Friday, October 29, 2010

LETS CHAT FRIDAY with Lynn Martin Cowell

I would like to welcome Lynn to the Nest. I am so glad to have you join us for another Friday where we can learn and grow together. I think Lynn and I would get along just fantastic! She has a passion for youth just as I do. You can visit Lynn's site just for young women at www.RadRevolution.org. You can also find Lynn at http://www.lynncowell.com/. Lynn is also part of the Proverbs31 Ministries team. http://www.proverbs31.org/ Lynn is one of those ladies who values friendship and truth. Isn't it wonderful to be surrounded by women filled with love and passion? As women we can learn so many valuable lessons from one another. We can make this walk sweeter just by walking in faith together through encouragement. Lifting one another up. When we open up and share we are allowing others to always know they are not alone in their fears and struggles. Being a mother is the hardest job in the world next to being a wife. It takes 100% of our heart and commitment. When we are real others see Christianity at it's best. I love being a part of Fridays at the Nest. Here is our chat. I pray you are blessed today. Please share your thoughts with Lynn and I. We would love to hear all that blesses you!!


(Robin) Lynn, could you please tell us a little about yourself?
(Lynn)  I live in Charlotte, North Carolina with my husband of 23 years, Greg. Our three teens keep us very busy with rugby, softball, music of all types and any thing we can do outdoors. I love sushi, peanut butter and chocolate combined and my Appalachian State sweatshirt.

(Robin) Since you have walked with the Lord has there been a time you struggled? If so, would you please share?
(Lynn) Just like any other woman who loves God and purposes to live her life in love with Him, I have definitely had my struggles! The hardest time in my life (so far!) has been in raising my three teens. As parents, we have dreams for our children. We invest in their lives and in faith, believe that all will go well. The toughest thing for me has been to realize that my children have a free will just like I do! C.S. Lewis said it was terrible and wonderful both at the same time. He was so right. Over the past year, I have had to do a lot of releasing; allowing my children to write their story with God, especially when the script is not the one I had planned!


(Robin) Has there been an "aha" moment in your life that has changed your perspective?
(Lynn) As a college-aged woman, through some amazing mentors, I discovered that Jesus was flipped-out, madly in love with me. That changed everything. Learning that there was nothing I could do to make Him love me more made me love Him more! Song of Solomon came alive to me as I read that He was enthralled with me. He said He was mine and I was His. The thing that I had always wanted, which was to be wanted, was found in Him. He was not only my shepherd, savior and best friend, he is my love for my life time. THAT changed everything.


(Robin) Do you have a favorite bible story, verse, song or hymn that gives encouragement when struggles come?
(Lynn) I soak my heart in the truth of just how He sees me: “…the King is wild for you.” Psalm 45:11 The Message. Just knowing that the King of everything created is crazy about me settles my heart; puts my performing mind to rest.


(Robin) What is one thing you look for in a close friend and what is one quality you hope others see in you?
(Lynn) I look for a friend who isn’t afraid of my dirt and is honest enough to let me see her’s as well. My dearest friend calls it “opening your front door”. We need friends who know exactly what is going on with us and loves us just the same! I hope that others will find me to be a friend who loves unconditionally and never judges.


(Robin) What are a few of your favorite books you have in your collection you would share with a friend?
(Lynn) “Redeeming Love” Francine Rivers


“Principle of the Path” Andy Stanley


“Sun Stand Still” Steven Furtick


(Robin) When life seems to go crazy, what is one thing you do to bring comfort and peace?
(Lynn) Getting alone with Jesus; tea, Bible and journal near by. The best place to do that is in the mountains!


(Robin) What is one thing about yourself you admire?
(Lynn) I have come to the realization that not every one gets just how wild about them Jesus is. Knowing this just gives my life such an enormous amount of peace and confidence; confidence that my Love always, always has my best in mind.


(Robin) What are a few of the things you love surrounding you?
(Lynn) My husband and kids. Worn out sweatshirts. If I can get to them, the Blue Ridge Mountains.


(Robin) What are your deepest passions?
(Lynn) To lead teens and their moms to find their completion in Christ. When we get that He completes us, we can change the world.


(Robin) What is the best advice ever given to you?
(Lynn) Loosing my life in Him, surrendering it daily, is where I will find true life.


(Robin) In the legacy you leave, what is one thing you hope out shines before all others?
(Lynn) She got that Jesus really was crazy about her and she spent her life sharing that with others.


(Robin) What are you currently working on?

(Lynn) I have my first book being released in April titled “His Revolutionary Love; Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You”. It is a book for teen girls revealing the love changing love of Jesus.

(Robin) How do you define success?
(Lynn) When those around me can see Jesus and the joy in my life spills over daily to them.




Lynn, thank you for taking time to come by. I just knew you would fill this Friday with blessings. Congratulations on the new book coming out! You go girl! Lots of nuggets to carry away this week. I love When we get that He completes us, we can change the world. We are children of the King of kings. We are His princess, each and every one of us. With Him living in us we have the power to change this world and reach others for Him. I pray you continue to reach many, empowering them in finding themselves in Christ Jesus!! I encourage you to visit Lynn's sites and see all she is doing.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is that a break down your having?

Today as I woke up my little Daisy was not herself. Something was terribly wrong. She couldn't walk very well and was yelping every time she moved. I just knew, she had injured her back. As she yelped the tears began to fall. I didn't know what to do expect call our vet and just tell him, "Fix her Gavin. Make her well!!" With tears running down my cheeks I made that call, but then had to give the phone to my husband. Needless to say, it was not an easy morning in the Prater home. On the ride to the city to our vet, who is the most amazing vet anyone could ask for, Daisy yelped  in pain all the the way. As she was shaking, she looked at me with fearful eyes as if to say, "What is wrong?"

