Live A Happy Life

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  The end of the week makes most people happy.  Especially those of us who work Monday through Friday.  We look forward to the weekends! A time to relax, refresh and recharge for the next week coming up.
Circumstances in our life can bring us down though can’t they? And a lot of times how we handle those circumstances is what brings us down! Hey, I’m preaching to the choir here! I don’t always handle things with grace and dignity.

God has a word for us today! He has a word for me!

“Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs, you who seek God. Live a happy life!” Psalm 105:3 The Message


The Calming Effect of A Holy Pasture

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IMG_6008As I walked into the health food store, my eyes started darting from aisle to aisle wondering where the supplements were to calm a person down.  Then I started wondering where the supplements were to give you energy.  And is there anything that they have to pep you up and calm you down at the same time?

Sometimes my anxious fears give way to a feeling of being “plum tuckered out”, as that old saying goes, which means a loss of energy! At those times that I am anxious, I need to be calmed down…yes, a viscous cycle of this I know!

Have you ever felt this way?  Am I even making any sense?

Confession is good for the soul right?  Well here’s mine…I use therapeutic essential oils, yes I am an oiler.  Oiler?  I’m oily?  I sniff therefore I oil?  OK, anyway you say that, you can’t help but snicker just a little.  I may not be as dedicated as a lot of other “oilers”, but those I work with will tell you that on any given day, I have lined up on my desk a variety of oils that I sniff, roll on, or drop on my tongue. I even had a student one day say, “I smell pizza and spaghetti.”  Yep, that was me.  I had just lathered on my throat the oil Oregano for a sore throat.

The essential oils boast of helping with what ever ails a person, much like that of what your local health food store offers.  And I am by no way dissing either one of these helpful venues for supplements, because I do believe that both really have things to offer that truly help with tiredness, and anxieties in a more natural way.

I know what God’s word says about rest;

“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me ~ watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

But a lot of times we forget this don’t we?  Usually for me, what happens is that the enemy beats me down so, that he diverts my attention so that I won’t even think of this beautiful holy promise from the one who loves me more than anything!

Just saying these 4 three words have such a calming effect!

Unforced Rhythms of Grace…Unforced Rhythms of Grace…Unforced Rhythms of Grace!

Unforced rhythms of God’s grace!

Anytime I see a beautiful rolling pasture, a sense of peace just floods my soul! I love to experience God’s handy work in nature, there’s nothing like it is there?

Right after God led Moses and the Israelites right through the middle of the Red sea…”Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians. The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted God and his servant Moses.” Exodus 14:31 MSG

What happened next, was a song in which the Israelites praised God with. This small part of the song caught my eye one day…

…”the people you redeemed, you led in merciful love; You guided them under your protection to your holy pasture.”  Exodus 15:13 MSG

I got to thinking, what does a “holy pasture” look like?

Listen, if we are a child of the King, we already know that answer! The enemy can cloud or minds to make us think we don’t know! David knew what that “holy pasture” was, and he wrote it down to remind each of us at times when we are tired and weary.  When we’re looking for ways to calm ourselves down, or even ways to pep ourselves up.

“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”  Psalm 23 MSG

May the Lord bless you and keep you on your journey. ~ Beth

What Does Trustworthy Mean To You?

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IMG_5883As I was reading in the book of John the other day, I came across a few verses that I just can’t seem to get off of my mind.  I keep thinking about them, but I know that’s always a good thing.  I figure the Lord has a word for me, and he wants me to chew on these verses for awhile, and apply them to my life!

No big revelation here, but you know how I love The Message version of God’s word…and hey, whatever version gets you into his word, then that’s the version for you.

These are the verses that are lingering on my mind these days…

“During the time he (Jesus) was in Jerusalem, those days of the Passover Feast, many people noticed the signs he was displaying and, seeing they pointed straight to God, entrusted their lives to him.  But, Jesus didn’t entrust his life to them.  He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were.  He didn’t need any help in seeing right through them.” John 2:23-25 The Message

First of all…let’s look at what the word “trustworthy” means, then the word, “untrustworthy.”

Trustworthy: reliable, dependable, honest, honorable, upright, principled, true, truthful, as good as one’s word, ethical, virtuous, incorruptible, unimpeachable, sensible, levelheaded, loyal, faithful, staunch, steadfast, trusty; safe, sound, reputable, discreet; informal on the level, straight-up.

