Monday, December 26, 2011

Say, "YES!"...

Hello, All... I have been meaning to come back to write a holiday post for many days now. While mine isn't quite ready for publishing or sharing, I did recieve a post from the blog of a friend of mine that has been sitting in my heart and stewing with joy and hope for the season. My mind and heart have been chewing her words of wisdom and digesting the truth of it, and even my husband said it was a very "nice" post. Simple words, but meaningful from a man who is not into blogs or blog posts.

Here is the post that Laura wrote for her sister's blog, Gitzengirl: Choose Joy. As I have mentioned before, Sara (AKA Gitzengirl) went to be with Jesus this year, but, in spite of that, it seems that her words and message are still carrying on and over into our hearts.

I miss you, Sara, but am so grateful that there is record of what God worked into your heart while you were still with us.

Blessings to the family of Sara during this Christmas season, and happy and healthy New Year to you all. May God "bless you... keep you... make His face shine upon you... be gracious to you... and give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26)

In Laura's and Sara's Words, read below. Please click the link and BE BLESSED!!!


Thanks for saying "yes," Sara!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where I Have Been Dispersing My Time...

If you would like to know some of what I have been up to, please go to my other blogs.

http://daysease.blogspot.com/ shows my creative ventures...

http://tonguetriedbilinguist.blogspot.com/ shows some news on what festivals are like around holidays...

Enjoy! And if you like the blogs, consider "following me" to keep up with my posts(here or the other blogs, or subscribe through email. See individual blog for applicable buttons.) ... or leave a comment! Would love to see you around more! Blessings and happy holidays!! Thanks for stopping by!

Celita

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Wonder Of Time And Simplicity...

I am sitting here in wonder. First, I have a few moments to write on the blog! Wow! But an even bigger "wow" is how fast this year has passed me by. I honestly feel that it has just begun, and, yet, here we are at the end. I have been dreading looking at the calendar as I prepare to do our family newsletter. I am not sure if I am ready to remember some of what has occurred, but I do know that God has been faithful through it all.

So, for this post, I thought I would remind you that along with the newsletter that I do a the end of this year (or should I say the beginning of next year?), I have also been adding a portion related to my "word of the year". Last year was my first year doing this, and I have found it to be a truly interesting way that God has allowed to build awarenes in my heart to what He has to teach me, and it has given me a different perspective on my trials. Before deciding on that perfect word, I waited for confirmation, and, so... the word for this year was, and still is for some days more, "SIMPLICITY".

I assure you that the word has not been my year. It has had a lot to do with the lessons I have learned, the value put to certain actions, the appreciation for certain people and their efforts to be a part of my life. I will go into further explanation as I think on it some more and stew on what God has been working in, through, and for me. I hope you will "stay tuned".

Blessings as you prepare for Jesus' birthday celebration. May even this time of prepping be a blessing and encouragement to your heart.

Sincerely,
Celita

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"There can be no healing without Thanksgiving!"....

"THERE CAN BE NO HEALING WITHOUT THANKSGIVING!!" .............................. One year ago... This happened... http://perilloparodies.blogspot.com/2010/11/thanksgiving-day-2010-and-our-medical.html ......................................AND this...................................... http://perilloparodies.blogspot.com/2010/12/december-1-2010-medical-soap-opera.html .......................................AND this...................................... http://perilloparodies.blogspot.com/2010/12/december-24-2010-medical-soap-opera.html .............................................................................................
And, I can report this: God helped me then, He is healing me daily even now (the scarring from the burns is miraculously shrinking down!), and while He answered a major request on Thanksgiving of last year, He has done the same this year. (!!!!)While it was not ideal, we had plumbers here today to finally install our heat in the house!! (Reminder, Italy does not celebrate Thanksgiving, so everyone works) We have been freezing over the last 2 weeks, and God chose today to answer our heart's cry!!! PRAISE THE LORD!! Just thought to share our, MY, joy!!! Praise Jesus With Me, won't you??? Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Grateful Heart... And all that comes with it... (long, but please DO read till the end)

First, excuse the lack of images. Had to transfer all of my stuff to an external hard drive, and now... no images that are easily accessible. Have to hurry off, so I cannot add right now... Bear with me, PLEASE... :-)

"So often we dwell on the things that seem impossible rather than on the things that are possible. So often we are depressed by what remains to be done and forget to be thankful for all that has been done." ~Marian Wright Edelman

This week has not been easy. Challenges have mounted a bit stronger than normal (again), and I have not felt strong to battle against them. I have been dealing with feelings of abandonment, restlessness, melancholy, and bitterness regarding various situations, and an enormous sense of being overwhelmed. They are not pretty words to attach to one's life. They add weight and stress and cloud our perspective, MY perspective.

But in these last two days, I have had some lovely little refreshing moments to reflect, and I feel as if, at least in this moment, I am able to climb and trudge better than I have been. What relief!

This morning a friend dropped a cake by my door. Unexpected, very appreciated, God's reminder to my heart that I am not forgotten. Remember, "God works in myserious ways". I do believe He impressed on this dear friend's heart to do so, and He knew the exact and perfect timing to have her deliver it to me. While I have been battling for a postive attitude and to be grateful in all circumstances (not FOR), He had her preparing a cake. Huh. Wow, Lord. You are a wonder.

When I have felt that I was on my last straw, hanging by a thread, ready to just be lost in foggy-mindedness, He knew I hit my limit, and "provided a way out". He promised He would, you know. I am always surprised, but then, I wonder why I am always SO surprised that He keeps His promises. I should know better.

"No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. But God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, but with the temptation, will provide a way of escape." 1 Corinthians 10:13 (I heard a sermon once that stated that in this verse "temptations" could also be "trials")

Life is not perfect- it never is. I do my best to be as positive as I can be, to live "in the light", but there are moments, like now, when I have to be honest in my struggling and tell you... I need prayer. Darkeness threatens, and I then deal with doubt, fear, and the desire to just give up and give in. Life on both sides of the ocean, in both my family and my husband's, is not easy, includes lots of moments to hurt, grieve, weep, and begrudge. But... God is calling me, and us, to surrender it all to Him. ALL OF IT!! Not 10%, 50%, or 99.9%!! ALL of it.

In these days there HAVE been some good things,too!

A beautiful, little niece was born, and I pondered over the new, fresh life that God has brought to my brother and his family. I pondered the blank slate laying before her little life. There will be mistakes, hard times, so many things to learn, and lots of moments to be angry, cry, or laugh up a storm. But, there will also be this available to her: complete forgiveness possible because of Jesus' sacrifice of dying on the cross, the possiblity for a heart "white as snow" when she repents, and help because Jesus went to heaven but sent the Holy Spirit to help and teach us. That is so much!

And it all comes from our loving, heavenly Abba (Father) Papa!!! In the Gospel of James it says, "Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above."

This morning I learned about the death of friend of the family. While we are sad about his passing; we are relieved and overjoyed to know that all of the struggles of his life, his perseverance in loving God with all he had and all he could, have brought the sought-for result... to leave this world walking into the arms of Jesus.

And, then, I found these quotes which reminded me of some important things as well.

"Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses." ~Alphonse Karr

Then...

These statuses (is that correct?) on Facebook were just what I needed to be reminded of, and I hope they encourage you as well...

