Gone Fishin’

Good morning!

This time of year is a great time to go fishing!

Simon Peter once said, ” I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” said all the others. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. Until they met Jesus, that is. He told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat and they would find some fish. They were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

That’s how it is with Jesus. On our own, our return is nothing. But when He is in control, we are unable to haul in the blessings He has in store for us.

Meet Jeremy and his family. He works in the PICU with me. He and his precious family went fishing. He may not have a boat and net, but he did have a Barbie spin cast rod and reel. “Reel” men are comfortable casting with a pink rod. 🙂
image

What fun! What a beautiful family portrait captured by the moment.
image

Meet Jeremy’s precious son Luke. I am pretty sure that he liked fishing. What do you think? 🙂

Now meet Jeremy’s precious daughter Olivia. She appears to enjoy fishing as well. I’m pretty sure that pink rod and reel belongs to this little princess.
image

Jeremy is a familiar face around our unit. Sometimes Luke is too. You see, his health is such that he visits us on occasion. They just don’t come any better than Luke. His smiling face lights up the entire unit. I’ll never forget the first time I was touched by his reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Absolutely priceless! What’s even more priceless is that his parents taught him to do so at a very early age.

This family is faced daily with struggles most of us will never imagine, but they continue on in God’s purpose for their lives exemplifying His love and grace. They may have gone fishing for fish on this particular afternoon, but I’m pretty sure they are all fishers of men.

We all should go fishing ever so often. Cast out our reels into the great unknown and see what daily bounty we can reel in. What God has in store for us that day. Be the live bait that hooks the lost soul, the hurting heart, the one in need, and feeds and nourishes it back to wholeness. I don’t know about you, but I want the pink pole too!

And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Matthew 4:19

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Advertisements

Shrimp

Good morning!

When I was little, I wouldn’t eat hamburgers or hot dogs. All I wanted was shrimp cocktail!  I still like shrimp.  Shrimp cocktail, coconut shrimp and grilled shrimp are my favorites.   I sound like Forrest Gump’s best friend, Bubba, in the movie,  Forrest Gump.

“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That, that’s about it.” -Bubba

How many different ways can you serve shrimp?

image

A better question would be, how many different ways can you serve God?

In your home. At your work. In your church. With your worship. In your school. At your doctor’s office.  At your dentist’s office.  At your eye doctor. Where you volunteer. In your community. In foreign countries. At the grocery store. At the gas station. With the mailman. With your neighbors. On your phone. With loved ones. With strangers.  With homeless people. With the disabled. With your money.  With your time.  With your gifts and talents. With the poor.  With the rich. With fellow Christians.  With atheists.  With the young.  With the old. Anywhere.   Anytime.

Anywhere you can be God’s hands and feet,  you can serve God.  I encourage each of you to speak of Him and what He’s done in your life. To pray for others.  To love one another.  To constantly be aware of any opportunity where you can help another.  And in the words of Mrs. Gump,  “You have to do the best with what God gave you.”

4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
Deuteronomy 13:4

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Rainbows

Good morning!

With all the rain we have been experiencing here in Oklahoma, along with it we have been observing rainbows. Double rainbows!

image

Since the Supreme Court decision on Friday,  we’ve been seeing a lot of rainbows!  Not just outside in Oklahoma.

I have to say,  I am old school.  I highly believe in the institution of marriage.   That it is God ordained, not state ordained.

I believe that God’s word tells us, Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:23-24

God’s word also tells us, ‘You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22

And it also tells us, Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.
1 Corinthians 6:18

God’s word tells us, too, 16 For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
Malachi 2:16

Sex and marriage have been controversial issues since the beginning of time. Times may change, people may change, laws may change.  God and His word do not.

Sin is sin.  The bible says sex outside of marriage is sin. The bible says lying with same sex is a sin.  The bible says divorce is a sin. I think there’s a whole lot of people that would not be able to throw a stone if you want my opinion.   Me included.  Jesus died to save us from sin.

I encourage each of you to stop chasing rainbows by worrying about your neighbor’s sin, and instead look at your own.  That’s really all that matters.  Let’s focus on these two most important commandments instead of finding fault with our neighbor, and the world will be a better place.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31

Let’s all let love not hate be victorious.

Hatred stirs up strife: but love covers all sins.
Proverbs 10:12

I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.
Genesis 9:13

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Broken Things

Good morning!

Or is it?

I know in my head it is. I’m a child of God.  I live in America,  the land of the free. But I’m not exactly feeling it in my heart today.   Our air conditioning unit broke.  It’s the end of June in Oklahoma.  It’s 80 degrees in the house! And we still have July and August to contend with. 😦

image

Oh well!  That’s life. Things break. Some can be fixed. Some can’t. Some have to be replaced. Some can’t.

Over the years, I’ve suffered tremendous loss.  I’ve learned to handle the material and the monetary loss.  The part that remains the most difficult to bear is the broken things.

