One Big Boat, Different Paddle: Part 1

I love sitting by the water and watching boats glide by. You know, life is like a boat.  We are all in one big boat in a huge body of water called LIFE.  Some times it is wavy, sometimes calm, and other times a bit of both.

The difference is we have been given our own paddle to fight and conquer life.  Sometimes I envy those that seem to have the biggest and most glorious, fancy boat with not much need to break into a sweat to use a paddle. Me, on the other hand, feels like many times I’m struggling in a rubber dingy that has just sprung a link and my paddle has floated away.  Do you feel that way sometimes?

How do we use our paddle?  Throw it overboard? Paddle as fast as you can? Put a white flag on it and give up? Or take long, strong strides to balance and stabilize the situation?  I’ve done all of these.  Honestly, more times than not, I start off frantically flinging my paddle anyway I can thinking as kids say, I DO MYSELF.

We are unique and have all been handed life differently while in this earthen vessel called a boat. It is easy to judge someone else and think how they should be using their paddle.  It is another thing to decide how to float our boat with the paddle we have been given.

Many times, we need to be rescued.  Being in this boat can be tough. There is illness, someone is unkind, injustice is winning, or we are constantly fighting financial hardships which never seem to let up. As a single parent, there were so many situations that made it hard to even put the paddle in the water to move ahead. The struggle and pain is real.

That is when we need to realize:

  1. Jesus is IN our life boat.
  2. He will help us move the paddle.

 

  1. Jesus Is IN Our Life Boat

Life is never neat and tidy. There are waves, winds, and storms. The disciples experienced that while on a trip across the Sea.  Check out Mark 4: 35-41. The storm came but Jesus was there in their boat in the storm.

The struggles will be there for sure.  However, the greater struggle is not reaching out to the only One who can stabilize our life boat. It’s like Peter when he knew Jesus could rescue him yet he choose to take his eyes off Him…that’s when he lost sight and trouble began.

 Come on!” Jesus said. Peter then got out of the boat and started walking on the water toward him.

 But when Peter saw how strong the wind was, he was afraid and started sinking. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Right away, Jesus reached out his hand. He helped Peter up and said, “You surely don’t have much faith. Why do you doubt?” Matthew 14: 29-31 (CEV)

As humans, we naturally do this so well. It is easy to lose sight and start to sink. We suddenly have forgotten everything we know, let alone how to use our paddle.

Our first step is to realize that while in this life boat, we have Jesus with us.  He wants to help us and engage in our journey with the unique paddle that has been handed us. Jesus’ life wasn’t easy, so why should we think ours will be?  We may think He doesn’t care and that He isn’t there.  Again, human thinking can overrule.

Being able to take the time to process the fact that Jesus is right IN our boat is paramount to peace. He lived life on earth, He understands the waves and winds that toss our life boat around.

This is our challenge…do we understand He has been and will always be with us?  For those who wonder how Jesus can be in your Life Boat check the link at the bottom.  For those who have a relationship with the One who sits in your boat, take time to re-focus on Him so you can begin to push your paddle through the waters. Like in Peter’s situation, He is reaching His hand out to you.

I have rescued you.  I have called you by name; now you belong to me.  When you cross deep rivers, I will be with you, and you won’t drown.  Isaiah 43:1b-2a

Next time: Part 2: He will help us move our paddle.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:

  • Read the story in Mark 4.
  • Take some time to focus on your life boat and paddle.
  • Do you have Jesus as One who sits in the life boat of yours?
  • Memorize Isaiah 43:1b-2a
  • As you face life this week, reach out to the One in your life boat who wants to help you. He is reaching out.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

https://www.allaboutgod.com/prayer-of-salvation.htm

 

 

 

Hello There Earth!

We just celebrated Earth Day. It’s a pretty amazing place, isn’t it!  For me personally, it has given me years of pleasure by enjoying the time outside, doing some travel, and just watching the garden grown.

God created it, And God saw that it was good. (Gen 1:9)

I am thankful to God for such a beautiful ‘piece of property’ He has given us to enjoy.

It’s hard when parks are closed, playgrounds have yellow tape around them, and our favourite camp grounds will not be opening anytime soon. But one day, gates will open, tape will be cut off, and we can hear the crackle of the campfires once again.

God continues to spin the world while we wait through COVID-19.  He made it so we can enjoy its beauty and make memories on it. That has always been His pleasure.

For some, you have a back yard. Others live in an apartment building and maybe the balcony doesn’t offer much space.  My daughter, who lives in a large city, has a balcony but the pigeons have taken over.  (Yep, sure miss my kids) So, what can you do with the stay home, stay safe rule?

It will need some creative juices to flow as the weeks continue.

I use to have picnics with my girls during the cold winter weather in our basement. Why not do it now? Pack a picnic lunch, put some plants around your area, dress in some summer wear, throw down a blanket and enjoy your imaginary beautiful picnic area.

Put a beautiful scene on your screen and pretend you are right there. I was at this waterfall last summer and even though I can’t visit it, I can enjoy the beauty of it still and almost hear the sound of the water cascading over the Falls.

I enjoy watching nature shows where I can feel I am right there exploring alongside the camera people. My four walls suddenly become bigger. This is the time when we can especially escape to their part of the world.

I typed in nature crafts on www.pinterest.com. I am always amazed of such fun things to do.

Just getting in the car and driving somewhere for a few minutes can help re-set the mind frame. It is hard to stay cooped up, but taking a drive to see some spring scenery can help bring a breath of fresh air.  Grab some snacks, put on some tunes, and enjoy the spring scenery out the car window.

I know this is hard and you may want to pack it all in and forget social distancing.  Enough is enough, right? Sorry, we need to stick with it for a while longer. ☹ Let’s try and stay diligent and put on our creative hats.

So, for a time, enjoy our Earth and what it offers in a different way right now.  One day we will be connecting with people and spending time in the beauty of our world without these restrictions. We will all have stories to tell and we want to be able to pass them on to our grand kids, our relatives, and friends.

The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, and the skies declare what he has done.  Psalm 19:1

Celebrate planet Earth,  be good to yourself and kind to others.

Remember, we are in this together and WE CAN DO THIS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What On Earth!

Our whole world is shrouded in this illness.  Yes, we are all in this together with no choice of our own. For most of us, we are doing due-diligence, staying home, and staying our distance.  High Five to you!

I wanted to encourage you all as you  are doing your best to stay safe at home, staying the course, and staying grounded when you feel like your feet are slipping beneath you.

God knows this has happened and it hasn’t surprised Him. He is offering His comfort when we feel overwhelmed, when panic attacks overtake us, when fear of the unknown and financial issues hit us, when we are desperately missing our friends and family, and when we are deeply concerned about the safety for those we love.

I have found myself overwhelmed and in a state of panic sometimes.  Do you feel that way?  When can I leave my house and feel safe? Will our children stay healthy? What about finances and how to meet the bills that are still coming?  Did I touch something that has the virus? What will be the next shortage other than toilet paper? ☹ This has not only hit a part of the world…we are all facing it every day.

As we face each update of COVID-19, claiming Scripture  has helped to  calm my heart and mind. Listening to worship music has been a positive place to calm my nerves.  Not allowing fear to take hold and releasing my conversations to God helps me walk through the day.

There are organizations that are ready to encourage and listen to you.

TheLife.com –You are  able to reach out to a Mentor.

Focus on the Family has a link:

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-time-during-the-coronavirus-quarantine/

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association 24hr Prayer Line: 888-388-2683

My childhood girlfriend and I are doing daily devotionals together from miles away with the app YouVersion.  A great way to connect. Why not check on their plans and ask someone to join you.

https://my.bible.com/sign-in

We are all in this together, so will you read these Scriptures along with me to comfort our hearts? Reach out to God…He knows.  So, when we say, What On Earth? read these:

  • The earth trembles, and its people shake; you alone keep its foundations firm. Psalm 75:3
  • Our Lord and our God, you are my mighty rock, my fortress, my protector.  2 Samuel 22:2
  • So always trust the Lord because he is forever our mighty rock. Isaiah 26:4
  • I prayed to the Lord: Our Lord, you are the one who gives me strength and protects me like a fortress when I am in trouble. Jeremiah 16:19
  • In times of trouble, you will protect me. You will hide me in your tent and keep me safe on top of a mighty rock. Psalm 27:5
  • But I will sing about your strength, my God, and I will celebrate because of your love. You are my fortress, my place of protection in times of trouble. Psalm 59:16
  • Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death? Romans 8:35

We will get through this.  As the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians …we will get up again.

In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again. 2 Corinthians 4:9

What on Earth??? Why Not Open Your Tool Box: 

  • Read these and other verses to comfort your soul and your heart
  • Know we are in this together…keep staying at home and stay safe so we can eventually go out
  • Check on the above links to reach out to those that are waiting to listen
  • Call someone today and have a good long chat
  • Remember you are never alone.

WE CAN DO THIS BECAUSE WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER AND GOD IS HERE!

 

 

OLD SCHOOL…A Great Idea!

I have been so encouraged to see through Social Media how people are handling COVID-19. The people posting are STAYING HOME and making their own fun.

