Wednesday, September 30, 2015

just do it

"...make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." 2 Peter 1:5-7

Just Do It
Nike made the slogan famous... getting contact lenses made it real.

"Oh, just put it in your eye...just get it closer to your pupil... just put it on your fingertip and it will JUMP off and onto your eye...just keep your eye open and look forward...  (and then, much later) just pinch it out... just look straight ahead and grab it... just slide it over... just just just just."

Smiles and advice... that's what i got from all the cool, confident contact experts.  But, let me tell you, for someone who has never experience anything like it -- it's JUST NOT that easy.

Fortunately, the office personnel watched, guided and corrected my motions... i read directions... i watched YouTube videos... and finally, i practiced.  It took a lot of preparation, patience and practice to gain confidence in my ability to do what others found so easy.

My recent ordeal reminds me of the sensitivity needed with others who are in the midst of a newness.  Sometimes even with fellow believers, we forget everyone is not at the same place in their walk with God. Some are enjoying the two-step, while others are struggling with baby steps.   

Father, before i say to someone,  "just trust Jesus... just pray... just have faith", help me remember if someone is not in the habit of living in faith, understanding how to do it is not easy, especially when a difficulty arises. Instead of just saying what to do, i should be modeling what to do.   May we live in a way to show preparation, prayer, patience and practice produce desired results and peace.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ trust

"My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare." Psalm 25:15

We can take the fear and anxiety out of the day, by keeping our eyes on God and not our circumstances.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal



Monday, September 28, 2015

fighting for sight

"For we live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

Frustrated... Frustrated... Frustrated!

Unbelieving hope dominated my visits to the eye doctor.  I always hoped my sight would be better with new glasses, but lackluster results ruled. This year a change was in the air.

"Mrs. Williams, it seems we can't make you happy."
"I'm sorry, Doctor.  I'm just not seeing like i want."
"Maybe you should consider contact lenses.  In your case it might improve your sight."

I had a lot of anxiety with the thought of poking plastic in my eyes.  My aunt had lost 5 in one eye (they eventually showed up and out).  I expressed my fear to the doctor; he chuckled and assured me i'd be fine. Little did he/we realize just 30 minutes later he'd have to fish my "lost" contact out.   Dreams of seeing better started fading. 

It took 2 sweaty-palm trips to the office practicing how to put the contacts in and out.  The first night home with them was disastrous. Red eyed, i looked like i had been on the losing end of a boxing match. After 2 hours of jabbing at my eyes, i finally grabbed one lens and went to bed... the other one hid somewhere in my eye. The next morning produced a miracle as i snagged the rebel lens!  It took 4 days of rest to muster up enough courage to try again.  Refusing defeat, i tackled the contact project this weekend with better success. 

So, can i see better?  Maybe, maybe not.  The strength in my lenses might need to be increased. Some tweaking is necessary before a final decision is made.

But to be honest with you, physical sight is not the only sight i struggle with now.  I want to SEE more of God... SEE more of  His working... SEE more answered prayers -- my way, in my time, SEE more clearly His role for me... SEE more healing... SEE more loved ones operating in His Will... actually, to SEE more of myself operating in His Will and less out of my own.  I need better spiritual sight; i need more of God's strength in my life.

Father, I am living by what i see, and  i don't like all i see.  Also, i don't like a lot of what i don't see.   Am i seeing as well as i should?  Maybe, it's meant to be like this.  Maybe our spiritual sight is lacking, so we don't lack a relationship with You. Help me to cling to You even tighter.  I need greater guidance and strength from You.  May my faith be good enough to cover what i can't see by trusting You in what You see and know is best.  Thank You.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, September 25, 2015

bits and pieces

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26

679... that's how many strips of paper i had placed in our recycle bin. Each one measured 8 and 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.  When piled on my desk, it was quite a stack of paper, and recycling made sense... but not the way i did it.

"Mrs. Williams, when you have small pieces of paper to recycle, you need to put it in a bag before putting it in the recycle container. "
"Really?"
"Yes ma'am. When the recycle bin is emptied into the large container outside, the small pieces fly out and scatter everywhere."

