An Early Morning Prayer

I woke early with a heaviness on my heart for someone I love so deeply. To see firsthand the pain that one person’s actions can inflict on so many others is almost unbearable.

And I feel helpless.

But God Who is so gracious knows all. And while we do not always understand what appears to be silence on His end, we can be assured of His promise to never leave or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5-6…

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

We do not comprehend all that is going on behind the scenes. Maybe the safest place for us to be is right where we are. Maybe He is preparing a way out. Maybe we need to learn something. Or, maybe He’s working on the other side of our problem.

But we should never doubt His love or His presence. I have been presented with this over and over and over again. Doubt leads to so many negatives. It is not conducive to a good or godly life.

The pain is very real. And God Almighty has numbered every tear. He absolutely knows our pain. Sometimes we have to be our strongest in our weakest moments. As impossible as that may seem at the moment, we still need to function as others depend on us. We need to pull our strength from God.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Isaiah 40:29
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:10
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Psalm 59:16
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

My prayer today is for strength. Strength for all those who feel weak. This is the time remember God’s promises. This is the time to find comfort in the arms of Jesus. He will lift you to higher ground. Keep the faith. And be ever so grateful. ♥️

Andi

Division

I was stumped on what to write tonight. Actually, I’ve been running on empty the last several days. I guess I’ve been preoccupied with several things this week. Tonight, I decided to go through my 20,000 pics on my phone to see if something might strike up a post. That’s when I came across this picture. A perfect visual to describe the condition of today’s world. Division is in our families, our schools and communities, and our nation. Even the whole world is divided.

What does God say about division?

Romans 16:17-18
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

Matthew 12:25-26
Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

One of my absolute favorite verses…

1 Corinthians 14:33
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

Is our world in a confused state? Is there peace among us? Or is there division? Are people turning on each other? Can we distinguish between truth and falsity? Just know that this madness didn’t come from God.

If there is ever a time to be united with one another and with God, it is now.

♥️

Andi

B*U*B*B*L*E*S

A child is the most beautiful gift of all. There is nothing more precious than their wonderment of simple things.

I was blessed to spend time with my granddaughter at my 60th birthday party. She was certainly the highlight of my day.

Adorned with her wings, she giggled and squealed with delight as she chased hundreds of iridescent bubbles for a good part of the day. While I didn’t have a pair of wings to wear, I did enjoy watching my granddaughter dance around with bubbles in her hair. I even chased a few myself.

Have we truly forgotten what it was like to chase bubbles? Or, to wear a pair of imaginary wings? To build forts out of sheets or sail away to distant lands on couch cushions? Sadly, we’ve left so much in our childhood. Playing pretend was how my siblings and I spent much of our young years. The joy of being a child. You just don’t realize what you had until you relive it through a child’s eyes once again. I think with all the stresses of today’s world, we could all use a big dose of bubbles, especially shared with a little one wearing magical wings. I know I could again.

B*U*B*B*L*E*S. The joy of being a child. The joy of remembering. ♥️

Andi

A Goodnight Prayer

Philippians 4:6–7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Praying you might have a peaceful rest this night. ♥️

Andi

Photo: A Jamaican sunset, 2016

All Things Bright and Beautiful…

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Author: Ce­cil F. Al­ex­an­der, Hymns for Lit­tle Child­ren, 1848

This poem popped into my head today as I sat outside on this gorgeous day. I am grateful for all of nature. The sights, the sounds, the smells…it’s all so wonderful to me. It’s almost magical in how it makes me feel.

No matter what is going on all around me, nature remains the same. It is just about the best friend you could ever ask for. Even a simple breeze across my face is soothing. I believe God gave this to us as a special gift. He always knows exactly what we need. ♥️

Andi

My Sunday Morning Reflection

As I sit in my Lazy Boy with my Sunday morning coffee, I reflect on the last week. Actually, I’m reflecting a little further back about a month. Lots of life changes packed in a relatively short period of time.

The changes aren’t all good per say, but the lessons are. Whenever life challenges you, you must take what good you can from it or it’s all for naught.

My heart is still heavy with many things. I am, after all, a mom, a woman, a fixer-upper, a human. I’ve always been this massive sponge. Not only do I absorb your problems along with mine, I try to fix everything. And I cannot. Many things are not mine to fix. Many things are better left in God’s hands because I see through weak human eyes.

I have to say that the last month has been more humbling than all my months combined. I am not the same. Nor do I want to return to that girl of yesterday. Her priority was all wrong.

After admitting to God that His will is so much better than mine (less painful too), I find great peace and comfort in my own home now. I have felt displaced for such a long time. I didn’t feel good anywhere. Here or there, or anywhere. A stranger in my own home. But the grass truly isn’t greener anywhere else and my home is a blessing, a sanctuary. Wishing for everything you don’t have is vain. I see blessings now because I quit fighting God. I have been humbled on many levels.

Up until recently I had been wondering in great detail what my purpose in life was now that my children are grown, my grandchildren are far from me, and I have no husband to care for. I felt I was just taking up air and space and that my life was truly over. I actually questioned my very existence. My expectations of what life was to be at this age is nothing even close to realty. I need purpose.