Per the A/C repairman the unit cannot be fixed.  But the air conditioner can be replaced for a mere $5,000.00.  The problem is we don’t have $5,000.00.  But the bigger dilemma is there are two.  Both were on their last leg.  Two units.  Two story home. OLD family home. Old family home that is too big for us, and we need to sell AS IS. Now maybe sooner than later. 🙂 What to do?

God spoke to me. Instead of being overwhelmed here, I needed to simplify how I looked at my condition. I had choices. Three of them. Fix it. Replace it. Change what I could in the circumstances and live without it.

I had an epiphany.  That would work for my entire life!  I could use these same three options in any unfortunate circumstance that came before me in regard to things that were broken. I could even put it to use in regard to relationships. I always seem to have a few broken ones lying around.

Back to the air conditioner.  I can’t fix it. I have to replace it. Or change what I can and live without it. That narrowed down my playing field immensely. I wasn’t so overwhelmed.   I could focus on a solution.

Choice number three was my best option.  What could I do to work around no air conditioning downstairs in the summer?  Come on, our forefathers managed without it!  🙂 It would only be a matter of time before the upstairs unit blew from the strain of being the sole unit. Fans! Window units! A trip to the casino! (Just kidding on the trip to the casino.)  A trip to Home Depot will be more in order. As soon as I’m finished here.

Broken things.  For the most part, a little glue, and they are all better.  For some things.  Broken air conditioners and broken hearts not so much.

As I leave you today, I encourage you to fix those broken things you can. I’m speaking of people and relationships here. Our society is too fast to replace them. Or learn to change and live without them. Living without love. That’s a tragedy.

God uses the broken things in our lives for restoration. To bring us closer to Him. To heal our brokenness.  He gave His only Son to be broken for our sin.

He used the broken jar of perfume as a story of creating something beautiful out of something broken. The woman took all she had of value in that jar and broke it and poured it over Jesus head as an anointing for what lie ahead.

Be the glue. Haven’t we all been a little bit broken at some time or another?

3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Mark 14:3

Love and laughter,

Sandy

VIP For The Day

Good morning!

I met a girlfriend I hadn’t seen for quite some time for dinner last night. She brought along another friend.  We had a delightful time swapping stories amongst the three of us.  I just love time spent with godly girlfriends!  ♡

My friend shared a personal story with us of one particular time she was visiting a Disney Park.

Once inside the Park, they were standing in the street looking at a map to get their bearings and head in the direction of the first attraction they wanted to experience.

image

A gentleman was sweeping the street nearby.  My friend made eye contact with him and shared the normal pleasantries one with manners and a kind heart such as hers does.  They engaged in conversation from there about the park and its sights.  The next thing she knew, her group was given VIP status for the day!  They had front row seats to every show and went to the front of the line on every ride! And their own personal escort.   They’d made a new friend for the day!

It was a trip she’d never forget! But not because she rode more rides and saw more shows than the average Disney visitor.  But because she’d met an angel for the day.  She’d walked with God’s own.  Someone most, herself included, may not have even noticed.  But God did!  And God made this Disney trip a Divine intervention.

They had a blast!  Disney AND no waiting!  As Walt himself would say, “A dream come true!”

This man, who may not have appeared of great beauty to some, shone forth with inner beauty like none other. He shared his gift, the gift of VIP for the day for some deserving Park guests.  And do you think for one moment he didn’t enjoy spending his day riding the rides and seeing the shows in the park with these two wonderful couples from Oklahoma way more than sweeping the street? Why, of course he did! This was a win win situation for all.♡

I grew up watching The Wonderful World of Disney each Sunday night. We’d sit in front of the TV with popcorn bowls in hand and delight in what magic Disney had created to entertain us that week.

This touching tale brought me back to that childhood memory.  The lyrics of the theme song we heard every week so rang true.

When you wish upon a star
makes no difference who you are anything your heart desires
will come to you…
when you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true.

Remember,  Jesus, too came to this world as nothing special in His appearance, and look at the gifts He has shared with us! Much greater than Disney Park VIP for the day status. He gave His life so we could have VIP status for eternity with Him in heaven.  I don’t know about you, but that will be a dream come true for me!

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him,
nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.”
Isaiah 53:2

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Island Escape

Good morning!

As much as I would love an island escape right about now,  I have to tell you, the only island escape for me this week was via Red Lobster’s menu.

wpid-screenshot_2015-06-25-00-15-41.png

Caribbean-grilled salmon and shrimp.
Yum!
I’d seen it on their television commercials for days. It was luring me in with its tempting, “Want to taste paradise” lead in!  Monday evening before I headed in to my first 12 hour night shift for the week, I succumbed.