Oh, my. I suddenly saw her reality. Hundreds, and i mean hundreds, of paper strips swirling in the air and all over the ground, covering it like a snow blizzard.  She could have stormed in and loudly announced how my thinking (or more appropriately, lack of thinking) had added to her already busy work schedule, but she didn't.  Instead, with gentleness she shared wisdom on better recycling procedures.  It's a lesson i will never forget... bag the scrapes and speak gently.  Thank you, Ms. Shelia.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you make know how to answer everyone. 

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, September 24, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ refreshment

"A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25

It was the first day of Fall, but i was feeling somewhat light headed and flushed. A hectic morning along with no breakfast and no packed lunch provided the recipe for a long day.

BUT, it was not to be!

Walking into the library, i was greeted by a sweet surprise.  A beautifully wrapped box of delicious pumpkin muffins from some co-workers awaited us!

Aahhh... the joys of Fall.  Refreshed and revived, i'm falling in love with the  change of season and unexpected, needed kindness.  Father, help me to remember a season of giving is always right, needed and welcomed.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

just in time... pray

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2

If you missed the opportunity to pray with others around a school flagpole this morning, remember it's never too late to pray.  Just stop right now and pray for your school, it's entire leadership, faculty and staff, all the students and parents.  Your prayer will join the thousands of others and strengthen our request to God for favor, guidance, blessings, and protection for our children.  Obedience to our Father has a sweet sound to it... it's  called peace.

By the way, you have already been prayed for today.  Go about your business with the confidence God is with and for you.

friend, you are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ prayer

They all met together
and were constantly UNITED
in prayer. —Acts 1:14

And Jesus said...
"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21: 22

Strong incentive to pray today, tomorrow, and EVERY day.

Tomorrow is the day! SYATP, See You At the Pole. 

In early 1990 a small group of Texas teenagers felt strongly compelled by God to pray for their friends.  They drove to three different schools and prayed for the friends, schools and leaders around the flagpoles.  Later on that year in September over 45,000 students in 4 states stepped up to the challenge they made to others to pray.  Now more than 3 million students/people in over 20 countries participate and pray at schools on what has become known at "See You at the Pole" day.


Isn't it amazing what obedience to our Father does!  One can witness the results of prayers for our schools every day.  God is so faithful, even when we are not.

From that very first year in 1990, See You at the Pole has been about one simple act—prayer. 

See you around the school flagpole tomorrow morning!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Monday, September 21, 2015

heart issues....

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

Have you ever had a heart problem? I certainly have. It's been turned this way and that way, squeezed, cut, harden, punched, slapped, pulled, stomped, torn, and broken.  Recently, i added to my list an irregular heart beat.  Of all the issues, i consider this last one actually good and a healthy hiccup.  In fact, i think an irregular heart beat is what i'm after.

Father, i don't want to continue beating to the same rhythm of this world... where the focus is on self.  The continuous pounding for more power, more happiness, more prestige, more titles, more money, more stuff is unending and unsatisfying. We live in a broken world in need of a different beat... a beat that considers the needs of others as more important than self.

I want an irregular beating heart in my life.  I want it to beat first for You, and then for others... in love, understanding, giving, patience, kindness and gentleness.  Strength and guidance from You is the healing i need to truly possess an aMAZing heart.
 ...be wise, and keep your heart on the right path." Proverbs 23:19

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, September 18, 2015

treasure or trash?

"May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in You." Psalm 25:21

Some would say my front yard is trashy, but not me.  I think it is filled with treasures.
In the morning there's the beauty of the blooms, and in the afternoon the harvesting of delicious okra.  It's not your typical front yard arrangement, but one that delights me all day long.

How are things around you?  Is your day filled with treasures or trash? Every day we categorize the situations/things around us. Don't let your life be fueled with negative and disheartening remarks or thoughts. Instead, may God grow the desire and ability to focus on the surrounding beauty, especially when the world is muttering otherwise.