You’d think that the word “untrustworthy” would be right the opposite, and although it is, here is the definition that I found…

Untrustworthy: dishonest, deceitful, double-dealing, treacherous, traitorous, two-faced, dishonorable, unprincipled, unscrupulous, corrupt, slippery; unreliable, undependable, fly-by-night, capricious, fickle;  informal hinky. 

And if you happen to be wondering what “hinky” means, well, it means dishonest or suspect!

After seeing the signs that Jesus was displaying, even seeing that those signs pointed straight to God, many “entrusted” their lives to him….But…but, Jesus did not entrust his life to them!  Why? Because, God’s word says that He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were.  He didn’t need any help seeing right through them.

Wow! These verses have really made me stop and think, can Jesus trust me? What does that even look like, and how would that even feel if Jesus didn’t entrust his life to me!

Who we are can be found lying within our heart.  Every area of our heart, even the deep crevices that we think could never be known about….but Jesus knows!  He knows each and every one of us inside and out.

Are we “trustworthy” for Jesus?  Can he rely on us to carry out his work?  Can he trust that we will allow his light to shine deep within us for others to see?

Paul was encouraging the believers in Ephesus  “not to be going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd.  They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself.”  Ephesians 4:17-18 MSG  (Sounds like a word he has for us in this day and age too!)

“You learned Christ!  My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus.  Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything ~ and I do mean everything ~ connected with that old way of life has to go.  It’s rotten through and through.  Get rid of it!  And then take on an entirely new way of life ~ a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” Ephesians 4:20-24 MSG

If we have an entirely new way of life in Christ, a God~fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside, it will work itself into our conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in us….He knows if we are truly “trustworthy.”  I pray that these verses have encouraged you as they have me!

Oh Papa God, that I may be found to be “trustworthy” for you!  I pray that your Holy Spirit will penetrate deep within my heart!  Help me to pay careful attention to Jesus each and every day!  Draw me close to your side, I pray that your light will shine forth for others to see.  Amen

May the Lord bless you and keep you on your journey ~ Beth

 

 

 

That Age Old Question

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IMG_5692That age old question that you were probably asked at sometime in your life….either jokingly or seriously.  “What 3 things would you have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?”

Well…what would they be?

When you were asked that question, I’m sure you rolled the scenario around in your head.  I have a good friend, that I know absolutely without a doubt, one of the three things she would have,  would be a Coke Zero!  And another friend, it would be her quilting paraphernalia.

A favorite book?  Maybe some fresh glazed donuts from the local bakery would come to mind (it’s sure coming to my mind right now!)  How about a TV that is set on a continuous run of “I Love Lucy” episodes.  Or, how about every season of  “The Love Boat”? (yeah, that’s coming into my mind, don’t judge me!)  Knowing that TV show ran from September 24, 1977 ~ May 24, 1986…that’s a lot of seasons and a lot of Love Boat!  Perhaps a little of “Fantasy Island?”  Oh, I really didn’t like that show as well, I just couldn’t resist that one.

What also comes to mind is my iPhone.  I would have Google at my fingertips!  I could find out how to make a fire, catch fish and build shelter.  I could then sit back and watch “I Love Lucy” and “The Love Boat”!  (I better hope that island has a cell tower!!!)

I came across something Paul said in 2 Corinthians from The Message the other morning.  This particular scripture has stuck with me and it won’t leave…but I’m so thankful that it hasn’t!  I love it when God’s word just sticks to your gut, heart, soul and mind at times.  I know it’s The Holy Spirit revealing himself to me, comforting me and just plain old loving me!

At the end of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he had this to say in his parting words…

“Be cheerful.  Keep things in good repair.  Keep your spirits up.  Think in harmony.  Be agreeable.  Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure.”  2 Corinthians 13:11-12  The Message

Although I love those two verses, that I just shared, those aren’t the ones that stuck on my heart for the past several days….it’s the verse that follows that has…

“The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.” { verse 14}

I kept reading this verse over and over.  Three things, these three things that I have…

1. The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ!

2. The extravagant love of God!

3. The intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit!

Now don’t ask me how I have connected those 3 things with being stranded on a desert island.  I guess my mind just wandered into that scenario and that “age old question.”

I kept thinking that if I only needed 3 things in this life, it would be those 3 things that I do have!  What more do we need friends?  That is ALL we need…right now, or on a desert island!

May the Lord bless you and keep you on your journey. ~ Beth

 

A Wall Of Faith

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IMG_5521At first I was worried, then the worry turned to fear, and then my fear turned to being mad.  I was mad at God.  There, I admit it.  I’m not proud of it by no means, but I was.  This summer my “Wall of Faith” started to crumble.  My “Wall of Faith” felt like it was falling down around me.

