Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Honey for the Heart: Rainy Autumn Days

Welcome to...
...where I share different verses from the Psalms!
 May you find truths about God, yourselves, and living life in the images and word pictures shared here! 

(It's been a struggle to post on my blog lately, but I am going to keep trying to write in it whenever possible.)
We've had some Autumn rain lately, so I've been thinking about how rain can often symbolize the difficulties in our own lives, and how God uses the rain to wash away our own sins and transgressions. I'll have to admit that lately, my heart hasn't been full of joy, nor have I been real faithful, when I don't feel His presence or understand His ways. I want to question Him and even find myself fighting against a stubborn heart.

Interestingly, in my Tuesday morning Bible Study group, we talked about Psalm 51. Then, we took time in solitary prayer to read through each verse and ask God to give us His wisdom of where we need to ask for His forgiveness and grace. I decided to share Psalm 51(Specifically, some of the verses from it that stuck out for me.)

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
 Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned  
and done what is evil in your sight;

williamelong:  Let it rain!
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
 Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

teapalm: “(Tasha Marie) | Rain ”
Hide your face from my sins
 and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence.
I thought I would also share a song by Laura Story that reminds me that rain isn't always a bad thing in our lives
In fact, it may be a blessing in disguise.

What if your blessings come through rain drops, What if Your healing comes through tears, What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near .... What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life, Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy, What if trials of this life, The rain, the storms, the hardest nights, Are your mercies in disguise ♥

we-love-rain:   ♡ we-love-rain ☂☁ ~ by halfpress
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Difficult Week

In the past, I have shared some wonderful and joyful times in my life. I have shared how I felt God was working through me and providing me with many blessings in my life. I have also shared some times of difficulty and hardships. Experiences that took me to some great lows and prompted me to seek Him through diligent prayer and fasting. And I'm going to be brutally honest with you, now. I've also come extremely close to what I can only define as a "mental breakdown". 

Life is SO hard much of the time, isn't it? Even as believers, we can lose our sense of purpose and God's presence. We can lose faith and patience, and become discouraged. 

It's been wonderful to have my blog here, to write from my heart, and find some encouragement and support, as well as encourage others. Lately, though, (more like, in the past 5 years or more) I have felt like I have been on the ultimate emotional roller coaster ride. There have been highs and there have been lows. In the past year and a half, the lows have been getting lower, but the highs seem to be evening out. During these emotional struggles, I have prayed and believed that, in spite of not seeing or feeling like it, God heard my prayers and was walking with me and that He was going to someday answer my prayers, that I knew were within His will. (Most importantly, the salvation of others.)

Then, when something would happen that seemed to totally counter that faith, I struggled with staying connected with God and with other believers. My first response was usually to become isolated and anti-social. My thinking became distorted (or at least, over-sensitive). Smaller difficulties became huge roadblocks and I'd finally just say, "It's not worth the effort anymore!" "I'm tired. I'm wore out." "I just don't have the desire or the motivation to try to continue in my daily routine." 

Now, I'm sure at least some of us have moments or days where we feel this way. But for me, it's been more of a normal part of my life. What amazes me is how well I've covered it up in public, when I'm at work, or church, or the store, or even when I'm with friends. My hubby has seen this side of me often, but usually won't do much, but maybe avoid me, when I get down for longer periods of time. I think that's because I am so transparent about my negative attitude around him.(I truly feel bad for him, when that occurs.)

I guess the reason why I decided to discuss this now and here on my blog is because  I most likely will be taking another break from blogging for awhile. It was about 6 months ago that I took a mini-blogging break to spend some time in prayer and fasting for my son. I did that fervently and I came back from it at least a little more refreshed. I had been considering taking another break in the near future, when another "event" recently took place in my life that sent me rambling down the roller coaster full-speed ahead! And yes, it had to do with my son, again. I won't go into the full story here (maybe someday, I will tell about it.), but it has been an ongoing problem for him for many, many years. I've known somewhat about his "problem", but not to the extent that it has been taking place. 

Now as a mama and a woman of faith, all my life, I have prayed and wanted nothing more than a blessed life for my son. I've desired not only for him to walk in a daily relationship with the Lord, but to share in the joy of knowing we will spend eternity together and with our Savior!! So far, that has not been the case and it has been a very painful road for me. Because of my connections with many mom's in the blogging community, I know that some mom's out there have felt that kind of pain, too. I've been told that some parents have no contact/connection with their adult children, which has caused them extreme pain. Honestly, I'm not sure which is worse, not seeing your child make some very unwise choices in life and how they will reap the very, very, very dangerous consequences of those choices....or having a relationship with your child and having to see them make those choices, wanting to stop them in their tracks, and yet not being able to do anything about it because they don't want to change. 

O.K. now that I have fully depressed anyone who is a parent out there, let me express my apologies. You see, I'm at a point in my life where the negativity seems to have moved into my life. Sounds awful, I know, but that's just how it is (and has been) for me for awhile. I tried to cover the negativity up (put on the happy face, share encouraging words, etc.), but have felt like a total scam artist, playing the part of the "faithful Christian woman". I know, I still have moments that I will sometimes feel encouraged. When those times occur, I will definitely share them on my blog. But let's be honest, who wants to hear someone's constant complaining and sob stories in a blog post every week? Not me, that's for sure. I tend to not want to read those blog posts. 