One News Cast announcer said she got out her crocheting again and said she felt like this was OLD SCHOOL. Reality is, we are now going back to old school ideas.  I love seeing families working on puzzles, having game nights, taking family walks in the woods alone, baking together, and using sidewalk chalk on their driveway.  Thank you for abiding by the rules and staying home, staying safe, and trying to beat this virus by not spreading it.

Even on our road, I have seen a father and son jogging together and couples taking their dog for a walk as we wave to each other from afar. I  had a Facebook video chat with my girlfriend.

What I think we have all come to realize is that while we are still using modern technology for watching church services, working from home if possible, chatting with friends, or making funny videos, we are also using OLD SCHOOL ideas again and uniting as a family and community. There is stress with the virus and this will be causing heavy financial burdens, but  there are good results by learning to be a family again.

Sheila Walsh, posted on Instagram, an encouraging verse,

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.  Psalms 27:13

Let’s unite for this necessary time to do OLD SCHOOL activities partnered with modern technology.

There are great links to help you pass the time.  Our local library had some good ideas, Pinterest, and of course Google to name a few.

I am grateful for many good websites to check out. I am not an expert but here are some things I have thought about.

  • If you are a seamstress, check this out to help our front-line medical teams. My sister-in-law and I are teaming up to help a neighbor who is a nurse and making them for her unit.
  • With the shortage of toilet paper, I am sure you have empty rolls around the house…get creative and make some fun crafts
  • Make homemade playdoh. Check out these links

https://www.google.com/search?q=homemade+playdough+recipe&oq=homemade+playd&aqs=chrome.1.0l2j69i57j0l5.5064j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

  • Clean out your closets and I am sure there are clothes your kids would love to dress up in.
  • Take a storybook and act out the characters.
  • Get out your good china and t-cups and have a tea party.
  • Check out on-line your local library for apps and aids to pass the time.
  • Have a puppet show with old socks…we really have them lying around. Then make a back drop out of cardboard for the dramatic show!
  • Start to teach your kids some skills like baking, building a bird house, painting, knitting, crocheting or sewing. The list is endless.
  • Our flower beds will need to be cleaned out…you have a landscaping team at your fingertips.
  • Talk a walk in the woods with a list of things to find and use your camera to take shots of the items you found…you don’t need to even handle the items.
  • Keep taking safe care with washing your hands and taking supplements. Here is a link to check out for a detox bath and other helps. (I have a yummy recipe of Christine’s on my blog under Recipes)

https://www.facebook.com/OptimalYOUCoach/

  • There are lots of cool colouring pages on the internet to print off and use OLD SCHOOL crayons or markers. 😊
  • Print off people shapes and animals and make a family out of it and then be creative with  and decorating them.
  • If you aren’t a reader, try picking up a book you have had on the shelf or download a book. Escape to a world without COVID-19.
  • There are some free Bible studies on line. I am working on one of Max Lucado’s book “Anxious For Nothing”.
  • Do a fitness class with your family with classes or videos on-line.
  • Make signs to put in your window to encourage neighbours who walk by.
  • Put up twinkly lights to brighten up your place.
  • Dust off the board games or make your own.
  • Write out the verse of today and keep it where you can see it.
  • Call an elderly neighbour to make sure they have enough food and meds.
  • Continue to pray for those who have the virus and those who have lost loved ones.
  • Breathe……

Some days will be harder than others. Stir crazy will have a new meaning! We are in this together.  Give yourself permission to have a hard day and give grace to yourself, your kids and spouse.

We don’t know the future but we know Who holds it.  Those who know their eternity is secure and believing we have a Great Physician can trust and pray to Him.

If you are not sure, check this link out.  https://singlemomsurvivalsuccess.com/relationship-with-god/

EACH day is a new day to fight COVID-19.  We can each do our part. Bless you all. (You can contact me through my email address on the contact tab.)

STAY HOME AND STAY SAFE.

Toilet Paper and Soap

My email box has been flooded with words of hope from organizations that say they are working hard to help us feel safer. These are tough days with the spread of COVID-19 and will be forever remembered in our history.

For two days, I was out looking for toilet paper. The shelves were bare with no promise of when more would come in. I really did need toilet paper but people were told to stock up and they really did!

I  had also heard there were fights in the grocery store and parking lot.  Our world is in a state of fear and panic which meant emptying the store shelves….and that meant no toilet paper!

In the second book of Chronicles, Jehoshaphat came to the temple to talk to Judah and Jerusalem. Life wasn’t good for them and they were afraid.  So, God told Jehoshaphat to speak to them.

