My Trusted Friend and Companion

This is my Bible. My trusted friend and companion and it has been missing in action for over a week now!  I was so happy to finally locate it today, and when I think back on it; I do recall putting it exactly where I found it, but in the panic and chaos that ensued looking for it, I failed to remember one thing, I can’t do anything and I mean anything in my own strength!
God is my Light and Salvation! He is my strength and my shield! He carries me when I feel like quitting and strengthens my resolve when I feel like giving up or throwing in the towel.  He protects me and keeps me safe and grounded! I am so thankful that I have Jesus Christ, MY  Savior, that will do all that for me and so much more!

He is my rock and he keeps my feet from slipping and tumbling off the slippery slopes that the devil attempts to place in my path and Jesus keeps me on the narrow path, the path He has laid out for me.  This is third Bible I have had in my 50 years. I was given one when I gave my life to Christ,many years ago and when it became worn and frazzled, I retired it and got another one. I recently picked this one up a few years ago because that second one had many of my personal notes and reflections in the margins.  Some notes were reminders to me and some that I wanted to share with others. I’ve tried journals over the years, and usually lose them or can’t locate them when I want to refer back to something that I need, so, I highlight verses and chapters, make notations and know that as long as I have my friend with me, I can find what I am searching for.

Many people I know, have that one verse that they cling to, the one that gets them through and this is my favorite one (I have many, but this one reminds me of the Love Jesus has for me).

Jeremiah 29:11-14

“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. Then you will call upon me and  come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

And when I say this verse to myself, I am reminded that the Lord of Lords and King of Kings has a plan for me. That I am worthy enough for Him to have made plans for my life. Plans that I prosper in all I do, plans to keep me safe from harm and plans that give my life hope and a future, an abundant one at that! And all I have to do is seek Him, pray earnestly to Him, trust Him and HE will listen to me! But the key here, in my opinion is I must seek Him with my WHOLE heart, not a part of it, but ALL of it.  And whatever is holding me captive, in bondage, HE will set me free.

That means to me, that all the things and thoughts that I let bring me down and entrap my way of thinking are false. It says in

1 Peter 5:7-9New Living Translation (NLT)

7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers[a] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

The devil will do anything to entrap us.  He will use any means to bring doubt to us and the situations we are in, and make us think, if we let him, that we can’t accomplish God’s plans for our lives.  It is such an easy trap to get caught in.  We must live in truth and we must walk in truth and God is truth. His word will never fail. It is the same today as it was over thousands of years ago.  He is everlasting and never failing.

I have many other Bibles, that I use, I have study Bibles with notes and commentaries; that are very helpful, especially when I read something and may not understand the concept that particular scripture is teaching.  I have concordances that I can research and Greek and Hebrew meanings of words so I can truly understand what God was saying when he breathed these words and books into existence from Bible Times; but nothing is as comforting to me, when I can hold my Bible in my hands and know that certain notations made in the margins are when I could hear God speaking to me and wanting me to remember it; specifically for me.  I have a Nook that has several Bibles downloaded onto it. It’s great for when I am on the go and have limited space to carry books, but I will always be the type of person that loves to feel the paper between my fingers as I read my Bible.

My Bible is my trusted friend and companion. My God and his son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that lives within me, my heart, are my friends and family. They are always with me. Even when I misplace the printed Word, I carry the Word with me everywhere I go. I am so very thankful for everything God gives me, everything.

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of The Holy Bible. Read it, devour it, let it speak to you, like it speaks to me. There is no right way or wrong way to read it. But when you read it, if you don’t understand something you are reading, seek counsel from a trusted friend or mentor; perhaps a pastor from a local church where you are located. Also, one thing I learned over the years, using scripture to help another, don’t take the scripture out of context to fit what you think God wants people to know. Sometime’s in the best of intentions, people can unknowingly hurt someone by taking scripture out of context it was intended for.

