Friday, March 30, 2018

March Moments & The Big Reveal

Hey Friend,

This is my first try at a "Musings" type post.  Other bloggers plan these posts.  Me?  I didn't have God waking me up at 3 am. saying, "Write this." So, as I stared at the blank page, these thoughts came to mind.  Warning!!  My mind switches tracks like a runaway goes.

I live in the South and we are supposed to have mild winters with above freezing temps and little snow.  Though we didn't get pummeled with snow like our northern friends, we did have the "Winter That Would Never End."  I'd put away my winter coat, thinking it's finally over, only to have to pull it back out again.  The waiting gets old....

It reminds me of the "winter seasons" of my soul.  There have been many times when I have cried out, "How long Oh Lord?"  There have been painful seasons that I thought would never end and that joy would never be found again. I may not have all the answers to the question, "Why?"  What I DO know is that through the winter seasons, God drew me in under the refuge of His wing where I was warm and protected.  

I learned that, if I was going to make it through, I had to surrender it all and utterly rely and depend upon Him.  I had to let go of "me and my agenda."  

I learned that joy and pain can coexist and that God is good and He has a master plan that is for my best.  He is good and He is faithful.  I can trust Love's heart!

Though weeping endures for the night (and it may be a long night), joy DOES come in the morning. (amplification mine)   Psalm 30:5

Tea to raise funds for Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.

In March we had a lovely Tea in the Pittsburgh area to raise funds for the orphans and destitute children in the Middle East that RCF, Inc. serves.  37 women came together and raised over $3,400. to help equip the larger school facility into which we recently moved.

We now have the ability to get up to 90 precious lives off the streets, out of harm's way, and into a loving Christian school....Praise!

We take for granted that we can go to the faucet or the refrigerator and pour ourselves a refreshing glass of water.  Not so in this part of the world.  The students were intrigued by this unfamiliar water dispenser from which you could magically get sanitary drinking water with a push of a button.  Oh the luxuries we take for granted. One by one they stepped up to enjoy the clean, fresh water.  Joy!!

The children will secretly celebrate Easter and Jesus' resurrection within the safety of their school walls.  In this part of the world you can legally be stoned to death if you say that Jesus is Lord and Savior.  You can be thrown in jail and the key thrown away if you are caught carrying a Bible.  

Keep this in mind as you head off to Easter Sunday services.  Oh that we can praise His name....but do we?  

Though our world seems to be decaying, Jesus is taking His love right smack dab into the devil's backyard and we get to be part of it!!  Praise!

Drum roll.....the BIG REVEAL:

Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening "Before" Picture

Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening "After" Pictures

Here is my "Reveal" after two weeks of using the Smile Brilliant Professional Teeth Whitening System for Sensitive Teeth.  I have to say it was easy to use.  The custom molds fit my teeth and I could even talk with them in. (Much to my husband's dismay lol). I wasn't bothered by sensitivity and you can see the results.  

I am giving away a FREE Teeth Whitening Kit for Sensitive Teeth (Value $149.).  


To enter the drawing to win a FREE kit, just write "I want to Smile Brilliant" in the comments and you will be entered.  If you aren't able to comment, email me and let me know you'd like to be entered.  Even if you don't WIN the package, you will still get an offer for 25%'s a no brainer.  

A few weeks ago, I asked, "What are you going to do good for yourself today?"  Perhaps this is it.  If not, be good to yourself in some small way.  Self care is not selfish and it's not a sin.  Self care and rest are scriptural!

Christ came and died so that we could have life and have it abundantly and so that we could spend eternity with Him.  Take Him up on His goodness today, won't you??

May you have a blessed and joyous Easter and may you live in the redeeming love that His ultimate sacrifice makes available...He is Risen...He is Risen indeed!

Be blessed...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

I Love You So Much... Always, Jesus.

Hey Friend,

Reminder:  Don't forget to enter the April drawing to win a  FREE Professional Teeth Whitening Kit ($149) (see the ps. at end)...

The clock read 2:42 and I couldn't sleep.  I switched positions several times, but comfort didn't come.  My son was on my mind and I just couldn't shut it off.  A bunch of words came into my head, but I knew I couldn't text all that because it would be overwhelming.  And so, I just got up.  I sat in the darkness and prayed. 

These are the words that came to me and so I texted them, to my son, at 3:20 in the early morning darkness lit only by my laptop screen. 