Well, I am certainly discovering what my purpose is not.
*It is not to be in charge of some spectacular feat.
*It’s not to control things that are not mine to control.
*It’s not fearing and worrying, or instilling those in others.
*It’s not to be recognized as someone with great knowledge, wealth, speech, or motivation.

No, it appears my purpose is subdued. It’s quiet. It’s behind the scenes. No recognition. No monetary reward. I believe my purpose is to be available for others as needed. I am to be a strength, a prayer warrior, and maybe even share a little wisdom and guidance. It may seem like such a small responsibility in our worldly view of things, but I believe in God’s eyes it is mighty.

I’m on the downward side of this mountain of life. I can’t say that I’m thrilled with that reality at all. When I reflect over the years it’s very clear that my life was messy. And it affected the lives of many. But I’m not so arrogant that I cannot admit my failure. I wish I would have allowed God to open doors and clear those thorny pathways. No, I had to be in control. But we cannot go back to change a single breath in our life. I will use all that I have learned, and am learning still, to help those seeking guidance. This is the closest I can get to righting a wrong.

So the last month has brought me closer to home and closer to God. And I am grateful. What a relief. My restless spirit is finally calming down.

My reward here on earth is peace of mind. My eternal reward, heaven. ♥️

Andi

Photos: all mine, taken at different places at different times; last photo is the memorial garden for my best friend and her son.

Make it Make Sense

When a young child falls asleep at his desk on the second day of school and the teacher says it’s a sign of Covid, so the school sends him and his brother home to quarantine….

Make it make sense.

When a high school student is made to quarantine (5 times fourteen days to be exact) because of contact tracing, yet has never been sick….

Make it make sense.

When seated at a restaurant table is safe yet to stand up is unsafe….

Make it make sense.

When restaurants and small businesses are closing again but now for of lack of help….

When many vaccinated are now magnetized….

When we accept dysfunction as normal over godly morals….

Make it make sense.

When we no longer teach our children to love and appreciate their bodies, but convince them they aren’t good enough and that they can change who they are with the help of drugs and surgery….

When it’s okay to protect a turtle egg or an eagle egg, yet we violently and forcefully remove an unborn human from the womb….

MAKE IT MAKE SENSE!

When we allow thousands and thousands of Covid positive people in through our southern border to infiltrate our country, yet make life changing and unrealistic demands and mandates upon the healthy citizens of our country….

When we bring to our country thousands of Afghans but abandon our people….

When we believed that being vaccinated would give us freedom….

When people vote against someone because they don’t like their personality and overlook policy….

When a general in our military suggests that we can possibly work with the Taliban in the future….

Make it make sense.

When we mask children….

When drag queens read to our children during story time…

When it’s no longer considered perversion for a crowd of people to teach little children to twerk….

When a deep nasal swab is performed on a healthy infant….

When I am required to show my ID at 60 years old to buy a bottle of Tito’s, but not to vote….

When numbers are botched to make things look worse….

When media no longer has a conscience….

Make it make sense.

When we are told to do things based on science, only it’s not based on science….

When our administration refuses to witness the conditions at our southern border….

When driving alone in your car with a mask on is normal….

When we pay people more to stay home rather than to get off their arses and work like the rest of us….

When the CDC is funded by companies that profit from lockdowns and vaccines….

When our country spends freely and without conscious leaving the debt for our children and grandchildren….

Make it make sense.

When colleges and universities care more about infiltrating and altering the minds of students with their objectives instead of teaching how to make a living….

When billions and billions of dollars worth of US weaponry was handed over to the dark side and then moved to Iran….

When there is a high percentage of fully vaccinated still getting Covid….

When people still believe this administration is working harder for the betterment of our country than the previous one….

When math becomes racist….

When the breach of the Capitol is more damaging and concerning than the months of domestic terrorist attacks upon our own people and cities….

Make it make sense.

The list is endless.

My mind cannot come to terms with all that is wrong in our world. Never in my lifetime has anything been seen like this. Nothing makes sense. It is utter confusion, hatred, and division. I feel a great sadness for our children. What a world to grow up in. We have allowed one catastrophe after another to take place. We willingly opened the door and now the bad guys are in our house.

God help us to stop the evil so we can give our children a better tomorrow.

We should all be on our knees tonight.

♥️

Andi

The Love of a Dog

Dogs have this great ability to love. And they each express love differently just like humans do. You know like The Five Love Languages.

I miss my Hercules every.single.day. He was such a good boy. Beautiful too. Herc did lots of little things to show he loved us. First thing in the morning he couldn’t get close enough to me. I would dance around the room to avoid his morning sneeze which always managed to land on my bare legs. He couldn’t stand for us girls to separated by walls or doors, or the inside from the outside. He wanted us altogether in one room and he couldn’t rest if we weren’t. If he was outside with me, he’d sit looking into the house for the girls. We were his world.

After Herc passed away, my daughter asked me to look at dog she happened to see for sale on Facebook. I did. I went to see her three times. And well, here she is.

Kiara Nyx is the most unique dog I’ve ever had. She has lots of anxiety and trust issues but she’s come a VERY long way since November. And she really is a one-person dog. My dog. Nyx and I, we kinda need each other.