As a child of God, it is not only my joy, but my responsibility, to encourage and build people up; not tear them down and condemn them. It is my calling to love.  

Matthew 22:37-40 New Living Translation (NLT)

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

If I forget these two simple commands, then I am missing it. Period.  

May the God of Love, fill you with HOPE and JOY and PEACE today and always. May you know that He is always with you and HE loves you right where you are! Blessings to you!

Out with the Old & In with the New


But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.1 Peter 2:9 (MSG)

As I read this verse on my computer screen this evening, I realized how lucky we are that we are chosen by God, to be a holy people, to do his work, to spread the good news of the gospel and the Love HE has for each and every one of us. No matter where we are in life or how messy our lives out. HE LOVES us just the way we are and HE wants us to come to him, to accept Jesus Christ, His son, as our Personal Lord and Savior.  Accepting Jesus as my Savior, at the age of 11 was easy for me to do, because I had great role models in my life and knowing and believing I would have eternal life with God through Jesus Christ, was far greater a reward than I could ever hope or imagine.  However, I realize that there are many people who have never had someone teach them about Jesus Christ or how different your life not only will be once you accept Him as your Lord and Savior and build a relationship with HIM.  I know this, because somewhere along the journey I fell out of step with the Lord; and that is a very hard thing for me to admit.

When I was blessed enough to become a wife and a mother, I stopped talking and walking with Christ. Well, let me be a little more specific, I talked with Him occasionally, but not daily and not all day, like I do now. My spouse didn’t want to go to church with me and I somehow felt if I went alone, what would people think and that was my downfall.  I was so worried about what people would think, I didn’t give it much thought about what God or Jesus would think. Sad, I know. But for years, many years, I tried to do everything in my own strength, without the guidance of God or His Holy Word.

But God never gave up on me. Many times I felt drawn to Bible Study groups or churches, but the fear that I would be looked down upon, kept me away. Mostly the shame I felt, the enemy used that and that shame had such a grip on me, I just felt defeated. So, needless to say my children-our children, did not grow up grounded in the truth and their lives weren’t built on a strong rooted foundation as mine was, in Christ.  Oh, they knew that at Easter, Christ arose from the dead, but it really didn’t have much bearing on their lives. And they knew Christmas day was about celebrating God’s gift to the world, Baby Jesus; but they really didn’t grasp or care to grasp why God sent Jesus to earth in human form.

I would try to teach them about faith and what faith was and when they struggled, I would say you’ve got to have faith. If something isn’t working, you need to try harder; don’t give up; don’t quit, but I didn’t say let’s pray and ask Jesus for His help. Because I had fallen out of being instep with the Lord, I didn’t think to share the great message with my children. And, if you are a Christian and a believer, you know how easy it is to lapse. Miss a service here, don’t take time to pray or talk to God or get in the Word, and pretty soon, you feel so far way~much like the prodigal son did.

After years of struggles and disappointments, I realized that something had to change. Was it me, was I the problem? Why had life become so difficult? I fell to my knees and I cried out to God, where are you? I need you? Why aren’t you answering me? And when I sat there, in tears, that continued flowing and didn’t think they were ever gonna stop-I felt this tug in my spirit, this tiny whisper, I am here. I have always been here, I was just waiting for you to invite me back into your life.  What a powerful moment!

In God’s Word, he promises us that HE will never leave us or forsake us. THE MESSAGE TRANSLATION puts it like this:

Hebrews 13:  Message (MSG)

5-6 Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,

God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?

And so it began, a new chapter in my journey with the Lord. I returned to the fold and HE welcomed me with open arms. While being prayed over, by a woman I had never met, but who has since became a great friend, I felt such peace, that I knew from that moment, God was with me-had always been with me-I just hadn’t noticed because I was trying to do everything on my own, instead of doing it in HIS strength!

