Devotions, God, Isaiah 43:1~3, Quiet Time, Thankfulness

Be Careful What You Pray For ~

Last night as I crawled into bed I set my alarm for 8:30a…so I can be ready to go to work in the office by 10:00a. I played a few games on my phone and then spent some time in prayer. I asked the Lord to help me to get a good night’s sleep and to wake up before my alarm was set to go off so I could spend some quality time with Him.

I wake up quite a few times in the night, usually to go potty (I know TMI) and last night was no different. First time was 1:25a, then 4:44a and I also took my thyroid medication and again at 6:44a…I chuckled to myself and thought “be careful what you pray for” ~ thinking about my prayer last night before going to sleep. So up I got. Turned on the furnace ~ it was a bit chilly in our little home on wheels ~ 61° (we do keep our little electric fireplace running all night).

I started my morning routine of checking my Blood Glucose ~ fasting of 100! That is so good!! Fixed myself a glass of ice water (trying to get more water in). I then set up my tray table, grabbed my Bible, Experiencing God Devotional, “Telling Yourself the Truth”, my journal and of course my colored pens!

EGD was titled “Truth Sets You Free” and goes right along with my Telling Yourself the Truth book from Dr. Keith that I am trying to finish. I am always amazed at how God brings things together. I have been talking with a friend in SLC about truth, God’s truth, believing truths and not lies and then this morning’s devotional was titled “Truth Sets You Free”.

Truth sets you free, truth sets me free! This is so true in so many ways. In relationships and at work. Just two weeks ago I called our boss and shared with him how I was feeling: overwhelmed, how I felt I wasn’t doing my job or meeting his expectations. It was my own kind of “come to Jesus meeting.” What I saw as truth wasn’t truth at all ~ I didn’t know how to do some things ~ that’s why I felt I wasn’t doing my job. The truth was I needed some guidance in doing what was being asked of me. Once the air was cleared, at least from my end, work seemed manageable and doable!

Truth in the workplace can also include admitting we were working in a toxic environment (previous places of employment). And how freeing life became when we removed ourselves from those toxic environments. Freedom can be seen in a few ways: peace in our hearts, sleeping better at night and even less bickering between Ron and I.

One thought that came to mind was KNOWING the truth and EXPERIENCING the truth are really two different things. At two of our recent employment locations we knew the truth was that we were working in toxic environments yet we kept making excuses to stay. Each time a “situation” made us realize that something had to change. And both times once we made the decision to move on, we experienced the freedom of truth!

Thoughts going through my mind as I read this morning
~ choose Mercy for myself, not just for others
~ expectations; who sets those for myself and are they true/right expectations
~ it’s okay to make mistakes! If we choose, we can learn from our mistakes. Frances Bacon states “truth will sooner come out from errors than from confusion.” Thus I need to quit beating myself up when I make a mistake!!!
~ Success ~ what does it look like for me? It might not look the same for others. Ron and I have talked often that how we see success is very different from others. A lot of people think a big home, fancy cars and having lots of money shows success. For us we have defined success as feeling peace in our home and where we are working, having enough money to pay our bills without stressing every day and even having enough groceries available to us. Success to us is seeing how boys happy, seeing them excited about their own lives and watching them and our grandchildren be happy and content.

One of the misbeliefs (lies) that was discussed in my reading this morning was “I should always be and act happy, in spite, of all the hardships or troubles that come my way. My response has become “my happiness is NOT dependent upon my situation or circumstance, my happiness comes from knowing I am loved by God and I am enough.

The above scripture, Isaiah 43:1-3 tells me to teach myself to be happy and content. The lies I tell myself are I an unattractive ~ Truth tells me that I am made in God’s image and that is beautiful. Another lie is I can’t but Truth tells me I can do all things through Jesus Christ! Another lie is I am lonely but Truth tells me I am never alone as God is with me always!!!

Ali’s translation of Isaiah 43: 1-3
God says it! It is truth!
He formed me! I am not one of my mom’s mistakes!
I am not to be afraid
There are 365 scriptures that say “do not be afraid”
One for every day of the year!
I am redeemed
Jesus called me by name, He knows who I am
I am His!
He will always be with me, I am never alone,
even when I am going through hard times.
I don’t need to feel overwhelmed
even though I walk through fires (tough times)
I won’t be burned
For God is my Lord & Savior!!