When I get home from work she is beyond excited. She has a real deep bark for a medium size dog and she will use that bark to scream in the face of the other animals to let them know I’m home and that I’m hers. If we crate her, wow…she goes nuts with excitement when I let her out. It’s like she’s electrified. Love just pours out of her.

Love to Nyx is a good morning rub along her jawline. It’s a car ride around the block or a walk in the park. It’s a cookie in the morning and one at night. But mostly it’s playing fetch and tug-of-war. Nyx is the happiest when she’s flying through the air or battling for her toy. She will bring toys to you and drop them in your lap. And then stare you down until you go outside. She will also grab one end of her toy or stick and try to put the other end in your hand for tug-of-war. It took many months but she smiles now and it’s gorgeous.

Dogs love with their whole being. They are loyal and ever-forgiving. All they ask of you is a little quality time. A game of fetch, sitting on the front porch together, a pat on the head, a car ride to nowhere, and an occasional “I love you”. My daughter recently told me that a dog’s heart rate increases when you say those three words. Powerful words for both humans and animals.

The love of a dog.
There’s nothing quite like it. ♥️

Andi

Kiara = bright; little dark one
Nyx = goddess of night

Ephesians 4:26

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger

There are many things in this life currently that should anger us enough to pray harder and to live more godly lives. I have been working diligently on my spiritual life, which includes letting go of anger.

The sun now goes down on my sorrow.

Pray without ceasing. We need God. ♥️

Andi

Photo: sunset, 08/31/2021

Faith Over Fear

I had breakfast with a beautiful young woman whom I absolutely adore. She was actually my boss at one time. I would claim her as my own daughter if I could. She’s an old soul and we see eye-to-eye on about everything.

She made a huge decision to leave her job in health care. I understand exactly how hard that decision was as I had to do the same. Nothing is the same anymore with all the issues surrounding Covid and you have to ask yourself if you are part of the problem or part of the solution. Morally, I felt I was part of the problem. But I did not have the smooth, heartfelt send-off like she did. My exit was kinda messy.

So she’s taking a job that has nothing to do with her schooling. She still has big school loans which I cannot even imagine having. But what do you do? You have to stand up for what you believe in, regardless. You have to live with yourself first and foremost.

My friend is concerned about everything closing again like it did last year. She was discussing this with her real mom. She wondered what would happen if she lost her new job. And her wise real mom simply said, “faith over fear.”

Faith over fear.

Fear is powerful. It robs you of the most precious things in life. It keeps you stagnant. It keeps you frozen in time to where you cannot do even the simplest of tasks in life. You can’t make the decisions you need to make. And don’t even consider doing anything fun and adventurous. It’s too scary out there.

Our faith in God should be strong enough to conquer fear. For God is far greater.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Not just some things. ALL THINGS.

Faith over fear.
My focus for this day. ♥️

Andi

The New Norm: Accepting Sin

Please remember that I lay my heart out on my sleeve for you. I never suggest that I am perfect or sinless. Quite the contrary. I have my past, my present, and my future sins ever before me. What did Paul say about himself? I am the chief of all sinners? I would like to believe that my future holds much less sin than my past or present but that would be totally up to me. And I pray that God has forgiven (and forgotten, Hebrews 8:12) all that I’ve laid at his feet.

Before I go further. I want to quickly touch on the subject of judging. Yes, we can judge what is sin and what is not. In fact, we must. God gave us lists of named sins. And if we see someone active in those sins we know they are not in a saved place with God. If we are not to judge, then there would be no need for missionaries for we have judged those people to be lost and in need of the Word. But we must remember that whatever measure we judge by, we will be judged by the same, Matthew 7:2. So judge righteously and accordingly.

I heard something yesterday in a conversation that disturbs me. When discussing an atrocious, active sin of someone close, a third party said we just need to accept it.

Those words we just need to accept it echoed through my mind all night long. Accepting sin. How do those words come out of the mouth of someone who professes to be a Christian?

Romans 1 is packed full. God spells it all out in that one chapter. This is what sin looks like. He doesn’t include this chapter in the Bible just to take up space and give Romans a first chapter. No. This is a warning. I suggest that you read that chapter. My focus here is the last verse. After God discusses sin in depth, He ends with that last warning. Verse 32. And that should be enough to squall the judging debate and realize the gravity of accepting sin.

Romans 1:28-32

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,
30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

What does verse 32 mean? Well…even if you do not practice the sins mentioned but accept or give approval to those who do, you are as guilty as they are.

I didn’t say it. God did. I’m just repeating it.

Accepting sin has become the new normal and it’s no wonder God seems to have a deaf ear to our prayers. Our homes, our country…we are falling apart at the seams.

I watched video of what hurricane Ida has done to New Orleans and what she is currently doing as she barrels northeast leaving a path of destruction. Buildings peeled apart at the seams. This is what is happening to our homes because of sin. I’m not talking about the physical structure of a building. I’m talking about the people within. The spiritual and emotional well-being of each of us. We are opening the front door to sin and welcoming with open arms. I’m okay. You’re okay.

No, we are not. We are the furthest thing away from being okay.

Accepting sin. This needs to stop. We need to call sin out by it’s name. We need to repent as a people and as a nation if we want God to hear us.