You see, because we are of the world, it is very easy to think we can do everything on our own, in our own ways and our own power, but in the WORD (Holy Bible), God reminds us in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ, He gives me strength.” God did not create us to do anything without Him. But he did give us free will to make our own decisions and choices.  If we choose to do it without Him, we are bound to make a mess of our lives. We may have small victories, every now and then, but we won’t have the JOY and PEACE in us, if we don’t have HIM in our hearts.

I started dragging my children to church with me as young teenagers. I tried to get them involved in the fabulous, energetic, passion, on fire youth group at the church I was attending; but they weren’t interested.  And by dragging, I mean sometimes they were actually kicking and screaming on the way in the door during weekly evening services. And I was quite embarrassed and shocked by their reactions. Mostly embarrassed. But one of the pastors told me not to worry about it. As a parent, it was my job to get them there and let God do His work.   Seemed simple enough, but it was the farthest thing from simple that I could imagine. But each week, I would take them. And each week, they sat there, irritated and aggravated they had to be there.

Our children our 19 and 21 now, and oh, how I wish I could say that they found the Lord and walk with Him, but they are still fighting the fact that they need Him now more than ever. But I continue to trust God that He is in Control; that He has a plan and the best I can do now, is what I have been doing-pray for them, love them, let them see God/Jesus in Me and leave the results up to Him.

My greatest fear, as a parent, is that they will die, never accepting Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But through a friend, God told me, years ago, I have a plan for your children. Trust Me. And I am trusting Him.

So, when you decide to truly follow Jesus and take up the cross and walk with Him, you let go of your old life and shrug off the old things that made you the person that was used to be condemned for your faults; but when you accept Jesus, the slate is wiped clean; because HE has already paid the price for your sins-all of them-and you become pure and righteous-not by anything you did-but everything HE did. And you become a Holy People.

It’s pretty cool, actually when you think about it.  I am Holy. I am also a mess at times; my life is utter chaos but I have the Holy Spirit within me. No matter where I am or what I am doing, HE is ALWAYS with me! I can choose to let the chaos rule me or I can let God’s Peace cover me and permeate my being and I can choose how I respond to whatever it may be-loving and kind or not so kind. I strive to be loving and kind. I don’t like to be the “not so kind” type of person, because then I am not a good representation of who Jesus is. And that is my goal. I want to be the person, that when people look at me, they want to know how can you be so calm in this storm?? AND then I can share JESUS with them. 

So, just remember this: no matter how far away you feel from Jesus; no matter if you have never even given Him a thought, HE CREATED YOU, HE LOVES YOU & HE WILL MEET YOU RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!

May you be blessed! Thank you for reading this and please share if you feel led to do so.praise the lord

Blessed & Loved

Today is our mother’s 72nd Birthday. I called to wish her a Happy Birthday earlier in the evening; wanted to be the first to officially recognize it. It’s an older child kind of thing and my mom said, thank you but it’s just another day, nothing special.

But it is special, because it is the day the Lord gave her life, and without her in existence, none of us would be here today.

She is a woman of great strength and love. She has always shown us and our families unconditional love no matter the circumstances, no matter if she agreed with our choices or decisions we made. She has ALWAYS loved us. As I become older, and perhaps a bit wiser, just a tiny bit, I realize that I wouldn’t have made it as far as I had without her wisdom and blessings in my life. She taught me to be tactful, which I was never really good at, and sometime’s I still need work on. She taught me to look through the lens of love and not through my eyes. She taught me that sometime’s what we see isn’t what is truly going on. People have a way of closing down to protect themselves when they are tired of being hurt and sometimes you have to look past the anger and fear, and be willing to be patient with them until they trust you enough to let you in.