Father, help me to set my heart on pleasing and trusting You. As You plant and cultivate the riches of goodness and faith in my heart, peace blooms. I don't want the prickly thorns of the moment to determine the outcome of my day.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, September 17, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ created

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

God doesn't make mistakes.  YOU are a spectacular work of art! created by the Perfect Master Artist. He has a purpose with you and in you.  

 Celebrating you today -- His design is divine. 

fiend, you are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

shhh.... listen!

"The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Same route, same time... yet my past two morning walks differed tremendously.  Listen to what i heard yesterday...
video

In the darkness, dogs ferociously barked from all directions interrupting my quiet time. I felt uneasy and unable to even hear my thoughts.

It was so unlike the morning before in the exact location... 
video
 so quiet and peaceful with a gentle song in the air.  Can you hear it? 

The recordings truly reflect the days before me.  Some days the barking and screaming in my head and heart drown out any peace God desires to pour into my life.  I'm so focused on the fears and terrifying voices around me, God's calm calling slips away from my consciousness.

And then there are the days, when i turn first and foremost to God in stillness and prayer.  In the quiet of these moments, i am filled with His cooing and tender singing, assuring me of His constant Presence, Peace and Preparation.

Has someone or some circumstance let the dogs out in your life?  Are they distracting you from the Truth that God will never leave or forsake you?  Erase the noise and lies.  God wants to provide us with His Joy in the morning.  I need to hear the comfort of His songs over and over again in my head, not the yelping of unseen beasts.  

Listen... what do you hear?

The LORD is my strength and my song...  The LORD is my strength and my song...

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

let's pretend

"...the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love..." Psalm 33:18

If we had the eyes our Father did, we would be simply amazed at what He has in store for us!

Oh, to see our life through the eyes of our Father... how wondrous it would be.  Father, help me to release my trust in all things to You.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Monday, September 14, 2015

ugly and dying

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah46:4

This past weekend WWO exploded... World War on Okra.


"I'm pulling it up tomorrow."
"What!?"
"The okra plants are ugly and dying. They have to go."
"But, it's still blooming, and i'm still picking okra."
"Sorry, it's making the yard look bad."

Hmmm... old, ugly and dying.  Do i risk being tossed out too ??

Father, i am thankful You value us  each and every day -- just because we belong to You.  As long as we have breath and rooted in You, the Fruit of the Spirit has an opportunity to bloom.  Whether i am producing fruit for You today or have drifted into a dormant season, You love me.  Oh, how i need to rest in that Truth some days... the Truth You will never forsake me, toss me aside or give up on me, especially when i feel shriveled, dried up and empty  Thank You, Father, for Your unending, undying love.  You are a God of Restoration, Mercy and Life.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, September 11, 2015

where are you?

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?  
My help comes from the LORD
   the Maker of heaven and earth. 
 He will not let your foot slip—    
He who watches over you will not slumber.
Psalm 121: 1-3

The past weekend in the mountains provided a needed break for some current faith testing.  As i walked and thought, i realized i was literally and figuratively in the mountain... not on top of the mountain, not at the valley of the mountain, but in the mountain.  Like my walk, my life was amid the peaks and valleys.  Life was good and enjoyable, yet had some sharp and unwanted turns on what seemed to be an ordinary path. 
 



As i made the last turn on my walk, i suddenly faced what appeared to be an impossible 45 degree hill. Should i continue or turn around?  Bella and i considered how far we had come. Tired and dragging, we decided to keep going forward.  Taking baby steps and keeping our focus just ahead, provided the strength needed to finish our walk.  The easiest choice would not have been the best choice.  The view from the top was worth the struggle and sweat.




Are you climbing any cumbersome hills? Don't stop, and don't turn around.  Keep your eyes on our Father as you take baby steps. He will not let you slip. You've come too far to miss the spectacular view He has planned for you. 
See you at the top. We will make it, and it will be worth it!  Hew is a God of Wonder and Might.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, September 10, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ healing

"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24

Yesterday was a good day.