And I am reminded of these truths in

Kimberly Coyle says “you can’t go over it*, you can’t go under it*, oh no, you’ve got to go through it*! God says “Oh my darling, Ali, buckle up, you are just getting started and there is no going around it*! Hang on for the ride and look for the things that bring you joy!! Like the snowflakes falling this morning here in Bear Branch, Kentucky!

*IT is whatever the circumstance or situation is.*

The assignment from today’s lesson was to write down 10 things I am thankful for…
1. I am thankful I can do my job
2. I am thankful for the ability to cook edible and mostly good food.*
3. I am thankful we have our little home on wheels
4. I am thankful for turning 65 because I now have insurance to help pay for my insulin
5. I am thankful to have people in my life who encourage me
6. I am thankful for my hubby, who loves me unconditionally
7. I am thankful to have relationships with my sons!
8. I am thankful I have one good eye to see
9. I am thankful for having warm clothes on cold mornings
10. I am thankful I woke up early to enjoy the snow falling!

*Ask Ron or Kevin about edible food LOL*

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Two questions for you ~
1. Do you believe Truth sets you free? Why or why not?
2. What are you thankful for today?

Beginnings, Choices, community, Family, Love

Checking In ~

Opened my devotional notebook and this is what I found:

Oh how awesome is our God to meet me right where I am! Today will be the first day that Ron and I go out and Scouting Home Visits in the community. Am I nervous, you bet BUT God says He will be with me.

As of today I have
~ 5 consecutive mornings getting up before my alarm
~ have only had 1 soda (diet or zero) for the past 4 days AND that was with two long days of traveling. Last Saturday we drove to South Carolina to help some friends out and then Sunday we drove back to Bear Branch, KY!!
~ 4 consecutive nights of no snacking after going to bed! Even though last night as I walked towards the bedroom I thought about grabbing the bag of popcorn but then told myself “Ali, you are not hungry, you don’t need any popcorn.!”
YES I am feeling good about myself and the CHOICES I have made over the past 5 days!!!

I then opened my little Experiencing God Daily Devotional.

and my heart took a little lurch.
As many of you know, my younger sister, Joanie has refused to speak to me for over 6 years, since my older sister, Kathy passed away. I will be honest most days, I just bury my feelings and wishes that she would speak to me, heck I don’t even know THE WHY she won’t speak to me.

I have sent emails, tried calling, Ron has called her, we’ve sent letters and cards ~ all to no avail. Sad Really.

But this morning, God spoke to me ~ even though Joanie won’t speak to me
I CAN
~ love her unconditionally
~ pray for her, for God’s protection, for Him to soften her heart
~ not retaliate or speak badly about her
~ and I can pray for her!

I want to scream out “it’s hard to love someone who won’t even speak to me” But God whispered, but you can pray for her.

So as I continue this day with CHOICES, SELF-CONTROL and NO EXCUSES I begin my day asking God for protection for us as we travel around Leslie County, speaking with community members, loving on them as Jesus would have us love on them I can pray for my sister.

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What about you? What are you focusing on today?

Choices, Devotional, Friends, Quiet Time

Word for 2023!

If you have followed me for any length of time, y’all know I usually choose one word to focus, inspire and work on. Well this year I have chosen three:

CHOICES, SELF-CONTROL, EXCUSES 

As I have mentioned over the past few months I am actively and consciously working on my relationship with the Lord, trying to make healthy choices when it comes to eating (notice I said trying as I know this is a lifelong battle for me), building stronger and healthier relationships with family and friends and continuing to see myself as God sees me. I came up with these three words through conversations with my bestie, Dee, and other friends in my circle of confidants.

What? I share certain things with some and not others ~ well yes I do. If I have learned one thing over the past 65 years not everyone who says they are your friend are really friends, some have taken things I said and used them to hurt me by gossiping and telling tales. On Facebook I have 481 “friends” and what I share on Facebook is me…me to a degree as some things I have learned not to share there and that’s okay BECAUSE everyone doesn’t need to know everything ~ do you agree? (choices)

As many people do at the beginning of the New Year make resolutions or goals and I am no different though I think the goals I am working on are a continuation of the last six months or even years. This is what my goals look like this January 2023 ~

  • Moisturize
  • Work out 3x a week
  • Check my Blood Sugar morning and night
  • Spend time in the Word
  • Blog/Journal 3x a week
  • Drink more water

And then of course I add to my To Do List things that need to be done for that day or week. This week my To Do List has included:

  • Organize all our food cupboards ~ DONE
  • Organize both freezers ~ DONE
  • Setup 2023 Financials ~ in process
  • Make a monthly meal calendar ~ goal is to use up groceries we have on hand before buying more
  • Setup doctor appointments ~ must be done in January!
  • Sort & organize my yarn
  • Send Thank You cards ~ specifically related to our recent trip to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina
  • Send addresses to M & M for upcoming wedding celebration!!!