Her life as a child wasn’t easy, she went through a whole lot of changes before she reached the age of 10; but instead of having the mentality, life will always be hard, she chose to make her life better. No matter how old I get, I think of the hard things she has gone through and I realize that she is who I so want to be like, when I grow up. Yeah, yeah, I’m 50, I should be all grown up by now, but there are days I still need my mom.  She challenges me to be a better person by reminding me that I can’t do things on my own. That I need to turn ALL my worries and troubles over to God. I remember one Christmas, she gave each of us a neatly decorated box, our God Box. When we had worries or struggles, we were to write them on a piece of paper, say a prayer and give them to God. I don’t have the box anymore, too many moves, and the Lord is the only one that knows where that box is….truly. But that selfless act of love, taught me to give my worries and cares to our Father in Heaven and wait for His reply.

She camped with me during our Campfire Girl Outings, took me to many a marching band practice, showed me how to sew on a button, or cook a meal, do laundry so my whites didn’t turn out gray or pink and always was laughing and full of love. Even though I speak to her almost daily, either through voice, or text or Skype, I can never convey how much I truly love this woman.  She gave me life. I don’t recall hearing the saying, “wait til your father gets home” because I knew that she could dish out discipline, just as well as he could. She taught me about respecting my elders and being respectful. She taught me that once trust is broken, it is very hard to gain back. She taught me that working and earning a wage, wasn’t just about a paycheck with dollar signs, it meant something. She taught me the difference between “wants” and “needs”. She taught me that even though you may have very little, as long as you have family and love, you are pretty darn rich. Friendships are bonuses!

Over my last 50 years, she has taught me so many things, I could not possibly list them all, but the one thing I know for sure is today is not just another day. It’s a day to celebrate her! I can’t be with her on this special day, so I am writing this love letter of sorts.


You have always been someone who has amazed me in so many ways. Your selfless acts of love that go unseen by many, have not been forgotten by me. You have been my strength when giving up seemed like the only option. You have loved so immeasurably by putting your life on hold, when I didn’t understand what love was. You showed me tough love at times, but the one thing that stands true is you have always loved me, with no strings attached. So, regardless of whether you think it’s just another day, it’s no big deal, I am going to have to disagree. I wish you the happiness and peace on your birthday. I know it is hard with daddy not being here, but I know he would not want your day to go unnoticed.

Happy 72nd Birthday to my best friend, I love you mom!

Love always,




Bucket Trip to the Mountains 027

As I get older, I realize that we all go through seasons in our lives; bends in the road and the realization that sometimes we are fearful for what might be around the bend, because we cannot foresee it, until we have followed it through, but God can. It says in his Word that he knows everything about me. All my hairs are numbered and he knows each one!

For me, having a Savior, Jesus Christ, that knows such intimate details about me and knowing that HE is always with me, is very comforting. Knowing that even when I can’t see beyond the bend in the road, HE can. The biggest challenge all of us face from time to time, isn’t fearing the bend in the road or the season in life we are in, but remembering to TRUST HIM.

It’s easy to say that to others, don’t worry, don’t fear, but sometimes following our own advice isn’t nearly as easy. If you are like me, I still want to be in control. And if I can’t let go of something and truly turn it over to God, then it’s like me saying, God, I know you got this, but………………….There’s the crux of the whole thing. Either I trust Him with everything in my life or I don’t.

In my walk with the Lord, I am learning, sometime’s ever so slowly, that when I put my faith and trust in Him, I have peace that I cannot gain from the world. Jesus knows that we struggle, he knows the struggles, because he too faced those humanly struggles while he was here on earth, but the difference is, Jesus always trusted in the Father to be the one to turn to. It doesn’t take but a moment, to pray and ask for help; it’s in the moments when you are faced with a life changing decision (sometimes it’s only in your mind, that it’s life changing) (or it may truly be a life changing moment) what kind of reaction will you have and how will you handle it. Who will you turn to???

Recently, during a season in my life, I could hear and see all the chaos around me, but I chose that I would trust in the Lord. I prayed for discernment and wisdom, clarity to make the right decision; knowing that when I reached that scary bend in the road, I still wasn’t sure what was best, but I knew with all my heart, he would grant me peace about the decision I was facing or he wouldn’t. And one thing, I have learned in the many years, He and I have been together, is if I don’t feel His peace, than I know I need to think of other ways to handle something or make decisions.