You are either a dog lover or not. Maybe you are somewhere in between. Daisy is special. Six years ago during the hardest time in my life my husband bought her for me. My son picked her out with joy. I was away at a women's conference. As I came home and entered the house my husband says, "Close your eyes and hold out your hands." I am thinking, "Wow, a surprise!!" Who knew this little surprise would help to save my life. Yes, save my life. During this time I was depressed and no longer wanted to be part of this world. My heart was breaking for my daughters who were no longer home. It was one of those times where you know you just cannot take anymore. On one night I was going to take my life. I just wanted the pain to end. I made it through that night. It was right before we were leaving for this women's conference and no one really knew the thoughts that were stirring in my mind except for my husband. He could see the pain.

I held out my hands and smiled before I opened my eyes at this Mini Dachshund. She was so tiny with her tail swirling about and planting puppy kisses upon my cheeks as tears once again fell. From that moment on this little wonder had my heart. She taught me to have joy again. She taught me to smile again. She brought a new life to me. Healing was on it's way. The Lord sent this little bundle of love to help me to heal and live again. So, see little Daisy is special. She is a gift to this girl and the thought of not having her here, well, that breaks my heart.

All I could think of today were all the times she has sat next to me or on me while I have been ill and not feeling good. All the days where tears covered my face, she was there with no judgement, no questions, only love. Our pets can teach us much about life. They fill our hearts with love and yes, they become part of the family.

So, Ms. Daisy has a ruptured disc, which for dachshunds is common, and terribly painful. Just as if we were in pain from our backs.  She must remain still for six weeks. Six long weeks of healing. She has her little meds sitting on the table to help relieve the swelling and pain. Now, getting her to take them is going to be a trick indeed. I will give her all I have. I will sit with her and care for her as she did with me on many days and nights.

Today the tears just fell. It was one of those days where a break down was just on the surface and it ruptured as well. As I sat in the truck I wanted to scream out and say, "What else is going to happen to us?" Really, it seems as though when you are down just one more thing keeps being added on to a list of hurts you wish you didn't have. My husband also began to open up about all the feelings he was keeping in for being off work for two years. His shoulders are bent. He feels the heavy pain of not providing for his family. We are a family who relies on God and we will continue to do so. Those breakdowns are a release of all the pain built up inside. It is time we let go of all the pain we are carrying. It is time to just lay it all down at the feet of Christ and trust Him.

We don't always do that do we? We like to carry it. We seem to think if we are carrying it we can control it. No, my friends, we must let it all go and trust the only One capable of handling all the hurt of the world. The Lord has not left us. I am beginning to learn instead of seeing all these trials as struggles, may we look to them as adventures. Adventures where Christ is teaching us and molding us for more, for greater things to come.

I gotta tell you, I feel a little like a turtle trying to cross the road. The cars are coming from all directions and all you can do is tuck and cover. For me, God is that cover. He is that protection and shelter I need. He will get me across the road. It might take a while. I might have to go a different route, but I will get there indeed.

Whatever is causing your tears today, it's okay to cry. It's okay to scream out. God wants us to be real. He already knows our heart. He is not only our God, but our Friend. He is there on those dark nights where no one else knows your pain and those days where you feel lonely. Reach for Him. Call out to Him. His strength is mighty and His comfort is warm. I am not sure what will happen with Daisy. I pray she heals and will have a joyful life. Everything is in the Lord's hands. It is in His hands where we find guidance and His arms where we find love.. God brought me through my deepest depression. He brought healing with my daughters. He too will send that job for my husband. I too am learning to be still. Maybe the Lord is calling me to be still for six weeks. Could it be during this time He is going to do a work in me? During these weeks of being still next to Daisy, I too am going to be in prayer about being still and listening to the Lord's whisper. What a sweet sweet sound His voice is to my heart.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!"

Psalm 46:1-3 "God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just as the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge."

Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice!"

Philippians 4:19 "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IN HIS IMAGE DEVOTIONAL BIBLE by Tyndale

About the bible:
The In His Image Devotional Bible will help you know God more deeply as you discover His attributes and character throughout Scripture. You will become more like Christ as you practice directed, prayerful reading of God’s Word. Experience greater peace facing life’s challenges as you learn to see God fully.


The New Living Translation is an authoritative Bible translation, rendered faithfully into today’s English from the ancient texts by 90 leading Bible scholars. The NLT’s scholarship and clarity breathe life into even the most difficult-to-understand Bible passages—but even more powerful are stories of how people’s lives are changing as the words speak directly to their hearts. That’s why we call it “The Truth Made Clear.”

My thoughts:
This is one cool bible my friends! There is a section called, "Because God is called.." In this section it shares with us the names of God. For instance, "Shepard". "I will gladly follow Him wherever He leads. John 10:11 Shepherd means that God cares for and tends to His people." You will learn all the names of God, the meanings and just where in the bible you can find it.

You too have a section called "God is..." "God is Powerful. God is Good. God is just and many more. Each one comes with a prayer, a reflection and asks, "What are you saying to me, Lord?" It also gives us reason to praise Him in, "We praise You, Lord." There are 327 In His Image categories to choose from. There is something here to guide you daily in a devotional.

This is a hard back bible and is very attractive and just the right size.It is written in New Living Translation.  You have a prayerful reading index, a response to God article index, God's names and titles index, and a divine attributes master index. This is one bible I will enjoy reading daily.

This bible was a gift from Tyndale for it's review.

SURPRISED BY WORSHIP by Travis Cottrell with introduction by Beth Moore

Wow! This little book packs a punch! What a surprise it was! First, the book opens with an introduction by Beth Moore that will fill you with such hope you just want to read it over and over. This is a book that taught me so very much about worship and my walk with Christ. We tend to think of worship as just one way, but there are many ways to worship, but first we must open our heart and mind to all God has for us. Through our fears, failures and struggles we can truly worship! Travis brings to life stories I have read in the bible and never thought about them the way Travis shares. He also shares stories of his life, of unexpected surprises and finding joy in them. Stories of surrender, loss, and deep pain. This is a book I will read again and again. It is one you just want to keep in your back pocket. It brings a whole new light to worship and it is one I will continue to pass on to others. Instead of thinking of our trials as journeys why not think of them as adventures? We hear stories of Peter, Paul, and how he shares Mary Magdalene with us just blew me away. I am telling you this book is on my list as favorites. It is one that will change your heart and your thinking of worship forever!!