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"Stop recycling your thoughts - the ones that have tormented your mind longer than you can remember; ones that you have no idea of its origin. In so doing you might find clarity of direction. You are the only one who can stop the cycle."~ Portals of Wisdom 2010 - jmgoodson

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so thankful for the Word that it's alive and active!

"While we read the Word, it's message saturates our hearts, whether we are conscious of what is happening or not. The Word with all its mysterious power touches our lives and gives us it's power. Author unknown

But God has shown us these things through the Spirit.
The Spirit searches out all things, even the deep secrets of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10 NCV)
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Jesus put a library of wisdom into four words ‘Fear not, only believe’ (Mark 5,36). Worry is fear. ‘Fear has torment’ the Bible says. God doesn’t want you tormented. Nothing can happen that you and God can’t handle together. The proper way with worries is to bring them to God in prayer. ‘Casting all your care upon Him... for He cares for you’. Peter the apostle said that and he had cares enough, exiled because of enemies, persecuted and destined to die a martyr. Yet he said ‘we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory’. That’s the secret. REINHARD BONNKE
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from Everybody needs Jesus

Moses gave three commands as he faced the sea impasse; all seemed lost as the enemy breathed down their necks carrying the threat of death! “Fear not” for God is on your side; “stand still,” for you cannot win this battle in your own strength; “see the salvation of the Lord,” for you are His child. It is important that we "stand" still before we “go" forward. Unless we are standing by faith, we can never walk by faith. Moses obeyed God and God opened the sea! He will make a way where there seems to be no way! Go forward!! - Marc
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"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."

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There are moments of loneliness, moments of fear, moments of restlessness, moments of tears... And YOU, God, see it all. You love me through it all. How? I don't know. But, even on the cross You KNEW!!! These days are no suprise to You, and You are always there to lift me up, hold my hand, remind me of beauty or better days. You are my Best Friend, Jesus! Thank You!!

I ache for that heavenly realm, but it is not time. I have a mission, a purpose yet to fulfill. I am to live intentionally, making the most of each moment, loving strong, forgiving stronger. Helping, caring, hoping, smiling... even in impatience, restlessness, and wearyness, Lord, may You be blessed. Give me strength for every moment of my days, and fill my heart with grace to keep going in hope, faith, and love.

The Lord has been faithful in reminding me... it isn't all about me. His ways are bigger than my ways. His ways are perfect and are most always to get me growing and better. I am so grateful for the Lord's constancy. Without Him, I would be lost. Hallellujah!!

I just HAVE to say how grateful I am that I can call on the name of Jesus anytime, anyplace, as often as I need to... He is my Best Friend, faithful Counselor, and Abba Papa... Thank You, Jesus!

So, while we prepare to for our Thanksgiving celebration, I would like to publicly thank God for my husband, Anthony, my kids- A, G, L, M, and D; for this home He has completely and miraculously help us work through to have; for faithful friends and Jesus-family; for talents that somehow seem to draw us closer to the original Creator, for pets that remind us what it truly means to be loved unconditionally, for creation and all of the wonders that speak of God character and beauty; for phone calls, emails, and letters that reach across miles and oceans with the message of a hug; for the ability to see, hear, read, write, smell, touch, taste, speak, learn, and wonder!!! There is SO much for which to be thankful! The list is literally endless, and we could spend a lifetime and still not think of all of the complete-for-our-whole-life list of thank you's.

I am grateful for this: that God's mercy endures forever and His goodness into all eternity!

With that, here is a quote that my PA pastor's wife shared on Facebook. It is just right for how I feel.

"Thank You, dear God, For all You have given me, For all you have taken away from me, For all You have left me." -Author Unknown

Rejoice in the Lord, in the power of His might, that He is alive and working!!!! And, that He truly DOES love us so much!! For His countless blessings to us! And all that He does to put a smile on our faces!!! Think about it... Delve deep... Think HARD!!! Remember, and praise the Giver of all good things!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Changes, Trust, and Surrender...


Mary Engelbreit has some cute make-and-takes and desktop wallpaper. See HERE...

I received this post from my friend, Julie (AKA Octamom), this morning, and I was struck by how well I recognized the feelings in what she shared. I was transported through various challenging times of change, and I was reminded; Reminded of HOW hard those times were...

Please, read THIS POST, and then scroll down to my own thoughts on what was shared...

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“Still changing, changing still”. Ouch… I feel the same way. I think often of the Sara Groves song “Painting Pictures of Egypt” when I start longing to go back to those old places and grieving over the changes. I dealt with these feelings so much over the first few years after we moved here to Italy. I ached for old things, forgetting the hurt and grief that did exist even in them. Funny how well we forget. Anyhow, I know that I still ache and grieve for “how things were” in relationships, location, etc… but I KNOW that the Lord is challenging me to really put more focus into where my citizenship REALLY is. Ouch. It is not easy having to refocus my desires and longings into something that is not currently tangible or seen. You know? But… the desire is growing more and more.

I have always loved the moon. There was something comforting as it would shine in my window when I was a kid. Kids would talk to imaginary friends, I would talk to the moon. Kind of like a friend that is ALWAYS there when it is supposed to be. Every night, even under clouds, still there. It is comforting to know that the SAME GOD who created the SAME MOON over the entire earth, is THERE to fill in our empty places and longings, to comfort, heal, encourage, lift up, and that we are the apple of His eye. That brings me so much comfort, as He has directed us so far from dreams I had, longings unfulfilled that sit suspended over our oceans of travel. Life will NEVER be the same, the way I thought it would be, how I hoped, but this I KNOW for sure… As long as I am in God’s plan for me and my family, we will be just fine. Not MY fine, His fine.

The changes were hard for me, have always been; but now my kids are acknowledging them… the what-could-have-been's, the never-were's, the why's, where's, and how's… I am glad that I can stand firm in knowing that God’s best is not always my best, His timing is not always my timing, His ways are not always my ways, but they are perfect. That is what I share with my kids, hard as it is sometimes.

Remember... Nothing on this earth lasts forever, no matter how we try to restore, reenact, revarnish, re-whatever... NOTHING! We must try to be less earthly minded and wrapped up in it all, lost in it all, and focus on what we are REALLY here for: Worshipping God, Going into all the world to share HIS truth, and occupying with things that will continue to glorify His name.

I fail often. I get sidetracked, distracted, self-centered, self-involved, etc... But... That means that I have to get back up again and work at it again and again and again. Building endurance to stay focused. Stand firm, dear one. God hears the heart of the humble. Ask Him, and He will give you strength, hope, peace. He will surprise you with things to encourage you along the way, like little scented petals scattered along your path, so as to woo you to Him. Let Him draw you to Him. That is where there is relief, healing, hope, and unconditional and whole love. Go, and be blessed in Jesus' name.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chestnut Season and a link...

Hi, just thought I would direct you one of my other blogs if you care to read about Chestnut Season... click HERE. Feel free to browse around other posts by scrolling to the end of the page and clicking "home". And if you would like to have posts more accessible, you can subscribe and have posts sent to your email, or you can just "follow me". Either option can be found in the right hand column.

Hope you are well. Happy Autumn!! Have a great day!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Choose Joy (ESPECIALLY in the hard times)...