No matter, where you are in your journey with Jesus, even if you’re not sure you are on a journey yet, know this:

Jesus loves you! He will meet you whenever and  in whatever condition you are in. He longs to have that one on one relationship with you. He longs to be the one you turn to when you are happy; when you are sad; when you are down right scared; when you don’t know if you can take just one more step or hang on one more minute; HE is there. Waiting with open arms-waiting to engulf you in HIS arms and welcome you into HIS flock.

Luke 12:6-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins[a]? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

So the next time, you try to do it on your own, remember there is a Savior, who knows the worst and the best about you and HE just wants to get to know you better. He will guide you through everything you are facing or will face. He already knows what’s around the bend; HE is waiting to be invited by you to take the journey.

Deuteronomy 31:6 New Living Translation (NLT)

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

No matter, where you are, remember always Jesus Loves You!

The Ripple Effect

Today was supposed to be the day that we buried my father and said our final earthly goodbyes. Supposed to be. But due to an error on the part of one person, or maybe many persons, it didn’t happen. So we wait. On the car ride home, I thought about the what a ripple effect is and what happens,.

I have been thinking a lot since my father became ill and his death, how much of an affect he had on so many people and his ripples extend farther than probably even I can fathom. You’ve seen it and probably even done it, a time or two. Toss the little pebble into a body of water and if it bounces just right, it creates ripples, beautiful ripples, that only can happen because of that first majestic bounce on the water.

My father, in my eyes, was a great man. And most people would think that I am biased in my opinion, but when hundreds of other people share stores about him and the lasting effects of teaching and training and learning from him over his 73 years here on earth, I know that he was a great man. He touched so many lives. What is amazing to me, is he truly had no idea he was this man. Near the end of his life, he asked if he had done enough? And I thought it quite strange that he would ask such a question, but he was humble, always. He had no idea that living his life and doing the things he loved to do was actually creating a legacy to leave behind.

We all have the ability to leave a ripple effect in our lives. It is our choice to decide and determine, if the ripples we leave will be ones full of laughter and joy or sadness and sorrow. If we are lucky enough, and we need to make changes or look at life from a different perspective, we still have the time to make lasting ripples. They can be small or huge; it’s ultimately your choice.

God gives us free will. It is for us to choose how to use that free will that we are given. I think the best type of ripple I can leave is that I love.  I do the best I can, daily, to try to stay focused and look through the lens of Jesus when I am facing struggles.  Years ago, WWJD seemed to be everywhere.  Can you imagine, how different your live would be if you actually practiced WWJD(What Would Jesus Do)?

I can tell you this for sure, I am NOT perfect. I am broken in this sin filled world. But I am LOVED by our Heavenly Father and I am FORGIVEN.  There is nothing I can do to earn that. I chose to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and follow him since I was 11 years old. I do not belong to a religion, but to the body of Christ. I am the church. What I say, what I do and how I respond to those around me; hopefully, people see glimpses of the Savior.  There are many days, I must bow on these arthritic knees and pray for forgiveness, because I too, can be thoughtless and selfish at times. That is not the type of ripple I want to create.

In closing, the reason my father was such a great man, is many tidbits and stories, that are personal and can’t be shared, because I am not ready to do that, but the reason is because he taught me about Jesus when I was young and he modeled his life after the Lord. He was a very compassionate and forgiving man. He tried to see the good in everything and he loved unconditionally.

Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

Direct your children onto the right path,
    and when they are older, they will not leave it.

His ripples will continue through those he has left behind. What will your ripples look like at the end of your life?

Blessings to all who have taken the time to read this.

My Words

God reminds me in the book of Proverbs and many other places in the Word that my words can be helpful or hurtful. I always want my words to be helpful, however I am quite aware, that sometimes my words hurt. And usually, more times, than not, they hurt the people I love the most.