This book was a gift by Zondervan for it's review.

Dove Award-winning artist Travis Cottrell has been worship leader for Beth Moore and her hugely successful Living Proof Live! Conferences for 12 years. Travis has been on LifeWay’s Top 10 Artist list for the past three years; Alive Forever has sold 130,000 units and Jesus Saves is on track to eclipse that record. He has 6,000 friends on his Facebook fan page and more than 5,000 Facebook friends.

Author Website:
http://www.traviscottrell.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is it a treat or just a trick?

I must tell you I have prayed about writing about Halloween for some time now. I have dear friends who celebrate this day and others who are against it. You are not going to find judgement in this post. You are not going to find me telling you that you are evil for celebrating this day. You will find me sharing scripture and truth. The bible is black and white. No where does it tell us, "You may not celebrate Halloween." It does give many verses about the evils of this world and how we are to not take part in them. So, the question is, "Do you think Halloween is evil?"

We have many churches now taking part in celebrating this day and changing the name, making it a day where families can come and take part and  not be of the world. To me, this is confusing. I cannot say changing the name is changing the day. But first, let me just share from my heart with a child's memory.

I did not grow up in a Christian home. We did celebrate Halloween and pass out candy. I came home with bags filled with treats. I remember one Halloween in particular when I was about eleven or so. I lived in a small town in the country where fall was beautiful. This night as my friends and I walked around we came to the house of an elderly woman. She came to the door with a smile and invited us in. I mean all the way into the kitchen where she had laid out candy apples and popcorn balls. I held a cup of hot chocolate as I gazed at this woman. There was something different about her. She didn't just stand at the door and hand out candy, she made a difference. She made me feel welcome and her home was inviting. I don't know if she was a Christian or not, but she made an impact on my life. Of all the homes I have ever visited on this night, it is her home that stands out. She didn't talk about scary things or have decorations up, just an inviting home for children to take part in a home made treat.

When my daughter Ashley was about two I took her out for her first Halloween. She was dressed in a bunny costume and looked adorable. She had her little bag as we began our walk through the town, and the first house we came to a woman dressed as a witch stepped out and screamed at my daughter with an evil laugh. My daughter began crying and was terrified. Needless to say, she was ready to go home. That was our first and only house. As I went home carrying my daughter I hated the fact that she was so scared and it was my fault. I placed her in that situation that brought tears.

Later on, my husband and I took our four children out to just a few homes of family and friends. We left Jacob at home with his grandparents since he was only a baby at this time. Our kids looked adorable. I painted each of their faces and dressed them in their sweet costumes. They were excited to take part, but our evening was called to an end when Jacob wanted momma and daddy home. That was the last night we took part in this day of celebration.

I know of many families who as Christians hand out tracks with their candy. I know of families who dress their children up as they too dress up. They just think of this day as a fun celebration of dressing up, having snacks and laughing. But is it really a day to laugh at? We ignore the beginnings of this pagan day. We ignore the evils about this day, but just because we choose not to look at them does that mean they are not there? I would like to share some verses with you as I ponder over this day.

Ephesians 5:8-13 "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret."

Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you many prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

Romans 8:38 "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, not height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Ephesians 6:12 "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."

Deuteronomy 18:9-14 "When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you."

Now, with all those verses stated, what do you think? Is this a day we should partake in? We teach our children to stay away from strangers who want to give them candy, but on this night, we dress them up and send them on their way to grab handfuls of candy. Is it really a treat or is a just a trick of Satan? Is that what we are teaching our children? That is a double standard. Just because something looks good simply doesn't mean we should reach for it, right?

For our home we choose not to partake in this day. Does it mean we are right and another is wrong? No, it is just where we are in are walk. We all are at different places in life and we don't all have to agree. We can simply agree to disagree and love one another. For me, I love fall. I love the cool, crisp weather. I love the pumpkins and gourds. All the colors are inviting and to feel warmth of a fire just fills  my heart. There are many activities during this time of year and I love to walk along holding my husbands hand as we celebrate this coming season. I think it must be a personal choice. And that choice is between you and your family with Christ at the center. I do not believe this day has place in our churches. Now, if the Lord called me to go out into the streets and hand out tracks I would go. Would I hand out candy? No, for me, that is partaking in this day, but then what about the elderly women who invited me into her home and made an impact on my life? Should we invite others in? Should we be there with a smile? Can we be a light in this dark day? We are called to be a light in this world, but we are also called not be part of this world.

I know what Satan means for evil God can use for good. When I look at the life of Joseph I remember the verse in Genesis 50:20 "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive."

Now, with that said, "Can we use this day for good?" Yes, I think so. If we turn this day into a day where we witness to others and share Christ we can. If we use this day to walk about dressed up and handing out candy, I am not so sure. I don't want to be that girl who stands for Christ, but then takes part in this world for my own good. Satan is out there waiting and watching. He knows all the tricks to grab our attention away from God. He knows our temptations and just how to trick us into thinking something won't harm us. On this day, may we turn to God in prayer asking Him for guidance. May we allow Him to lead us in this day. Not our flesh, or being afraid to say, "No, we don't participate in Halloween." May we stand in such a way that others know we are different, that we are taking a stand for Christ Jesus. May this world see a light not just on this day but  in us as walk each day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

MORE THAN CONQUERORS by KATHI MACIAS

Get ready for a ride into Mexico my friends!! More than Conquerors is book 2 of the Extreme devotion series. Persecution and evil is present in San Juan Chamula. Virgina Rodriguez has been called by God to devote her life to the people of this town. She is on a mission to spread the gospel in a place where outsiders are not welcome. She is the mother of Hector Rodriguez. Hector too has been called to devote his life to Christ and His message of salvation and hope. Hector is a Pastor in Tijuana, husband and father. This devoted family is missing one thing, Hector's father. He left their family years ago and is now trying to find reasoning behind the demons he is facing during death. There are many beloved characters in this book that will have you searching your heart. Would you stand in faith? Would you allow fear and persecution to stop you from telling others about Jesus Christ? This family knows all to well the area, the people and what their hearts are yearning for so badly, but the people are allowing the old ways to overshadow what is true. We also meet Marty, a friend of the Rodriguez family. He is searching all the Lord has for him. We get to watch his journey as he seeks God's will by turning to this family and opening his heart to all possibilities. We see what faith can do through those willing vessels of God. As I picked this book up it was one that kept me up all night until I reached the last page. Kathi has a way of not only bringing the characters to life, but bringing you right in the midst.