Keith Goodson...www.goldenbrushintl.com

The days have been heavy. I miss her. Sara, Gitzengirl, went to be with Jesus on September 24th. (Check her blog for more information on that and details about what they have planned.)I keep expecting her blog posts to automatically show up in my inbox, but... the only ones that are coming in are the ones posted by her friend, Shannon, explaining funeral plans and the lovely things occuring surrounding Sara's homegoing.

My heart hurts. Funny that I should feel so weepy for someone that I have not met in person, but... that is how much of an influence she had. Her words have become a part of my heart. Her message of joy infectious even in her passing. I do not say it has been easy. I am saying that I really want to daily Choose Joy, and I work at it.

Please continue to keep Sara's family and loved ones in your prayers. If you have lost anyone, you know that this is the beginning of the healing journey. May God's grace sustain them, fill them with peace, and comfort their hearts. He is good, faithful, and never fails. :-)

In the midst of all of these feelings regarding Gitz's death, other challenges, new and heavy, have come about. I am just waiting and praying. I can do nothing but that, but... One thing I know: when I can do nothing, I can rest assured that God hears and answers prayer, and He CAN do something. That is oftentimes the most powerful place to be- On my knees.

So... I hope you are well. May God fill you with His hope and peace, and overflow your soul with faith to believe.

C

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Choose Joy" (even when it hurts)...



I remember finding Sara's blog and being completely enchanted by her art words and phrases, not to mention her way with writing, so eloquent and straight-to-the-heart. I always hoped I would win one of her pieces of art, but, though I never did, I can say that I have been blessed over these last few, say 3 or 4, years to read her words and constantly be thought-provoked or encouraged or inspired or even pricked-and-prodded by something she shared, in word or image.

Sara, A.K.A Gitzengirl, did not coin the phrase "choose joy", but it became her motto and she has shared it with her readers whenever, wherever, however. Her insistance to its importance spurred us to at least hold the phrase close to our hearts, until, without realizing it, it became PART of our hearts.

You may be wondering why I am touting this dear sister and bloggy friend... Well, Sara has suffered with a debilitating chronic illness called Ankylosing Spondylitis since she was in her late 20's. You can read what that involves at this post of hers.

Why is it important to mention? Sara, who has chosen the word "praise" for her word of the year, has reached the end. She is currently peacefully waiting. She is in shut-down mode, and waiting to see and praise Jesus in person. For certain this is greatly affecting her family and friends. Even her readers and those just discovering her blog are deeply feeling this. She has become a part of our lives. No matter what anyone says, she is our friend and our sister. While we are so happy for her to be wholly at peace, to be wholly refreshed... we are sad for us. Noone can take Sara's place, for she made herself vulnerable so she could seep Jesus into our hearts every chance she could get. She shared about faith, faithfulness, dedication, persistence, and love through each of her challenges, each beautiful moment, even each sorrow. She shared with such light and hope that it seemed she would always be here, and perhaps we took that for granted. Only, Jesus has seen that she has fulfilled a tremendous purpose and is now calling her Home.

(Home. That is where Jesus is. Wow. I want to go… And, I want to stay. I know He has purpose for me still here. But… I am Homesick. I want to be with Jesus, my baby who went to be with him 6 years ago, and my grandmother who never got to meet my babies.)

Please, join with me to pray for dear Sara and her loved ones. This is a time of great joy and great sadness, and I am sure that they would welcome an extra measure of love and care. Intercession is an awesome and powerful way to do that. Ask the Lord to make a prayer clear to your heart, a perfect and effective expression that would be most beneficial and comforting. I will not fill in words for you, but... I do thank you. Thank you for caring enough to read this, and I hope that you will go to Sara's blog, Gitzengirl: Choose Joy often to browse around, read her words, and share her testimony of God's faithfulness to her life. That is what it is!

Here is my letter to Sara and her family posted here...

You know "choosing joy"... It is not always easy; but either is letting go of someone that has meant something special to my life. So, because when "I am weak, He is strong", because we "walk by faith and not by sight", because God has promised peace that passes all understanding, joy in sorrow, new mercies for every morning, and hope for each moment... well, I will Choose Joy. One of the things that blessed my heart about you, Sara, is how you would remind me constantly through your words that failing happens, but the point that really matters is getting back up and committing over and over and over and over and over again to "Choose Joy" even if we fail along the way, as many times as it takes to keep clinging to WHO really matters- Jesus. I am so grateful to call you my bloggy friend and sister in faith.

Thank you, you and your family, for being a part of my life. Sara, "Choose Joy" will always remind me of you, no matter what stores use it, too. :-) Your example and constant teaching through your life experience imprinted this phrase into our minds and our hearts. You don't even know how very much you have impacted me. Your love, devotion, and care for each other... and us... well, it has touched my heart for years, but... expecially now. How I hope we can be a blessing and encouragement to you as you have been to me, us. May God comfort you and make His Presence known to each of you as you wait, share time together, and say "soon" to Sara. Thinking and praying for you all...

C in Italy

Sara lived "INTENTIONALLY". I hope to do the same. May God help me to do so and to always Choose Joy, even when it hurts, even when it is hard to do sometimes...

P.S. Sara has posted special buttons of inspiration and some very lovely freebies on her blog. I am sure she would love to share them in hopes of encouraging you. Please do look Here... The buttons are posted on her righthand column, and the "freebies" are in her header. Blessings and peace to you...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Good Reason...

I do have a good reason for not posting... We have been on vacation to the US. We are nearing the end of our trip, and I figured I had some down time, so it might be worth mentioning. Finally. HAH! Hope you are well... Will try to post more soon. Blessings.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Permanency. Worth Pondering...


This image found at whatwouldmomsay.com. I think it is a lovely piece of practical, recycled art. (Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love to take something old and find a new use for it. Makes for added character.) :-)

Funny thing... I wrote this post in text language to myself and saved it on my cell phone. Never expected to do that, especially to myself; but at the time, I was deep in thought and did not want to forget this thought as I have so many other private conversations with myself. I was busy... Okay, I was cleaning the bathroom.

Do YOU find that your mind wanders as you are doing your chores? I mean, is it really that much fun to think about every bitty part of the process of cleaning something you have cleaned over and over for years? hahaha... So, I allow my mind to wander. I have some of my best pondering moments in those free-thought moments. I just often forget them before I remember to write them down. I hope this one makes sense to you as it did to me as I was... Um, cleaning the royal throne. (Giggling inserted here)

"we hav a fals sens of permanenc. As I ws clening da bathrm ths morn, I thaut..."

Oh, excuse me, that is what my first line said. ;-)

Now I will go ahead and translate the rest. Hah!

"We have a false sense of permanency. As I was cleaning the bathroom this morning, I thought about how tubs and toilets stay with a house when one transfers from one house to live in another. They are considered a permanent fixture. Right? Yet, how often have I seen one of these objects on the curb to send to the dump, or old tubs used for potting plants, watering animals, or on standby against a shed until an oversized comforter needs to be washed by hand (since it does not fit in the washing machine)?