I don’t set out to be hurtful, but I have always been the type of person that whatever thoughts are in my head, they usually roll right off my tongue and out my lips before I have thought them through. My mother had a hard time with me growing up, because I was not very tactful and it took me  years of squashing my thoughts before I could reign in the toxicity of my words.

That old phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is something I was taught to say and even believed until I realized how much words really do hurt.  And if you hear hurtful, heated, hateful words spewed at you one too many times, pretty soon, they become who you are.  I know because I have seen it first hand and lived through how hurtful words can be to your self esteem and your self worth.

And children are always blamed for being cruel, but really, where do children learn most things…you got it, from their parents or adults in their lives. Children also learn how to love and live happy lives.

Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

24 Kind words are like honey—
    sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

If we don’t start at home, with our children, grandchildren and young adults in our sphere of influence and teach them how to speak and live, how can we expect the world to become any better.  I know I struggle from time to time with this as well.

Because I know firsthand, how words can hurt, I do my very best to not be that person that spews without thinking and I can tell you that when my words fly out of my  mouth without thinking, the conviction from the Holy Spirit is so strong that I have to find whomever I have offended and ask for forgiveness.  You know what the crazy part is though, people downplay it. They will say things, ‘like it’s no big deal’, or “no worries”, but that’s when they just don’t get it. I not only ask for their forgiveness, I won’t accept it’s no big deal or no worries. Sometimes I have to explain it to them why I won’t. You see, at the end of the day, I don’t answer to them, I answer to God. And the end of my life, I don’t answer to people, I answer to God for everything I have ever said or done.

I know I am forgiven already by God and I know he keeps no records, but I want to be a representation of who Jesus is, not who He isn’t. If people see me spewing words about without regard, that’s not very loving.

Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

I am God’s creation, His masterpiece! So why do I compare myself to others or worry about what they think?? Because I am human, and sometimes as a human being, I forget that one simple TRUTH. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I want my words to be soothing and encouraging and loving and merciful and I know the only way that happens is because I have the Holy Spirit living in me and HE is my filter.  When my thoughts aren’t his, I have to stop them dead in their tracks and hold them captive (a good friend reminded me of that) and not let them become words.

It is my prayer that as God continues to work in me, that I will learn to think before I speak and speak only loving and kind words, words that build up and do not tear down, words that give hope and not heartache. May God bless each and every person that reads this and thank you for spending time with me today.


Stillness in the midst of Chaos

I keep hearing the words, Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
And it seems like an easy request, but in human form, being still in the midst of my chaotic life, seems next to impossible. That’s where I need to remind myself, many times in a day, or even many times in a moment, that I can do all things through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13).

At this stage of my life, approaching mid-life, I had thought things would be a lot simpler and quieter in my space. But I am constantly reminded that God has a plan for my life and it’s not being sedate.

When you have an almost 9 month old in your home, it is anything but boring. This little bundle of joy and laughter reminds me every single day how precious life is and what a gift it is that God gives me every day when I awaken.

There are moments, short bursts where I know God is with me..when I just want to scream or cry because life can be so overwhelming. Work was hectic, dinnertime was rush rush rush and trying to find a moment just to sit and read is a thing of the past..and in those moments where my head is spinning and I just want to close myself in a quiet dark room, I see God in the twinkle in my grandson’s eyes or in his laughter or smile at something that he has found or seen for the first time…the beauty in being able to pick up a tiny cracker between his small fingers and I am reminded that God is with me everywhere I go, in the midst of worldly chaos, in the midst of toys scattered about and laundry folded but not put away and even in the dusts bunnies that are found hiding under the sofa.

By blessing us with this young sweet child, God is showing me that being still helps me focus on what is important…..loving each other.

You see God loves me right where I’m at. He doesn’t wait for me to get all cleaned up and dusted off, he says Carlene, you are my masterpiece, you are my creation and I love you right where you are and I am your Father and I am here for you always…whether it be still or chaotic.

And the best news: He is here for you also!