"No Greater Love", book 1 in the series showed us there is no greater love than the love that pours from the Lord. In book 2, we see that we can conqueror all through our faith in Jesus Christ. We have nothing to fear when the Lord is leading the way. Book 3 "Red Ink" is now out and ready for you to enjoy! This is a series that will lead you to a greater faith that will help you be a conqueror for the kingdom of God!

I was blessed to also interview Kathi. You can find that interview just by clicking on the link below:


You can visit New Hope Publishers and see the book trailer by clicking onto this link:
http://www.newhopepublishers.com/index.php/2010/08/more-than-conquerors/

Kathi Macias
Award-winning author Kathi Macias has written more than 30 books, including the award-winning devotional A Moment a Day and the popular “Matthews” mystery novels.

Kathi has won many awards, including the Angel Award from Excellence in Media, fiction awards from the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, 2008 Member of the Year from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), and the grand prize in an international writing contest.

With women’s ministry as her primary interest, Kathi is a popular speaker for women’s retreats, conferences, and churches.

A mother and grandmother, Kathi and her husband, Al, call California home.

■Beyond Me

■How Can I Run a Tight Ship When I’m Surrounded by Loose Cannons?

■More than Conquerors

■Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today

■No Greater Love

■Red Ink

This book was a gift from Kathi Macias. I loved it my friend!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lead on Joseph!! Show us the way with faith!

Do you know where I found myself this morning? Well, I was deep in thought with Joseph. I opened my bible to Genesis 37 and began reading about Joseph's life. You know, it really is something of amazement. As I am reading all I can think of is, "Why do I spend such time reading other books when God's word is filled with such stories to light my way?" I really do read a lot. I love reading, but I do spend more time with my nose in  books than my bible.

Joseph was his father's favorite, and that caused friction within the family. Jacob made it known that Joseph was a favored child. Did he really think that was going to turn out good? All those boys, yikes! So here Joseph is hated by his brothers. They had such jealousy toward him. Wouldn't you love to be here in attendance when Joseph is sharing these dreams? Did he tell them with a humble heart of a young man or did he add a bit of attitude for essence?

Genesis 37:7-8 "We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around mine!" His brothers responded, "So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them."

But what catches my eye here is this dream was so very real. Later on it is Joseph who holds all the grain and the brothers are at his feet begging for this very grain to feed their families. (Gen 42:1-3) Another fact that made me go, "aha" was the fact that in his brother's anger and bitterness they totally missed the fact that they too would be rulers!!

Genesis 37:9-11 "Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. "Listen, I have had another dream," he said. "The sun, moon, and stars bowed low before me!" This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but hiss father scolded him. "What kind of dream is that?" He asked. "Will your mother and I bow to the ground before you?" But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant."

Genesis 47:5-6 "Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Now that your father and brothers have joined you here, choose any place in the entire land of Egypt for them to live. Give them the best land of Egypt. Let them live in the region of Goshen. And if any of them have special skills, put them in charge of my livestock too."

How many times have I missed a blessing because I couldn't see past myself? Past my selfishness and anger? These brothers thought Joseph was the enemy, but he very well was a chosen a leader for God. God had plans for his brothers too. We find ourselves in such jealousy when one is chosen over another. Why? God had plans for all of them. They just allowed their flesh to control their thoughts and emotions that led to such heartache for Joseph.

Through Joseph being left for dead by his brothers, being sold into slavery, and being imprisoned God used what others wanted for evil for His good. He used Joseph to bring hope to not only his family, but faith to a starving land. During the end of the story when Joseph faces his brothers there is no anger. He knows all has happened for a greater purpose. I love what he shares with his brothers next.

Genesis 45:3-9 "I am Joseph!" He said to his brothers. "Is my father still alive?" But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. "Please, come closer," he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, "I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don't be upset with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an advisor to Pharaoh-the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt."

There is no anger in Joseph. We see faith and trust in God. We see a love he has kept for his family. For the brothers who left him and did not care about him, but now their hearts are changed and humbled. They cannot look to their brother without seeing the grace of God.

So many times I sit here today afraid of tomorrow. Scared of what is happening right now. Unsure of what God's plans are. Insecurity playing tricks on my heart. I can look to Joseph and know God does have a plan. He is working behind the scenes in areas I cannot see as of yet. He is molding and growing us for tomorrow, for bigger things. But first we must trust Him with the smaller things of today.

I never read once where Joseph lost his faith. I never read any place where Joseph was filled with hate over his life and the circumstances that surrounded him. May we learn from Joseph and the example that God gives us through him to hold on my friends. Have faith. Surrender our fears and worries to the God that is in total control of our lives!!

Hey, where did you get that tat?

Okay, I have always wanted a tattoo. Yes, its true. My closest friends know this little fact about me. I love dragonflies, just love them, so I had thought,"What about a dragonfly tattoo?" Then I had another interesting idea. What about a verse? That's even better!! I had it all planned out. Micah 6:8 with little footprints, saying "do justly, love mercy,walk humbly". You have to say, that is a unique idea, right? Well it was to me until my wonderful, wise friend said,"Just get a t-shirt!" You gotta love those friends who know you best. 