I think that this lack of understanding of permanence affects our perspective of eternity. When Jesus makes the statement, "until the end of the age", does it fill me with a surge of excitement or am I so filled with doubt or complacency that I say in the deepest, private parts of myself, "We will see"? When the Bible speaks of "eternal life", do I ache with longing or does it get lost in the mix of things in my brain?

"per·ma·nent [pur-muh-nuhnt]
adjective
1. existing perpetually; everlasting, especially without significant change.
2. intended to exist or function for a long, indefinite period without regard to unforeseeable conditions: a permanent employee; the permanent headquarters of the United Nations.
3. long-lasting or nonfading: permanent pleating; permanent ink."

(I got this definition from Dictionary.com)

I hope you will notice with me the examples they give for things that are "permanent", and yet, we know that ultimately these things are still only temporary. They may last in a certain location or position for a long time, but that is not the same thing as PERMANENT.

The Bible is clear that all things rust, get destroyed, fail to function at some point or another. That is why we have RUINS. Moths will destroy cloth, water will cause mold or rust, fire will burn, etc... Nothing lasts forever. Or is that completely true?

We can hold on to this!! There is something that is constant, sure, and true. There is something that will never let us down. Or rather SomeONE. His name is Jesus.

While every other person can and, most likely, will let me down at one point or another in my life, He has promised that His love will never fail. While I may feel lonely and abandoned by others, He has promised to never leave or forsake me. While I may make so many mistakes and have the hardest time getting back on my feet, Jesus is there ready to help me up, to encourage me, to just say "I love you" in ways that He knows touch me to the deepest parts of MY soul. Jesus has said in His word that He is "the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)He never changes. He is... and that is it.

That overwhelms me with awe and joy. Our Abba Papa loves us THAT much. He is ALWAYS there. ALWAYS. Everlasting. Forever. For all eternity.

Now that is what I call Faithful. That is what I will trust in. That is a permanent Love. Permanency expressed in the fullest sense.

Trust Him. Hope in Him. Talk to Him. Never let go of Him. Seek Him. Desire Him more than anyone or anything else. Watch Him make something beautiful out of your days, out of your life. He will, because... He is what He said He is.


My other two blogs...
Tongue-Tried Bilinguist
Daysease

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hard Decisions, Battling, And Seeing Fruit For The Faith-Waiting...

Sometimes doing what is right... stings. It is not always easy. Sometimes, it is a matter of choosing the best of two evils, and leaving the result in God's capable hands. Sometimes it is to protect, to preserve, to assist, to prevent. Sometimes it is just something that has to be dealt with because it has crossed our path.

Whatever it is, perhaps this will give you hope, as it has to me...

Philippians 1:6 says,
"being confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion."

I have no control... We have no control... over much of anything, really. Think about it, when you think you DO have control is when the dishwasher breaks down, your car dies, your kid starts to act up in school, you realize you forgot to pay that bill, the flu hits, your job lays you off, there is a storm when the weather man said it would be sunny so you have to cancel that outing, etc...etc...etc... There are so many things.

I have come to see, though, that as I trust in God for each moment of the day, He is teaching me to be more flexible, which does not come easily for me. I am seeing how He is slowly, oh so slowly, teaching me to pass on through trials with some grace, and a good measure of hope to keep going. I am seeing, above all, that HE is faithful, good, always faithful, and NEVER fails.

Today He answered a very important prayer request for me. I am so blessed that He has heard my heart's cry after so many months. What I said in the first paragraph is what happened for me. I took a step out in faith, in a direction that I believed was the correct path, but still seemed uncertain and painful and hard, and He met me. Today.

While the future is still full of unknowns; While fear and doubt still play havoc on my peace; While I wait for direction and wisdom, I can rest assured that as He has been faithful in the past, He will continue to be today and in every tomorrow. He is, after all, the same Yesterday, Today, and Always.

May You come to see how very much He loves you and wants to be a part of your life, to give you hope, fill you with peace and a new song in your heart. Blessings on your own spiritual journey. May you find the One-and-Only Way- Jesus. He is sufficient for ALL of your needs. The real ones, not the ones that are dust covers over them.

Sincerely,
Celita

P.S. Oh, and if you are interested...

I have new posts on my two other blogs as well.

Check out Tongue-Tried BiLinguist and Daysease Wordlets And Craftivities... Thank you.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mommy Maestra: Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People {GIVEAWAY}

Mommy Maestra: Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People {GIVEAWAY}

I cannot resist this giveaway. I have recently become aware of and become a fan of this poet, and knowing that I have enjoyed his work as I have, I could not pass up sharing this giveaway with you as well... You very likely will enjoy this blog in general. I do. It is such a fun and pleasant place to visit. Go see...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Go See...

Hi, just wanted to let you know that I have some new posts on my other two blogs that you might be interested in...

http://daysease.blogspot.com/

http://tonguetriedbilinguist.blogspot.com/

Vecchia??? Old???...


Anyone else think this is a little funny. I will now say. I AM NOT OLD! Okay, now to backstep for just a moment. This restaurant not too far from us is called Vecchia Taverna, which means Old Tavern. You with me, right? Now, do you not think it awfully odd that old now means 1978??? hahahahahahahahah.... I felt it was... hm... odd, to say the least.

(Now, the food is good, but... if you prefer a relaxed environment, that is not the place to be.)

The Nutella Incident Of Early May...






I never knew that Nutella had so much grease in it, but this confirms it. This is the work of my youngest son who is three years old. This is what happens when mommy is not paying attention as she should. Sigh... Who knew that Nutella and dry wall do not make a good mix? How do I know? Those handprints are still there, minus the chocolate, of course! :-) Reminder to me: silence means possible trouble. ;-)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Warrior Mamma: Armed And Dangerous...


Honestly, I wasn't going to say anything. I figured that it is big news for me and my family. Well, you might just get a kick out of our newest adventure. I suppose that I have been lax in including much of our recent lives on this blog. I am a bit behind, but let me assure you that this is one of MANY different adventures and incidences that we have been going through over the last while. The Lord has been faithful throughout each challenge, and I have no doubt He will help us through this one as well.

So...

You should have seen me the day, Saturday May 28th, my kids were playing outside, and came charging up to me terrified as they yelled that there were TWO snakes rolling around on the yard ("They were trying to make babies", I told them. Well, they were. Hahahah). They were so scared. After my initial, "That is so cool" thought, I charged after those two black snakes with my slippers on and a shovel and hit one- hard. (Sorry no pictures available...) They slipped through the fence to some high grass. Then I WENT CRAZY trying to find them after I returned to get Anthony’s work boots on as I thought it would be silly for me to be bitten because I charged in unprepared. Duh. My father-in-law saw me and joined in. We discovered where they were planning on making a nice little home for eggs, grrrrr… but they got away again. Since then my father-in-law killed a smaller one, and we saw another on Sunday that we cannot seem to get. Four in one weekend!!!

Thank the Lord they are not vipers (brown with diamonds), which are more venomous and dangerous, but they are still not a wanted creature where children are playing. I am a nature-conscious person. Always have been, but... when nature feels that it must intrude upon my home and solitude and tranquility, that is dangerous for them. I will do what I need to to keep my family safe from harm and to allay fears. I feel more confident now that I don't have to worry what I would do if I came across a snake. I know now. hahahah... I just need to always have a shovel at hand, and I will have no worries. Though, I am not sure how that would go over with being all dressed up and ready to go to church. I do not believe that shovels would be so appreciated in the umbrella stand... ;-) And they are too big to fit in a purse. Hm... May have to brainstorm a sollution to that.