Praying for innocent ones whose pain is the direct hit of an unrepentant person. I will not simply accept sin and move on with my day. Romans 1:32. No, I won’t be giving my stamp of approval.

My heart is heavy but there is often much growth in pain. God is my stronghold, my refuge. I will find comfort in Him. ♥️

Andi

Justification: An Abomination

Luke 16:15
And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

As we walk this earth, it is our responsibility to know what is God’s will and what is not. I was not brought up on a foundation of Christ. It was rather hit-n-miss for the most part. Mostly, miss. I was different than most of my family. As far back as I can remember I loved God and had a great curiosity of what Christianity was all about. My mom and Grandma Moench were probably the only real influencers of that curiosity when I was young. Grandma had these little books called Our Daily Bread on top of the toilet tank. I loved reading those short daily devotionals whenever we visited her in Minnesota. My mother had a beautiful family Bible on the living room coffee table. I wish I had that Bible now but Rufus Q. chewed it up when he was a puppy. My mom was heartbroken. I knew that book was special to her. It was special to me too for inside of it held all the answers to my curiosities.

My curiosity only intensified as I grew older. I searched in a variety of places to find answers that made rational sense, which I found very little of. That all changed greatly once I came into contact with a preacher who did make sense.

I was a journalist for a little hometown newspaper and I had my own column. Actually, I was their experiment. They were trying to expand their paper into another region. My home region. I was to go out and write stories of people in this rural area. And of course, sell ads. (I am not a seller.)

My first story was with the preacher. Meeting him changed everything for me. He answered my many questions, while referring to the Bible, and the Bible started coming to together like a beautifully knitted sweater or a puzzle with its many scattered pieces. I became a Christian and began to find peace. And so life moved forward. Through my own growth over the years, and watching the lives of others, I have gained a better understanding of God’s will.

I’ve learned though that even those who profess God’s goodness, fall. Intentional sin. And with the fall often there is much justification and rationalizing on their part to lessen the ramifications of their sin. But you simply cannot outsmart or outshine God. Nor can talk your way out of a sinful heart. You may fool other people by gaining their sympathy, but not God. He sees through the mask and straight to your heart.

These justifications (excuses) for sinning will not work:
*Because of this, I did this… *He did this to me so I did this.
*I deserve this after what I’ve been through.
*I’ll repent later.
*This isn’t as bad as what she did.
*Just this once…
*This will be my last time.
*Fix this God so I don’t do this.

Never ever can you rationalize sin by committing sin.

As humans, we have a tendency to rate sin. We have our own way of rating sin on a scale of 1-10, personalized for our own convenience. My scale of 1-10 might differ from yours and vise-versa. God does not rate sin, nor does He acknowledge our scale. Sin is sin in God’s eyes. He is our fair and just God. His unit of measurement has to be consistent in order to be fair. Lying is the same as gluttony. Murder is the same as committing adultery. You cannot get around this no matter how hard you try to convenience yourself or others. Even if you have people supporting you, Christian or not, you absolutely were not given the power to rate or categorize sin.

I acknowledge that I have tried to rationalize sin over the years. And if you are honest with yourself (and with God) you will confess that you too have rationalized sinful behavior whether done publicly or in private.

God sees your heart and mine. There is no escape. Sin is sin.

What is justified and approved by man, is an abomination to God.

God knows our hearts. Let’s not support those who are knowingly and willingly in sin. Sin might only affect them in judgment but here on earth, sin has a trickle effect. One person’s sin can negatively affect the lives of many people. And if your sin causes a child to believe that sin is okay, then you have even more to be held accountable for.

Maybe this is not your struggle or burden, but there are those who suffer greatly. We need to acknowledge that sin is sin no matter what it is or who is doing it. It’s a tough row to hoe sometimes but a home in Heaven with Jesus will be so worth it. ♥️

Andi

mom and me

The Minute Hand

I pushed away from my desk and sat back in my chair. A coworker walks by my office and reminds me to breathe. So I do. I don’t realize I hold my breath. I look up at my wall clock and watch the minute hand. It’s so slow. Just like my breathing.

The movement of the time has never changed since the beginning of time, yet why do some days go so fast and others so very slow? This past week has been one long day. I guess maybe it has much to do with our state of mind. Mine hurts. Everything hurts.

Breathe.

Our lives are deeply interwoven. I don’t believe any of us fully comprehend the extent of our reach.

A sweet example to share is of a woman I ran into almost a year ago. I asked her if we had ever met before as she seemed familiar. She said yes, many years ago. She further explained that we had attended the same church for a short period of time. Since I left all those years ago she’s wanted to find me. She shared her great compassion for me although we had never discussed our personal lives. Yet she was so moved by the little interaction we did have, she wanted to find me to make sure I was okay. She and I are great friends now.

We never know whose lives we touch on our journey, who watch from afar, or who search for us.

Not every example of intertwining lives is sweet though. Some are on the hellish side. Like now.

Breathe.

The minute hand never stops but time certainly has.

I will continue to put my faith and trust in God to heal all that is wounded.

Praising God. ♥️

Andi

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11a

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

11a He has made everything beautiful in its time.