As you can see a couple of things have been completed and I am sure in the days and weeks to come things will get completed and more things will be added.

CHOICES ~ specifically focusing on making healthy food choices and to move this body of mine

SELF-CONTROL ~ another way to say this, as discussed with my bestie is MODERATION ~ I need this in so many areas of my life as I tend to be an all or nothing type of person. Crocheting, Eating, Buying Yarn, repeat 😜

EXCUSES ~ I think I would call myself a professional excuse maker LOL! But what I realize is that there are reasons and excuses…in my book reasons are truth and excuses are just that ~ excuses for doing or not doing something. In thinking of what “excuses” means to me my goal this year is to continue to strive to be honest in regards to my thinking and words I say. To challenge myself in identifying my misbeliefs that come in the form of excuses.

The above is just a lead in to where I’m at today and what’s on my mind and heart. This morning my devotions included Experiencing God Devotional and January Scripture Writing Prompts.

 and

Once again I am amazed at how the Lord brings things together. As I am evaluating where my life is, what my goals are how my two separate devotionals all come together. In identifying areas of my life I realize I am not the same person I used to be, not six months ago and definitely not years ago.

One of the questions asked in my JSWP was “what will I release this year…?” and think about my words for 2023…choices I make, am I using moderation/self-control in my life and how do I let the excuses go and replace them with truths. To finish the sentence of “what will I release this year…I want to release the thinking/feelings that I am not the misbeliefs I have been fed over the years…one that comes in mind quite often is “I am one of my mom’s 3 mistakes” which is a big misbelief/lie and replace it with I was made in God’s image, God is love, thus I am loveable. Am I perfect ~ nope not at all, BUT with Abba God I can be perfect in His eyes!

As I read Isaiah 66:2 I hear God telling me to be open to what He says in his word, believe and own what He says and to get excited for what He is going to show me.

I hope my writing today has not been too confusing – I just want to continue to journal and write about where I am and how I feel I am growing in the Lord. As I have told many friends and family ~ I want to be an encourager and hope my blog just does that.

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Do you make resolutions or goals?
Do you choose a word for the year?

Blogs, Devotional, Love

Setting My Priorities

I am the kind of person that has lists, lists of things to do, lists of projects I want to complete, lists of all the medications I/we take and even lists of chores that need to be completed! I also love to mark things off of my lists – it is a visual thing to show me I have not been a bump on a log all day long 😳.

I also use a paper day timer/calendar and it is full of lists. Lists of things that need to be done each day, things that need to be for the week and the month. I love to see things written down and crossed off.

One of my priorities, for lack of a better word is to spend time each day in the Word of God. I wish I could say I am successful at doing that every day but that’s just not true.

But this morning I did and it was good!!! I use a variety of different devotional tools along with my Bible. Today’s scriptures were from Experiencing God Daily Devotional (EGDD) and January Scriptures and Writing Prompts (JSWP) from PrayerfulPlanner.

This morning’s verses were Isaiah 6: 5-9 and 2 Corinthians 3:18

and

And I was reminded if I look at things through my mind, my eyes and my thoughts I take my focus off of God BUT by keeping my focus on God I see peace, blessings (physical, spiritual and emotional) as how God sees me and wants me to see the world.

The prompt from JSWP was to write a prayer of transformation ~ my prayer today is that as I busy myself with all the things on my list I want to keep my focus on the Lord and how He is always with me, even when I don’t feel his presence and to have God’s love that He shares so openly and willingly with me shared with those I come into contact with, whether that be in person, on the phone or through a post on Facebook or an email…Lord, allow your love for me flow through me to those I come into contact with. Amen.

As many of you know, one of the things I enjoy doing is writing and yes, writing, blogging, journaling are all on my lists ~ do I do it every day? No, but I want to. One of the tools I am trying to use this year is being a part of WordPress Bloganuary. Today’s prompt was to answer the question “How are you brave?”