Anyway...

I thought afterwords how I am grateful that my husband is the natural protector of our home. I was thoroughly exhausted after my adventure in the brush. And, as I went to exchange my husband's work boots for my slippers again, I had to pause and take a picture. I thought, "they are sure large shoes to fill." I am grateful for the courage and strength God gives my husband to take care of his responsiblity. Whether that means protecting us, or providing the practical, physical needs of our family.

I do keep thinking about how God is our Protector, and that these snakes are His creation. He can send them away from us. He can keep us safe. But, in an effort to be wise, and get a handle on my current snake paranoia, I am in Warrior Mommy mode… Call me Mommy: Snake Warrior!! Hahahhaha… Thought that might make you laugh, especially as you imagine me daily, before I let the kids out, making my way around our house with a shovel in hand, all firm and businesslike. But, also, please help me pray for safety for us and the kids!! Thanks…

P.S. I do have plans on purchasing my own shovel soon and decorating it in a most girly fashion. Will have to let you know how that goes. Well, frankly, I find a shovel to be a most useful tool,and now I also see the benefits of using it as a weapon. So, purple-flowered, or rainbowed... Not sure yet... Don't be surprised if you come for a visit and see a pretty shovel resting just outside my door. I want to be ready. :-)

Monday, May 23, 2011

What to do? What to say? How to feel?...

Life... has... been... full... I have wept many tears of frustration at the confusion around me. Moving is one thing because you know you have a whole new space to move to that should have been already cleaned and prepared to welcome your belongings. But... when you are just making your space bigger and shifting stuff around, and that space that you live in just seems to get smaller and smaller to make room for a bigger space that you look at longingly but cannot dwell in yet, well, it is hard. I have felt stifled, frustrated, restless, out of control, and just plain overwhelmed in this weeks' part of our journey. I have not shared many pictures over the last few months. We have come a LONG way. I am grateful for that, but I have not shared because I have no energy to make more room in my day to sit here and share. I am so tired. So is my husband. We get through our days, trying to keep things normal while still having to make changes that are anything BUT normal.

You think I am being vague? I am not, but I can understand if you might think I am. Let me put it very plainly. Our stress has progressed so that now I am living in a space like the two bedroom apartment we had when we first got married, only now we are seven people crammed together. Cosy,yes, but also many toes being stepped on often. The older kids CLEARLY need their space. But then, so do the little ones, and us. The house is close, so close, to being mostly done. At least liveable, with projects that can be accomplished little by little. This week we added stress to our overflowing cup. No convenient cooking or washing space makes me feel like I am camping. Our old sink sits outside our front door, near our well-water faucet, and I wash dishes there for now. And, cooking is basic, as it is accomplished on my mother-in-law's old small stove. Thank God I have somewhere to cook though, and to wash dishes. I am daily reminded that not forty years ago, this area was still without much running water or updated bathrooms. A Zia (aunt) came over yesterday recounting her life forty years ago, and I am SO grateful to know that in the following days I WILL have my kitchen back, my stove and oven back, my running water in faucets that can fill my new deep sinks. This experience is inconvenient, but it sure does give me a different perspective of how blessed we truly are. Just thinking about the past and how women's days were spent then, and how they are now... I appreciate that I can figure out how to wash dishes outside, but I am relieved to know that my dishwasher will eventually be able to be used again. Life is so full that sometimes I ache just to create, read a book, or giggle with my kids like on more laid back days. These days we have been too stressed and misunderstandings have erupted like weeds.

In the midst of all of this, my oldest nephew, A, and oldest niece, N, decided to make a public confession of faith in Jesus by being baptized (immersed in water)! That occurred on Saturday, and I assure you it was beautiful. Praise the Lord!! That is a huge and many-years-worth answer to prayer. Get this, as it is another large answer to prayer it must also be mentioned, my five kids sat so well behaved in the third row, for the ENTIRE service. That WAS a God-thing to be sure, and, looking back, all of the kids in the room were uncharacteristically behaved throughout the church service. It was as if the Lord's Spirit truly permeated and worked as we had been praying for Him to do. We had a guest speaker who spoke so interestingly, perfectly, and effectively, that he kept the attention of each person, child, and unsaved guest. Emotion was high in the midst of the celebration, and it was a really special time together.

What else? My husband is busy dealing with kitchen cabinets. We had mold issues in parts of the house that have had to be addressed as well. It is all well and good that we can laugh about it all now that we have a handle on it, but it was sure worth crying over at first.

Oh, I just realized it is gettin late... I cannot think of much else to add anyway, but I must go now... Hope to be back again soon... Hopefully with pictures? In the meantime, thank you for checking in. You are a blessing to me.

May the Lord give you peace through your challenges, and courage to confront each moment of each day with His grace and hope. Blessings to you...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lucky? Or Blessed?

I just had a random thought that I decided was worth venting out. Odd that I am on and able to do this, but I will take it when I can get it. So...

Have I mentioned how uncomfortable the word "lucky" is for me? Okay, I very nearly hate the word "lucky"? Yeah, I don't think I have mentioned that before, to anyone. I have just had the realization, so bear with me as I state only a few things. Okay?

"Lucky" feels like "hit or miss", "50/50, like that magic black ball that tells you "don't bet on it", "yeah, right", "I don't think so", etc... "Lucky" makes me anxious and nervous that I will not have what it takes, I am not good enough, like I may not be lucky enough to BE lucky. There is a sense of doubt as to my worth, my ability, my talent, who I am. Kind of like, the possibility of walking across a road blindfolded and expecting not to get hit by a car. Hm... I don't like it.

In other words, I have trouble saying "Good Luck." Not because I don't wish someone well, but because I don't want you to have a chance, I want you to excel. Luck seems so half-cast, like it is okay to just do a little just to get by, or to try and try and feel like a failure when you don't meet up.

So, what can I say instead of "good luck"? I have met with that issue, and sometimes I have said it as I could not think of a substitute at the time. But, what did people say before the phrase "good luck" came about? Now THAT is a thought, isn't it? How about "I wish you well"? "Be blessed"? "Rooting for you"? "I know you can do it"? or any other number of phrases?

Why do I sometimes feel so rushed to say "good luck", when I would much rather say something more meaningful and less cliché? Why would I allow myself to get so caught up and stressed that I cannot even wish someone TRULY, from-the-heart well?

Why am I even harping on this? Well, I have been examining myself. I dislike the phrase so much, and yet I still use it sometimes. It makes me feel a little hypocritical, even though sometimes it is also for convenience: for lack of a better word, or because it is easy enough for anyone to understand in our society.

Have you thought instead about how "blessing" feels? To me it feels like an outpouring of love. It feels like hope being mounted on my shoulders like a lovely, billowy shroud. It is refreshing and light and pleasant.

On that note, I say only this... I do not wish you "luck", but I DO wish you blessing, an outpouring of God's love to overwhelm you with hope, to calm your frazzled nerves, to give you peace in your storms, to give you joy in the midst of hard times. I desire healing for your wounds, strength in your weakness, and Love to wrap His arms around you. I desire you to see and know that God's love is full of such blessing, it is available to you if you just ask Him for it. It is always available to you, always pure, and always fulfilling.