♥️

Andi

Anger

Ephesians 4:26-27
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

Anger is a powerful emotion. Emotions were given to us by God Himself in our unique design. Therefore, anger is not forbidden by God. We need anger sometimes to motivate us to do something, but in a positive, godly manner.

Wrongful anger stems from the human part of us. We don’t see the sin in our own life, only sin of others. We get angry quickly and often without just cause. It’s more about ourselves and the way we react when another person has hurt us…without using the scripture as our guideline.

Righteous anger comes through witnessing the perversion of God’s law. When someone intentionally violates the goodness of God’s design, we have the right to be angry. But still we are told to be slow to anger and not to sin. This demonstrates godly self-control.

At this moment, I confess that I am angry. I am angry that people I love have had their lives turned upside-down and inside-out by the one they love and trusted most upon this earth. Someone who has perverted God’s precious design for their own selfish desires. In the process, they have shattered the lives of numerous people while desperately trying to rationalize their sinfulness. So yes, I am angry. Very angry.

In this devastating heartbreak, my helplessness in this situation has brought me to Jesus’s feet. Tonight, I must lay my anger here before it can destroy me. There is an internal battle raging within me. Even though my anger has been kindled by acts against God, the heaviness of this situation alone is almost more than I can bear. I can’t carry the weight of anger too. I am praying for help, for direction, for extraordinary strength, and a heart that is wise. I need these so I can help those who have been hurt the most. My loved ones. My angels. My life. So tonight, I lay my anger at Jesus’s feet.

Be wise in anger. Know when and how to use it in a godly manner, and when you need to give it to the Lord.

Surrendering all and praying hard for those who suffer most. I hope sleep can find me now. ♥️

Andi

The Cost of Being UnFaithful

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…

Being unfaithful doesn’t just happen one day out of the clear blue. You don’t wake up and think instead of a round of golf, I might just cheat today. No, it comes from deep, selfish, lustful, and continuous thoughts of what if? And, why not?

As a man/woman thinks in his/her heart…

If you are debating whether to be faithful or not in your marriage, consider these short lists of pros and cons.

PROS

…a lasting marriage
…happy children
…contentment
…peace of mind
…success
…guiltless
…respect
…blessings
…clear conscience
…happiness
…fulfillment
…honor
…obedience to God

CONS

…divorce
…broken home
…depression
…troubled children
…dysfunction
…emptiness
…rebuke
…guilt
…restlessness
…discontent
…failure
…no respect
…dishonor
…disobedience to God

Being unfaithful is selfishness at its finest and it causes much pain, sadness, resentment, and heartache. Precious children become pawns and often they feel lost, insure, and unsafe. Unfaithfulness is total disregard for the blessings you were given by God.

We all have choices to make. Yes, we are human and we make wrong decisions. But we do need to think things through thoroughly and with godly insight. Being unfaithful is cruel. It leaves lasting scars on the most innocent of hearts. Hearts that love you. And it’s a guilt you will carry until death.

What is the cost of being unfaithful? The cost is massive. You very well could lose your marriage, your reputation, and the hearts of your children. And in the long run, it could cost you Heaven.

Faithful. Be that person. ♥️

Andi

Grief…

knows no limits or boundaries.

Neither is it a respecter of persons.

Grief awakens you in the night. It clouds your eyes and darkens your mind. It weakens your spirit. Days run together with no ends or beginnings. No sunrises or sunsets. Grief shows no mercy.

Grief haunts the mind with its endless scenarios of what-if. It replays conversations, interactions, hellos and goodbyes. Grief is a complicated mystery.

It can’t be rushed but yet grieving cannot last forever either. It’s complicated and it’s individual. Grief is inconsolable and has to run its own course. Grief usually revolves around a broken heart.

Grief is one of the most dreaded aspects of living. But it is a part of life. Life simply isn’t fair and grief is proof.

Be sensitive to those who are suffering. Pray that they may find closure and peace. Be compassionate of their struggles and supportive if they have temporarily lost their way. Give space when needed but always be just around the corner. Most importantly, love them. ♥️

Andi

God is Sufficient

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. It is not wrong to be weak, contrary to the world’s view. God will not work through those who are arrogant or conceited. It’s not because He isn’t able to. It’s that He will only work through those who recognize they are nothing without Him.

I acknowledge I am weak.

I acknowledge that I cannot control all that surrounds me.

I acknowledge that my plans are but dust in the wind because they are not of God…even though I thought they were in my best interest and in the best interest of others.

I acknowledge that there is no limit to humility, or even rebuke. I feel every bit of it.

I acknowledge that I still have much to learn.

I acknowledge that I am nothing without God.

In all things, my God is sufficient. ♥️

Andi

Photo: St. Joe, MI, 2017

Humble Yourself

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Humble yourself to allow God to work in your personal life, your family life, in the workforce, in your community, and for the benefit of our country as a whole.

What more damage can be done in our lives before we seek Him?

Until you remove selfishness from within there is no room for Jesus.

Humble yourself.

Praying this day that we return to God. ♥️

Andi

Photo: Sand Beach, ME

The Roses in my Garden

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Children are the flowers in our garden. They need much nurturing in order to blossom. Watering, feeding, sunshine, and love. Not to mention a little pruning when necessary.

I was blessed with six children. WillowTree has six children figurines. I was happy to see that their six matched the personalities of my six.