Of course! I could get this on my foot, and while I have my flip-flops on everyone who sees my foot will say,"Hey, whats that mean?" Then there is my opening to share the gospel. I had just a few problems with my idea. My husband thought I had lost my mind and  I was teaching the junior high kids in our Awana program. I could just imagine one of the girls going to their daddy and asking for a tattoo, only to say ,"Well, Ms. Robin has one, so its okay right?"  

Now, if you are reading this and you have a tattoo, please know this is not against any person carrying a tattoo. It is not even against tattoos,  its just my story of my thought of getting a tattoo. It is something that younger generations portray as expressing themselves. More and more people today are getting tattoos. I must admit I have seen many that I thought looked amazing and carried with them deep meanings. I am not at all against tattoo's. I just know for me, it's not the best choice. Have you seen how many times I change my mind, I mean my blog? There is no changing a tattoo my friends, you only add more!!

Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."

It took me awhile to think upon this theory of mine. Because I thought it would be a great witnessing tool I was all for it. Isn't it funny, whenever we are wanting something we can think of anything to justify it? Our children have tattoos, and our oldest son had asked in his youth, "Why is a tattoo wrong? Girls can pierce their ears." Well I have to admit I was wondering the same thing. So I looked to my husband for his wisdom. He was stumped also and says, "Well, it's just wrong." It's funny how our wisdom as parents leave us boggled and hoping someone else can answer  those questions we think we will never have to answer.

So, just where am I going with all this talk about tattoo's? We are to tattoo God's word on our heart. Now that brings a whole new meaning doesn't it? Just as many express themselves through their tattoo's, the Lord expresses Himself to us through His word tattooed our our heart. It might be hidden in  a place that only I can see, my God spot, but if I am living as Christ calls me to live others should see it clearly imprinted in our walk, our speech, and in our attitudes. Our lives should be living testimony to His love.

I have thought about my tattoo design from time to time, but I know it's not really for me. Maybe it is just a reminder to make sure God's word is a tattoo hidden deep within my heart, but one others should be able to see clearly.

The Holy Spirit lives not only in our bodies, but in our minds also. So for me, I pray that all I meet can see my tattoo of Micah 6:8 written on my heart. I hope they see in me something that sets me apart from this world and asks,"Hey, why are you different, and just where can I get a tat like that?" Our faith should be showing through our lives for the world to see. Our faith should be making a mark on this world. So what would your tat say? What are people seeing when they see your tat on your heart? Do they see Jesus?

"Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy'." 1 Peter 1:13-16

"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

"I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts;and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." Jeremiah 31:33b-c

Are you searching for an awesome tattoo? There are many ways to spread the gospel, but the best way is to tattoo God's word on your heart for all to see. Whatever your thoughts are on tattoos you can be sure of one thing. When we tattoo His word on our heart it will be a living testimony of our faith in Christ Jesus! A heart imprinted with His love is a heart for all the world to see.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

EMILY'S CHANCE by SHARON GILLENWATER

Emily has a worldly view of what success is. She has everything laid out and knows exactly what her plans are, but God has a few new things in store for her. Emily has faith, but she is depending on herself to succeed and is trying to live up to her parents expectations. This is a follow up of the Callahan family we meet in book 1, "Jenna's Cowboy". This is a family you will fall in love with. Emily meets the Callahans through the devastation of a fire that almost destroyed the town. She is here as a curator to restore the town's museum. Emily is not looking for love, but when Chance Callahan sets out to make her his bride her world begins to change. Chance is one determined cowboy. This book is filled with a country romance that will grab your heart and make you want to move to Texas! The Callahan family is a close knit family, but now secrets about the family are coming to surface. Emily has to decide what to do. Will her decision be the right one? Will she face her parents and find a real faith that will set her free of this world's idea of success? This book is filled with love, forgiveness and faith. I love how  Sharon brings all the characters we loved in the first book back. This is one of those books that leaves you wanting more. I loved every page!!

This book was a gift from Revell for it's review.

Sharon Gillenwater was born and raised in West Texas and loves to write about her native state. The author of several novels, including Jenna's Cowboy and Emily's Chance, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not writing, she and her husband enjoy spending time with their son, daughter-in-law, and two adorable grandchildren. She lives in Washington.

Friday, October 22, 2010

LETS CHAT FRIDAY with Bonnie Leon

I am so honored to have  Bonnie Leon here at the Nest! What do I think about when I read her words? Hope. I always try to walk away from an interview with one nugget of wisdom. I cannot choose just one with Bonnie. Each answer is from her heart, honest and pure. Each word she shares is powerful and from life experience. I am excited to share this interview with you. I was blessed to read, "Touching the Clouds". After the first few pages I was hooked completely. Who knew this girl who wanted to fly could teach me such valuable lessons in life? It was filled with faith and encouragement just like Bonnie. If you haven't grabbed it yet, you are missing out my friend. Sit back, grab yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy. You might just have to grab a tissue or two.

(Robin) Bonnie, tell me a little about yourself.

(Bonnie) I’m a what you see is what you get kind of gal. I try to live without pretense. I’m not always successful, but for the most part people who know me, know the real me.

I’ve lived most of my life in the country and although the idea of sidewalks, tidy yards and city water is sometimes appealing, I’m happiest living in a wilder environment. My husband (of 39 years) and I live on a five acre piece of land. We have dogs, cats, and chickens and in the spring hope to add a couple of calves and goats.

I have three grown children and four grandchildren and feel extremely blessed to live close to them all. My daughters and their children are presently living here in our dual purpose home and my son lives in Central Oregon, only three hours away.

Our life is busy, but very down to earth. We work hard, but the work is broken up by school activities with our grandchildren, dirt bike riding, fishing and winter sports. My family loves almost any kind of outdoor fun. I live with a back injury so my contribution is usually cheerleader and cook. We’re all readers as well, all except for my husband. I read to him and he seems to like that.