:-)

P.S. So you know, I have just added another blog... It is called Tongue-Tried BiLinguist. Check it out HERE...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cloudy with Intermitent Sunshine... (A.K.A The Fogged Flower) :-)


I would like to open with these verses that I read yesterday. They were an encouragement to me, and I hope they will be to you as well.

Psalm 40:9-11; 16-17
"I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness in the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, You Yourself know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly.
Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, 'The Lord be magnified!'
But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God."


I have been missing in action, I know... Oh, where do I start? Life has been a constant challenge, one after another built up on one giant one or two or three. I have been battling non-stop with trying to "encourage myself daily", trying to keep my home a sanctuary in the midst of trials, home addition construction, relationship catastrophies and stresses and misunderstandings, and sickness. Lots of things.

A friend asked me yesterday how I am, and I had to really think about that. I know there are moments when I struggle not to respond negatively, but I know that I also want to encourage myself and others. I know I want to remember that even in the midst of hard times, I am blessed. I know I NEED to remember the Christian clichè that is SO true, "God IS good; All the time. All the time; God is good." And I want to bless His name for that. So, I told her this, "I do not know how to explain how I am. Not bad, and not good. I am more... seeking, waiting, hoping. God knows what my needs are, and He knows the moment to intervene. I wait, trying to trust every day, trying to surrender to Him and His will every day. And I remember that He knows where I am."

I am not bad off. I am blessed. I am seeing answers to prayer. I am seeing my family a little healthier. I know that sunny days and warm weather are right around the corner. It is just the deepest parts of me that feel a little... stuck in a cloud. Not depressed. Not this time. More, just... waiting for that Light to clear away the cobwebs and fill me to overflowing with new rain again. I see the blessings. I know that I am in a waiting place. Some might say it is dangerous to be there. I agree, if it is a place I stay in for an extended amount of time; but I must also remember, I have recently gotten to the place where if one more trial had come I felt I might just crack. So, I do feel that this is a waiting place to be restored, to be patched up, the spiritual infirmary, if you will. :-)

All that to say, thank you for reading. I apologize for not being in touch more often, and I really DO want to. But life has just been too full, and I have had to priortize my time with other things that weigh more heavily and require my constant attention.

I am grateful for you. I hope you are doing well. If you are, praise God. If you are also in the midst of a harder time, remember this... "The Lord inhabits the praise of His people." I know it is not always easy, but I promise that as you incorporate the habit of praising Him even on the hardest days, Light will seep in. After all He says, "Seek me, and you will find Me."... "Draw close to Me, and I will draw close to you." He is deserving of our praise even on our worst days. He never changes, we do.

He is bigger than any challenge, trial, catastrophy, or hard time. He has this world, our times and seasons, our families, relationships, and selves in His hands. We must trust in, cling to, rely on, and believe in Him. He is our Source of Refreshing, Help, Comfort. He is our Defender, our Advocate, our Shelter in the midst of the storms. He is sufficient for all of our needs.

I send you a hug. You can do it, in Him you can do it... Love you, dear one.

Celita

p.s. I am also going over in a bit to add some new papercuts to the other blog. Please feel free to go and see... Click Here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Festa Mondo... E La Pesca Dei Libri...


Un bel iniziativa!! Dai, vai a vedere...

"In occasione di Festamondo – Festival di storie e canzoni popolari per bambini e ragazzi, la tradizionale pesca dei libri del blog di Centostorie si sposta su Facebook. Sono in palio 4 libri per un mese, uno ogni settimana. I libri in palio sono:
dal 7 al 13 marzo – Grillo Bel Grillo, Sinnos
dal 14 al 20 marzo – Il principe granchio e altre fiabe italiane, Mondadori
dal 21 al 27 marzo – Il pentolino magico, Laterza
dal 28 marzo al 2 aprile – Eyabè Ne Ne, Sinnos

Aggiudicarseli è semplicissimo:
1) andare alla pagina di Facebook dedicata all’evento
2) cliccare sul tasto “mi piace”
3) condividere l’evento Festamondo
4) lasciare un commento alla pagina.

Ogni settimana alla mezzanotte della domenica si chiude “la pesca” e viene estratto il vincitore che riceverà gratuitamente a casa sua il libro della settimana. Allora, che aspettate? In bocca al lupo a tutti!" (http://www.centostorie.it/public/wordpress/?p=2434)


Se hai Facebook, vai a questo indirizzo per cercare più informazione.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Missings...

I am having a "missing" day... I miss many things which you may only roll your eyes at, and say, "Goodness, is she still on that track?" Yes, I am, and because there are those who will not understand, I will not say what I am missing. Let us just say that I am grateful for what I have. God has blessed us. But... I just think about about milestones I and my family can never have again. I remember things that began as challenges and ended in tremendous blessing. I miss loved ones who have passed on. I miss... I miss... I miss...

Today is just one of those days, but tomorrow should be better. At least, I think so. If not, rest assured, I will not write another "missing" note quite so soon.

I am looking forward to Spring, for its new beginnings, the return of more sun, BUTTERFLIES, and blooming flowers. I love spring here in Italy. I think that I need to have a "thankful" moment...

Lord, thank you for...
1) Spring things...
2) smiles and missing teeth
3) knot-"tied" shoes
4) snail mail
5) creative inspiration from the least expected places
6) blog friends and their blogs
7) wildflowers handed to me from 6 year olds
8) the captured memories of photographs
9) hope
10)birds songs and twitterings

That is it for now, as I could go on, but I will leave some for another day... "Count your blessings..." Does wonders for the soul. Now, I am off to stand in the sun and bathe my face in its warm reaching fingers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Portion of Voices of the Faithful, Book 2...


I had to share this. HAD TO... These are a couple of portions from the book that have completely spoken to me.

From the portion from May 8... "God provides when He says, GO." The applicable prayer at the bottom of the page... "Thank You, Jehovah Jireh, for providing my every need and for using those moments of urgent need to teach me both physical and spiritual dependency. Help me abandon my plans of security and seek Your wisdom alone."

From the portion from May 10... (THIS HIT ME HARD... I may not be a career missionary, but I KNOW so much of THIS!! Not all, but some...)
Scripture reference from Philippians 4:13
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

The devotional goes on to say,
"People in the States often ask,'Do you like where you live?' Not always. Many times we can appreciate the beauty of the places where we serve and the people we live among. Sometimes we can't. On those days when my vision seems to fail, I call to mind Paul's confident claim in Philippians 4:13. GOD CHALLENGES ME TO MAKE IT PERSONAL. I can live in this place through Christ who strengthens me. I give up my personal freedom to dress as I choose and to go where I choose through Christ who gives me strength. I can deal righteously with people who constantly beg me for money through Christ who gives me strength. I can be flexible when plans suddenly change and my expectations are not met through Christ who strengthens me. I can live in a world of uncertainty and violence through Christ who strengthens me. I can daily witness through Christ who strengthens me.