🌹My inquisitive child ^^^ is my oldest. He watches documentary after documentary in order to feed his hungry mind. You name a topic and he’s watched a documentary. It’s kind of a running joke when we get together. Suppose you’ve watched a documentary on that! In school he read chemistry books for fun and even memorized the periodic table. He is curious about many things and needs the answers to all the questions of life.

🌹My caring child ^^^ is my second son. He makes sure that the needs of others are met. His humble heart is one of compassion for all people…and, of course, the animal kingdom as well. He’s traveled the world sharing his kindness with all those he meets and returns with the warmest stories of other people in faraway lands.

🌹 My spirited child ^^^ is my oldest daughter. She will keep you on your toes but laughing all way. She sets out do something and she does it. She is so much fun to be with but even more fun when you show her the video the next morning. She has a sweet little rosebud of her own.

🌹My imaginative child ^^^ is my youngest son. He was an ATST or a t-Rex most of his growing up years. He’s a master at voice acting and story telling. He’s very artistic and pretty hilarious. With him, there is never a dull moment. He added two precious little rosebuds to our garden.

🌹 My joyful child ^^^ is my fifth child. She has always been my giggler. She brightens up any room she enters. Not only is she beautiful but she’s witty and fun to be around. She has the best sense of humor and her laughter is contagious.

🌹 My thoughtful child ^^^ is my youngest. She thinks of ways to please me and others. She tries to make most days special…and she does. Holidays or birthdays are much more fun because of her ideas. Even the dogs have special birthdays. She often places flower petals on my pillowcase to surprise me when I get home.

Children are blessings and they need to be cherished. Too many times they are thrown to the wayside as selfish parents do selfish things.

Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Children are not a waste of our time. They are our future and our future depends on them. Raise them with strong, godly morals and values. God has entrusted you with their lives. ♥️

Andi

A Parent’s Happiness

Words just can’t express the joy that enters the home when a baby arrives. There’s nothing like a baby or two, or even six, to fill a home with love. My first three bundles of joy were born in the hospital. The last three were born at home. Yeah, I’m a trooper like that.

From the moment of conception you become a parent. My daughter-in-law is pregnant with their first child. I watch how she holds her expanding tummy and I love to hear her say how much she loves taking care of her baby. And she is doing just that. She is taking care of her little one. She is a parent. And she will never be anything less.

We spend the next 18+ years nurturing our offspring. We make sure their physical needs are met. That they grow up with healthy attitudes and ideals. We make sure if they don’t know an answer to a question that they know how to find it. We wipe noses, say prayers, sing lullabies, discipline, reward, plant butterfly kisses on sleepy cheeks, play endless boardgames, give them chores, kiss boo-boos, correct their slouching, go to all their ballgames, pray a ton more, teach them respect…ohhhhhh, that list never ends. And with each birthday comes even more challenges and learning processes. (For both parent and child.)

The basic reason for our existence for 20, 30, 40 years is children. And all through those years we’ve laughed with them. We’ve cried with them. Fought for them. Praised them and cheered them on. We watched them have fun with their friends. We saw how sometimes they were treated unfairly. We pay attention to how they treat others. We feel everything they feel.

I recently wrote a blog called Pieces of My Soul and it relates to this post. It’s as though each child receives an actual part of our heart/soul when they come into our world. Well, truthfully they are pieces of us, and with that, we share many things. Feeling their every emotion is part of being a parent.

When a child hits a home run, we feel that excitement as though we were the one holding the bat. And we feel it intensely.

When a child is praised we feel that.
When a child is bullied we feel that as well. When a child makes bad decisions we feel every bit of the repercussions.
When a child is honored we share in that feeling of being lifted up.

So with all this shared emotion, just how happy is a parent?

There is barely a line between us and them. If there’s even a separation at all. And when you have more than one child, it gets even more complicated. That’s a lot of emotion to carry. There is no turn-off valve as a parent or an age when a child no longer owns that portion of your heart.

I had a friend respond to that post Pieces of My Soul. He shared with me something that his father used to say and what he said is exactly the explanation I needed for my own knowledge and for my own peace of mind…that I’m not actually crazy.

A parent is only as happy as his most unhappiest child.

Ready that again.

A parent is only as happy as his most unhappiest child.

One more time.

A parent is only as happy as his most unhappiest child.

TRUTH.

Ask a parent or grandparent if this isn’t so. I believe it to be absolutely true.

There are those who do not understand my ebbs and flows, my ups and downs, or my rhymes and reasons. I always look like one hot mess to them (and I am) and enough so that people try to protect me from hard things. That’s because I appear to be frail and unable to handle stress well.

I’m not frail in the sense of my inability to cope. When you review my past you see that I have survived many things. I think more appropriately I should not be confused with being frail but of one who loves with her whole being. Sensitive. A parent who feels every bit of what her kids feel. A sponge that absorbs all of everything.

When a child suffers from depression, depression becomes a part of us. Same with joy and happiness. We are interwoven. I didn’t even fully understand why I feel the way I do until I read this.

A parent is only as happy as his most unhappiest child.