(Robin) Since you have walked with the Lord has there been a time you struggled in your faith? If so, would you please share?
(Bonnie) Where do I begin? Life has been good to me, but there have been some deep valleys. My children, though they are all walking with the Lord now, have at times, put me on my knees. And some of their life choices made me wonder what I did wrong as a mother. But even during the worst of times, we’ve been close and knew that in the end God would have his way.

I guess my greatest struggle began in 1991 when the van I was driving was hit by a log truck that overturned. Life as I’d known it came to an end. I’d been active, working alongside my husband, gardening and loving my full time role as a mother. After the accident I lived on a pile of pillows on my sofa most of the time. In the months following the log truck encounter I waited for healing or a change of heart. I prayed for strength and growing faith. Instead, I was depressed, scared and angry. I wanted the old me back. The new life was too difficult and filled with pain.

I felt like a failure as a Christian. I’d always believed that whatever came my way I’d stand strong because of my faith in God. But that’s not how it was. And yet, God did not give up on me. He was faithful and full of mercy. In time, he lifted me up out of my pit of despair and set me on a new path. Even now, I have rough days but I know I’m blessed and thankful for all of God’s gifts.


(Robin) Has there been an "aha" moment in your life that has changed your perspective?
(Bonnie) There have been many. But the one that probably changed my life most came early in my Christian walk. I was a babe, bubbling over with love and gratitude for what God had done for me. However, I was afraid to offer him my whole self. I remember thinking, “What if he wants me to go to Africa or something?” So I held part of me back.

One day while talking things over with God I realized that no matter where he wanted me or what he wanted from me it was his best. How can I do better than the best? It was then that I realized I could trust him with everything in my life and I offered myself to him and whatever he desired for me. My life has not always been easy, but it’s never been boring. And I’ve been blessed beyond what I could have imagined for myself. I advise anyone who is reading this, please do not hold back—trust God. He’s got a perfect plan for each of us.

(Robin) Do you have a favorite bible story, verse, song or hymn that gives encouragement when struggles come?
(Bonnie) How does one choose? The Bible is filled with richness, courage, wisdom, love and the Lord. But time and time again I return to Isaiah 40:26 – 31. I’ve often stepped outside on a clear dark, night and stared up at the canopy of stars and have been filled with wonderment over God’s creation. To intimately know the God who created the universe is beyond comprehension. And to understand that he cares for me and gives me the strength to run the race he set out for me gives me courage. And as I envision soaring on wings like eagles I know I can do anything because it is God who lifts me and he will never let me down.

(Robin) What is one thing you look for in a close friend and what is one quality you hope others see in you?
(Bonnie) My closest friend needs to accept the real me . . . no matter what, but she must also care enough to tell me what I need to hear, not necessarily what I want to hear. And I pray they will see my deep devotion to God and to His Word and that what I do and say is motivated by that love.


(Robin) What are a few of your favorite books you have in your collection you would share with a friend?
(Bonnie) Over the years I’ve shared many books and sadly many have not found their way home. The most important books, I replace.

I love books and some of my favorites novels are Redeeming Love, Hinds Feet On High Places, In the Land of Empty Houses, The Secret Life of Bees, The Shape of Mercy, The Thorn Birds, Home Another Way, The Last Sin Eater, and The edge of Light. And my favorites also include non-fiction-- In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day, Reborn to be Wild, You Gotta Keep on Dancing, The Hiding Place . . . just to name a few.

(Robin) When life seems to go crazy, what is one thing you do to bring comfort and peace?
(Bonnie) There isn’t “one” thing. What I do depends upon what I’m struggling with. Every day I spend time in God’s Word. I couldn’t make it without him. Sometimes I’ve just got to get out into nature, take a walk in the forest, drive a country road, or go to the coast. The Oregon coastline is wild and free and almost always windy. It strengthens and rejuvenates me. I also like to just sit on my porch and gaze at the lush forest around my home and breathe in the aroma of evergreens and fresh cut grass or hay. I love to listen to crickets in late summer and although I’ve seen hundreds of deer over the years, I still love to watch them graze on wild plants. They’re graceful, exquisite creatures. Nature is God’s creation and it reminds me of Him, which always settles me down.

And last but not least, getting together with someone who makes me laugh is exactly what I need. Laughter is great for erasing stress and worry.


(Robin) What is one thing about yourself you admire?
(Bonnie) I’d have to say the way I love my grandchildren. They’re easy to love, but I think I’m doing a good job of grandmothering. We spend lots of time together and it’s fun to teach them simple things like how to crack an egg or set a table. We pray together and color pictures and make up stories. We discover outdoor critters like lizards and snakes and pick wild flowers and berries. And being together provides opportunities for teachable moments. We’re creating memories and that’s a gift for them and for me.


(Robin) What are a few of the things you love surrounding you?
(Bonnie) I’ve already mentioned a few. I live on the edge of the wilderness and love country living—wild creatures, plants and spectacular views especially now that fall has arrived. I adore hearing the creative and sometimes quirky thoughts and ideas of my grandchildren and my children. I love my house. Actually my husband and I live in an addition he built onto the home where we raised our children. It’s not large, but it’s just right for us. And God gave me a wonderful husband. We’ve been married 39 years and are still in love. The highlight of every day is his coming home.


(Robin) What are your deepest passions?
(Bonnie) I would have to say, God’s Word and Godly living. I want to soak in every bit of Him that I can. I want to live my life for the Lord. His Word promises me that fully being His will help me display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, which is the way I want to live.


(Robin) What is the best advice ever given to you?
(Bonnie) “Stand up and be who God created you to be.” These words were spoken to me by a woman who didn’t know me. While she was speaking to a large group of women, she stopped and pointed at me. She told me things about myself that she couldn’t have known, then quoted I Corinthians 1:25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” And then she gave me my marching orders. I’ve never forgotten the moment. I was a young Christian with very little confidence, but her words have spurred me on many times since.


(Robin) In the legacy you leave, what is one thing you hope out shines before all others?
(Bonnie) That I loved others and served God well.


(Robin) What are you currently working on?
(Bonnie) I’m in the early stages of book three in the Alaskan Skies series—still trying to find my way. I know the beginning, the middle and the end, but I’m still rummaging around in my brain for everything in between.


(Robin) How do you define success?
(Bonnie) Living content.

Bonnie Leon dabbled in writing for many years but never set it in a place of priority until an accident in 1991 left her unable to work at her job. She is now the author of several historical fiction series, including the Sydney Cove series, Queensland Chronicles, the Matanuska series, the Sowers Trilogy, and the Northern Lights series. She also stays busy teaching women’s Bible studies, speaking, and teaching at writing seminars and women’s gatherings. Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.

If you would like to know more about Bonnie and contact her click onto this link below:


Bonnie, you give every mother hope and all new grandmothers (like me) wise words. You show us we can have joy and we can make a difference in each day. You show us we will struggle, but we can find our way out by turning to the Lord. I like those, what you see is what you get kind of girls. I too live in the country and love each moment. The words that just stick out to me are The highlight of every day is his coming home. What a blessing your family must find every time you walk through the door with an attitude like that. I would love to just sit with you out on the deck and have us a cup of coffee while we just share about life. You are my kind of girl Bonnie! Thank you for stopping by. Your honesty blesses me. Your joy is contagious. And your words are nuggets to live by each day. Blessings to you sweet lady. I pray you continue to recover and heal from your pain. Your journey is one we can all learn from as we see Christ alive in your life.

My friends, please leave your thoughts, questions and prayers with Bonnie. I know she would be blessed to hear from you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Could my feet get in line with my heart, please?

A sweet friend shared with me that I showed an obedient heart. Although her words humbled me and brought tears. Okay, maybe everything seems to bring tears lately, but her words touched my heart. Earlier I had been asking myself, "If my heart is there why are my feet not following?"

Yesterday I came home after a time out of the house. I have been home a lot lately. I love being home, but sometimes we just need to get away. For me, being in the car is a place where I turn up the radio, raise my hands in praise and sing along. I cry out to God on our country roads and let the tears spill while no one is around to see me at my weakest. I am that girl who places a smile on my face and says, "Sure, I am doing great!" When in fact, I am falling to pieces. I love encouraging others, but sometimes this girl has trouble encouraging herself.

So, as I entered home, I walked through the door of a house I left clean. That is not what I saw. I saw a messy kitchen, boots everywhere and messes I knew I now had to clean up. It was like the day just hit me and I didn't want to take part. Why? My son had worked all day at his new job. My husband had cooked dinner for him. I walk in and ruin the whole evening in just a few minutes with my anger. I should have walked in with a smile and a thankful heart, but that was not the case.

I had to ask myself, "Why am I acting like this?" This isn't me, really. I laugh and have a smile all the time. (Well, we already talked about that smile thing.) My heart is with the Lord. I pray and cry out to Him. I mean I really cry out to Him, but my feet are walking in a different direction. My flesh is weak and I hate that feeling. I wish I could be that girl who could just smile through our struggles, but I cannot. This is a lonely place to be. It seems as though we are here by ourselves. I mean really, two years without a job? Two? It is taking it's toll on our family. My husband is quiet and feels at times he wants to give up. I try to encourage him. (Remember, I am Ms. Encouragement.) But it's hard when I don't know what to say anymore. I keep saying, "God has that perfect job for you. It will all be okay. The Lord will provide for us. We don't need lots of money to have joy." Oh, I have every encouraging word memorized, but sometimes those words feel empty. That job hasn't come. We have watched people lie and want my husband to lie in return. I am so thankful I have a husband who will not lie and will take a stand for his faith.

I just want to scream sometimes. I want to shout and ask God, "Why? What are we to do now?" There is not a lot of encouragement around us. I wish I could say my husband had many around him encouraging him through this hard struggle in his life, but he doesn't. I think that for one makes it harder. You grow angry. You begin to lose hope. You begin to have this attitude of , "Why try anymore?" If you have not walked in these shoes you have no idea. It's easy to give those words of encouragement, but you must have action to back it up. Words are empty without showing your heart. So, where is my heart? I know my heart is with the Lord. I have faith. I want to believe. I want to have hope.

Some might say, "Well you do have blessings. Your daughter just married and you have a new granddaughter." Yes, we see those blessings. I am thankful for each gift of the Lord. We see each and every blessing. Our struggle right now is huge. It effects how we are being with one another. I think that is what happened to me yesterday. I went out for a bit and came home, back home where the struggles are real and present. I think it just hits us sometimes and we don't know what to do with that anger and unrest in our hearts. I wish I could just take it all in and know without a doubt everything is going to be okay. I don't know that.

I know all the scripture. I know those verses of strength and hope. We have been through some humdingers of struggles. This is what do know. I know we have made it through each one. I know the Lord brought us through with more blessings and changed lives. I know each one although unwanted brought new life into our lives. But after a while you just begin to slow down. You begin to break down and question everything. There are struggles of all kinds. We each battle our own flesh. We battle this world and sometimes we are our own worst battle of all. Sometimes getting past ourselves is the battle we spend the most time in. I think that is where I am today my friends.

I am battling myself and my fears. I am scared. I am tired. There is no way around that. I would ask for your prayers. As I seek the Lord I pray He shows Himself to me. I want my heart to be in line with His and I want my steps to follow my heart. There is so much going on our lives right now. So many different areas of change and unknown. It is not easy for our feet to always follow the steps of Christ, the steps of our faith. But the Lord knows my heart. He knows my battles inside and only He can set me free. Only He can fill me and chase those fears away.

Wherever you are today, it's okay to feel what you are feeling. God knows your circumstances and He too knows your heart. As Christians we have this perspective we should be perfect and show a great and mighty faith every minute of our lives. God doesn't need me to be perfect to shine through my life. He needs me to be real and honest. He needs us to show our heart and struggles. As we walk this journey, although not an easy one and it's pretty scary along the way in my heart of hearts I do know everything will work out according to His will in my life. Don't be afraid to be you my friends. If we were all more real people would see a greater glimpse of just who Jesus Christ is!!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do you have an emergency? God is on the way!

When we are in need what is it that we do? We yell for someone to call 9-1-1. We rush to the phone and scream out for help. We are terrified, unsure, and we need the strength to make it through. We have these situations happening to us daily. We have a man who loses his job and now his family has no insurance. We have a woman who just found out her cancer is not in remission, but spreading. A son has lost his mother and now is alone. A child is mistreated, abused and bullied, fearing his life. A wife receives notice her husband has been killed in battle. A young man is killed because of his color. Each day our dreams come crashing down. Our security is wavered. What happens when we are crushed and falling to our knees in despair? Is there someone for us to call? Is there someone who will listen? Is there someone who will act on our behalf? Yes indeed my friends!!

Psalm 91:1 "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."

Psalm 9:9-11 "The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion!"

Here we have scripture we can turn to in our 9-1-1 moment. He is there to listen and to lift us up with His strength. Need some more strength?

Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

Psalm 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?"

Psalm 29:11 "The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace."

Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Psalm 61:3-4 "For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings."

Psalm 138:7 "Through I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands."

There are times we are so scared and the tears keep falling. We don't know what will happen and we don't know where to turn. We can turn to the Lord my friends. He is there with a mighty strength that will conquer our fears and triumph over adversity. May we fall to our knees in prayer giving the Lord every worry and fear.

Philippians 4:6-7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Philippians 4:19 "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

May we search the Lord with all our heart and allow Him to do a mighty work in us. It is when we turn to Him that He in all His glory will move through us, filling us and reaching others.

Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

We must not allow our circumstances to steal away our faith. May our faith only be strengthened by placing our trust in God. Many circumstances we cannot change, but we can change the way we think and feel through those circumstances by turning to God in our moment of despair. Many times we never realize how much we need the Lord until the Lord is all we have left. He will meet us where we are. He will meet us right there in that moment we are crying out.

Psalm 46:10-11 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

He is enough my friends. He is everything. In Him we find life, refuge and safety. We find redemption, forgiveness and we can hear His whisper of love above the roar of fear and shoutings of unrest.

2 Corinthians 12:9 "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I weak, then I am strong."

Be still my friends, hold on, the Lord is coming. He is on His way. He knows our needs and He is washing us in His mighty strength. It is in our weakness that we truly find His strength. He is bigger than any Goliath we will ever face. Run to Him. It is in Him we find all we need!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The leaves are falling! Jump on in!

I love being outdoors. Love seeing the changing of the year come once again. The leaves are falling. Sometimes one by one, but at others you can hear many rush off the branches at once. Last night while I was sleeping I awoke to an owl making known he was there outside my window. This morning like many the geese are flying over head. The birds are chirping their jovial tunes while just over in the other field the hawks are flying overhead making a racket of noise.

My husband and son have been cutting wood and gathering it up for this winter's cold. I love the smell in the air and just the breeze that bring a chill for a sweater. This is a season of hope. We see trees go bare and birds flying south. What was once a soft sound in the breeze now turns to a crunch with each step outdoors.

We bring in each season with a goodbye to the one leaving. We all seem to have our favorites. I am a cool weather girl. Give me mittens, a scarf and a great coat and I am all set to go. Pour the sun over me and make me sweat and I will be a crab all day.

Life is a broad spectrum of changing seasons. We have our favorites and others, well, some seasons in life we wish would just hurry on by. Like now, in our home things are bare. The leaves have fallen and we can hear a crunch. This is a season in our life that I wish could go south with the geese. I hate struggle, don't you?  I hate the feeling of insecurity. Think those birds are feeling insecure that the weather is changing? I don't think so. They are in a hurry to gather all the food they need to store, just as the little red squirrels are doing in our back woods. They are preparing. They know change is coming and they are scurrying about to make room for the new season. Those little birds although in a scurry are singing loudly. It is as though they are singing, "Have faith, a new season is coming."

I should be singing. We have enjoyed many blessings over the summer months and into the fall. I cannot allow the rain to overshadow the rainbow that glimmers through the clouds. But that in fact is what I do. I focus on the rain, not realizing that with that rain comes new sprouts of life and new growth. I don't think God gave the seasons just for us to look at with wonder, but to really look at with a hope of tomorrow. Just as each season has come into my life I have thought I will never make it through. There is no coat warm enough to keep out the cold and no umbrella strong enough to keep the rain off my head. I tend to sit down and just stay there in the sorrow and fear of today. Do you?

Just as those leaves fall today new life will come once again. New hope. The geese will return and they will have babies to bring a new smile once again. We cannot stop today from happening. Sometimes we are prepared and others, well, they hit us like a cold wind from the north. But we can start each day with a new hope in Christ Jesus.Through each season of change He is always our Forever North. He isn't going to leave us out in the cold or let the winds and rains rush us out to sea. He is our Tower of Strength. He is our Refuge. He is the only One who never changes, but is always with us through change.

We don't have to fear those falling leaves. Stand in under them, pile them up and see the joy before you. Isn't that what children do? They plant a smile on their faces and grab that rake and dive right in. I want that child like faith.

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. ~Edwin Way Teale

Each season has it's meaning and purpose. We never leave one without entering into another. Don't wish too fast for the next season to approach. If you could take a picture of today and sit back glancing into the image what would you see? Amidst those falling leaves is a beauty to be seen.

Philippians 4:6-7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

The seeds of spring are planted and through the fall they are spread like lasting, sweet nectar. Each season carries with it blessings even in the mountains of snow that cover the ground. As each one holds a purpose may we not just look onto the next season, but look to today with new eyes able to see new beginnings that would not even be here if it were not for yesterday's change.
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