Now, for all you concerned fellow bloggers...I have been to a Christian counselor when it's needed. I do not want to go the route of taking anti-depressant drugs. It's just not for me...mostly because of the very reason that I get down. (Again, someday I'll explain the reason more completely.) Anyway, if you are an avid prayer warrior, your prayers are greatly appreciated, not only for me, but also for my son, Tyler. 

Another bit of information that I wanted to share here with you today, was that it may be difficult(or impossible) to get ahold of me through Facebook. Like I had mentioned, even when smaller setbacks happen, I tend to overreact. A few days ago, Facebook decided (for unknown reasons) to freeze my accounts (both my personal and blogger accounts) temporarily. They suspect someone else is trying to use them (in their words). I'm not sure if I will be able to retrieve my accounts, which will be so sad, as I have posted so much on them over years. Gladly I have most, if not all of the pictures and videos saved on my computer/external memory. (By the way, if you have had this happen to you, let me know what you did to get your account back up. I don't really want to start over with a new Facebook page and am not sure if I will stop using Facebook altogether, if I can't retrieve my accounts) If you want to get in contact with me you may either post a comment(which I may not check every day), or send me an email at my hotmail address: apop12341@hotmail.com

Thanks to all of you who chose to read this post all the way through!! Bless you!! 

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Memories of My Dad and Outpatient Surgery

I can hardly believe it, but it will soon be 10 years since I lost my dad! He passed away, following surgery for his diabetes and Alzheimers disease on October 8, 2004. He was a faithful husband and father.
My parents, as newlyweds
A family portrait

My dad was the best father I could have ever had! We were a lot alike and enjoyed similar hobbies and interests. 
 Me and my dad loved to play tennis.
 My dad and I loved sailing

Family was truly important to him.
My dad and niece, who both shared a birthday on the same day.

As I think about all of the blessings in my life, there were many things about him that I am so glad I got to learn from him. Those things are what I miss the most!

Some things I loved about my dad:
  1. His quiet spirit
  2. His love for sailing his catamaran on the lake.
  3. His interest in computer programs and gaming.
  4. His love of staying active...especially playing tennis with me.
  5. His ability to tinker around the garage and do little projects.
  6. That he was such a peacemaker...wanting everyone to get along.
  7. His love of Sunday football games.
  8. That he would always root for the underdog team.
  9. That he took a great interest in our genealogy and made a family tree for us! (French/Canadian heritage)
  10. He loved to watch old movies on T.V.
  11. He was a great businessman, and ran his own furniture store for many years!
  12. He was a faithful and devoted husband.
  13. He was a loving, caring father.
  14. His interest in photography (when we were young, he had his own darkroom to develop his film)

Even though I would love to have had more time with my dad, I know He is enjoying eternity with his Heavenly Father and I will see him again one day!
Miss you dad!!!

Along with sharing what I'm grateful for, I also wanted to ask for your prayers. I am having outpatient surgery (female related) on Tuesday, Oct. 7. It is a pretty routine surgery, but I often don't respond well, when coming out of anesthesia. Pray all goes well and recovery is quick for me.  I will post my status, once I am able to get back onto my computer.
Have a blessed week!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Autumn Blessings

About this time every year I am amazed at how quickly summer goes by. The change of seasons from summer to autumn always brings mixed emotions for me. That's because summer is my favorite time of the year. Not that autumn doesn't have its own set of wonderful things to enjoy, but I guess it's just a reminder to me that winter will soon follow, as our autumn season is usually very short-lived here in Indiana. 
But, it does look like summer is officially on it's way out, as autumn winds blow, the leaves are turning, and pumpkins are popping up everywhere. I decided, instead of mulling (just like cider) over the thought that summer is gone, I'm gonna try to think about all of the blessings of autumn. As I was reading different posts and pictures on my Facebook wall, I noticed some pretty awesome photos. They reminded me of all the true blessings we do receive this time year. So, I'm sharing some of my favorite pics from friends and family.
Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Linking over at "Multitudes on Mondays", as I  Dare to Share the blessings of the Lord!
1,803 - God's creativity in giving us so much color in our world to enjoy!
 (Brightly colored leaves)
1,804 - Going to the pumpkin farm to pick out the perfect pumpkin!!
(Shopping for a pumpkin)

1,805 - New life in Christ!!
 (Beauty in every life!)
1,806 - Fun times with friends, that make sweet memories.
 (More pumpkins and family fun!)
1,807 - Childhood memories of autumn activities and games we played.
(Playing in piles of leaves!)
 1,808 - We did this just this past weekend...I do love sitting by a warm fire in the fall, especially.
(Toasty campfires on cool evenings)

1,809 - Just starting to get my decor out...yes, I'm a bit behind. I do love fall colors and themes.
(Decorating in fall colors)
1,810 - Our mums are just starting to really bloom. (I do wish the flowers lasted longer!)
(Mums in bright colors)

1,811 - So many unique shapes, colors, and sizes. I love decorating with gourds!
(Piles of gourds and pumpkins)

1,812 - Fall sunsets are about the most beautiful ones there are!!
(These are pictures I took of a fall sunset, just a few days ago.)

What do you love about the fall season?