Thankful to all the kind words and encouragements. And thankful for a very good bone density report. 

God's Word gives life and hope.  Thank you, Father.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

the computers are down...

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 24:18

"The computers are down."

This is not a comment we welcome at home, at work or anywhere.  In this techno-savvy, needy world,  such words produce dismay, grunts and heavy sighs. But i must say, for me, the weight of those words were heaviest when echoed in the emergency room.

"The computers are down?! What does that mean?! Can you help me or do i need to go to another hospital?!"

Yesterday's routine at school was disrupted with chest pressure.  With a strong urging to seek medical attention, my uneasiness only intensified with the downing of computers in the hospital at the moment i arrived.  Really??!  Right now? If i didn't have a heart issue before, surely the stress of the moment would induce one.

I am thankful so say the computers were eventually restored and all necessary tests were performed.  Finally, i was allowed to leave with  doctor appointments to follow next week. Yesterday i was reminded each moment is precious.  In all the heartaches, the disappointments, the hurts, the shocks, the anger, the mistakes, the let downs in life we experience -- these seasons will pass. And if we allow and cooperate with God, He will bring healing as He strengthens and grows our faith.

In the pain and in the joy, God is with us and in control.  I am celebrating the moments... each one.  May your next breath be a prayer of thanks to our Father too.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ believe

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

There's a storm outside... and inside. 
Is God really working all things to the good to those who love Him?

He says so... 

Father, help me believe. You and You alone are Truth and Goodness, Mercy and Grace, Hope and Refreshment.  In all the mistakes, errors and wrongs made, You still love us enough not to leave us alone in our messy, selfish ways.  I am believing You despite what the world might have me think.  Thank You.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, September 4, 2015

the stars are out!

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky  as you hold firmly to the word of life." Philippians 4:14-16

It looked like an Easter parade, but it wasn't.  It was picture day at school. Shiny faces, rosy cheeks, spit 'n shine hair, bows and bow ties, and fine Sunday clothes... students and teachers strolled down the halls in their best like movie stars.  Will the stars be out tomorrow as well?  I sure hope so.
Deletions, additions, changes, interruptions can easily disrupt our day and plans.  When we want to scream and explode, it's time to dig deeper into the Arms of our Father. Trusting Him in all things is hard, but oh so necessary if we want His Peace.  

Father, may Your light shine through and sustain me, especially in difficulties. Grow my faith deeper from inside out so i can twinkle for You and draw others to Your wonderous Light.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, September 3, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ cheer

"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheer him up." Proverbs 12:25"

For decades people have searched for a magical, effective weight loss solution, and here it is!  A dose of kindness... it's cheap, plentiful and easy to dispense.

Let's spread good cheer to others and lighten up the heavy hearts of those around us.

Below are 50 ways to cheer up and encourage a child -- of any age:

You are amazing!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

do you see it?

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Many days i comb the hallways consciously looking at student artwork for inspiration.  But the most powerful inspirations usually just slap me in the face when i am not even looking. Walking out of the cafeteria, i was preoccupied with some deep concerns. When my eyes finally shifted upward, i was stunned to see several sets of 3 crosses staring at me. 
Surprised and focused on the images, i crossed over for a closer look. I soon realized what i saw was not actual crosses, but the window frames around the stained-glass panes from our library.  I pass by this board at least 10 times a day and had never noticed "the crosses" before.  But on this particular day, a day i needed reassurance God was with me, He provided a clear vision.
How ironic.  Frames and panes reminding me i was not alone and the pain i was feeling is covered by the love, grace and mercy of our Father.  What perfect timing, what a perfect message, from our perfect Father. Whatever disappointments and trials are before me, God has my back... He is behind me, before me, beside me, above me, below me, around me, within me.  

Thank You, Father, for your abiding and unending love and strength.  You are my Rock.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ friend

"A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17

How can you not love the start of school?  With a renewing of old friendships, as well as, cultivating new ones, it's good!

May God grow our love, respect and kindness to all in our path.



friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal