Chai with a twist…

I don’t like coffee, but I need internet to work.

Yesterday while my kids were in school, I set up in a GREAT coffee shop.

Axum of Winter Garden.

I didn’t know what to expect since I generally go to Panera or Starbucks on the days that I am in Winter Garden for 7 hours while my kids learn Latin, Geography, Government, etc.

When I stepped inside, it looked like a comfortable hang out.

Comfortable sofas, chairs, tables and  great lighting with a quieter place towards the back, making it perfect!

I may not like coffee, but I LOVE a good cup of Chai tea. I placed my order and added a fresh, homemade croissant. He was a good salesman.

The barista warmed the croissant and made the chai to perfection with what looked like a heart on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon!!

But enjoying the best croissant and Chai I have ever had wasn’t what made this place special.

They do business with  a purpose!

Have you heard of a place that gives 100% of its profits away? Yep, they do! They donate all their profits to help provide water, education, medical care and much more for town in Ethiopia called Axum! Go to their website – http://www.axumcoffee.com/ and be inspired!

Living outside of ourselves….

Looking for a good book to go along with this concept? Read Radical: Taking back your faith from the American Dream.

And, next time you are in downtown Winter Garden, you should stop by and make a difference!

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Looking through His Glasses

It started with a general feeling of  malaise.

I had company for dinner and a Bible study. I couldn’t concentrate. I kept feeling worse.

By the time I pulled back my covers, and crawled into bed, I was shivering.

I ended up in bed, sick with a fever all weekend.

On Saturday, I was so miserable all I could do was sleep, read and sleep.

By Sunday, I was feeling better, but not up to doing all the duties that normally fall on my shoulders. I stayed in bed, to recover.

Soon I found a great show on Netflix, and began watching episode after episode. So nice, no commercials.

A decent show, no: murder, bad language, illicit scenes. Certainly a nice way to pass the time along as I recuperated.

But I kept feeling a nagging…

A tug…shouldn’t I take some time to pray?

I have all this time, I could read God’s word, memorize it, blog, journal.

Wish I could say I made the right choice…I didn’t.

I haven’t lately…

In fact,  I haven’t blogged recently because I have been discouraged. I have made so many bad choices lately with my time, words, priorities, family that I wonder, “Who am I? What do I have to share with anyone?”

Just know that I am not on a pedestal. I am struggling with hormones, wrongs, stress,  teenage kids, past hurts and uncertainties. I fight against the urge to just give up. But I read this the other day on Ann Voskamp’s blog,

The fight for joy is worth it!

So I get up, seek God’s mercy yet again.

Put on His glasses and begin to cherish the beauty around me.

I hug my kids more tightly.

I see my husband’s kindness and love.

I see my blessings not my sins.

I choose….choose to look around me through the lenses of HIS love, not my smudge, HIS mercy, not my bitterness, HIS beauty, not my sin.

The power of FORGIVENESS

The power of CHOICE

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Death, where is your Sting?

We had talked, laughed, joked over the phone, just the evening before. He had, one more time, encouraged me to blog.

In fact, I had texted him that very afternoon, excited about a job opportunity I had for him.

As I relaxed, and perused Facebook that evening, I read a note from a mutual friend. I don’t recollect the exact wording, but I remember clearly the exact feeling I had when I read that this very same dear friend, the one I had just texted hours earlier, a friend for 30 years, had died that day.

He was too young! He couldn’t be gone! A bad joke, some mistake!!

I cried.

I trembled.

I was in shock.

How come? Why? It all, even now, seems so senseless!!

Death, the finality of it all.

During the days of writing this blog, I again received a call. This time I was driving. With the “Hello”  from a fellow church youth leader came, “Pray, one of our own is missing. Missing in the ocean.”  Later found…dead.

Again, DEATH.

This time a 17 year old. A young man full of life, love, smiles, potential.

Oh such pain, such suffering in this world.

You have been touched by it.

You have wept.

So I am processing, once more, what death means as a believer in Jesus Christ, who calls Himself the Resurrection and the Life! Take a look, check it out and study for yourself!!

I am thankful that God’s Word is not silent when it comes to what it will be like when we take our last breath, as we know we will.

I love to sleep. Every evening, I crawl into bed, rest my head on my soft pillow, close my eyes, and know that by the grace of God, I will wake up to a new morning.

Jesus calls death, SLEEP! Over 50 times in the Bible death is referred to as sleep. Rest. A state of not knowing anything…until that NEW morning when:

“The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up to gather with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. 4:16,17

God ALONE can give us the comfort we need even in the lowest, most painful, most difficult times!!

“For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything…” Eccl. 9:5

There are many, many more verses that speak of death as sleep, as in a state of not knowing what is going on.

The thought that my loved one or friend is sleeping, resting, not worried, not hurting, not looking down in sadness and watching me cry, is comfort indeed.

BUT….THAT”S NOT ALL!! There is HOPE in the RESURRECTION!

“Behold, I tell you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”        1 Cor. 15:51,52

New life!

When the Lord Himself returns for His own to take us to a place where:

“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Rev. 20:4

Every winter, nature slowly goes into a state of sleep. Branches wither, leaves fall, trees look bare and at times all is coated under a blanket of snow. But that is not the end!

SPRING is around the corner….

With Spring, there is LIFE!! New LIFE!!

Jesus, who created life the first time around, wakes us up to life eternal when He comes again!!

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”  1 Cor. 15:55

As it says in 1 Thessalonians 4:18-

“Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

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Sharing…for a Monday

After a very difficult and emotional weekend, I am working on a blog I hope to post soon. But for now I want to share a GREAT post from a blog I LOVE to read!  I pray you will be as blessed reading this as I was!

Words I needed for my soul today….

God only allows pain if He’s allowing something new to be born.

http://www.aholyexperience.com

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Cherishing the Moment…

Homework! Algebra! Taming of the Shrew! Essays!
Dare I say, what a blessing?

Most of the time I run through life, exasperated at the interruptions, when the interruptions are really what life is all about.

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour but this hour.” ~ Walt Whitman

It isn’t getting to the next event, hurrying to answer the next call, running to catch the next show…it is being in the moment.

Enjoying the smile of my daughter, the hug of my son, the look of enlightenment after an arduous time in Algebra. It is laughing at a line in Shakespeare or grinning at my own mistakes, finding my children are becoming more knowledgeable than me!

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Jesus said it this way -

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not your life more than food and the body more that clothing?”

So easy to get caught up in the worry, the stress and the rushing of life. We lose out….

“Be still and know that I am God;” ~ Psalms 46:10

In the stillness, in the quiet, in the stopping, in the being, in the moment, I can KNOW God.

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Keeping my Eye on the Goal

Have you noticed how easy it is to focus on the difficulties of life?

This hit home today.

Once again.

I began focusing on the present uncertainties that are currently in my life.

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. ~ Henry Ford

I am certain that Satan spends his time trying to find ways to keep our eyes on ANYTHING but our Goal – God.

Maybe it is the uncertainty of the future.

Perhaps it is something someone said.

The growing list of things to do.

Worries and anxieties over our children, health of our parents, bills, what’s for supper, what should I wear, fears, pain, hurts…..

These things are real.

Very much a part of our lives.

Then I read this -

A river is victoriously persistent, it overcomes all barriers….You can see God using some lives, but into your life an obstacle has come and you do not seem to be of any use. Keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty…Never allow anything to come between yourself and Jesus Christ, no emotion, no experience; nothing must keep you from the One great Sovereign Source. ~ Oswald Chambers

What does this look like in my day to day life?

I am convinced if I had a sure-fire way to keep my eyes on my goal – God, things unseen, my relationship with Him – I could package it up and make millions! (if I were the entrepreneur type).

All I have are the ways of those that have gone before, who struggled with the same.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God; and the peace which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and minds through Christ Jesus. ~ Phil. 4:6,7

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I amy gain Christ. ~ Phil. 3:7,8

  • Prayer
  • Thanksgiving
  • Putting Christ above all the world has to offer

Knowing this and implementing are two different things. I should know…I fail all the time (just ask my family).

But when I have succeeded in keeping my eye on what really matters, the obstacles become irrelevant or really, I see them for what they are -

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. ~ James 1:2-4.

God’s way to reach my GOAL!

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Orange a la Julius!

More Friday FUN!

A dear friend shared this delectable and easy to make drink, and it has been one of our favorites for years.

I hope you enjoy it, too!

1 container of orange juice concentrate

2 of the orange juice containers filled with milk (we use soy)

1 container filled with ice.

Put all the above in the blender, whizz and enjoy!!

“Our bodies are Christ’s possession, and we are not at liberty to do with them as we please.”~ Ellen White

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Beauty in the Commonplace



At the basis of Jesus Christ’s Kingdom is the unaffected loveliness of the commonplace. ~ Oswald Chambers





Today, give me Your perspective Lord, show me the beauty in the commonplace.

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Sunday Musings

I was filling out the address on the package I needed to send.

I thought it was obvious that I was in line.

From the corner of my eye, I saw a lady sweep in front of me.

I looked up and did what came naturally(unfortunately). I gave her THE look! You know, the one that says, “EXCUSE ME? “

She read it, and quickly said, “Please, go ahead”

Immediately, shame filled me. So I responded with a “No, please, YOU go ahead”

Well, back and forth we went, ultimately, she did go first, and I left the post office with a new view of myself. Well, not new, but certainly a reminder of the selfishness of my flesh.

I share this story, only because I want you to know that what I share in this blog is my heart. It is the process, the path that I am on of learning His Song, the brokeness of my sinful, human nature that I pray is being transformed and ultimately changed. I don’t have answers, I am definitely not perfect, far from it. I like Paul, can say,

For the good that I will to do, I  do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice….O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me fro this body of death? I thank God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Rom. 7:19, 24, 25.

But I pray that somehow my journey will be an encouragement to you! God has a high calling on our lives and I just pray that He will make me and you into what He wants us to be!

Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is. The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness…The one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God Who will make him holy. At all costs a man must be rightly related to God. ~ Oswald Chambers

So this morning, I realize my song it filled with garbled notes, my voice is hoarse from strained singing, but I am in the place where MY GOD can teach me HIS song!

Let’s learn to sing it together!

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Morning Boost!

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. ~ Arabic Proverb

Some Friday FUN!

How about a healthy GREEN smoothie?

My family loves this healthy drink, I hope you enjoy it too!!

In a blender add:

2 Bananas

1 Bag fresh spinach or mix in some chopped kale

1 Bag frozen mango

Enough water at the bottom of the blender to mix it and create a smooth consistency.

BLEND

Serves 4 BIG glasses

We like to sprinkle Chia seeds or Hemp seeds on top for a little extra nutrition!

ENJOY!!!

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