I was so consumed with trying to take care of my Mom and Dad, that at times, it was even hard to pray.  I’ll be honest with you…I really didn’t know how to.   There were so many issues that were having to be dealt with, that nothing was coming out of my mouth in the form of a prayer.  It was like a mental block, words were not forming, and my thoughts were not clear.   And even though I really couldn’t pray, I knew deep within my heart what God’s word had to say about that…

“God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.  If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.  He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.”  Romans 8:26-27 MSG

Have you ever been at that point in your life?  Where you felt as though your “Wall of Faith” was crumbling?  All that you knew of God and His mercy seemed so far away?

I cried out to Him wondering if He was even listening to my prayers!  I knew God was good.  I knew all about His grace and mercy,  but why wasn’t He listening to me now?   Why wasn’t He helping us find a place for my Mother?  He knew that we could not take care of her at home anymore.  I felt numb at times when I prayed, and often thought, “Does it really matter if I pray any more?”

I would go a few days with these thoughts, “Doesn’t He know that Mom has Dementia?….and “Doesn’t He know how bad Dad is with all of his chronic health problems?”  Then in my shame, I confessed to my Papa God how wrong those thoughts were and asked for forgiveness.

Yes, He knew what was going on with my Mom and Dad.   And He knows now as I write this.  The enemy found cracks in my “Wall of Faith”, and was trying every way to destroy it.

Nehemiah was not alone in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.  When he told the people how God was supporting him and how the king was backing him up, this was their reply, “We’re with you.  Let’s get started.” They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work.  [Nehemiah Chapter 2:18 MSG]

While the walls were being rebuilt, the enemy came in the form of Non-Jewish locals, taunting them with insults at first.  Nehemiah prayed, and stood his ground as the walls continued to keep going up.  Furious with the progress, “They put their heads together and decided to fight against Jerusalem and create as much trouble as they could.  We (Nehemiah and friends) countered with prayer to our God and set a round-the-clock guard against them.”  [Chapter 4:7-9]

Nehemiah had words of encouragement, “Don’t be afraid of them.  Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome.”  Our enemies learned that we knew all about their plan and that God frustrated them. [verses 14-15]

Now this is what I found interesting…”The common laborers held a tool in one hand and a spear in the other.  Each of the builders had a sword strapped to his side as he worked.  I kept the trumpeter at my side to sound the alert…When you hear the trumpet call, join us there; our God will fight for us.” [verses 18,20]

“The wall was finished….it had taken 52 days.  When all our enemies heard the news and all the surrounding nations saw it, our enemies totally lost their nerve.  They knew that God was behind the work.”  [Chapter 6:15-16]

This wall that Nehemiah was rebuilding was not going to crumble.  Why?  Because, God was behind the work!  The common laborers were ready for the enemy!

Our “Wall of Faith” is much like that of the walls that Nehemiah rebuilt.  When the enemy tries to penetrate our wall with his schemes, we need to put our mind on the Master, great and awesome, and we need to be ready…

“God is strong, and he wants you strong.  So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials.  And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.”  Ephesians 6:10-11 MSG

Putting our mind on the Master, great and awesome is a must in times of trouble!  Nehemiah and the laborers were ready to fight the enemy.

Oh God!  How great and awesome in power you are!  When I am weak, you are strong.  When my “Wall of Faith” starts to crumble, help me to be ready, help me rebuild it, and stand strong against the enemy.  Fight for me God as I put my trust in You! ~ Amen

May the Lord bless you and keep you on your journey ~ Beth

 

Summertime In Tennessee

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IMG_5451The mountain laurel sways with ease along the stream once more,

a path of beauty spreads the way for Summer’s open door.

Blooms of color fill the land a carpet all around,

each one unique within itself upon a welcome ground.

Fireflies roam up in the night, the twinkle shines above,

a tiny hand that reaches out to grab them all with love.

Friends and families gather for a picnic at the park,

crickets singing songs to hear when night becomes the dark.

Children’s laughter in the air, the shouts are filled with glee,

Summertime is special in the hills of Tennessee!  ~ Beth

(I wrote this poem back in 1995, and every summer I try to stop at some point and reflect on how God made my Tennessee so beautiful…not only in the Summer, but in all seasons.  He graced the mountains and hills with a beauty like not other!)