When I first saw the prompt I thought “I am not brave.” But in reality I am brave in many ways…I don’t let physical stuff stop me from doing things ~ I am thinking of only having vision out of one eye. Oh there are lots of things I won’t do because I only have one eye like go water skiing or snow skiing ~ the fear is real I would lose my eye and it would be impossible to find! And at $5000 a pop, that’s too much money to risk. But I do things that I have been told I can’t do because I only have one eye ~ cross-stitch is one because you know I might poke my good eye out! I enjoy cross-stitching, it’s right up there with crocheting…I love to make things and give them away. And yes, I have scratched the lens on my left side of my glasses before with a needle and I have even superglued my eyeball though I don’t recommend either of those activities.

Another way I am brave but I don’t call it being brave ~ I call it sharing my testimony, my story of being abused, abuses in more ways than I can count and also being a verbally and physically abusive person in my past. Am I proud of that abuse ~ absolutely not! What I am proud of is that I have learned how to love myself (self-abuse is a big thing too), love those who God has placed in my life, learned to share with others that you don’t have to be abusive, that it is okay to be a loving and kind person. I have also learned that I don’t have to be in control all the time…for so many years of my life I thought I had to control those around me, to get them to meet my needs, to do my bidding. BUT in reality I have realized I can only control myself. I can only control what I say or do. It doesn’t mean I can’t share my desires and wants and needs but it does mean I can only control me.

I think I will always struggle with wanting to control things, it’s only human to want what I want, when I want it

BUT GOD
has shown me how to love myself,
how to love others,
know the difference between wants and needs

AND WITH GOD
I am whole,
I am loved,
I am loveable,
I am enough
and
I can love others
just as God loves me!

and most importantly

Beginnings, Blessings, Ecclesiastes 3:1~8

New Beginnings!

First off

Happy New Year 2023!!!

Like I am sure many of you, the last few days we have had lots of chats about the new year, new goals, do we make New Year’s Resolutions? ~ No, not really 😃 because I seem to always be setting new goals, new ideas and new plans into motion all throughout the year. We’ve discussed some things we would like to do this coming year ~ be more intentional with our time, do some short trips checking out this part of the country, go see our kids and their families ~ yes both the east coast and west coast, find and get involved in a local church and give 100% in everything we do.

We started out 2023 going to church. We attended Rockhouse Baptist Church. The question we asked ourselves in the truck on our way home was “do we want to go there again?” And our answers were the same: Yes. We have lots of questions and the way to get those questions answered is to return for another visit. Our observations include “maybe they don’t have a pastor or maybe their pastor was gone since it was a holiday.” They had a guest speaker, Bro. Adam Feltner. The music was a little different, no congregational singing, but it was mentioned that the couple leading the music was doing it so the regular worship team could have a day of rest. Brother Feltner brought a good message. The highlights

  • everyone has issues ~ God Forgives
  • even in the hard times ~ we need to seek God and give thanks
  • God is always near ~ even if I don’t feel He is
  • every day we are filled with choices ~ choose to be happy, choose to give thanks, choose to seek God
  • everyone is a sinner, even when we’ve accepted God into our hearts ~ remember He is always with me and it is important to humber ourselves daily before God
  • every day it is important to pray and seek God
  • ask myself daily ~ are my actions/words something God would be proud of

After church we spent the afternoon first watching the morning service from Love Springs Baptist Church (thankful we have the option to still be a part even from a distance). The sermon, by PR had many of the same encouraging words we had heard earlie – God won’t force us to do anything, we all have choices about what we do each day, asking myself “are my priorities in line with what I know the Lord wants me to do/be? Which led to a discussion with Ron about priorities and what’s important to us ~ we can and do make time for the things that are important to us. Whether it be eating healthy or eating cookies in the middle of the night, drinking water instead of soda pop, spending time with the Lord or going for drives (which can include time with the Lord), for me crocheting or coloring or spending time in the Word. Not that any of those things are wrong but as it says in Ecclesiastes there is a time for everything.

After chatting about the two sermons we heard earlier in the day we binged watch some Jack Reacher movies, true crime shows and I of course did some crocheting. We also made and ate 16 Bean soup w/ham, celery & onions. Thank you Merel for the delicious ham!!! We both snoozed for a bit and ate way too much junk food while binge watching TV the rest of the day. As we crawled into bed last night we both commented it was a good day!!! And we have much to be thankful for as we start the New Year.

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How did you start the new year?
Do you make resolutions?
Do you call them something else?