I cannot be protected from life, nor should I be. This is who I am. If I am unhappy…just maybe I have a struggling child. If I’m ecstatic on another day…just maybe one of my kids received good news. I have six kids. Yes, my emotions might be all over the map. Okay, they are all over the map. My heart is trying to keep up. Add that to all of my own personal experiences and well…yes, I am a hot mess.

I love deeply and with my whole being. I am interconnected and interwoven with the children I bore. I would never chose to be less than that even though my life is tougher because of it.

A parent’s happiness is complicated for sure. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Maybe with this simple understanding, life will be a tad bit easier for all of us.

Just love me for who (how) I am. ♥️

Andi

Selfishness

Who here can say they have never done something anything with selfish intent? I cannot say that without watching for a bolt of lightning to appear out of a crystal blue sky.

We live in a selfish world. And as technology grows and continually redefines itself, we become more and more selfish and in want of instant gratification.

We need to change the current direction of our homes, our schools and communities, and of our country. Nothing can withstand the tidal wave of entitlement that is flowing through the veins of so many people. Nothing. Selfishness and greed are destroyers of life and livelihood.

We need to be willing to change our own heart as change begins with each of us. Concentrate on being a better mom, dad, role model, friend, neighbor, Christian, boss, leader, husband and wife.

How much further must we sink in despair before we actually do something? Our homes are shattered. And home is where life begins.

My heart hurts so very much over this very topic. A friend told me to go ahead and cry it all out. Then hand it to the Lord. Good advice from a loving friend.

It’s sunny and very warm today. A good day to touch base with God. I plan to. ♥️

Andi

Photo: taken near my home, March 2021

Unliving

It’s unavoidable to not get hurt in this life. One way or another we get smacked around, beaten, bruised, taken advantage of, cheated on, violated, our heart broken, humiliated, and our ego crushed. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect humans. It’s gonna happen.

But should we avoid doing things because we might get hurt? Do we no longer take chances because there’s a possibility we could lose? Again? What about the possibility of happiness? Are we willing to forfeit that as well?

We cannot stop living, loving, or striving for that which is good because something could go wrong. We just can’t. That would be the opposite of living. Well…that would be unliving.

Which path will you choose?

No one wants to get hurt. And a good person doesn’t want to hurt others. Sometimes it happens though. Innocently. Other times people just don’t care and they hurt others for their own selfish desires. We give pain and we receive pain throughout our entire life.

But with that being said, there is a flip-side to pain. There is happiness and joy. There is love to give and receive. There is beauty in every single day. That’s the best part of living.

With living comes an abundance of highs and lows and emotions more varied than the colors found in a rainbow. If our life was perfect here no one would strive for Heaven.

Forgiving yourself and letting go of the past…that’s an important key to living.

I want to live. And love. I want to discover the best part of life. Living life full circle. That means taking all the good with the bad. Allow yourself to grow in Christ through it all.

Please don’t say no to living because you are afraid of the unknown. You might just miss out on the best part of this life here on earth.

Living.
Unliving.
The choice is yours.

Prayers earnestly given on behalf of those suffering pain and heartache this day. May they desire to live and not lose hope. God is omnipresent. He will get you though. ♥️

Andi

A Raw Emerald

I went to the farmers market one Saturday morning a couple of years ago and came across a booth of homemade jewelry. I’m a sucker for stuff like that. I try to get ideas so I can make my own jewelry.

Right away I saw a stone that caught my eye. I asked what it was. The woman said it was a raw emerald. I was quite intrigued with it as emerald is my birthstone.

She helped other customers while I admired this stone. She came back only to tell me that it’s worthless. That’s when I said I’ll take it.

What she saw as worthless, I saw as beautiful. I had examined the emerald closely and I looked past its imperfections. And what I found was perfect. I saw a very dark heart embedded in the stone.

Emerald is my birthstone and I think it’s one of the most beautiful stones in all the world. But this raw emerald has a beauty all its own. I relate to this stone as I am quite imperfect myself. I hope though that my heart stands out from among all the roughness and flawed edges of my being.

I am a raw emerald. Maybe worthless to some who care not to know me, but I’m not worthless to those who can see past the imperfection to my heart.

I’m truly thankful that God sees the potential in this old raw emerald and continues to bless me each and every day. In many ways I understand why I’m not a shiny, perfect gem. Humility is a part of that reason. Working through imperfection has, in many ways, only made me stronger.

Can you see the heart?

Thanks for sharing a moment with me. Have a good weekend. Goodnight. ♥️

Andi

My Fall Catalog Days

I always looked forward to fall for so many reasons. It has always been exciting to me in so many ways.

I was one of those crazies who looked forward to school starting. I loved shopping for school clothes and supplies. Of course, when I was a kid school didn’t start until after Labor Day.

When I had children of my own, I still looked forward to a brand new school year. Shopping for school supplies was still fun for me even though it was for my kids. School clothes wasn’t a big deal because my kids could go to school in their pj’s if they wanted since they were homeschooled.

first day of kindergarten many years ago

Fall brings chili and bonfires. Ham and beans and cornbread. Pumpkin scented candles. Scarecrows, corn mazes, flannel shirts, hot apple cider, and s’mores. The annual festival in October that lasts ten whole days. Showers of beautifully colored leaves. Frosty mornings. Candy corn and peanuts. Warm hugs, cold noses, and rosy cheeks. Fall is simply…cozy.

