedtime devotions. Have you read Jesus Calling, yet? I think you should- if you have or do, please let me know your thoughts!

*This review was written by my own desire to express my personal opinion and even though I have not received any copies of this particular book(s) from the publisher, I would absolutely graciously accept them although it would not influence what I have written nor what I will write in the future about the book or any other books by the author OR publisher. Thank you. Hope this is clear and fair.

Am I Thankful?

My two healing partners:crutches and walker with my
hope for the journey reminders: leash to walk the dog, and a soccer ball
to dribble by the shoreline (a favorite activity)
…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
     Sometime in Fall, I start to reflect on the year that is winding itself down to a close. I look back, on the hopes I had in January for all the “good things” that God had for me for that particular year. I ask  Him to reveal what I need to see as I look back. I usually ask the questions, “What is useful to my walk with You, Lord and in my relationship with others?” and “What do I need to learn from this year as I go ahead?”. Fall is a reflective season for me as I journey toward the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas and seek to stay grounded, thankful and connected through the bustle of what is to come, a culmination of the days leading to, God willing, another year. So, with that in mind and this year in particular I ask myself the question, “Am I thankful”?
     What pops into your mind when you think about thankfulness? I know for me it’s good stuff! Good things. God given, good things. Generally, I don’t think I am thankful for the negative, bad, rotten things that may have happened. My mind goes right to the good stuff!
Enter the Mind of Christ.
This year my take home lesson, started with the anticipation of good things, but was interrupted by what could only be described as, well, let’s just say less than equal to the good things anticipated! AT least by a temporal perspective.
     In February, while driving my daughter and her friend home for a sleepover, interruption number one occurred.  While sitting at a red light, we were struck from behind by a car that was sitting behind us, which had been hit by a Pick- Up Truck that never even slowed down! CRASH! So it began. My abrupt wake up call beckoning. Could I be thankful, in every circumstance? This present circumstance?
The girls were shaken but physically unharmed.
The car was totalled.
I woke up the next day, surprised by the pain I felt. Whiplash. And an un-drivable car.
(I want to add that I continued to work my regular hours, including classes while I went through the Physical Therapy for this. I pushed through and endured the pain because I knew my boss and clients were counting on me with no ‘back-up” plan. We also did not pursue a law suit but settled for coverage of medical cost for treatment and “fair” compensation for my car.)
Thankful?
Instead, I asked, thanklessly, “Why, Lord?”
The still, small whisper, returned, “Trust me, I am here”.
Changes came this year. Unplanned. Unexpected. Completely without warning.
All.
Circumstances.
Ouch.
Sometimes it hurts to follow you, Lord.
     The welcome weather of Spring and a fun-filled, anticipated school Field Day. As a mom, you bet I was there, to help, enjoy and share the day with my daughter and the wonderful school community.
Having taught 4 1/2 hours worth of moderate to intense type classes the day before, I would not have anticipated an injury. Obstacle courses are after all my business, more or less. But, on this day, there was one last squat, bend, twist and SNAP! I felt it. Wake up call. I ignored it. Until my husband found me crawling on the floor at three in the morning because I couldn’t walk, or get back in the bed after I had slithered my way to the kitchen for another ice pack. We were off to the emergency room. Welcome interruption number two. All. Circumstances. Ouch. It really hurts, Lord.
     I work in the world of Fitness. Walking therefore, is a very minimal requirement. No walking possible. Pain, probable. Movement. Not happening. The Hip is complex, and so was the injury. Bone fleck, tear, Arthrogram, MRI, x-ray. Fearful words. Work as I knew it was halted. I literally went from active to sedentary. Halt. Thankful? No, afraid, yes.
     June, brought a final word from my boss. I was no longer a good fit for the future of the company. What good is a Fitness Instructor who can’t move, teach, train? I wondered the same thing myself as I absorbed that blow. Strike 3!
     Was I thankful? Sorry to confess, I was angry, hurt, sad. I heard the Lord’s voice: “I am with you, do not be discouraged or afraid.”
I look back on this year and I see pain and loss. But I also see his hand intricately involved in redirecting my course and redefining me.
 My hope remains because hope resides in me:
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
The reality is, there has been good which has come from each of these circumstances, that look so bad from a superficial perspective. Beneath the surface is where truth roots deeply and where faith is grown. Am I thankful? Ultimately the answer is, yes. Was I thankful during the wake-up calls that God allowed into my life this year? Not initially. But ultimately.
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
Job 19:25
I CAN and will give thanks in all circumstances ULTIMATELY because
He has called me to it and He makes it possible for me to do it:
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Phillippians 4:13
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according
to the plan of him who works out
everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ,
might be for the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:11-12

One Small Step

…He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.

Psalm 23:3
It looks like a mountain. A giant. A behemoth. It looks impossible. The question is, “What now?”
I shake my head. Something’s got to give. Something’s got to happen. But, what needs to happen?
What will it take? Have you ever gotten to the end of the road and found a previously unseen path?
Having walked in that place before, but maybe not quite so far…soon you found new undiscovered roads. Or maybe you saw the road, and had no desire to go there, at that time. It was in the distance. You were not ready. You had no interest. Now, you ponder, should you have taken that route, or a different route? As you stand now before the mountain, the giant, the behemoth…you ponder, HOW.
How? How did it get to this? How will it be turned around?

I don’t know what mountain stands before you.
I don’t know what giant you’re facing.
I don’t know the behemoth which pursues your every waking hour.
I know it looks impossible.
I know seems dark and the road may not be clearly marked.
I know that you may feel like you have been down the road before.

What I am saying to you. What I am saying to myself, right now is.
Let’s pause and consider the path before us.
Only.
After.
Considering-
 the Great, God that goes before us.
He who marks out the journey…one step at a time.
Journey with me, let’s promise not to turn back.
No giant steps.
Focus.
Take, one small step
further along the journey.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you,
God, will not despise.

Psalm 51:17

How’s Your Patience Barometer?

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer
Romans 12:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12
And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
1 Thessalonians 5:14

I’m considering patience today. Not mine of course…but yours. Just kidding. Seriously, as I drove by a sign which read ” Be as patient with others, as God has been with you.”, I contemplated this thought. I thought about how patient God has been, and continues to be with me. Have you considered God’s patience with you as you weary in dealing with the sin and shortcomings of another? Yes, God has been patient with me when I ‘ve been quick to speak, quick to anger and slow to listen. He has forgiven the sin that entangles me again, and again, despite my heart’s desire and good intentions. My grandmother had a saying about those, ya know. She used to say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. BUT,  that road to hell has been occluded by the one who stands at the crossroads – by His blood, arms wide open.

Patience.
Crossroads.
Blood.
Have you considered His patience today?
Do you need to remember it?
I do.
Are your arms and heart wide open enough to embrace, despite the
fact you have forgiven 70 x 70 times before?
Despite the fact you are sick of it?
Despite the fact it is breaking your heart?
Despite the fact that you ARE weary?
Will you turn your back OR will you consider how patient your Jesus,
 has been with you?
Lord, you are patient with me and I confess, I am so impatient with such small things
that in a BLINK will be insignificant. Burned up.
Remind me of your patience with me, Lord so that grace may be abundantly evident in me.
That I may reflect it, as I should, regularly, generously & daily,  in my life.
Thank you Lord, that you never turn your back on me.  
In Jesus Name, Amen.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:
With the Lord a day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years are like a day.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise,
as some understand slowness.
Instead he is patient with you,
not wanting anyone to perish,
but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:8-9

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