Red Lobster, for the seafood lover in you!  The curse of being a journalism/advertising major.  I remember every jingle, theme song, and worthless piece of trivia ever known to man that relates to advertising.  I’ve even been known to on more than one occasion break into song with the chorus of a popular jingle when the mood strikes me. This is no blessing! I may be able to dabble at writing.  But remember,  I’m the one talent wonder.   I can’t sing. 😦

What is it about advertising that tugs at our heartstrings (and our purse strings) and persuades us to close the deal?  For me, it plays on my emotion! 🙂  Who wouldn’t want to escape to an island?  I  worked in the travel industry for many years of my life.  Therefore,  I’ve had the awesome privilege of seeing quite a few islands that I would indeed deem paradise!  And the presentation of the succulent colors and textures on that plate! I could almost taste the mango and shrimp on my HDTV!

That’s how easy satan (and our own lust) can lure us away from God.  All satan has to do is plant something to entice us.  A fleshly desire.  A material treasure.  And believe me, he knows each of our greatest weaknesses all too well!  And we bite.  Hook, line, and sinker!

Let’s all try and make a conscious effort to live IN this world, and not be OF it.  That’s a tall order to fill.  But with the help of God, the Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit, all things are possible.  News flash!  The battle’s already won!

The next time you are craving a desire of the flesh, see it as it is.  Just that.  Instead of tasting paradise at your local Red Lobster, why not invest instead in the real paradise. It’s not a fleeting meal at the local seafood restaurant.  It’s an eternal feast with the Fisher of Men.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
1 John 2:16

And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Luke 23:43

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Stats

Good morning!

Today is June 24th, the 175th day of the year. This is my 176th blog.  I began this blog at the end of 2014 with my first entry being an announcement that simply said, “Just begin.” Then the next day I wished everyone a Happy New Year.  That’s when the real blog began.  January 1st of 2015.

This blog was a dream of mine.  A lifelong dream. To write a book. I finally made it a reality.  One day at a time.

I sit each morning with my Galaxy Note II and my cup of coffee in hand and meet with God.  I work nights so my sleeping patterns are a bit amiss. The actual hour that my “morning” writing occurs may vary greatly each day.  But one thing that does not vary is that I do write.  Every day.

It is my calling. I’ve finally found my niche.  It is the moment I love the most about each and every day. It’s become much more than just a habit. It’s become a part of who I am.  I now see the world in blogs. 🙂

I was a Journalism major in college. I love to write.  I love to express my thoughts and feelings through the written word.  I so love words! Words strung together make sentences. Sentences strung together make books. All my past attempts to write my book fell incomplete. My life seemed to keep taking me elsewhere. Until now.

This blog is my book.  My intention is to publish 365 blogs. One year’s worth. Then print it, and give it to each of my 3 daughters to pass on to my grandchildren.   They can read it someday or use it for warmth in their firepit.  Their call.  It is my gift, my legacy, a piece of me to live on.

My goal in writing this blog is to touch at least one person every day through the transparency of who I am, mess and all. We all have our strengths and our shortcomings. For some of us, our shortcomings are just a little more obvious than others.  It’s called being human. 🙂

Over the years, I’ve come to acknowledge that I am a mess. Without Jesus as my constant companion, I am a mess!  But, I’m a happy mess. 🙂 One that loves Jesus, her 3 daughters, and all those people who have touched my life along the way.  Even those that have hurt me. For they have made me stronger. Wiser.  And more appreciative of those that do love me.   To those people I say thank you.  Unfortunately,  none of them read my blog.  They could care less that I even exist. 😦

My attempt is to give you, my readers, little snippets of insight from my life (I call it learning from my mistakes.) using MY words, and then tie that daily subject matter into GOD’S word. It’s truly remarkable how every day God meets me with my morning manna, my subject matter, never a reader’s block, and away we go!

There’s nothing magical about the number 176.  Except as of today, I’ve shared 176 little snippets of who I am with you. That’s my Stats.  My Data.

We can measure just about anything we want to these days, and if we are great mathematicians (or polticians 🙂 ),  we can tweak the numbers to make them work for us in whatever manner best suits us.

I was just examining the stats on my blog this morning. Nothing monumental. But I found this particular page somewhat intriguing.  These are the stats for the countries that viewed my blog for the month of May.

image

My goal is to touch at least one person each day. I may never know this side of heaven if that goal was attainable. I do know this.  Someone in Zimbabwe viewed my blog in May.  The power of God. When I wrote “Just begin.” a little over six months ago, I would have never in my wildest dreams imagined someone in Zimbabwe would view my blog.  The power of God.

And you wonder why I know this is my calling?   My niche? 🙂  I can assure you, as long as I’m able to think and write, I will continue talking of God’s word as I sit in my house and walk along the road of life and when I lie down and rise up with anyone who cares to listen.  Zimbabwe does!
I’m humbly touched. ♡

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Love and laughter,

Sandy