One the highlights of fall for me was spending hours looking through the catalogs I’d get in the mail. Terry’s Village. Swiss Colony. JC Penney’s. Sears. FingerHut. And several others. Once you started with one magazine they’d share your name with other companies. Everyday another would be delivered to the house.

I’d start shopping fairly early for Christmas. I had to with such a big family. It took much planning and calculating on my part. The kids say I made the holidays magical. That makes me happy. I wanted it to be a special family time together. And from what they tell me, I accomplished that.

Looking through the catalogs brought great joy to me even if I didn’t buy anything. It was my seasonal thing to do. I’d go out and sit on my porch swing and take my time thumbing through the pages. Folding corners so I wouldn’t forget. Writing notes down in my Christmas notebook. Ah, I miss those days. Even magazines like Country and Reminisce were something I’d look forward to especially the fall/ holiday issues. They made me slow down…and relax.

I looked for Terry’s Village catalog recently and found that it’s no longer available. Well, there is an online catalog. I haven’t had the desire to look at that. Looks like the company was sold to Oriental Trading. I no longer receive any of the other above mentioned catalogs or magazines. Except I did receive Swiss Colony last year. But for the most part, those days are gone. Just gone…like the landline telephone and using cash at the checkout counter. Gosh, I miss those days.

I’ve told you many times, I’m not good with change. I’m just not. Deliver a Terry’s Village catalog to my mailbox and I will love you forever.

I’m not sure anyone else has such good memories of thumbing through fall catalogs. But maybe there’s something else that brings you seasonal joy.

It’s the end of yet another day and I must now say goodnight. I always appreciate good company so please come back again. ♥️

Andi

My Running Days

I typically sit at the nature park during my lunch hour. I have pleasant memories at this park as I ran here often.

The park is owned by the university and was once a rock quarry. It’s very beautiful.

Inside the park is a small lake and surrounded by tall, rocky walls. Trails run throughout the park. Near the water the terrain is hot and barren like a desert. I remember I came down from the rim of the canyon and continued my run through the “desert”. It was stifling hot that day. Shortly after I got down there I noticed a buzzard flying overhead. Then another joined him. And yet another. I kept on running and they kept on gathering. Were they waiting for me to drop? Did I look wounded? Did I smell that bad? I certainly didn’t want to slow my pace to find out. By the time I got all the way around to the other side I counted about 17 buzzards above me. Yes, they circled above me the whole distance and kept adding in number.

When I got to the other side I remember saying out loud, “Not today! Not today!” (This wasn’t my first encounter with buzzards. But that’s another story for another time.)

I once ran a race here. It was to raise money for mental health awareness. A worthy cause. We ran around the rim of the quarry, and through the woods, along the creek, down through the desert, and through the parking area to a another trail that split. We ran to the right and up a hill, around and back down through the woods, then through the parking lot again, up and around another section of woods to the finish line at a building that resembles a castle. Waiting at the finish line were some of my kids and my grand-puppy, Sam.

It was a fun race. Well, except for the college girl who kept puking along the trail in woods. Early Saturday mornings are probably not ideal for race running when you are a party hearty college student. She’d pass me and then I’d pass her when she was puking. Then she’d pass me until she started puking again. I passed her two or three times. She didn’t pass me after that. I’m not sure she finished the race.

Trail running was my favorite type of running…and uphill was heaven to me. I absolutely loved running uphill. Once as I was running through the woods, my toe snagged a root that was in the dirt path. Down I went…and up I came just as quickly. I hurriedly looked around to see if anyone saw me. I’m in the middle of the woods. Duh…no one saw me. But that’s what you do when you fall, right? I did a quick check for injuries and saw a couple of bleeding wounds. I could have walked back to the car but I told myself I’m no sissy, and finished running the rest of the way.

Then one day I was running through the desert and headed up toward the top of the canyon when I slid on the gravel incline. My hands touched the ground to catch myself. I continued running pain-free but I suffered an injury that took me out of running. I tore my calf. And it was extensive enough to where I would need the muscle stripped to break up the scar tissue once it healed in order to prevent tearing again. But I couldn’t handle the pain of stripping. I was a sissy, I guess. That injury broke my heart. I think even my spirit. I never bounced back from that.

My years of running were the best. I could be having a horrible day, go for a run, and come back a new and better person. Running was like a drug to me. And I miss it a great deal. I need to find a new “drug”. I think I’d like to take up hiking. Uphill, preferably.

Nothing, I expect, will ever replace my running days though. Running was a high like no other. I still feel the excitement when I play my running playlist. Hopefully, one day I will find something to do that gives me at least a little pleasure.

Summer is quickly coming to a close, and as much as I love fall, I’m a wee bit sad to see summer leave. I so enjoy the sun. Oh, and driving with the windows down. I just can’t drive with the windows down and sunroof open. Otherwise my hair blows straight up and out of the sunroof. Not a good look for me.

Thanks for being here. I hope you have something in your life that gives enjoyment like my running days did for me. ♥️

Andi

Photos: the park in the winter, and Amber smiling beautifully in the lake; Sam congratulating me on finishing the race