No, life on the mission field is not always easy. The struggles and annoyances we face are real. But joy comes from surrendering our frustrations to God. We give Him our weaknesses, and He replaces them with His strength. Then our vision is restored, and we can continue doing His work and sharing His love with those around us."

AMEN!!! Please, pray for the missionaries across the globe. They need our prayers and intercessory care. And, remember those of us, also, who are not career missonaries, but still living in a foreign land with foreign customs, and challenges you may not be able to imagine. Thank you.

March 8, 2011 Happy International Women's Day, Dear Ones!!!... (Gentlemen, pass that on to your wives.) :-)


Oh, how I miss checking in more often... I kid you not, challenges and trials, floods of wrangled emotions and lots of lessons learned; that has been how things have progressed from September of 2010 to now. Sickness hit hard this year, shortly after November's lice and burn dramatic events. I mean the sticky sort of germs that cling and don't want to leave. I mean the kinds that come, make a full round amongst every member of the family, and then, upon seeing an opening in a weaker immune system, choose to begin another round. I mean from injuries, to operations, to challenges at school, to challenges in relationships, to challenges in trying instruct my kids to have faith in their own trials, to remembering God's healing power so I do not have to wallow in pity, grief, or sorrow...

Loneliness has been an interesting fair weather-companion, challenging me to remember that Jesus "never leaves or forsakes me". Thankfully, Loneliness has not dominated my life, as the Lord has seen my needs and granted some beautiful, needed moments with friends. Exhaustion is ever near, reminding me that my "strength truly does come from above." Then there are spurts of energy that remind me of days long ago, in my youth. When did I ever had such strength, such energy? Where has it now gone? Well, it all reminds me that our "times are in His hands". All of our times. Desert, Mountain, Valley, Joyful, Sorrowing, Grieving, Hurt, Healing, Loving, Disdaining, Strong, Weak... ALL of our times are in His hands. (Psalms)

"My hope is in You, Jesus. My hope is in You.
I have nothing to give but a heart weary and weak.
Take what I have, Lord, meager at it is.
Make from it flourishing seeds of faith and peace.
My hope is in You, Jesus. My hope is in You.
Help me to cling, to rely, and believe.
You are my Strength, my Praise, my Joy...
You are sufficient in all ways and all things."
(by Celita, March 8, 2011)

In general, I am well, just a little tired. I came across a verse that has started making a path through my heart. I am not sure exactly the effects of it, but, it has been an interesting sort of affect.

Exodus 14:14 "You only need to remain calm; the Lord will fight for you."

It has meant so much to me during this season of trudging, growing, stretching, waiting... When I have felt most desperate, I have yet felt the Lord reaching out to me. When I have felt the most alone, I have felt Him caress my soul with His creation's beauty. When I have fallen before His feet, anxious, worn, distressed, He has helped me to stand once again.

I had a moment on Sunday... Let me tell you, it was a hard moment. I was down, really down. I felt the Lord tell me to go to the roof. I asked Him for a bit of beauty to my soul, and when I arrived to the roof, I waited only to see fathoms of clouds tumbling slowly over each other, to be knudged by winds not healthy to my bronchitis recovering lungs. I waited, for a rainbow, the sun to all-of-a-sudden shine, something... I waited, and wept before Him. PLEASE, Help me! I need You. After pouring out, I went back to my kids. I sat at the table STARVING for something, and just read from the Bible before me. Part of what I read seemed like illumination through a tunnel of misunderstanding and immaturity, another part remained just words on the page, and yet another part seemed to fill me with such tremendous, emotion-packed joy. I read, I cooked, I put it all aside, and after the kids were down for naps, I resumed with a flurry of aching desperation. I wanted, I needed, and... after a few hours of pouring over words, meanings, anything before my eyes... He met me.

I tell you, even now my heart is overwhelmed as I recount this to you.

This is what I wrote in my "Book of Remembrance: Sacrifice of Praise and Joy Journal" (I named it.)

"I was so discouraged this morning. Feeling the weight of challenges, the hopelessness of challenges regarding my family, weaknesses, needs. Feeling down, overwhelmed, and trodden down. I felt Him say to go to the roof...So I did. I asked Him to show me something beautiful, something to encourage my beauty-starved soul, beaten down by negativity, nagging, criticism, unappreciation... I wept.. I saw the land, His mountains, and innumerable, layered clouds. No rainbows, no other lovely or miraculaous thing... Here I have been poring over scriptures just NEEDING... after these hours, He showed me the "why" in these verses... Praise Your name, my Jesus! Thank You for calming me. Thank You for this unexpected and necessary word to my heart. You are so Great!

(When you see clouds or are surrounded by fog remember this)...

1 Kings 8:10-12
"And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the Cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. Then Solomon spoke: 'The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud...' "

He is the Creator of all things. The Psalms clearly state, "The heavens declare the glory of the Lord." Do you see? I will think twice before I complain about dark clouds and rain again... for, you see, He created even these. It is after the storm and rough weather that a rainbow can be shown in all its splendor. So, I will relish the storm and the clouds, and believe that He is near. I will call on His name to save me, and know that He is near. I will trust Him as I am wind-tossed, and know that He is near. I will believe His promises, to "never leave or forsake me", to "catch me when I fall", to "fill me when I am empty", to "give strength when I am weak"... I will trust Him, and know that He is near.

I hope that you will also be blessed to draw near to God. He will draw near to you, too. Blessings, dear one.

And, to my sisters in this world... May God bless you and remind you of how special you are to Him. Happy Woman's Day!!! You are loved, desired, and known... Thank Jesus!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lilac Lane Cottage Giveaway... Happy One Year Anniversary!...

I am just a little bit beauty-hungry right now, and the only way I could see to do that in my current restlessness was to blog hop.

I came across this giveaway that I think is spectacular. First, I love the blog name... Lilac Lane Cottage. Sigh... I love lilacs. Can't wait to smell them once again. Soon.

Anyhow, here is the link to several giveaways in one... NEAT!

http://lillyanna-lilaclanecottage.blogspot.com/2011/02/my-one-year-give-away.html

Update February 14, 2011...

After three weeks of trudging through sicknesses of various kinds, we are officially seeing the end. I hope. Only, another challenge has come our way. LICE- Again. (remember we had it at the beginning of November 2010). sigh...

It seems never-ending, you know. The challenges just keep coming, and I keep wondering when they will pause and let me strengthen up a bit. It does not seem that will happen for a little while yet. But, I am grateful. You see, this morning, as I was driving to the pharmacy for the lice shampoo and medicine, I was reminded of how I need to praise God and worship Him in the bad times, good times, so-so times, and in all times.

As I focused on that, on Him, I felt a rush of peace. When I allowed the problems to surface again, I felt panic. As I refocused again, His peace was clear and a healing salve to my aching heart. The whole point is... we must stay focused on Jesus. No matter what. He has promised to "never leave or forsake us". He said He will be our Help, our Rock, our Source of joy, hope, peace. Nothing is bigger than Him, not even a lice epidemic. Nothing is bigger or stronger than Him. The amazing thing is... He loves you and me, and He is there to comfort us when we are weak, tired, discouraged, or just plain blah. He is there in the good and bad; He is faithful to give us what we need for every moment of every day, of every trial. And He only asks for us to trust and surrender. I know, I know, that is a lot ot ask, you are thinking, right?