May the Lord bless you and keep you on your journey ~ BethIMG_5455

Loaded Oven Hot Diggity-Dogs

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 Piled high with chili, cheese and onions, these “hot diggity-dogs are baked right in the oven.  Yum!IMG_5413

Even if you’re not a hot dog fan, you may change your mind after you’ve eaten one of these!  Every blue moon I may eat a hot dog.  And on those occasional blue moons, I head to Sonic and get their “Chicago” dog.  Yes, sometimes I suffer afterwards, but you have to live a little right?  Growing up, I wasn’t much of a hot-dog fan, and always preferred just the chili, mustard and onions on the bun, (without the dog of course.)

Most kids are hot dog fans, with the traditional mustard and ketchup combo.  But, that’s not always the norm for the typical 5 year old!  When the month of May rolls around every year, the Kindergarten classes where I work, all get together and have a “camp-out” day.  We have grilled hot dogs.  Make s’mores and let the kiddos run like crazy!  Yep, a fun day that was earned for hard work through out the year, an end of the year celebration.  I’ve learned, there’s the “mustard” only kid, the “ketchup” only kid, and then the “dog and bun” only kid.  And even though I stated that I’m not really a hot dog fan, every May on this day, they some how taste better.  Or,  it could be that I’m just so ecstatic that it’s the end of the year.   That’s probably what makes that hot dog taste mighty good! ;0)

Last summer Maria and I went with friends to Gulf Shores, Alabama.  We fixed the loaded oven dogs for supper one night.  When I ate one, I was hooked!  When Kevin, Maria and I went to Destin, Florida this summer, I fixed these for us one night, and my husband was hooked!  The Maxwell family is a big fan for sure.

Loaded Oven Hot Diggity-Dogs

  • 7 hot dogs (I use turkey dogs, but you don’t have to)
  • 7 hot dog buns (I know it’s strange, but you can’t squeeze 8 buns in a 9×13 pan)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (you can use the light mayo)
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 15 oz can Hormel chili (you can get the vegan chili instead)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 small onion diced (I prefer the sweet yellow onion, it’s not as strong)

I used a 9×13 dish for my diggity-dogs, and lined it with aluminum foil for an easy clean up!  Also, spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray.  (If you’re on vacation, the disposable pans really come in handy)  Evenly spread 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of relish into each hot dog bun.  Top with the (uncooked) hot dog, and place in your dish.  Repeat for remaining hot dogs.  Evenly top each with chili, then the cheese, and last the diced onion.

FullSizeRender (1)

Cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

FullSizeRender (2)My mouth is watering now!

May the Lord bless you and keep you on your journey ~ Beth

 

 

 

So, If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It Right?

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IMG_5367“So if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”  How many times have you heard that statement?  Myself?  I guess I’ve heard it more than I can probably count…at least on one hand anyway!

I’ve been thinking about changing the name of my little blog for awhile…from, “Can’t Keep Quiet” to “This Journey Called Life.”  And really, they kinda go together.  You see, I still won’t be able to keep quiet about my Papa God, and how He encourages me on “This Journey Called Life.”  I guess in a way, I may just have even more to say at times!  Oh gosh…surely not!  For those of you who know me, you may now pause for a moment of silence and reflection! :0)

I’m learning as I get older, the importance of not going it alone.  I need my Papa God on this journey, but I  also need others too.   Others he has placed in my life… like my family, loved ones and friends!

My prayer first of all, is to be a light on “This Journey Called Life!” To share what God is doing in my life.  But, I just might even share a few other things, like movies, how I like, or dislike them.   Share books,  poems, quotes or even recipes that I like.  I may even share what I overhear from a five year old….all identities will be kept secretly… for the sake of not embarrassing a Mom or Dad of course! ;0)   I’m a Kindergarten Assistant (which I absolutely love by the way!)  And just like Art Linkletter used to say, “kids really do say the darndest things!”  Oh gosh! and by no means don’t go asking my husband about the recipe one…he will say that I don’t cook enough to share that!  But…I do still cook, and have friends who do too, so you may get one of their fabulous and famous recipes!

Let’s travel on “This Journey Called Life Together.”   Don’t go it alone, let’s travel along with each other one day at a time.

I wanted to share with you a video of the First Baptist Choir here in Cleveland, Tennessee singing, “The Lord Bless You And Keep You.”  We sang this to our servers and ship crew after our dinner cruise while on our recent trip to Washington, DC.  What a sweet song to sing to them, to bless them on their journey from the Lord, before we traveled back home, continuing on our journey.  *Video is courtesy of Scott Chism.

May the Lord bless you and keep you on your journey ~ Beth