One Thousand Gifts – Thanks from a Grateful Heart

I want to foster a grateful heart and remember the Lord’s many benefits and gifts to me each day.  Starting today, I’m going to join Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and start counting. 
103 Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s
Psalm 103: 1-5
Let the counting begin. 
1.      I am so grateful for my security and salvation found in Christ alone.
2.    I’m thankful for the gift of prayer and that I can cry out to the Lord anytime, night or day. 
3.    The Lord is never too busy to hear me. 

Five Minute Friday…Not Chosen to Dance

Hummm…dance is this week’s topic.  I think this is one of the most challenging yet. 
When I think of dancing, it doesn’t hold a lot of good memories for me.  But one good memory was when I was attending Prescott Jr. High.  In 7th grade I was going to my first dance.  I had taken tap, ballet and modern jazz…so I sort of knew how to dance, but nothing that would be in keeping with a school dance.
One of my friends was Alesha, a sweet beautiful young lady who enjoyed life.  Before the dance she took the time to teach me how to dance.  We played Three Dog Night’s song “Mama Told Me Not to Come” over and over again on the record player as she showed me how to dance.  Whenever I hear that song on the radio, it takes me back to that day.
When I think back to Jr. High and High School, it brings back some hard feelings.  Feeling of being socially awkward, not so pretty and not fitting in.  Memories of sitting on the sideline with some of the other girls who were not chosen to dance.  I couldn’t wait for the night to end.  Those memories left some indelible painful scars on my heart, mind and soul.  As a result I didn’t attend too many dances in high school.
Lord is it any wonder that I am forever grateful and take refuge in the fact that I was chosen by You.  Rejected by man, but accepted by the Lord.  May I be mindful that in Christ I was chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven.  Is it any wonder when I hear praise and worship music my heart sings and I want to dance and celebrate the One who chose me?  Lord…I look forward to the day when I can dance with joy in heaven.  May I have glimpses of that day even now and be lost in wonder, love and praise.
Psalm 149:1-4
Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise in the assembly of saints.
2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
3 Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
4 For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.

My Five Minute Friday submission is a day late again…but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in TheGypsy Mama’s Five Minute Friday.  Head on over and read the writings of many gifted individuals while you are there.  Perhaps you too would like to try your hand at writing for five minutes and see what comes out.

The Hawk

As I walked out the door
I heard a the flutter of many wings
Birds flying this way and that, trying to escape
It seemed as though all were gone
Yet I still heard frantic flapping in the tree
Suddenly he appeared
A hawk swept down from the branches
His prey held firmly in his grasp
A helpless dove, wings beating their last flap
I was sickened by the sight
Suddenly the hawk took flight with the lifeless bird
The only evidence, feathers along the path
Susan Wachtel
June 24, 2012

Simple Secrets to a Happy Life – A Real Treat

It was a real treat to read Luci Swindoll’s book “Simple Secrets to a Happy Life”.  In the book, Luci shares with her readers 50 ways to make the most of every day.  The book is divided into five areas: Beginning with the Basics, Developing Your Style, Achieving Balance, Living the Good Life and Staying Connected.
Taking a play from her Mother’s handbook, each chapter begins with an imperative verb and the title is five words long.  The chapters are short, but filled with some good thoughts to ponder and actions to take such as: Make Something with Your Hands; Find Contentment in Doing Without; Establish Integrity in Your Life; Get Doctrine Under Your Belt; and Forgive Others Over and Over. 
I found it quite enjoyable to read one or two chapters in the evening.  Luci talks about things she was taught as a child that have served her well, which she continues to do to this day and the lessons she has learned over 79 years.  She’s open and transparent and shares about her successes and failures, and how she enjoys life.
In “Simple Secrets to a Happy Life” you get a feel for who Luci Swindoll is; a woman who loves the Lord, her family, friends and life.  She seems purposeful and intent on living with integrity, developing lifelong friendships and making the most of this gift called life. 
I highly recommend “Simple Secrets to a Happy Life” by Luci Swindoll.  This is a book you will want to read again and share with your friends. 
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Five Minute Friday – The Risk of Procrastination

At the prompting of my sister Denise, I decided to actually post for Five Minute Friday on Friday.  She even gave me the topic to write about for the word Risk.  Thanks Denise for holding my feet to the fire!
Whether it’s at work or at home, procrastination always has its risks and consequences.  One of the biggest consequences is stress.  When I delay completing work or following through on a commitment, my stress level increases.  Definitely not good! 
When my stress level is high, my thinking is not as focused as it should be and it’s harder to complete my work. 
If I procrastinate and delay completing work on one project, it impacts other work that I’m supposed to complete after that.  It’s like a downward spiral and hard to get out of.
Another risk is that my integrity will wane.  If I don’t keep my word and do what I said I would do and be respectful of how my work impacts others, I will lack integrity.
Show how should I handle procrastination in my life?
I need to go to the Lord each day and seek His direction and help. 
If I find myself procrastinating regularly, perhaps I need to look at my schedule.  I need to choose wisely what I commit myself to.  When I say yes to one thing, even if by default, I’m saying no to something else which may be more important. 
 
This post is linked with The Gypsy Mama’s FiveMinute Friday challenge.  I encourage you to go on over and read some of the wonderful posts from others who join in.  You will be encouraged. 

Five Minute Friday – Narrow Path

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. – Matthew 7:13-14
The first Sunday after I recognized that I was a sinner and unable to save myself and received Christ at the age of 32, I started going to church.  During the ensuing years I went to a church that was Christian-lite.  From there I moved to a church that did expositional preaching but it was large and I found it easy to fade into the crowd.  One of my biggest regrets was moving to a church that didn’t preach the Word, but desired to make the unsaved feel comfortable being at church, rather than feed the flock. 
While at that church I grew very weak and took one of my biggest stumbles which I regret to this day.  Thank You Lord for Your mercies are new every morning and Your forgiveness is complete. 
When this prodigal recognized her sin and wanted to come home, the Lord brought me to Bible Study Fellowship.  It was through this in-depth Bible study that I began walking on the narrow path.  Soon after the Lord led me to a church where I was able to get well grounded in the Word of God. 
It wasn’t until I began studying the Bible, day by day for myself, through the power of the Holy Spirit I intentionally and purposefully began walking on that narrow path.  Through my personally study of the Word of God and applying it that I began to see that the Lord had a message for me. 
These days, I continue to participate in an in-depth Bible study through Community Bible Study.  May I seek to know You more Lord and obey Your commands through Your sustaining grace.  May I grow in wisdom, knowledge and truth.  May Your Word continue to illuminate the narrow path ahead. 
My Five Minute Friday submission is a day late…but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in The Gypsy Mama’s Five Minute Friday.  I must confess I took longer than five minutes this week, but it felt good to write and remember the goodness of the Lord.  Head on over and read the writings of many gifted individuals while you are there.  Perhaps you would like to try your hand at writing for five minutes