Life is hard.  No one is perfect.  Therefore; Easter.  I love you so much... always, Mom.

From there, God started calling people to mind.  One of my good friends had texted me, in response to my apology for not being more in touch...

"Hi my friend,
I knew you had not fallen off the face of the earth.  I did get concerned that the rapture came and you went and I got left behind!!!  LOL."

My friend lives alone, she deals with continual pain, yet she encourages me with her compassion and her great sense of humor.  She has worked as a teacher for many years and longs for the day that she can retire and do the crafting that she loves. 

Her limited family can be passive aggressive a lot of the time and just the other day she had to write up a report and submit it to DSS.  One of her kindergartners in her class had come in with a black eye and told her about being hit with a belt.  It was not the first incident nor the first child.

Life is hard.  No one is perfect.  Therefore; Easter.  I love you so much...Jesus.

Another friend, for whom finding sleep is a continual battle, is drained from worrying about her son.  He is dealing with depression and though living with depression is hell, watching someone you love have to struggle, and feeling helpless as you stand on the sidelines is hell too.  

Nothing will suck the life right out of you more than having mental illness, than watching those you love suffer.  Wasn't motherhood supposed to become easier as our babies grew into young adults?  Not really...their problems just take on adult-sized dimensions.  And, a mother's heart is always a mother's heart.

Life is hard.  No one is perfect.  Therefore; Easter.  I love you so much...Jesus.

She couldn't believe it when she heard through the grapevine that the mistress her husband had left her for was expecting a baby.  Inexplicably she was drawn to the pictures posted on Facebook.  The other woman, belly swollen, standing in front of her beautiful new house looking radiant.

Meanwhile, my friend, shoulders the burden of single motherhood.  She is there for the heartbreaks and hormones, the outbursts and tears wrought from being abandoned by their dad. She lies awake at night wondering how the bills will get paid.  Sometimes she doesn't know how she gets through her days.  

Life is hard.  No one is perfect.  Therefore; Easter.  I love you so much...Jesus.

The list could go on and on....the friend who has had to adjust to a new "normal" since viral meningitis gave her the awful diagnosis or "Chronic Migraineur."  

Another, who who will have to endure another Mother's Day - the day his wife committed suicide two years ago- alone with his daughter.

The cousin who had finally made it to Broadway only to hit black ice coming home one Sunday and is now paralyzed from the chest down.

Life is hard.  No one is perfect.  Therefore; Easter.  I love you so much...Jesus. 

I've written on wrestling with God over the "Why's."  I've written about allowing for the mystery of God when pondering the "Why's."  I've written on focusing on what we DO KNOW when what "IS" doesn't make sense. 

Today I write on these four simple phrases:

Life is hard.  

John 16:33 New International Version (NIV)

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
No one is perfect.

Romans 3:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Therefore; Easter.

John 3:17 New International Version (NIV)

17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
I love you so much...

John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)

16 For God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
always, Jesus.

Luke 23:43 New International Version (NIV)

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

To the thief beside him who sinned, endured suffering and torture, shared in the suffering of Christ, died, BUT BELIEVED IN JESUS, Jesus gives him the blessing that today and always he will be with Him in paradise. 
Jesus gives us new life in Him here on earth, everyday, so that we can have the grace to make it through the hard.  Joy can and does coexist with suffering.
But I truly believe that Easter is about Eternity.  Jesus gives us a peace that transcends all understanding while we live here on earth, but He will give us a peace that will never ever be disturbed or shaken when we are with Him forever in paradise. I'm celebrating that today.
Clinging to His peace in this lifetime.  Claiming His peace for Eternity.
Be blessed.....
ps.  Smile Brilliant Update:  Here I am "Before" Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening System (for more about it read last week's post).  I am giving away a Smile Brilliant Whitening Kit for Sensitive Teeth.  (Value $149.)  If you'd like to be entered in the drawing.  Just say "I'd like to Smile Brilliant" in the Comments and you'll be entered.  Drawing held beginning of April. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

What Are You Going To Do Good For Yourself Today?

Hey Friend,

Several of my writing friends participate in the "Five Minute Friday" community of writers.  Their "word" to write on, freely and spontaneously, for five minutes was "tired."  Let me tell you, there are A LOT of tired women out there!!  

We are sleep deprived, stressed out, worn out, worn down.  We put ourselves last on the priority list - somewhere after the husband, kids, church commitments, school committees, carpools, and even the dog.