Yet... I would challenge you to do it. Why? because as I keep exercising myself, building endurance, and practicing trusting and surrendering, I am seeing that He is allowing me to truly REST in Him, feel His peace even more, even in the hardest times.

I am glad that this time I know what to expect with the lice thing. While it is uncomfortable and terribly inconvenient, I can get through it. Just like I did last time, if not better.

My kids are prepared as well, and not freaking out.

The timing hit at an odd time, but... at least it did not hit a week later, or my son, who has to have some medical stuff done, would have had to do his lice curing at the same time as spending time in the hospital. I mean, the timing hit at just the PERFECT wrong time. hahahahahhahahaha... Wrong time since, when is it really a good time to get lice, anyhow? hahahahhahahah... but, really, it is the perfect timing, if we were going to get it anyhow. It could be worse, and I just want to say...

Thank You, Jesus, for having our times in Your hands, for working out Your perfect will and way in our lives as we trust You, and for loving us so very much. May we bless Your heart today and during these days of recovery and "de-contamination".

Blessings to each of you, dear ones. May God bless this day, and may He encourage your hearts is an wonderful and surprising way today.

To see the Valentine papercut that I created for my husband, please click HERE.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Book Review: Voices of the Faithful - Book 2 ...



(to see more book reviews I have done, please go HERE...)

This book, Voices of the Faithful- Book 2 (by By Beth Moore, Kim P. Davis, International Mission Board), is a year’s worth of devotional chats by evangelical believers around the world doing their best to serve the nations God has put on their heart to reach in the name of Jesus. Each is a glimpse into the lives and experiences of some of the missionaries or those called to minister to other nations.
While I knew that I would be blessed by these readings, I did not realize to what extent. I have had a heart for missions since I was a child growing up in a small church. There were always special speakers and presentations showing us what others are doing to reach hearts for Christ. While I have never truly felt the call to GO into the mission field, I have been led to live in a foreign country. I have seen some of the challenges of living in a nation that is wrapped up in bondage. I have come to acknowledge that, while I have not been called here as a “missionary”, this is still my mission field. I have come to take to heart these verses from Colossians 3:17 and 23, “And whatever you do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him… And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” I am aiming to use my normal, ordinary, sometimes monotonous and challenging life, to encourage and bless others with the talents that I have. It may seem simple, but God uses the simple things to confound the wise, and He can grow great fruit from even the smallest of seeds. That is what I am seeing in the pages of this book. These fellow workers are doing the same, although to a grander scale and with a deeper purpose.
These daily readings are a challenge to read one at a time as they are short, but stock full of moments I crave… they are like having a chat over some coffee with a friend: sharing testimonies of God’s hand working in challenging situations; lessons on faith and trust; explaining some neat ideas used to try to reach more souls, and just encouraging another to listen to God’s voice, follow where He leads, dream big dreams, and KNOW a living and loving Lord. So many of the verses chosen are ones I have already underlined in my Bible, but some I have just NEEDED to hear again for this time or have not fully become aware of yet. They have been nuggets of blessing to my heart.
As we have entered this new year, 2011, I have been asking the Lord for a clear vision of what He has for me, and surprisingly, He is using this book to stir some things that are not clear, but are sure and being made ready. I am blessed beyond words for the unity I feel with these brothers and sisters in this big, and yet small, world. I am blessed to know that the Lord binds us together in unity THROUGH PRAYER, even while we are separated by oceans, miles and miles of land and mountains, by different languages and cultures and traditions… None of that can separate us from each other, in a way, because none of that can separate us from Jesus, who is the common bond. Nothing can separate us from Him, and while we are drawn to the tangible and visual, His Spirit links us in a heavenly bond that reaches across all spaces and challenges and differences.
I had an incident occur while reading one of the daily devotions. I was deeply touched by the words spoken by one of the missionaries, R.C.H (American Peoples), and became overwhelmed to tears. I put down the book for a time, and had to go off and find something I needed for a birthday party for one of my kids. As I browsed through some boxes I came across one of my old journals and thought I would read through it and remember… Wouldn’t you know, the very words that the missionary used and that spurred him to action, were so similar to a “calling” that I received many years ago but had forgotten. It is time to remember and act, and this book has been used in various ways to encourage me to do so.
“And He has made from ONE BLOOD every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ ” Acts 17:26-28
Those of us whom have chosen to follow Christ as our living Saviour and Lord, we are a family, a body. We each have a part to play, and sometimes, many times, another part of our body needs us. Prayer is the work! As Pat said in the book, “There is victory in prayer!” While this book is encouraging and spurring, more than anything, I join with these loved ones asking for corporate prayer from each part of this spiritual body. For… Amazing things are accomplished through prayer. Many times, God asks us to CRY OUT to Him, and HE does the work. Are you and I doing our part in interceding on behalf of our own body? I am doing some, but… I need to do more.
Beth Moore wrote an introduction that alone is inspiring, and I would like to quote some of her words to you. I believe she has nailed a predicament precisely when she says, “I see an epidemic of boredom in the body of Christ. I am convinced that one issue is primarily to blame: we are protecting ourselves right out of our callings. Right out of our God-ordained destinies. We are comfort addicts… and we keep wondering why we never feel satisfied… to miss our callings out of fear is never to have lived at all.”
“When hard times come, the key word isn’t survival. It’s revival.”
While we may not all be called to “GO” to another country to share the Lord with others, where we are is our individual mission field. What are YOU doing to reach where YOU are? And, remember, even though you may not be called to go, Beth stated this, and I believe it is so true… “your prayers matter immensely. The fact is, they matter immeasurably.” Prayer is the WORK!!!
To conclude, I have a request, please pray for Italy. This is what you may not know about this country. It is known as the "missionary graveyard" because most missionaries who come here do not last more than two years. In general, only 10% of missionaries return to Italy after their first term. Many years ago a reformation swept over Europe but never touched Italy, and we are in desperate need of the Lord’s work here in this nation. Less than 1% of the population is involved with an Evangelical Christian Church. And, even if all of the Charismatic Christian groups were added to that number, it would still only be 5% of the population. Almost all Italians call themselves Catholic "Christians", but less than 10% practice their faith. While this is frustrating, what is even more frustrating is that for as small as the Evangelical Church is here in Italy, there has been great division from church to church throughout its history. Please pray with us that God would deliver the oppressed; encourage those of us living here; purify and strengthen His church with passion for the lost and for the Living Word; and bless this nation with refreshing and changing revival. Thank you.
James 5:16b says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Amen…
There is nothing negative that I have to say about the book except this, a lot of different fonts are used in the print. It gets a little distracting. I enjoyed the prayers at the end of each devotional, and I thought it was a great idea to have an Index listing “Devotion Titles By Month” and then another listing “Scriptural References”. I also liked how there is a section at the end that specifically lets the reader know HOW he can receive Christ as his Saviour, and another section letting him know how he can pray for “International Missionaries and People Groups” across the world.
That is what I have to share about this book and its affect on me and my life. While my review is long, I hope you will read it and be blessed. May you also be encouraged to read the book and be inspired, ministered to, and encouraged to minister to others. Blessings…
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I wasn't required to write a positive review. These opinions are my own.