“They believed that whenever this land is struck by war or DISEASE or famine, your people can pray to you at the temple, and you will hear their prayer and save them”. 2 Chronicles 20:9

Let’s do the same. We need to pray for the wisdom of those working to stop COVID-19, our medical people, and those in leadership. We, ourselves, need to be wise in what we do.  So, keep our hands clean, limit our activities, keep our immune system healthy with supplements, and pray. Reach out to those that need encouragement by text or email or any app you have to do that. Thank goodness we have the technology to do that.

Our world will continue to have these viruses, disastrous, and famines like the past. Panic and fear go hand-in-hand.  I don’t take this lightly, but like Jehoshaphat said; we can pray. So, for now that may mean staying at home as much as possible and praying for the end of COVID-19.

Both my daughters have a sign in their home that says, “Wash your hands and say your prayers, because Jesus and germs are everywhere”.

Let’s do this.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:

  • Pray for our leaders who are making decisions for our world
  • Pray for our health providers that are helping us and at great risk
  • Pray for our family members who have been affected by this COVID-19
  • Pray for at-risk people in our neighbourhoods
  • Pray for those who have lost family and friends to this virus
  • Pray like Jehoshaphat who said “you will hear their prayer”
  • Pray we will be wise in doing OUR part

LET’S DO THIS!

 

Remember

Our brain is a mighty machine.  Some days we think it has gone on a vacation, but the inner workings and power it has is insurmountable.  Inventions, creations, books, justice, and love is because of this fist size God-given brain.  Other times it is used for negative actions, and our thoughts can certainly give us ‘stinkin’ thinkin’.

We can be reminded of some wonderful and true deeds of Our Mighty God.  Taking some time to write them down can help when we are discouraged or feel off track. I am going to be sharing from the complete Chapter of Psalm 146.

Psalm 146: 2, 5 I will praise the Lord as long as I live.  I will sing praises to my God even with my dying breath. But happy are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. (NLT)

God is a God of action verbs.  Let’s take a look.

  • Made Heaven and earth, sea, and everything in them
  • Keeps every promise forever
  • Justice to the oppressed
  • Food to the hungry
  • Frees the prisoners
  • Lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their load
  • Protects the foreigners among us
  • Cares for orphans and widows
  • Frustrates the plans of the wicked

The sin in our world has clouded and made things difficult.  Selfishness reigns in our society where people are hurt, starving and lonely. God has not changed so we can ask Him to help in our life’s circumstance. Some days we may struggle and wonder about these words.  Don’t give up because we can’t know the whole picture.  Use your mighty machine, the brain, to claim and remind yourself of these promises and ask God for help to trust and hope in Him. The last verse of this chapter says to Praise Him. When we do that, we can be encouraged.

Open your Tool Box:

  • How about today, can you begin to believe in these verbs?
  • Can you trust God today to take care of you and your situation?
  • Some days are harder than others, so have Psalm 146 near you.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

The Truest Heart!

Red hearts, red tissue paper, red-covered boxes of chocolates, and store lined with red valentine cards. Yep, its that time of year when men are stressed what to get their sweetheart, singles feel left out, and the merchants are laughing all the way to the bank.

I am not a fan of Valentines. It can be a sad day, an extremely pressured time for what could have been or longing for any kind of love.  (now don’t get me wrong, it can be fun.)

When I was a single mom, I made sure my girls and I did something fun. We ate food that was red, wore red, I gave them a little gift, and we made heart shaped cookies together.  I loved my girls with everything in my being and I wanted to make sure they knew it wasn’t only the 14th of February but for 365 days of the year.

Everyone is looking for love.  We all want a sense of security, acceptance, and intimacy.  People try Night clubs, speed dating, one-night stands, and going to parties in hopes that somehow, somewhere true love will be found. Great News…you don’t have to go any further…

True love…. It’s God.

He created real Love and has the Truest Heart. From the beginning of time, He has the most perfect and truest love.

He showed us true love by sending Jesus as a loving and perfect sacrifice to take our place of eternal death so we could have eternal life. Isn’t that amazing!  If you don’t know what I am talking about, check out: www.allaboutgod.com

God’s love is unchangeable when:

  • You feel unloved
  • You feel like a failure because of an ex- spouse
  • You feel like your heart will never stop aching
  • You desperately want another chance at love
  • You need wisdom and strength to raise your kids and show them love

God’s Bible is full of His love stories. He loves the underdog, the unclean, the rejected, the wealthy, the lonely, the poor, the sick, the children, people in high places, people in low places, and the single parents!

This Valentines you can be encouraged about God’s love for you and your kids. February 14th is just a day, but God’s love is 365 days a year.

You can know the greatest love… the Love of God. He is the Best Valentine EVER!

God’s Valentine card to you is words from His book which says,

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us.  I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord! Romans 8:37-39 (CEV)

Trust in the goodness and love of what He did for you on the Cross.

Happy Love Day! …. you are Loved!