In February, I wrote about how self care was not only necessary, but was a command from God.  We are God's temple and we need to take good care of ourselves.  Good grooming is even addressed in Scripture.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.  Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.  (Ecclesiastes 9:7-8)

My sweet husband asks me each morning on our walk with the dog, "So, what are you going to do good for yourself today?"  Sometimes I have to really think on this one.  I admit I am not one you will find in the nail salon on a regular basis.  I let my hair go way too long between visits to the stylist.  Frankly, I'm not very good at pampering myself.  I can't remember the last time I took a bubble bath and listened to soothing music.

The small things we do for ourselves, on a daily basis, don't have to cost money.  It can be as simple as taking time out for a ten minute walk, or flipping mindlessly through the catalogs that have piled up, or actually reading the book on our nightstand during the day with a nice cup of tea vs. when we fall asleep with it on our chest at bedtime.

People have told me that I have a nice smile.  Frankly, though, it's become a little yellowed due to age and yes, I love my coffee.  So, when I was approached by Ashley with Smile Brilliant to do a test trial of their professional teeth whitening system and report my progress to readers, I hesitated, but then thought....this is what I am going to do good for myself today.

AND...the best part is that I get to give a kit away FREE to one lucky reader.  Value of the kit for "Sensitive Teeth" (deluxe kit) is $149.

AND...even if you don't win, Smile Brilliant will offer you a significant discount on a kit just for participating in this drawing.  It's a win-win!!

Here's what I've done so far:  I've taken my lovely "before" pictures (seen here).  I even did the tissue test.  Aren't these attractive??



What I like, so far, is that they make custom molds of your teeth.  So these are not just generic trays that wiggle around.  They stay firmly on your teeth.  They are easy to use.  I just put the whitening gel in my molds, pop them in, and do my work. I can actually talk while whitening lol. You can whiten anywhere from 45 minutes up to 3 hours.  I've been averaging about 2 hours.  I then follow with the desensitizing gel.  I can honestly say I have had no difficulty with sensitivity on my teeth or gums.  

I will do this for 14 days.  Check in on my post next week which will be about the 9 day mark for lovely updated pictures.  Then, when I'm finished, I will present the final reveal!!

Meanwhile, if you want in on the drawing.  Over the next two weeks, leave a comment that says, "I want to Smile Brilliant."  You can also leave a comment on my regular post content.  Add your current email address to your comment.  Or if you don't feel comfortable, email it to me at my "Contact Me" tab.  

Like I said, even if you don't "win," you can still get a substantial discount. You can't lose!

So all this being said, I want to ask YOU....What are you going to do good for yourself today?  Would you please share in the comments and commit to following through?  I'll be checking up on you :)

Be blessed......

Sunday, March 4, 2018

A Letter to Millennials - A Guest Post

Hey Friend,

I am the mother of two "Millennials".  The jury is still out on how this is all going to play out into the future.  I know my parents were part of "The Greatest Generation."  I'm a "Baby Boomer," and I see that I have strengths that my children don't, but I CERTAINLY have weaknesses that my parents didn't.  So who's to say which is best or strongest?

So, does that make one generation better than another?  I know Millennials take a lot of ribbing in the many parodies of them in social media, but what about their attributes? They live in a world far different and more fear-filled than what I grew up in.  Personally, I'm thankful I didn't grow up with social media.

I would like to invite you to join me as we pop over to my good friend, Jana Schmitt's blog that she shares with two other writers.  It's called "The Space We Share."  The story behind the name is fun, so I invite you to poke around their space while you're there.

Jana has written a wonderfully thought provoking piece entitled, "A Letter to Millennials."  It had me rethinking some of my thoughts about this generation.

Not only is Jana a good friend, she is a licensed counselor, devoted wife and mother, and doting grandmother on the apple of her eye.  She is actively involved with Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. and is the acting Secretary on the Board of Directors.  What an asset she is to RCF, Inc.!

Last year, Jana and her planning committee pulled off, single handed, a "Backyard Gathering" Fundraiser that pulled in $4,700. for our "Giving Tuesday" campaign.

She is one of the most magnanimous, sincere, compassionate, and caring people I know and so, it is my pleasure, to introduce you to her again (she has shared here once before).  

Please be sure to leave Jana some lovin' in her comments....

Be blessed.....